In an effort to secure resources for its expanding industries, Japan invaded the northern Chinese province of Manchuria. Although many Western nations protested the Japanese action, most members of the League of Nations, including Canada, opposed any form of military intervention to defend Chinese sovereignty.
A League of Nations commission, headed by the British diplomat Lord Lytton, was dispatched to Manchuria to investigate. The Lytton Commission branded the Japanese as aggressors but urged the League to recognize Japan's right to maintain a military force in Manchuria to protect its economic interests.
Meanwhile, the Japanese government established a puppet regime in Manchuria and formally withdrew from the League of Nations. The Japanese action in Manchuria was the first of a series of expansionist military operations that would eventually lead to a confrontation with Britain and the United States in the Far East.