In 1941, Poland declared war against Japan. In a strange twist, the Japanese government refused to accept the Polish declaration of war. Not only that, but the Japanese helped the Poles spy on Japan’s ally, Germany, and cooperated with Polish intelligence throughout the war. Following are thirty things about that and other strange war facts from history.
30. The Strange Japanese-Polish Relationship During WWII
In December of 1941, Japan kicked off WWII in earnest in the Pacific by attacking the US at Pearl Harbor and the Philippines, and British and Dutch possessions in Asia and the Pacific. That triggered declarations of war against Japan not only from the attacked countries but also from a slew of allied countries that were already at war with Germany. In demonstrations of solidarity with America and Britain, they rushed to add Japan to their list of formal enemies.
Many war declarations against Japan came from governments in exile, representing countries that had been conquered by Germany earlier in WWII. The declaration of one exiled government, however, elicited a strange reaction: when Poland declared war against Japan, the Japanese refused to accept it. As Japan’s Prime Minister Hideki Tojo put it: “We do not accept Poland’s challenge. The Poles, fighting for their freedom, only declared war on us under pressure from the United Kingdom“. Despite the war declaration, Japanese-Polish ties continued, with Japan going so far as to help the Poles against Japan’s Axis ally, Germany.