The 'Yellow Peril' : Japan's decision to join the Axis Powers and the possibility that World War II began in the Far East

  • Rebecca Louise Lupton

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This dissertation navigates Imperial Japan’s tumultuous road to the 1940 Tripartite Alignment with the European Axis by exploring Japanese incentives for such a coalition. The analysis is presented through the overarching lens of fear-driven hypocrisy within Western anxieties of the ‘Yellow Peril,’ most notably after Japan’s first major victory against China in 1895. The dynamics of Japan’s relationships with not only the Great Western Powers but its Asian neighbours, namely China, will be evaluated in its quest for parity and autonomy during the 1930s. The following themes will be explored: the internal strife and disunity of the Imperial Armed Forces; Japan’s cumbersome ‘China Problem,’ which contributed significantly to the course of its foreign and national policy, along with its diplomatic isolation; Japan’s propensity to protect its sphere of influence against the encroachments of larger foes; and the impact of Japan’s own racist and xenophobic predispositions toward its Asian neighbours, leading to long-lasting regional tensions.
Date of Award4 Oct 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorPatricia Barton (Supervisor) & Manuela Williams (Supervisor)

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