The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
|Previous: Kwantung Army||Table of Contents||Next: Kweichow|
The Kwantung Peninsula, today known as the Liaodong Peninsula, figured prominently in Japanese history prior to the Pacific War, but played a minor role in the war itself. Not to be confused with Kwangtung Province of south China, the Kwantung Peninsula extends southward into the Yellow Sea northwest of Korea. There is an excellent natural harbor at its southern tip, Lushun, which subsequently became known as Port Arthur.
The Japanese occupied the peninsula during First
Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), and the Japanese claimed sovereignty
over the peninsula under the Treaty of Shimonoseki. However, the Triple
Intervention by Germany, France, and Russia
forced Japan to give up the peninsula. The Russians then pressured
China to grant a 25-year lease on the peninsula, beginning in 1898,
which provoked outrage in Japan and was a major cause of the
Russo-Japanese War of 1905. Port Arthur fell in November 1905 following
a long and bloody siege, and the
Russian lease on the Kwantung Peninsula was taken over by the Japanese
under the terms of the Treaty of Portsmouth of 1905. The lease was
extended until 1997 as one of the Thirteen Demands imposed on China by
Japan during the First World War.
The Japanese Army garrison dispatched to protect the peninsula, the Kwantung
Army, was led by extreme nationalist officers who often acted
the civil government in Tokyo.
These hotheaded officers were largely
responsible for further Japanese incursions in Manchuria
that helped launch the Second World War.
The territory was initially ruled by governor-general, but after the puppet state of Manchukuo was established in 1932, this role was taken over by the ambassador to Manchukuo, who was also the commander of Kwantung Army.
The Russians recaptured Port Arthur during their brief Manchurian campaign in the closing days of the Pacific War, and returned it to China in 1955.
The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia © 2007, 2012 by Kent G. Budge. Index
Comment on this article