REVIEW of REVIEWS

War in China

Downfall of Japan, if War Is Long Continued, Is Said To Be Quite Possible

October 15 1938
REVIEW of REVIEWS

War in China

Downfall of Japan, if War Is Long Continued, Is Said To Be Quite Possible

October 15 1938

War in China

Downfall of Japan, if War Is Long Continued, Is Said To Be Quite Possible

REVIEW of REVIEWS

THAT THE war in China may actually result in the downfall of the Japanese empire, is the conclusion arrived at by Nathaniel Peffer in Harper's Magazine. He states:

The Japanese hold all of North China and nearly all of Central China. And their advance is the measure of their failure. If they had not taken so much territory, if they had not been compelled to take so much territory, they could have counted the war successful. Their object was to deal China a crushing blow with a minimal expenditure of men and materials, dictate a peace ending opposition to Japan’s ambitions, and pinch off the North China provinces. They thought the fighting would be over when they had overrun the area around Peiping and Tientsin or, at the most, when they had driven the Chinese Central Government out of Nanking. Instead, after every victory they have had to undertake another and harder campaign. They have won battles, driven off Chinese armies, and captured cities and provinces, but they have not been able to put Chinese armed forces out of action. They have won everything, in fact, except Chinese acknowledgment of defeat. And until they win that their victories are worthless to them. To the contrary, they are a liability. They impose the necessity of more troops for garrison duty and guarding lines of communication, more men and munitions for further battles. Every mile the Japanese penetrate deeper into China their task becomes more difficult, their position more dangerous.

Even Japanese army leaders no longer attempt to deceive themselves or even their people. They, too, now know what everybody else knew at the beginning: to conquer any of China it is necessary to conquer all of it. That, in essence, is the burden they have assumed, whether they were conscious of it or not. The war will end if and when they have exterminated the Chinese organized fighting forces and dispersed the guerrilla bands now at large throughout the country and in addition have occupied the whole country. A compromise jxace they can have only on terms that will constitute acknowledgment of defeat. That they cannot make even if they were so inclined. It would lx* a waste of all that has been expended, both in life and in resources. And by what has been expended already Japan has been set back for a decade. More serious, it would expose the army to an enforced accounting at home that would end in dethronement of the army from the rulership of Japan, which it now holds, ami might even end in revolution. The Japanese army has staked more in China than a grandiose scheme of imperial conquest. It has staked its own existence. A compromise peace on terms that would be tantamount to the surrender by China of sovereignty over its territory the Japanese are not likely to get. The war has acted as an amalgam in China. Japan has that accomplishment to its credit, dubious as that may lx* from its point of

view. The threat of national extinction has thrown together the hitherto warring factions in China. The excesses of the Japanese troops have given the mass of Chinese a cause.

The Chinese Government might conceivably be induced to sign a peace on Japanese terms in order to save something out of the nation’s wreck, but it could not put the terms into effect. If it were not actually disavowed and supplanted by another Government committed to continuing the war, there would be large bodies of troops carrying on resistance, with the support of a considerable part of the population. But it is unlikely that the Chinese Government will be willing to sign any peace in the near future except on terms unacceptable to Japan. China can be expected to go on fighting, resisting at one point as long as possible, then withdrawing to another point and taking up resistance there, with the intent of prolonging the war as much as possible and making it as costly to Japan as possible. A compromise satisfactory to China Japan will not offer; a compromise Japan can accept China will not concede; and a

straight-out military victory for Japan is remote. There is little prospect then of an end to the war in the near future.

Even before the war Japan failed to meet its Government expenses by twenty-five per cent and had to resort to deficit bond issues. And in the year before the w;ar it was impossible to float all the 700,000,000 yen of deficit bonds because the capital market could not absorb them. But this year it will be necessary to float five billion yen of bonds to pay for the war ! It can be done only as a paper transaction. The bonds are issued to the Bank of Japan and Government payments made against them. Private banks are compelled to take them up to the limit of their capacity, and there is being introduced, although with euphemisms, a system of compulsory deductions from workers’ wages to be turned over to the Government as “savings." Japan is not only squandering the wealth accumulated in the past but mortgaging the future. If the war can be finished before the mortgage is called, Japan escapes collapse; if not, Japan collapses. But the war has already become a gamble, w'ith stakes that Japan does not possess.

Elastic Metal

THE ability to combine steel and rubber into one material is an important discovery in the science of prcxlucing artificial working materials. This German "elastic metal," which is composed of a mixture of steel and soft india-rubber, is

said to be an excellent material from which to manufacture springs of all kinds, as well as couplings in machinery. This composition can also be used to advantage for sound-absorbing devices. — Scientific A merican.