Once again about preparing Japan for war against the USSR in 1941
Currently, when there is an active revision stories, there were publications and statements that distort the nature of Soviet-Japanese relations during the Second World War, in which there is a noticeable desire to present Japan’s foreign policy as peace-loving, and aggressive plans to prepare for war against the Soviet Union - “defensive”. Such statements are not new, at the end of the twentieth century, a number of Japanese and American historians, considering the events of 1941 of the year, emphasized the “defensive” nature of the neutrality pact concluded by Japan and the USSR 13 on April 1941. For example, the former Japanese foreign minister, M. Shigemitsu, in her published memoirs, asserted that Japan “had absolutely no intention of violating the treaty of neutrality”. And American historian K. Basho said that Japan had signed a neutrality pact, wanting to protect itself from the threat of a Soviet attack from the north. It is precisely such statements that the Russian “historians” have adopted now.
At the same time, a lot of documents remained that testify that the Japanese leadership, while concluding this pact, planned to use it by no means for peaceful purposes. Japanese Foreign Minister Matsuoka, before signing a neutrality pact, 26 March 1941, during a conversation with the head of the German Foreign Ministry Ribbentrop and Count Schulenburg, the ambassador of fascist Germany to the USSR, said about the forthcoming conclusion of the pact that no Japanese prime minister could to force Japan to maintain neutrality if a conflict arises between Germany and the USSR. In this case, Japan will certainly begin military operations against the USSR. And this will not prevent the existing pact.
Literally a few days after this statement, Matsuoka, on behalf of the Japanese government, put his ministerial signature on the text of the neutrality pact between Japan and the USSR, the second article of which said that if one of the parties to the pact was involved in the hostilities, the other party undertakes to maintain neutrality throughout the conflict.
After the signing of the pact, the intentions of the Japanese government regarding its use to cover the preparations for the aggression have not changed, as evidenced by Matsuoka’s statement to the German Ambassador to Tokyo, General Ott. In a telegram sent by 20 in May 1941 of the year and addressed to Matsuoka, the Japanese ambassador to Berlin, General Oshima, informed his boss that, according to Weizsäcker, the German government attaches great importance to the statement of the head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Matsuoka, made by him to General Ott, that the beginning of the Soviet-German war, Japan will also attack the USSR.
Germany’s attack on our country prompted the Japanese leadership to step up preparations for war against the USSR. In an effort to disguise the preparation of their troops for an attack, the Japanese government deliberately misled the Soviet embassy about their plans. Here it is appropriate to bring information from the diary of the USSR Ambassador to Tokyo, KA. Smetanin, adopted by the tribunal as an official document. 25 June 1941, the ambassador of the USSR, who had met with Matsuoka on the eve, wrote down the following in a diary: “I asked Matsuoka about Japan’s position in terms of the outbreak of war and whether Japan would maintain neutrality in accordance with the pact. Matsuoka chose to shy away from a direct answer, stating that his position on this issue was set out in due time (April 22) in a statement on his return from Europe. ” Matsuoka was referring to a statement from 22 on April 1941 of the year, where he assured that the Japanese government would faithfully comply with the neutrality pact with our country (this statement was published in the Asahi newspaper 23 of April 1941 of the year). However, as the documents show, all this was intended for the deliberate deception of the Soviet government.
The German ambassador to Tokyo in a telegram from Ribbentrop on 3 on July 1941 reported that Matsuoka explained that the Japanese statement was made to the Russian ambassador in this form in order to deceive the Russians or keep them in ignorance, as the empire had not finished preparing for war. Matsuoka also noted that Smetanin does not suspect that military preparations, according to the government’s decision on 2 July 1941, “to prepare for the invasion of the territory of the USSR” are being conducted with ever-increasing activity. Soon the Japanese cabinet explained to the Allies its attitude to the neutrality pact with our country. 15 August, in the course of confidential conversations with the ambassadors of Italy and Germany, the head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry, speaking of the pact, stressed that under current conditions this agreement with the USSR is the best way to take the first steps to implement existing plans for the USSR, and that is nothing more than temporary an arrangement that exists until Japan finishes preparing for war.
Thus, with the idea of concluding a neutrality pact with our country, the Japanese pursued the perfidious goal of using it as a screen to disguise and prepare for an attack. It is worth noting that the conclusion of this neutrality pact was a success of Soviet diplomacy and a far-sighted step by the Soviet government, as it had a certain deterrent effect on the Japanese ruling circles, who were forced to reckon with the public opinion of their country and other states. It is known, for example, that the Japanese leadership, on the days of the most intensive preparation for military aggression in 1941, was discussing the question of the resignation of Foreign Minister Matsuoka to justify his actions, which are fundamentally contrary to the neutrality pact. This is evidenced, for example, by the statement made by 1 in July by the Japanese ambassador to Rome that, according to his government, the implementation of the Japanese military plans against the USSR "requires Mr. Matsuoka’s resignation due to the fact that he recently signed non-aggression pact with Russia ”, and“ it should disappear from the political arena for a while ”.
After Matsuoka’s resignation as Foreign Minister in July 1941, Japan’s foreign policy, which provided for a solution to the “northern problem” by armed force, did not change. On July 20, the new Japanese foreign minister, Admiral Toyoda, unequivocally assured the German ambassador that changing the cabinet would not affect government policy.
Under the cover of the neutrality pact, the Japanese were preparing for a military attack on our country, taking special measures to preserve secrecy. The chief of staff of the Kwantung Army during the meeting of the commanders of the formations, which took place on 26 on April 1941 (already after ratification of the neutrality pact), stressed that strengthening and expanding preparations for war with the USSR should be carried out “top secret”, taking “special precautions”. He pointed out that it was necessary, on the one hand, to continue strengthening and expanding preparatory actions for war, and on the other, to maintain friendly relations with our country in every possible way; trying to preserve the armed world and at the same time prepare for military operations against the USSR, which in the end will bring the Japanese a sure victory.
Before the fascist attack on the USSR, the preparation of the Japanese for the invasion of our Far East was carried out in accordance with the plan developed in 1940 by the Japanese army general headquarters. This plan, according to the testimony of Yamada, the commander of the Kwantung Army, and his chief of staff, Hut, provided for the main attack on the Soviet Primorye Territory and its occupation.
Immediately after the outbreak of World War II, the General Staff of the Japanese army began to develop a new plan of war against the USSR, called "Kan-Toku-En" ("Special Maneuvers of the Kwantung Army"). The plan and the main content of the plan speak of their aggressive nature. The former commander of the 4th Army of the Kwantung Army, Kusaba Tatsumi, stated that according to the new plan, at the beginning of the war against our country, the main blow was delivered to Primorye by the forces of the 1st Front. The 2nd front at that time provided cover for the flank of the 1st front and conducted preparations for operations in the direction of Zavitaya-Kuybyshevka. With the beginning of the war, the N-Army was to be transferred to the 2nd front in this direction (soon the N-Army was named the 8th Army) and aviation, striking the territory of Soviet Primorye.
According to the operational design of the command, the 2 th front, using the forces of the 4 army from the Shengvutun-Aygun area and the 8 army from the Chihe area, forces the Amur River and leads the attack in the direction of Curled-Kuybyshevka, cuts the Amur railway, destroys parts of the Red Army, takes Blagoveshchensk , Kuybyshevka, Curled and Shimanovskaya. After this, the attack on Khabarovsk and Rukhlovo is carried out.
Acting according to the Kan-Toku-En plan, the Japanese command took emergency measures to increase the number of its units in Manchuria. A German military attache in Tokyo, Krechmer, in a telegram sent to Berlin on July 25, reported that the call of reservists, which had started in Japan and Manzhou-Guo, had suddenly received July 10 and the following days (especially in 1, 4, 7, 12 and 16 divisions) large scale, not amenable to further disguise. And on July 10, military units began to be dispatched, namely, the transport, technical, and artillery units of the 16 and 1 divisions and the sending of reservists from Japan with Seisin and Racin destinations for troops and reservists, and Tien-Chin and Shanghai - only for reservists.
The Kwantung Army has increased by 300 thousand people. In order to conceal, if possible, the sharp increase in the Kwantung Army, the Japanese command did not form new units, but took the path of increasing the number of soldiers in the already existing units and units. The units of the Kwantung Army on the lands of Manchuria were staffed with personnel reinforced infantry divisions of type A-1 and A, which until the end of the autumn 1941 had been brought to full-time 24-29-thousandth personnel each. In terms of personnel and weapons, the reinforced division of the Kwantung Army was almost twice as large as the usual Japanese infantry division.
In total, the Japanese army had 5 reinforced infantry divisions of type A-1 and 19 reinforced infantry divisions of type A. Of these, the Kwantung army had: all reinforced infantry divisions of type A-1 and 12 reinforced divisions of type A-2. By 1942, the number of soldiers of the Kwantung Army brought to one million people. The amount doubled tanks in comparison with 1937, and military aircraft - three times. In 1942, the Japanese in Manchuria concentrated 17 reinforced Japanese infantry divisions, equal in number and firepower to 30 ordinary divisions, a significant number of separate units, the number of soldiers in fortified areas increased sharply.
Undoubtedly, the Kan-Toku-En plan was drawn up from the north not to defend against the “Soviet threat”, and the large forces of Japanese troops hastily concentrated near the Soviet state border after the outbreak of World War II. In 1941, the leading Japanese military and state bodies and figures were convinced that the USSR did not threaten Japan. For example, the Japanese commander fleet Admiral Yamamoto, in a secret military order on November 1, 1941, stated that if the empire did not attack the USSR, then, in the opinion of the Japanese naval headquarters, the Soviet Union itself would not begin military operations against the Land of the Rising Sun. A similar point of view was expressed by Japanese Prime Minister General Tojo at a meeting of the Privy Council Committee in December 1941. He announced that Soviet Russia was busy with the war with Germany, so he would not try to take advantage of the imperial advance to the south.
A number of Japanese statesmen in the Tokyo process and in post-war memoir literature tried to argue that Japan in 1941 was not ready for war with the USSR because the German leadership had allegedly not informed the Japanese government about the impending attack on the Soviet Union. It allegedly learned about the fascist attack on the USSR only on 22 on June 1941 of the year in 16 hours, by Tokyo time. However, the Japanese government was actually aware of the impending attack on the USSR. 3 May 1941, Matsuoka, at a meeting of the Betting Committee with the government, said that, according to Berlin, Germany could strike Russia in two months. Also in May, Ribbentrop, at the request of the Japanese government regarding the possibility of the German-Soviet war, replied that at the moment the war between Germany and the USSR is inevitable. If the war starts, it can end in the month of 2-3. The concentration of troops for the war is complete. A few days later, 3 and 4 of June, the Japanese ambassador, General Oshima, during their conversations with Hitler and Ribbentrop, received their confirmation of preparations for a war with the USSR, which he informed his government. The latter recognized the need to develop a new policy in this situation.
At the end of the second week of June, the Japanese government received a notice from Ambassador Oshima that the war against the Soviet Union would be launched "next week." Consequently, the Japanese government already knew in advance the dates of the German attack on the USSR. This is confirmed by the entry in the diary of the adviser to Emperor Hirohito, Marquis Kido, made by him almost a matter of hours before the start of the war. “21 June 1941 of the year,” wrote Marquis Kido, “Prince Canoe said that the modern war between Germany and Russia is not unexpected for Japanese diplomacy, since Ambassador Oshima was informed about this, and the government had enough time to take measures and prepare to the situation. "
Awareness of the government and command of Japan about the impending German attack on the USSR allowed the Japanese leadership to discuss in advance the most important issues of preparing Japan for war, determine their positions and carry out important measures to be fully prepared to launch an attack on the Soviet Union. In the spring and summer of 1941-year, in an atmosphere of heightened secrecy, extensive preparations were made for war: airfields, access roads to warehouses, ammunition and fuel depots, barracks for personnel were built in a hurry, artillery systems and infantry were modernized. weapons The Kwantung Army, the Japanese military intelligence, has stepped up activity in areas of Siberia and our Far East.
After 22 June 1941, the Japanese military preparations became even bigger. By the fall, Japanese troops stationed in Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, Hokkaido, Korea, the Kuril Islands and South Sakhalin, as well as significant fleet forces were prepared for a sudden invasion of our Far Eastern frontiers and Siberia and were only waiting for a signal. But there was no signal.
22 June, when in Japan received news of the invasion of Germany into the USSR, the army and navy general staff at a joint conference came to a consensus on the two main areas of impending aggression - the "northern" and "southern". This opinion of the military circles, which matured long before the outbreak of the war, became the basis of a principled decision adopted by 2 July at the imperial conference on the forthcoming entry of Japan into the Second World War and the preparation of military operations against the USSR (“northern direction”) and against the USA and England (“southern direction ").
One of the points of the resolution adopted by the emperor at the conference said that, although the Japanese attitude to the outbreak of war was clearly defined by the allied spirit of the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo axis, the Japanese should not interfere with it for a while, however secretly should continue armed training against the USSR, however, we will proceed from our own interests. We should also continue negotiations with the USSR with even greater caution. And as soon as the course of the German-Soviet war becomes favorable for Japan, it is necessary to resolutely apply the full power of Japanese weapons to solve their northern problems.
In the first weeks of the German-Soviet war, while the German offensive was developing successfully, the Japanese top leadership, believing in Germany's quick victory, was inclined to deliver the first strike against our country. Representatives of the Japanese monopolies, the most adventurous elements in the ruling circles, insisted on immediate entry into the war. Matsuoka, the protege of the powerful Manchu concern Mange, already on 22 of June, at an audience with the emperor, insistently advised him to consent to the immediate entry of the empire into the war with the USSR.
However, the most influential figures of Japan, although they were in favor of aggression against the USSR, but recommended starting it a little later, when the Soviet Union would be significantly weakened. War Minister General Tojo, for example, stated at a cabinet meeting in the presence of the emperor that Japan would be able to gain great prestige if it attacked the USSR when it was ready to fall, “like a ripe plum”. The Japanese generals believed that this moment would come in about a month and a half. The Chief of the Army General Staff, General Sugiyama, at a meeting of the Bid Communications Committee and the Government of 27, said that it would take 40-50 days to prepare the Kwantung Army to invade Soviet territories. On July 1 in Rome, the Japanese ambassador announced that Japan wants to actively oppose Russia, but needs another few weeks. 4 July, the German ambassador Ott reported to Berlin: The Japanese army is diligently preparing ... for the unexpected, but not rash, opening of military operations against Russia, the first goal of which is to capture areas on the coast. Therefore, General Yamashita also remained in the Kwantung Army. ”
But by August 1941, the Japanese command’s confidence in the quick victory of Germany was shaken. The strong resistance of the Soviet troops disrupted the schedule of the onset of the fascist Wehrmacht. In early August, the intelligence department of the army general staff reported to the imperial headquarters about disrupting the plan of the German command to crush Russia in the month of 2-3. The Japanese noted that Smolensk defense delays the German army for more than a month, the war takes a protracted nature. Based on this 9 withdrawal of August, the Japanese bid and the government make a preliminary decision on preparations for delivering a primary strike against the United States.
However, even in the period when Japan conducted intensive preparations for a war against the United States, the work on the invasion of our territory was not stopped. The Japanese command tracked the war on the Soviet-German front and the state of the grouping of our troops in the Far East and Siberia with maximum attention, trying to choose the most favorable moment for an attack. The chief of staff of the Kwantung Army, during the meeting of the commanders of the formations in December 1941, gave instructions to each army and first line compound to monitor the current changes in the martial law of the USSR and the MPR to ensure that at any time they have information about the true situation in order to “establish signs of a turning point in the situation. "
And the turning point has come. However, not in favor of the German troops. 5 December 1941, the Soviet troops launched a counter-offensive near Moscow. The defeat of the selective armies of the Wehrmacht near the walls of our capital meant a complete failure of the German Blitzkrieg plan against our country. That is why the Japanese ruling circles decided to abstain from the planned attack on the USSR in 1941. The Japanese leadership considered it possible to start a war with us only if one of two factors was present: the defeat of the Soviet Union or the sharp weakening of the forces of the Soviet Far Eastern Army. By the end of 1941, both of these factors were missing.
We must pay tribute to the foresight of the Soviet Supreme Command, which, during the period of heavy fighting near Moscow, was being held by military forces in the Far East, which did not allow the Japanese military leadership to hope for a victorious outcome of the impending attack. General Kasahara Yukio, who was then chief of staff of the Kwantung Army, admitted at the Tokyo process that, although by December 1941, part of the Soviet troops had been sent to the West, and the Far Eastern army had decreased, the power ratio did not allow the Japanese generals to hope for success aggression.
It is also worth remembering that the leadership of Japan was not limited only to the preparation of its troops for war against the USSR. In 1941, the General Staff of the Japanese army conducted active reconnaissance and sabotage work on the territory of the Soviet Union in close contact with the Hitlerite Abwehr. This indicates a gross violation by Japan of the existing neutrality pact. As soon as Germany attacked the USSR, the headquarters of the Japanese army took the initiative in establishing contacts with the Wehrmacht high command to coordinate anti-Soviet subversive activities. The memorandum of the Supreme Command of the German Armed Forces reported that 04.06.1941, Colonel Yamamoto, assistant to the Japanese military attache in Berlin, informed the head of the 2nd Wehrmacht counterintelligence unit, Colonel Von Lausen, that the General Headquarters of Japan was ready to conduct anti-Soviet subversive activities in our Far East, especially from the MPR and Manzhou-Guo, and, above all, in the zone of Lake Baikal. According to the agreement between the command of the army of Japan and the Wehrmacht, the Japanese General Staff systematically provided the fascist command of Germany with valuable intelligence about the USSR. Major General Matsumura, who held the post of 1941 to August 1943 in the autumn as head of the Russian division of the General Staff of the Japanese Army, showed that he, by order of the Chief of the General Staff, transmitted to the 16 division of the German General Staff information about the Soviet forces in the Far East, the military potential of the Soviet Union and moving our troops to the west.
During 1941, a large number of Japanese spies, saboteurs, and counter-revolutionary literature were shipped across the Soviet border. Only border troops were detained while crossing the 302 border of a Japanese spy. Japanese intelligence has thrown two armed gangs across the border of the Soviet Union to carry out sabotage and terrorist activities in our Far East. Soviet authorities have established 150 cases of transfer of counter-revolutionary literature across the USSR border. In 1941, Japanese forces 136 once violated the Soviet state border with subunits and single-handedly and 24 once fired at Soviet territory, border guards, and ships. In addition, Japanese aircraft 61 once violated our border, and the Japanese fleet 19 once went into the Soviet territorial waters.
Brazenly violating the articles of the neutrality pact, the Japanese navy illegally blocked the coast of our Far East, firing on, drowning and detaining Soviet ships. The International Military Tribunal, on the basis of irrefutable data, stated that Soviet ships, having clearly readable identification marks and flags anchored in Hong Kong at the end of 1941, were shelled and one of them was sunk; a few days later, Soviet transport ships were sunk by bombs dropped from Japanese aircraft; Many of our vessels were illegally detained by Japanese warships and forced to go to Japanese ports, which were often under arrest for a long time.
Thus, in the 1941 year, the Japanese leadership was actively preparing to invade our territories, while committing aggressive acts against the USSR, and grossly violated the neutrality pact. Having decided on top-priority aggression against the United States, the Japanese did not stop preparing for war against us, waiting for the right moment to begin. Japan kept the million-strong army ready on the Soviet borders, diverting to this a significant part of the USSR Armed Forces and thereby providing substantial assistance to Germany in its military operations on the Eastern Front. Japanese plans were thwarted by our victories near Moscow. It was they, and not the peacefulness of the Japanese high circles, who forced the Land of the Rising Sun to refrain from military intervention against the USSR in 1941. But the Japanese government did not cease to bear their aggressive plans, and only crushing blows of the Red Army against the Hitlerite Wehrmacht in the 1943-1944. forced Japan to finally abandon the attack on the USSR.
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