Reasons for Pearl Harbor.

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jesse23464
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Reasons for Pearl Harbor.

Post by jesse23464 » 04 Jan 2003 18:49

Why do you think the Japanese attacked? Did the US force them to or was it Japanese imperial ambitions?

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David C. Clarke
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Post by David C. Clarke » 04 Jan 2003 19:39

Hi Jesse, really a combination of the two factors, but I would put the most emphasis on Japanese Imperialistic goals. The real bone of contention was probably China, which was very weak when Japan started it's expansion. The US saw China as a capitalistic opportunity as long as it remained under a government friendly to the US and a government which wouldn't restrict US trade. Japan's intrusion into China threatened America's trade relationship and (along with American racism towards Japanese in America) lead to a serious decline in diplomatic relations between the two countires.
As it happened, the American Navy and the American economic boycott were recognized by the Japanese as serious impediments to Japan's military effort in China and Japan's economy in general. Furthermore, the Japanese were totally dependent on imported oil, most from the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) and the American Navy and Government were in a position to cut off those imports if need be.
So the two natins had fundemental disagreements, but only Japan was in a position to fear dire economic pressures due to these disagreements. Best Regards, David

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Post by Steve » 04 Jan 2003 22:11

On July 26th 1941 America froze Japanese assets in America and placed an embargo on exports of oil followed by the U.K. Canada and Holland. Japan was now in a quandary as its regular sources of oil were cut off, it tried to negotiate its way out of he mess its occupation of French Indo- China had placed it in before stocks of fuel ran out. The Americans made demnds for lifting the embargo that were far to humiliating for a Japanese Government to accept.
Vichy France had informed America of the Japanese demands and America had given no guarantee of aid yet when Japan occupied Indo-China America decided this was intolerable and imposed the embargo and made impossable demands to lift it. Probably Roosevelt was determined to cut the Japanese down to size and they walked into his trap, but Americas ambassador to Japan Grew informed the State Department on Nov 3rd. in a telegram "make no mistake the Japanese are capable of launching a suicide war with the United States"

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Post by Marcel1975 » 05 Jan 2003 00:46

The Japanese considered the presence of that fleet so "near" to their homeland an insult to their honor. Commander Yamamoto who planned the attack fully realized the military potantial of the US and knew that in order to have a chance of winning an offensive war they must eliminate the pacific fleet. And when they attacked they achieved almost complete surprise, only the American carriers who were not there remained undamaged.

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Post by Kokoda » 03 Feb 2006 13:42

The Japanese war plan was to secure the Philippines to protect the eastern flank of their conquests in Malaya and the Dutch East Indies - from where they would obtain the raw materials they so badly needed.
The seizure of the Philippines, therefore, was purely a strategic move - the islands offered little that the Japanese wanted.
However, the Japanese knew that the invasion of the Philippines would provoke an immediate reaction from the Americans - principally in the form of the Pacific Fleet advancing westwards to prepare the way for a counter-landing by American troops.
The Pacific Fleet, therefore, had to be "taken out". It is interesting, however, that the Japanese saw the battleships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet as the primary threat - not the aircraft carriers.
Big mistake!
The Japanese, therefore, were content with their success in the Pearl Harbour attack - they completely removed any opposition from the American Battle Fleet.
The fact that they missed the Pacific Fleet's carriers, all of whom were at sea at the time, did not overly concern them - although the sinking of the carriers would have been a bonus.

As it turned out, the obsolescent battleships salvaged from Pearl Harbour had little impact on the course of the war. They were used mainly as bombardment units to cover amphibious landings, and the only surface engagement some of them participated in was the Battle of Surigao Strait - sweet revenge!

The Pacific Fleet's carriers operated quite successfully for most of 1942 without battleship support - the existing battleships were too slow anyway to operate with a carrier task group.
It was not until the Battle of Santa Cruz that U.S. (fast) battleships made an impact - and that was by South Dakota in the anti-aircraft role.

Just what impact the Pacific Fleet's battleships would have had on the Japanese campaign in Southeast Asia will never be known. I would suggest that they would have been dealt with at sea as effectively as they were dealt with in harbour - i.e., sunk or rendered non-operational by the aircraft of the Kido Butai long before they got anywhere near the Philippines.

Therefore, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour - successful though it might have been in taking out the battleship force - may be regarded as unnecessary. It is interesting to note, therefore, that Admiral Yamamoto placed such emphasis on the destruction of the American battleships - when he was a firm believer in the potential of aircraft carriers.
After all, "Plan Z" - the attack on Pearl Harbour, and specifically the battleships of the Pacific Fleet - was his idea, and he threatened to resign as C-in-C Combined Fleet if the plan was not accepted!

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Post by Uninen » 07 Feb 2006 14:35

The Americans made demnds for lifting the embargo that were far to humiliating for a Japanese Government to accept.
Its like one giant hostage taker, with the difference that it has the power usually to get away with it, and not just with Japanese. Placing in embargos and other restrictions to other nations then saying "you do this and this and we lift the embargo." of course the terms are so ridicilous and they wont give inch back so it ends up on talks going nowhere.. "So you wont give in? oh well, only option left is war.. too bad were going to kick your asses and ruin your nation."

Like lately with Yugoslavia and Iraq. This isnt "Japan exclusive" phenomenom.

Regards.

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Post by glenn239 » 07 Feb 2006 18:20

Its like one giant hostage taker, with the difference that it has the power usually to get away with it, and not just with Japanese. Placing in embargos and other restrictions to other nations then saying "you do this and this and we lift the embargo." of course the terms are so ridicilous and they wont give inch back so it ends up on talks going nowhere.. "So you wont give in? oh well, only option left is war.. too bad were going to kick your asses and ruin your nation."
Right, there was an element of trapping Japan in a war. But in all fairness, the Japanese Empire was ruthless and out of control, and by destabilising China it was messing with some serious American interests. Hence, the confrontation and war was Japan's fault.

My only complaint with FDR was that it looks to me like Washington overplayed its hand an underestimated Japanese power. They should have waited until at least late 1942 before confronting Japan.

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Post by Eugen Pinak » 09 Feb 2006 09:40

[quote]It is interesting to note, therefore, that Admiral Yamamoto placed such emphasis on the destruction of the American battleships - when he was a firm believer in the potential of aircraft carriers.[/qoute]
He didn't :) BBs just to be attacked first because CVs are much "softer" targets.

[quote]Its like one giant hostage taker, with the difference that it has the power usually to get away with it, and not just with Japanese. Placing in embargos and other restrictions to other nations then saying "you do this and this and we lift the embargo." of course the terms are so ridicilous and they wont give inch back so it ends up on talks going nowhere.. "So you wont give in? oh well, only option left is war.. too bad were going to kick your asses and ruin your nation." [/qoute]
Nice rethotric, if not take into account the fact, that Japan was perfectly aware of the danger of war and was preparing for it at least from December 1940 and their move to Southern Indochina was a part of this preparation. As they said: "We will not be deterred by the possibility of becoming involved in a war with England and America."
So, Japan just got what they were asking for.

[quote]My only complaint with FDR was that it looks to me like Washington overplayed its hand an underestimated Japanese power. They should have waited until at least late 1942 before confronting Japan.[/qoute]
They _overestimated_ it. As a result a lot of forces were tied to defence of US Pacific coast and Panama. If US was aware of limited nature of Japanese offensive and deployed additional forces (especially aircaft) on Philippines and Hawai, they had much more chances to stop Japanese advance.

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Post by glenn239 » 09 Feb 2006 18:30

They _overestimated_ it. As a result a lot of forces were tied to defence of US Pacific coast and Panama. If US was aware of limited nature of Japanese offensive and deployed additional forces (especially aircaft) on Philippines and Hawai, they had much more chances to stop Japanese advance.
Neither Great Britain nor the United States had a very high opinion of Japanese combat potential, IMO.

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Post by Eugen Pinak » 10 Feb 2006 07:54

glenn239 wrote:
They _overestimated_ it. As a result a lot of forces were tied to defence of US Pacific coast and Panama. If US was aware of limited nature of Japanese offensive and deployed additional forces (especially aircaft) on Philippines and Hawai, they had much more chances to stop Japanese advance.
Neither Great Britain nor the United States had a very high opinion of Japanese combat potential, IMO.
Of course, there was much race prejustice towards "inferior Japs", but on the other hand they tried to cover the whole area from Alaska to Panama with rather strong forces - while perfectly aware of real Japanese plans (except Pearl-Harbor, of course). And the craze that happened in US after P-H attack, when invasion was expectd almost any minute, can say that there was something else besides disregard of Japanese combat potential. For example, there were 19 AA regiments in Pacific area - only 1 of them on the Philippines.

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Post by glenn239 » 10 Feb 2006 18:10

Of course, there was much race prejustice towards "inferior Japs", but on the other hand they tried to cover the whole area from Alaska to Panama with rather strong forces - while perfectly aware of real Japanese plans (except Pearl-Harbor, of course). And the craze that happened in US after P-H attack, when invasion was expectd almost any minute, can say that there was something else besides disregard of Japanese combat potential. For example, there were 19 AA regiments in Pacific area - only 1 of them on the Philippines.
I think the Philippines was considered as probably lost for logistic reasons – the combat power of the American Pacific fleet just wasn’t enough to expect any relief for distant Luzon.

No, I was referring more along the lines of the misperception of the power and striking capabilities of the Japanese carrier fleet; the ability to reach far beyond what was imagined, with aircraft and aircrew of the highest caliber, the ability to coordinate large numbers of aircraft into cohesive strike packages, and many more aircraft per carrier than expected. Further, I do not believe that the west thought either Malaya or the Netherlands East Indies would fall – woefully underestimating the capabilities of the Imperial Japanese Army.

IIRC, FDR himself if reputed to have said that if he’d had any idea how hard and how fast the Japanese would strike, that he’d have made diplomatic concessions to delay war into 1942.

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Post by Tim Smith » 11 Feb 2006 19:55

Yes. The West imagined that Japan's armed forces would be little more effective than Italy's, apart from being more numerous. But instead the Japanese were better equipped than the Italians and more determined than the Germans.

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Re: Reasons for Pearl Harbor.

Post by BayonetOnAZero » 16 Oct 2023 18:54

jesse23464 wrote:
04 Jan 2003 18:49
Why do you think the Japanese attacked? Did the US force them to or was it Japanese imperial ambitions?
The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor because it was a strategic advantage, however it wasn’t the way you’re told. Japan didn’t just suddenly attack the United States, and they wouldn’t want to get involved with anything with the United States unless they really needed to, which they needed to. The United States placed an embargo and sanctions on Japan, cutting off their resource and economic supply, which began to starve Japan. They needed to stall the United States in order to get the resources they needed desperately, and the only way to do that was the freeze the Pacific Fleet’s operation in the Pacific, so they attacked Pearl Harbor. However, due to reasons that arose in the IJN, many major facilities and factories in Pearl Harbor (mostly the oil fields and repair docks) were left almost untouched by the IJN, so the Pacific Fleet would be up and running sooner than expected.

However, Pearl Harbor was never supposed to be a surprise attack in the way that it was played out. According to some sources, Japan sent a transmission to Washington 1-2 hours before the attack, warning them that they were going to attack Pearl Harbor (this was based off of samurai tradition where you would kick the pillows of your enemy to wake them up and have them prepare to fight so you can kill them in honor). As maybe some of you know, the transmission reached Washington 2 hours after the attack.
What has happened has happened, history is history. We must accept and embrace the things that we are passionate about and the atrocities that had been committed. Denying history is an atrocity in itself.

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Re: Reasons for Pearl Harbor.

Post by OpanaPointer » 16 Oct 2023 22:09

The US embargoed oil to Japan. It went like this:

1. US Military heads wanted the national reserve at max.
2. Industrialists want to run the factories that were making things for the national rearmament.
3. The average American wanted to get to work, buy groceries, bus their kids to school and other silly shit like that.
4. The Japanese wanted fuel so they could go one killing Chinese, appropriating foreign businesses, etc.

Okay, you're right. I can post the Fourteen Part Message if you wish.

J/K

". According to some sources ..."

DAMNIT I was eating when I read that.

I can post the Fourteen Part Message if you wish.

BTW, the message reached the Japanese embassy the night before the attack. Strict orders to let no uncleared people read that mountain of babble meant non-typists of attaché level two-fingered it.

The fourteen part rant was in no wise a declaration of war.

I can post the Fourteen Part Message if you wish.
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Re: Reasons for Pearl Harbor.

Post by Vicious » 13 Dec 2023 23:10

I see this string has been on the calendar for some time already. Regardless, some points are not made herein as yet.

Japan was expanding, by aggression, the use of force no less, and in the need of additional raw materials to do so since 1931 in Manchuria (colonized as "Manchukuo"), (some could say since 1895 (China-colonized Formosa), 1904/5 (Russia-the Western Powers limited Japan's gains), 1910 (Korea-colonized)...

In 1937, another "incident" was manufactured to invade the rest of China which saw the occupation (and destruction) of a good portion of Shanghai, the "Rape of Nanking" and attack on US and British ships on the Yangtze River, the latter attacks they "apologized for" despite their being deliberate.

Japan didn't stay in the League of Nations, rather rationalized their aggression then and later via the bayonet instead. It was a choice and they made it.

Just like they by choice became an ally of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy in 1940, two other known aggressor nations by then, a little over a year before Pearl Harbor.

The Axis were no friends of the then neutral USA. Japan forced it's way into the French surrogate government (Vichy) managing French Indo-China in two stages, north near Hanoi and later near Saigon, the latter the air bases used to attack the British (Prince of Wales/Repulse, Malaya-Singapore as a whole).

Should the USA have continued to both fuel (oil and aviation gasoline) and arm (scrap metal, aircraft avionics & parts) in its war against mainly Chinese civilians? In its Axis fashion occupation of French Indo-China? As mentioned, a China outside of Japanese control was also better as a US and Western trading partner.

Interestingly, Japan was split between "Strike North" (the USSR) and "Strike South" (Southern Resource Area, aka the Dutch East Indies, Malaya, etc.) factions. The USSR was close to being defeated by the Germans in late 1941 so that was tempting (not sure how much raw materials, oil especially, Siberia has). The USSR (Russia) was always "the enemy" in the eyes of the Japanese Army, the senior service calling the shots.

Too bad (for the Axis) Germany and Japan didn't really coordinate (or even inform each other of) their actions against the USSR (or the USA/Britain in Japan's case). By Operation Barbarossa in June, 1941, Japan had already chosen "Strike South" as its desired actions. Planning for Pearl Harbor (the US in the Philippines was on the flank of Japan's "Strike South" plans) started in earnest in January, 1941. Moving into French Indo-China was accelerated in June-July 1941, prerequisites for a larger "Strike South" strategy in the next few months.

Bottom line is, it was "in vogue" back then (and always to some degree) for nations to get what they want via the free market and trade OR in pulling triggers initiating war. Embargoes or sanctions are tools used "short of war", aka no shooting, but are intended for potential enemies to take pause and meanwhile not be strengthened by their potentially soon to be enemies (a lesson lost in some of today's international scenarios).

Japan did NOT declare war with the USA in its belatedly delivered 14 Part Message. It was merely ending negotiations. It was supposed to be delivered only 30 minutes before the first bombs fell on Oahu. The Japanese Government (under General Tojo as PM then) didn't trust their Ambassador and Special Envoy in Washington with WHY their timing on delivering the 14 part message was so important, but they did try to deliver it on time but their own security standards had slow typists involved in decoding and placing the verbiage into an official document between nations. Its late delivery was part of the "sneak attack/Surprise attack" mantra which with only the desired 30 minute warning is still a stretch back then in regards to a declaration of was and via a message ONLY ending negotiations.

Vicious

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