Manchurian Incident or Mukden Incident, 1931, confrontation that gave Japan the impetus to set up a puppet government in Manchuria. After the Russo-Japanese War (1904–5), Japan replaced Russia as the dominant foreign power in S Manchuria. By the late 1920s the Japanese feared that unification of China under the Kuomintang party would imperil Japanese interests in Manchuria. This view was confirmed when the Manchurian general Chang Hsüeh-liang, a recent convert to the Kuomintang, refused to halt construction of railway and harbor facilities in competition with the South Manchurian Railway, referring Japan to the Nationalist central government. When a bomb of unknown origin ripped the Japanese railway near Shenyang (then known as Mukden), the Japanese Kwantung army guarding the railway used the incident as a pretext to occupy S Manchuria (Sept., 1931). Despite Japanese cabinet opposition and a pledge before the League of Nations to withdraw to the railway zone, the army completed the occupation of Manchuria and proclaimed the puppet state of Manchukuo (Feb., 1932). See Sino-Japanese War, Second.
See T. Yoshihashi, Conspiracy at Mukden (1963); S. N. Ogata, Defiance in Manchuria (1964).
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