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Jack Weber

March of Events

(19 October 1935)

From New Militant, Vol. I No. 43, 19 October 1935, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Renewed Menace to China

Japan will not miss its opportunity to make further inroads into China while the other imperialists are preoccupied with the Ethiopian situation. There is every indication that Japanese imperialism is preparing more extended operations for plundering China. A series of extraordinary meetings of the Japanese army and navy commanders and. the diplomatic corps are in progress. One meeting is to take place in Dairen October 13 to 15. A second in which the various consular officials in China are to receive instructions from the army is scheduled for October 16 in Shanghai. A final gathering of all army commanders to work out details of the next steps in the seizure of China, is also planned in Shanghai for Oct. 20 and 21. The pronouncements of the Japanese Military Attaché in China, Maj. Gen. Isogaye, provide several keys to what is intended. A “final” settlement of the North China problem is first on the agenda. The Kuomintang government is told plainly what is expected of it by its imperialist ally.

“We do not want to provoke a crisis in North China but we hope that the Chinese will themselves make all the necessary changes to assure the establishment of authority with a responsible person at the head, who would have Japan’s confidence ... However, should a crisis arise which would endanger the lives of foreigners, Japan will be ready to make sacrifices to take the necessary steps for establishing a strong North China regime.”

What this means is the setting up of an extended puppet state to include the five provinces north of the Yellow River: Hopei, Chahar, Suiyuan, Shansi and Shantung, all now under Japanese control.


Which Theatre of War? ...

There have been previous indications that Japan wishes to add to its present booty Outer Mongolia. This territory is not nearly so important economically as Manchuria. Rut its control by Japan would determine the main theatre of war in the coming struggle against the U.S.S.R. Manchuria is too close to Japan to suit the Japanese strategists. Soviet aircraft are a menace not to be neglected. The seizure of Outer Mongolia would permit greater safety to the attack from the northwest corner of Manchuria, from the railroad line running from Hailar to Manchuli, on Chita, the most important railroad junction in Eastern Siberia. Chita is the point at which the main line of the Transsiberian Railroad (to Vladivostok) joins the branch line to Manchuli. The seizure of Chita would cut off communication with the Maritime Provinces over this railroad and would make the main seat of war the territory about Lake Baikal. Already special Japanese divisions in full war strength, with large numbers of tanks and armored cars are concentrated about Hailar. The latter is an important air base. The military railroad from Jehol Province to Dolonor was built to aid the penetration into Outer Mongolia. But the attack on Outer Mongolia can only mean the prelude to war against the Soviet Union.

* * *

Attack on South China ...

The plundering of China is not to be confined to North China alone. The situation at Swatow threatens to become the pretense for the beginning of Japanese invasion into South China. Already all shipping to this port is forced to pass between two lines of Japanese cruisers and destroyers, holding the harbor in a tight grip. The Japanese object to the tax imposed by the Canton militarists on rice imported into Kwantung Province which raises only a two months supply of this necessity for thirty-five million people. The Japanese have been smuggling tremendous quantities of cheap Siamese rice into the province. The seizure of a small quantity of this smuggled rice has precipitated the issue, Japan claiming a violation of the treaty permitting only the national import tax, not involved here. By this pretext Japanese imperialism seeks to gain control of the vast trade of the East River District of Kwantung. At the same time this is a blow at the Canton militarists whose military machine is based on the so-called agricultural tax. The Chinese are entrenching along a fifty mile front in Kwantung expecting momentarily an ultimatum, to be immediately followed by invasion. The reactionary bandit-generals of Canton will hardly organize any real resistance to Japanese encroachments, no more than the “central” Kuomintang leaders, Chiang Kai-Shek and Wang Ching-Wei. On the contrary, these corrupt betrayers of the Chinese enter into competition to become the first to sell out to the imperialists. The other imperialist powers are greatly disturbed at the present situation, seeing in it not only the potentialities of another Shanghai incident, but also a fresh move of Japanese militarism. American warships have been sent to Swatow to take care of “American interests.”

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