Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian History

Building the Axis Alliance across Eurasia

Though primarily for the purposes of surveillance, the airports in Inner Mongolia would also support a new transcontinental route from Tokyo to Berlin. By 1935, the reach of Lufthansa and its local carrier, the Eurasian Aviation Company, had alarmed officers of the Kwantung Army to the point that they wanted to replace China with Manchukuo as Germany’s primary partner on the continent. Because Britain ran the routes through India and the Soviet Union controlled the way through Siberia, this left only the treacherous option, seven thousand meters over the Pamir Mountains from Xinjiang to Afghanistan.

The resulting contract between the Manchuria Aviation Company and Lufthansa in December 1936 presaged the Axis Alliance of 1940. The agreement outlined an East-West route from Tokyo, Xinjing, Anxi, Kabul, Baghdad, Rhodes, to Berlin. Nowhere did these settlements mention any consent from the Republican government over the use of airspace, but the Manchuria Aviation Company seemed aware that it was encroaching upon Chinese territory.

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