A surprising mistake from Fukuyama

"Having sat out World War I, [Japan] experienced a vigorous period of economic expansion..." -p. 347

In fact, Japan declared war on both Germany and Austro-Hungary in August 1914. It sank an Austro-Hungarian ship in the Far East, and seized several German territories in the area. In 1917, at the request of Britain, its navy ventured all the way to the Mediterranean, and provided escort services for troops of the Triple Entente. While this in no way constitutes participating to the extent that the major combatants did, it is also hardly "sitting out" a la Switzerland.


  1. That Fukuyama's model of Japan's involvement in WWI is unrealistic does not diminish its usefulness.

    1. Touché!

      But of course, my point was not that a model that bears no resemblance to the real world can be useful: it is that often a bare-bones resemblance is plenty, and adding complications only subtracts from the model's usefulness.

  2. There are WWI photographs of Japanese warships stationed at Malta. Australian troops were escorted across the Indian Ocean by Japanese warships. But Japan did not get what it hoped out of its involvement, and the US pressured Britain into giving up its alliance with Japan during the Washington Naval Treaty negotiations.


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