The Soviet Far East and Central Asia

The Soviet Far East and Central Asia

The Soviet Far East and Central Asia

The Soviet Far East and Central Asia

Excerpt

The future of the Pacific area will have been decided not alone on its battlefields, but in Europe where the bulk of the forces of the opposing world coalitions are engaged. Recognition of this fact is the basis of the world strategy of the United Nations. There would have been no Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis if not for the fact that the aggressor powers were keenly aware that victory must be won on a world-wide basis, or not at all.

Each of the United Nations took this general situation into consideration in planning its own contribution to victory. For the Soviet Union, this was not merely a matter of the disposition of forces, as for the United States and Great Britain. It was also a matter of the development of its own internal economy and population.

The Soviet Union alone had common frontiers with both German and Japanese-held territories. Where America fights from Australia and Britain from India, the USSR had to consider the situation in the Pacific from the viewpoint of an integral part of its own territory--the Soviet Far East. The Soviet Far East is less subject to consideration from a purely "Pacific" viewpoint than is any other of the lands on the western shore of that ocean. Neither its armed forces, its foreign relations, its economy or even the number of people by whom it is inhabited is a result of its own development. The history of the Soviet Far East as such is relatively little known for the very reason that it has been a function of Russian and Soviet history, except where foreign powers have left their imprint upon it.

What the Soviet Far East is today is understandable only in terms of Moscow's view of the situation in the Pacific in its bearing upon the future of the USSR as a whole.

The government of the Soviet Union was the first to feel the global threat of the Axis, and the first to adjust its foreign policy thereto. The emphasis in its internal economy was, accordingly, increasingly shifted to preparations for defense. For the Far East, this meant a dual policy of strengthening the economy of this distant region and of care to plan and distribute industrial . . .

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