The War Illustrated No 130 Vol 5 June 12th 1942

BUT JAPAN’S FEET MAY STILL BE OF CLAY 0 6 «In less than five months, as Dr. V.II. Evatt,' A ustralia’s representative to this country, recently reminded us in a Sunday night “postscript,” Japan has acquired anew empire. Starting from that grim day in last December, when the United States Navy, suffered at Pearl Harbour the heaviest losses in its history, the Japanese have marched along a road of almost uninter­rupted conquest. Guam and Wake were c.tpturcd, and soon after Hongkong then the Philippines were engulfed by the Japanese tide, which swept on over Singapore, Britain's principal base in the Far East, and the imrtiensely rich islands of the Dutch Empire in the East Indies. Soon it had swamped the wharves of Rangoon and was foaming furiously up the valleys of Burma. India Was directly threatened, and British sea power in the Pacific and the Bay of Bengal was dealt staggering blows. Nothing, it seemed, could stop the mighty avalanche: from Chittagong to New Guinea, from Shanghai sented to Emperor Hirohjto, who had just T ookinc. nt the changes which the last few succeeded to the throne on his father’s¦ L /months have brought to the map of the death, and though Tanaka fell from power in 1929, the Memorial rapidly assumed among the Japanese the same fame and force as Hitler's M c’ti Kunipf'had secured in Germany. Often Japanese spokesmen, anxious to concili­ate the West for the time being, have denied its authenticity—even its existence—but the best evidence of both maybe said to lie in the course of events, which have shown that it contained some pretty accurate prophecy. "pOR what was the Memorial ?Nothing less than the blueprints o f Japanese conquest. Step by step Tanaka plans the absorption of Manchuria, the economic 'penetration and political domination of China. “Having C hina’s entire resources at our disposal we shall proceed to conquer India, the Archi­pelago of the Dutch East Indies, Asia Minor, Central Asia and even Europe.” In another passage Tanaka says, “In order to conquer to Darwin, the hordes of the yellow men l^e world, we must first conquer China. It swept on in triumph. All this must be very surprising to those who hold the belief that the white races are the divinely-appointed masters of the world’s destinies. Never, indeed, has the white man’s prestige in the Orient sunk so low as in the last few months and weeks. Forty years ago the Japanese showed that they were as good as the Russians now they have defeated British and Dutch, Australians and Americans, loo. we succeed ip conquering China,' the rest of the Asiatic countries and the South Sea countries will fear us and surrender to us. Then the world will realize that Eastern Asia is ours, and will not dare to violate our rights. This was the plan left to us by Emperor Meiji, the success of which is essential to our national existence.” That was in 1927. But only the other day another clue to Japan’s aggressive in­tentions fell into the hands of our Chinese allies—a Japanese map of what is euphem- O iiviously amongst us, too, a revaluation of isticaily called “the Co-prosperity Sphere,” ^Japan’s power and position is an urgent though the only prosperous ones within it necessity. Unfortunately, such is the darken­ing and mystifying influence of race, culture, religion and geographical distance, that it is difficult in the extreme for us to think objectively of Japan and the Japanese. Few of us have ever known a Japanese fewer still are likely to bethe Japanese. According to this map the Co-prosperity Sphere embraces the whole continent of Asia with the excep­tion of Arabia, a huge area in the Pacific, and the northern coasts of Australia. “Al- Pacific area, we cannot but admit that Japan has taken many a big step towards the realization of her colpssal dreams. But once again we must remind ourselves to think objectively. In years bygone we have belittled the Japanese our experts told us that their planes were no good, their tanks were old-fashioned and their warships top-heavy, while their financial system was most shockingly unsound. “Made in Japan,” which we saw so often on the gim-cracks which crowded the counters of the chain stores, became a by-word amongst us: where we went wrong was in thinking that everything that was “made in Japan,” and more particularly those things which have definitely military value, was just shoddy. Yes, we belittled Japan we seriously under­estimated the Japanese. But in the hour of their triumph we must be on our guard lest we allow the balance to swing to the other extreme. The Japs arc no supermen. 1 Tp to now the advantages have been all theirs. In the first place they are lighting on interior lines. Japan is aFar Eastern power, and to the battlefields in the Far East she can get most easily the most men. the most ships, the most guns, the most planes and get there first. Then, for more than a thousand years Japan has been a military state, and whatever the fine-seeming facade of modern liberalism, the warlords are the real masters of the state. For years Japan has been stripped for war her people, never accustomed to a high standard of living, have become inured to privation. They believe what they arc taught—that they must win this war if Japan is to have and to keep a place in the sun. Even more than N a/i Germany, Japan has prepared for war, for this war. though it seems the dream of a lunatic,” have ever set foot in Japan, while the number said a. Chinese Government spokesman 'Tat 'iirn there is the question of morale. We of those who, though they may have passed Chungking,” the map deserves our attention A have often been defeated in the past, years in the country, have penetrated into because it represents the settled national the medieval fastnesses of the Japanese home, policy of Japan in the same way as the is infinitesimal. Even when the Japanese notorious Tanaka Memorial which served were our allies, as they were from 1902 until as a blueprint of Japanese expansion.” 1922, they were separated from us by immense barriers of which distance was by no means the principal component. Of course, we knew them in those days to be vigorous, efficient and desperately brave but what could you make of a people whose statesman or military commanders, when they made a mistake or fell out of the Emperor's favour, saved their honour by committing ceremonial suicide? Now the Japanese are our enemies :and difficult as it was to understand them when they were our friends, it is far more difficult when the machina­tions of the warlords of Tokyo have made them our foes. T>ut in the matter of Japanese war aims there ought to belittle room for misunderstanding. Years ago we were warned of what was coming it' the militarists got con­trol and were able to secure the Emperor’s semi-religious author­ity for their designs. It was in 1927 that Baron Giichi Tanaka, at that time Premier of Japan and Minister of War, drew up a“m em orial” after.a conference at. Mukden in what was still Manchuria with other Japanese leaders. This was formally pre­ JAPAN’S DREAM OF EMPIRE as shown in a map which has reached the Chinese Government. Within its boundary are found most of the U.S.S.R., all China, India, Iran and Northern Australia. Areas marked in black arc Nippon’s empire—at present. iiy cuitrlcsy Of the V h ily Undid but we console ourselves with the reflection that we always win the last battle. The Japanese require no such consolation. They expect to win not only the last battle but all the battles and it is a fact worth remembering that the Japanese arm y—and the Japanese navy, too—has never admitted defeat. Even in China, where the ”“incident has-become a four- years’ war, it is becoming increas­ingly probable that Japan has never gone “all o t.”u Finally, there is the question o f surprise. We do not know what haVoc was caused at Pearl Harbour last December 7, but this at least is known, that the Americans were -caught napping. Surprise is a great and powerful weapon—but it cannot be used indefinitely. C o that is the position today. Japan is at the top of her form. She is on the crest of a mighty wave of victories. But even the biggest wave must sub­side, every wave has its trough. It is no wishful thinking to declare that everyday that passes must add to Japan's difficulties and dangers. As the American commentator, Nathaniel Peffer, says: “Despite all present ap­pearances Japan is too big for her boots and she will stumble before she has gone much further.” E . TioYsroff Pike
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