In the 1920s and 1930s, Japan was a dissatisfied power. Its great-power

status had been demonstrated in dramatic fashion by the victory over

Tsarist Russia in 1905, it had already forged an alliance with Great Britain

in 1902 and sided with the Entente powers in the First World War. But the

Japanese felt they had been unfairly treated by the Versailles Settlement

(albeit they had been involved in very little military action during the war),

and they were particularly outraged by the terms of the 1922 Washington

Naval Treaty. This fixed the ratio of warships over 100,000 tons in the Pacific to Japan’s disadvantage. It could only build three capital ships for

every five built by the Americans and the British. The Japanese believed

that the Treaty reflected white racism towards an Asiatic people, and the

League of Nations Covenant had also failed to include a clause safe-

guarding racial equality as Japan wanted.