20 Facts that History Class Didn't Cover
20 Facts that History Class Didn’t Cover

20 Facts that History Class Didn’t Cover

Khalid Elhassan - April 3, 2019

20 Facts that History Class Didn’t Cover
Japanese troops shelling the German settlement in Tsingtao, China. David Doughty

1. Japan And Germany Were Enemies in WWI

Japan was WWII’s second main Axis power, but two decades early, in WWI, Japan had fought with the western democracies against Germany. It was not out of any philosophical affinity for democracy. In 1914, the Japanese government realized that its interests were best served by joining the Entente powers, so it approached Britain, with whom it had an alliance treaty, and proposed joining the war in exchange for Germany’s Pacific possessions. The British wanted Japan to counter German naval power in East Asia, so they accepted. Japan duly declared war against Germany on August 23rd, 1914, and against Austria-Hungary two days later.

Ten days later, Japanese forces besieged the German settlement in Tsingtao, China, and captured it on November 7th. Simultaneously, the Japanese Navy seized Germany’s Pacific possessions of the Marianas, Carolines, and Marshall islands. Having fulfilled its part of the bargain by suppressing the Germans in the Far East, and chasing the German East Asiatic Squadron out of the Pacific, Japan spent the rest of the war making the best of it. By 1917, millions had died in Europe, but in Japan, the conflict meant not hardship, but a wartime boom, as Japanese industry and factories went full blast in producing goods for her insatiable allies.


Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Baltimore Sun, March 25th, 2005 – English Civil War Led to Battle on Severn

Cracked – 6 Amazing Facts That’ll Change the Way You Look at History

Encyclopedia Britannica – Mariamne, Wife of Herod

GM Watch – Bayer and the Holocaust

International Encyclopedia of the First World War – High Voltage Fence (the Netherlands and Belgium)

Irish Times, May 8th, 2015 – Post-war Massacre Sparked Algerian Independence

Jacobin, August 28th, 2012 – Lincoln and Marx

Japan Times, May 9th, 2017 – Japan’s Little Known But Significant Role in World War I

MacIntyre, Ben – Agent Zigzag: The True Wartime Story of Eddie Chapman, Lover, Betrayer, Hero, Spy (2007)

National Park Service – Domestic Sabotage: The Explosion at Black Tom Island

New York Times, July 3rd, 2010 – America’s Revolution: The Prequel

Sandburg, Carl – Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years (1926)

Spartacus Educational – Ellen Rometsch

ThoughtCo – The Jewish Sicarii: First Century Terrorists

Vintage News – Eiffel Tower’s Cables Were Cut So That Hitler Would Have to Climb the Steps to the Top

Wikipedia – Qarmatians