Japan and Russia: The War That Won’t EndBreaking News
tags: Japan, Russia, WWII
With a derelict Berlin already flying the red Soviet flag in the spring of 1945, Joseph Stalin and his most lauded general, Georgy Zhukov, had reached the crowning point of a triumph that Moscow marks with pomp and circumstance to this day. Almost three months later, however, the Red Army opened a final chapter in its World War II maneuvers that remains unfinished.
On August 8, 1945, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, pouring more than a million troops into Japanese-occupied Manchuria, in northeastern China. The 700,000-strong Japanese army was overwhelmed, as their compatriots at home faced the catastrophic allied nuclear strikes at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
With Japan’s imminent defeat, Stalin’s troops stayed on the territories that Russia rebranded the South Kuril Islands and has kept ever since.
The four islands, known in Japan as the Northern Territories, are Japanese by virtue of a treaty with Russia signed in 1855. In the wake of World War II, the islands, like a handful of non-Soviet territories before the start of the war, underwent a drastic change.
The Soviet Union by 1949 had deported all Japanese residents to Japan. The dispute continues until today, meaning Russia and Japan still have no official document of peace that reconciles their post-war relationship.