War in China

Dublin Core


War in China


Politics and Government - Military; China - U.S. Foreign Policy


International pamphlets ; no. 19. Ray Stewart describes the early years of the Sino-Japanese War and takes a critical look at US involvement.
Transcript of the text in the pamphlet:

IN CHINA - I by Ray Stewan PUBLISHERS' NOTE ^ This is one of a series of pamphlets prepared under direction of the Labor Research Association and @ Uis a2 Pamphlets, 799 Broadway, New York, fr nal copies may be obtained at ten cents e ' IN THIS SERIES OF PAMPHLETS , In Preparation WAR IN CHINA WAR rages in China. The blood of Chinese workers spatters the streets of Shanghai. Shells scream over the city, spreading ruin and destruction. Airplanes drop bombs, shattering homes, killing and maiming defenceless Chinese. Part of the city is a smouldering heap. Crowds of refugees run in terror through the dark. Men, women and children lie dead in the streets; the wounded writhe in agony. In Shanghai harbor, forty Japanese warships; thirty American warships. The great American battle fleet maneuvers near Hawaii, half way across the Pacific, stocked with provisions for one year. " Ready for any emergency," said the American Admiral as the fleet sailed from California while the shells were exploding in Shanghai. British, French and Italian warships are rushing to Shanghai. The first shells that fell in Shanghai came from Japanese warships, the bombs from Japanese planes. On American war-ships and on British, French and Italian warships, are more shells, " ready for any emergency." On the wide decks of the American airplane carriers speeding across the Pacific are hun~ dreds of planes, in the holds thousands of bombs. " We only used our small bombs," explained the Japanese admiral. It makes little difference to a Chinese worker whether he is killed by a small bomb or a big bomb. The Japanese warplanes have bigger bombs, and so have the Americans and the British and the French and Italians. And they are ready to use them. The Chinese workers fleeing from their burning homes and the smashing shells, seek refuge in the international settlement, which is a part of Shanghai taken from the Chinese by the Ameri-cans, English, French, Italians and Japanese. But at the edge 3 of the settlement the terror- stricken refugees are met by Ameri-can, English, French and Italian machine guns and bayonets, which press them back into the flaming city under the exploding shells. The Japanese land troops and guns in the international settlement, under the protection of the other powers; but the Chinese can find no refuge there. The settlement, built on Chinese soil by Chinese workers, is held by the foreign powers as a base for war against the Chinese workers and peasants. In 192 7 the American and British forces attacked the Chinese barded Chinese cities. Today the Japanese lead ely supported in their war against the Chinese Americans, British and French. miles further up the Yangtse river, the American admiral confers with the representatives of the other powers and discusses methods of combating the " bandit menace." The " bandits" are armed Chinese workers and peasants who are seeking to end foreign domination in China and set up a workers' and peasants' government. Already these worker and peasant troops control vast areas in south and central China and have approached within a few miles of Hankow, giant river port. Three military expeditions sent against them by the Nanking government have been decisively defeated. Now American, British, and Japanese warships cruise outside of Hankow while the representatives of these powers discuss methods of wiping out the worker and peasant armies. A thousand miles to the north, Japanese troops sweep across the plains of Manchuria towards the borders of the Soviet Union. Already armed Japanese guards hold a portion of the Chinese Eastern Railroad- property owned jointly by the Soviet and Chinese peoples. Japanese troops occupy the city of Harbin ve operations near the Soviet border; plot to cross the et border and seize eastern Siberia. rmies and navies of the Americ watch each other suspiciously. others may attempt strengthen their China and seize a portion of Chinese territory, of Chinese loot, which it craves for itself. The Americans especially fear that the Japanese may attempt to seize Shanghai and the rich Yangtse valley. The robber powers eye one another carefully and pre-pare to fight one another, if need be, in the scramble for the largest portion of the spoils. On the Japanese warships and on the Japanese transports rush-ing to Shanghai are boys from the shops and fields of Japan; on the American warships and on the British warships, boys from the shops and fields of the United States and England. In the newspapers of America and England and Japan, in the newsreels, war headlines and war pictures, troops marching, battleships, airplanes, flags waving, everything to stir up patriot-ism. The American press and movies show the Japanese as " aggressors," as the " greedy Japanese." In the Japanese press and in the Japanese newsreels, the same war headlines and war pictures, troops marching, battleships steaming away, flags wav-ing, stirring up patriotism, drawing boys from the shops and fields to fight the Chinese or to fight the Americans, " greedy Americans," building naval bases in the Pacific with which to attack Japan. All this is preparation to spread the war in China into an even larger war. In the last war ten million men and boys were known to be killed, three million missing, and twenty million wounded and mutilated. Now preparations are under way for an even greater slaughter. But while the Japanese newspapers and newsreels stir up patriotism for war against the United States, and American newspapers and newsreels prepare for war against Japan, in the newspapers and newsreels of Japan and America and England, there is one common note- Chinese " bandits," Chinese Com-munists, Soviet plots. While they prepare for war against one another- robbers fighting over loot- the press and movies of of the spoils in China; they may fight among themselves for plunder; but in the end they will join in a war against Com-munism, against the Soviet Union, to put down the workers in China, in the United States, in Japan and elsewhere. The last great war was presumably against " German mili-tarism." But before it was over the Americans, British and French had joined with the Germans, to invade Soviet Russia, to suppress Communism in Finland and Hungary, to put down the starving and rebellious workers everywhere. So it begins again. The desperate struggle among robber nations, fighting for loot, and combining to crush the workers. Empires Fight for Loot The shells crashing into Shanghai, the battlefleets and troop-ships speeding across the Pacific, the airplanes dropping bombs on Chinese workers,- these are only the latest chapter in a long America, England and Japan, reveal the common enemy of all the robber powers- the Chinese workers, the Chinese Com-munists, revolutionary workers everywhere, the workers' and peasants' government of the Soviet Union, the Red Armies and Soviets of China. They will bargain and conspire for the division * story. For many years the great nations have been plundering China and fighting among themselves for the spoils. The big bankers, who control the industries in England and France and Japan and the United States and other countries, making more money than they can spend on all their fine houses and yachts and jewelry, making more goods than they can sell to the under-paid workers and the farmers in their own countries, take some of this extra money and these surplus goods out to the far lands of the earth; to India, Africa, South America and China. In these backward countries things can be bought cheap. Here nere are slaves and workers no better off than slaves, starving Indians, Africans and Chinese driven into the mines and crowded nto fits for the bankers and are raw materials which the bankers and bosses need for r plants at home. Here there are markets for the finished s which pour forth from their machines. Here huge profits e bankers send their agents to these lands of cheap labor cheap goods ' to buy mines, to build factories and railroads, nvest money which they could not use as profitably at home, money taken from the labor of workers and poor farmers in their ies. Part of the money goes in bribes to local gen-icians and landlords. Part of it goes to the priests d missionaries to convert the " heathen" and tell them all ut the good bankers and bosses from the faraway countries are coming out to build mines and factories for them to ork in. Only a small part of the money need go to pay the ages of the native workers. With the help of the local land-rds, generals and politicians, the workers can be driven into and factories and fields to work for the foreign bosses labor in the fields and mines and factories of India, Africa, America and China come cheap goods to force down and wages in other countries. And at the same time there e more profits and more surplus goods for which the bankers erchants must find investments and markets elsewhere. business of taking the profits sweated out of the factories and fields of one country to invest it in the cheaper ets, all for more profits with which to repeat the process, f the system of capitalist imperialism. e race for plunder the bankers and bosses drive their to war. Each greedy power seeks to capture the ces to loot. There is a race among the imperialist the far, lands of the earth. Each tries to get there a share of the loot. They offer larger brib the native bosses or they bribe another lot of politicians and generals, and set one group fighting another. This fighting sooner or later gives one of the great powers an excuse to step in and " to restore order." The marines are sent out, the warships shell defenceless villages, the " insurrection" is suppressed; elections are " supervised"; " order is restored,'' and in the end the bankers and bosses of some nation come out with more loot, more work-ers to exploit, more cheap raw materials to sell at home, more markets. The bankers and bosses bribe and cheat and conspire, one lot against the other, each trying to take advantage of the other. Sometimes several powers combine against other powers. Such combinations are called " alliances" or " understandings." But they are alliances only of thieves for booty. They are " under-standings" only in that each understands the dirty business of the others. Sometimes they make agreements to divide the loot. One says to the other: you take the northern part of this country and we will take the southern part, and we will combine " te restore order" and suppress rebellious natives. Such deals are called " partitions" or " spheres of influence." And out of such deals come more bribery and cheating and fighting. Because no power is satisfied to remain within its " sphere of influence"; each tries to expand its territory, to edge into the sphere of another. Or a third that was not in on the original deal comes along and tries to crowd in. Today there are no new far lands, no new distant markets to seize. All the undeveloped countries that can be exploited by the giant banks and trusts of " advanced" countries have already been grabbed by one power or another. All that the imperialist plunderers can now do is to rob their rivals. Therefore, the struggle is sharper, fiercer than ever. What cannot be won by bribery and cheating must be won by force. Then come the battleships and the transports and the airplanes, submarines, poison gas, the shells crashing into Shanghai. War! War to destroy rival robbers or to put down rebellious slaves. That is the inevitable result of imperialism. Decay of Capitalism This system of robber imperialism is rapidly decaying. The whole imperialist world is being shaken by a crisis. Factories are shut down, banks crash, stores go bankrupt; workers are thrown out of jobs and forced into breadlines; the wages of workers still employed are cut; farmers are unable to get enough from their labor to feed and clothe their families. Gigantic machines capable of turning out huge quantities of goods are idle while millions of workers eager to man them are forced to walk the streets looking for jobs. Warehouses are glutted with food, shoes, clothing awaiting a market while hungry ragged men and women beg for bread. The workers and farmers are unable to buy back the very goods which they produced. This is the crisis of capitalism, a greed for profits which begins by starving its workers and ends by destroying itself. The same story throughout the capitalist world. The rich robber powers, as well as the backward countries which they exploit, are in the grip of the crisis. The British treasury can-not pay its debts. Germany is bankrupt. Hoover tries des-perate remedies like the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to bolster American capitalism by taxing the workers. Bankruptcy, decay, starvation and death wherever the system of capitalist imperialism prevails. Only one country in the world is not suffering from the crisis-the Soviet Union, where the workers and farmers have over-thrown the bankers and bosses, taken possession of the factories and mines and fields and set up their own government. There the greedy scramble for profits, which brings chaos, misery and crises, does not exist. There goods are produced for use and not for profits. There production is planned. A New World While capitalism is shutting down its factories and mines, the Soviet Union is building new factories and mills, opening new mines, constructing new railroads. American industrial produc9- tion declined nearly 40% during the first two years of the crisis. The automobile, iron, steel and construction industries suffered a drop of more than 50%. During the same period, Soviet industrial production made enormous gains. In 1929 the output of Soviet industry increased 24% over the preceding year; in 1930, 24%; in 1931, 21%. In the United States eleven or twelve million workers are job-less. In the Soviet Union there are jobs for all. While Ameri-can wages are being cut, Soviet wages are rising rapidly. In the autumn of 1931 when United States Steel, General Motors, and other American companies were cutting wages, Soviet metal work-ers received a 23% wage increase; Soviet coal miners a 15% increase; Soviet railroad workers a 2 2% increase ; Soviet marine workers a 1 2 % increase. At the same time the working day was steadily reduced and the seven- hour shift now prevails in almost all Soviet industries. While farmers in the United States are reduced to starvation, and sink deeper into debt, the farmers of the Soviet Union are rapidly improving their standards of living and substituting large mechanized, scientifically operated, collective farms for their small individual holdings. The contrast between these two worlds- the capitalist world and the Soviet world- grows sharper day by day. The capi-talist world is crumbling and doomed to certain death; the Soviet world gains strength as fast as the capitalist world loses it. Two Worlds in Conflict , . These two worlds are in fundamental conflict. World capi-talism has never disguised its fear and hatred of the Soviet Union, where the workers threw out the capitalists and the large land-owners and seized power. It has always tried to destroy the workers' and peasants7 government of the Soviet Union and undo the revolution which has removed one- sixth of the earth's surface from the operation of capitalist exploitation and has in-the workers and peasants of the world in their struggles t the bankers and bosses. In the years immediately following the war, world capitalism sought to destroy the workers' and peasants' government through armed intervention. These efforts failed. World capitalism then placed its hopes in counter- revolution within Russia. Capitalist statesmen, including Hoover, confidently predicted the collapse of the Soviet system and the restoration of capitalism in the U. S. S. R. These hopes were shattered by the triumphant progress of socialist construction in the Soviet Union. Now world capi-talism again seeks armed intervention~ on a larger scale than ever before- as its only hope of crushing the workers' and peas-ants' government . French and Polish newspapers can scarcely conceal their anxiety for an armed offensive against the Soviet Union. France has skillfully built up an elaborate system of anti- Soviet alliances and has advanced large loans to small vassal countries on the Soviet frontier like Poland and Rumania for the construction of armaments, strategic railways and military ports. She is now maneuvering to bring Germany into this international anti- Soviet line- up. Evidences of the growing hatred of the U. S. S. R. con-stantly appear in the American press. Recently Major General Holbrook, commander of the first division of the United States Army, addressing a war veterans' reunion, predicted the likeli-hood of a war against the Soviet Union in which the United States and Germany would be military allies. General Holbrook said : It is well to remember that the political power in control of Russia has declared war on the United States and is today advocating the overthrow of this government. . . . We will face a new alignment in the next war. We will forget our foes of the world war and welcome them as allies. Foes of the recent conflict will work together against a common enemy and for the preservation of our government, our homes and our firesides. The economic crisis is speeding up the imperialists' prepara-tions for a war against the Soviet Union. The imperialists hope that a war will solve their difficulties; that war orders will set their munitions, steel, chemical and automobile factories running. The mere talk of war sends stocks upward. Furthermore, the I1 imperialists realize that delay offers the Soviet Union an oppor-tunity for building its industries, for strengthening itself against imperialist intervention. The successes of Socialist construction stir the hatred and fear of the capitalist class; but inspire the workers and poor farmers suffering under the iron heel of capitalism. The working masses in city and country are refusing to starve in silence; they are growing increasingly rebellious. During the first two years of the crisis, a social upheaval occurred in Spain; the British navy mutinied; the revolutionary movements in a number of capitalist countries, notably Germany, gained enormously in strength. At the same time a wave of revolt swept across the colonial and semi- colonial countries from which the capitalist class of the world draws a large portion of its wealth. Chinese Red armies, led by Communists, gained control over one- sixth of China's enor-mous land area. Indo- Chinese workers and peasants rose in armed rebellion against their French rulers. The Indian revolu-tionary movement grew. The Chilean navy mutinied, and was suppressed only after a prolonged struggle. Armed peasant up-risings against American rule occurred in the Philippine Islands. Revolutionary movements spread rapidly in other colonial and semi- colonial countries. If the workers and farmers in the capitalist and colonial coun-tries are showing an increasing resistance to starvation and repression, the capitalist class shows that it is more determined than ever to preserve the system on which it thrives. Bloody attacks on the working class in the " advanced" countries, an armed offensive against colonial revolutionary movements and diligent preparations for a war against the Soviet Union are the three cardinal points on the program of world capitalism. China at the Crossroads China stands at the crossroads between these two conflicting worlds- the dying world, of capitalist imperialism, industrial chaos, mass starvation and the rising world of Socialist planned 12 economy. Already China has within it the elements 4 worlds. In Shanghai, Peiping, Tientsin, Hankow and ot are the troops of the imperialist powers and the armies of the Chinese generals and bosses allied with them, starving, torturing and murdering the Chinese workers and farmers and attempting O CEAN to perpetuate in China the ruthless profit system. At the same time, from the factories and fields of China, rise the workers and the farmers struggling to free themselves from imperialism, striv-ing to turn out the warlords and the bosses and the imperialist robbers, and to create a Soviet government embracing the vast expanse of China. Imperialist Interests in China The fierce struggle for the control of China began in the middle of the nineteenth century. The imperialists of America, Britain, Japan and France were strongest and grabbed the largest share of the booty- Chinese labor, Chinese markets, Chinese resources. Tsarist Russia and Germany were also active participants in the struggle, but the victorious revolution of the Russian workers and peasants in 1917 meant the end of Russian imperialism and Germany was stripped of its loot by rival powers after the world war. With a land area far larger than that of the United States, a population of more than four hundred millions, rich natural resources and a backward undeveloped economy, China consti-tutes an enormously rich field for exploitation. The Chinese market is an important outlet for manufactures of the advanced capitalist countries feverishly seeking an outlet for their wares. From 1901 to 190s inclusive, Chinese foreign trade averaged less than $~ oo, ooo, ooo a year. In 1929 the foreign trade of China exceeded a billion and a half dollars. At the same time increas-ingly large amounts of foreign capital were invested in Chinese factories, mines, railways, trade and government securities. Total foreign investments in China are estimated at more than three billion dollars. More than 90% of this enormous sum is in the hands of British, Japanese and American capitalists. To capture these markets, to secure the profits from these in-vestments, the imperialist powers have bombarded Chinese cities, seized large portions of Chinese territory, set up their own courts and legal systems on Chinese soil, secured control over Chinese finance, currency and essential Chinese railways, mines and industries; forcibly reduced China to political and economic slavery. In all this murder and robbery the United States has partici-pated. American warships have shelled Chinese cities, American courts are established on Chinese territory, American marines and soldiers have long been garrisoned in Peiping, Tientsin and monopolies. China has been the ultimate goal of American imperialist expansion across the Pacific. First the United States acquired Alaska, then Hawaii, far out in the Pacific, then the Philippines, still farther out almost to the shores of China, then Guam and a lot of little islands. Some of this territory was rich in itself; but all essentially stepping stones for American imperialism on its way to China. California is too far for American warships and airplanes to use as a base in the fight for the loot in China. It was necessary to have naval bases on these islands far out in the Pacific Ocean, great stores of gasoline and coal and muni-tions, drydocks for warships, fortified harbors for battleships and submarines. From Alaska, from Hawaii, from the Philippines, the United States can strike at Japan or at British or French pos-sessions in or near China. American bankers and trusts have invested about $ 2 so, ooo, ooo in China. These investments are mostly concentrated in the vicinity of Shanghai. In this rich region the American imperialists own factories, banks, power stations and telephone lines. The Standard Oil interests, controlled by the Rockefellers, and the Electric Bond and Share Co., dominated by Morgan, are the prin-cipal American investors in China. The same bankers, the same trusts and monopolies which rob and shoot down starving workers in the United States, rob and shoot down Chinese workers in China. Chinese trade is also of great importance to American im-perialism. In 1930 American trade with China amounted to $~ go, ooo, ooo. More than three- fifths of this trade was carried on through the port of Shanghai. In this region, American capitalists have been making great gains at the expense of their British rivals. In 1910 only one per cent of Shanghai's trade was with the United States, and the United States was far behind Britain, Germany, Japan and France. In 1928 the American share in Shanghai's trade had risen to 16% and by 1930 the United States had outstripped all of its imperialist rivals. President Hoover himself has had experience in exploiting Chinese workers. About 30 years ago, Hoover was an agent for mining companies with large interests in China. The Wash-ington Merry- Go- Round, a book published recently, describes Hoover's method of handling Chinese workers as follows: Once, expounding his views on labor troubles to a friend, he ( Hoover) told how he had always found that chaining a Chinese coolie to a stake for a day in the hot sun was conducive to good discipline and a minimum of strikes. British and Japanese imperialists are the largest investors in China today. British investments total about $ 1,250,000,000. This vast sum is invested chiefly in factories, mines, railroads, land, and Chinese government bonds. A large part of these British investments are in the island of Hongkong which Great Britain seized from China; but a considerable portion is invested in Shanghai and other cities in the Yangtse valley. In this re-gion, American, British and Japanese imperialism compete sharply. Chinese markets are also of great importance for Britain. Japanese investments are about equal to the British. Three-quarters of the Japanese investment are concentrated in the Man-churian provinces. Japan now dominates the entire economic life of this region, owns the principal railways, mines, factories, buildings, blast furnaces and power plants. Japanese investments are also large in the Yangtse valley. Chinese trade is of decisive importance to Japan. Imports from China constitute about 10% of all Japanese imports; ex-ports to China about 16% of the total. Japan depends on China for a large portion of the iron and coal essential to Japanese industries. Korea and the island of Formosa, both rich in re-sources, were seized from China and are now possessions of Japan. The French are primarily interested in the extreme southern imperialists seized large portions of Chinese territory in this re-gion. These are now incorporated in the French colony known as Indo- China. Today France is trying to seize Yunan province in the south and add it to its colonial possessions in Asia. The battle for territory, slaves, markets and resources in China is more ruthless than ever. Each imperialist power is trying to push its way into the others7 " spheres of influence"; each is trying to rob the others. The growing weakness of the British empire offers the other powers an opportunity for rich loot; but Britain still has its tremendous navy and its naval bases in the Pacific and is ready to fight rival robber powers which threaten its possessions. The sharpest rivals for the domination of the Pacific are the United States and Japan. Both of these powers are openly preparing for an armed clash to settle their differences in the Pacific. The Revolution in China Foreign penetration has resulted in revolutionary changes in China. Fifty or sixty years ago China was a semi- feudal country without modern industry. It had no factories, railways or modern mines. Today China is still, for the most part, a primitive, semi-feudal agricultural country with the great mass of its population working on tiny farms without modern tools. But in many cities, especially in seacoast and river ports, factories have sprung up. Many of these were erected by foreign capitalists, to make enormous profits by working low- paid Chinese labor twelve, fourteen and sixteen hours a day; others were erected by Chinese businessmen for the same purpose. Today there are about fifteen hundred modern factories in China in addition to a large number of semi- modernized plants. It is estimated that they employ three or four million workers. These industrial workers form the backbone of the revolutionary movement which is now sweeping China. Allied with the workingclass is the great mass of the Chinese peasantry. These peasants and their families constitute more than 70% of the Chinese population. They work small patches of soil which they own themselves or rent from landlords. Even 17 he Chinese Masses Rebel The early nineteen twenties witnessed n.~ ass The Chinese Soviets sprang up and grew like wildfire. Peasant 0 throughout the countryside. The striking persecutions have failed to check the revolutionary selves in conflict with foreign factory, mine Today in the large seacoast and river cities where and learned that the foreign powers were r g government maintains large armies and where for-capitalists with warships and cannon. found themselves in armed conflict with the wa lectors supported by the foreign imperialists stages of the Chinese revolutionary moveme have set up Soviets in many sections of na. In these Soviets or councils, the work-s- the Chinese masses- combine to govern ild the new world in China. It is estimated rol one- sixth of the area of China and govern of Kwangsi. Shansi. Shensi and Szechuan. I ( the fourteenth anniversary of the n), the Chinese Soviets held their first opted the constitution of the Chi the aim of the So establishment of an eight hour day, a minimum wage, and social insurance against unemployment and other hazards. The con-stitution provides that the landholdings of the large landlords be confiscated and divided among the poor peasants. The Soviets also announced that they refuse to recognize the concessions and special privileges seized by the imperialists and that they pro-pose to nationalize the banks, customs houses, ships, mines, fac-tories and railways owned by them. Part of this revolutionary program has already been carried out in the territory under Soviet rule; but the constitution recog-nizes that its provisions cannot be completely realized until the rule of the Kuomintang has been overthrown and imperialist domination of China terminated. The Chinese Soviets maintain a large and well- disciplined Red Army which, with the enthusiastic support of the workers and peasants, has won victory after victory against Nanking's forces. This Chinese Red Army is estimated to number about 150, ooo men. In addition there are about 200,000 organized peasant troops and Communist Young Guards who cooperate with the Red troops. The Nanking regime has made several unsuccessful attempts to wipe out the Red troops and crush the Soviets. With a great deal of fanfare and publicity Chiang Kai- shek launched three large military expeditions against them. In each case the govern-ment troops were decisively defeated. Instead of being crushed the Soviets are spreading rapidly and winning the support of millions of additional workers and peasants. The Red Army continues to gain victories and as this is being written Red troops march within a few miles of Hankow. [ For further information on Soviet China see: The Chinese Soviets, by M. James and R. Doonping, in this series of pamphlets.] The War Breaks Out The war now raging in China is being fought along two widely separated fronts: in the Manchurian provinces in the north, and in the Yangtse valley in central China. g in Manchuria broke out September 18, 193 I, troops seized Mukden, important industrial cent south Manchuria and drove out the Chinese warlord Chang Hseuh- liang. By the middle of November the Japanese troops marched far to the north, crossed the Chinese Eastern Railroad and took the city of Tsitsihar. Shortly aftetwards, other Japanese detachments swung south from Mukden and occupied the territory as far down as the Great Wall which separates Man-churia from China proper. The city of Chinchow, which Chang Hseuh- liang had made his headquarters after he had been driven t of Mukden, was occupied by the Japanese on January 2, 1932. Within a month the Japanese resumed their offensive in northern Manchuria, and seized the branch of the Chinese East-n Railroad which runs from Harbin south to Changchun. On ebruary 5, Japanese troops marched into Harbin, most im-portant city in northern Manchuria and headquarters of the Chinese Eastern Railroad. Japan's campaign in Manchuria has been waged with all the rutality inherent in modern warfare. Japanese airplanes bombed ess villages and maimed and murdered peaceful Man-peasants just as American bombs maimed and murdered caraguan peasants in 1927 and British planes are murdering ndian peasants today. Japan's aims in this war against the Chinese people are quite r. Manchuria and Korea are the base on which Japanese ialism rests. Japanese capitalists depend upon Manchuria's mineral resources. They need in addition the vast rolling Manchuria which are extremely fertile in wheat, beans, m and barley. The South Manchurian Railroad is the most portant Japanese holding in Manchuria and is valued at about $ 34o, ooo, ooo. Japan also controls the foreign trade and principal industries of Manchuria. an has dominated the southern part of this rich area since its successful war with Tsarist Russia in 1904- 05; but domination has never been quite complete. In the first tizens were denied the formal right to buy land, and already owned by the South Manchurian Rail- 21 road. Secondly, Chinese interests began to construct a number of railway lines which competed with the South Manchurian. Thirdly, Chang Hseuh- liang, Manchurian warlord, did not at all times yield to Japanese dictation. The Japanese military campaign was conducted for the pur-pose of wiping out these restrictions, and fully and firmly estab-lishing Japanese rule in Manchuria. It is now doing this by setting up a vassal state, controlled by Japanese bayonets. This puppet state, including the vast areas of Manchuria and Inner Mongolia, will be ruled by Chinese warlords completely sub-servient to Japanese imperialism. To complete the conquest of Manchuria, Japan seeks to sup-press the growing unrest among the Manchurian people. The population of Manchuria, which increased from two million at the beginning of the century to approximately 30,000,000 in 1930, consists almost entirely of Chinese pioneer farmers who left other Chinese provinces and settled on the more fertile and less populated Manchurian plains. Some of these pioneers were drawn into industry. These Manchurian workers and peasants are growing increasingly restless under Japanese imperialist domination. Press despatches recently reported that peasant bands are harassing the Japanese troops. Japan cannot tear Manchuria away from China without wiping out the armed worker and peasant bands fighting for Chinese independence. A War Base Against the Soviet Union But the Japanese campaign in Manchuria is not aimed against the Chinese workers and peasants alone. It is part of the world preparations for imperialist war against the Soviet Union. Japan is seeking to gain control of northern Manchuria in order to establish a base for intervention in eastern Siberia. Just as France and Britain created a ring of puppet states around the Soviet Union's western frontiers, so Japan is setting up a strong base for anti- Soviet operations in the Far East. Thus the en- Lithuania and other puppet states in the west; Manchuria in the east. The Japanese bankers and bosses and generals make no at-tempt to hide their plans for war against the Soviet Union. They openly proclaim them at public meetings and in the press. G. Bromley Oxman, President of DePauw University, who recently returned from Japan, says: Early in December a Japanese general addressed the heads of schools in the Tokyo section. Similar meetings were held throughout the Empire. . . . The general said in substance, " Our minds are made up. We are going through with this Manchurian matter. . . . The five- year plan of Russia will be completed in a year or two, and it will probably be a success. Eventually we will have war with Russia. . , . While we are strong, we must drive a wedge to the north, thus separating China and Russia, thereby ensuring our position when the struggle comes." On December 12, 1931, the New York Times carried the fol-wing report from its correspondent in Harbin: . . . it becomes evident that Japan's present military adventure into nchuria is primarily aimed against the Soviet Union. Although it be that Japan will not engage in hostilities with Russia at this it is almost certain that the principal inspiration of her present is not the hope of adjusting treaty and other disputes with , but rather the urgency of so establishing herself in Manchuria she can be in a position to meet Russia with a chance of success ver the conflict occurs. Many foreign observers, and not a few of the Japanese themselves, believe that Japan will force a war on Russia in the near future, be-lieving that if such a war is inevitable Japan should push her advan-tage now rather than wait until Russia can complete her Five Year Plan and become more efficient mechanically and industrially. iet Union is complete~ Poland, I This despatch was published more than a month before the apanese troops seized a section of the Chinese Eastern Railway Soviet- owned in part) and entered Harbin. The Japanese drive rds the Soviet border and the frequent conferences between Tsarist generals and Japanese agents confirm the Times According to more recent despatches, the Japanese and their Tsarist allies are planning to push into Inner Mongolia in the spring of 1932 and extend their base for anti- Soviet opera-tions. The full extent of Japan's imperialist ambitions are revealed in a secret memorandum which General Honjo, Japanese military commander, sent to Minister of War Minami, August 3, 1931. According to reports in the European press, this memorandum said : In order to strengthen the position of our country and its power, it is necessary immediately to take advantage of the difficult world economic position, as well as of the circumstance that the Five Year Plan in the Soviet Union has not yet been completed and that China is not a united country. All these factors must be utilized for the pur-pose of the more intense occupation of Manchuria and Mongolia and for realizing the active aims of the former Siberian expedition. The unity of China, the existence of the Soviet Union and the penetration of America in the Far East, all this does not accord with our interests. If we desire to prevent the penetration of America in the Far East, we must strengthen our defensive power and obtain our full material independence. Before we go forward against America, our troops must take up a decisive position in China, occupy the Far Eastern region of the Soviet Union and secure these countries for ourselves. The influence of America in the Philippines must be destroyed and this group of islands brought under our control. . . . Thus the Japanese military conquest of Manchuria reveals its manifold aims: subjugation of the Manchurian population, ex-ploitation of Manchurian natural resources, preparation of a strategic base for war against the Soviet Union, and strengthen-ing of Japanese imperialism for war against its rival, the United States. These aims are not the aims of the Japanese workers and farmers. They are the aims of the bankers and bosses who control the Japanese government and who, like the bankers and bosses in other countries, are hurling the world into a new war in their ied scramble for booty. The workers and farmers of Japan d starved by the same capitalists who are shooting and farmers in China. Two of the five million work long hours in factories and mills at a starvation pittance. Strikes and bloody street battles between workers and police have taken place in recent months in leading Japanese industrial cen-ters. Walkouts during the first half of 1931 involved 85,000 workers, the largest number of strikers in any six monthsy period in the history of the country. In order to quell the growing rebel-liousness of the workers, the Japanese government has outlawed the Communist Party, which leads the battles of the working-class, and has jailed more than two thousand of its members. Despite this terror and the suppression of revolutionary labor organizations, the Japanese workers are beginning to realize that they and the Chinese workers are fighting the same enemy- the bankers and the bosses, the system of capitalist imperialism. The real attitude of the Japanese masses towards the imperialist inva-sion of China is revealed in the anti- war demonstrations recently held in Tokyo and other cities and in their struggles against Japa-nese imperialism. War in the Yangtse The Chinese masses answered the Japanese invasion of Man-churia with widespread strikes and boycotts. Japanese goods piled up in the warehouses and wharves and could find no market ; Japanese exports to China dwindled ; many Japanese factories were compelled to stop production. At the same time, Chinese workers and students besieged the government offices at Nanking and demanded that the government, which had be-trayed the Chinese people and done nothing to defend them from the Japanese attack take decisive action for the defence of China. At the end of January, the Japanese launched their offensive in the Yangtse valley for the purpose of crushing anti- Japanese boycotts and agitation and strengthening Japan's position in the rich Yangtse provinces. The Japanese attack was made on an extensive scale. While Japanese guns and planes were bombard-ing Shanghai, Japanese warships cruised up the river and shelled the Woosung forts and another group of war vessels continued 25 in Japan are jobless; the other three mill up to Nanking where they shelled the Chinese capital. Simul-taneously Japanese cruisers were despatched to Chinese cities along the coast where the boycott was in progress. In practically all cases, the Kuomintang authorities in these places accepted all Japanese demands and suppressed boycott organizations and anti- Japanese newspapers. Although the Nanking government and Chinese warlords be-trayed China and surrendered to the Japanese imperialists, the workers and soldiers in Shanghai and other cities formed revolu-tionary defence councils and heroically resisted the Japanese invasion. The Nanking government ordered its troops to with-draw from Shanghai and make no effort to resist the invaders. The Chinese soldiers refused to obey these orders and joined the workers in the defence of the city. In the meantime the imperialist powers were getting worried over the situation in the upper Yangtse valley. With Hankow virtually surrounded by Red workers and peasant troops, repre-sentatives of the imperialist powers met and discussed methods of suppressing Chinese " banditry". According to press reports from China, Rear Admiral Williams, head of the American Yangtse River patrol, took a leading part in these discussions. United States and the War What was the policy of the United States, Great Britain and the other imperialist powers towards the Japanese advance in Manchuria and the Yangtse valley? It is generally supposed that the United States strongly op-posed the Japanese offensive from the beginning. One would think that this would be so in view of the sharp Arnerican- Japanese rivalry in the Pacific. Nevertheless, the American notes to Japan, recently published by the State Department, reveal that this was not the case. At no point did the United States offer any genuine opposition to the Japanese occupation of Manchuria. It was only after the Japanese troops seized Chin-the Great Wall, and threatened to move into China proper, that the American notes became a little sharp in tone. It is also important to note that the American government viewed Japanese military operations in Manchuria with especial calm when they were centered in the north near the Soviet frontiers. Newspaper reports from Washington during this period indicated that American officials were looking forward with some hope to an open war between the Soviet Union and Japan, and brief war " booms" stirred the declining stock and commodity markets. Washington was obviously disappointed at the Soviet Union's refusal to be drawn into a war with Japan. It is possible to understand America's attitude towards the Japanese invasion in Manchuria only when one recalls General Holbrook's statement, President Hoover's strongly anti- Soviet views and the hatred and fear with which American capitalism regards the Soviet Union. American capitalism supports Japanese penetration in Manchuria and Mongolia not because it loves Japanese capitalism but because it hates and fears the Soviet Union. Immediately after the World War, the United States, together with the other capitalist powers, invaded the Soviet Union. In 1929 the United States sought to " internationalize" ( a capital-ist diplomatic word for grab) the Chinese Eastern Railroad. For the past fourteen years American capitalism has consistently tried to disrupt Soviet trade and industry. American capitalism's long record of anti- Soviet hostility ex-plains why the United States government permitted and encour-aged Japan's campaign in Manchuria. The columns of the capitalist press confirm this view. On October 29, 1931, Ralph Hendershot, financial editor of the " liberal" New York World- Telegram, wrote: panese squabble, even th The aims of capitalism are here revealed: War against the Soviet Union to crush the new Socialist world; war to revive industry in the United States. Even now the United States is profiting from the Japanese invasion. From July to December, 1931, Japan bought more than a million bales of cotton in the United States against a half million bales in the same months of 1930. Most of this cotton is being used by Japan in the manufacture of munitions. In addition, Japan is purchasing large quantities of trucks, iron, steel, gasoline and airplanes. As regards Japan's invasion of the Yangtse valley the Wash-ington government has frequently expressed its sympathy for Japanese attempts to exterminate Chinese " bandits". As we have already seen, the American officials in Hankow are playing a leading part in planning a widespread anti- Communist cam-paign in the upper Yangtse valley. The American government's position coincides ( as is natural) with that of Wall Street. A report published in the New York World- Telegram ( February 2, I 932) describes Wall Street's at-titude in the following terms: Wall Street remained definitely sympathetic towards the Japanese adventure in China, regarding it as basically a bit of international policing which would benefit business all over the world. This attitude centered on the suppression of Chinese bandits rather than upon the invasion of territory. Two days of inquiry in the financial district failed to disclose one strong criticism of Japan's seizure of Manchuria. " I think China has almost completely lost prestige and sympathy," said a member of an international banking firm. . . . " The opinion in Wall Street is that China is so disrupted that other nations cannot rely on her for treaty obligations or look to her for protection from ban-dits . . . Japan's action in Manchuria undoubtedly will give security to foreign investments there and may open up territory which has been closed in the past." Significantly enough the first American warships despatched from Manila to China were ordered to the upper Yangtse River, where the Red troops are operating, rather than to Shanghai. American as well as Japanese capitalists feel that their interests the suppression of the Chinese Soviets. The imperialist feel that they can no longer rely on Nanking to do the job and direct " policing" by foreign armies and navies is now neces-Â¥ is does not mean, however, that the United States views Japan's expansionist ambition with any degree of complacency. The United States has long been preparing for a war with Japan and is now strengthening her naval bases on the northwestern oast of the United States and developing aviation in Alaska in preparation for a titanic clash with Japan for supremacy in Asia. In so far as Japan confines her military operations to attacks on the Chinese workers and peasants and to preparations for a war against the Soviet Union, the United States is prepared to ort it. On the other hand, the American bankers and busi-men, with the vast armed forces at their command, will sharply combat any attempt on the part of their Japanese rivals extend their influence in China, particularly in the Yangtse lley. The American battle fleet is now concentrated in the cific, holding its annual maneuvers at Hawaii. This vast play of force is a warning to Japan that American imperialism ready, if necessary, to use armed force against Japanese im-in the scramble for booty in China. rivalries, however, do not prevent the imperialists from ing with their war against the Chinese masses and their eparations for an armed attack against the Soviet Union. The ench and British bankers and bosses, like those of the United , support the Japanese campaign in the Yangtse and the ese efforts to build a war base against the Soviet Union uria. Despite their sharp rivalries, the robber powers ied in a war against the revolutionary workers of the . The reality of such an alliance was clearly revealed at recent sessions of the League of Nations where the capitalist n supported the Japanese offensive in China and tried as possible to persuade the Nanking politicians to withdraw opposition which they, under pressure from the Chinese masses, pretended to put up. ond Carroll, New York Evening Post corresponden oviet Union and Soviet China who are struggling to end reported the League meetings in Paris for his ploitation and build a new world- a world of and on November 2 1, I 93 I : The Socialist Party and the pacifists say that they " oppose Why not state the truth, that Japan emerges victorious Far Eastern battles, but here as well, because the great ey appeal to the League of Nations to " stop war". The tions, behind their League masks and under their di can Socialist Party appeals to the " United States govern-flage secretly want Japan installed upon the Asiatic to use all possible pressure in concert with other govem-pendable sector of a protective ring around the Soviet. to bring about a peaceful settlement between China and What Finland, Esthonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Roumania . In other words the Socialists regard the very imperialist do for conservative Europe in their functions as buffer states against Soviet Russia, it is argued- and settled for that matter- Japan, in-o are hurling the world into a new war as apostles trenched in the Asiatic mainland, would perform at the gateway of the of peace. This policy only deceives the workers and farmers Reds' [' backyard." and prevents them from conducting a real fight against imperialist war. The men who lead the Socialist parties of the world " talked ce" before 1914, to o, and ended by supporting the war. They A New World War? are doing the same thing today- talking peace and actually fool-ing the workers and helping the imperialist robbers make war. The war in China is spreading at a tremendous The Communist Party alone is organizing the workers and soon engulf the whole world in another slaughter, armers for a real struggle against war. In Japan, and England and bloody than the last world war. It will be a and France and the United States- throughout the world, the Chinese people; a war against the workers and peasants of the Communists are mobilizing the masses against the preparations Soviet Union; a war among the imperialist robbers themselves m for a new world slaughter. They call upon the in a struggle over loot. and farmers of the United States, as well as the rest of American soldiers and sailors, recruited from bread1 d, to organize anti- war committees in the factories, mines tories and farms, may soon be hurled into a war again untryside; to mobilize all workers and farmers organiza-and farmers in China, the Soviet Union or Japan. t imperialist war; to fight against the attack on the American soldiers and sailors are being called on e and for the defence of the Soviet Union, the first " American property" in China; to defend the ers' and farmers' government. capitalists who shoot down starving workers in the United St as well as China and doom tens of millions of workers to unem-ployment, low wages and starvation. American workers and farmers have nothing to gain but and death from imperialist war. They have nothing to g fighting the wars of the Rockefellers, Mellons and M The capitalists of the United States made billions of doll profits out of the last war; American workers and farme reaped nothing but hunger and death. American workers have everything to gain imperialist war and by defending the workers and peasant 6 BOOKS FOR WO . . 3 THE ' LABOR these I treated hboral AND looks . fron ion w INDl the 1 th rith JSTRY chief e vie the I SEM Ami wpou , abor y all srican at of Rese read] indi the arch r includes ustries are workers. Associatic Research Association.. ........... BTIHLEL FHIVAEY- WYEOAORD ' SP LBAONO KO, F ATnH EA SuOtVoI bEiTo gUrNaIpOhNy, b.. y. G.... T.... G.. r. h. k. O...... ... LIFE AND DEATH OF SACCO AND VANZETTI, by Eugene Lyons.. .. The publishers of these books will be glad to send a @ st of titles of interest to workers on request. INTERNATIONA- L PUBL * f


Stewart, Ray


New York : International Pamphlets




Lewis and Clark College


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China - Republic of China 1911 - 1949




Stewart, Ray, “War in China,” ASIANetwork IDEAS Project, accessed April 16, 2024, https://ideasproject.org/items/show/1364.