Written: 20 September 1937.
First Published: Socialist Appeal, Vol. 1 No. 9, 9 October 1937, p. 1.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Damon Maxwell.
Copyleft: Leon Trotsky Internet Archive (www.marxists.org) 2008. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
1) An actual and serious victory of Japan over China would signify the forcing out of Great Britain from China, hermetically sealed doors for the United States and a direct threat to the Soviet Far East and, in the next stage, a threat to French Indo-China and to Holland’s islands. I do not believe, however, in the possibility of the execution of this plan. As I have written more than once in the past 10 years, the first great war will end in the greatest social catastrophe for Japan.
2) The empire of the Mikado contains within it all the social contradictions which, in its time, exploded the Czarist Empire: half-feudal agrarian relations; a monarchy by “divine right”; terrible poverty of the people; a tight internal market for industry; a monstrous growth of the military budget; a military caste which reflects in itself all the inner contradictions of the country, and so on, and so forth.
3) The masses of Japanese soldiers reflect the deep dissatisfaction of the Japanese peasants and workers. In the beginning of the war, the chauvinist wave will, as always, seize the whole army but the reaction to it will not be long in waiting.
4) Great Britain could not, in the 20th century, win India; on the contrary, it is getting ready to lose her. Japan is not Great Britain. China is stronger than India. Japanese imperialism will break its head by its Chinese adventure.
5) Stalin is conducting a civil war against the people. In all spheres of public life – in economics, in the army, in literature, etc., – the discontent of the masses with the demoralized bureaucratic caste is manifest through the more honest, gifted, critically thinking representatives. Stalin systematically exterminates them through the GPU. The bureaucracy has become the chief hindrance to the economic and cultural development of the land. The hydra of dissatisfaction will therefore grow more and more heads. The regime of Stalin is doomed. A good deal of recent correspondence from Moscow, censored or “uncensored”, tries to prove that the bloody purge “strengthened”the position of Stalin. The authors of these reports either understand nothing, or they understand too much.
The external politics of Stalin are dictated not by the interests of the USSR but by the concern of the self-preservation of the ruling caste. Stalin is retreating and will continue to retreat. War will tame the ruling bureaucratic caste. However, I do not doubt that the USSR will emerge victorious from a war in the Far East.
Coyoacan, Sept. 20, 1937
Last updated on: 20 November 2014