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Manchukuo (WG) (Chinese: 满洲国/滿洲國 Pinyin: Mǎnzhōuguó,Japanese:Manshukoku, literally "State of Manchuria") was a nominally independent puppet state set up by the Japanese in Manchuria (Northeastern China) which existed from 1931 to 1945.

Political history of Manchukuo

Some backgrounds: Inner Manchuria came under strong Russian influence with the building of the Chinese eastern railway through Harbin to Vladivostok. Japan replaced Russian influence in Inner Manchuria as a result of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-1905, and Japan laid the South Manchurian Railway in 1906 to Port Arthur (Japanese: Ryojun).

Between World War I and World War II Manchuria became a political and military battleground. Japanese influence extended into Outer Manchuria in the wake of the Russian Revolution but Outer Manchuria had reverted to Soviet Russian control by 1925. Japan took advantage of the disorder following the Russian Revolution to occupy Outer Manchuria but Soviet successes and American economic pressure forced Japanese withdrawal.

During the period of the warlords in China, Chang Tso-Lin established himself in Inner Manchuria but, being too independent for the increasing Japanese influence, he was murdered. After the Japanese invasion of China in 1931, Japan declared the area independent from China on February 18, 1932 as the Great Manchu State (Manchukuo, in pinyin, 'Manzhouguo')) from China. Changchun was chosen as capital and renamed Xinjing (新京) or "New capital".

Puyi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty, is instated in 1932 by the Japanese as chief executive and in 1934 emperor of Manchukuo. Manchukuo was named the Great Manchu Empire. The first prime minister is Zheng Xiaoxu, who was succeeded in 1935 by Zhang Jinghui. Manchukuo was thus formally detached from China by Japan in the 1930s and, with Japanese investment and rich natural resources, became an industrial powerhouse.

The state was recognized by few nations, and the League of Nations delcared that the Manchuria was still rightly part of China, leading Japan to resign from the League in 1934. Japan, Italy, and Germany were the only major countries that diplomatically recognized Manchukuo. In addition Manchukuo was recognized by the Japanese collaborationist government of China under Wang Jingwei.

Prior to World War II, Manchukuo was colonized by the Japanese and Manchukuo was used as a base to invade China, a foolhardy, unnecessary and expensive (in men, matériel and political integrity) move that was as costly to Japan as the invasion of Russia was to Germany, and for the same reasons.

On August 8, 1945 the Soviet Union declared war on Japan in accordance with the agreement at the Yalta Conference, and invaded Manchukuo from Russian Manchuria. From 1945 to 1948, Manchuria (Inner Manchuria) was a base area for the People's Liberation Army in the Chinese Civil War against the Kuomintang and with the Soviet encouragement, the Chinese Communists used Manchuria was used as a staging ground during the Chinese Civil War, which ended in 1949

Stamps and postal history of Manchukuo

Manchukuo issued its first postage stamps on July 28, 1932. There were a number of denominations, with two designs: the pagoda at Liaoyang and a portrait of Puyi. Originally the inscription read (in Chinese) "Manchu State Postal Administration"; in 1934, a new issue read "Manchu Empire Postal Administration". An orchid crest design appeared in 1935, and a design featuring the Sacred White Mountains in 1936.

1936 also saw a new regular series featuring various scenes and surmounted by the orchid crest. Between 1937 and 1945, the government issued a variety of commemoratives: for anniversaries of its own existence, to note the passing of new laws, and to honor Japan in various ways, for instance, the 2600th anniversary of the Japanese Empire in 1940. The last issue of Manchukuo came on May 2, 1945, commemorating the 10th anniversary of an edict.

After the dissolution of the government, many of the remaining stamp stocks were locally handstamped with ideograms reading "Republic of China" and so forth. In addition, many were overprinted by the Port Arthur and Dairen Postal Administration between 1946 and 1949.

Manchukuo 1932 - 1945
Personal Names Period of Reigns era name (年號) and their according range of years
All given names in bold.
Aixinjuelo Puyi 愛新覺羅溥儀 ai4 xin1 jue2 luo2 pu3 yi2 March 1932 - August  1945 Datong (大同 da4 tong2) 1932
 Kangde (康德 kang1 de2) 1934

See also: Mukden Incident, Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), Battle of Lugou Bridge, Mengjiang, Japanese expansionism, Imperialism in Asia, Nomonhan