German expert sees U.S.-Japan war ahead

WASHINGTON, March 15, 1911 (UP) - That Japan already has an army of veteran soldiers in Hawaii, and has been engaged during the last year in military activity in the Philippines, was admitted here today in connection with a statement of Count Von Reventlow, German military expert, to the United Press.

Count Reventlow, Germany's most noted strategical expert and writer on military subjects, will publish in a few days a carefully prepared essay on Japanese-American relations. At Berlin today he furnished United Press advance proofs of this essay.


It is not the purpose of the count's statement to intimate that the present United States army "maneuvers" are the result of any specific or alarming action by the Japs, or to do more than to suggest that the "maneuvers" may be a warning to Mexico to be more careful in her general relations with Japan. It is a general survey of the Japanese-American situation.


The official attitude of utmost cordiality between the country and Japan prevented any official comment today upon the Reventlow statement, but several army and navy officers have recently received in letters from the far east personal information which largely bears out the contentions of the German expert.

It is declared that Japan firmly believes she could take the Philippines with ease. That her spies have been at work in the islands has not been denied, since the arrest of two Japanese secret agents at Corregidor last fall.

In case of war, it is believed here the first attack would be made in Hawaii, where an army of Japanese, it is asserted, can be put in the field over night. By endeavoring to cut off the American fleet, through the capture of her naval bases, Japan could plan to hold the Philippines at her mercy, it is said.

The activity in Mexico, where an effort is being made by a Japanese steamship line which is subject to war use in time of war, to establish a coaling station at Manzanillo, was pointed out as an indication that, satisfied with his ability to sweep the American flag out of the orient, the Mikado may now be putting the finishing touches on his aggressive plans, as asserted by Representative Hobson, to declare war before the Panama canal is opened.


"An American naval base, constructed in the Philippines, is an intolerable menace to Japan," says Count Reventlow in his statement, cabled from Berlin. "Supremacy in the waters of the far east is a life necessity to Japan, and her statesmen, realizing this, are planning to strike, and soon.

"It will not be denied, even by those hitherto skeptical, says the count, that Japan is preparing for an aggressive war against the United States. The main object of the war against Russia was not the annexation of land, but to prevent permanent occupation by Russia of Korea, Kwantung and Port Arthur.

"Leading Japanese statesmen are now convinced that Japan as a great power cannot continue to exist unless she possesses naval supremacy in the Pacific. America is her rival here and the Panama canal has for one of its main objects the conquest of the Chinese markets by creating a shorter way of communication between America's Atlantic ports and the Chinese coast.

"The Japanese plans for conquest provide for the seizure of the Philippines, the Hawaiian islands, the American Samoan islands and Guam. By this means Japan would create a permanent and unalterable advantage for herself. The most powerful American fleet conceivable would be helpless in such an immense area of operations as the Pacific ocean without advance bases, so that the capture of these bases by Japan would render that country the undisputed mistress of the Pacific ocean.


"There is no doubt that Japan is now in a position to seize these islands, because they are either unfortified or insufficiently fortified, and sufficient protection by the American fleet is impossible.

"Sudden seizure of these islands is neither improbable nor impossible. It must be remembered that the time is rapidly approaching when Japan will be compelled to defend her political and commercial position under less favorable circumstances, so that this reason operates in favor of the earliest possible seizure of America's Pacific possessions. That American officials realize this is shown by a feverish haste to fortify the Panama canal.

"A very significant sidelight on Japan's attitude toward the use of the Philippines as a naval base was afforded by the fact that the large United States floating dock, conveyed to Olongapo with great difficulties, developed a leak in a most inexplicable manner and sank. This and many circumstances that have been kept quiet show that Japan is almost ready to deprive America of her naval base before the American fleet grows to such an extent that its superiority over the Japanese navy is overwhelming."

The count severely criticizes the United States for failing properly to fortify its Pacific possessions and refers to the fact that Admiral Dewey, immediately after the Portsmouth peace conference, said Japan would soon become too powerful for the United States.


Japan was hard at work preparing for war, the count says, when the American fleet went to the Pacific, and this produced "temporary tranquility." But Japan is now ready to strike. Summing up his conclusions the count says:

"The seizure of the islands belonging to America in the Pacific would be essentially an act of defense on the part of Japan, notwithstanding the aggressive character of realizing the plan. I repeat, it is a life question for Japan, and there is no doubt whatever that her rulers are fully aware of this truth."

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