21A049 Khalkhin Gol by Jim Davies, 12/21/2021  


Never heard of it? - nor had I.

Thanks to serendipity and YouTube, I learned that it's the site of an important battle that began in May 1939. It was between Soviet and invading Japanese forces, though the two governments were not formally at war. Khalkhin is in Mongolia and "Gol" means river. The Japanese lost, and that's why it's important.

The FedGov was involved in WW2 because F D Roosevelt wanted it - more below on that - and his trick was first to provoke the Japanese to attack the US Navy in Hawaii and then respond. His second trick was to leak news to Hitler that the US Army could invade France in 1943 but not sooner; so as to incent the Germans to declare war on the US while it was distracted and unable to attack, which was FDR's primary aim. The two tricks worked exactly as planned, and the rest is history.

For more detail on those two tricks, see Day of Infamy: July 26th 1941 and Rainbow Five, the name of the leaked army plan.

The key to the first of those is that in July FDR forbade the sale of oil to Japan at a time when 80% of its oil came from the US, so it had to go to Indonesia to get its supplies and the US Navy stood in the way. Hence, Pearl Harbor. But I'd never asked before: Why did Japan need to go so far for oil?

The Tokyo government was busy in the 1930s waging war in the Asian mainland so as to build an Empire. It's what governments often do; there was no need for it - any natural resources it wanted, it could have purchased. The motive was simply to increase its power and prestige; governments use the power they have, to acquire more power. One reason they so urgently need to be abolished. 

Its army made great gains, and oil was available in Mongolia. But at Khalkhin Gol it was brought to a halt. So oil from the mainland ceased to be an option, and the US would not sell any, so tankers had to go to the Dutch East Indies, and the US Navy would not let them pass. That's why Khalkhin Gol is important; it obliged the Japanese to raid Pearl, and so triggered all that followed in WW2 and since.

For an account of the battle see Wiki, and for the very well presented, short video of why Japan attacked Pearl, see YouTube here.

Reprehensible though the Japanese expansion was, it was no business of the USA and posed no threat to it. Why, then, was FDR so desperate to join WW2? Two reasons are evident.

1. For eight miserable years of Depression, he had failed to end it. A battery of new ideas had been tried, all of them actually designed to increase the domestic power of the FedGov, and not one had worked. Had he simply done nothing, or followed a laissez faire policy, the 1929 stock market crash would have corrected itself within a couple of years like all previous crashes had done. So he'd failed; and war is a well-proven way to distract public attention away from failure.

2. Although Pearl Harbor got him into the War "by the back door," his main hope was to engage Germany again and dominate Europe. So while Pearl succeeded in reversing the US public's clear reluctance to get involved once again in foreign wars, the important thing was to join with the UK; and the Rainbow Five trick made that easy. He figured, correctly, that when the smoke had cleared the US alone would still be standing; France had already been defeated and Britain would be bankrupt. Therefore, FDR would be hailed as the founder of a new worldwide American Empire. And he was right - though, thanks to the tough fighting done by the Soviets, the Cold War delayed its perfection for half a century.

If the Japanese had won the battles of Khalkhin Gol instead, they would have gone on to capture the oil wells of Mongolia and perhaps Northern China too, and so would not have had need to run the gauntlet of the US Navy, nor to put it out of action at Pearl Harbor, and so FDR's malevolent plans would have gathered dust. Without hope of US assistance the UK would have accepted one of Hitler's several offers of peace, so leaving him free to dispose of the USSR. Your life and mine would have been much different, and better.

Such is the importance of a battle we may never have noticed; one more bloody chapter in the book of deadly games that governments play.

"On Earth peace, good will toward men"

Peace = the absence of war
But war = the main activity of government
So peace on Earth = the absence of government

A happy, peaceful Christmas to all ZGBloggers!


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