Military Situation in Manchuria before 18 September 1931. Map Prepared for Lytton's Report on the Sino-Japanese Conflict


On the night of September 18, 1931, anti-Japanese activists set off explosions on the Japanese-owned South Manchurian Railroad in Manchuria, northeastern China. The Japanese army used the incident as a pretext to invade Manchuria, and quickly occupied its key cities. China appealed to the world’s powers for help. The Council of the League of Nations, supported by the United States, sought to negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict. In early 1932, the Council dispatched an inquiry commission to China under the leadership of the British diplomat, the Earl of Lytton. By the time the so-called Lytton Commission arrived in China in April 1932, the Japanese army had already established the Manchurian puppet state of Manchukuo. The Lytton Commission issued its report in September 1932. On the advice of the report, the League of Nations refused to recognize Manchukuo as a legitimate state and proposed a series of measures to reestablish the status quo. China accepted the League of Nations recommendations for restoring peace in the area; Japan did not and withdrew from the League in 1935. This map, published in conjunction with the Lytton Report, shows the military situation in Manchuria in August 1931, just before the September 18 outbreak of hostilities. The map is in the archives of the League of Nations, which are preserved at the United Nations Office in Geneva. They were inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 2010.

Last updated: August 5, 2016