Map of the Current Situation in East Asia (1937)

Map of the Current Situation in East Asia (1937)

The three main players on the board are USSR (Red), Japan (Yellow) and China (Purple). Lighter red zones are those areas under Soviet influence, including Mongolia and Qinghai. Regions under Japanese influence, such as Manchuria, are lighter yellow. China (Purple) is the region of contention, with areas of Chinese control, such as the five northern Chinese provinces, in light blue. British India and Burma appear in Yellow, while British include areas include Tibet (Peach).

Within China, then embroiled in the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang government forces (represented as blue soldiers) and the Communist forces (represented as little red soldiers within China). Note how the Communist forces occupy the Chinese heartland while the blue Kuomintang forces are concentrated on the borders to counter Soviet advances. Soviet forces, meanwhile, gather on the borders of Manchuria, where Japanese forces, in lesser numbers, maintain a tenuous line of defense. Red lines outline the Soviet strategy for northern China and Manchuria, which involves a horseshoe form, with land forces entering northern China via Mongolia, other armies bottling up the Japanese in Manchuria, and a potential air attack against the Japanese mainland via the Soviet base of Vladivostok.

The map further makes some offer to illustrate the wealth of resources throughout the region via a series of pictorial vignettes illustrating everything from oil rigs, to coal mines, to livestock, to gold and copper deposits. Among the resources are hemp plants illustrated in Manchuria, China, and northern Luzon, although to be fair, at the time cannabis was more valuable for making ropes and clothing than as a drug. Apart from livestock, Russian territories are relatively lacking in resources, while Korea, Manchuria, and China are exceptionally rich, highlighting their intrinsic value for whatever power might seize them.

In the lower left a world map on a Japan-centered Mercator projection. The coverage area f this map are highlighted. The color coding reflects colonial powers, such as orange for England, Red for Japan, Brown for Italy, and light red for the USSR.


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