It’s a Saturday evening, and it’s probably not a good idea to be spending a bunch of time behind the keyboard, so I’ll keep this one brief.
Sometimes, when you want something to get done, you can’t wait for things to happen. You have to take matters into your own hands and make them happen. It holds true for cookng dinner, cleaning the house, getting the lawn mowed (which I really need to do), or invading a foreign country.
On several occasions, when German dictator Adolf Hitler needed a pretext to move into countries, those countries didn’t accomodate him very well. So he simply made up a story giving him the right to move. He did it with Austria during the 1938 Anschluss, and again with Poland 18 months later. But the German-corporal-turned-world-despot certainly wasn’t the first leader to fabricate an incident in order to justify subsequent action.
On September 18, 1931, the Japanese military did the exact thing as a pretext for invading Manchuria, blowing up a section of their own railroad line. Japanese leadership chose railway with absolutely no military significance to anyone, but it sat less than half a mile from a Chinese garrison. The idea was to attract the Chinese to the explosion, then blame them for it and invade Manchuria as a response.
The Mukden Incident (as it came to be known) didn’t even damage any rail line, but it got the desired result. The next morning, the Japanese began firing at the Chinese garrison with a couple of large artillery pieces they had secretly built, and before the day was out, the garrison had been subdued with only a couple of Japanese fatalities.
The Japanese occupation of Manchuria had begun.