China was also barred from the United Nations by an American veto.
Print this page Introduction It all happened so quickly.
Within two hours, five battleships had been sunk, another 16 damaged, and aircraft destroyed. Only chance saved three US aircraft carriers, usually stationed at Pearl Harbor but assigned elsewhere on the day. The attacks killed under Japanese but over 2, Americans, with another 1, injured.
Although swift in execution, the attacks had been slowly brewing for years. The US had once looked upon Japanese ambitions with a level of sympathy, even indulgence. Hit hard by the Great Depression of the early s, however, Japanese disillusion with party government grew and moderates gave way to militants.
In Japan occupied Manchuria in northern China. Over the decade conflict intensified and in July war was declared. As Japanese aggression increased, its relations with the US deteriorated. Occupied Manchuria was rapidly exploited with the establishment of heavy and light industries.
This was a practical necessity for Japan.
Lacking in natural resources itself, the search for alternative supplies underpinned foreign and military policy throughout the decade and led to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Pacific War.
On top of practical economic considerations, early military success and an inherent sense of racial superiority led Japan to believe that it deserved to dominate Asian politics.
Higher birth-rates and economic considerations required more land; the gene-pool justified it. Historically, Japan had relied on America to supply many natural and industrial resources. Increasingly alarmed by Japanese aggression, however, America allowed a commercial treaty dating from to lapse in January In July it followed up by embargoing scrap iron and aviation fuel.
It was now a formal member of the Axis alliance fighting the European War. Japan knew that a full-scale invasion of South-east Asia would prompt war with America.
This posed real problems. Although officially neutral, there was no doubt where American sympathies lay. Roosevelt had already strained the sinews of neutrality by supplying Britain with money and arms under the 'lend-lease' agreement.
The Tripartite Pact meant that supplies to Japan would indirectly be helping Italy and Germany; further embargoes followed.
For Japan, embroiled in a long war with China, these were disastrous. Considering its very survival under threat, Japan intensified the search for a permanent alternative.
The most obvious target was South-east Asia, rich in minerals and oil. German success in Europe in had orphaned French and Dutch colonies in the region and they became the focus of Japanese attention. It needed a mechanism to buy itself sufficient time and space to conquer successfully crucial targets like the Philippines, Burma and Malaya.
The attack on Pearl Harbor was that mechanism; merely a means to an end. By destroying its Pacific Fleet, Japan expected to remove America from the Pacific equation for long enough to allow it to secure the resources it needed so desperately and hoped to crush American morale sufficiently to prompt Roosevelt to sue for peace.
Rumours that began in the war are still hanging around, well past their sell-by date, fuelled only by revisionist historians and conspiracy cranks. They claim Roosevelt was itching for war with Japan but was constrained by US neutrality, so needed a solid reason to fight.
Hence they accuse him of suppressing prior knowledge of the attack, or of provoking it to enable America to enter the war by the back door. Some even say that the attack on Pearl Harbor was deliberately engineered by a crypto-communist president guilty of high treason. In America was not ready for war.
It doesn't add up. With US forces queuing for arms alongside Britain and Russia, Roosevelt knew he needed more time to build America's military capacity. If war was to come, he wanted Japan to be seen to be the aggressor, but Roosevelt was in no hurry. Furthermore, he saw Germany as America's main enemy.Velayati is among special envoys that Iran is sending to various countries in response to the US withdrawal earlier this year from the nuclear deal.
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