THE inevitability and the imminence of an armed conflict between Japan and the Soviet Union are both of them matters open to doubt; and this writer is among the most skeptical. But if such a war comes, its initial course can be predicted with considerable confidence. Three underlying factors would in particular condition its character.
First of all, the initial blow would be struck by Japan. From the Russian point of view, delay is most advantageous. Each day that the stroke can be averted means a stronger, more efficient Red army at the front and a more solid industrial organization at the rear. In addition, the Soviet leaders know perfectly well the domestic advantages of a defensive war, as well as the international value of establishing a clear-cut case of aggression against their opponents. It is obvious Russian policy to postpone and await the shock.
Secondly, a Russo-Japanese war would
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