21 AUGUST 1936, Page 2

Russia's New Armies

The announcement that the U.S.S.R. is to reduce the recruiting age to 19 over the next three years, giving her 1,000,000 new recruits by 1939, has had its inevitable reaction in Germany, which points more insistently than ever to " the Bolshevist Menace." Russia's standing army is already on a peace basis of 1,300,000 men. But Germany's protests arouse no great sympathy elsewhere, largely because the motives for Russia's action are clear. She is threatened on east and west by the armaments, coupled with the expansionist policies, of Germany and Japan ; the breakdown of the League has thrown her, like every other country, on her own resources ; she has to face the prospect, perhaps dangerously near, of renewed Japanese aggression in China. Even M. Ota, the retiring Japanese Ambassador in Moscow, has recognised that the strengthening of Russia's army is entirely for purposes of defence. But if Russia's rearmament, like our own, may be excused in the present condition of Europe and the Far East, yet it is only one further advance in the armaments • race in whieh the Powers are engaged. The race has been accelerated by the eclipse- of the League ; a dis- armament convention is the only means of checking it ; but disarmament is an impossible ideal till the League's prestige is restored. * *