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Japan withdraws from the League of Nations

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Japanese diplomats leaving the League of Nations building after its withdrawal.

Geneva, Feb. 24, 1933 — The Japanese delegation withdrew from the League of Nations Assembly today after the assembly had adopted an unanimous report (42-1, with only Japan opposing) blaming Japan for the Invasion of Manchuria. Japan’s delegation, led by Yosuke Matsuok walked from the hall amidst mingled hisses and applause.

Japan’s formal resignation from the league was filed later. “We are not coming back,” Matsuoka said simply as he left the hall. Before he left, he asked rhetorically, “Would the American people agree to such control of the Panama Canal Zone; would the British permit it over Egypt?”

Only two nations (Costa Rica in 1925 and Brazil in 1926) had previously withdrew. According to the League’s charter, it should have responded with economic sanctions or a war but none of these actions was undertaken. It was the first of many such failures–in September, Germany would join Japan in her withdrawal; in 1935, Italy would pull the same stunt over Abyssinia. The world was poised once again on the brink of war.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

June 7, 2009 at 5:22 am

4 Responses

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