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World War 2 actually started in Asia almost a decade before it started in Europe and elsewhere. Ultimately, the war kicked off when Japan invaded China and French Indochina; when the US tried to convince Japan to stop, Japan instead attacked the US Navy at Pearl Harbor, bringing the US into World War 2.

The slightly longer version:

Between about 1865 and 1895, Japan changed from an isolated feudal state to a modernized major power. Starting in 1895, Japan started getting involved in international affairs. Japan had beaten the mighty Russian Empire in 1905, annexed Korea, and began economic expansion in China. Japan seemed to be the powerful "new kid on the block", so to speak.

During the same time period, China was recovering from a tough time they had in the 1800s and early 1900s. China lost several wars with foreign countries (including Britain and Japan), partial foreign occupation, and popular revolts against their imperial government, the Qing dynasty. In 1912, the last Qing Emperor was overthrown in a revolution, but the newly established Chinese Republic was very weak. There was a central government, but large portions of the country were actually under the control of warlords, many of whom had served as generals under the old imperial government. Japan tried to take advantage of the chaos to begin taking control of parts of China, and played the warlords against each other to keep China divided and weak.

In 1931, some Japanese soldiers blew up a railway in the city of Mukden in Manchuria (a region of northeastern China); the railway was owned by a Japanese company. They wanted to make it seem like Chinese rebels were trying to sabotage Japanese interests. Japan then used the "bombing" as a reason to invade- they invaded and conquered Manchuria in just a few months. Manchuria was made into an independent country called "Manchukuo"- but Manchukuo was actually totally under the control of Japan. Over the next few years, Japan would occasionally fight some of the warlords, but otherwise, things were relatively peaceful.

In 1937, Japan and China wound up fighting again. Long story short, Japan was using their soldiers to guard their railways and businesses in China. One day, some Japanese soldiers got into a small battle with some Chinese soldiers at a bridge near Beijing. Japan used this as a reason to invade China again. This began the so-called "Second Sino-Japanese War", and Japan launched a full-scale invasion of China itself.

The Sino-Japanese War led to the escalation of the war. Notably, the US and the UK both opposed the Japanese invasion. When World War II began in Europe in 1939, Japan took advantage of France, the Netherlands, and the UK being distracted by Germany to seize colonies belonging to those countries. Japan notably invaded and conquered French Indochina (modern Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia), despite international condemnation of it.

It was the negotiations between the US and Japan that ultimately led the Japanese to attack the US at Pearl Harbor. The US tried to convince Japan to stop attacking and occupying China and Indochina; Japan refused. The US then put embargoes against Japan, cutting off their oil and other supplies, which just made them angry. The embargoes convinced Japan that they would soon be at war with the US too. So Japan decided to launch an overwhelming attack on the powerful US Navy to try to cause enough damage to prevent the US from getting involved in the war.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese ended the negotiations and launched a huge attack on the American fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The attack dealt significant damage to the US Navy, including sinking four battleships. However, the attack failed to cripple the American Navy; notably, it did not damage the American aircraft carriers, which were not at Hawaii at the time. Also, due to a delay in translating the official message, Japan's attack happened before they officially told the US they were declaring war- so the attack was viewed by Americans as a cowardly sneak attack.

At the same time that the US was attacked at Pearl Harbor, Japan launched a series of attacks on other countries and colonies across Asia and the Pacific. Thailand was invaded and quickly surrendered. Japan also invaded Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia all in a fairly short time. World War II was officially started in Asia and the Pacific.

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โˆ™ 2018-01-02 18:37:21
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Q: What started World War 2 in Asia?
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