Tibet had suffered a long history of Chinese attempts to annex it and British failure to prevent the aggression or to protect Tibet. Under Stalin, the Soviet Union was severely persecuting Buddhism, specifically the Tibetan form as practiced among the Mongols within its borders and in its satellite, the People’s Republic of Mongolia (Outer Mongolia). In contrast, Japan was upholding Tibetan Buddhism in Inner Mongolia, which it had annexed as part of Manchukuo, its puppet state in Manchuria. Claiming that Japan was Shambhala, the Imperial Government was trying to win the support of the Mongols under its rule for an invasion of Outer Mongolia and Siberia to create a pan-Mongol confederation under Japanese protection.
The Tibetan Government was exploring the possibility of also gaining protection from Japan in the face of the unstable situation. Japan and Germany had signed an Anti-Commintern Pact in 1936, declaring their mutual hostility toward the spread of international Communism. The invitation for the visit of an official delegation from Nazi Germany was extended in this context. In August 1939, shortly after the German expedition to Tibet, Hitler broke his pact with Japan and signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact. In September, the Soviets defeated the Japanese who had invaded Outer Mongolia in May. Subsequently, nothing ever materialized from the Japanese and German contacts with the Tibetan Government.