Leonard Foujita and War
A notable Japanese painter Leonard Tsuguharu Foujita (1886 – 1968) painted some scenes of war as he was in Japan during WWII.
But before WWII, he also painted pictures of war, especially the Battles of Khalkhyn Gol (Nomon-Han Jiken in Japanese) which was "decisive engagement of the undeclared Soviet–Japanese Border Wars fought among the Soviet Union, Mongolia and the Empire of Japan in 1939."
The Battles claimed about 8,000 lives each on the Japanese side and the Russian side.
But as the USSR had to get prepared for the coming war with Nazi Germany, Russians did not want to bring the battles into a full-scale war with the Empire of Japan. The Imperial government had no intention, from the beginning, to start all-out war with the Soviet Union at this point of time. The Battles were started by Imperial generals stationed in Manchuria without full authorization from Tokyo. So, eventually the Battles were terminated in a halfway manner while Russian troops had some advantage.
But casualties in the Battles alarmed the Imperial government and its military elites. They could not regard this military campaign as their victory at all. So, they kept the real state of the Battles secret. The Imperial government simply announced that it won the USSR in military clashes on the border between Mongolia and Machuria.
But what was more tragic happened after the Battles. To keep the big loss of troops, the military leaders of the Empire forced middle-class officers to commit a suicide. Several lieutenant colonels and so on were inquired after the Battles. And then they were called to account. They were given a handgun and ordered to go into a room. Most of those officers of the Imperial Army committed a suicide. In this way, the Imperial Army of Japan saved face, since the Battles of Khalkhyn Gol was a big failure for the Imperial Army, though Soviet troops could not invade Manchukuo.
And, one of generals who were engaged in the Battles was also forced to retire. But one day he visited painter Leonard Tsugouharu Foujita whose father was one of top medical officers of the Imperial Army. The general told candidly Foujita the true situation of the Battles of Khalkhyn Gol. As the Battles were so tragic, the general wanted to appease spirits and souls of fallen soldiers who had been engaged in the Battles. So, the retired general asked Foujita to paint a scene of the Battles. The general even made an arrangement so that Foujita could travel to the area where the Battles had been actually fought. Foujita observed the wilderness of Mongolia and remnants of the Battles. And the above picture was painted.
The Soviet Union learnt many things from the Battles. They applied those lessons and ideas to its war against Nazi Germany in WWII. But the Empire of Japan neglected lessons of the Battles of Khalkhyn Gol. Its leaders simply hid the fact from the public. They should have understood that the coming World War II would be war whose victory could not be won only with samurai spirit, since the Imperial Army could not win the Soviet troops that were accompanied by about 1,000 tanks and armed vehicles while the Imperial soldiers were supported by only 100 tanks.
Anyway, Leonard Tsugouharu Foujita should not have painted Japanese soldiers on a Soviet tank, since it was field guns and Molotov cocktails that could really effectively destroy enemy tanks.
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Mat 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.