In an ominous prelude to World War II, Japanese forces swept into eastern China in 1937 and laid waste to Shanghai and Nanking. Japan’s leaders proclaimed this the first step in creating a “new order” that would rid Asia and the Pacific of Western colonial and imperial influence. Japan had annexed Korea in 1910 and taken control of Manchuria in 1931. Tojo became war minister in 1940 and prime minister in 1941. He directed the occupation of resource-rich French Indochina (now Vietnam), then set his sights on British Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, the American Philippines, and Australia.