So I've been studying imperialism. Focusing on Japan, Japan's imperialism is a result of its modernization which is a result of Matthew Perry's siege (not a good word). After the treaty of Kanagawa, Japan started looking to end western influence, as to not follow in China's footsteps, prompting the modernization and industrialization. I read that Japan based its government and parts of its army off that of Germany's.

So in 1940 when Japan allied with Germany in world war 2, was the way Japan went about modernizing a root, if not the root, of this (as Japan was influenced rather strongly by Germany in the 19th century)?

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    Is there anything in your question which isn't addressed by history.stackexchange.com/q/12355/421 ? Mar 7 '16 at 2:24
  • I gave it some thought - and decided that it is slightly a different question. Whilst the ideological component of the question is in fact a duplicate - there are geopolitical realities that play into the reasons for both countries alignment. It does come quite close to being a duplicate though.
    – Anaryl
    Mar 7 '16 at 9:10
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    Questions that solicit theories are better on politics. This site is for historical questions that can be answered in a definitive way. The site is a not a discussion group for tossing around theories about why or why not particular things happened in the past. Mar 7 '16 at 18:23

In the 19th century, Japan sent out missions to learn different things from different industrialized powers. They were in a position to pick and choose their role models.

I wonder if the Army faction in WWII was more predisposed to ally with Germany than the Navy faction. You might note that Japan allied with the Allies in WWI.

Another factor would be antagonism to Russia. They allied with the enemy of their enemy.

  • Japan was closely allied with Great Britain before and during WWI, which allowed them to pick up German possessions on the cheap after the war. In the interwar period when this treaty lapsed, the country drifted more into opposition with the Western powers that had colonies in the region, notably in China. When they decided to go to war, they decided to also ally with Germany, although this was nearly entirely useless to them.
    – Oldcat
    Apr 7 '16 at 23:46

I think more than anything the reasons were geopolitical expediency.

For example Germany and Japan began rapprochement when they signed the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1936. At this time Hitler was looking for a reliable partner to contain the Soviet Union - and when the Chinese nationalists signed the Sino-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, Hitler concluded that Japan would be a more reliable partner against the Soviets in East Asia. This was despite the fact that by 1938 Japan had not decided to expand north against the Soviets.

The Japanese also felt driven closer to Germany as the United States placed greater export controls on the Japanese to deter further territorial expansion.

It is also true that the Prussians and later Germans played a part in the industrialisation of Japan and the drafting of its Constitution.

To quote wikipedia, From the signing of the Anti-Comintern Pact to the Tripartite Pact in 1940

Relations between Germany and Japan were driven by mutual self-interest, underpinned by the shared militarist, expansionist and nationalistic ideologies of their respective governments.[44]

This statement probably sums up the entire issue in a nutshell.

  • Good answer. But I think he's asking for the connection between the nineteenth century relation and ww2.
    – D J Sims
    Mar 7 '16 at 9:11
  • You do not address the lack of engagement with Japan in the aftermath of WWI. Japan saw nothing of the spoils of victory that the other Entente powers reaped. The Japanese demands and hopes were dismissed by the Paris conference of 1919 and they felt rather sorely that this was unfair. Especially, as they had participated in the war on the winning side. The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 settled the matter in their minds; they felt used and decided that direct action would be needed if they were to be considered on the world stage. This had unfortunate consequences...
    – BOB
    Mar 7 '16 at 15:46
  • I don't think it's relevant to the question.
    – Anaryl
    Mar 7 '16 at 16:04
  • Actually, Japan picked up quite a few island mandates from German holdings in the Pacific after WWI - the Caroline and Marshall islands. The actual disenchantment was a bit later - after the British dropped their alliance and the Naval Arms limitation pacts in the 20s.
    – Oldcat
    Mar 7 '16 at 20:09

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