26 February: Japan: A group of young army officers identified with the ‘Imperial Way Faction’ attempt a coup d’état in which former prime minister Admiral Saito, Finance Minister Takahashi and General Watanabe were all gunned down. Prime Minister Okada was lucky to survive while hiding in a closet while his brother-in-law was mistaken for him and killed.

Okada resigns in embarrassment at the attempted coup and is replaced by former diplomat Hirota.

The Emperor overrules his advisors and demand that the rebels be severely dealt with. The leaders of the Imperial Way Faction, Generals Araki and Mazaki are removed from their posts leading to a purge of their army followers by the leaders of the Control Faction. Their supporters support a massive increase in military expenditure. The Army’s troop numbers expanded by 40 percent.

7 March: Germany: German troops occupy the Rhineland.

9 May: Italy: Mussuolini’s Italian Army conquers Ethiopia.

18 July: Spain: Civil war erupts in Spain. Hitler sends the Condor Division to support Franco’s nationalists.

1 August: Germany: The start of the Berlin Olympics. Undesirables rounded up by Hitler and sent to the model concentration camp at Sachsenhausen north of Berlin.

November: Germany-Japan: Anti-Commintern Pact signed.

12 December: China: In the so-called Xian Incident Chiang Kai-shek is captured by one of his own Generals, Zhang Xueliang, the former warlord of Manchuria, to force an alliance with Mao Zedong and the Communists to fight Japan. The incident occurs just as Chiang has Mao and his followers were surrounded and on the verge of annihilation.

25 December: China: The captive Chiang Kai-shek agrees to meet Zhou Enlai to agree terms of an alliance in return for the release of his son, Ching-Kuo, who is in effect being held hostage by Stalin in Russia.

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