Why did Japan attack the USA?

Jul 2016
9,304
USA
#11
Japan was to immediately withdraw from all Chinese territory. And yes, neither China or the US recognized Manchuria as anything other than Chinese territory at the time. Korea they could keep then. Taiwan probably, but a bit more uncertain...
Can you provide sources for any of these claims?

The last of the EOs against Japan started in June 1941 and dealt with Japanese invasion and occupation of Indochina, not Chinese territory, as it had belonged to the French beforehand. In July 1941 another EO, froze Japanese assets in the US, and this one also banned the sale of US oil to Japan. It was followed up by similar embargoes placed on Japanese purchase of foreign oil by British and Dutch.

There were no official demands attached to any of these to remove them. In the US, only POTUS has power to rescind an executive order, so all FDR had to do was decide for whatever reason to change or revoke them.
 
Jul 2016
9,304
USA
#13
It's a document known as the "Hull Note". Quick google yields it:
Hull note - Wikisource, the free online library
That was five months after the crushing EOs were implemented. It was just one last little bit of diplomacy both sides needed to do before going to war, to show they "tried" to make peace. It was not attached to the EOs, nor was it even taken seriously by any sides. Both the US and Japan had already come to the conclusion by that point that war was certain. Weeks before the Hull Note was even delivered, Hirohito had already approved the strike on Pearl Harbor, the strike force had already sailed before the note arrived.
 
May 2019
12
greece
#14
Japan was to immediately withdraw from all Chinese territory. And yes, neither China or the US recognized Manchuria as anything other than Chinese territory at the time. Korea they could keep then. Taiwan probably, but a bit more uncertain...
I don't suppose that anyone seriously thought Japan would agree to this. I mean, these conditions were almost as harsh as the ones demanded after 3.5 years of war
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,387
#15
That was five months after the crushing EOs were implemented. It was just one last little bit of diplomacy both sides needed to do before going to war, to show they "tried" to make peace. It was not attached to the EOs, nor was it even taken seriously by any sides. Both the US and Japan had already come to the conclusion by that point that war was certain. Weeks before the Hull Note was even delivered, Hirohito had already approved the strike on Pearl Harbor, the strike force had already sailed before the note arrived.
And thus you want to indicate somehow the US was prepared to let the Imperial Japan have bits of China, or what?
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,387
#16
I don't suppose that anyone seriously thought Japan would agree to this. I mean, these conditions were almost as harsh as the ones demanded after 3.5 years of war
Exactly. The Japanese saw them as an ultimatum, and so must the US side as well. It wasn't the kind of brinkmanship where you really still care about not making the other side not make any sudden moves, to try to inch him back from whatever position he's ended up in.

The Japanese military adventurism has no redeeming features whatsoever of course. But any the expectation that the Japanese militarized leadership would slam on the breaks, and make a 180° insta-turn would have been far-fetched. Not that it should be expected it would attack like it did either.

Somehow Japan must be gotten out of China, and Manchuria was part of it as well. The problem being in the face of an embargo that would really bite, just upping the ante of war some more seemed a less arduous and dangerous route for the Japanese military.
 
Jul 2016
9,304
USA
#17
And thus you want to indicate somehow the US was prepared to let the Imperial Japan have bits of China, or what?
The crushing sanctions were not placed on Japan because of China, they were placed on Japan because of INDOCHINA. Different place, similar name, so I can understand the confusion.
 
Jul 2016
9,304
USA
#18
Exactly. The Japanese saw them as an ultimatum, and so must the US side as well. It wasn't the kind of brinkmanship where you really still care about not making the other side not make any sudden moves, to try to inch him back from whatever position he's ended up in.

The Japanese military adventurism has no redeeming features whatsoever of course. But any the expectation that the Japanese militarized leadership would slam on the breaks, and make a 180° insta-turn would have been far-fetched. Not that it should be expected it would attack like it did either.

Somehow Japan must be gotten out of China, and Manchuria was part of it as well. The problem being in the face of an embargo that would really bite, just upping the ante of war some more seemed a less arduous and dangerous route for the Japanese military.
Why is it you repeatedly ignore Indochina and only refer to Japanese incursions in Manchuria and China?
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
33,641
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#19
I seem to recall the Hull note had quite a prominent place in the Yasukuni shrine's timeline of how Japan went to war.

Unfortunately, I don't remember what it said and you weren't allowed to take photos in that area so I have no record of it.
 
Mar 2019
1,192
Kansas
#20
The Japanese military adventurism has no redeeming features whatsoever of course. But any the expectation that the Japanese militarized leadership would slam on the breaks, and make a 180° insta-turn would have been far-fetched. Not that it should be expected it would attack like it did either.
.
Oddly enough that was what they were hoping for. Japan was economically bleeding to death in China. They idea was to have a quick war with the US....lose....get an honorable peace, and reset the diplomatic switches back to neutral.
 
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