According to Wikipedia, after the Japanese defeat in the Battle of Taierzhuang, "It was reported in the world's newspapers, however, and by mid-April had provoked a Cabinet crisis in Tokyo". What was the nature of this cabinet crisis, and was it ultimately eventless or did it have effects, such as cabinet reshuffle or change in troop mobilisation?

I did find one contemporary newspaper report, from the front page of The New York Times (April 15, 1938):


NYT front page


But meanwhile the defeat has had its repercussions in Tokyo, where Prince Konoye's Cabinet was said to be facing a crisis on the issue of mobilizing the nation's full strength for the China warfare. [Page 3.]

There should be more detail on page 3 but that may be behind a paywall. But according to the front page summary and subheadings, it seems that the crisis was about whether to fully mobilise for the war with China; if so what changes were made in troop mobilisations, as a result of this battle?

  • 2
    It should come as no surprise that war time p̶r̶o̶p̶a̶g̶a̶n̶d̶a̶ reporting is deeply inaccurate. AFAIK the cabinet crisis in Japan was not over mobilisation per se, but over whether to expand operations in China. At the start of the war, Imperial General HQ issued several edicts restraining Japanese units . In practice, Army field commanders blatantly disregarded the political leadership to advance deep beyond authorised lines. One such excursion resulted in this battle, and the subsequent Japanese defeat led to the collapse of the anti-expansion faction at the Imperial Conference.
    – Semaphore
    Nov 23, 2015 at 14:29
  • @Semaphore You have the meat of an answer there. Answering in comments doesn't help the site as much as good answers. (That I agree on you on at least three points doesn't change the request to form an answer). Oct 24, 2016 at 12:15

2 Answers 2


As page.2 and page.3 are not readable (anyone going to pay for that $38? I'm really curious about the content)

From first page:

But meanwhile the defeat has had its repercussions in Tokyo, where Prince Konoye's Cabinet was said to be facing a crisis on the issue of mobilizing the national full strength for the China warfare.

As I didn't find any report of this "Cabinet Crisis" from Japanese historical data, these are all I got. On April 15, 1938:

  1. First Konoe Cabinet, lead by Fumimaro Konoe, whom on behalf of the Japan government, he published First Konoe Announcement on 16 Jan, 1938, three months before Battle of Taierzhuang. Which said: "日本政府は国民政府との話し合いを自ら放棄し、戦争終結の手がかりを失うことになった。" Translation: "Chinese government refuse to communicate with Japanese government on their own, thus the chance to cease war had ended."
  2. An "National Mobilization Law" was legislated twenty days before Battle of Taierzhuang, on 24 March, 1938. They want to make this happen as soon as possible: "The National Mobilization Law had fifty clauses, which provided for government controls over civilian organizations (including labor unions), nationalization of strategic industries, price controls and rationing, and nationalized the news media. The laws gave the government the authority to use unlimited budgets to subsidize war production, and to compensate manufacturers for losses caused by war-time mobilization."

Political statement often implied specific meanings. As there are no obvious evidence of this "Cabinet Crisis" from Japanese historical data and from the timeline detail of this page, and with 1) and 2), they might just attempt to seek for international support, and domestic support for that aggressive war toward China.

  • ah, so page 2 & 3 are still paid content. The eighth image is a snapshot from page 3, but too blurry to read.
    – Val
    Oct 24, 2016 at 8:56
  • Minor modified my answer - since it was the firsthand information translated from Japanese, it should still be a valid reference.
    – Val
    Oct 24, 2016 at 9:01

Up to the battle of Taierzhuang, the Japanese government hoped for a "limited" war in China, in which they would occupy the Shanghai-Nanjing and the Beijing-Tientsin corridors near the coast, and make peace, or at least a cease-fire in place with China, and prepare for war against stronger countries like the Soviet Union and the United States. In essence, it was a "declare victory and go home strategy."

This hope was defeated by two forces: 1) the Japanese army, and 2) the Chinese, both of whom were "out for blood." The Chinese had defeated the Japanese at Taierzhuang by using superior numbers in confined spaces, and the Japanese army wanted revenge.

The Japanese cabinet had three choices: 1) pull out, which was totally unacceptable; 2) a negotiated peace, now made infeasible; and 3) all out war. Although the last was now the only real option, the Japanese Cabinet went through considerable anxiety in deciding to pursue it.

Source: The OP's Taierzhuang link.

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