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It was not until after the collapse of Russia that the question of man-power became a serious one with the Allies. But before that day the United States had entered the field, and she could place men in Europe much faster and more easily than could Japan. The general view in Japan, except among a few outspoken advocates of the Allies' cause, was that she should thoroughly perform her duties in the Far East, and should adopt a policy of "watchful waiting" in regard to sending a force to Europe, although prepared to participate if her man-power were formally desired.
The sending of a force to Europe, therefore, never passed out of the stage of discussion. But in that stage certain very practical difficulties were presented. First of all was the question of transport. When we remember how every resource of ocean transportation was called upon to convey the American armies across the relatively narrow Atlantic, we can understand the almost insoluble difficulties presented in moving a force from Japan to Europe. From Yokohama to Marseilles, via the Suez Canal, is over 9,000 marine miles; from Yokohama to Bordeaux, via Panama, is over 12,000; from New York to Bordeaux is only 3,187. Given an equal number of transports, of equal size and speed, it would take three or four times as much tonnage to land a Japanese army in Europe as it would an American one of the same size. But the transportation facilities in the Far East could not be compared with those on the Atlantic. In 1914, the merchant marine of Japan numbered 168 steamers of over 3,000 tons, with a total of 922,020 tons. She possessed only eight ships of over 10,000 tons. This tonnage was worked to the fullest capacity to carry on the trade abandoned by British and other Allies' ships because of the military needs of the Entente. It requires little insight to understand that, as long as the manpower of the Allies remained superior to that of Germany, the very best use that Japan could make of her tonnage was in supplying the Allies with food and materials. The effect of withdrawing all the large Japanese vessels for transport services would have been lamentable. But if she withdrew one-third of her available tonnage, say 300,000 tons, this would only suffice to transport and maintain 50,000 Japanese in Europe, if the moderate allowance of six tons per man were made. While British and requisitioned German tonnage has carried the bulk of the American troops to Europe, little help could have been found in those quarters for Japan. From every point of view, therefore, the transportation of an effective Japanese force to Europe seemed out of the question. But if it became absolutely necessary, then the tonnage could have been diverted, the Far Eastern trade allowed to lapse, the civilians of Europe and of Japan placed on a starvation allowance, so that Japan might throw her reserves of men into the European field. Fortunately, the war was brought to a close before such a need developed.
And a similar situation existed on the eastern front. The only means of transportation between Japan and European Russia was the Trans-Siberian railway, over 5,000 miles long. This was worked to fullest capacity to convey the supplies to the Russian front from Vladivostok. As long as Russia had hundreds of thousands of soldiers without equipment, was it not sound policy to use the railroad for transporting supplies rather than for transporting unneeded man-power which would in turn need more supplies? With the establishment of Bolsheviki control in Russia, their abandonment of the Allies, and their treachery to both the Rumanians and the Czecho-Slovak troops, the Japanese were profoundly grateful that no desire for glory had caused a Japanese force to be left at the mercy of the Germans and Bolsheviki five thousand miles from their base.
Of all the practical difficulties, that connected with transportation was the most insoluble. But two others were presented. First, was that of the expense involved. No one of the five Allies was so unprepared to finance a costly war as was Japan. She was still groaning under the burden of taxation due to the Russian War, which only ended in 1905. In 1914, the national debt of Japan amounted to over $1,250,000,000. About 25% of the annual expenditure of the state went to paying interest. The people had borne, with increasing unrest, a burden of taxation
which Americans in time of peace would have deemed unthinkable. A study of the fiscal system shows how the Government had been compelled to tap almost every conceivable source of revenue.1 Such unpopular taxes as the salt monopoly, the textile, business and transit taxes called for readjustment. One economist estimated that 44% of the people's income went for taxes. And when the low standard of living is borne in mind, the fact that in 1914 the highest skilled laborer received only about 50 cents a day, while the farm laborer received $27.00 a year, we can understand that for the poorest of the Allies to have conducted one of the most expensive operations would have been more than any one could ask, unless the need was absolutely imperative. To be sure, the Japanese soldiers would be paid little, and their food would be cheap, but all the implements of warfare would cost her as much as any other state, while transport would cost more. Farm laborers earning $27.00 a year can hardly bear the burden of a modern war as well as Americans whose earnings in a similar capacity would run from six to nine hundred dollars, with food and lodging provided.
The second problem was the equipment of the Japanese army. As far as manpower went the Japanese possessed a very effective force. But the Great War was largely a war of machinery. Japan was hopelessly deficient in airplanes, motor transport, artillery and machine guns. In her last war, with Russia, man-power counted for much, but in the Great War man-power had to be re-enforced by unheard-of quantities of guns, airships and motors. At the outbreak of the war Japan did not possess a single automobile factory. To equip an expeditionary force she would have had to fall back upon the overworked factories of Europe and America. That fact in itself indicates one of the great problems which the Japanese staff would have had to face.
■ For details of Japanese finances see the plates prefixed to the Seventeenth Financial and Economic Annual of Japan. 1917. The Department of Finance (Tokyo, Government Printing Office, 1917).
IV. The S1ber1an Exped1t1on
In March of this year an entirely new question was presented by the action of the Bolsheviki representatives in signing the wretched treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Russia thus withdrew from the war, breaking the pact of London signed by the Tsar's Government. The eastern front had collapsed—not only was Germany free to mass most of her divisions on the west for her strenuous offensives which so promptly commenced, but there was the immediate danger of her overrunning Russia and exploiting such stores of food and supplies as might be found. Japan at once consulted her Allies as to what should be done under these new conditions. Three plans were unofficially considered. First, the immediate landing of a Japanese force to take possession of the vast amount of military supplies piled up at Vladivostok; secondly, the sending of an expeditionary force to seize the TransSiberian railway and thus prevent a German advance to the east, if such were attempted. This also called for the recapture and disarmament of the Austro-Hungarian and German prisoners in Siberia, who had been released and armed by the Bolsheviki. And, thirdly, the endeavor to restore the eastern front;—but this plan was recognized as impossible from the start. It was difficult to know what was best to be done because of the abnormal conditions in Russia. But one thing was certain, and that was that Japan would not act without the advice and approval of her Allies, especially Great Britain and the United States. In Japan the discussion was complicated because of a bitter political controversy then raging, and any decision of the Terauchi ministry was bound to provoke criticism, largely of a political nature.
The first step was taken on April 5, when a small force of sailors was landed at Vladivostok to protect life and property there, after a Japanese had been killed and two wounded by Russians. This was followed by the landing of British and later American sailors. In this way the great port of Vladivostok and the supplies there came under the control of the Allies. For the next few months there was indecision. President Wilson then
considered the problem and used his strong influence in favor of moderate measures. A new turn was given to the discussion when the Czecho-Slovak troops began to appear at Vladivostok, after having fought their way across Siberia, leaving most of their numbers embattled behind them.
DEVELOPMENT OF AMERICAN PLAN
By August 3 the American proposal had been formulated and adopted by Japan. It called for the dispatch of a joint expeditionary force to Siberia to rescue the Czecho-Slovak troops from the German and Austro-Hungarian armed prisoners. Furthermore, this military assistance would "steady any efforts at self-government or self-defense in which the Russians themselves may be willing to accept assistance." In addition the United States proposed to send to Siberia a commission of merchants, agricultural experts, labor advisers, Red Cross representatives and agents of the Young Men's Christian Association in order in some systematic way to relieve the immediate economic necessities of the people there. Statements were issued in Tokyo and in Washington defining the scope of the joint expedition.1 The Japanese document contained this pledge: "They reaffirm their avowed policy of respecting the territorial integrity of Russia, and of abstaining from all interference in her internal politics. They further declare that upon the realization of the objects above indicated, they will immediately withdraw all Japanese troops from Russian territory, and will leave wholly unimpaired the sovereignty of Russia in all its phases, whether political or military."
Steps were at once taken to carry out these plans. The Japanese contingent was commanded by General Otani, who became the commander-in-chief of the joint force. Two American regiments were hurried up from the Philippines and Major-General Graves led the first troops across from the United States. After some
■ For the texts of the statements, see The Supreme War Council, 413-416 (A League of Nations, I, No. 7).