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Swann, Sebastian P. (1999) The Tientsin Incident (1939): A Case-Study of Japan's Imperial Dilemma in China. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This is a study of an incident that took place in North China when the Japanese Army decided to institute a blockade around the British and French Concessions at Tientsin on 15 June 1939. This precipitated a serious international crisis between Japan, Britain and China, although other countries, in particular the United States and France, were also involved. The crisis was in large part defused by the middle of September 1939, although the blockade of the British and French areas would not be lifted until June 1940. This was one of many incidents between Japan, China and the western imperial powers in Asia that occurred in the wake of Japan's invasion into China, particularly from July 1937. The object of this study is to determine why, unlike many of these other events, the Tientsin Incident escalated into a crisis and how it could be defused almost nine months before the blockade of the British and French Concessions would eventually be raised. This is a multi-archival work. But particular emphasis has been put upon the analysis of Japanese primary materials in order to discover the light this Incident can shed upon the nature and problems of Japanese imperial expansion into Asia, and how this affected the course of Anglo-Japanese relations. We examine the extent to which the political dynamics of this conflict were decided by the situation in Tientsin as opposed to the conflict in China as a whole and the tensions that it was putting on Japan's body-politic. We also examine to what extent the Incident acted as a catalyst in promoting a more confrontational relationship between Japan and the Western Powers. Finally, we try to make an assessment of the implications of this event both for China and other Asian countries that would later follow China's lead in seeking to deal with their foreign imperial conquerors --- Japanese or Western --- upon a more equal footing.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:31

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