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Hitler’s insult to Asia; martial law in Tokyo

by Edan Corkill

75 YEARS AGO
Thursday, Jan. 30, 1936

Adolf Hitler insults intelligent Asiatics

Adolf Hitler has succeeded once more in insulting every intelligent Asiatic by his thundering proclamation to a Nazi student rally in Munich of the (apparently divine) destiny of the white race to rule the world and the right of the European nations to colonize “backward nations.”

If an insult were the only objectionable result of Hitler’s address, it would be bad enough. But his championing of white supremacy and avowed attitude toward those sections of the world which he judges to be backward will be taken by all who think twice about it as a spectacular cloak for his policy of regaining the colonies Germany lost at the end of the World War.

The German leader’s position on the racial one is too well known to require emphasis. His attitude toward the Jewish people, in fact, toward all peoples whom he does not consider to be of the Nordic strain, has been proclaimed frequently in words and quite as frequently enforced in acts.

Hitler’s attacks on the non-white peoples of this earth smack curiously of the famous fulmination of another German who once wielded great power, the former Kaiser Wilhelm II. When Kaiser Wilhelm II coined — or at least made the world conscious of — the notion of “the Yellow Peril,” he sowed the seeds of a bitterness and ill-will that continue to make themselves felt. Hitler is apparently watering these seeds well.

Behind Hitler’s fiery advocacy of white supremacy . . . There can be no question that his nation is handicapped by the provisions of the Versailles Treaty. Germany’s shortage of many badly needed raw materials is notable and it is always faster and cheaper to procure such materials from a colony than from a foreign country. There is recognition in more than one world capital that unless some revision of this treaty is undertaken, disaster will follow. Berlin has already begun to ignore its clauses restricting the buildup of its army and navy.

While the retrieval of colonial possessions may lie behind Hitler’s reaffirmation of white supremacy, the human resentment and repercussions to this far from diplomatic verbiage and throughout Asia is a force to be reckoned with. It is a heady and dangerous doctrine, blinding its followers to both judgment and fairness, and one that courts disaster. The nation which gains the notion that it is divinely appointed to direct the affairs of its neighbors may be expected to run amuck and thereby discover that no such mandate has ever been decreed.

75 YEARS AGO
Friday, Feb. 28, 1936

Many leaders slain by army officers; martial law in Tokyo

(Feb. 27) The Cabinet tendered its resignation en bloc to His Majesty the Emperor late Wednesday evening and the City of Tokyo was placed under martial law at 2:50 a.m. today because of the tense situation caused by the unexpected incident that developed early Wednesday morning.

Respecting the incident, the War Office issued the following announcement at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday:

At about 5 a.m. this morning certain junior officers attacked the following places:

“The Premier’s official residence where Premier Keisuke Okada was instantly killed; the private residence of the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, Viscount Makoto Saito, where the Lord Keeper was instantly killed; the private residence of the Inspector General of Military Education, General Jotaro Watanabe, where General Watanabe was instantly killed; the place of abode of the former Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal, Count Nobuaki Makino, but the fate of Count Makino is unknown; the official residence of the Grand Chamberlain, Admiral Kantaro Suzuki, where the Grand Chamberlain was seriously injured; the private residence of the Finance Minister, Mr. Korekiyo Takahashi, where the Finance Minister was wounded; the Tokyo Asahi Shimbun.

“According to the written statements of these officers, the purpose of the uprising was to eliminate those destroying the national polity, such as the Genro (elder statesmen), statesmen close to the Throne, financial magnates, the military clique, bureaucrats and political parties involved in present crises at home and abroad.”

Mr. Fumio Goto, the Home Minister, was appointed Acting Premier Wednesday afternoon, and Mr. Chuji Machida, Minister of Commerce and Industry, was additionally appointed the Minister of Finance.

Acting Premier Goto, other Ministers of State as well as Baron Kitokuro Ikki and Baron Kiichiro Hiranuma, President and Vice-president respectively of the Privy Council, proceeded to the Imperial Palace to attend an important conference with His Majesty the Emperor and remained there throughout Wednesday night.

At 2:50 a.m. today, an Imperial Ordinance was issued to proclaim martial law in the City of Tokyo and Lt. Gen. Kohei Kashii was appointed as the Martial Law Commander.

At 7 a.m. Wednesday, Lt. Gen. Kashii issued the following instruction to the public:

“By the Imperial Ordinance Nos. 13 and 19, martial law was proclaimed for the district of Tokyo. This step has been taken for the purposes of maintaining peace and order in and around the capital, to protect important buildings and places and also to prevent the activities of persons of Communistic tendency. Under the command of His Majesty, I intend with military force to guard the district under martial law, and undertake military affairs concerning local administration. It is desired that the officials and public will cooperate in self-controlling their conduct and utterances and to have confidence in me so that martial law will be effectively carried out.”

In this feature, which appears in Timeout on the third Sunday of each month, we delve into The Japan Times’ 115-year-old archive to present a selection of stories from the past. Stories may be edited for brevity.