kirtu wrote:I am well aware that *some* tried to avert war and even opposed militarism. But not that many.
The top war planners, even Tojo, were well aware Japan probably would not win a war with America. They had two years of oil stockpiled, and in a war scenario that meant they had a year and a half of oil, whereas the Americans had a virtually unlimited supply of oil from their own wells. The Japanese plan was to hopefully force a ceasefire with the US and then consolidate themselves in SE Asia. Nevertheless, prior to Pearl Habor a lot of elites wanted to avoid war with the US as they knew they were at a great disadvantage. War with China was another matter. If it wasn't for the Pacific War, Japan would have eventually rolled over the KMT.
It is highly doubtful that the US wanted to secure the Pacific essentially as an American lake. This is not the general thrust of American history, even given it's nature as a bi-oceanic nation. See for example the US decision to have the Filipinos determine for themselves whether they wanted to be independent or remain part of the US.
America was just as much an imperialist land-grabbing nation as anyone else. Just talk to the Mexicans or Hawaiians.
No, he didn't. There was of course some racism amoungst military leaders.
They were pretty damn surprised at how successful the Japanese were in Pearl Harbor, Hong Kong and Singapore.
In fact, Roosevelt's administration already had plans for a preemptive attack against Japanese cities from the air well before Pearl Harbor (the plan was approved on July 18th). The plan was to launch air raids using the Flying Tigers from China and destroy major Japanese cities between September and October, 1941.
I have never heard of this before. Do you have other details?
Most Americans and westerners for that matter are completely unaware of this fact that the Americans were planning the same "unprovoked, premeditated attack" that Roosevelt complained about with the Japanese at Pearl Harbor.
Unofficially, President Franklin Roosevelt immediately agreed to an idealistic plan for the covert bombing of Japan. The plan had been proposed some seven months earlier by Claire Chennault, leader of a volunteer group of Chinese-based American pilots known as the Flying Tigers. The group were employed as mercenaries by the Chinese government in their fight against Japan. Chennault was keen to make pre-emptive strategic bombing raids on Japan itself. He had approached the American government for covert support, and had received some financial backing for his group but not approval for his plan. Then in May 1941 Roosevelt’s adviser, Lauchlin Currie, visited China and on his return revived the plan.
Roosevelt and some of his senior staff, along with the British, were enthusiastic in spirit but felt it impractical. However, on 23 July – the day after the Japanese southward move in Indochina – Roosevelt and top military officials such as Admirals Hart and Turner put their signatures to Document JB 355 (Serial 691), titled Aircraft Requirements of the Chinese Government. Among other things, this authorised the use of 66 Lockheed Hudson and Douglas DB-7 bombers (other planes to be made available later) for the following clearly stated purpose: ‘Destruction of Japanese factories in order to cripple production of munitions and essential articles for maintenance of economic structure of Japan.’ As it happened, there was a delay in securing the planes, and other events were to overtake the plan before any bombing raids were attempted.
See Kenneth Henshall, A History of Japan From Stone Age to Superpower Third Edition
(London, UK: Palgrave Macmillian, 2012), 124-125
The Americans were not necessarily the 'good guys' as patriotic American history likes to proclaim. Roosevelt's administration was not really so different from the Tokyo administration. They were both looking out for their own self-interests and ultimately they clashed.
Hold on - the Hull note was an ultimatum - an ultimatum to stop the aggressive and unprovoked war that the Japanese were waging on Chinese territory since 1932.
The Japanese never intended for that to become an all out war and actually tried to contain it at the start, but the situation exploded and there was no turning back. That's how politics and war work unfortunately.
On the Japanese side, people were trying to secure peace through total domination so part of their motivation was valid. However they fell prey to total fear. But I don 't see this as logical at all. It's like the mania that has engulfed the US after 9/11 resulting in perpetual war.
If you were a Japanese elite in the 1930s, you probably wouldn't feel it appropriate to sit on your hands and let predatory nations get too close.
American *was* indeed a friend to Japan in the two decades prior to 1941, certainly until about 1937. The concerns about securing resources, etc. is true. However war, and esp. genocidal war, is not the answer.
Violence is an extension of political processes whether we like it or not. It has always existed and always will. As Buddhists we might try to avert war as much as possible, but in some situations you have two options: flee or fight. I mean if you look at the history of lunatic Marxists like Mao or the Mongolian communists, as a Buddhist you couldn't exactly negotiate with them or come to some kind of compromise. They wanted to destroy you and your whole religion. Buddhists in Japan could presumably see such similar possibilities on their own horizon in the early twentieth century.
I have seen this "no alternative" argument before - in released tapes of the surviving mid-level military leaders of the time made in the 60's or 70's. I heard them a few years ago and they were shocking. It's like the Germans making a "no alternative" case for the conquest of Europe because of the rise of communism - which was exactly one of the Nazi arguments.
They're only shocking because they were on the losing side.
The arguments for nuking and fire bombing Japanese cities is seen as justifiable nowadays by a lot of Americans, but then they won the war and get to call the shots with respect to justifiable violence.