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Soviet-Japanese Border Wars
File:Khalkhin Gol Soviet offensive 1939.jpg
Khalkhin Gol, 1939. Offensive of Soviet BT-7 tanks.
Result Decisive Soviet and Mongolian victory; Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact

 Soviet Union

Mongolia Mongolia


  •  Manchukuo
Commanders and leaders
Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov
Soviet Union Vasili Blyukher
Empire of Japan Kenkichi Ueda
Empire of Japan Yoshijirō Umezu
80,000 men,
756 tanks,
385 armoured vehicles,
779 artillery pieces,
765 aircraft
97,000 men
Casualties and losses
Soviet archival figures:
20,302 dead or missing
18,003 wounded
Mongolia 300+ dead
Soviet estimate:
147,259 dead, wounded, missing, captured
Japanese estimate:
29,525 dead
8,799 wounded

The Soviet–Japanese Border Wars were a series of border conflicts between the Soviet Union and Japan between 1932 and 1945.

Before Japanese occupation of Manchukuo, the Soviet Union had conflict with China on the border of Manchuria (See Sino–Soviet conflict (1929)). After the occupation of Manchukuo and Korea, Japan turned its military interests to Soviet territories and conflicts occurred frequently on the Manchurian border.

Small battles

Imperial Japanese Army recorded 152 minor incidents on the border of Manchuria between 1932 and 1934. The number of incidents increased to over 150 per year in 1935 and 1936, and the scale of incidents became larger.

In January 1935, the first armed battle, Halhamiao incident (哈爾哈廟事件 Haruhabyō jiken?) occurred on border between Mongolia and Manchukuo.[1] Scores of Mongolia cavalry engaged with Manchuko army patrol unit near the Buddhist temple Halhamiao. Manchuko Army incurred slight casualties, including a Japanese military advisor. Between December 1935 and March 1936, the Orahodoga incident (オラホドガ事件 Orahodoga jiken?)(ja) and the Tauran incident (タウラン事件 Tauran jiken?) (ja) occurred. In these battles, both Japanese Army and Mongolian Army used a small number of armored fighting vehicles and military aircraft.

In June 1937, Kanchazu Island incident (乾岔子島事件 Kanchazutou jiken?) (ja) occurred on the Amur River (Soviet–Manchuko border). Three Soviet gunboats crossed the center line of the river and occupied Kanchazu island in the river. The IJA 1st Division sunk one of the Soviet gunboats by artillery fire and damaged another. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs protested and Soviet soldiers abandoned the island.

Battle of Lake Khasan

The Battle of Lake Khasan (July 29, 1938 – August 11, 1938) and also known as the Changkufeng Incident (Chinese: 张鼓峰事件; pinyin: Zhānggǔfēng Shìjiàn, Japanese pronunciation: Chōkohō Jiken) in China and Japan, was an attempted military incursion of Manchukuo (Japanese) into the territory claimed by the Soviet Union. This incursion was founded in the beliefs of the Japanese side that the Soviet Union misinterpreted the demarcation of the boundary based on the Convention of Peking treaty between Imperial Russia and the former Qing-Dynasty China (and subsequent supplementary agreements on demarcation), and furthermore, that the demarcation markers were tampered with.

Battle of Khalkhin Gol

Japanese soldiers pose with captured Soviet equipment during the Battle of Khalkhin Gol.

The Battle of Khalkhin Gol, sometimes spelled Halhin Gol or Khalkin Gol after the Halha River passing through the battlefield and known in Japan as the Nomonhan Incident (after a nearby village on the border between Mongolia and Manchuria), was the decisive engagement of the undeclared Soviet–Japanese Border War (1939), or Japanese–Soviet War. It should not be confused with the conflict in 1945 when the USSR declared war in support of the other Allies of World War II and launched Operation August Storm.

Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact

As a result of the Japanese defeat at Khalkhin Gol, Japan and the Soviet Union signed on April 13, 1941, a Neutrality Pact, similar to the German–Soviet non-aggression pact

Later in 1941, Japan would consider breaking the pact when the German Third Reich invaded the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa) at the start of the Great Patriotic War, but they made the crucial decision to keep it and to continue to press into Southeast Asia. This was said to be largely due to the Battle of Khalkhin Gol. The defeat there caused Japan not to join forces with Germany against the Soviet Union, even though Japan and Germany were part of the Tripartite Pact. On April 5, 1945, the Soviet Union unilaterally denounced the neutrality pact, noting that it would not renew the treaty when it expired on April 13, 1946. Four months later, prior to the expiration of the neutrality pact, and between the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, completely surprising the Japanese. The Soviet invasion of Manchuria was launched one hour after the declaration of war.

See also


  • Coox, Alvin D.: Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, 1939. Two volumes; 1985, Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-1160-7


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