Japan was involved in the World War II in many different ways. The two most important things that Japan was involved in were D-Day and joining the Axis. In Japan, military officers began to take over political offices during the 1930ís. By 1936, they had a lot of control of government. Japanís military government prepared for war and started training warriors. In 1941, General Hideki Tojo became premier of Japan.
Japan was the first country ruled by a ruler to begin a program of taking over other countries by force. In 1931, Japanese forces had control of Manchuria, a region of China. Some historians believe Japanís defeat of Manchuria as the real start of World War II. In 1937, Japan launched a major attack against China. It occupied most of eastern China by the end of 1938.
Germany and Italy agreed to support each other, in taking over other countries and form an alliance. The alliance was called the Rome-Berlin Axis. Soon Japan joined the alliance in 1940, and it became the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo-Axis.
Japan finally got the United States involved in World War II because most of the people in the United States thought that their country should stay out of World War II. By 1940, Japanese forces were stuck in China. The Chinese government had fled to central China, but China refused to give up. They had to do a lot to force China to surrender.
By 1945, Japan had lost much of the countries it had taken over. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese soldiers were left with no way off the Pacific Islands. American B-29 bombers were breaking and destroying Japanís industries, and American submarines were sinking important supplies headed for Japan.
Japanís military leaders went on fighting, even though they faced problems. The Allies decided they needed more bases to make the campaign against Japan better.
By the summer of 1945, some members of Japanís government wanted to surrender, but others insisted that Japan keep fighting. The Allies planed to invade Japan in November of 1945. American military planners feared that the invasion might cost as many as 1 million U.S. lives. Some Allied leaders believed that Soviet help was needed to beat Japan. However, the Allies found another way to end the war.
The Allies were designing an atomic bomb. The bomb would produce an extremely powerful explosion. The United States, Britain, and China then issued a statement threatening to destroy Japan unless it surrendered. In spite of the warning, Japan went on fighting.
On August 6, 1945, an American B-29 bomber called the Enola Gay dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The explosion killed from 70,000 to 100,000 people. After Japanese leaders failed to respond to the bombing, the United States dropped a larger bomb on August 9. It killed about 40,000 people. Later, thousands of more people died of injuries and other problems caused by the two bombings. Meanwhile, on August 8, the Soviet Union declared war and invaded Manchuria. Soviet troops raced south toward Korea.
On August 14, Japan agreed to end the war. Some of the countryís military leaders committed suicide. On September 2, 1945, representatives of Japan signed the official statement of surrender aboard a U.S. battleship. Representatives from all the Allied nations were there. Truman declared September 2 Victory Over Japan Day. World War II had ended.
"World War II." The World Book Encyclopedia, 2001.
"Tojo." Cambridge Biographical Dictionary. New York, NY: Cambridge Inc., 1990.