Hello Fatboy Coxy, I have been trying to formulate a response that wasn't the length of a novel.
Fatboy Coxy wrote:That FDR misread the Japanese, thinking they would do what he would have done in their shoes is a lesson to be learnt. In his defence, reading the Japanese mind-set, with a very different culture, is a mistake many could make, and indeed more recent US administrations have struggled to read the mind-sets of North Korea and Chinese leaders, who cultures can also be quite puzzling to the western world.
I'll fall back on quoting a response I gave to another poster on the same subject
Takao wrote:It might have been prudent(after all what society really wants a war) and good diplomacy(the disastrous policy of appeasement with Hitler and look where that lead) against another western society. However, Japan was not another western society, its mores and morals were as alien to the US as was the US's alien to them. It is impossible to lay the blame on just the US
Let's say you are given a choice between peace and oil or a war you have but the very slimmest of hopes in winning.
What would you choose?
As I have said very few on either side could see events from the others viewpoint. To the US it was unfathomable that Japan would enter into a war it could not win. To the Japanese military, they could not give up territory they had fought and died for, and still retain their prestige and power. Each side thought they were right and the other wrong. At any point the road to Pearl Harbor could have been stopped had either side been willing to give an inch. However, neither side was willing to budge. To lay them blame completely on the US is unjustified. When both nations each had the option of backing down, neither one took the option of peace. Both nations share the blame for their actions, not one or the other.
As has been said "It takes two to tango."
from here: viewtopic.php?f=33&t=167558&p=1482160&hilit=tango#p1482160
Fatboy Coxy wrote:However, the capabilities of the Japanese military is something the US should have been appreciative of, and so I would like to know more about the US military leaders who must have been briefing FDR. As leader FDR must take responsibility for the mistimed economic sanctions he employed, but I do feel some US military leaders need to be named as having a share in that failed strategy
That the sanctions were "mistimed" is debatable, as the had been discussed for some time, IIRC, going back to the "Panay Incident" and the beginning of the original embargoes against Japan. However, the US military, especially the US Army was much smaller than it was in late 1941(hard to believe, but true) and at the time, there was little public support for such economic sanctions against Japan.
As to the capabilities of the Japanese military, well, the US military/nation(like all militaries/nations)throughly believed their own propaganda and sterotypes- that all Japanese were dumb, buck-toothed, blind(bottle-cap glasses), and lacking in strength(their small stature). The Japanese military also held to their propaganda and stereotypes - that the Allies lacked in "spiritual" power, were weak, lazy, comfort-loving individuals who would not fight. Their weapons also gave clues as to each nation's "nature" - Japanese weapons almost always focused on the "attack", while the Americans chose weapons of more "defensive" in nature. This contrast can most easily be seen in their opposing aircraft and warships.
As to American intelligence to Japanese capabilities. Here to the Americans believed in their propaganda & sterotypes. Claire Chennault learned of the A6M Zero & it's phenomenal dogfighting capability, he duly passed along his report to Washington, where it was briefly circulated, than promptly left to collect dust; as those in Washington could not believe that the Japanese could have created such a high-performance fighter. However, a precious few military personnel took this intelligence to heart. One of those was USN aviator John "Jimmy" Thatch, whom began to formulate his famous "Thatch Weave", amongst other tactics, to combat the more maneuverable Japanese aircraft.
Another example of this is the Japanese Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedo. In early 1940, the British reported to ONI that their agents had uncovered the fact that the Japanese were using a "new" torpedo, it was larger than 21-inches in diameter, possibly as great as 25-inches, and that the IJN was no longer using conventional air in their torpedoes, but Oxygen. This intelligence was duly relayed to the Americans, but no reply on the British report was ever received. It was only after bitter fighting and the loss of many ships, did ONI officially acknowledge, in April, 1943, that the Japanese were indeed using a 24-inch torpedo.
Further along those lines, was that the Japanese had never practice underway refueling with ships larger than a light cruiser. Thus, the Americans, correctly, assumed that the Japanese lacked the capacity to do so. The Japanese quickly developed their underway refueling capability as part of their plan to attack Pearl Harbor. Indeed, three of the Japanese carriers(Akagi, Hiryu, and Soryu), and their two heavy cruisers(Tone and Chikuma) would be so short on oil, that it was carried in 55-gallon drums and stored everywhere possible.
If you read any of the literature on Pearl Harbor, one thing is made clear - the vast majority of the people, civilian & military, did not believe(for various reasons) that the Japanese were capable of conducting such an attack. The most obvious indicator of this is the many early reports of German pilots flying some of the Japanese planes used in the attack.
I could go on, but I am getting quite tired.
If this answer does not satisfy you, or you have other questions, just leave a post, and I will be happy to respond.