The Struggle for the Pacific

The Struggle for the Pacific

The Struggle for the Pacific

The Struggle for the Pacific

Excerpt

I finished writing this book about a year ago, and I have made a few additions to it which are relatively unimportant. Since I completed my task the evolution in the Far East has continued. The Japanese offensive in North China has increased both its scope and its tempo; the Nanking Government has successfully pursued its cautious policy of consolidation, and after a brief intermezzo of a "civil war" between Canton and Nanking, has brought practically the whole of South China into its sphere of influence; the tension existing between Japan and the Soviet Union has entered a new phase. The events inside Japan itself--the "putsch" of February 16, 1936, the resignation of the Okada Cabinet and the formation of the Hirota Cabinet--have no doubt given Far Eastern affairs in some respects a new aspect. But fundamentally the situation has not changed. The pieces on the Far Eastern chessboard are still pretty much where they were, although one or two of them may have slightly altered their places. It is clear that the two protagonists, Japan and the Soviet Union, have strengthened their positions. In particular the Soviet Union has strongly consolidated its defensive position on the Manchurian-Korean-Mongolian frontier. It is already true to say that the fortified area of Vladivostok is now one of the most important bastions of the Russian line of defence. The Japanese, too, have greatly strengthened their political and strategic positions in North China and Inner Mongolia. But the stronger the positions of these protagonists become, the greater for each becomes the risk of war. The war which may possibly break out later in the Far East will be on a far greater scale than if it had come two years ago; it will now undoubtedly be really a "great war." The chances of peace or war are at the moment about equal, apparently for no other reason than that the risk involved in going to war is to-day much greater both for Russia and for Japan.

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