The outbreak of hostilities between Chinese and Japanese troops at Liutiaohu in the vicinity of Mukden on the night of September 18, 1931, unleashed a chain of events leading to a disasterous war for Japan and the collapse of the Kuomintang government in China. The causes and course of the Manchurian incident which began on that date are well known and have been abundantly published in recent years. Although the significance of the Nakamura incident as a prelude to the Manchurian affair has also been generally recognized, the details of the Nakamura case and the manner in which the conflicting organs of Japanese policy-making handled it have remained obscure. The attempt here is to supply these details and analyze the affair with particular reference to the role of the Japanese Foreign Office and the growing civil-military conflict over the control of foreign policy.

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