Looking back – to Shanghai – year 1935

«The China Journal, Vol. XXII, January 1935, No. 1», editor Arthur de C. Sowerby.

by Arthur de C. Sowerby

As we enter upon the year 1935 an unmistakable feeling of optimism is in evidence on all sides.  The consensus of opinion concerning the past year is that it has been a bad one.  As events are shaping themselves we are justified in arriving at the conclusion that it has been a critical one in the history of mankind, for, by recognizing and facing up to some of the dangers that have been threatening the world, it would seem that we are well on the way to overcome those dangers and to eliminate many of the difficultis that beset the path leading to the Utopia for which all long.

In the United States of America it is claimed by those who should know that the President’s \»New Deal\» policy has resulted in definite signs of economic recovery.  Everything, as far as we can see, points that way.
There is the same feeling of optimism in the air as far as Great Britain is concerned, recent announcements having been made in the press by prominent statesmen to the effect that the corner has been turned  in the terrible depression that has prevailed during the last five years. (forts. …)

The same may be said of Australia and other Brithis Colonies, while the European continental countries cartainly seem to have more hopeful outlook than they did only few short months ago. A more conciliatory spirit than has existed of late appears to be manifesting itself amongst them, thanks in no small degree to th acticities in certain leading statesmen.

One of the most important events of the past year is the exposing of the armaments racket – the gross profiteering in the manufacture of arms an ammunition, the formenting of international antagonisms, and the deliberate disruption of disarmament conferences by agents of private munition manufacturers. The demand that have been forthcoming for public governmental investigations into the arms and ammunition manufacturing industries and trade are a step in the right direction, and, if this movement is followed to its logical conclusion, more will be accomplished for the cause of world peace than anything that has been done before.

In China the two most important things that have happened to mark the past year as critical are the breaking up and scattering of the communist forces in the interior provinces south of the Yangtze, where a so-called Soviet Government has held sway since about 1927, and the steady expansion of the real authority of the Nationalist Government, evidenced by more whole-hearted cooperation on the part of the areas more distant from Nanking, the Capital, such as Canton and Szechuan.

Tension between Japan and Soviet Russia appears, for the moment at least, to have eased up considerably, and even though the former has formally denounced the Washington Treaty, this has not in any way aggrevated the feeling between that country and the United States of America.

True, its immediate effect would seem to be the stimulation of vast armaments building programmes on the part of the major Powers, but, with the definite desire for peace that exists in men’s minds to-day, there is more than a hope that, before the two years’ grace the treaty provides for have elapsed, som amicable agreement between the nations will have been arrived at as to armaments, trade relations and other vital questions.

In view of all this we feel justified in our belief that with the New Year we are also entering a New Era, an era when mankind’s lot shall be greatly improved, when his intelligence shall rise above his natural instincts, and brain, not brawn (muskler), shall be the ruling factor in the conducting of national affairs.

It is our belief that every year that we can stave off war amongst the great nations will make war less possible; that every year in which economic stability can be maintained will make economic disintegration less likely; and that every year devoted to intelligent investigation and resoncstruction will strenghten our civilization, which has been so threatened of late. For these reasons we make bold to state that with the year 1934 we are leaving behind the depression and misery that has tortured humanity for so long, and with the year 1935 we are entering upon a New Era of peace and prosperity.

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