Lattimore Story - John T. Flynn

2. Russian Designs on Asia

World War II can be looked at in two widely separated sectors. Hitler had invaded Poland, the Baltic and Balkan States in Eastern Europe, and later Russia. In that war the United States fought as the ally of Russia, along with Britain, France, Belgium and the other victims of Nazi aggression. There we may say Russia and the United States were allies.

But in Asia we fought the war practically alone. We did get some aid from Britain, but the great weight of the Japanese war was borne by us. There Russia was never an ally. Russia did not enter that war. All during our war years, Russia remained on friendly terms with Japan, maintained an embassy in Tokyo and a vast espionage system. Japan kept her embassy in Moscow. From December 7, 1941, to August 9, 1945, Russia took no part in the war on Japan. On August 9, when Japan's defeat was already complete and surrender was only a matter of days, Russia declared war on Japan, marched into Manchuria and Northern China and other Japanese strongholds and into Northern Korea. Japan surrendered on August 14—five days later. Thus, without striking a single effective blow and with only five days of fighting, Russia, with the complete consent of our government, took all the fruits of the war—she communized China, now holds Manchuria, Outer Mongolia and Sinkiang, three provinces comprising one-third of China, as Russian satellite states, dominates the rest of China through the Communist regime, and involved us in a war in Korea.

We must understand that the story of the war in the Pacific embraced two wars. One was the war waged against Japan by the United States. The other was the war against China waged by Russia. In China, Russia did not use her armies. She used the Chinese Communist armies. This war had been going on before World War II began. It was a revolutionary war by the Reds to take over China. Russia used the Chinese Communist armies for this purpose. And, once the United States became involved in the Pacific, Russia used every means in her power to give the war in the Pacific such a direction that she would achieve her aim without striking a blow. Her objectives were (1) a victory for the Communist revolutionary armies in China; (2) the acquisition of the Kurile Islands, (3) of Sakhalin, (4) of Manchuria, Outer Mongolia and Sinkiang—the northern part of China; (5) the conquest of Korea, and (6) to share with the United States the occupation of Japan.

The United States had no other objective in the Pacific but to defeat Japan, to release the Philippines from her grasp, to drive her out of all the Pacific islands she had conquered and to force her to abandon China and bring peace to that unhappy country. In addition, the United States proposed to make Japan pay for the damage she had done and to render her incapable of renewing her ambitions in the Pacific.

We fought the war and paid all the costs. We did succeed in liberating the Philippines and in forcing Japan to surrender. But Russia, after only five days of fighting after Japan was ready to surrender, walked off with every one of her objectives but one. She got all of Northern China and a Communist government in the rest of China. She got the Kuriles, Sakhalin and Northern Korea, and she pinned us in a crazy war for South Korea which was fought, as is usual, not by Russians but by North Koreans and Chinese Reds. She failed only in her attempt to share with General MacArthur the occupation and rehabilitation of Japan.

These were indeed vast and audacious ambitions on Russia's part. It is difficult to believe that she had any hope of winning any of them, save the defeat of Japan by the United States. It is perfectly obvious that Russia could not, when we won the war, accomplish any of her aims by military power. The only way in which she could achieve all her other objectives would be to sit tight and let the United States defeat Japan and then induce the United States to deliver to Russia all the other objects of her dreams—China, Korea, the Kuriles, Sakhalin and so on. But could any man in his senses suppose that we would expend four years of frightful war to free the Pacific from the Japanese and then hand it over to the Russian Communists; that we would engage Japan's powerful forces throughout the Pacific—challenging her navies all over that ocean and her armies in a hundred widely separated islands—at the sacrifice of 260,000 American casualties, the loss of much of our navy and air force and the expenditure of billions of dollars, and then turn the fruits of all this fighting over to the ruthless tyranny of Russia?

Yet, Stalin set out to accomplish precisely this. But Stalin knew clearly that he could gain our government's consent to this incredible surrender in only one way. He would have to find means of influencing the decisions of the American government, chiefly our State Department. There was only one way in which he could do this. There must be men and women inside the American State Department—and in any other places they could be inserted—even in the White House—who would work for Russia's plans. By this I do not mean that Stalin must have Russians in our government. Obviously, no Russian could perform this task. It was not mere spies he wanted—that is, agents who would keep him informed of America's plans and purposes. That is not difficult. It is an old trick; America swarmed with spies.

Stalin had to have people who would take an influential part—indeed a decisive part—in making America's own decisions. And these had to be Americans. No others in any effective measure could get into those innermost spots where great decisions on the war and on postwar policy would be made. He must have Americans in our State Department of such importance that they could take part in the secret discussion of American policy and exercise a powerful influence in shaping the decisions. They must be Americans, because no others could get into such secret and sensitive spots. And that is why I say that any normal man will declare this was impossible—and hence this whole story is impossible. But it wasn't impossible. For this is exactly what Russia succeeded in doing. And that is the unbelievable story we will now see acted out to the end.