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Japan Wants All the Far East to Herself

Discussion in 'History of Japan during World War II' started by Jim, Dec 3, 2006.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    During the Great War of 1914-1918 Britain and Japan were firm allies, but in this struggle British diplomacy has to meet a Japanese Government which seems more ready to seek the favour of the Axis Powers. Here we give an account of Japan's rise to greatness and of her imperial aims, which may be read in conjunction with the arrests of Englishmen in Japan early in August and similar manifestations of hostility.


    Prince Fumimaro Konoye, who formed a new Japanese Cabinet on July 21st, 1940, was born in 1891 and was a member of one of the five most noble families of the Japanese Empire.

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    JAPAN is so much of a Great Power nowadays that it is difficult to realize that only a little over seventy years ago she was a medieval empire, a feudal State which foreigners were forbidden to enter and natives forbidden to leave. There are many men still living who learned their geography from school-books in which Japan was hardly mentioned, for about it so little was known. Only in 1867 did she burst the eggshell in which for so many centuries she had been confined, ,and under the leadership of the younger members of the Samurai, .as the feudal nobles were called, stepped out on the road which, in the course of a few decades, should place her on a level with the Great Powers of the Western World. With unparalleled rapidity Japan was modernized on the best Western models. A democratic constitution was set up with an elected parliament and a responsible cabinet, although the Emperor, whom only foreigners call the Mikado, retained the title of "Imperial Son of Heaven of Great Japan," and with the title his divine honours and privileges. A great navy came into being, patterned on that of Britain; a great army, too, of which Germany, so recently triumphant over the French at Sedan, was the inspiration. From a self-supporting agricultural community Japan became a great industrialist nation and, again after the Western models, she began to look overseas for markets and for raw materials. Japanese Imperialism had been born.
    Japan's first war was with China in 1894; the bone of contention was Korea, which passed as a result to Japan.

    Japanese Foreign Minister Yōsuke Matsuoka (1880–1946, left) visits Adolf Hitler.

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    In 1902 came the Anglo-Japanese Alliance-which endured until 1922-and, so fortified, Japan felt strong enough to challenge the power of the Russians who were her rivals in the penetration of the great territory of Manchuria. To the surprise of the world-though not, we may presume, of the British Government-she annihilated the Russian fleet in the great battle of Tsushima and captured Port Arthur after a tremendous battle. With her hold on Manchuria confirmed she went into the Great War as Britain's ally, and again emerged with substantial fruits of victory. She was now not only a Far Eastern power but a world' power, and her statesmen now began to talk of a "new order in Asia" in which Japan should play the dominant part. In pursuance of these vast imperial designs her armies in 1931 converted Manchuria into the puppet state of Manchukuo, and six years later invaded the mainland of China. That war still goes on-one of the greatest which history records if regard be had to its extent and the number of men engaged. After three years of fighting the Japanese have occupied most of the northern and coastal regions of China, although in the interior provinces the government of General Chiang Kai-shek, operating now from Chungking, still maintains a vigorous and not unsuccessful resistance. Since a state of formal war has never been declared, the Japanese refer to the conflict as the "Chinese affair” Chiang Kai-shek has been able to secure from abroad quantities of raw material from Britain by way of Hong Kong and the Burma Road (see map), from French lndo-China and from Russia; whose Mongolian frontier marches for hundreds of miles with China's in the west. Those doors the Japanese are making desperate efforts to close, and not without success.

    Thursday July 19th 1940. Mr. Churchill announced that the export of arms and ammunition to China from Hong Kong had been prohibited for the past eighteen months and that now the government of Burma had instituted a similar embargo for a period of three months. Indo-China faded from the picture following France's military collapse, and so only Russia is now left to the Chungking government a source or war material. But the “only" is a big one; and besides, Chiang Kai-shek has been rapidly developing munitions production in his own territory. But even if Chinese resistance should be crushed, Japan's imperial aims would still remain unsatisfied. Following Germany’s defeat of Holland and of France, Mr. Arita, the then Japanese Foreign Minister, proclaimed a sort of Monroe Doctrine over Eastern Asia, in particular the Netherlands lndies and French lndo-China. Arita's successor, Mr. Yosuke Matsuoka went still farther when at the beginning of August he declared that Japan was intent on establishing a new order in greater Eastern Asia, which had as its foundation the solidarity of Japan and Manchukuo and China. If this be the foundation, we have some grounds for speculation concerning the vast edifice which is to be erected upon it. The Japanese have a word for it "Nanyo” which may be translated as “South Seas," but is capable of being applied to any or all of the territories which lie between Tahiti and Java. Thus, Nanyo may include the Philippines, Indo-China, Thailand (Siam), British Malaya and the Straits Settlements, with Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak, the Dutch East Indies, Portuguese Timor, and all the islands of the South Seas, including New Guinea and the Solomon’s. Some Japanese expansionists of an even more exuberant fancy would stretch Nanyo so that it would take in India, Australia, and even Africa, for the execution of these far from modest schemes, Japan can rely on the third most powerful navy in the world it ranks next after Britain's and that of the United States and an army of some 3,000,000 men and an Air Force of some 3,000 and more planes, Her generals are efficient, her soldiers brave and tenacious, and her military equipment of good quality. Yet three years of the most bitter fighting have not sufficed for the reduction of the Chinese national resistance, whether of the armies of Chiang Kai-shek (amounting to between two and three million men) or of the guerilla forces with which China's vast area liberally besprinkled.

    Two-thirds of the Japanese land forces are fully occupied in China, together with most of her mechanized units and front line warplanes. Already the Japanese casualties are said to amount to between one million and one and a half million. Under the strain of long-continued war Japan is rapidly becoming a Totalitarian State after the Fascist model. The two parties which for years have shared the government the Minseito and the Seiyukai, which may be very loosely described as Liberal and Conservative respectively are in dissolution and are merging with the Social Mass Party up to recently socialistic in its trend in a single party such as is to be found in all the Totalitarian States. A few years ago it would have been confidently argued that Japan would have been incapable of sustaining so great an effort for more than a year or two. But a state efficiently organized for war can set at naught the dicta of the economists and the financial experts. And Japan is efficient. Nevertheless, there are many signs of war weariness in Japan, of widespread impoverishment. The budgets are astronomical; forty per cent of the national income is absorbed for war purposes. There is a shortage of coal and iron and of practically all the other materials that are also war materials. The cost of living is rocketing; prices are rising and wages lag far behind. True, Japan has conquered vast territories capable of returning enormous dividends; but when will she have the time to exploit them, and where will she obtain the capital necessary for that exploitation?


    News report August 16th 1940
     
  2. Shadow War44

    Shadow War44 New Member

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    I found this historical information quite interesting. Thanks for posting it.
     
  3. AzraelValley

    AzraelValley New Member

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    I never know that Japan and British is an ally. You have quite a good article there. Pretty interesting topic you got here. Hope you cover more about Japanese topics, because Japan has invaded us before. I can relate to stories about Japanese.
     

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