History of Japan

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The ‘Meiji’ Restoration & the Satsuna Rebellion

The young Emperor Mitsuhito / nndb.com

The young Emperor Mitsuhito / nndb.com

Meiji means enlightened rule, and this was shown throughout the reign of the Japanese Emperor Mitsuhito, ruling from 1868 to 1912. After the fall of the Tokugawa Shogunate, a powerful group of Samurai decided (in January 1868) that the shogunate (‘federal’ rule by warlords) must be abolished as old-fashioned and unprogressive, and that power must be returned to the Emperor. (more…)

Curious Anglo-German Agreements

What Grand Fleets used to look like / en.wikipedia.org

What Grand Fleets used to look like / en.wikipedia.org

Why ‘curious’? Because the first was agreed between Britain and Germany only fourteen years before the outbreak of a world war, the first of its kind.  And the second was signed only four years before the next one. (more…)

Missing or misdirected: $13,000 million for Haiti


Only two years after the catastrophic earthquake that almost destroyed the island of Haiti, killing many (200,000 is one estimate) and leaving more homeless, it would not be incorrect to ask what has happened to the huge sums of money raised by international organisations and private donors to finance the recovery of the island. (more…)

IG Farben

   This was a cartel formed by the leading chemical companies in Germany after the First World War. ‘IG Farben’ is the diminutive of the rather more tongue-stretching Interessen Gemeinschaft Farbenindustrie which has been translated as ‘Community of Interests of Dye Industries’. Three of the many companies which joined were BASF, Bayer and Hoechst.

It was by far the largest corporation or cartel in Germany between the two world wars, controlling five hundred companies (in ninety-two countries). Corporative arrangements were made between Farben and Standard Oil (USA), Imperial Chemical Industries (Gt. Britain), and Mitsui (Japan), which makes the period 1929 – 39 so interesting. You may have noticed that the nationality of the first two of these commercial giants formed the major part of the Allies in World War II, while the third joined Hitler’s Axis. (more…)

The Malayan Campaign and Emergency



Ge, Sir Gerald Templer / allmalaysia.info

Gen. Sir Gerald Templer / allmalaysia.info

  The campaign was a military action in South-East Asia between December 1941 and August, 1945 during the Second World War. General Tomoyuki secured free passage through Thailand because of an agreement with the Vichy administration in France (pro-German). He then invaded northern Malaya in December 1941 while his companions were assaulting Singapore with great success. While Japanese aircraft bombed the city, British, Indian and Australian troops retreated to the south. It was a failure, as they were then taken prisoner after the fall of Singapore in February 1942. (more…)

Russians versus the Japanese (1904) & the Turks (4 times in the 19th century)

Marshal Kutuzov / en.wikipedia.org

Marshal Kutuzov / en.wikipedia.org

The fight between the Japanese and Russia was (and is) significant because it was all about control of both Manchuria and Korea. The Japanese launched an unexpected and unheralded assault on Russian warships anchored in their Manchurian naval base at Port Arthur. Pearl Harbor 37 years later was a sequel (Port Arthur now has another name of course).

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