The Root Causes of Pearl Harbor Serve as Important Lessons for America Today

Guest Piece by Gregg Updike

Remembering Pearl Harbor – Part two, The Cause 

NOTE From the Author: On this date last year, I wrote a Lengthy comment on what was the long-term legacy of the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  David Blackmon contacted me via email and offered to post it as a standalone article giving attribution to me.  He posted it the next day with his appropriate title “Yalta and Potsdam: Days That Still Live in Infamy”.  That title was and is particularly appropriate because the Pearl Harbor attack was the galvanizing event which thrust the United States into World War II and created the Yalta and Potsdam foreign policy giveaways, the legacy of which still create most of the foreign policy problems America faces today.

Here is my next installment on Pearl Harbor which describes why and how it happened:

The origins of the Pearl Harbor attack can be traced back to 1853 when the United States essentially forced a feudal Japan to open trade via Commodore Matthew Perry’s squadron of armed ships.  Japan, at that time was very much like much of Europe was centuries before with warlords using the obsolete sword as the primary weapon of war duking it out among their various tribes with little central control.  This forced Japan out of some 250 years of self-imposed isolation from the rest of the world and they opened one port for international trade.  Other nations, including Russia soon followed trading with Japan.

Japan’s leadership saw how far they were behind in weaponry and understood they were vulnerable to becoming a dominated colony.  Unlike China and the Philippines and even America’s Native Americans they decided it was far better off to unite and be able to defend their homeland rather than be subjugated under another nation’s rule.

Of the seven major powers in World War II, only England was a mature nation with centuries of consistent governance.  It took until the middle 1800s for America (1865 and many years after to recover from the Civil War), Japan (1868), and Italy and Germany to become unified nations.  The ruling dynasties of Russia and China had collapsed by 1917 and the 1920s, respectively.  Japan, once unified, took great pains to ‘catch up’ with western technology and essentially armed itself to the teeth to make it very costly for any power to colonize them.  That coupled with their islands having virtually no exploitable resources ensured their independence on the world stage.

Throughout this period England had the most powerful navy and it only made sense that Japan would emulate it and in fact formed an alliance and a trading partnership with England.  Originally warships and other weapons were imported, studied and copied and once their industrial base became developed, they built their own.  England and other European Powers were happy to have another customer for its military accoutrements and with the purchaser on the other side of Asia they did not feel threatened.  This was also the time when wooden sailing ships were being replaced by steel and coal power and other modern technologies from which Japan benefitted greatly.

Within twenty-seven years Japan embarked on being a colonial power and fought their first war with China where they gained Formosa (Taiwan) at little cost.  Ten years later (1904-5), seeing the building of the Russian Trans-Siberian Railroad as a threat, they launched a sneak attack on Russia and opened their second conflict without a formal declaration of war against a neighbor.  They were unbelievably successful and defeated what was considered a first-class western power and navy; the world took notice.

Troubles with America began brewing at about this time and would fester for the next four decades until that fateful “Day of Infamy”.  The highlights are:

Late 1800s, America acquired the Philippines which was viewed as a threat

  1. Theodore Roosevelt intervened in the Russo-Japanese War and was and forced the Treaty of Portsmouth on Japan which halted the war, but was seen as another unwelcome intervention. The peace deal greatly benefitted Japan at the time because they were still very weak economically and even winning was bankrupting them.
  2. As an ally of England Japan defeated Germany in 1918 and gained many German colonies in the central Pacific at little cost by being on the right side.
  3. In 1921-2, the United States forced a naval arms limitation treaty on the Japanese which ultimately saved Japan from going broke and America from embarking on an expensive arms race.  Japan and America were the only two countries not severely impacted by World War I and the other naval powers had no ability to engage in such a race.  Japan wanted naval parity but was forced to accept second rate naval status; they greatly resented being limited to building 60% of what the United States and Great Brittan could.
  4. America, through its diplomacy, forced a fracturing of the Anglo-Japan trade and arms alliance further exacerbating the deteriorating relations. However, England still sent military equipment and a training – most notably in naval aviation – commission to Japan.  America’s purpose was to prevent Japan and England ganging up on the US Navy from the Atlantic and Pacific in a continued alliance – we still were not all that friendly with England post World War I.
  5. America passed very restrictive immigration laws in the 1920s severely limiting Japanese immigration, and later during the Depression enacted trade tariffs which destroyed Japanese exports to the United States.
  6. America passed very restrictive immigration laws in the 1920s severely limiting Japanese immigration, and later during the Depression enacted trade tariffs which destroyed Japanese exports to the United States.

While Japan was embracing capitalism and modern ways, their centuries old traditions were always in the forefront especially regarding the tradition of the emperor and racial purity.  When the worldwide Depression hit, Japan was among the hardest hit.  The militant wing of the military gradually took over and much of the nominal civilian control of their government was run by assignation throughout the thirties.  The cause of much of this upheaval was the near total autonomy granted to the army and navy and the perceived failing of western capitalism as an economic system.  In short, during the 1930s Tokyo could not control the Army and the Army could not control its mid-level officers when they were stationed next to Mongolia, China and the USSR.

These hotheads provoked border clashes with all three nations.  In 1930, another naval arms treaty was forced upon Japan which was even more unpopular with its hawks in the navy.  In 1931 army officers precipitated the Manchuria ‘incident’.  The result was a large territorial gain with some resources but international condemnation.  Ultimately this led to Japan walking out on the worthless League of Nations when they were condemned by the body in 1934.  At around this time Japan also quit the naval treaty restrictions as of 1936.  Japan was rapidly becoming a rogue nation and was seen as a regional bully.  With the depression deepening, the hotheads in the military never being sanctioned by their superiors and gaining ever more power, Japan saw its destiny as being the leader of the Orient, they had their own version of lebensraum (living space), which was dubbed “The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” with the ultimate goal of driving out the European colonial powers.

In 1937 another boarder ‘incident’ was provoked, this time with China which was embroiled in its own civil war and was always seen as being weak since the collapse of its running dynasty decades earlier.  This conflict resulted in an eight-year quagmire with no victory, great losses, and a near premature war with the United States.  Only a massive diplomatic apology for sinking a US Navy gunboat, the Panay, averted open conflict.

Soon thereafter, there was another boarder clash – this time with the USSR – and the Japanese Army got its nose bloodied and quickly sued for peace and later signed a long-term non-aggression pact with Stalin.  This ‘incident’, as Japan liked to call their undeclared wars was a disaster for her because it forced the permanent deployment of over half its army to defend against a feared USSR attack and paralyzed their military doctrine which effectively reduced their ability to fight America in the Pacific.

Japan soon thereafter allied with Germany and Italy, by formally joining the Axis.  Further incursions into China caused the United States to begin trade embargoes on vital resources.  When Japan’s Army bullied its way into French Indochina (Vietnam) in July of 1941 to gain a key staging point, Roosevelt got the world to cut off all oil supply to Japan.  This was intolerable and Japan was going to have to either accede to America’s demands which included leaving ALL of China in order to get the oil and other resource trade resumed or fight.  Even without the embargo Japan was going to default on foreign trade by 1942.  The only way to stave off economic disaster was territorial expansion and take the resources it needed to achieve hegemony and self-sufficiency.  Being in a similar circumstance as Germany in 1938, they followed Hitler’s route to war and national destruction.

Japan’s initial targets were England’s Malaysia, Singapore and Burma and the Netherlands’ (Dutch) East Indies in order for it to survive as an independent nation and not a colony under the Allies’ thumb.  As events transpired, France had fallen which allowed for the bloodless grab of their Indochina colony which gave them a vital operation base for future expansion.  The Netherlands likewise fell to Hitler and their oil producing islands were ripe for conquest.  England was known to be extremely weak in Asia and was fighting for its very existence, so her prized colonies were also vulnerable. Furthermore, in late 1941 the USSR was on the brink of collapse and not a threat at that time.   All these ambitions could have been successfully realized at this time except for one major problem.

That problem was the United States and its Philippine possession which laid astride the main line of advance to the southern resource areas that Japan needed.  Earlier in 1941 the US Navy was permanently stationed at Pearl Harbor from the US west coast which represented a major threat that could not be ignored.  Japan’s plans of conquest would likely succeed only if America remained neutral.   However, since America was already seen for decades as a probable future belligerent, it had to be incorporated into the grand scheme.  And finally, one other event occurred which forced the Pearl Harbor attack decision: After the fall of France, America embarked upon a massive naval building program that would be realized in 1943-44.

In 1941 Japan’s Navy was equal to or held numerical superiority over the US Pacific Fleet, however it would be dwarfed by the US Navy in three years AND be out of oil.  The window of opportunity and time to strike was at the end of 1941 when American strength and the other allies were at their nadir.  The strategic situation was never going to be better and the economic and military dynamic was only going to deteriorate.  By mid-1941, Japan had found itself truly between a rock and a hard place, but it was a rock and a hard place largely of its own making.

The three thousand plus mile sneak attack on Pearl Harbor was extremely contrary to Japan’s Naval doctrine which was basically defensive in nature and designed to be fought within a thousand or so miles of their home Islands.  The main reason Pearl Harbor was attacked was to disable the US Pacific Fleet (like they did with Russia in 1904) to gain a six month breathing space whereby Japan could conquer the southern islands, get their resources flowing and capture the Philippines without interference form the (on paper) powerful US Pacific Fleet.  In that regard she succeeded brilliantly with their tactical raid which should have been strategic attack.  In the end it was a strategic blunder because it galvanized a lethargic America like nothing else could have and spelled Japan’s doom.

In closing, America also bears some of the blame in its clumsy handling of Japan in the forty years prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, and because it began rebuilding its military and navy far too late to thwart Japan’s imperialist ambitions.  Had the mobilization and new construction begun when Japan quit the limitation treaties, invaded China, attacked the USSR, when Germany attacked Poland, or when Japan joined the Axis, it would most likely have persuaded its leaders that a war with the United States was a no-win proposition under any circumstances.  Reagan’s doctrine of “Peace Through Strength” was a true then as it was in the 1980s and is true today.  A powerful unassailable United States would probably have kept Japan at bay and it likely would have forced them to play nice on the international stage.

A perceived weak United States always emboldens mischief from nations controlled by tyrants.

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge, and deserves to become everyone’s go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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Gregg

Me too Silas. When I was on the USS America CV-66 in the North Arabian Sea – for 102 days straight without seeing land – during the summer of 1984 and was flown home on emergency leave. The route went from the carrier off Saudi Arabia to Diego Garcia (BIOT), to Nairobi, Kenya (Birthplace of ‘The One’), to Sigonella, Sicily, to Central Spain to Dover, Delaware (where btfsplk was still sleeping in his bunker) to home in NJ.

The overnight stay was very nice and I wish I had taken the opportunity as I had a choice of duty stations to take a year assignment there as sailors were stationed on the island base for only a year at the time. My duty rotation would have taken me to the America and I would have transferred from Diego Garcia as the ship was out-chopping from the Indian Ocean to the Med via the Suez Canal. Good times indeed.

Silas

Gregg – Got a taste of that back in 1979 on a little island called Diego Garcia. Nice little place.
Out in middle of the Indian effin Ocean. About 15 feet above seal level at it’s highest point. Fun times. 😛

Gregg

500 miles from anywhere.

Gregg

Wake was one of the few bright spots early in the war. They were the only garrison who was able to successfully repel an amphibious invasion on either side during the whole war. The gallant Marines surrendered on Dec 23, fifteen days after Pearl Harbor when their relief force was recalled in the face of new and larger enemy forces being present. A sad, but justifiable decision as the USN couldn’t afford any additional losses at the time. Unfortunately Wake, like Guam and the Philippines became an expendable liability rather than a forward asset.

I hope someday to visit Wake atoll, just to get a flavor of what life was like five hundred miles .

Gregg

Philly Smith,

“The decision to attack Pearl Harbor was in reaction to American blockade which embargoed steel and oil which Japan desperately needed.”

Absolutely true, I just gave some of the background that led to that decision.

***

My article was written from their perspective and how they saw their situation in 1941 and during the period from 1853. Hence the reasons why Japan felt compelled to go to war with the US and others in 1941.

Was Japan culpable? Absolutely! Could the ‘mature’ more established nations handled their dealings with Japan and many other nations better? The answer to that is also a resounding yes.

Japan, in the late 1800s, was attempting to marry its ideals and culture into the western ways that were acceptable to them at the time.

They attempted to form a lasting western style representative civilian government, but militaristic hotheads and radicals gained more and more sway in budgets and foreign policy as the years went by after WW I. That, coupled with the great depression, greatly diminished civilian control and prestige. As I stated, Japan became governed by assassinations and the forced resignations of several surviving prime ministers who got out when the getting was good. Either branch of the military could and did hold the nominal civilian (by the 1930s) hostage to their budgetary and policy demands and could cause the downfall of any cabinet anytime they chose – and they did that quite often. Couple that with the fact that the army and navy loathed each other and usually worked at cross purposes and you get a dysfunctional government divorced from reality. Instead of being an instrument of national defense, Japan’s military became the national policy maker hellbent of subjugating its neighbors. Prior to WW II almost a third of Japan’s GDP was spent on its military; by comparison, the US currently spends less than 5% of its GDP on ours.

The real trouble began when the senior military leaders were unable or unwilling (in order to save face) to control the radical young junior army officers which led to the war with China and all its ensuing troubles. Often these old idiots and cronies posted the young punk officers to the boarder areas far from Tokyo, where they were not supervised and could cause the most trouble. This was often done just to get the troublemakers out of Tokyo and to save the skin of the ‘leaders’. Admiral Yamamoto, a realist and a moderate, was himself posted to the fleet just to protect him from assassination. In effect, the radicals were booted upstairs rather then being court-martialed and were never punished which only begat more such behavior. The unpopular moderates were ignored, transferred to safe commands or removed.

Does this sound familiar with what is going in our government today where young punk radicals who care not one whit about the constitution, the national policy of the President, and laws in order to further their agenda? Many of our so-called ‘leaders’ have been willingly drawn into their web. Some leaders in Japan were old time hacks who had no problem with what their hotheaded radicals were doing, while others where elected or appointed hacks intimidated to go-along-to-get-along. The Emperor was just a figurehead; I wonder if we will get a figurehead ’emperor’ come January 20, 2021?

The elected civilians held no real power once the 1929 depression hit. How much power over the government do half of our elected civilians have in 2020? The similarities are striking and shockingly similar.

History does indeed repeat itself. The only difference is Japan’s radicals were looking to make Japan the dominate power in the region eighty years ago, whereas many of our ‘leaders’ are looking to subjugate us back into a colonial status.

Ultimately such tactics did not and will not end well for either group of ‘leaders’. The Japanese leaders finally bit off more then they could chew in 1941, and were smashed into oblivion. If history is any gage, and I hope and pray it is, our ‘leaders; will suffer the same fate. They question is: Will they take all of us down like Japan’s did?

Q-D'Etat

It’s also easy to make the parallel between Japan then and China now:
there has been a purge of “corrupt” officials by the PLA and CCP, but the PLA appears (in my view) to be far more radical and almost insane with nationalist pride.

Most of the troubles we’ve encountered with scientific theft and blackmail come from the PLA, bribes from CCP and PLA both.

But China has problems, and has become expansionist similarly in order to stifle the discontent and to cover for their slavery and human organ theft and human trafficking operations, not to mention their drug manufacturing and smuggling operations.

It’s the old idea of bringing war to other lands in order not to suffer war on one’s own land.

We will eventually fight a war with China, whether or not it’s our military or our citizens when our government submits to China and we rebel against the Chi/Wash government, an illegal substitute tor a Constitutional government.

I suspect that there will be martial law to prevent this, to correct the election fraud and to clean out the treasonous press and others who work on China’s behalf. China has a whole lot of enemies, and London had better stop trying to keep Trump out of office, because they have China troubles too, as do the Aussies. (Canada is already owned by the Chicoms.)

It is all about to get really hot, one way or another. China’s insane military leaders will try to imitate what Japan did, and since they have natural resources that Japan lacked, they will be more formidable. There are three main weaknesses that China has, however:

1. Food
2. Energy
3. Distance

They’ve tried to use COVID to ruin us from a distance, and have threatened to use far worse bioweapons. I wouldn’t suggest it, though: we have our own. And crowded cities make a fine petri dish, if they should decide to use something more lethal.

As Brian says: this is war. they already have their boots on the ground, through Wall Street and Mini Mike and others – many others.

Pearl Harbor will have another face this time.

Silas

Gregg – That’s what bothers me most about the history of WWII versus now. In the 1940s our nation, as a whole was grounded in a common history and belief system. Now we have at two generations that have nothing in common with previous generations and no grounding in history.

They think everybody is their friend and everybody will hold hands and sing we are the world after it’s all over and their utopian world is realized.

We are going to see meltdowns of unbelievable proportions if and when that happens, and they get marched off to the gulags with the rest of us who are left if we lose the war.

Gregg

Interesting theory yougottaloveme and very thoughtfully written,

“The ‘border clash’ with the Russians is what did it. It is a little known conflict that is dubbed the incidents at Khalkhin Gol, or The Battle Of Nomonhon, at the border of Mongolia and Russia from May to July, 1939.”

Japan’s military doctrine of regional expansion was offensive in nature but defensive in practice. Their success in their first China war and against Tsarist Russia and their adherence to Mahan’s theory of seeking and winning the one decisive battle was hopelessly outdated. It worked in controllable regional wars circa 1900, but totally failed in the eight year global conflict she fought from 1937-1945.

I have only a limited number of words (usually 800-1000) that can be in any given article and would have loved to have expanded upon all of the (5 at least) times Japan attacked its neighbors prior to 1941. Space simply didn’t allow.

However, I have a few problems with the theory that Japan had to defeat the US to defeat the USSR.

“But Russia was ever on their minds and in their hearts. The Japanese knew that in order to defeat Russia at war the United States would have to be neutralized. Our shipments of materiel to Russia, to aid them in their fight with Germany, had to be diminished in order for the Japanese to prevail in war with Russia,…”

Prior to Pearl Harbor, especially during the several months of planning and training during 1941, there was not a whole lot (IF ANY) of US Lend-Lease aid going to the USSR, so I don’t quite see how that was a factor in determining their national strategy regarding the “winds” messages and who to attack. Japan was never interested in interdicting supply lines and disdained mercantile warfare (unlike the German and US Submarine Services), so I don’t see how Japan, with perhaps 10% of the US industrial and economic might, could conceive of prevailing over an America thousands of miles away. Fighting America would was not a sound strategy in defeating the bear next door.

Remember the whole concept (hope) of Japan was to cripple the US response to her aggressions for six months to a year and build up a defensive shell so strong that the ‘lazy’ Americans would tire of trying to break it island by island and negotiate a peace that would be beneficial to Japan

It might have succeeded without Pearl Harbor and the German war declaration. It was not an unreasonable concept. Getting back to beating the USSR:

Japan’s one chance to knock the USSR out of the war would have been to punt or pause on China – just garrison several key points and ports – and do for Hitler what Hitler did for Japan. [Hitler for some inexplicable reason declared war on the US days after PH when he was not obliged to do so under the Axis pact.]

Since the Japanese Army was only going to allocate 20% (about 225,000) of its troops to fight the American, British, Dutch Australia (ABDA) coalition, they still had plenty of otherwise unemployed troops doing nothing available and on site so to speak. If Japan had attacked the USSR within a month after Germany invaded the western USSR, Stalin might well have been disposed and the USSR reduced to insignificance. Stalin would have been forced to fight on two fronts. However, his spy in Tokyo had confirmed that Japan would not be attacking his back door.

This knowledge eased Stalin’s dilemma significantly, otherwise he would either have to keep his massive Siberian Army (over a million men) east to face Japan, or do what he did and ship them west on the Trans-Siberian Railway and save Moscow from the Wehrmacht at the time of Pearl Harbor. If the Siberian Army (which was dressed for the occasion in either locale) stayed, Japan would probably be on the losing end, but to not much effect as in the 1938-9 boarder fights, but Hitler most likely takes Moscow and drives Stalin’s USSR out of the war. If Stalin does what he did, Japan gains a couple of thousand miles of Siberian wasteland (with as it turns out has many resources) and the USSR loses one of its three Lend-Lease lifelines (Seattle to Vladivostok and the TSR route).

I had also mentioned fact that Japan for most of the war kept over half of its army deployed to guard against a Soviet attack, so I agree the Japanese Army leaders were always much more fearful the USSR than America.

Not mentioned in my article, again due to space constraints, was the racism Japan showed to the US and vice-versa. Neither side had much respect for each other as a people – many Americans saw the Japanese race as a bunch of inferior copy cats and Japan saw Americans as lazy and slothful more interested in creature comforts and luxury (even with many Americans in real poverty due to the depression) unwilling to fight and very isolationist; they changed that attitude with Pearl Harbor and that is why the attack was a strategic blunder.

I would like to hear more from you on history.

Philly Smith

Wake Island resisted the Japanese attacks for 27 days. An amazing and heroic achievement.

Philly Smith

Plenty of mis-information in this article. It is written from the perspective that Japan was incapable of acting in it’s own national interest. Japan had a nationalistic government that was expansionist. It went to war with Manchuria, Korea and China to acquire territory and to build naval bases on the League of Nation Mandate Pacific islands. The decision to attack Pearl Harbor was in reaction to American blockade which embargoed steel and oil which Japan desperately needed.

Q-D'Etat

Brilliant analysis – and why some compare Communist China to the Japan you describe.

Unfortunately, the madmen running the PLA won’t back down; they are drunk with power and have all the morals of people who murder dogs in their cages with blunt instruments.

The Japanese have since taken the best way; the Chinese have devolved into an arrogant, corrupt pile of dog crap. (Kind of like Congress and the Deep State, but slightly more capable.)

Lawrence

Blame America first! And, always. If Perry hadn’t opened up Japan someone else would have. And the Treaty of Portsmouth and Washington Navy Treaty were not forced on anyone. Japan was free to walk away as they did from the League of Nations.

Gregg

Lawrence,

I am not blaming America first, but the US did make many mistakes in dealing with Japan from 1853 to 1941. And clearly Japan and its attitude and ambitions was also culpable. I was just showing the reasons from a Japanese national and historical perspective as to why they decided to risk all and attacked us on Dec. 7, 1941.

I am MAGA and KAG through and through, any anyone with honest perspective and knowledge of history pretty much has to realize that American foreign policy has pretty much sucked the big one for the last 100 plus years. In fact, I can’t find a diplomatic success that was achieved exclusively by our state department, the League of Nations, and the United Nations. The only international successes without using or threatening to use out military have been achieved by our political hacks giving away America’s store to buy ‘goodwill’. At least that is the way it has been with the exception of Reagan and Trump. And I give no credit to JFK who failed in dealing with Cuba, the Soviets and in East Berlin. The only thing Kennedy managed was do was avoid getting the world blown up, but the USSR still gained and marched forward and Castro retained control of Cuba.

You are also correct that a Russian trade delegation was on the heels of Perry’s “visit”. I just don’t see what the compelling reason was for America to pry open Japan when we were still a fledgling country expanding westward and had all the signs of a civil war looming which was just eight years away. In short, who in America at that time gave a whit about four highly populated dreary islands with no resources and no common language or culture many thousands of miles from the shores of our new state (California was only 4 years old in 1853)? Who here would have cared if Tsarist Russia, France, Great Brittan, Spain, Portugal or the Dutch opened up Japan first?

And, while the Treaty of Portsmouth and the Washington and the London Naval Treaties were not forced upon Japan via a force of arms, Japan was left with little choice due to economic reality and heavy-handed diplomacy.

Silas

History. They don’t teach it any level in public schools. Just like they don’t teach critical thinking anymore either. And we are living in the results of that.

Thanks for the lesson Gregg and yougottaloveme. Learned a lot today. I’m a history buff of sorts and appreciate your efforts to share it with us.

yougottaloveme

An interesting read, Gregg. Thank you. The things you mention are of course stirred into the causation mix, however I would have liked you to home in on the single military factor.

From your post: “Soon thereafter, there was another boarder clash – this time with the USSR – and the Japanese Army got its nose bloodied and quickly sued for peace and later signed a long-term non-aggression pact with Stalin. This ‘incident’, as Japan liked to call their undeclared wars was a disaster for her… ”

Alvin Coox, while he was a professor at San Diego State and soon to leave for Princeton, wrote a long article published in the San Diego Union. The article was rather astounding, throwing our common knowledge of the reasons of the Pearl Harbor attack into disarray.

The ‘border clash’ with the Russians is what did it. It is a little known conflict that is dubbed the incidents at Khalkhin Gol, or The Battle Of Nomonhon, at the border of Mongolia and Russia from May to July, 1939.

Coox went to Japan seventeen times after WWII and had access to Imperial War records. He said that the avenging of the Japanese loss of ‘face’ at Nomonhon, where the Russians and Japanese lost similar numbers of aircraft in fanatical battle and the Russians lost perhaps twice as many ground troops as Japan, was nevertheless considered a disastrous loss of ‘face’ for the Japanese, since their objective of consolidation of Manchukuo against Russian encroachment wasn’t achieved.

The Japanese had embarrassed Tzarist Russia’s military in 1904-1905 and thought they could do it again. When they discovered they couldn’t repeat, it wounded their pride and turning away as sore losers, they looked to the south for their major attempt at gaining resources, following their navy’s plan, rather that the army’s plan to defeat Russia on land to the north.

But Russia was ever on their minds and in their hearts. The Japanese knew that in order to defeat Russia at war the United States would have to be neutralized. Our shipments of materiel to Russia, to aid them in their fight with Germany, had to be diminished in order for the Japanese to prevail in war with Russia, which the high command had scheduled to occur within a year or two and several times had been forced to push back to a later date.

All of the things we read about popularly were contributary: the United States curtailing Japan’s import of fuel and war materiel, the treaties limiting Japan’s naval production, the boxing in of Japan’s trade ability… these and more… enter the equation. But the thing what done it, the bottom line reason for Japan’s attack on December 7th, 1941, was the attempt to regain ‘face’ by Japan avenging their loss at the hands of the Russians on the Plains of Nomonhon.

History Repeats Because Man Never Learns

WWII USMC grampa told me that many years ago. He claimed that Japan had no choice because we embargoed rubber, oil, foodstuffs, and other vital economic staples.
The Dear Leader of Japan fancied himself a god emperor with a divine mandate just like Xi.
Our external enemies just love open borders and H-1B and you can you really blame them for exploiting any and all weaknesses?
They have pallets of cash (and ballots) on hand (we did build that) for eager Quislings who are only worried about their own selfish gains and have no loyalty to anything.

Just Me

“The origins of the Pearl Harbor attack can be traced back to 1853 when the United States essentially forced a feudal Japan to open trade via Commodore Matthew Perry’s squadron of armed ships.”

Greed reaps a bitter harvest over time. Our “elites” have repeated that scenario with the lust for Chinese markets and investments. We need better, morally principled elites; but, that appears unlikely in an ever devolving world wherein Christ posed the question, “7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” [Luke 18]

Joseph rywelski

While the attack on Pearl is a day that will live in infamy, at nearly the same time (although across an international date line, so on Dec. 8,) the Japanese attacked Wake Island, and that was U.S. Territory, and U.S. civilians were killed and taken P.O.W. there.

It is one of the primary reasons the U.S. NAVY stood up Construction Battalions (CBs) (“SEABEES”).

HOORAH AND GO BEES

As our fight song states “We promise to remember, the 7th of December” Not because of Pearl, but because of Wake.

Never forget
https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-98-rock-united-states-minor-outlying-islands.

Lady Jane

Thank you Gregg for this. And thanks to Dave for posting. It is a wonderful history lesson that should be required reading.

Gregg

Thanks for the nice compliment Lady Jane

brian

Outstanding article Gregg. I, like many I suppose, know mostly the tidbits thats spoon fed to us thru media and ‘specials’ on TV. And, those tidbits are generally to shine a positive light on the leaders or to obfuscate their blunders. We’re pretty ignorant.

A good read.

Gregg

Thanks Brian kiki

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