Frontier Fighting: Lake Khasan (1938) and Khalkhin-Gol (1939)

  • Jonathan Haslam
Part of the Studies in Soviet History and Society book series (SSHS)

Abstract

In the absence of foreign diplomatic support and in the face of only limited resistance to the Japanese from China, much still depended upon the deterrent value of Soviet military power in the Far East. Since the 17th Party Congress in February 1934 the reinforcement of the Soviet armed forces in the region had continued apace. By 1939 capital investment in the region stood at many times the level of 1928.1 The railway line from European Russia had been doubled as far as China by the autumn of 1934.2 By the end of 1935 the Far Eastern army was reported to be able to fight alone for at least six months.3 Nonetheless British military Intelligence (MI2) pointed out in October 1935 that Soviet railway capacity strictly limited the quantity of forces that could be maintained in the Far East and meant that the Soviet rate of mobilisation was seriously inferior to that of the Japanese.4 For supplies the Russians were still dependent upon ‘slow moving and vulnerable columns of horse transport’.5 By December 1937, however, the Amur railway line — a continuation of the Trans-Siberian — was double-tracked to Khabarovsk, 400 miles short of Vladivostok.6 Between 1934 and 1939 the number of tanks in the Far Eastern army was doubled; the number of armoured cars rose by a factor of eight.7

Keywords

Europe Transportation Assure Expense Trench 

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Notes

  1. 11.
    Pogranichnye voiska SSSR 1929–1938: Sbornik dokumentov i materialov (hereafter PV SSSR), ed. P. Zyryanov et al. (Moscow, 1972), doc. 620.Google Scholar
  2. 15.
    A. Coox, The Anatomy of a Small War: The Soviet-Japanese Struggle for Changkufeng/Khasan 1938 (London, 1977), p. 12.Google Scholar
  3. 17.
    Hata Ikuhiko, ‘The Japanese-Soviet Confrontation’, ed. J. Morley, Deterrent Diplomacy: Japan, Germany and the USSR 1935–1940 (New York, 1976), pp. 142–3.Google Scholar
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    Material from the NKVD: T. Gladkov and N. Zaitsev, I ya emu ne mogu ne verit’… (Moscow, 1983), pp. 215–16.Google Scholar
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    Quoted in extenso by D. Volkogonov, Triumf i tragediya: Politicheskii portret I.V. Stalina Moscow, 1989), pp. 272–3.Google Scholar
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    For the story: M. Toscano, The Origins of the Pact of Steel (Baltimore, 1967).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jonathan Haslam 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Haslam
    • 1
  1. 1.King’s CollegeCambridgeUK

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