Courtesy Reuters

"Totalitarian" Japan

SIMULTANEOUSLY with their new war for the domination of China, the Japanese Army and Navy are engaged in another major war -- the struggle for complete mastery of the Japanese state and the Japanese national economy. There is nothing new nor accidental in the parallelism of these events. For more than half a century, now, the military has driven incessantly for the fulfillment of both continental and domestic ambitions, the one stimulating and sometimes even directly motivating the other. But never before has the causative interrelation between the tendency of expansionism and that of totalitarianism been quite so close and compelling, nor so complicated and so dangerous to the nation and to the Army and Navy themselves.

There are a number of new features in the present coincidence of the military's two struggles abroad and at home which distinguish it clearly from historical precedents. First of all, it would seem as though the military's initiative at this time has been taken somewhat less voluntarily than on former occasions and without the same conviction and wholeheartedness. It would be a gross exaggeration, of course, to say that this time the Japanese Army and Navy were first attacked by China, and that they adopted an offensive strategy merely in order to defend their positions on the Continent; just as it would be incorrect to assert that the anti-militarist forces at home had seriously challenged the political power of the services and thus provoked them to a counter-attack. Yet it can hardly be doubted that in both arenas the Army and Navy were half-driven into actions which they began to regret, or at least to regard with serious apprehension, at the very moment when they found them utterly unavoidable.

The old psychological fixation of the Japanese military mind in the traditional samurai attitude of taking the offensive against any odds, whenever there seems danger to life or a risk of loss of "face," and whether or not the dangers are real or imaginary; the

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