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5. Brücken, Beethoven und Baumkuchen: German and 
Austro-Hungarian Prisoners of War and the Japanese Home Front

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Chapter Summary

Japan's involvement in the First World War began at the harbour town of Tsingtao on the Shantung peninsula in China. Tsingtao was taken by the German Reich in 1897 in reparation for the murder of German missionaries in Shantung. In August 1914 Japan entered the First World War determined not to be denied its just rewards for a third time. Although no British or Japanese territorial possessions were under immediate threat from the Germans, Britain had asked Japan to join the war to protect shipping routes in the Pacific. The combined Japanese-British force under Japanese command vastly outnumbered the opposition. The round-up of the German and Austro-Hungarian prisoners for transportation to Japan was harsh with some of the prisoners having to sleep out in the open in a graveyard until eventually being afforded shelter with some local Chinese.

Keywords: Austro-Hungarian prisoners; Britain; First World War; German prisoners; Japan; Tsingtao



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