Helion's Red Star versus Rising Sun
|$29.95 MSRP from Casemate|
72 pages, softcover, photos
During the late 19th and early 20th century, Japan was on the winning side of several conflicts against both China and Russia. In all these cases, it was the lack of cohesion of the opposition as well as the preparedness of the Japanese that made the real difference. Following WWI, Russia was plagued by revolution and the Chine was equally splintered. Despite the attempts of the Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-Shek to unify the nation, there were simply too many warlords and differing views to allow that to happen. Japan had become increasingly war-like with the nation becoming more and more of a police state with the military gaining increasing control.
This led to the Japanese taking control of Korea and eventually moving into China itself. During all of this, the Japanese eventually took control of Manchuria. This made the Soviets very nervous and began a period of tension and conflict between them in the late 1940s. Most of the issues had to do with the border between Japanese controlled Manchuria and the Soviets as many of the border areas were not well defined. This resulted in a number of fairly fierce and somewhat short conflicts with the two nations.
This book is the first volume of the late 1930s conflicts between Japan and the Soviet Union. As such, it concentrates quite a bit on the background interactions of the two nations as well as the changes in the political situation in both countries. The concentration on this one is the Changkufeng incident, also known as the Battle of Lake Khasan. This took place fairly close to the coast in a section that is bordered by Manchuria, Russia and what is now North Korea. Both Korea and Manchuria (at the time the puppet state of Manchukuo) were under Japanese control. Initially the Soviets took control of a high ridge area that the Japanese considered their territory. It was then that the Japanese sent troops into the area and it began two weeks of intense conflict, one where the Soviets made major use of air power and tanks (both of which did not work well for the Soviets). The Japanese did not use any air power for fear that the incident would break out into full blown war with the Soviets.
As with any of the books that Helion has published, the author has really done his homework and has provided an excellent history of a fairly little known incident. As usual, there are superb period photos, and a superb center section of color profiles and uniforms. It is a great read and a book that I can quite easily recommend to you who want to learn something.
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