At this stage the other Allies were without a Far-Eastern policy. Their sole object was to push back as far as possible the German-Magyar forces, which were carrying out the sinister policy of Teutonic penetration under the guise of Bolshevism. Bolshevism in the Far East at this date was an attempt to reduce to a system the operations of the Chinese robber bands of the Mongolian border. Mixed with and led by released German and Magyar prisoners of war, they became a formidable force for destroying all attempts at order in Russia and resisting the possible reconstruction of the Russian front against the Central Powers. Previous to the Bolshevist regime these Chinese bands had lived by murder and loot; it was their trade, though hitherto considered illegal, and sometimes severely punished. No wonder they joined the Soviet crusade when it declared robbery and murder to be the basis upon which the new Russian democracy must rest. This German-Magyar-Chinese combination was bound to meet with remarkable initial success. The Chinese got his blood and loot in a legal way without much danger, and the German prisoner played an important part in the defence of the Fatherland and the destruction of its enemies.
If Germany lost on the Western Front, and by means of this unnatural combination still retained her hold upon the potential wealth of the late Tsar’s dominions, she had indeed won the war. This was the reason for our presence in Siberia, but it was not the reason for the presence of Japan.
Shortly after the incidents referred to in Chapter IV, I received General Otani’s orders to take over the command of the railway and the districts for fifty versts on either side, from Spascoe to Ussurie inclusive. My duty was to guard the railway and administer the district, taking all measures necessary to keep open this section of the line of communications. I was instructed to fix my headquarters at Spascoe, and make all arrangements to winter there. In accordance therewith I proceeded to get into touch with what remained of the old Russian authorities, civil and military, and the new ones wherever such had been created. So far as the men’s comfort was concerned, new roads were constructed and old ones repaired, broken windows and dilapidated walls and woodwork were either replaced or renovated. Electrical appliances were discovered and fixed, and what had previously been a dull, dark block of brickwork suddenly blossomed out into a brilliantly lighted building and became at night a landmark for miles around.