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The Crimson Bookshelf

A BOOK OF AMERICAN VERSE. A. C. Ward. Oxford University Press. London. 1935. $.80.

By S. C. S.

NOW that the grey-bearded diplomats have momentarily ceased picking on Japan, Mr. Rea, Counsellor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Manchukuo, has come forward with a virulently partisan volume defending not only the establishment of the independent state, but also the entire policy of Japan in the Far East.

According to the analysis presented by Mr. Rea, Manchuria was never a part of China. Under the Manchus and in the Abdication Agreements, there was a complete recognition of the independent status of Manchuria. Furthermore, even if this analysis is not acceptable, Mr. Rea contends that the military despotism of the War Lords at Nanking furnished a satisfactory justification for a revolutionary separation from the fatherland. In short, Manchuria was exercising the rights of any downtrodden nation in seeking the aid of Japan to defeat the forces of Chiang-Kai-shek.

In defense of Japanese imperialism in the Far East, Mr. Rea summons the twin bogies of Communism and starvation. With the spread of Communism in China and with the constant penetration of Mongolia by Russian propaganda and cheap goods, Japan is faced with the grim possibility of a Sovietized Asia, whose markets will forever be closed to Japanese goods and whose revolutionary foreign policy will constitute a perpetual threat to the security of the Island Empire. Unless Japan can stop the onward rush of the Russian Bear, she is faced with the grim probability of starvation and defeat. While it is possible to see the justification of Japan's fear of Russian expansion, it is a little too much when Mr. Rea paints a lurid picture of the nations of the world egging on the Soviet Union while poor little Japan is fighting a life and death struggle. Even more incredible is the assertion that Japan is the only force which can prevent the World Revolution.

Mr. Rea is on firmer ground when he launches an attack at traditional American foreign policy in the Far East. He points out with compelling clearness the fact that we are spending more money yearly in maintaining the Open Door policy than the value of our entire trade with China. Backed by a formidable array of figures, Mr. Rea points out that Japan is our best customer in the Far East, that Japanese merchants are responsible for a large part of our trade with China, and that increasing domination of China by Japan will lead to greater trade opportunities for United States goods.

Despite many inconsistencies and a style which well nigh drives the reader to distraction by its incoherence, Mr. Rea has presented a compelling picture of the Far Eastern situation in terms of Japanese interests.

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