THE INTER-WAR YEARS 1931
The Geneva Convention regarding treatment of prisoners of war entered into force on the 19th June 1931. Under the terms of the Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva July 27th, 1929, prisoners are bound to give name, rank and serial number. They may not be forced into giving any further information. Apart from weapons and horses, prisoners’ personal possessions may not be taken from them.
The Mukden Incident was a staged event engineered by Japanese military personnel on the 18th September 1931. Japanese Lt. Suemoni Kawamoto detonated a small quantity of dynamite close to a railway line owned by Japan’s South Manchuria Railway near Mukden (now Shenyang). The explosion was so weak that it failed to destroy the track, and a train passed over it shortly after. The Imperial Japanese Army accused Chinese dissidents of the act, which led to a Japanese invasion.
The Japanese invasion of Manchuria began on 19th September 1931 when the Kwantung Army of the Empire of Japan entered Manchuria following the Mukden Incident. The Japanese established the puppet state Manchukuo and the occupation lasted until the end of the Second World War. Manchuria was a land rich in natural resources, and the conquest of Manchuria enabled Japan to access the commodities she would need to conduct her ambitions. The Manchurian Crisis had a significant negative impact on the moral strength and influence of the League of Nations. As critics had predicted, the League was powerless should a strong nation decided to pursue an aggressive policy against neighbouring states, allowing a country such as Japan to commit blatant aggression without serious consequences. Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini were also aware of this. Within three years both would follow Japan’s example in attacking their neighbours. In the case of Italy the aggression was against Abyssinia and for Germany the aggression would be against Czechoslovakia and Poland.