Japanese Invasion of French Indochina

Second Sino-Japanese War

East Asia 1940.0926

Japanese Invasion of French Indochina

Second Sino-Japanese War, Japan-China War, Rape of Nanking (26 September 1940)

Historical Map of East Asia & the Western Pacific

While Nomonhan and the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact seemed to put an end to ideas of Japanese expansion north, the outbreak of World War II and the rapid German victories over France and the Netherlands left the European colonies in southeast Asia vulnerable. Japan was quick to exploit this new opening, landing troops in northern French Indochina.

Main Events

Germany invasion of Poland

Using several German-staged incidents as casus belli, Nazi Germany strikes Wieluń, Poland, with the Luftwaffe at 04:40 on 1 September 1939 - the first blow of World War II. Five minutes later, the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein opens fire on a Polish military transit depot in the Free City of Danzig, with Germany launching an all out attack on Poland's northern, western, and southern borders later that day.

Chinese Nationalists defeat Japanese attack on Changsha

Second Armistice at Compiègne

Adolf Hitler and top military officials of Nazi Germany sign an armistice with representatives of the French Third Republic at 18:36 near Compiègne, France - the exact location of the 1918 armistice ending World War I. This new armistice ends French involvement in World War II on the side of the Allies and establishes a German zone of occupation in northern and western France, leaving the remainder ("Vichy France") to be governed by the French.

British closure of the Burma Road

Yielding to Japanese diplomatic pressure, the United Kingdom closes down the Burma Road as a route of supplies to Nationalist China (at war with Japan since 1937). The closure lasts for three months and is conditional on a Japanese commitment to peace with China.

Japanese invasion of French Indochina

The Empire of Japan and Vichy French Indochina sign an accord granting Japan the rights to station up to 6,000 troops in Indochina, and to move troops and supplies through Indochina. Within a few hours, columns from the IJA 5th Division cross the border at three places and close in on the railhead at Lang Son, near Longzhou, contravening the new agreement. French Indochinese colonial troops and Foreign Legionaires contest the invasion until 25 September. On the 26th, Japanese forces come ashore at Dong Tac and move on Haiphong, with fighting coming to an end that day.

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