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For the 72 Million

Elmer Davis – Japanese Reorganizing Nanking Government

April 1, 1940


Elmer H. Davis (January 13, 1890 – May 18, 1958) was an American news reporter, author, the Director of the United States Office of War Information during World War II and a Peabody Award recipient.

The Zhōnghuá Mínguó Guómín Zhèngfǔ (“Reorganized National Government of the Republic of China”) was a puppet state of the Empire of Japan in eastern China. It existed alongside the Nationalist government of the Republic of China under Chiang Kai-shek, which was fighting Japan along with the other Allies of World War II. The country functioned as a dictatorship under Wang Jingwei (May 4, 1883 – November 10, 1944), formerly a high-ranking official of the Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT). The region it administered was initially seized by Japan during the late 1930s at the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Wang, a rival of Kuomintang Chiang Kai-shek (October 31, 1887 – April 5, 1975) and member of the pro-peace faction of the KMT, defected to the Japanese side and formed a collaborationist government in occupied Nanjing in 1940, as well as a concurrent collaborationist Kuomintang that ruled the new government. The new state claimed the entirety of China (outside the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo) during its existence, portraying itself as the legitimate inheritors of the Xinhai Revolution and nationalist Sun Yat-sen’s (November 12, 1866 – March 12, 1925) legacy as opposed to Chiang’s government in Chongqing, but effectively only Japanese-occupied territory was under its direct control. Its international recognition was limited to other members of the Anti-Comintern Pact, of which it was a signatory. The Reorganized National Government existed until the end of World War II and the surrender of Japan in August 1945, at which point the regime was dissolved and many of its leading members were executed for treason.

The state was formed by combining the previous Reformed Government (1938–1940) and Provisional Government (1937–1940) of the Republic of China, puppet regimes which ruled the central and northern regions of China that were under Japanese control, respectively. Unlike Wang Jingwei’s government, these regimes were not much more than arms of the Japanese military leadership and received no recognition even from Japan itself or its allies. However, after 1940 the former territory of the Provisional Government remained semi-autonomous from Nanjing’s control, under the name “North China Political Council.” The region of Mengjiang (puppet government in Inner Mongolia) was under Wang Jingwei’s government only nominally. His regime was also hampered by the fact that the powers granted to it by the Japanese were extremely limited, and this was only partly changed with the signing of a new treaty in 1943 which gave it more sovereignty from Japanese control. The Japanese largely viewed it as not an end in itself but the means to an end, a bridge for negotiations with Chiang Kai-shek, which led them to often treat Wang with indifference.


8.55 Eastern Time and Columbia and its affiliated stations bring you Elma Davis and the news.

The Emperor of Japan today appointed General Abe, the former Prime Minister, who is special ambassador to the new government the Japanese have set up in China, as his personal representative with supreme authority over the Japanese military and naval forces in the occupied area.

And of course, in fact, if not in theory, supreme authority over Wang Ching-Wei’s government as well.

Dispatches from Tokyo say that this means that the period of army control in China has ended, and that irresponsible treatment both of Chinese and foreigners will be ended too.

But it also means that the prestige of the imperial throne has been put behind the policy of establishing the new order in East Asia, including the dummy government in China.

And thus, according to Japanese constitutional and religious theory, that policy is irreversible and cannot be allowed to fail.

Forecasts of the Japanese program say that northern China and inner Mongolia, nominally under control of Wang Ching-Wei, will actually be governed by Japanese or their Chinese agents, and that in central China, Wang will have, as the dispatches put it, virtually complete independence so long as he cooperates with Japan.

Military operations against the real Chinese government are to be continued, and it’s admitted in Tokyo that it may be many years before Chinese resistance is broken.

But in the meantime, a vigorous effort is to be made to conciliate foreign powers in the hope that they will lend Dr. Wang’s government some money.

Especially, an attempt will be made to treat Americans well, in pursuance of the Japanese theory that this government and people merely misunderstand Japan’s ideals.

Whatever may be the success of this policy, the Japanese seem to have a good chance of making friends with the British, at least until this war is over.

The recent remark of the British ambassador that Japan and Britain were ultimately striving for the same objective was underlined today by the London Times, which often served as a mouthpiece for the British government in the old appeasement days.

Now it describes the Japanese invasion of China and the attempt to set up a phony government in the occupied areas as Japan’s great experiment.

However, there must be men in Japan who suspect that this form of appeasement may not last long if England wins the war.

Meanwhile, a British spokesman said that the Allies had no intention of attempting to land troops in Scandinavia or to police Scandinavian waters.

So apparently the London and Paris governments have realized the unwisdom of aggression against neutral Norway to cut off the shipments of iron ore, which within a few weeks, Germany will be able to get direct from Sweden through the safe waters of the Baltic.

The Germans threaten countermeasures if the British interfere with their trade through Norwegian waters, but it would probably be found in practice that it would be easier for either country to put pressure on Norway than on the enemy.

British broadcasts today had a good deal to say about the possibility of hampering Germany’s overland imports from the Balkans and the Danube Valley.

Offhand, it is hard to see how they could do it, but a German comment possibly gives the answer that, I quote, “The British cannot hope to empty the Balkans like a bucket with panicky purchases, often of useless things.”

In this competition for Balkan exports, it’s a safe bet that neither side is loading itself up with useless things.

Our London correspondent, Mr. Murrow, spoke tonight of the combination of optimism and impatience prevalent in England, but so far it does not seem strong enough to push the government into reckless measures.

Representative Hamilton Fish today introduced a resolution calling for an investigation of the German white book charges and said that if upon investigation the facts warrant impeachment of any ambassador or even of the President, the House should act.

Mr. Fish said he could not conceive that the German foreign ministry would forge or fabricate documents.

His remarks were, of course, extensively quoted in Berlin.

Senator Reynolds of North Carolina is worried about the movements of Mr. Sumner-Wells.

He said he wants to know where Mr. Wells went, with whom he talked, and what was done.

The newspaper files could answer his first two questions for him, and we have no evidence so far that anything was done.

Senator Wheeler of Montana, speaking today to the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, where Mr.

Roosevelt made about the only speech of his 1932 campaign that foreshadowed the New Deal, Senator Wheeler said he did not believe the President wanted or would take another nomination.

Speaking for himself, Mr. Wheeler said that if the party felt he could come near winning, he would take a nomination, but that he wasn’t campaigning for it and would rather be a senator than vice president.

And John L. Lewis said that unless the Democrats nominated a candidate and adopted a platform satisfactory to labor, there’d be another convention.

This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.

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