Backdoor to war theory - do you believe it?

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Chuckx
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Re: Backdoor to war theory - do you believe it?

Post by Chuckx » 04 Jun 2021 20:51

There is new evidence here. My great uncle James "Jack" Turner Stephens, Jr. was sent to Tokyo in October 1941 as a secret agent to work with the Soviet spy ring there. He was arrested and a man matching his description has appeared in the Richard Sorge memoir. He is also the inspiration to James Bond which gives great weight to perhaps he was working to draw Japan into war. He was an American born in Richmond VA.

reedwh52
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Re: Backdoor to war theory - do you believe it?

Post by reedwh52 » 05 Jun 2021 14:12

Chuckx:

Not to be a jerk, but I am what I am.

This is not evidence. It is family lore or memory related more than 70 years after the fact. Based on what (little) information is available on the internet, all references to the 1941 events originate with you or your family.

Do you have any non-family documented evidence of these assertions?

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Re: Backdoor to war theory - do you believe it?

Post by OpanaPointer » 05 Jun 2021 14:19

Chuckx wrote:
04 Jun 2021 20:51
There is new evidence here. My great uncle James "Jack" Turner Stephens, Jr. was sent to Tokyo in October 1941 as a secret agent to work with the Soviet spy ring there. He was arrested and a man matching his description has appeared in the Richard Sorge memoir. He is also the inspiration to James Bond which gives great weight to perhaps he was working to draw Japan into war. He was an American born in Richmond VA.
That's not evidence, that's just a highly suspect anecdote.
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Re: Backdoor to war theory - do you believe it?

Post by ljadw » 05 Jun 2021 15:21

The importance of the embargo as a reason for PH is very overestimated :war was also possible without embargo and peace was possible with the embargo.
The main reason for PH was that Japan was saddled up with a war in China,which it could not win ,not lose and not continue indefinitely .

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Re: Backdoor to war theory - do you believe it?

Post by OpanaPointer » 05 Jun 2021 15:54

ljadw wrote:
05 Jun 2021 15:21
The importance of the embargo as a reason for PH is very overestimated :war was also possible without embargo and peace was possible with the embargo.
The IJA and IJN wanted their own private supply of fuel. Depending on their #1 enemy was intolerable. So the NEI had to joyously join the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.
The main reason for PH was that Japan was saddled up with a war in China, which it could not win ,not lose and not continue indefinitely .
Yamamoto demanded the raid on Pearl so as to allow the IJN to establish itself in a manner conducive to transfer of materials from the Southern Resources Area. The good admiral said he would run wild for a year to a year and a half but after that he guaranteed nothing.
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Re: Backdoor to war theory - do you believe it?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 05 Jun 2021 20:48

OpanaPointer wrote:
05 Jun 2021 15:54
... The good admiral said he would run wild for a year to a year and a half but after that he guaranteed nothing.
In retrospect he was overestimating by six to twelve months. Tho I have read other versions of that where the time was 'six months'.

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Re: Backdoor to war theory - do you believe it?

Post by OpanaPointer » 05 Jun 2021 21:09

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
05 Jun 2021 20:48
OpanaPointer wrote:
05 Jun 2021 15:54
... The good admiral said he would run wild for a year to a year and a half but after that he guaranteed nothing.
In retrospect he was overestimating by six to twelve months. Tho I have read other versions of that where the time was 'six months'.
I give him his numbers. I base that on Midway being slack tide and the reverse flow starting with Guadcanaru.
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Re: Backdoor to war theory - do you believe it?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 05 Jun 2021 21:23

My take is the running wild ended at Midway. The next six months in the Solomons was stuck to a Tar Baby. A lot of wild flailing about, but no running anywhere unless it was in a circle. When the most competent & successful admiral/combat in the campaign is summarily relieved it says something about the confusion in the minds of the people running the show.

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Re: Backdoor to war theory - do you believe it?

Post by OpanaPointer » 05 Jun 2021 21:24

Same-same slack tide.
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Re: Backdoor to war theory - do you believe it?

Post by rcocean » 05 Jun 2021 23:43

The basic point is this:

Could FDR have Delayed or avoided war with Japan by negotiating a deal or lifting the embargo? And the answer is yes. Even if you believe war with Japan was inevitable, it made sense to agree to a three month "cooling off" period proposed by Japan, since we were desperately trying to reinforce our forces in the Pacific.

Did FDR "force" Japan into a "backdoor to war"? Of course not. The Japanese wanted certain things: Access to NEI/USA Oil and a free hand in China. We were giving them that before July 1941. FDR's policy toward Japan prior to July 1941 was one of appeasement. He was the Japanese's Neville Chamberlin. But like Chamberlin he flipped on a dime in July 1941 and dared the Japanese to go to war.

FDR didn't think the Japanese would attack us at Pearl Harbor. He expected the Japanese to limit their attacks to Malaysia and the NEI (which they should have). In that case, he'd instructed Admiral Hart to create what we in 2021 would call a "Gulf of Tokein" incident by having US warships play chicken with the Japanese convoys and create a war.

The Japanese made his job easier by attacking PH. You have to wonder what the USA public would have responded if FDR had asked for a declaration of war because the Japanese attacked and sunk a US Navy destroyer or gunboat that had been "shadowing" a Japanese convoy bound for NEI.

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Re: Backdoor to war theory - do you believe it?

Post by OpanaPointer » 06 Jun 2021 00:16

Leilani? One of the so-called bait ships had a name similar to that. But all the Japanese had to do was detain them without sinking them and they would not have been a casus belli.

USN ships had been sunk before the date, Rueben James for example.

The US public was outraged that we were supplying Japan with materials of war to continue trying to subdue China. A "cooling off" period would give the Japanese three more months of desperately needed war supplies. http://ibiblio.org/pha/Gallup/
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Takao
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Re: Backdoor to war theory - do you believe it?

Post by Takao » 06 Jun 2021 00:49

rcocean wrote:
05 Jun 2021 23:43

Could FDR have Delayed or avoided war with Japan by negotiating a deal or lifting the embargo? And the answer is yes. Even if you believe war with Japan was inevitable, it made sense to agree to a three month "cooling off" period proposed by Japan, since we were desperately trying to reinforce our forces in the Pacific.
And Japan could have negotiated a deal or taken diplomatic steps to diffuse the situation...But, they did not.

It takes two to tango.

rcocean wrote:
05 Jun 2021 23:43
Did FDR "force" Japan into a "backdoor to war"? Of course not. The Japanese wanted certain things: Access to NEI/USA Oil and a free hand in China. We were giving them that before July 1941. FDR's policy toward Japan prior to July 1941 was one of appeasement. He was the Japanese's Neville Chamberlin. But like Chamberlin he flipped on a dime in July 1941 and dared the Japanese to go to war.
No, just no.
https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/W ... /japan.htm
The Dime began flipping in 1937-38, and did not land until 1941. That is one hell of a "flip".
rcocean wrote:
05 Jun 2021 23:43
FDR didn't think the Japanese would attack us at Pearl Harbor. He expected the Japanese to limit their attacks to Malaysia and the NEI (which they should have). In that case, he'd instructed Admiral Hart to create what we in 2021 would call a "Gulf of Tokein" incident by having US warships play chicken with the Japanese convoys and create a war.

The Japanese made his job easier by attacking PH. You have to wonder what the USA public would have responded if FDR had asked for a declaration of war because the Japanese attacked and sunk a US Navy destroyer or gunboat that had been "shadowing" a Japanese convoy bound for NEI.
FDR was not about to waste a destroyer(in fact, it was expressly forbidden to use any US naval vessel other than the USS Isabel)...He used an ageing 1917 yacht, the USS Isabel(PY-10), and two auxiliary sailing schooners, recently purchased from private owners, the Lanikai, and the Molly Moore. But, would this get FDR a war? In the Atlantic, 1 US destroyer sunk and 2 US destroyers crippled did not get the US into a war with Germany...So, why would the loss/damaging of an aging yacht and two small auxiliary schooners get us into a war with Japan? Most folks miss the bit that these 3 little vessels were crewed by mostly filipinos. It is not about whipping up the US, but the Philippines.

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Re: Backdoor to war theory - do you believe it?

Post by OpanaPointer » 06 Jun 2021 01:17

The commanding officer of the Lanikai (t/y!) wrote about the events later on. Curious but not much more.
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Takao
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Re: Backdoor to war theory - do you believe it?

Post by Takao » 06 Jun 2021 01:33

OpanaPointer wrote:
06 Jun 2021 01:17
The commanding officer of the Lanikai (t/y!) wrote about the events later on. Curious but not much more.
Rear Admiral Kemp Tolley retired in 1959.

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Re: Backdoor to war theory - do you believe it?

Post by Takao » 06 Jun 2021 01:47

rcocean forgets that it was President Manuel Quezon that had been looking at keeping the Philippines neutral in any confrontation between the US & Japan since the mid-1930s. So, of course, FDR would want to whip up the Philippine people.

Manuel Quezon was still trying to keep the Philippines neutral in February, 1942 - As the Japanese invasion was ongoing.
https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/1942 ... y-10-1942/

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