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Industrialization and Democracy, World War I

Shandong Peninsula, Japanese industry, Japanese economy, Russian Revolution, northeastern China

Japan joined World War I (1914-1918) on the side of Britain and its allies. Japanís military actions were limited to taking over the German-leased territory of Jiaozhou, located on the Shandong Peninsula in northeastern China, and its industrial port city of Qingdao, and occupying the German-held Marshall, Caroline, and Mariana islands in the western Pacific. After the Russian Revolution of 1917 ended the Russian Empire and destabilized Russia, Japan also joined an Allied expeditionary force to aid anti-Bolshevik forces in Siberia in 1918. Contrary to Allied agreement, Japan maintained troops in Siberia until 1922.

Despite the countryís limited participation, the war in Europe brought economic boom times to Japan, as Japanese industry sold munitions and other goods to the Western countries fighting the war and advanced into Asian markets left open by the decline of Western trading activity. Nearly every sector of the Japanese economy expanded, but heavy industry grew especially fast, creating a new and increasingly large male industrial labor force. The war also brought with it social unrest, as rapid inflation sparked wage disputes between management and workers.

Article key phrases:

Shandong Peninsula, Japanese industry, Japanese economy, Russian Revolution, northeastern China, Siberia, Russian Empire, social unrest, Asian markets, munitions, rapid inflation, western Pacific, troops, World War, Caroline, heavy industry, allies, Western countries, Marshall, Britain, war, Mariana islands, goods, workers, sector, Europe, management


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