Soviet–Japanese border conflicts
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|Soviet-Japanese Border Wars|
Khalkhin Gol, 1939. Soviet BT-7 tanks on the offensive.
| Soviet Union
Mongolian People's Republic
| Empire of Japan
|Commanders and leaders|
| Georgy Zhukov
| Kenkichi Ueda
385 armoured vehicles,
779 artillery pieces,
|Casualties and losses|
|Soviet archival figures:
20,302 dead or missing
147,259 dead, wounded, missing, captured
A series of Soviet–Japanese border conflicts, without any formal declaration of war, occurred between 1932 and 1945.
The Imperial Japanese Army recorded 151 minor incidents on the border of Manchuria between 1932 and 1934. The number of incidents increased to over 150 per year in 1935 and 1936, and the scale of incidents became larger.
In January 1935, the first armed clash, Halhamiao incident (哈爾哈廟事件 Haruhabyō jiken?) occurred on the border between Mongolia and Manchukuo. Scores of Mongolian cavalry engaged a Manchukuo army patrol unit near the Buddhist temple at Halhamiao. The Manchukuo Army incurred slight casualties, including a Japanese military advisor.
Between December 1935 and March 1936, the Orahodoga incident (オラホドガ事件 Orahodoga jiken?)(ja) and the Tauran incident (タウラン事件 Tauran jiken?) (ja) occurred. In these battles, both the Japanese Army and Mongolian Army used a small number of armoured fighting vehicles and military aircraft.
In June 1937, the Kanchazu Island incident (乾岔子島事件 Kanchazutou jiken?) (ja) occurred on the Amur River (Soviet–Manchukuo border). Three Soviet gunboats crossed the centre line of the river and occupied Kanchazu island. The IJA 1st Division sank one of the Soviet gunboats by artillery fire and damaged another. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs protested and the Soviet soldiers withdrew from the island.
Battle of Lake Khasan
The Battle of Lake Khasan (July 29, 1938 – August 11, 1938) and also known as the Changkufeng Incident (Chinese: 张鼓峰事件; pinyin: Zhānggǔfēng Shìjiàn, Japanese pronunciation: Chōkohō Jiken) in China and Japan, was an attempted military incursion from Manchukuo (by the Japanese) into territory claimed by the Soviet Union. This incursion was founded in the belief of the Japanese side that the Soviet Union misinterpreted the demarcation of the boundary based on the Convention of Peking treaty between Imperial Russia and the former Qing-Dynasty China (and subsequent supplementary agreements on demarcation), and furthermore, that the demarcation markers had been tampered with.
Battle of Khalkhin Gol
The Battle of Khalkhin Gol, sometimes spelled Halhin Gol or Khalkin Gol after the Halha River passing through the battlefield and known in Japan as the Nomonhan Incident (after a nearby village on the border between Mongolia and Manchuria), was the decisive engagement of the undeclared Soviet–Japanese Border War (1939), or Japanese–Soviet War. It should not be confused with the conflict in August 1945 when the Soviet Union declared war in support of the other Allies of World War II and launched the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.
Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact
Later in 1941, Japan would consider breaking the pact when the German Third Reich invaded the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa), but they made the crucial decision to keep it and to continue to press into Southeast Asia instead. This was said to be largely due to the Battle of Khalkhin Gol. The defeat there caused Japan not to join forces with Germany against the Soviet Union, even though Japan and Germany were part of the Tripartite Pact. On April 5, 1945, the Soviet Union unilaterally denounced the neutrality pact, noting that it would not renew the treaty when it expired on April 13, 1946. Four months later, prior to the expiration of the neutrality pact, and between the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, completely surprising the Japanese. The Soviet invasion of Manchuria was launched one hour after the declaration of war.
Portrayal in Media
The fighting early in World War II between Japan and the Soviet Union plays a key part in the Korean film My Way, in which Japanese soldiers (including Koreans in Japanese service) fight and are captured by the Soviets and forced to fight for them.
- Russo-Japanese War
- Chinese Eastern Railway and the South Manchuria Railway
- Sino-Soviet conflict (1929)
- Soviet Invasion of Xinjiang
- Charles Otterstedt, Kwantung Army and the Nomonhan Incident: Its Impact on National security
- "Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact April 13, 1941: Declaration Regarding Mongolia". Yale Law School. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
In conformity with the spirit of the Pact on neutrality concluded on April 13, 1941, between the U.S.S.R. and Japan, the Government of the U.S.S.R. and the Government of Japan, in the interest of insuring peaceful and friendly relations between the two countries, solemnly declare that the U.S.S.R. pledges to respect the territorial integrity and inviolability of Manchoukuo and Japan pledges to respect the territorial integrity and inviolability of the Mongolian People's Republic.
- Coox, Alvin D.: Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, 1939. Two volumes; 1985, Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-1160-7