Japan enters the war

Japan enters the war
By Euronews
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1914: August 23


Following the outbreak of war Britain and Japan, allies since 1902, came to an agreement: if Japan entered the war, targeting German possessions in the Pacific and China, then it could take control of these regions when the war was over. Ambitious to expand its territories and gain recognition as a great world power, Japan sent Germany an ultimatum – withdraw your forces from Japanese and Chinese waters and hand over your Pacific territory or face the consequences. The ultimatum never received a reply and so on August 23 Japan declared war on Germany.

The action in the Pacific began in Tsingtao, a port that was technically in China but was handed to Germany in 1898 as appeasement for the deaths of two German missionaries. Japan started preparations for the attack a week before war had even been declared, so when Germany ignored the request to hand over control of Tsingtao it was just days before the Japanese began a bombardment.

The port was the base for around 4,000 German troops who were faced with a much larger division of 23,000 Japanese, supported by 1,500 British. Despite being hugely outnumbered the German troops held out for two months which brought them honour at home, even in eventual defeat.

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