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View Diary: Pearl Harbor. Conversations on the Day of Infamy, 1941 (80 comments)

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  •  Thank FDR's aides for the war in the pacific (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mythatsme

    We supplied Japan with 80% of its oil, most of its iron, steel and rubber, and had a very profitable relationship with them. Then, without FDR's knowledge or permission, the oil was cut. FDR had no choice but to accept this move in public and support it.

    The Dutch Indies were the logical next step for Japan. A resource rich, poorly defended region was there for the taking. But the wasp that could sting had to be dealt with first - the US armada in Hawaii.

    There was one aide in particular, but I can't recall his name. His position would have been familiar to today's neocons and TeaBuggerers. War War, rather than Jaw Jaw.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 10:22:22 AM PST

    •  i've always thought they misread us badly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Roger Fox, Calamity Jean

      i don't think we'd have gone to war with them had they only attacked British/French/Dutch possessions. We were apparently comfortable with letting Hitler take Europe which we had much closer ties to.

    •  By this time the Japanese has already invaded (7+ / 0-)

      or seized control of Korea, Manchuria, China, and northern Vietnam, and murdered 250,000 civilians in cold blood in Nanking.  But yeah, I guess it's too bad they cut off their oil...

      •  Thanks to Commander Perry? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nolagrl

        After a long time of relavite isolation, commander Perry woke up Japan to the fact that they were the only nation in all of asia that was still independent, as in "not a colony or zone of interest".

        They then decided that they would do whatever necessary to not become just another western colony. That desire clearly went overboard. But the times were difficult. And the US weren't exactly playing nice, despite Japan liking the US a lot, originally.

        God, history is complicated ...

        "This isn't America" - Zenkai Girl

        by mythatsme on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 03:39:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  True, history is complicated...but (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          207wickedgood, kurt, PrahaPartizan

          It's also pretty simple to see that from 1925-1945 the Japanese were the bad guys.  It's really that simple.

          •  Yeah. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nolagrl

            Uh huh. Talk to navy commanders who hated the policy. They viewed the army as crazy neocons and teabaggers. The army pretty much arrested the emperor, took over govt., and forced war on the country.

            Our neocons and teabaggers pose the same risk to the world and to us.

            Would you use such a broad brush if our  bushes had succeeded with an Iranian invasion. Perhaps Russia next? Then China?

            What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

            by agnostic on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 04:32:37 PM PST

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            •  But Lacked the Courage to Confront (0+ / 0-)

              The commanders in the IJN might have disagreed with the direction the IJA leaders were taking the country but none of them had the courage to directly and forcefully confront them.  So Japanese leadership all through the summer and fall of 1941 performed their kabuki while they slipped off to war because they couldn't think of anything better to do.  Unfortunately, Japanese Navy leadership was dominated by Yamamoto who clearly opposed the strategic drift toward war with the US but who, as one of the best poker players in the Japanese military, could not walk away from the challenge of crafting an operational design starting the war and then implementing it to learn if it might work.  According to the thesis put forth above, WW2 was just a war game gone bad.  

              "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

              by PrahaPartizan on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:18:53 AM PST

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              •  Are officers not supposed to obey the orders of (0+ / 0-)

                their political superiors?

                The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

                by lysias on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 04:09:33 PM PST

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                •  What About "Suggestions?" (0+ / 0-)

                  Japanese politicians were famous for giving suggestions on what they wanted to do, not explicit orders.  The Japanese military high command failed in explicitly advising their political superiors and the Emperor that they would definitely lose any war in which they engaged the US.  They never became so transparent and we know the rest of the story.

                  We faced a similar problem with the American commanders who provided poor advice to their political superiors in the run up to the Iraq War.  Of course, the malice on the civilian side was demonstrated by the retribution the civilian command imposed on officers who disagreed but the military commanders did demonstrate great moral cowardice in supporting the war.  Given the way the war was fought, I suspect a pretty high amount of just outright stupidity in the American officer corps was involved too in agreeing to the initial invasion.  

                  "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

                  by PrahaPartizan on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 05:59:47 AM PST

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          •  Definitely to us in the West, BUT (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nolagrl, worldlotus, RiveroftheWest

            There were a number of countries in the rest of the world that saw the Japanese as the model to imitate.

            The example I know best was in Ethiopia -- one of the few independent African countries. Some of the tiny number of college-educated intellectuals in the 1920s & early 1930s strongly endorsed this strategy & were known as Japanizers. These intellectuals saw Japan as a model of modernization that did not require adopting Western ways -- such as democracy, of which Haile Selassie was always mistrustful. The first Constitution of Ethiopia -- promulgated in 1931 -- was heavily influenced by the Japanese Meiji Constitution. There was even talk of a marriage between the two imperial families, which now seems to have been little more than just that, talk.

            Of course, in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, Japan sided with its Axis Ally Italy, to the disappointment of not only Ethiopians, but some Japanese. I believe there was even a demonstration or two in Japan about the country's refusal to even make a statement of support for Ethiopia -- not that Japan could have done more than that.

            Anyway, as Mythatsme up thread wrote, history is often complicated.

      •  Yep, just as you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kurt

        note below. The Japanese were not only the bad guys then, they were the most powerful, sweeping countries in quest to conquer what Napoleon failed to accomplish.

        Old men tell same old stories

        by Ole Texan on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 04:21:07 PM PST

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      •  FWIW, Japan occupied Korea in 1910 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus

        hardly a part of WWII.

        “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

        by markdd on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 09:47:28 PM PST

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        •  And kicked Russia's butt at Port Arthur. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          agnostic, markdd, llywrch, worldlotus, OzarkOrc

          The real Japanese plan was to attack Pearl Harbor to disable the Pacific Fleet, particularly the carriers. Japanese Naval Command calculated it would take 18 months for the US to rebuild their fleet enough to be a threat to Japan's colonial ambitions.  During those months, they deducted that US would be focused on Europe, leaving Japan unchallenged as it swallowed Asia. Then, a war-weary US would negotiate and cede the East to Japan without a fight.

          Makes sense.  I'd bet on those odds.

          They attacked under the assumption that:
          1)  The declaration of war had been presented to the Sec. of State.  (FAIL)
          2) American military bases were on guard against an attack by air.  

          The Japanese weren't 'sneaking' on purpose. WE were clueless. They were astonished at the lack of resistance and the time it took for the Army (before AF split off) and Marines to mount a defense. They knew they were suicide bombers. Then it dawned on them that they don't have to die. In fact, they had a DUTY to live.  Think about it.

          Hawaii's racist military resources were focused on preventing sabotage by undercover spies and saboteurs hiding in the local population.   So all ammo, every airplane and each artillery bunker were carefully under lock and key. Airplanes were immobilized by steel cables and heavy locks
          And only a couple people knew who had the keys to the armory.  

          oops. got carried away. Did my dissertation on the impact of movies in how we remember Pearl Harbor.  It was fun.  I'll go post on my diary.

          Joy shared is doubled. Pain shared is halved. Spider Robinson

          by nolagrl on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 12:21:55 AM PST

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          •  The planes were all neatly lined up (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            worldlotus, RiveroftheWest

            to make them easier to guard, and much easier to strafe.  

            You're right it was supposed to be a lightning strike arriving immediately after the declaration of war was delivered.  

            Supposedly the US code breakers had  decoded the message about an hour before the Japanese Ambassador decoded it and typed it up himself.

            “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

            by markdd on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 10:17:03 AM PST

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            •  US code breakers had the military codes (4+ / 0-)

              but not the diplomatic codes.   Cables were the main means of communication.  So the entire declaration had to be written down from dots and dashes, then decoded, then translated, then typed in English by non-English speaking typists. No spell check.  And it was not a short document.

              The Japanese fleet maintained radio silence, making them invisible.

              People tend to forget the limited communications of the time.  Often, you couldn't contact Hawaii until you got a good bounce to the signal.  

              Joy shared is doubled. Pain shared is halved. Spider Robinson

              by nolagrl on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 02:11:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  For how many deaths have we been responsible (0+ / 0-)

        in Iraq?

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 04:08:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  agnostic it is exactly as (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt

      you point out and I have to agree with you about America`s input to Japan`s might that made that imperial country so powerful back then. And as you probably know, Japan was a power to reckon with.

      The same role played then with Japan this country continues to supply arms and the same war materials to countries that in time might pose a threat to this nation. "We" even train those nations and its military the trade of war, supplying the weapons and men/women to be part of training exercises.

      I think about this but have come to learn that this country is bent on wars for profit, and it will not stop.

      Old men tell same old stories

      by Ole Texan on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 03:49:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dean Atcheson? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      agnostic

      I'm a 4 Freedoms Democrat.

      by DavidMS on Fri Dec 06, 2013 at 09:25:48 PM PST

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    •  The orders for the cutoff were drawn up by (0+ / 0-)

      Harry Dexter White, the high-ranking official in the Department of the Treasury who was about to become Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. And who, it became clear, after the fact, had been an agent for Stalin's Soviet Union.

      I am a retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy, and I have never had anything but admiration for the way the Imperial Japanese Navy inflicted such a defeat upon us at Pearl Harbor.  It may have been a strategic stupidity, but naval officers are supposed to follow the orders, however unwise, of their political superiors, and in this case they did so, admirably (after having advised those political superiors about how unwise the plan was).  It was a great tactical success for the Japanese Navy.

      As for what those political superiors decided, it may have been a violation of international law, but how many times has this country violated international law in recent years?

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 04:07:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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