"The Dream of Japan"
(A Warning of Japan and Germany Joining Hands, Written During
the First World War, by the Editor of a Sephardic Newspaper)
by Maurice S. Nessim, Originally published in the Ladino Newspaper La Bos Del Pueblo March 15, 1918
Japan, after two weeks speculation is force on the pretext that military supplies in ready, to plunge into Siberia with an armed Vladivostok may fall into the hands of Germany. She says that Cossacks have asked her to enter Siberia and reestablish order.
She says also that she will limit her action to the territory around Vladivostok. Such occupations usually result in a protectorate which are prolonged selfishly for the benefit of the invaders and end ultimately in annexation. The talk is alturistic--the motives selfish. Why should we think Japan's motives more unselfish than those of other nations that have been under similar circumstances?
Japan has been too autocratic, to be trusted in her stated aims. Japan has always been considered one of the most autocratic governments in the world. She has never missed a chance to crush any democratic movement in her empire. She went so far as to provide a special budget for the extermination of all movements that stood for progress and liberty.
With such a record Japan cannot be excused on the ground that a small number of counterrevolutionary Cossacks requested her to interfere with the internal affairs of Russia. Interference is an unfriendly act. Russia is trying to establish popular government. Interference upon any government by any of the nations most hostile to democracy would justly arouse the suspicion of all right-thinking men that the motives were not altruistic and unselfish.
Japan is actuated by Imperialistic motives. Her intentions have always been to dominate the continent of Asia, and as she sees clearly that the Russian revolution would mean a dead blow to her imperialistic aims, she is planning to crush it. It is childish for us to assume that her aim is to establish order in Siberia. Japan has been threatening to invade Siberia ever since the czar was overthrown. It is a move in accordance with her greedy policy of expansion It would be a friendly invasion for the purpose of conquest. The dream of the Mikado is to see his imperial flag flying throughout the eastern continent. The effect of such an invasion upon revolutionary Russia will be disastrous. It is even possible that Japan may join Germany to dominate the world. That would mean another war more bloody than this one.
"It is even possible that Japan may join Germany to dominate the world. That would mean another war more bloody than this one."
The invasion of Siberia by Japan does not accord with democratic principles expounded by President Wilson. He has said that every nation should be permitted to work out its own destiny. All liberty-loving people must disapprove and protest against an invasion, which will prevent Russia from working out her destiny. Germany is imposing "Kultur" in the West. Japan proposes to impose imperialism in the East.
Washington should unceasingly and emphatically reprove this imperialistic step. Under no condition should we consent to give to Japan a free hand in eastern Siberia. We may not be able to prevent Japan from carrying out her nefarious plans, but we can at least refuse to sanction and should protest vehemently against such a move.
The situation is complicated. The questions involved are troublesome. The temptation to gain some slight advantage by misusing a nation is very great. But it is time for us, as a nation which seeks to be just at all times, and generous toward those nations which are struggling toward self government, to proclaim before all the world, our uncompromising and unalterable determination to stop the barbarous custom of some nations of grabbing land from countries which cannot for the moment defend themselves
Prepared for the Internet by S. Alfassa for the FASSAC in Cooperation
with the New York Public Library, Dorot Jewish Division.