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past always acquiesced in foreign domination when resistance has proved
patently impossible. She also feels that her aspirations for white
expulsion from the Far East and for the winning of wider spheres for
racial expansion should appeal strongly to yellow peoples generally and to
the Chinese in particular. To turn China's nascent nationalism into purely
anti-white channels and to transmute Chinese patriotism into a wider
"Pan-Mongolism" would constitute a Japanese triumph of incalculable
splendor. It would increase her effective force manyfold and would open up
almost limitless vistas of power and glory.

Nor are the Chinese themselves blind to the advantages of Chino-Japanese
co-operation. They have an instinctive assurance in their own capacities,
they know how they have ultimately digested all their conquerors, and many
Chinese to-day think that from a Chino-Japanese partnership, no matter how
framed, the inscrutable "Sons of Han" would eventually get the lion's
share. Certainly no one has ever denied the Chinaman's extraordinary
economic efficiency. Winnowed by ages of grim elimination in a land
populated to the uttermost limits of subsistence, the Chinese race is
selected as no other for survival under the fiercest conditions of
economic stress. At home the average Chinese lives his whole life
literally within a hand's breadth of starvation. Accordingly, when removed
to the easier environment of other lands, the Chinaman brings with him a
working capacity which simply appalls his competitors. That urbane
Celestial, Doctor Wu-Ting-Fang, well says of his own people: "Experience
proves that the Chinese as all-round laborers can easily outdistance all
competitors. They are industrious, intelligent, and orderly. They can work
under conditions that would kill a man of less hardy race; in heat that
would kill a salamander, or in cold that would please a polar bear,
sustaining their energies through long hours of unremitting toil with only
a few bowls of rice."[18] This Chinese estimate is echoed by the most
competent foreign observers. The Australian thinker, Charles H. Pearson,
wrote of the Chinese a generation ago in his epoch-making book, "National
Life and Character": "Flexible as Jews, they can thrive on the mountain
plateaux of Thibet and under the sun of Singapore; more versatile even
than Jews, they are excellent laborers, and not without merit as soldiers
and sailors; while they have a capacity for trade which no other nation of
the East possesses. They do not need even the accident of a man of genius
to develop their magnificent future."[19] And Lafcadio Hearn says: "A
people of hundreds of millions disciplined for thousands of years to the
most untiring industry and the most self-denying thrift, under conditions
which would mean worse than death for our working masses - a people, in
short, quite content to strive to the uttermost in exchange for the simple
privilege of life."[20]

This economic superiority of the Chinaman shows not only with other races,
but with his yellow kindred as well. As regards the Japanese, John
Chinaman has proved it to the hilt. Wherever the two have met in economic
competition, John has won hands down. Even in Japanese colonies like Korea
and Formosa, the Japanese, with all the backing of their government behind
them, have been worsted. In fact, Japan itself, so bitter at white
refusals to receive her emigrants, has been obliged to enact drastic
exclusion laws to protect her working classes from the influx of "Chinese
cheap labor." It seems, therefore, a just calculation when Chinese
estimate that Japanese triumphs against white adversaries would inure
largely to China's benefit. After all, Chinese and Japanese are
fundamentally of the same race and culture. They may have their very
bitter family quarrels, but in the last analysis they understand each
other and may arrive at surprisingly sudden agreements. One thing is
certain: both these over-populated lands will feel increasingly the
imperious need of racial expansion. For all these reasons, then, the
present political tension between China and Japan cannot be reckoned as
permanent, and we would do well to envisage the possibility of close
Chinese co-operation in the ambitious programme of Japanese foreign

This Japanese programme looks first to the prevention of all further white
encroachment in the Far East by the establishment of a Far Eastern Monroe
Doctrine based on Japanese predominance and backed if possible by the
moral support of the other Far Eastern peoples. The next stage in Japanese
foreign policy seems to be the systematic elimination of all existing
white holdings in the Far East. Thus far practically all Japanese appear
to be in substantial agreement. Beyond this point lies a wide realm of
aspiration ranging from determination to secure complete racial equality
and freedom of immigration into white lands to imperialistic dreams of
wholesale conquests and "world-dominion." These last items do not
represent the united aspiration of the Japanese nation, but they are
cherished by powerful circles which, owing to Japan's oligarchical system
of government, possess an influence over governmental action quite
disproportionate to their numbers.

Although Japanese plans and aspirations have broadened notably since 1914,
their outlines were well defined a decade earlier. Immediately after her
victory over Russia, Japan set herself to strengthen her influence all
over eastern Asia. Special efforts were made to establish intimate
relations with the other Asiatic peoples. Asiatic students were invited to
attend Japanese universities and as a matter of fact did attend by the
thousand, while a whole series of societies was formed having for their
object the knitting of close cultural and economic ties between Japan and
specific regions like China, Siam, the Pacific, and even India. The
capstone was a "Pan-Asiatic Association," founded by Count Okuma. Some of
the facts regarding these societies, about which too little is known, make
interesting reading. For instance, there was the "Pacific Ocean Society"
("Taheijoka"), whose preamble reads in part: "For a century the Pacific
Ocean has been a battle-ground wherein the nations have struggled for
supremacy. To-day the prosperity or decadence of a nation depends on its
power in the Pacific: to possess the empire of the Pacific is to be the
Master of the World. As Japan finds itself at the centre of that Ocean,
whose waves bathe its shores, it must reflect carefully and have clear
views on Pacific questions."[21]

Equally interesting is the "Indo-Japanese Association," whose activities
appear somewhat peculiar in view of the political alliance between Japan
and the British Empire. One of the first articles of its constitution
(from Count Okuma's pen, by the way) reads: "All men were born equal. The
Asiatics have the same claim to be called men as the Europeans themselves.
It is therefore quite unreasonable that the latter should have any right
to predominate over the former."[22] No mention is made anywhere in the
document of India's political connection with England. In fact, Count
Okuma, in the autumn of 1907, had this to say regarding India: "Being
oppressed by the Europeans, the 300,000,000 people of India are looking
for Japanese protection. They have commenced to boycott European
merchandise. If, therefore, the Japanese let the chance slip by and do not
go to India, the Indians will be disappointed. From old times, India has
been a land of treasure. Alexander the Great obtained there treasure
sufficient to load a hundred camels, and Mahmoud and Attila also obtained
riches from India. Why should not the Japanese stretch out their hands
toward that country, now that the people are looking to the Japanese? The
Japanese ought to go to India, the South Ocean, and other parts of the

In 1910, Putnam Weale, a competent English student of Oriental affairs,
asserted: "It can no longer be doubted that a very deliberate policy is
certainly being quietly and cleverly pursued. Despite all denials, it is a
fact that Japan has already a great hold in the schools and in the
vernacular newspapers all over eastern Asia, and that the gospel of 'Asia
for the Asiatics' is being steadily preached not only by her schoolmasters
and her editors, but by her merchants and peddlers, and every other man
who travels."[24]

Exactly how much these Japanese propagandist efforts accomplished is
impossible to say. Certain it is, however, that during the years just
previous to the Great War the white colonies in the Far East were
afflicted with considerable native unrest. In French Indo-China, for
example, revolutionary movements during the year 1908 necessitated
reinforcing the French garrison by nearly 10,000 men, and though the
disturbances were sternly repressed, fresh conspiracies were discovered
in 1911 and 1913. Much sedition and some sharp fighting also took place in
the Dutch Indies, while in the Philippines the independence movement
continued to gain ground.

What the growing self-consciousness of the Far East portended for the
white man's ultimate status in those regions was indicated by an English
publicist, J. D. Whelpley, who wrote, shortly after the outbreak of the
European War: "With the aid of Western ideas the Far East is fast
attaining a solidarity impossible under purely Oriental methods. The smug
satisfaction expressed in the West at what is called the 'modernization'
of the East shows lack of wisdom or an ineffective grasp of the meaning of
comparatively recent events in Japan, China, eastern Siberia, and even in
the Philippines. In years past the solidarity of the Far East was largely
in point of view, while in other matters the powerful nations of the West
played the game according to their own rules. To-day the solidarity of
mental outlook still maintains, while in addition there is rapidly coming
about a solidarity of political and material interests which in time will
reduce Western participation in Far Eastern affairs to that of a
comparatively unimportant factor. It might truly be said that this point
is already reached, and that it only needs an application of the test to
prove to the world that the Far East would resent Western interference as
an intolerable impertinence."[25]

The scope of Japan's aspirations, together with differences of outlook
between various sections of Japanese public opinion as to the rate of
progress feasible for Japanese expansion, account for Japan's differing
attitudes toward the white Powers. Officially, the keystone of Japan's
foreign policy since the beginning of the present century has been the
alliance with England, first negotiated in 1902 and renewed with extensive
modifications in 1911. The 1902 alliance was universally popular in Japan.
It was directed specifically against Russia and represented the common
apprehensions of both the contracting parties. By 1911, however, the
situation had radically altered. Japan's aspirations in the Far East,
particularly as regards China, were arousing wide-spread uneasiness in
many quarters, and the English communities in the Far East generally
condemned the new alliance as a gross blunder of British diplomacy. In
Japan also there was considerable protest. The official organs, to be
sure, stressed the necessity of friendship with the Mistress of the Seas
for an island empire like Japan, but opposition circles pointed to
England's practical refusal to be drawn into a war with the United States
under any circumstances which constituted the outstanding feature of the
new treaty and declared that Japan was giving much and receiving nothing
in return.

The growing divergence between Japanese and English views regarding China
increased anti-English feeling, and in 1912 the semi-official _Japan
Magazine_ asserted roundly that the general feeling in Japan was that the
alliance was a detriment rather than a benefit, going on to forecast a
possible alignment with Russia and Germany, and remarking of the latter:
"Germany's healthy imperialism and scientific development would have a
wholesome effect upon our nation and progress, while the German habit of
perseverance and frugality is just what we need. German wealth and
industry are gradually creeping upward to that of Great Britain and
America, and the efficiency of the German army and navy is a model for the
world. Her lease of the territory of Kiaochow Bay brings her into contact
with us, and her ambition to exploit the coal-mines of Shantung lends her
a community of interest with us. It is not too much to say that German
interests in China are greater than those of any other European Power. If
the alliance with England should ever be abrogated, we might be very glad
to shake hands with Germany."[26]

The outbreak of the European War gave Japan a golden opportunity (of which
she was not slow to take advantage) to eliminate one of the white Powers
from the Far East. The German stronghold of Kiaochow was promptly reduced,
while Germany's possessions in the Pacific Ocean north of the equator, the
Caroline, Pelew, Marianne, and Marshall island-groups, were likewise
occupied by Japanese forces. Here Japan stopped and politely declined all
proposals to send armies to Europe or western Asia. Her sphere was the Far
East; her real objectives were the reduction of white influence there and
the riveting of her control over China. Japanese comment was perfectly
candid on these matters. As the semi-official _Japanese Colonial Journal_
put it in the autumn of 1914: "To protect Chinese territory Japan is ready
to fight no matter what nation. Not only will Japan try to erase the
ambitions of Russia and Germany; it will also do its best to prevent
England and the United States from touching the Chinese cake. The solution
of the Chinese problem is of great importance for Japan, and Great Britain
has little to do with it."[27]

Equally frank were Japanese warnings to the English ally not to oppose
Japan's progress in China. English criticism of the series of ultimatums
by which Japan forced reluctant China to do her bidding roused angry
admonitions like the following from the Tokio _Universe_ in April, 1915:
"Hostile English opinion seems to want to oppose Japanese demands in
China. The English forget that Japan has, by her alliance, rendered them
signal services against Russia in 1905 and in the present war by assuring
security in their colonies of the Pacific and the Far East. If Japan
allied herself with England, it was with the object of establishing
Japanese preponderance in China and against the encroachments of Russia.
To-day the English seem to be neglecting their obligations toward Japan by
not supporting her cause. Let England beware! Japan will tolerate no
wavering; she is quite ready to abandon the Anglo-Japanese alliance and
turn to Russia - a Power with whom she can agree perfectly regarding Far
Eastern interests. In the future, even, she is ready to draw closer to
Germany. The English colonies will then be in great peril."[28]

As to the imminence of a Russo-Japanese understanding, the journal just
quoted proved a true prophet, for a year later, in July, 1916, the
Japanese and Russian Governments signed a diplomatic instrument which
amounted practically to an alliance. By this document Russia recognized
Japan's paramountcy over the bulk of China, while Japan recognized
Russia's special interests in China's Western dependencies, Mongolia and
Turkestan. Japan had thus eliminated another of the white Powers from the
Far East, since Russia renounced those ambitions to dominate China proper
which had provoked the war of 1904.

Meanwhile the press campaign against England continued. A typical sample
is this editorial from the Tokio _Yamato_: "Great Britain never wished at
heart to become Japan's ally. She did not wish to enter into such intimate
relations with us, for she privately regarded us as an upstart nation
radically different from us in blood and religion. It was simply the force
of circumstances which compelled her to enter into an alliance with us. It
is the height of conceit on our part to think that England really cared
for our friendship, for she never did. It was the Russian menace to India
and Persia on the one hand, and the German ascendancy on the other, which
compelled her to clasp our hands."[29]

At the same time many good things were being said about Germany. At no
time during the war was any real hostility to the Germans apparent in
Japan. Germany was of course expelled from her Far Eastern footholds in
smart, workmanlike fashion, but the fighting before Kiaochow was conducted
without a trace of hatred, the German prisoners were treated as honored
captives, and German civilians in Japan suffered no molestation. Japanese
writers were very frank in stating that, once Germany resigned herself to
exclusion from the Far East and acquiesced in Japanese predominance in
China, no reason existed why Japan and Germany should not be good friends.
Unofficial diplomatic exchanges certainly took place between the two
governments during the war, and no rancor for the past appears to exist on
either side to-day.

The year 1917 brought three momentous modifications into the
world-situation: the entrance of the United States and China into the
Great War and the Russian Revolution. The first two were intensely
distasteful to Japan. The transformation of virtually unarmed America into
a first-class fighting power reacted portentously upon the Far East, while
China's adhesion to the Grand Alliance (bitterly opposed in Tokio) rescued
her from diplomatic isolation and gave her potential friends. The Russian
Revolution was also a source of perplexity to Tokio. In 1916, as we have
seen, Japan had arrived at a thorough understanding with the Czarist
régime. The new Russian Government was an unknown quantity, acting quite
differently from the old.

Russia's collapse into Bolshevist anarchy, however, presently opened up
new vistas. Not merely northern Manchuria, but also the huge expanse of
Siberia, an almost empty world of vast potential riches, lay temptingly
exposed. At once the powerful imperialist elements in Japanese political
life began clamoring for "forward" action. An opportunity for such action
was soon vouchsafed by the Allied determination to send a composite force
to Siberia to checkmate the machinations of the Russian Bolsheviki, now
hostile to the Allies and playing into the hands of Germany. The
imperialist party at Tokio took the bit in its teeth, and, in flagrant
disregard of the inter-Allied agreement, poured a great army into Siberia,
occupying the whole country as far west as Lake Baikal. This was in the
spring of 1918. The Allies, then in their supreme death-grapple with the
Germans, dared not even protest, but in the autumn, when the battle-tide
had turned in Europe, Japan was called to account, the United States
taking the lead in the matter. A furious debate ensued at Tokio between
the imperialist and moderate parties, the hotter jingoes urging defiance
of the United States even at the risk of war. Then, suddenly, came the
news that Germany was cracking, and the moderates had their way. The
Japanese armies in Siberia were reduced, albeit they still remained the
most powerful military factor in the situation.

Germany's sudden collapse and the unexpectedly quick ending of the war was
a blow to Japanese hopes and plans in more ways than one. Despite
official felicitations, the nation could hardly disguise its chagrin. For
Japan the war had been an unmixed benefit. It had automatically made her
mistress of the Far East and had amazingly enriched her economic life.
Every succeeding month of hostilities had seen the white world grow weaker
and had conversely increased Japanese power. Japan had counted on at least
one more year of war. Small wonder that the sudden passing of this halcyon
time provoked disappointment and regret.

The above outline of Japanese foreign policy reveals beneath all its
surface mutations a fundamental continuity. Whatever may be its ultimate
goals, Japanese foreign policy has one minimum objective: Japan as hegemon
of a Far East in which white influence shall have been reduced to a
vanishing quantity. That is the bald truth of the matter - and no white man
has any reason for getting indignant about it. Granted that Japanese aims
endanger white vested interests in the Far East. Granted that this
involves rivalry and perhaps war. That is no reason for striking a moral
attitude and inveighing against Japanese "wickedness," as many people are
to-day doing. These mighty racial tides flow from the most elemental of
vital urges: self-expansion and self-preservation. Both outward thrust of
expanding life and counter-thrust of threatened life are equally normal
phenomena. To condemn the former as "criminal" and the latter as "selfish"
is either silly or hypocritical and tends to envenom with unnecessary
rancor what objective fairness might keep a candid struggle, inevitable
yet alleviated by mutual comprehension and respect. This is no mere plea
for "sportsmanship"; it is a very practical matter. There are critical
times ahead; times in which intense race-pressures will engender high
tensions and perhaps wars. If men will keep open minds and will eschew the
temptation to regard those opposing their desires to defend or possess
respectively as impious fiends, the struggles will lose half their
bitterness, and the wars (if wars there must be) will be shorn of half
their ferocity.

The unexpected ending of the European War was, as we have seen, a blow to
Japanese calculations. Nevertheless, the skill of her diplomats at the
ensuing Versailles Conference enabled Japan to harvest most of her war
gains. Japan's territorial acquisitions in China were definitely written
into the peace treaty, despite China's sullen veto, and Japan's
preponderance in Chinese affairs was tacitly acknowledged. Japan also took
advantage of the occasion to pose as the champion of the colored races by
urging the formal promulgation of "racial equality" as part of the peace
settlement, especially as regards immigration. Of course the Japanese
diplomats had no serious expectation of their demands being acceded to; in
fact, they might have been rather embarrassed if they had succeeded, in
view of Japan's own stringent laws against immigration and alien
landholding. Nevertheless, it was a politic move, useful for future
propagandist purposes, and it advertised Japan broadcast as the
standard-bearer of the colored cause.

The notable progress that Japan has made toward the mastery of the Far
East is written plainly upon the map, which strikingly portrays the
broadening territorial base of Japanese power effected in the past
twenty-five years. Japan now owns the whole island chain masking the
eastern sea frontage of Asia, from the tip of Kamchatka to the
Philippines, while her acquisition of Germany's Oceanican islands north of
the equator gives her important strategic outposts in mid-Pacific. Her
bridge-heads on the Asiatic continent are also strong and well located.
From the Korean peninsula (now an integral part of Japan) she firmly
grasps the vast Chinese dependency of Manchuria, while just south of
Manchuria across the narrow waters of the Pechili strait lies the rich
Chinese province of Shantung, become a Japanese sphere of influence as a
result of the late war. Thus Japan holds China's capital, Peking, as in
the jaws of a vice and can apply military pressure whenever she so
desires. In southern China lies another Japanese sphere of influence, the
province of Fukien opposite the Japanese island of Formosa. Lastly, all
over China runs a veritable network of Japanese concessions like the
recently acquired control of the great iron deposits near Hankow, far up
the Yangtse River in the heart of China.

Whether this Japanese _imperium_ over China maintains itself or not, one
thing seems certain: future white expansion in the Far East has become
impossible. Any such attempt would instantly weld together Japanese
imperialism and Chinese nationalism in a "sacred union" whose result would
probably be at the very least the prompt expulsion of the white man from
every foothold in eastern Asia.

That is what will probably come anyway as soon as Japan and China,
impelled by overcrowding and conscious of their united potentialities,
shall have arrived at a genuine understanding. Since population-pressure
seems to be the basic factor in the future course of Far Eastern affairs,
it would be well to survey possible outlets for surplus population within

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Online LibraryLothrop StoddardThe Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy → online text (page 4 of 22)