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The LDS Church magazine, The Improvement Era, originally established for the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association from which organization it took its name, later became the official magazine of the Church until the Ensign replaced it in 1970. The Era, as it was called, included international news as well as local Utah and LDS Church news. Many of the issues, especially during the period of 1901 until 1920, included articles about Japan. The most lengthy were reports about, and then later, from the Japan Mission. which was opened in 1901. Additionally Japan was becoming a more powerful nation and made the International News section from time to time. For the next several months, we will provide some of this interesting information from about 110 years ago.
Improvement Era 1917
There is, however, a substantial reason for the restriction of submarine attacks. The reason is that which applied to the old form of buccaneering in earlier days; that it was not a means of bringing about any decisive results, but simply a means of the useless destruction of human life and property. So obnoxious did that form of naval conduct become that the nations finally agreed to do away with it, and it is not unlikely that at some future time, when the nations are at peace, they will agree to abolish the submarine as an instrument of war for the same reason that buccaneering was abolished. The submarine is not wholly effective as an instrument of blockade; it is not wholly effective in the destruction of a nation's navy.
It is, however, a means of great destruction to life and property without decisive results. Germany believed that an unrestricted submarine war could be the means of an effective blockade. But to date the argument and the facts are all against her. Her change of policy, however, led to a rupture with the United States, and it will be a miracle of good luck if it does not lead to war. The situation was aggravated furthermore by the fact that soon after the severance of diplomatic relations it was discovered that Germany was preposing an alliance with Mexico which in turn was to bring Japan on the side of the central powers against the United States. This right of alliance certainly could not be denied the Germans. It is a right that all the powers have exercised. The German proposition, however, though rightful in its general aspects, carried with it a sting in the nature of a proposition to give Mexico, in the event of victory, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Perhaps the most unfortunate denouement of the intrigue with Mexico was the discovery that German agents had been active for a long time in Mexico in creating hostility to the United States and in using Mexican territory as a base of operations unfavorable to this country.
Improvement Era 1917
undertaking was the proposition that Germany under certain eventualities should give Mexico certain states of the Union. Germany was helpless to give any substantial aid. Japan's advantages were as far as possible away from the German proposition. Mexico could not conquer Texas single-handed, to say nothing of the whole United States. That Japan would abandon her rights and opportunities in Asia for any advantages that would come to her from American colonies in the Pacific, or from even western states of the Union, was entirely unlikely.
Improvement Era 1917
Although the Germans possess the greater enlightenment, those who have gained influence in the court of Petrograd have been among the worst reactionaries. They have opposed the rights of the people and the extension of liberty to the masses. Such a policy was their own preservation. Now that the curtain has been lifted, the propositions to Mexico seem to have been revealed and German diplomacy is more easily comprehended. The fact is, Germany has been using her utmost endeavor to draw a semi-circle around the eastern part of her own continent and extend it into Mexico. Germany has foreseen the advantages of a new combination, new alliances. She would go to great lengths to include in them Russia and Japan. It was impossible for Germany to reach Japan directly, so Mexico was made merely a pawn in the game to open up the large purpose of her policy.
Remarkable as it may seem, an understanding between Germany and Japan would not be so difficult, provided Russia only could be included. As a matter of fact, the way things stand today, Japan is more interested in what Russia is able to do for her than what can be done for her by any other country. To carry out Japanese policy in the East it is necessary for Japan and Russia to come to some understanding. It would be comparatively easy to disregard the wishes of other nations in the matter. The Germans knew that if they could offer the Japanese the Russian hand of fellowship, an alliance with Tokyo would not be so difficult. For months, therefore, it has been a matter of intense interest with Germany to know whether the re-actionaries or liberals would gain the upper hand in Russia. Germanic influences have been powerful at Petrograd. Indeed, during the past two months the prime ministers of Russia have been decidedly pro-German. The pro-German sentiment has been helped by the fact that the Czarina is herself a German. Then there developed religious influences which may or may not have been assisted by the pro-German element. A priest arose who took upon himself the title of Rasputin. His influence became very strong throughout Petrograd notwithstanding the fact of his gross immoral conduct. He gained ascendency over the Czarina, then became influential at court and helped to establish underground communications with Berlin. Finally he was shot, evidently by members of the opposing party, and his body thrown into the river.
That ended Rasputin, and with him the religious influence he had exercised in favor of the reactionaries who are dominated largely by German influences. A bread riot occurred. It was easy to transfer in the excited condition of Petrograd the riot for bread into a riot for liberty. A revolution at this moment is said to have resulted in the dethronement of the Czar and the establishment of his brother Alexandrovitch as regent. Alexandrovitch is decidedly anti-German, but possesses the weakness of the Romanoff family in the dynasty to which he belongs. His weakness may, however, aid the situation, from the fact that it will enable the Russian Duma to acquire greater power and make the ministers of the Czar responsible to it, just as the ministers of the King of England are responsible to parliament. The anti-German element won in Russia. If the victory is permanent, further efforts by Germany in the formation of new alliances will be futile. The latest reports indicate that the Romanoff dynasty has come to an end, and that the Republic of Russia will be a near event.