December 18, 2014

1943. The Soviet View of Japan

The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
"Soldiers unloading LCPR and LCM type landing craft on the beach at Massacre Bay, Attu, on 12 May 1943" (source)
The parentheses indicate portions that did not pass Soviet censors for military or propaganda reasons.

(For more, see the complete 1943 Moscow reports.)
Bill Downs

CBS Moscow

June 19, 1943

Red Army troops moved ahead on one sector of the front on the northern side of the Oryol bulge and occupied a strategic line. This is the second Russian advance in this sector in the past week. The Germans have thrown reserves into this sector northwest of Mtsensk, and the fighting has been especially bitter—reminiscent of the winter offensive. Another hundred Axis soldiers were killed in last night's fighting, marking a total of 2,100 wiped out in the past several days.

The northern end of the front up around Leningrad also is livening up. For the past week we have been getting brief reports of heavy artillery fire and skirmishes on the Karelian Isthmus and on the Volkhov Front. Air activity on the Leningrad Front itself also has been increased by both sides, and the Germans still sporadically lob big shells into the center of the city. On Friday large German forces attempted to raid the town of Volkhov, southeast of Leningrad. Twenty-four German planes were shot down. The Russian air force countered with two attacks on German airdromes in the Leningrad district, and good effects were seen among dispersed planes and among hangars and other installations.

Moreover, the Soviet high command defines these operations as local fighting. The communiqué this morning again says there were no essential changes on the front.

The first comprehensive review of the war in the Pacific to be published in the Soviet Union was printed yesterday in the magazine of international affairs called "The War and the Working Class."

This article is written by one of Russia's leading experts on the Far East, a Doctor of Historical Sciences called Zhukov. The tone of this article is extremely interesting, and its conclusions very significant for the United States.

Doctor Zhukov starts by saying (that some people have been impressed by the "temporary" achievements of Japanese imperialism. He goes on to say that these achievements, while extensive, do not bear the weight of close examination—Japan's early victories, according to this Soviet expert, are of "transient significance.")

(Today, Zhukov says,) the advantages which Japan gained by her perfidious blow have been liquidated, and "the offensive spirit of the Japanese has come to an end."

("In May, 1943, a serious reverse befell Japan," the Russian expert says. "In the Northern Pacific, American troops drove the Japanese out of Attu Island which, incidentally, the Japanese militarists prematurely gave a Japanese name.")

He goes on: "At the present time Japan is observing with increasing alarm the general tendency of the development of military events. Japan everywhere is passing to the defense."

Zhukov then attacks the Japanese theory of "the Great Eastern Asiatic Sphere of Prosperity." Japanese plans, he pointed out, have since the war clearly shown that Japanese imperialism is aimed at expanding this sphere to India, Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, and other countries. "The most zealous Japanese militarists had in their plans also the capture of the Far Eastern territories of the Soviet Union."

The Soviet professor concludes with the statement that Japan not only has paid a heavy price for her earlier successes in the Pacific, "but also has increased the military vulnerability of Japan herself . . . The losses of the Japanese Navy and merchant fleet are incessantly growing and practically impossible to replace. More and more striking are becoming the permanent operations and constant factors which define the ultimate victory of the Anglo-American Allies. Japan has been forced to pay a dear price for the adventurist plans of the Japanese militarists who drew her into a hard and hopeless war against such powers as the United States and Great Britain."

This review of the war is not a statement of the Soviet government. However, published as it is in the official magazine of the Russian Trades Union Council, which is the only international publication in the Soviet Union, we cannot underestimate its importance.

(This article serves to emphasize the Soviet government's stand toward aggressors—no matter who they might be. It's a stand that undoubtedly will have its effect in future events.)