Why did Japan attack the USA?

May 2019
14
greece
#31
The Philippines have a number of minerals: Gold, Copper, Iron, Chromite and Coal. Oil was discovered off Palawan after the war. My Dad worked there a time or two as a Mud Engineer. The Japanese could have also sent food back to Japan. The PI was the world's largest producer of Manila Hemp (rope).

Pruitt
Right, it was discovered AFTER the war. Were the rest really so important that they balance the negative effects of war with the industrial powerhouse that was the USA?
 
May 2018
125
Houston, TX
#32
I have read that 14th part, but (I am no expert) it doesn't 'sound' like a declaration of war. I think it is something like "The Japanese Government regrets to have to notify hereby the American Government that in view of the attitude of the American Government it cannot but consider that it is impossible to reach an agreement through further negotiations."

Has seemed to me that, even if the U.S. had formally received it prior to the 1 p.m. deadline, the state department might have considered it just another round of Japanese dissembling. In fact (as I recall) the Magic intercept of the 14th part did reach Roosevelt on the morning of the 7th and it was certainly not considering a declaration of war. So, in the minds of the Japanese, they may have intended to maintain honor by the 1 p.m. delivery, it was unlikely to have been received by the U.S. as such, and the Japanese envoys should have realized that would be the American mindset. Just my thoughts about it.
 

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,142
Lisbon, Portugal
#33
This seems mind-bogglingly stupid to me. I understand the us did an embargo on them, and they needed Malaysia and Indonesia to find alternative sources, but why attack the Philipphines? What is to be gained? I find it really doubtful that Roosevelt could have convinced the country to attack Japan for the sake of saving the british and dutch colonial empires. Or at least that's how it would have been seen.
Even if they were scared the united states MIGHT attack them, this is simply a possibility of defeat, whereas attacking them themselves made it a near- certainly. Especially since the outrage over the attach made the public hungry for revenge.
In fact it's a miracle that equally stupid Hitler came to their support, delaying Japan's defeat
I'm going to re-post one of my comments that I posted in some other discussion page discussing this very issue:

"(...)They needed to take out the Philippines and the US Pacific fleet because they stand in their way, but all of that was only possible because of the German success in Europe in 1940 - Japan saw it as a good opportunity to strike Western powers and acquire those resources they needed to continue to wage war against China.

Japan was not in anyway looking or even planning to take out the European possessions in Southeast Asia prior to the beginning of the Second World War in Europe, and you have to understand one thing: the Pacific War didn't start in 1939 or 1941, it started in 1931 and 1937. Every policy decision Japan made throughout the war was in the context of trying to subdue China."
 

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,142
Lisbon, Portugal
#34
Why is it you repeatedly ignore Indochina and only refer to Japanese incursions in Manchuria and China?
Japan invaded Indochina specifically because of their war against China, and the US involvement in China's resistance against Japanese invasion played a major role in the Japanese decision to invade the French possessions in Indochina.

The path that lead to the war between USA and Japan didn't begun with the US embargo in the aftermath of the Japanese invasion of Indochina, it actually begun earlier when the US as early as 1938 begun to adopt trade restrictions with Japan because of the war against China.
 

botully

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
3,545
Amelia, Virginia, USA
#35
Japan invaded Indochina specifically because of their war against China, and the US involvement in China's resistance against Japanese invasion played a major role in the Japanese decision to invade the French possessions in Indochina.

The path that lead to the war between USA and Japan didn't begun with the US embargo in the aftermath of the Japanese invasion of Indochina, it actually begun earlier when the US as early as 1938 begun to adopt trade restrictions with Japan because of the war against China.
Northern Indochina was occupied to close supplies reaching the Chinese. In response, the British closed the Burma road and the US imposed some sanctions. This was 1940, and with Tripartite pact the US took this as evidence that Japan was acting in concert with, and perhaps at the behest of Germany. This misconception colored US diplomacy.
Occupation of southern Indochina in July 1941had no such justification, and was seen correctly as a step to war.
 
Jul 2016
9,676
USA
#36
Japan invaded Indochina specifically because of their war against China, and the US involvement in China's resistance against Japanese invasion played a major role in the Japanese decision to invade the French possessions in Indochina.

The path that lead to the war between USA and Japan didn't begun with the US embargo in the aftermath of the Japanese invasion of Indochina, it actually begun earlier when the US as early as 1938 begun to adopt trade restrictions with Japan because of the war against China.
The direct cause of the war was related to Indochina, that was the straw that broke the camel's back.
 
Jul 2019
86
Pale Blue Dot - Moonshine Quadrant
#37
The US moved toward an Asian empire in the back-half of the 19th century and by the end of the Spanish-American War that empire was formally established.

President Theodore Roosevelt, impressed with the power of Japan’s military, brokered the peace treaty that ended the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 with Japan crushing Russian forces – some have called this World War Zero. In that treaty the United States recognized a Japanese sphere of influence in Manchuria – the Chinese Dynasty could no longer govern effectively and the Russians had just revealed their ineptness.

Japanese rights were further recognized Root-Takahira Agreement in late 1908 that gave Japan "a free hand in Manchuria" and an American acknowledgment of Japan's right to annex Korea in return for a disavowal of any Japanese aggressive intentions towards the Philippines and Japan's acquiescence to limitations on Japanese immigration to California. Roosevelt, enamored with global politics, went so far as to suggest that the Japanese would be a Monroe Doctrine presence for Asia

In doing this, Roosevelt sought to deflect Japanese expansion westward to avoid conflict with the new American Empire and in 1910 he advised his successor William Howard Taft that the United States should take no steps that would make Japan feel that we are "a menace to their interests" in North China.

With specific reference to Manchuria he remarked: "If the Japanese choose to follow a course of conduct to which we are adverse, we cannot stop it unless we are prepared to go to war… Our interests in Manchuria are really unimportant, and not such that the American people would be content to run the slightest risk of collision about them."


However, Roosevelt’s advice was ignored. Taft had his own ideas about what should be done in the Far East. As a firm believer in "dollar diplomacy" he adopted an ambitious program for increasing American interest and prestige in the Orient by building a sturdy financial flooring under American policy. He endeavored to push "big business" into placing large investments in China – an approach that was generally echoed by his successors. During the same period many American businesses men grew enamored with the idea that the state would help assure markets and thus profits - especially in a potentially huge market like China.

Over the next 30 years Japan, itself pursuing an aggressive posture in Asia, grew increasingly frustrated with American policy. Woodrow Wilson’s squashing of Japan’s Racial Equality Proposal at the Versailles Peace Treaty in 1919 did not help matters, nor did the 1922 Washington Naval Conference where Japan, with American naval bullying two generations earlier at the hands of Commodore Perry still fresh in memory, was offended by being required to accept a smaller navy than the United States.

In the late 1920's Herbert Hoover’s Secretary States, Henry Stimson, who was also Secretary of War under Taft and Franklin Roosevelt, refused to recognize the Japanese activity in north China that Theodore Roosevelt had earlier blessed.

After Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt also supported China in its conflict with Japan once he became president. According to Cabinet Member James Farley, as early as his 2nd Cabinet meeting in March 1933 noted that: “The new President again turned to the possibility of war with Japan.”

Japan, frustrated over extended American resistance to its expansion in China, became more militaristic in its political system, tensions between the two countries increased over time, and eventually the Japanese government decided to attack Pearl Harbor.

FDR’s policies were controversial at the time and they remain so today. Pearl Harbor may or may not have been a surprise but the potential for war with Japan had long been recognized.
 
Likes: Richardrli
Jan 2015
3,358
Front Lines of the Pig War
#38
This seems mind-bogglingly stupid to me. I understand the us did an embargo on them, and they needed Malaysia and Indonesia to find alternative sources, but why attack the Philipphines? What is to be gained?
Japan believed that any attack against the British or Dutch would almost certainly provoke US reprisals.
The US military would be sitting astride their supply line.
It was felt that a crippling attack would be preferable to leaving a belligerent enemy with intact forces.
[/quote]

I find it really doubtful that Roosevelt could have convinced the country to attack Japan for the sake of saving the british and dutch colonial empires. Or at least that's how it would have been seen.
Only if you presuppose that FDR was an idiot.
Any American action would be framed as preventing an expansionist Japan from surrounding and isolating P.I.

Even if they were scared the united states MIGHT attack them, this is simply a possibility of defeat, whereas attacking them themselves made it a near- certainly. Especially since the outrage over the attach made the public hungry for revenge.
They hoped that a crippling blow would make the US back off.

Both sides misunderstood the other side.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,413
Las Vegas, NV USA
#40
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a part of a coordinated series of attacks in the Far East which were remarkably successful. Had the carriers at Pearl been sunk, the US position would have been much worse. The Japanese plan was to quickly grab and hold the territory they wanted and then negotiate a mid pacific boundary of Japanese control without taking Hawaii. AFAIK Japan did not know Germany would declare war on the US. Had they known, the plan looked even better for Japan.
 
Last edited: