Japanese Involvement in Spanish Civil War

Discussions on all aspects of the Spanish Civil War including the Condor Legion, the Germans fighting for Franco in the Spanish Civil War.
Iron_Bismarck
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Japanese Involvement in Spanish Civil War

Post by Iron_Bismarck » 04 May 2007 02:53

Video Source:

The War File — Battlefield: Manchuria, the Forgotten Victory (DVD)

Web Source:

http://worldatwar.net/timeline/18-48.html

Timeline:

July 1936 — Spanish-Civil War begins
October 1936 — German-Italian Treaty forms the Axis
November 1936 — Anti-Comintern Pact between Germany and Japan (Italy enters a year later)

July 1938 — Japanese & Soviet forces skirmish at Lake Khasan on border between USSR and Japanese controlled Manchuria

May-Aug 1939 — Japanese & Soviet forces clash at Khanki-Gol River on border between USSR and Japanese controlled Manchuria

Analysis:

During the course of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), the Axis Powers backed Franco's Nationalists, whilst the Soviets backed and controlled the Republicans. (In short, Fascist Germany and Italy backed the Fascists, whilst the Communist Soviet Union backed the Communists.)

Meanwhile, Japan not only allied with the Fascists, but twice clashed (1938, 1939) with the Fascists' foe (Communist USSR). The Communist threat to Germany and Italy from a Soviet-controlled Spain is clear: the USSR would then encircle the Fascist empires by confronting them from the east (Russia) and west (Spain) at the same time.

It seems equally clear that, by allying with "Fascist-friendly" Japan, Germany and Italy likewise encircled the Soviet Union. Japan faced the USSR in the east, whilst Fascist Europe faced the USSR in the west.

Japan's alliance with Fascist Europe can be easily explained by the congruence of self-interest. Japan's burgeoning empire had already clashed with Russia 30 years earlier during the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. Since global Communism was now centered in Russia, it made sense for the Japanese to join an alliance against Communism.

But the intriguing fact remains that, by all objective and external appearances, Japan was a combatant in the Spanish-Civil War, unambiguously allied to Fascist Europe and militarily opposed to Communist Russia. In that sense, the border disputes in 1938-39 at Lake Khasan and Khanki-Gol are essentially the "Asian Theatre" of the Spanish Civil War. It is also note-worthy that the Khanki-Gol conflict ended in August at nearly the same time as the Hitler-Stalin Pact of Non-Aggression (Aug '39). It seems that Japanese military operations in Manchuria were linked, if somewhat loosely, to Fascist military operations in Europe.

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Kim Sung
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Post by Kim Sung » 04 May 2007 09:21

There were some Japanese volunteers who fought as members of the International Brigade. One of them was a staunch socialist named Jack Shirai (ジャック白井) Some accounts say that he was a Korean descent, which is very doubtable from his typical Japanese countenance.

Image

Image


Aizaka Tsuyoshi(逢坂剛)'s 'Country Far Away in Sunset'『斜影はるかな国』is based on Shirai's story.

viewtopic.php?p=489791#489791

http://www.diarioadn.com/ciudades/madri ... p?id=14681 (in Spanish)

Hoss
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Jack Shirai

Post by Hoss » 04 May 2007 18:56

In Between the Bullet and the Lie the author, Cecil Eby, claims that Shirai was one of the best riflemen in the entire batallion. Why he would be assigned to the cookhouse is anyone's guess, if that was the case.

Jack was most definitely Japanese-American.

Some more Shirai info here: http://archiv.vulgo.net/index.php?optio ... le&sid=566

Raised in a Trappist monestary? Good beer!

Iron_Bismarck
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Post by Iron_Bismarck » 10 May 2007 05:32

You are speaking of ones and twos. Sure, you can find one (disputable) case of a Japanese Communist fighting for the Republicans. Ultimately, Stalin's spy in Tokyo, Richard Sorge, found an "in" with a member of the Japanese Imperial Family, who helped him sway Japanese war plans away from the USSR towards the USA in 1941. There were many Communists in Japan, as elsewhere.

However, I am talking about State Policy, about national decisions made by those in power at the time and backed by the millions and millions of citizens who support them.

The Japanese State was a de facto Fascist combatant during the Spanish Civil War.

TRose
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Post by TRose » 10 May 2007 08:43

I remember reading in article several years ago among the artililary used by the Republians where several japanese guns. How they got them the article did not say. Of course they could have gotten them second or third hand as Japan export arms to the western allies during world war I. Or even from the Soviet Union as equipment captured/left behind from Japan 1918-1922 Siberian expidition. Will see if I can find the article.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 10 May 2007 10:16

But the intriguing fact remains that, by all objective and external appearances, Japan was a combatant in the Spanish-Civil War, unambiguously allied to Fascist Europe and militarily opposed to Communist Russia. In that sense, the border disputes in 1938-39 at Lake Khasan and Khanki-Gol are essentially the "Asian Theatre" of the Spanish Civil War. It is also note-worthy that the Khanki-Gol conflict ended in August at nearly the same time as the Hitler-Stalin Pact of Non-Aggression (Aug '39). It seems that Japanese military operations in Manchuria were linked, if somewhat loosely, to Fascist military operations in Europe.


So the War in China was only a sideshow?

Can you also explain how Nomonhan in May-August 1939 influenced the Spanish Civil War that ended in April 1939?

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