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Leon Trotsky 19380811 The Sino-Japanese Struggle

Leon Trotsky: The Sino-Japanese Struggle

August 11, 1938

[Writings of Leon Trotsky 1937-1938, New York ²1976, p. 410 f.]

On August 6, Mr. S. Nanjo, representing the two largest newspapers of Japan, the Tokyo-Nichinichi and the Osaka-Mainichi, made a written request of me for an interview. His questions concerned the relations between the USSR, Japan, and China; how the recent purges affected the Red Army; and what internal changes could be expected in the USSR in the future. My answer to Mr. Nanjo was as follows:

August 7, 1938 Mr. S. Nanjo

Representative of Tokyo-Nichinichi and Osaka-Mainichi

Hotel Montejo

Paseo de la Reforma 240

Mexico, D.F.


It would give me great pleasure to express my views on the situation in the Far East as well as on the relations between the USSR and Japan before the wide reading public of the newspapers represented by you. I am afraid, however, that the obstacles which stand in the road are virtually insurmountable. As I see from your list of questions, your newspapers assume that my answers could be utilized in the interests of the foreign policy of Japan and of her internal regime. The directors of your newspapers could have arrived at this conclusion only on the basis of the false information in the Soviet press. My real views have nothing in common with what the Moscow press says about them.

In the struggle between Japan and China I stand fully and completely on the side of China. With all my irreconcilability toward the Stalinist regime, I consider that in the clash between the USSR and Japan, the USSR represents progress; Japan – the worst reaction. I do not doubt that in the next armed clash of great magnitude, Japan will suffer a social and political catastrophe, similar to the one suffered by the czarist empire during the World War.

These are my real views, which I would be willing to develop and elaborate for the information of the Japanese people, who are forcibly held in a state of complete ignorance. But I doubt very much that your newspapers would agree to print a truthful elucidation of the situation in the Far East.

If I am mistaken on this score, I should, naturally, be completely ready to admit my mistake. But in this case I would request you to furnish me with full and specific guarantees that my answers to your questions would be printed in full and without the least alteration.

Sincerely yours, Leon Trotsky

Upon receiving this letter, Mr. Nanjo found himself incapable of publishing my answer to his questions and declined the interview.