Faith, Race and Strategy
During the 1920s and 1930s, Western visitors to Inner Mongolia came for a variety of reasons. Some came for the purpose of scholarship, others passed through on their way to visit the new ‘independent’ nation of Manchukuo, often at the invitation of the Japanese authorities. Among these visitors was Nicholas Roerich, the purpose of whose visit is still the subject of debate. Roerich’s journey through Inner Mongolia has attracted some scholarly attention, but there are still many unanswered questions about what it was that Roerich actually did while he was there, or what he hoped to achieve. This article draws on earlier studies, but analyses the available reports from the US State Department in China together with contemporary news reports, to place Roerich’s journey within the geopolitical context of the time.
In works dealing with modern Mongolia, the 'Mad' or 'Bloody' Baron UngernSternberg is always mentioned and, more often than not, the picture that is painted of him is a man driven by demons, someone who committed unspeakable atrocities against almost all he encountered. This article does not dispute that Ungern-Sternberg committed atrocities during the Russian civil War, but draws on contemporary english-language sources that suggest that the portrayal of the baron as a 'monster' is open to doubt.