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NAGARJUNA VIDYANIKETAN

MODEL UNITED NATIONS


14th -16th November 2019
AGENDA: ADDRESSING THE 1931 CRISIS
IN MANCHURIA WITH A VIEW TOWARDS
STRUCTURAL REFORMS IN THE LEAGUE.
INDEX OF CONTENTS:
 Letter from the Executive Board.
 Tools for use in the eventuality of an emergency.
 Introduction to the League of Nations.
 History of the League’s formation.
 Central idea of the League.
 Covenant of the League of Nations.
 Structure of the League of Nations.
 Successes of the League of Nations.
 Failures of the League of Nations.
 Problems with the League.
 Introduction to the Manchuria crisis.
 Important Japanese History.
 Important Manchurian History.
 The Kwantung Army and the Mukden Incident.
 The aftermath.
 Actual League action beyond our freeze date.
 Possible courses of Action.
 Tentative Bloc Positions.
 Questions a Resolution Must Answer.
LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE BOARD:
Esteemed delegates, it is our distinct pleasure to welcome you to a historical
simulation of one of the most pertinent crises that has affected the League of
Nations at Nagarjuna Vidyaniketan Model United Nations 2019 to be held from
the 14th to the 16th of November, 2019. We, on the Executive Board greatly look
forward to having three days of debate, discussion and deliberation.
Having said that, we make it clear that the role of the Executive Board shall be
mostly procedural and regulatory and we shall try our best to provide you with
as much autonomy as possible.
This guide is an attempt to give you a concise yet complete introduction to the
issue at hand, and by no means shall suffice as adequate research for a fruitful
conference. Independent research is the key to grasping the reasons why we
chose this agenda for your deliberation and for performing well in committee. It
is the only sure-shot way of good performance.
As of this point, we shall be following a relatively lax internet policy (allowed
however not provided by the secretariat with no tolerance for misuse) which
will be subject to change and have a strict non-tolerance of pre-writing. All
other matters of policy including but not limited to marking criteria, and point
of orders shall be made clear on the first day of committee. It shall solely be at
the discretion of the Executive Board or the Secretariat to amend this at any
point in time.
For the sake of simplicity, we shall follow UNA-USA procedure with suitable
changes whenever we deem fit.
We also expect a position paper (if you are a country) or an opinion
statement (if you are a portfolio), from you of no more size than 2 pages
with 16 size characters in Times New Roman. Please note that failure to
submit it shall result in disqualification from placements.
Since this is a historic committee, we entreat you to keep in mind the freeze date
at all points in time (11th December, 1931), and any reference to events beyond
the freeze date will not be entertained. We also inform you that this committee
shall function as a semi-crisis committee and not a continuous crisis committee,
by which we simply mean that an emergency may arise at some point which
you will be expected to substantively address, for which you may use the tools
mentioned in the ‘TOOLS FOR USE IN THE EVENTUALITY OF AN
EMERGENCY’ section which we ask you to pay special attention to.
We request you to research your country’s specific policy towards the crisis at
hand as well as your bloc position, and we shall expect you to stick to it
throughout committee. If in case you are a colony, you shall be expected to
follow your colonizer’s policy with changes only when the Executive Board
communicates it to you.
For newcomers and veterans alike, we hope that we can facilitate a fair platform
for you to reason, debate, lobby and exhibit your diplomatic prowess, and at the
same time make new friends and have fun.
We are a resource for you as you prepare for committee, and if you have any
queries, concerns or just want to drop a ‘hi!’ do feel free to drop a mail to us on
the committee address (leagueofnations.nvnmun@gmail.com). While all of this
may seem daunting, we assure you that once you set your mind to it you can
achieve anything and we are here to assist you throughout the process.
We eagerly await your presence at NVNMUN 2019!

Best,
Harshvardhan Ray- Director of the LoN.
Nidhi Bhandari- Assistant Director of the LoN.
Bhumika MG- Rapporteur of the LoN.
TOOLS FOR USE IN THE EVENTUALITY OF AN
EMERGENCY:
If in case an emergency arises, we shall allow the following tools for use by
delegates to influence the course of crisis:
A. Directives: These are basically actions taken by a country/portfolio which
are independent of the committee and shall not be voted upon by
committee members. The Executive Board has the power to pass/fail any
directives however all directives will be marked. It is recommended that
directives be extremely detailed and logical to increase their chances of
passing. Any updates regarding actions carried out in the Directives will
be provided to the delegates via crisis update or chit. There are two types
of directives:
(i) Open directives: If passed they shall be read out to committee.
(ii) Closed Directive: These shall be kept secret and not read out to
committee. The actions however if passed, will be communicated
via crisis update to committee.
These directives can be Individual or Joint (done by two or more
countries/portfolios).
All directives need to be addressed to an agency/person of the delegate’s
country. If in case you are a portfolio, you can direct it to
associates/acquaintances. You will not be penalized in any way for not
possessing a country’s resources however we hope to receive more
creative plans from portfolios.
All directives need to in the following format:
Format of a directive:
Directive (Open/Closed)
From: _______
To: ________
Objective: (no more than 25 words)
Plan of Action: (no word limits)
Country(s)/Portfolio(s)/-
B. Communiques: These are messages from the entire committee to another
country, person or group of people. These facilitate dialogue with
relevant actors in a crisis. These often include negotiations, threats, and
requests for aid or support, etc. Usually utilized when a country whose
consent, opinion or stance on a particular issue is required, but who isn’t
present in committee. This document is usually written by the committee
to inform the outside world about actions it has taken or results it has
achieved.
These can also be Secret Communiques in which case all communication
between the committee and recipients is kept secret.
C. Press release: These are statements issued by the delegate, usually after
providing reasons for certain actions via directives. Press releases are
similar to communiques insofar as that they are passed by committee as a
whole. The difference lies in the fact that a press release is addressed to
the public.
D. Information Request: Since we recognize the fact that we are in 1931, and
certain information may be difficult to acquire, we are providing the
facility that a delegate can ask for certain information via an information
request and base actions on the information provided.
NOTE: No pre-written directives will be allowed.
INTRODUCTION TO THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS:
The League of Nations was established in 1920 right after the first World War.
The purpose of the League was to promote international co-operation and
achieve international peace and security according to its Covenant. As we will
learn, it was rendered ineffective and failed leading the deadliest war in the
history of humankind, World War II. We shall be exploring the reasons further
on in this guide and the purpose of this simulation is for us not only to
effectively solve the Manchuria crisis but also mitigate the problems with the
League and prevent its collapse. What is key here is that the League was the
first body of its size and purpose and laid the groundwork for the United
Nations today in terms of setting the precedent of permanent arbitration and
cooperation efforts.

HISTORY OF THE LEAGUE’S FORMATION:


Ideas to form an intergovernmental peace organization were proposed as early
as the Eighteenth century with Immanuel Kant proposing a peaceful community
of nations as far back as 1795 and the Hague Peace Conference attempting to
form an international alliance for disarmament and peaceful settlement of
disputes. The Inter-parliamentary Union and the International Peace Bureau are
some of the examples of nascent forerunners of the League in terms of global
peace activities. However, they were not very influential in terms of reach or
membership. The idea however only started gaining significant attention around
the beginning of World War I, in 1915. British political scientists GL Dickinson
and Lord Bryce were founders of the League of Nations Union which published
and circulated pamphlets across the USA and Britain for a, “League of Peace”.
Organizations such as this emerged worldwide, fuelling the nascent
internationalist movement and drawing up plans and proposals for future world
bodies (prominent individuals included Lord Robert Cecil of Britain, Jam Sumts
of South Africa and Leon Bourgeois of France). On January 8th 1918,
Woodrow Wilson, the President of the United States called for a, “general
association of nations (...) for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of
political independence and territorial sovereignty to great and small states
alike.” in his famous Fourteen Points statement, explained further below
(paraphrased):
A. Covenants of Peace must be openly arrived at.
B. Absolute freedom of navigation in the seas, outside territorial waters.
C. Removal of Economic barriers and establishing equality of trade
conditions.
D. Disarmament to lowest point possible.
E. Impartial adjudication of colonial claims, balancing sovereignty of states
and voices of people.
F. Various proposals with regard to Poland, the Ottoman empire, Rumania,
Serbia, Montenegro, Austria-Hungary, Italy, France-Prussia, Belgium and
Russia.
G. Forming a general association of nations to protect territorial integrity and
political independence.
When Germany declared defeat in the 1918 Armistice of Compiegne, the
horrifying impact of the war had solidified popular international opinion for the
formation of a League. At the Paris Peace Conference, all the major allied
powers presented their proposals for such an organization and the resulting
compromise for future world peace gives us the body we have today. The
structure is explained in the next few sections. The League was officially
established on January 10th, 1920.
By the end of the month, 44 states had signed the League’s Covenant. Thus,
acknowledging their commitment to the first permanent peace-making body.
These states are referred to as the original or Founding members of the League.
They are as follows:
Argentina, Great Britain, Panama, Australia, Greece, Paraguay, Belgium,
Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia, Haiti, Poland, Brazil, Honduras, Portugal, Canada,
Romania, Chile, Iran, South Africa, China, Italy, Spain, Colombia, Japan,
Sweden, Cuba, Liberia, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, Netherlands, Thailand,
Denmark, New Zealand, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Venezuela, France,
Norway, Yugoslavia. (The present names of some nations are used).
[Despite Mr. Wilson’s massive contributions to the League’s formation, the US
Senate, wanting to check the President’s powers, voted to kept the USA out of
this organization. This will be further substantiated in the ‘Problems with the
League’ section.]

CENTRAL IDEA OF THE LEAGUE:


Up until the League’s creation, actors had behaved with the premise that there
was no natural or supreme law through which the rights of sovereign states in
making war and the like could be judged or limited. Wars continued to happen
because each nation had to be responsible for its own defence, thus forming
alliances for a better chance at victory, thus fuelling further violence and
animosity. The League centred on the belief that aggressive war is a crime not
only against the immediate victims but actually against the entire human
community. Ergo, it is the right and duty of all states to join in preventing such
a situation, if it arises. The logical conclusion they came to was that if all other
states act, no one state can possibly commit aggression. Such justifications have
been found in philosophical writings however this was the first time such an
idea was being applied to actual global politics. Quite a few of the League’s
attributes were derived pre-existing institutions and reform ideas for previous
diplomatic methods. The concept of collective security however, was a concept
nurtured by the unspeakable horrors of the first World War.
The League had essentially a simple task: prevent war from every breaking out
again on such an incredible scale. Since the Versailles Treaty didn’t do much to
ease tensions in Europe following the end of WW1, the League was also looked
upon as a way to maintain continental stability, especially in Europe.

COVENANT OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS:


It firstly starts off with a short Preamble which introduces the three primary
objectives that are essentially promoting international co-operation and
promoting international peace and security. The following 26 articles describe
the means of carrying them out. Article 1 describes the conditions of
membership, withdrawal and admission. Articles 2-5 specify the nature and
power of the Assembly and the Council, the two main bodies of the
Organization. Articles 6-7 discuss the appointment of a Secretary General, the
establishment of the Secretariat at Geneva, and its budget. Articles 8-9 deal with
the subject of disarmament and the League’s objective of reducing arms to the
lowest level possible. Articles 10-21 clarify the political and social mandates
that the League was expected to carry out, vis-à-vis promoting international
cooperation, achieving international peace and collective security. Articles 22-
23 detail the intentions of the League to promote international relations in the
fields of finance, trade; land, air and sea transport as well promoting health and
cutting down on drugs, slavery, etc. Articles 24-25 are with regard to the
transfer of already established agencies and the commitment to support the aims
of the Red Cross. Lastly, Article 26 explains the amendment procedure.
The Executive Board strongly recommends every delegate to read up on the
Covenant (https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/leagcov.asp).

STRUCTURE OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS:


The Council of the League is the principal peacekeeping agency. Its size ranged
from 8-14 members during the League’s history. The most powerful members
of the league had permanent seats. These were France, Great Britain, Italy,
Japan and the Soviet Union (later on). The remaining seats were rotated. The
Council under Article 14 of the Covenant also presides over the Permanent
Court of International Justice which had the authority to pass binding
judgements on international disputes to member states, which existed from 1922
onwards.
The assembly is composed of all the member nations and each member has one
vote. The Assembly controls the budget of the League, makes amendments to
the Covenant, elects temporary members to the Council and admits new
members. More importantly, it produces legislative recommendations regarding
matters of peace which fall under the purview of the League while the Council
is conferenced with the more specific plans and implementations of resolution
of conflicts. On the aforementioned matters the Assembly can decide by a two-
thirds or a majority vote.
The Secretariat provides the administrative staff of the League. A secretary
general, proposed by the council and Assembly approved, heads a staff of
approximately 600 officials. These officials assist the peacekeeping work of the
league and are utilized as personnel for special study commissions on subjects
such as disarmament and colonial affairs. The Secretariat also staffs the various
international organizations to support cooperation in matters of international
trade, transportation, health, science, communication, etc.
Several other auxiliary agencies and commissions were created by the League
to deal with various problems. Some of these agencies are the Disarmament
Commission, the International Labour Organization, the Mandates Commission,
the Health Organization, the Slavery Commission, Commission for Refugees,
the Permanent Central Opium Board, the International Commission on
Intellectual Cooperation, etc. This site is a good place to gain an understanding
of the League: https://sol.du.ac.in/mod/book/view.php?id=1306&chapterid=1018.
The official languages of the League were French, English and Spanish (from
1920). The League was to be based in Geneva in Switzerland, given
Switzerland’s historical neutral behaviour and the presence of the Red Cross
headquarters there. This simulation shall be based in the League’s Assembly,
Geneva.
[We urge committee to note that we shall be simulating the Assembly of the
League with each member having one vote including colonies, however we
may change the mandate and add certain powers depending on how
committee progresses]
Now, the League had essentially three courses of action to resolve a conflict.
Firstly, it could congregate the leaders of the states in a dispute to Geneva to
peacefully negotiate with the League’s Assembly overseeing such disputes,
acting as a moderator. If in case the peace talks between the disputing nations,
the League could induce economic sanctions to induce the country to submit to
the League’s will. The last and final course in case both mediation and sanctions
failed is the use of force. The League did not by itself possess any military
strength, however it could call upon nations to contribute forces towards a
particular purpose. However, this was not a binding requirement to join, and
hardly any states committed troops at many points in time. (Quite a massive
structural problem).
This structure often led to many problems which are discussed further below.

SUCCESSES OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS:


Quite a few of these successes were relatively minor ones, however they did
have the potential to snowball into much bigger ones.
 Successful mediation of the Yugoslavian invasion of Albania, 1920.
 Successful resolution of the Aaland Island dispute, 1921.
 The hosting of a plebiscite in Upper Silesia when a dispute arose between
Poland and Germany, 1921.
 Resolving the dispute over control of Mosul in Iraq, 1924.
 Resolving the Greek invasion of Bulgaria, 1925.
 Initiated efforts to provide humanitarian aid to refugees.
 Efforts to mitigate outbreaks of Malaria, Typhus and Yellow Fever.
 The International Labour Organization and Refugee Commission did
great work in improving labour conditions throughout the world and
solving problems of war prisoners respectively.
Note however that none of the decisions went against a major world
superpower.

FAILURES OF THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS:


While the League did have a few successes, it failed in its most important
objective: prevent war.
 Inept at executing self-determination policy and protecting ethnic
minoritarian rights in conflict areas.
 The mandate system fundamentally contradicted the anti-imperialistic
aims of the League.
 Dilution of arbitration standards when member states allied with different
sides.
 Non-membership or disbarment from membership of several important
countries compromising the collective self-defence doctrine.
 Weakening of the collective security doctrine through the 1923 resolution
that each state could decide whether to involve itself in a crisis or not.
 The Geneva Protocol (it pledged members to accept arbitration and help
victims of unprovoked aggression) was rejected by Britain.
 The requirement that all decisions be made unanimously paralysed
League decision making.
 An overly pacifistic belief leading to non-intervention in several
important crises.
 Overly close linkage with the Treaty of Versailles which was an unfair
peace settlement.
 The Conference of Ambassadors (supposed to be a transitional
organization dealing with problems arising from the Treaty of Versailles)
in Paris overruling the League vis-à-vis the Vilna dispute and the Corfu
incident.
 The Disarmament Commission made next to nil progress in reducing
member state armaments despite the countries having agreed to disarm
while signing the Covenant.
 Ultimately, the outbreak of WW2 if the structural and other problems of
the League are not addressed by you delegates today.
Demonstrated by these failures: Greek Invasion of Turkey, 1920-1922, Franco-
Belgian invasion of the Ruhr, 1923. Ahead of our timeline, you can also look at
the Italian invasion of Abyssinia.
The Manchuria crisis in itself is one of the best examples of quite a lot of these
problems.
Several of these problems were addressed when the modern United Nations
were created. The Executive Board recommends that you try noticing the
differences in structure and implement changes if you feel it makes the structure
more efficient.

PROBLEMS WITH THE LEAGUE:


The first essential problem of the League was its cautious approach. It struggled
to find the right opportunity to assert authority as such. The Secretary General,
Sir Eric Drummond believed that any failure would damage the organization,
therefore he advocated not involving the League into just any dispute. When
Russia, not a member of the League, attacked Persia in 1920, Persia appealed to
the League for help. The League refused to intervene believing that Russia
wouldn’t acknowledge their jurisdiction thus damaging the authority of the
League. This led to a pattern of the League essentially not involving itself in
quite a few major crises, or it being handicapped to do so due to various
difficulties, therefore damaging its credibility and eventually leading to its
downfall. We should also note the overly pacifistic belief that the League then
advocated due to its leaders which did not lead to effective resolution of many
conflicts. It also pandered way too much towards major powers such as Great
Britain and France, who were very reluctant to impose sanctions and carry out
other punitive measures.
Secondly, we must note that the decision of several very important powers such
as the USA, USSR, Weimar Republic (Germany), etc to not join the League due
to various reasons or their debarment from membership, seriously hindered and
compromised the ability of the League to firstly have the influence it needed to
get countries to bend to the League’s wishes and secondly to have the collective
self-defence capabilities to accomplish the same objectives. Even when the
members were a part, they could simply disregard League decisions and in
some cases even quit the League with next to no repercussions.
Thirdly and most importantly, we need to understand that the dooming problem
of the League was that it was a product of the Treaty of Versailles (which if you
have time, we encourage you to read). The Treaty had excessive penalties and
as feelings of betrayal by the allies manifested, international opinion of the
Treaty and the global structure and worldview created by it became dismal. Its
significant role in the rise of Nazi Germany and the ineptitude of its peaceful
mediation made international powers wish to disassociate themselves with all
products of said Treaty. Inevitably, the League of Nations also became the
victim of the said change.
Not to mention, there was a few other problems. The mandate system of the
League was highly criticized. The international relations of several member
states conflicted with the League’s collective security requirement. As discussed
above, the League did not have its own armed forces and depended on members
to act, however none of the member states were willing for another war and
hence did not provide military or other support towards such measures (not to
mention the League’s overall pacifism and the attitude of France and Britain).
Next, disarmament was highly supported and preached by the League, which as
a consequence, deprived countries who were supposed to act with military force
on the League’s behalf when called upon from doing so. As a sum total of all of
these, the League did not have any power to stop expansionist countries leading
to the outbreak of World War II. Further issues can be seen from the section,
‘FAILURES OF THE LEAGUE.’
Having understood all these causes, we on the Executive Board request you to
research and come up with substantive solutions which address the
aforementioned problems. The agenda, the Manchuria Crisis was picked
because it in a nutshell, is symptomatic of several of these problems. Hence, we
expect you to resolve the Manchuria crisis as well as bring about structural
reforms in the League, as such in your resolutions.
INTRODUCTION TO THE MANCHURIA CRISIS:
The invasion of Manchuria by Japan is one of the most crucial and defining
parts of League history and symptomatic of many of the problems discussed
above. Since the League failed to mediate the crisis, overall confidence in the
League was undermined and the long march towards the Second World War
began. Superpowers lost faith in the League’s abilities to enforce its policies of
self-determination and the like. What we ask of you in this committee is that
you take note of history and proposed actions, but use your creativity to come
up with viable solutions that avert the crisis at hand, in line with your foreign
policy and national interests. We recommend you to find out your unique
foreign policies and then align it with the blocs we envision forming, and then
lobby during committee to come to consensus. Ultimately, we need you to
reverse the downward spiral of the League and restore popular confidence in it
through competent handling of this crisis.
1931 was among the most pivotal years of the interwar period as it put to a
baptism by fire the competency and role of the League in a system created by
the Allies in the aftermath of the Great Depression. The League had not only the
responsibility for economic relief and resuscitation but was had to keep rising
Fascist and Imperialist ideologies in check as their appeal steadily grew. The
Japanese Invasion of Manchuria began 18th September, 1931, when the
Kwantung Army, an elite division of the Imperial Japanese Army, invaded
Mukden in Manchuria. Manchuria, at that point in time was controlled by the
Republic of China, the semi-presidential federalist republic that commanded all
of China from 1912-1949. The uninvited invasion was justified by a staged,
non-fatal explosion of Japanese railroad tracks in Mukden. This was a case in
point for the imperialist tendencies that the League was made to prevent. In
December of the same year, the Lytton Commission was appointed by the
League to investigate the events with regard to the invasion and report its
findings.
The campaign is characterized by a disregard for the peaceful aims of the
League and flouts the Kellogg-Briand pact of 1928 and the Nine-Power Pact of
1922. It released shockwaves way beyond the regional vicinity. Media reporting
of the issue has polarized alliances. It is in this context that committee will start.
(The freeze date for committee is: DECEMBER 11th, 1931)
Solution recommendations are multiple but none are universally accepted. The
League could have taken a number of approaches to mitigate the crisis yet.
However, to effectively solve the crisis you need to have a good understanding
of history, which the below sections will help you gain. Ultimately, your
innovative solutions are what will help resolve this pressing problem. Your
nuanced knowledge of your foreign policy will also help you do well in
committee.

IMPORTANT JAPANESE HISTORY:


For centuries leading up to the 19th century, Japan had maintained a strict
closed-door policy with minimal international contact. It was a conglomerate of
feudal states for millennia. At the turn of the 19th century, with growing Western
imperialism and encroachment, the Japanese emperor was forced to sign several
one-sided economic trade deals with Western powers that granted them
advantages over the island nation. So as to level the playing field, Meiji the
Great, strengthened Japanese unity, and implemented several modernization
reforms. This included the introduction of a democratic parliamentary
government along with the consolidation of natural resources into a powerful
nationalistic empire. As a newly risen power, Japan set its sights on expansion.
Drawn by Korea’s coal and iron deposits as well as its high agricultural output,
Japan sought to expand its sphere of influence by capturing the nearby
peninsula. As of this point, Korea had been a tributary state of the Chinese Qing
Empire, which exerted control over its governmental affairs. However, given
Japan’s massive modernization and infrastructural advancement, the politicians
and people of Japan preferred Japanese policies over those of the Chinese.
Japan invaded Korea in 1894 in conjunction with the Tonghak rebellion, thus
instigating the First Sino-Japanese War with the Qing government of China.
This invasion was without a formal declaration of war and violated the Li-
Ito/Tientsin Convention between Japan and China of 1885 which stated that a
country should inform another if it was going to despatch troops to Korea. Due
to the newly industrialized military complex, Japan whitewashed China in the
war, thus claiming its position as the dominant power in the East Asian region.
Through this, the Empire also seized control of Taiwan, Korea, and the
Liaodong Peninsula in Northern China, expanding its presence. Under the
Triple Intervention by Russia, France and Germany, Japan was forced to return
conquered land in Northern China back to the Qing Empire in the Treaty of
Shimonoseki. This intervention validated the growing Japanese threat and
further spurred Japan to develop its military power.
As Japanese mainland influence grew, conflicting economic interests emerged
between the nascent empire and Russia. The abundant natural resources of
Manchuria and Korea attracted both Russian and Japanese leaders to
economically control the region(s). After Russia refused to accept Japanese
terms of economic coexistence in the region(s), Japan attacked a Russian fleet
off the coast of Port Arthur in China, this initiating the Russo-Japanese War of
1904. The outcome of the war was again that Japan emerged victorious when
the Russian fleet surrendered at Port Arthur and Japanese troops defeated
Russian troops in Shenyang, China. In the Treaty of Portsmouth, the Russian
empire conceded economic influence in Manchuria and Korea and also forfeited
territories in the Sakhalin Islands to Japan. This defeat of a major European
power by Japan, garnered it international respect. Nationalism and confidence
skyrocketed among the Japanese people and thus was born a new world
superpower in Asia.
In World War I, the Japanese empire joined the Allies and expelled Germany
from its South Pacific island territories. This earned Japan a seat at the Paris
Peace Conference and it also gained new lands in the Pacific. When the
Covenant of the League was being drafted, the delegation from Japan proposed
the addition of a, ‘racial equality’ clause to the founding document to ensure
equal and just treatment in every respect, making no distinction on behalf of
race or nationality. This proposed amendment faced strong opposition from the
Australian and American delegations, and ultimately failed as it did not receive
enough votes. This is important, as, the rejection and the misalignment of
fundamental policies began to plague Japan’s relations with the Allies.
Furthermore, the Washington Naval Treaty, signed by the victors of the First
World War to limit arms production, coerced Japan to agree to produce only
3/5th of the aircraft carriers and battleships of the USA or Great Britain. In
popular opinion, this seemed to be a foreign attempt to curb Japan’s
advancement. The last straw was the passage of the, ‘Japanese exclusion act of
1924’ which barred Japanese immigration to the USA on solely racist motives.
Mass rallies broke out in Japan reflecting angered popular opinion and
sentiment for building up the armed forces in retaliation reached its peak.
Right after the war victory, Japan experienced unprecedented economic growth.
However, in 1923, the Great Kanto Earthquake claimed 140,000 lives in Tokyo
and the nation fell into a steep economic decline. In reaction to this, leftist
protests broke out for a communist state in massive numbers. Conservative
political pressure obliged the passage of the Public Security Preservation law,
1925, which allowed Japanese law enforcement to suppress liberal political
dissent. Given these suppression efforts, a new ideology emerged in national
consensus. This ideology was known as, ‘kokutai’ and roughly translates to,
“national essence”. It describes the rising nationalistic spirit of this time as
people became more and more invested in the empire and the pervading belief
was in Japan’s overall excellence.
An economic chronology of Japan: The Japanese economy was doing well after
the First World War. Cheap Japanese textiles were taking over British
dominated markets. However, as Japan was an island nation with few resources
and a heavy reliance on foreign trade, it was especially adversely affected by the
loss of consumer confidence and the fall in purchasing power that the Great
depression brought about. Furthermore, the population boom in the prosperous
period couldn’t be supported by the 20% of Japanese land which isn’t arable
(motive to territorially expand). As every country tried to help its domestic
industries by raising the tariff wall against foreign exports, the export-dependent
Japan was seriously affected. As no country imported Japanese exports like silk,
the value of its exports fell by more than half from 1929-2931 (people blamed
the government for this and looked towards the military thus further expanding
the military’s power).
When the above effects of the Great Depression of 1929 struck Japan, the prices
of major national exports plummeted and social agitation proliferated. As the
ideology of ultra-nationalism gained more and more followers, the military
established nearly complete control over the weakening government. The
military started operating independently of the Prime Minister’s orders and the
Public Security Preservation Law was enforced with even greater force.
Political dissidents were assassinated and censorship of control and media was
intensified. Amidst a wave of nationalist upheaval and military control, the
Empire entered the 1930s with expansionist intentions of dominance in the
Eastern world.
We recommend delegates to read up on the 21 Demands of 1915, the Open-
Door policy, the Nine-Power Pact, the Kellogg-Briand Pact and the Stimson
Doctrine.

IMPORTANT MANCHURIAN HISTORY:


Manchuria is a large region (its size is greater than that of Germany and France
combined) encompassing much of Northeast China and part of the Russian Far
East, denotes the land native to the Manchu people. It borders Russia to the
north, Korea to the east and Japan just beyond the Sea of Japan. The area has
fertile soil, is abundant in natural resources and has rare minerals which have
been well pursued right from early history. Multiple Chinese civilizations and
dynasties have laid claim to Manchuria since prehistoric times and the
possession of land has been hotly contested way before the 19th century. In
1644, the Manchu people, unified by their chieftain Nurhaci, invaded Beijing.
After successfully ousting the last emperors of the Ming dynasty, the Manchus
established the Qing dynasty. The dynasty gained control over the entirety of
China but granted their homeland Manchuria special powers and separate
military rule. Among the first policies of the Qing Dynasty was an anti-
immigration effort to prevent the Han Chinese, the majority ethnic group of
China, from settling in Manchuria. However, the fertile soil drew Han Chinese
farmers through illegal and legal methods and over time, Manchuria developed
social and agricultural practices representative of neighbouring provinces in
Northern China. Initially opposed by the Qing dynasty, this migration which is
known as the, ‘Chuang Guandong’ increased Manchurian population from one
to fourteen million and made the Han Chinese the majority ethnic group of the
region. However, as the Manchu people retained strict political control over the
region, destabilizing ethnic tensions developed.
The northern boundary of Qing-occupied Manchuria with Russian Siberia was
originally fixed by the Treaty of Nerchinsk of 1689, as along the drainage lines
of the Stanovoy Mountains. However, rising European expansionism coupled
with the weakening of the Qing Empire in the nineteenth century, resulted in
Russian encroachment onto Manchurian lands. While the Qing empire became
pre-occupied with internal rebellion and destructive war with the British,
Russians started settling in the Amur River watershed of northern Manchuria
under Russian Navy protection. Given loose governance of the area, the Qing
Empire was forced to concede these resource-rich lands to the Russians under
the Treaty of Aigun, 1858. After additional concession in the Beijing
Convention, 1860, the Russian Empire gained control over a large portion of
Manchuria east of the Ussuri river. As a result of these losses, China lost access
to the Sea of Japan, thus stifling its economic activity. As Russian influence
grew, there inevitably was conflict. In the late nineteenth century, Russia
finished construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway which connected Harbin,
an area in Chinese Manchuria, with Vladivostok, a city in Russian Manchuria.
The railway increased Russia’s economic grip over inner Manchuria and
increased the reliance of several occupied cities on Russian transportation for
trade. By 1896, Russian control over Manchuria was immense. They controlled
even the government offices and military bases.
Having significant influence spheres in Qing territories, Russia fought against
violent, anti-Christian and anti-colonial Chinese protesters in the Boxer
rebellion of 1899 which was started to displace foreign influence from
Manchuria. This rebellion ended with the Boxer protocol, another unequal
treaty which forced the Qing dynasty to pay a modern equivalent of USD 9
billion in indemnities, to prohibit the import of arms for two years, to execute
members of the Chinese government complicit with the Boxer rebellions, and to
concede the occupation of several economically productive cities and towns to
European powers.
In the eyes of the Chinese people, Russia was the foremost perpetrator of this
colonial violence and became a national target. A group of armed Chinese
bandits and robbers, known as the, ‘Honghuzi’ waged guerrilla warfare against
the Imperial Russian Army so as to rid their influence in Manchuria. When the
Russo-Japanese War (previously mentioned) broke out, the, ‘Honghuzi’
supported Japan in its successful defeat of the Russian Empire. As a result of
the victory, much of the Russian influence was replaced by Japanese influence
in Southern Manchuria. Ownership of the southern section of the Chinese
Eastern Railway was transferred to the Japanese who therefore controlled the
economic output of the region as well.
The Qing Empire’s failure in dealing with foreign powers and modernization
led to a series of violent revolts and uprisings all over China. The Xinhai
Revolution of 1911 ended with the successful relinquishment of the 6-year-old,
last Qing monarch, Puyi. Therefore, on February 12th in 1912, China broke with
over two thousand years of imperial rule. The transition to the Republic of
China often left Manchuria neglected. After all, the revolution in a nutshell was
a nationalist movement of the majority Han Chinese people to remove from
power a Manchu ruling minority. During the period of uncertainty, Japan
strengthened its proxy control over Manchuria through negotiations with local
warlords. In fact, interestingly, the Japanese government, recognizing Puyi’s
popularity among the Manchu people, housed and protected the ousted monarch
immediately after his removal. Lastly, the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the
ensuing disorder created another opportunity for Japan to temporarily occupy
Outer Manchuria. The raw materials and agricultural produce from Manchuria
became essential as the Japanese Empire set its mind on rapid military
development and expansion of territory. It was also seen as a zone for the spill-
over of surplus Japanese population.

THE KWANTUNG ARMY AND THE MUKDEN


INCIDENT:
When Japan received the Kwantung Leased Territory (the area adjacent to the
newly acquired railway lands in Southern Manchuria0 from the Russians
through the Treaty of Portsmouth, the Imperial Japanese Army established the
Kwantung Garrison to defend the new lands. The Garrison, which was initially
composed of 100,000 soldiers to guard the South Manchuria Railway Zone, fast
became among the largest and most prestigious infantry command of the
Japanese Army.
An effort in 1919 to accommodate the massive troops and arms increase
renamed the garrison to the Kwantung Army and headquartered its command at
Port Arthur on the mainland. Although the army was under the official authority
of the government, it began acting independently around the 1920s
(Aforementioned about the increasing autonomy of the military). Many of the
army’s members and leaders supported totalitarian autocratic and fascist state
structures and rode the wave of ultra-nationalism in Japan. Numerous coup
attempts were supported by present and former members of the Kwantung
Army and the ultra-nationalist factions within Japan were often led by junior
Kwantung officers.
During Chinese transition to a Republic, former Honghuzi bandit, Zhang
Zuolin, became a prominent warlord in Manchuria. As a staunch anti-
Republican, he appealed to the numerous Manchus who wanted to preserve
Manchu rule in the Qing Dynasty and to the Japanese who wished to capitalize
on China’s weakness and instability.
Thus, with is growing influence he became the de facto ruler of Manchuria, the
Kwantung Army often negotiated with him to preserve their holdings in the
region.
However, as the new Republic began claiming the unequal treaties between
China and Japan invalid while expelling hundreds of Japanese inhabitants of
China without compensation, Zhang Zuolin was inclined to adopt anti-foreign
policies. After multiple attempts, the Kwantung Army finally managed to have
him assassinated in 1928. Note that this decision was made entirely
independently of the Japanese government.
As a result of this assassination, Zhang Xueliang, the son of the warlord, joined
the Republic of China out of anti-Japanese sentiment. In the April of 1931, the
Republic held a national leadership conference in the then capital city, Nanjing
where head of state, Chiang Kai-shek, and Zhang Xueliang jointly denounced in
public Japanese encroachment of Manchuria and pledged to defend Chinese
control of the region.
In retaliation to this, several officers in the maverick Kwantung Army began
plotting a secret invasion of Manchuria. Kwantung Army Colonel Itagaki and
Lt. Colonel Ishiwara devised a plan to provoke Chinese troops stationed in
Manchuria to justify an invasion.
When word of this plot reached Tokyo, Japanese Minister of War, Jiro Minami,
internally condemned these efforts and dispatched a general to Manchuria to
quell such gross insubordination and militarism. A week earlier, Emperor
Hirohito as well had asked Japanese Navy commanders about the state of
military discipline in Manchuria. This pressure from the federal government
forced Itagaki and Ishiwara to pursue their invasion plan immediately,
regardless of a successful Chinese provocation.
Therefore, the two Kwantung officials decided to stage an explosion on
Japanese owned railway in Manchuria, blame it on the Chinese officials
stationed nearby and therefore justify an invasion. They chose a small stretch of
rail on flat land that had no given name as such and was hardly significant to
either side given its remoteness. The explosion was relatively small and
controlled, and no people were actually injured. Reparations of the railway
wouldn’t be expensive either.
When the explosion was carried out on September 18th, 1931 by Lt. Kawamoto,
no real damage occurred on the tracks and a train was able to successfully pass
over the track minutes after the explosion. However, the incident wasn’t
reported as such. The Japanese press named the site to be a major bridge,
costing the Southern Manchuria Railway tons of Japanese taxpayer funds fo
reparation. Named after the nearest major city, this staged explosion became
known as the Mukden incident.

THE AFTERMATH:
 The morning after the Mukden Incident, the Kwantung Army invaded
Manchuria. While we cannot be entirely sure who was the commanding
authority, the consensus remains that the Commander-in-chief of the
Kwantung Army, General Shigeru Honjo, ordered troops to expand all
along the railway despite different instructions from Tokyo. The
Kwantung Army occupied the major Manchurian cities of Mukden,
Changchun and Kirin rapidly. While the government in Tokyo was at first
appalled by the insubordination of the Kwantung Army, a string of
Japanese victories galvanized support and made opposition completely
futile. Eventually the Imperial Japanese Army sent in three more infantry
divisions to assist the Kwantung Army, and by the end of the year,
Japanese troops had occupied the entire province.
 The Republic of China cited Article XI of the League Covenant (that any
war or threat of war as a matter of concern to the whole League), and
called for a session. The League immediately denounced the actions of
the Kwantung Army and ordered the Japanese government to withdraw
its troops. The Japanese delegation readily agreed and blamed the
incident on insubordination that wasn’t representative of the emperor’s
policy. However, the Army refused to heed these orders and the civilian
government lost control over the Army, and this was problematic as the
League only dealt with the national government. Thus, on 16th October,
1931, the League convened a special session to address the crisis at hand.
Sensing the severity of the invasion, the League invited the USA to send
a representative to the League Council for the first time. The Hoover
administration agreed and sent Prentiss Gilbert to the League. While
economic sanctions remained a possible reprimand against the Japanese
government, no nation was willing to pursue it because of the Great
Depression and its resulting effects. Trade with Japan was critical in the
difficult economic scenario and to quote one British delegate, a nation
that imposed sanctions on Japan would simply be replaced with another
opportunistic nation. Thus, at the end of the day, China was the only
nation that enforced a boycott of Japanese goods, thus impairing Chinese
efforts to retain Manchuria.
 Exhausting all immediate options, the League on 10th December, 1931
established an investigatory commission to, “to study….and report to the
Council on any circumstances which, affecting international relations,
threaten to disturb the peace between China and Japan.” The Commission
was to be headed by Lord Victor Bulwer-Lytton of the United Kingdom
and included one member from the USA (Major General Frank Ross
McCoy), Germany (Dr. Heinrich Schnee), Italy (Luigi Aldrovandi
Marescotti) and France (General Henri Claudel). The Commission’s
mission was to determine the true events and intentions leading up to the
invasion that began on September 18th, 1931 and determine the true
events and motives leading up to the Japanese invasion and offer
recommendations for future action to the League.
It is at this juncture that we start committee. As previously mentioned, the date
is: December 11th, 1931. The Lytton Commission has been assembled for
investigation but has yet to update the League on the true events leading up to
the invasion.
Note that at this point in time, there is no certainty as to which side is
responsible for the Mukden incident (therefore, any mention of the Lytton
Commission findings will be inadmissible in committee). Furthermore, you
have the opportunity to modify the terms of the Commission (for example, note
that all members of the Commission are western, and a more diverse
composition may be desirable according to your national policy). If the dais
receives any updates on the report of the Commission, we shall release it and
require you to respond accordingly. We hope you can placate belligerent
tensions and keep all member states in the League, adhering to its premises. We
hope you can come up with innovative solutions in this regard.

ACTUAL LEAGUE ACTION BEYOND OUR FREEZE


DATE:
(This section is purely to describe the actual actions that were taken after our
freeze date so that you can understand where the actual League went wrong and
hence take lessons. None of these shall be admissible in committee. Although
you can derive your foreign policy motivations from this and try to make
committee take the same direction via your directives)
 After gaining control over Manchuria, Japanese militarists tried to
quickly separate the province from China and create a puppet state. The
invasion was very popular in Japan as it provided an economic lifeline
due to its rich natural resources when the effects of the Great Depression
were still rampant and was also a great sink for the rising Japanese
population. The resources gained proved critical for Japan’s prewar
industrial boom and created vast employment. Thus, when foreign
powers tried to make Japan let Manchuria go, the Japanese people
resented it.
 On 18th February, 1932, the Japanese Empire created a subsidiary state
called Manchukuo on the acquired lands. In an effort to legitimize the
new state, the Japanese Army invited the last Qing dynasty emperor, Puyi
(refer the Manchurian History section), to become the figurehead ruler of
the state.
 In March 1932, the Lytton Commission began a six-month investigation
to determine the roots and justification for the invasion as according to its
mandate. With a fair modicum of support from both sides, it was able to
interview both Chinese and Japanese officials as well as investigate the
site of the Mukden incident.
 Meanwhile, pro-Chinese, Manchurian militias were organized to resist
the creation of Manchukuo but were crushed by Japan.
 While there existed a figurehead democracy, most major decisions were
made by Japanese vice-ministers and the civilian government was mostly
symbolic.
 On 1st October, 1932, the Lytton Commission submitted its final report to
the League of Nations. It had deep analysis of the cultural, militaristic and
economic background behind the invasion. The chapter on the Mukden
incident stated that the Japanese operations couldn’t have been regarded
as measures of legitimate self defence although it did not exclude the
hypothesis that the officers may have thought they were acting in self-
defence. Thus, the report implied that Japanese actions were those of
premeditated aggression as opposed to self-defence; the newly formed
state of Manchukuo lacked general Chinese support for it and it wasn’t
part of a genuine and spontaneous independence movement. For the sake
of impartiality however, it indicated the grievances of both sides. It
finally ended with a list of ten general principles to which a feasible
solution to the conflict must adhere (We recommend you to read up on
these as well). The suggestions included an acknowledgement of the
rights and interests of China, Japan and even the Soviet Union.
 On 24th February, 1933, the League officially voted to adopt the
resolution and condemn Japan as the aggressor. This prompted the
Japanese delegation to walk out and on 27th March, the Empire of Japan
formally withdraw from the League of Nations.
 Japan’s departure undermined the League by demonstrating its futility to
deal with a major power acting as an aggressor and set a precedent that
was followed by several aggressors in the future. Furthermore, despite the
Commission’s implication that Manchuria rightfully belonged to China,
eight countries officially recognized Manchukuo before World War II.
This is exactly the sort of major power appeasement that we are talking
about.
 Ultimately, the League’s inability to enforce its actions and stop the
impending wave of militarism coupled with ultra-nationalism and
furthermore fascism points to its greatest failure.
Therefore, we ask you to remember these and try your best to avert the failure
of the League.

POSSIBLE COURSES OF ACTION:


We need you to recognize the fact that speedy resolution of this crisis is
essential to maintaining confidence in the League and have recognized a few
possible courses of action:
A. Complete restoration of Manchuria to China (as in, Japan recognizing
Chinese sovereignty over the area).
B. Joint Governance by China and Japan (do read up on the concept of a,
‘Condominium’).
C. Referendum in Manchuria (most democratic way possible to determine
control, its how it is organized that matters)
D. Possible sanctions on Japan (if the majority of the international
community can be convinced that Japan is the wrongful aggressor in this
scenario).
Its your creativity in solving this crisis that ultimately matters though. We look
forward to your innovative solutions.

TENTATIVE BLOC POSITIONS:


Note that these are only the prominent ideological alliances between nations
that the Executive Board envisions forming. We expect you to lobby and come
to a compromise integrating the below mentioned positions and merging blocs
as such.
 The Japanese bloc, nations it has allied with as well as nations which
implicitly support it by not imposing sanctions. This can also include the
8 nations which in the future recognized Manchukuo;
 The Chinese bloc, its allies and relatively smaller nations which oppose
imperialism;
 The Western bloc which opposed imperialism in all its forms, imposed
light penalties on Japan but ultimately did not want to compromise its
trade position with Japan;
 The Soviet bloc which is relatively neutral, and also consists of non-
member state observers in committee.

QUESTIONS A RESOLUTION MUST ANSWER


(QARMA):
1. What compromises must be taken to ensure that both China and Japan
stay members of the League?
2. Which of the aforementioned possible solutions can be feasibly
implemented in Manchuria?
3. What can the League do to ensure that the current governance of
Manchuria doesn’t discriminate against the Chinese population or
damage existing institutions?
4. How can the Lytton Commission be suitably directed or modified to
ensure that it provides an optimal report in a timely manner keeping in
minds the shortage of time for it to produce a report before significant
ground situation changes?
5. When the Lytton Commission produces its report how can the League
ensure that suitable punitive measures are imposed on the guilty party by
all members of the League?
6. How can the League effectively combat the rise of militaristic
nationalism in Japan and China, and broadly across the world while
respecting national sovereignty?
7. How can the general adverse effects of the Great Depression be combated
so as to prevent future conquests for natural resources?
8. How can the League effectively liaise with the Kwantung Army?
9. Keeping the Manchuria crisis in mind, how can the broader structural and
functional problems in the League of Nations be combated?