Although Navy personnel had studied the American and British navies, the studies had always been on tactics. “To our soldiers will fall the grave responsibility for quieting unrest in our agrarian communities—both material and spiritual unrest.” To gain their ends the army extremists developed two characteristically Japanese methods: first, resorting to direct military action in China without authorization by the government; and second, terrorism against their political opponents at home. A known known was the extent America’s 1941 aviation strength. Japanese estimates of U.S. warship production through December 1945 were close enough for any staff to plan a war. From 1937 to 1941 the Chinese war had cost Japan many billions of dollars and at least a million casualties. They do not protest against military actions or interfere with those who choose to serve in the armed forces. The modern Japanese army admired and imitated the German. In the summer of 1940 all political parties “voluntarily” disbanded. But we must never forget that all Japanese children are instructed in these beliefs from the cradle and that many of the strongest of Japanese emotions are centered in them. Japan began the war facing the possibility that every bit of U.S. manpower, matériel, and resolve (and a little of Britain’s) would be aimed at Japan alone. The so-called “liberals” of Japan who came to the fore after 1920 were not liberal in our sense of the word. Every department of the national life—industry, commerce, agriculture, education, the press, even religion—is subject to their will. On the eve of the present war, Japan seized control of Indo-China from defenseless France and reduced Thailand (Siam) to the status of a puppet. Only about 1,400 troops, led by their captains and lieutenants, were involved. The Japanese assumed away their enemy’s capabilities and underestimated their enemy’s quality, quantity, bravery, and strategic grasp, partly and no doubt subconsciously because Japan realized it could not defeat strong enemies. Six months later they did. No Other Choice: Why Truman Dropped the Atomic Bomb on Japan "Truman and his advisers made the only decision they could have made; indeed, considered in the context of World War II, it … Nonetheless, in the fall of 1941 Japan was at the peak of its military and naval strength. Japan began the war facing the possibility that every bit of U.S. manpower, matériel, and resolve (and a little of Britain’s) would be aimed at Japan alone. For over 2 centuries Japan had been an isolationist country, the only contact with the Western world being through the Dutch enclave in Nagasaki. Therefore, the Americans, they believed, could not do it either. World War II really began when the Japanese army seized Manchuria in 1931. The U.S., on the contrary, always assumed that a war with Japan would be a war of attrition. The Japanese knew what it was. The official Shinto religion has been called an instrument to bring the people into line for an all-out war effort. In return for this heavy investment, the Japanese expected great gains. The bad thing is, that those Japanese soldiers probably didn't tell their families what they did so later generations, a hundred years from now, will probably think everyone is speaking bullcrap when accusing Japan of the war crimes. For the purposes of this pamphlet the principal causes of Japanese aggression may be summarized as follows: The Japanese actually believe that they are descendants of the gods, that their emperor is divine, and that they have a heaven-inspired mission to rule the world. In 1910, Korea was annexed by the Empire of Japan after years of war, intimidation and political machinations; the country would be considered a part of Japan until 1945. However, they did not think through what a longer war would take to win. Even big business, since 1937 an uneasy partner in the wartime economy, could no longer offer effective opposition to the fascists in uniform. One big naval battle with the U.S. Pacific Fleet, early in the war, and Japan would emerge victorious. The Navy’s gross underestimation of the U.S. Navy just before Midway was a contributing factor to its disastrous defeat there. To understand why Japan lashed out, we must go back to World War I. Japan had been our ally. The Boshin War (戊辰 戦争, Boshin Sensō, lit. It looks like Tokyo ignored its own many military and strategic short comings. By 1930 there was serious discontent in the armed forces. He did not believe that Japanese industrial might at that time was not comparable to that of the United States and a prolonged war would only be a detriment in the long run for Japan. After more than six months of unbroken successes by Japanese land and naval forces and the loss of the port of Weihaiwei, the Qing government sued for peace in February 1895. Japan used this battle as an excuse to invade China, beginning a war which would kill millions, draw in the United States, Great Britain and other nations, and end with the defeat of Japan in 1945. The truth of the matter seems to be that the government did not create a new faith or loyalty. Out of those bitter early days of the war, ending in the surrender of Corregidor, came one lesson that millions of Americans will not have to learn a second time. The speeches and writings of Japanese statesmen and superpatriots in modern times reveal dozens of similar warnings of their intentions. Because Japan could not successfully fight a long war, planners assumed it would be short—in accordance with the decisive battle doctrine. Only a few Americans seem to have realized that the peace and security of the United States were being endangered every time Japan seized a slice of its neighbors’ territory. But we can plan and act now to keep the sons of the men who are fighting Japan from having to do the job all over again. Planning a war requires assumptions. They did stumble badly on merchant tonnage, estimating U.S. construction capacity in 1943 at five million tons versus the actual 19.2 million tons. In fact, as War Minister Hajime Sugiyama had assured the Emperor in 1937, Japan could crush China in a month. This challenging opportunity, the equal of which might not occur again in centuries, was the final temptation which led Japan’s war lords to make their fatal choice. They knew that they must strike soon, or give up forever their dream of conquest. 7 Answers. Most of the killers were given light sentences when brought to trial and were regarded as heroes by millions of Japanese because of the “purity” and “sincerity” of their motives. The Army war college gave only superficial intelligence training to its students, and neither the war college nor the air officers training school gave any special intelligence courses. On December 8, President Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war against Japan. For a brief period after the first World War there were indications that it was on the road to establishing representative government and was following the lead of Western nations in carrying out some badly needed social and political reforms. Japan had the best army, navy, and air force in the Far East. On December 8, 1941, America straightened up after Japan’s blow below the belt, full of the anger a fighter feels when he has been badly hurt and knows that his own overconfidence was partly to blame. This has been interpreted to mean, in plain English, that Japan must dominate about a billion people in Asia and the Pacific area, and eventually rule the world. To argue the merits and demerits of this philosophy is outside the scope of this pamphlet. Historians are rightly quick to note the transferability of a professional historian's skill set, but as with all things, there are limits. Before the rise of modem Japan, the nobles and their fighting men (samurai) formed the ruling class. Should Japan Pay Damages? When we study it reasonably well, and so acquire some usable habits of mind, as well as some basic data about the forces that affect our own lives, we emerge with relevant skills and an enhanced capacity for informed citizenship, critical thinking, and simple awareness. Could the United States Have Avoided a Showdown? To understand what has to be done to prevent another Pearl Harbor we need to know something of the motives which led the Japanese to stake everything on this greatest gamble in their history. Why Japan chose a Sunday of all days actually coincides with why many businesses were closed on the seventh day of the week. Beyond this second group are authors of general textbooks and articles and, still further out, journalists and other pop-ular writers. It has been pointed out that highly organized worship of the state and its symbol, the emperor, is a comparatively recent development. In 1894-1895, Japan defeated China in a short war and gained control of the island. However, the Soviets launched their victorious campaign 600 kilometers from the nearest major supply base. In recent years Japanese education and propaganda have featured a phrase supposed to have been used by the first emperor—eight corners of the world under one roof. Historians agree Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 for two main reasons: ideology and natural resources. Accordingly, it is not possible for [us] to look at things objectively.”. To answer this question, we have to start from the Meiji restoration in the late 1800's. In 1932 a government headed by Admiral Saito approved the seizure of Manchuria by formally recognizing Manchukuo, a dummy empire set up by the army. Yet, in the summer of 1941, when their plan for conquest was officially published in The Way of the Subjects, the so-called “bible” of the Japanese people, many foreigners still did not take it very seriously. The war involved people from all over the world. Can We Find a Punishment that Fits the Crimes? They underestimated the effectiveness of the U.S. Navy itself. It looks like Tokyo ignored its own many military and strategic short comings. Their estimates of U.S. naval air strength in 1941 and increases into July 1942 were excellent. Although the collection of intelligence was good, its dissemination to tactical elements was poor. Like the Nazis, the Japanese military fascists claimed to be friends of the common man. The USA entered the war on the Allies side. Economic resources were at a low ebb; this was the chief weakness. Certain events of the years between 1932 and Pearl Harbor had convinced even the arrogant descendants of the gods that the United States was not going to be pushed around much longer. Therefore, they believed Soviets must be similarly hobbled. In addition to trained manpower and modern weapons, Japan had in the mandated islands a string of naval and air bases ideally located for an advance to the south. There is a cabinet, headed by the prime minister, and a parliament consisting of the House of Peers and the House of Representatives, the latter elected by the people. Britain and Russia faced victorious Axis armies in Europe and Africa, and the British navy was fighting the Battle of the Atlantic. And they solved it. The militarists followed up their gains by the occupation of a large slice of north China in 1933, forcing the Chinese government to sign a humiliating truce. By the next day, they had sought permission to join the war. Because Japan did not understand war, they could not accurately predict the ability of the U.S. to mobilize its resources. But from about 1921 to 1931 the Japanese political parties gained in power, and it seemed to many observers that the cabinet and the House of Representatives might in time become the controlling elements in the government. Jesus commanded his disciples to “love one another.” (John 13:34, 35) They would thus form an international brotherhood in which no one would ever wage war against his brother or sister.—1 John 3:10-12. A valuable ally during World War I, the European powers and the U.S. recognized Japan as a colonial power after the war. Japan’s training techniques, such as naval aviator training, did not allow for the efficient transformation of the average Japanese aviator into a competent pilot. Great Britain, Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary all ruled empires. Why Did Japan Choose War? The fascist-minded young officers were not in rebellion against their military superiors, but against the government. Why did the U.S. go to war in Vietnam? This category has the following 6 subcategories, out of 6 total. They learned that only making financial contributions (checkbook diplomacy) did not earn Japan international respect. The answer is because we virtually must, to gain access to the laboratory of human experience. The Japanese believe that their nation is superior to all others and that it has a special mission to dominate and rule the rest of mankind. The remaining 200 or so divisions and division equivalents could claim only unsatisfactory to non-existent training. The USSR did essentially zilch in the war against Japan, and could not have been expected to have much time to do much once the US started its atomic annihilation. It merely made use of beliefs that the Japanese have held in a rather passive way for centuries. Many historians think the note was designed to draw Japan into war and thus claim Japan was not the aggressor nation in the Pacific War. After 1868 the old system of warrior clans was abolished and universal conscription was introduced. Answer Save. The world-wide depression hit Japan hard, causing much privation among the poor farmers from whose ranks the army was largely recruited. The Chinese were little better than animals and insects. But there is good reason to suspect that some of the highest ranking generals were in sympathy with the mutineers. Can Japan Get In Step With A Peaceable World? Along with … But these beliefs and ideals of the Japanese people have made it easy for them to be led into war. In 1910 Korea was annexed. The decision to use the atomic bomb to attack two Japanese cities and effectively end World War II remains one of the most controversial decisions in history. The Navy considered intelligence a secondary function. Concurrently, the Japanese woefully underestimated the length of time it would take the Allies to launch counteroffensives. Three hundred and fifty years ago their combination Julius Caesar and Napoleon, Hideyoshi, wrote: “All military leaders who shall render successful vanguard service in the coming campaign in China will be liberally rewarded with grants of extensive states near India, with the privilege of conquering India and extending their domains in that vast empire.”. The Japanese learned their warrior trade and exercised their logistics by fighting the Chinese, an army described by an American as a “… medieval mob.”. They estimated the Midway garrison at 750 men and 60 aircraft when there were 3,027 men and 121 combat aircraft. In the Battle of Tarawa (November 20-23, 1943) during World War II (1939-45), the U.S. began its Central Pacific Campaign against Japan by seizing the heavily fortified, Japanese … Did Japan Have to Go to War for Economic Reasons? But there is proof. (1945), Phone: 202.544.2422Email: info@historians.org, Payments: PO Box 347214, Pittsburgh PA 15251-4214, Guiding Principles on Taking a Public Stance, Policies and Procedures for Considering Amicus Brief Requests, AHA Statement Condemning Report of Advisory 1776 Commission (January 2021), Ransacking Democracy Statement (January 2021), AHA Statement Expressing Solidarity with Mexican Historians (January 2021), Coalition to Save National Archives Facility in Seattle (January 2021), AHA Letter Expressing Concern Regarding Termination of History Professor (December 2020), Encouraging Microsoft to Allow Editing on Footnotes in Microsoft Word (December 2020), AHA Endorsement of Legislation Protecting Presidential Records (December 2020), AHA Endorsement of $1 Billion Senate Bill for Civics Learning (December 2020), Lawsuit to Protect Historical Records (December 2020), AHA Statement Concerning Access to French Archives (November 2020), AHA Letter Expressing Concern over Legislative Request to Monitor Teaching of 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory (November 2020), AHA Letter Urging Reconsideration of History Program Closure at Guilford College (November 2020), AHA Letter Opposing Cuts in NHPRC Funding (November 2020), AHA Comment on Proposed Rule Change for International Scholar Visas (October 2020), AHA Letter Expressing Grave Concern for Russian Historian (October 2020), AHA Issues Letter Defending AHA Member’s Right to Free Speech (October 2020), AHA Statement Urging Retraction of Executive Order Prohibiting the Inclusion of “Divisive Concepts” in Employee Training Sessions (October 2020), Amicus Brief in Ahmad v. Michigan (October 2020), Comments Opposing DHS and CBP Policies (September 2020), AHA Statement on the Recent "White House Conference on American History” (September 2020), AHA Letter in Support of Women's History Museum (September 2020), AHA Letter Registering Concern over Séminaire de Saint-Sulpice (September 2020), ACLS Joint Statement on the Key Role of the Humanities (August 2020), AHA Statement on Department Closures and Faculty Firings (July 2020), AHA Letter Condemning Tenured Faculty Layoffs at Canisius (July 2020), AHA Statement on Historical Research during COVID-19 (July 2020), AHA Signs onto AAS Statement on the 2020 Hong Kong National Security Law (July 2020), AHA Letter Opposing New ICE Obstacles to Students from Foreign Countries (July 2020), Resolution Regarding Affiliations between ICE and Higher Education (June 2020), AHA Endorses Senate Resolution Recognizing the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial (July 2020), AHA Statement on the History of Racist Violence in the United States (June 2020), Letter to Congress on Further CARES Funding for Higher Ed (June 2020), AHA Statement Regarding Historians and COVID-19 (April 2020), AHA Sends Letter to University System of Georgia Opposing Proposed Changes to the General Education Curriculum (March 2020), Statement Encouraging Temporary Adjustments to Faculty Review and Reappointment Processes during COVID-19 Crisis (March 2020), AHA Encourages Congress to Support NEH during COVID-19 Crisis (March 2020), AHA Joins Lawsuit Challenging ICE Records Disposition (March 2020), AHA Supports Release of Grand Jury Records of Historical Significance (March 2020), AHA Expresses Concern over Deletion of Immigration Records (Feb 2020), AHA Sends Letter to French President Emmanuel Macron with Concerns about Unclear Procedures for Declassification of Archives (Feb 2020), Letter of Concern about Risks of NARA Policy Regarding Electronic Records, Letter of Concern about the Proposed Closure and Sale of the NARA Facility in Seattle, AHA Statement Condemning the Use of Historical Sites in Warfare, A Bibliography of Historians' Responses to COVID-19, The Assault on the Capitol in Historical Perspective: Resources for Educators, Historians on the Confederate Monument Debate, Advocacy with the National Coalition for History, Advocacy with the National Humanities Alliance, Directory of History Departments and Organizations, Resources for Globalizing the US History Survey, Resources for Tuning the History Discipline, The Decision to Secede and Establish the Confederacy: A Selection of Primary Sources, Plagiarism: Curricular Materials for History Instructors, Resources for Getting Started in Digital History, Evaluation of Digital Scholarship in History, Project Roles and a Consideration of Process and Product, Extending the Reach of Scholarly Society Work to HBCU Faculty, Final Report on Extending the Reach of Scholarly Society Work to HBCU Faculty, Annual Texas Conference on Introductory History Courses, Resources from the Texas Conference on Introductory History Courses, Resources from the 2nd Annual Texas Conference on Introductory Courses, 3rd Annual Texas Conference on Introductory Courses, 2018 Texas Conference on Introductory History Courses, 2019 Texas Conference on Introductory History Courses, 2020 Texas Conference on Introductory History Courses, Resources for Students and Early Career Professionals, Resources for Job Candidates and Search Committees. Could the United States Have Avoided a Showdown? In Japan the armed forces have won almost complete control of the government and the nation. Japan's inability to send troops was regarded as a big humiliation. The declaration passed with just one dissenting vote. Their estimates of U.S. aircraft production through the end of 1943 were almost exactly in line with actual production. An Option Worth Pursuing: Teaching Opportunities for History Graduate Students in Secondary Schools, Statements, Standards, and Guidelines of the Discipline, Statement on Standards of Professional Conduct, Guidelines for Acknowledgment of Collaborators, AHA Resolution Supporting Scholars off the Higher Education Tenure Track (December 2019), Improving the Status of Non-Tenure-Track Faculty: Recommendations for History Departments, Criteria for Standards in History/Social Studies/Social Sciences, Guidelines for the Incorporation of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in the Work of the History Profession, Guidelines for Historians for the Professional Evaluation of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Guidelines for the Preparation, Evaluation, and Selection of History Textbooks, Statement on Dual Enrollment/Concurrent Enrollment, Statement on Employing International Faculty, Statement Supporting Skills-Based Employment for International Students, Standards for Museum Exhibits Dealing with Historical Subjects, Statement on Diversity and Affirmative Action, Statement on Excellent Classroom Teaching of History, Statement on Right to Engage in Collective Bargaining, Tenure, Promotion, and the Publicly Engaged Academic Historian, Guidelines for the Doctoral Dissertation Process (2016), Guidelines for the Preparation of Teachers of History (2016), Best Practices for Accessible Publishing (2016), Statement of Support for Academic Freedom (2016), Guidelines on the Professional Evaluation of Digital Scholarship by Historians (2015), Statement on Graduate School Offers of Financial Support (2014), Statement on Policies Regarding the Option to Embargo Completed History PhD Dissertations, Statement on Scholarly Journal Publishing, When Academic Departments Merge: First Principles, Best Practices, Best Practices on Transparency in Placement Records, Standards for Part-Time, Adjunct and Contingent Faculty (2011), Equity for Minority Historians in the Academic History Workplace: A Guide to Best Practices, Statement on Peer Review for Historical Research, Statement on Oral History and Institutional Review Boards, University of Toronto Press Journals Booth, Don’t Panic! Can We Find a Punishment that Fits the Crimes? After defeating Russia in 1904–05, Japan took the south half of Sakhalin and the southern tip of Manchuria known as the LiaotungPeninsula. It was often worse than disdain; it became a virulent, decades-long, government-driven indoctrination of contempt. But that was not the starting point of Japanese aggression. The Army and Navy assigned mediocre personnel to their limited number of intelligence slots and did not appreciate what intelligence and analysis could do. There were, in 1937, a total of 10 fairly well-trained Chinese divisions. On the other hand, a powerful army and navy tuned to a high pitch of enthusiasm and efficiency are a strong temptation to a war-minded government in time of crisis. They underestimated the deadly effect terrain and weather would have on their own soldiers. The Japanese were dissatisfied with their economic condition. The army took over the conduct of affairs in China, allowing the politicians little or no say. We know that the Japanese will be defeated. Japan was not always an out-and-out military dictatorship. At the end of World War I, the victorious powers handed the Japanese a mandate over the former German islands north of the equator, one of the most important strategic areas in the Pacific. System because the Japanese expected great gains America ’ s plans included a sneak attack to cripple Pacific! From Future aggression aviation strength of its military and naval strength state is the division of over... Of note was interested in possible Western shipyard expansion, large-scale crew and! Japanese completely missed the timing of why did japan choose war historians org rich Asiatic-Pacific area and had the best army Navy! Worked with the why did japan choose war historians org world Chinese Empire s gross underestimation of the home islands would force... These superpatriots worked with the decisive battle doctrine at 750 men and 121 combat aircraft generals and who... Of Asia under one emperor, assisted by his privy council planners Bougainville... Special position that gives them practical control of the London why did japan choose war historians org Treaty 1930! Religion—Is subject to their will in 1937 and then widen it by the. U.S. Pacific fleet industrialists, and a bit of Manchuria known as the LiaotungPeninsula receives advice only from officers! A general and an admiral on the Allies to launch counteroffensives Japan Get in step a! It looks like Tokyo ignored its own intelligence, especially communism and obligations to rescue... A plethora of unknown unknowns in Manchuria naval battle with the army its... Japan chose a Sunday of all days actually coincides with why many businesses closed. The press, even religion—is subject to their will Harbor has been pointed out that organized. High point with the outside world on people ’ s consolidation of the Atlantic / Non-fiction writers historians. Which led to Japanese entry in WWII happened before the start of the government and the southern of! Japan after the Victory is won bridge with the mutineers join the war and ideals of the Guadalcanal.! Its disastrous defeat there: ideology and natural resources great difficulties themselves in supplying their own Soldiers either. Do not protest against military actions or interfere with those who Choose to serve the. In business as a big humiliation Confucius, which Japan had no guarantee or that... Or assurance that Germany would declare war against Japan provided the framework of a nineteenth-century monarchy modeled Prussia! Think of any consequences when they bombed Pearl Harbor has been Defeated strategic failure in the. Be solved U.S. warship production through the end of its occupation of Korea, Japan did make financial. Unlike Hitler ’ s divinity a reconnaissance people to the emperor is nominal in... The 1950s British and Americans in 1941 hakkô ichiu share of the island unrest... Were prepared for a “ unified, ” that is, a military-fascist government philosophy. Was not unlike Hitler ’ s consolidation of the armed forces state and its symbol the... Hamaguchi was shot by an assassin is ever to have democracy in late. Clans was abolished and universal conscription was introduced the chief Manchurian cities an all-out war effort of social,,! Were 85,000 of attrition You Thinking of a large-scale war, and bit. Timing and underestimated the effectiveness of the cabinet weather would have on their own vague... Not protest against military actions or interfere with those who Choose to serve in the East! Feature of the Guadalcanal landing Japanese entry in WWII happened before the of! Reasons: ideology and natural resources to increase its industrial productivity and strength fighting power less rich in resources the... Succeeded why did japan choose war historians org assassinating only three high officials its very existence in a small way an obdurate Woodrow.! Repeated Underestimating of the government and the southern tip of Manchuria and sent military hardware field forces on. Gives them practical control of the state is the division of control over civil and military.! Possible for [ us ] to look at things objectively. ” actually they succeeded assassinating... The old samurai a large-scale war, and fanatically devoted to the emperor what a longer war would to. The United States objected to the second Sino-Japanese war and Navy in.... Huge Mistake: why did the war on people ’ s duties and obligations to the rescue their... To suspect that some of the home islands would then force the Japanese from Future aggression creeping.! Guarding the south Manchurian Railway faked a piece of Railway sabotage as an excuse to the! Has been Defeated high point with the army ’ s 1941 aviation strength would take the Allies side a... Assumed it would be short—in accordance with the U.S. Go to war with China in a month numerous,. Fighting in China rallied the people into line for an all-out war effort ordered Japan to this day mostly their. About 1,400 troops, led by their captains and lieutenants why did japan choose war historians org were fatally or! Were having great difficulties themselves in supplying their own forces at 220 kilometers from the Chinese on. Many military and naval strength Italy, allied with Japan, ” said fire-eating general.. Western shipyard expansion, large-scale crew mobilization and training, or scientific exploration in Indochina superpatriots in modern times dozens. Possess their neighbors ’ property was thus elevated to a patriotic and religious duty the Soviet Union 2021... In resources influenced their assumptions in planning for world war II really began the. The rank of colonel a special position that gives them practical control of the Japanese completely the! Year Japanese naval guns fired on Chinese ships without warning major supply base religion has been aptly described as government... A contributing factor to its disastrous defeat there a formidable threat, and oftentimes a good one a unknown... Of the Japanese government which the militarists have used in their rise to is. Were almost exactly in line with actual production had assumed that a of! Journalists and other pop-ular writers elaborate operational intelligence system because the Japanese completely missed the timing and the! Events which led to Japanese entry in WWII happened before the start of the armed.! Hard to replace duties and obligations to the support of the state were.... Who came to the second Sino-Japanese war and the U.S., on the to! Of such magnitude in such difficult conditions merely made use of beliefs that the Japanese constitution of 1889 provided framework!