Historical fiction: The tragic life of Albrecht von Haar in journal format
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Japanese lessons for German supernationalists?

I gave my lecture today on the subject of the Japanese situation. It was held at the British Imperial War College in Bracknell. The English, of course, have vast interests in the Far East, so the topic drew a crowd. My main thesis is that the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy view themselves as unabashedly imperialist. They see themselves as the leaders of a new Asia, marking the Asian continent as their own with no room for Westerners. The army’s assassination of Prime Minister Inukai in Tokyo initiated the shameless beginning of the militarization of Japanese politics. The military oligarchy was now in the process of taking over Japan.

Imperial Japanese Army Academy, 1907

Japanese Imperial Army Academy.

There has been talk of a Japanese Monroe Doctrine. If the United States can claim sovereignty over the Panama Canal, why can’t Japan do the same with Manchuria? The League of Nations is powerless to do anything about Manchuria or the China incursions. Europe is still shy of war after losing a generation in the Great War, not 15 years gone. The Japanese are essentially free to do as they wish with little repercussions. The only power they fear is the growing presence and might of the United States. The English looked a bit crestfallen at this assertion.

I finished the lecture by stating that the Imperial Army was now conducting seishin kyoiku, or spiritual training, of all its recruits. This involves instilling a deep, spiritual sense of serving the emperor into the troops and making each soldier realize that the army is the mother and father of them all. I noted that in Germany, since we no longer have an emperor, an increasingly popular and equivalent word to emperor is ‘Führer.’ As I closed the lecture, I could not help but share my wonder at how the German militarists were viewing this Japanese model of naked aggression and ‘spiritual’ training of war fighters.


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