East and West (3)

FDR & Cordell Hull, 1940

FDR & Cordell Hull, 1940

If Manchuria was controlled, the Japanese felt they would have the advantage over Russia.  Since the Chiang Nationalist government did wish to spend the money or the energy to combat Japan – but – still have communism squelched in the country, Manchuria was given up.

When the US started economic sanctions in 1939, Japan required new territories to supply their resources.  They issued a request to the French  for permission to enter Indo-China.  In September 1940, the Vichy government agreed.  The southeast portion of Asia was occupied, without incident, by the Japanese on 27-29 July 1941.

Vichy government, 1939

Vichy government, 1939

The US was incensed and proceeded to convince other countries to freeze Japan’s assets; the ABCD, (American, British, Canada, Dutch), power’s economic blockade began.  By mid-1941, relations between Japan and the ABCD countries had basically reached a point of no return.  The New York Times newspaper called this action, “…the most drastic blow short of war.”

The Japanese newspaper's transport aircraft "Asagumo", a MC-20-I, 1940's

The Japanese newspaper’s transport aircraft “Asagumo”, a MC-20-I, 1940’s

FDR knew he had stretched the Lend Lease Program far beyond what was even known to Congress, and he was becoming nervous with the secrecy.  When the embargo was extended, the Tokyo newspaper, A Saki Shimbun (Morning Sun Newspaper), predicted: “It seems inevitable that a collision should occur between Japan, determined to establish a sphere of influence in East Asia including the southwest Pacific, and the US which is determined to meddle in the affairs on the other side of a vast ocean by every means short of war.”

Chiang Kai-shek, 1940

Chiang Kai-shek, 1940

Making the world situation much worse, FDR did not give the Australians the defense commitment it needed.  Yet, he did promise Chiang Kai-shek 50 pursuit planes and $100 million in financial assistance. (This was despite Madame Chiang’s insistence that the money was being siphoned by the government officials and military leaders.)  With all of Washington’s plans in play by the spring of 1941, Admiral Stark told Admiral Kimmel: “The question of our entry into the war now seems to be when, not whether.”  In Japan – Operation Z was a sure plan.

Prime Minister Konoye, 1939

Prime Minister Konoye, 1939

By this time, Cordell Hull was following the specific instructions of FDR.  Konoye in Tokyo agreed to abnegate the Tripartite Pact in his quest for peace, but Washington adamantly insisted there was “no meeting of the minds.”  Konoye, despite an attempt on his life, sent a last desperate plea to meet and talk with Roosevelt before his 15 October deadline — there was no response from D.C. and he was forced to resign as Prime Minister.

By Novemeber 1941, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff were investigating which Japanese cities were strategically most important to bomb.

 

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current news – 

The Olympian who had his obituary written 70 years ago!

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Please click on image to read the amazing story recently in “The Week” magazine.

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Bogan – Ocala, FL; US Navy, Korea

Lawrence Brown – Morton, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, C-47 engineer

Lloyd Doody – Windsor, MR; US Army (Ret. 33 years), Vietnamroseglitterdivider_thumb

Philippe Grignon – Keswick, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII, Flight Lt.

Thomas Kenny – Cradell, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 187th RCT, 11th A/B

Carl “Dal” Maas – Davenport, IA; US Marine Corps, WWII, PTO, 6th Marines

Alexander Morton – Detroit, MI & Palm Bch, FL; US Air Force, Vietnam

Kenneth Reynolds – Stuart, FL; US Navy, WWII, ETO, Naval Combat Demolition Team, 2 Bronze Stars

Christopher Scarrott – Christchurch, NZ; RNZ Army # 768057

Stanley Walega – Manchester, NH; US Army, Korea

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on July 17, 2014, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 75 Comments.

  1. It appears that the US was already at “war” with Japan ever since… And (3) seem to prove it!

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  2. If Japan had its own resources, would any of this have happened? Also, our last international School, ASIJ, one of the oldest in the world, was open at the time. Scary!

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    • I believe it would have (IMO) happened, but not at all on the scale of what was seen. They were still over-populated, so land was needed, new markets for trade, etc. The Military was in control and wanted an Asian Empire much in the manner of the British Empire. Their mission at Pearl was only to keep the US unable to interfere in that.
      Thanks for your interest, Shelley!

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  3. Interesting that Madame Chiang warned that the money was being siphoned off.
    Makes it seem it was more of a financial move by FDR than a political move.
    Just my observation.
    Emu aka Ian

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  4. Thank you for enlightening me on one more piece of the puzzle in the twisted world of political intrigues. Years ago I read a book based on letters between a Japanese woman and English man who became ill fated lovers (a kind of Madame butterfly story), but the point of him being there in the first place was he was a soldier and England was Japan’s ally in the japan- Russian wars in the first decade of the 20 the century. That all went to putty with the snub at the United Nations conference of course. Then when I was on holiday in China, one could not escape understanding what had happened to the Chinese at the hands of the Japanese, particularly when we were in Nanjing. Then when we went to chongqing we visited Stillwell’s house which is now the Flying Tigers Museum, and understood their role in supply runs In the Asian triangle which supported the Chinese resistance. I have also read a book called Occupation, which deals with Macarthurs time in Japan after the end of the war.
    And no Australian of my vintage can be ignorant of the fall of Singapore and what happened to troops and civilians in the death camps and marches. In all of that I never knew Japan was invited into Asia. Makes it even doubly weird why the British commanders in Singapore were not looking over their shoulders. Maybe they thought they were still back in 1905.

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    • Very nice and informative comment, Gwen, thank you. Occupation by John Toland is a historical novel and very good! Being a historian and married to a Japanese woman, Toland does a wonderful job on describing the war trials and the Japanese emotions toward the events. Australia was in an ominous situation during that time. Japan would have enjoyed taking the country, but once things started to sour and they realized they had not adequately prepared for controlling such a large area, Japan dropped the idea of conquering her (but no one in the rest of the world knew that). The idea of defending herself should remain always on her mind. Here in the US, our military is being cut back. (something Americans should start worrying about – we’ve been here before!) But – it seems the word politician means – lack of memory or no knowledge of history!! (I’d better stop now, before I start ranting about them again. – have a great day!)

      You might also enjoy “The Rising Sun” also by John Toland.

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      • If people in power took any notice of history then Hitler would not have launched an assault on Russia with the risk of running into winter – right? He would have realised Napoleon had tried and failed, getting stuck in the mud and snow etc etc. I think I have that right. I can just imagine Hitler thumping the table and screaming “that was then, this is now!” I’ll look out for the other John Toland book. It has to be at least 20 years since I read Occupation, so it must have stuck with me. BTW my husband’s father was in Darwin in the bombings – a very under reported event, then and now. No point panicking the Australian population was the ethos. Anyway, the defence force there has now been belatedly recognised with a service medal.

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        • Glad to hear about the recognition; thankfully I have already data on the Australian bombings that will be included here.
          I use Thrift Books.com and Abe Books. com for older books that might be out of print or hard to locate – and they’re cheap.

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  5. I may have missed something . Excusing no European nations for brutality , the Japanese were brutally expanding in Asia , eg. in China , since the early 1930s , weren’t they ? U.S. sanctions and the ABCD stuff came later on in response to evident Japanese expansion plans to control Asia militarily. Right ? Thanks again for a thought-provoking post .

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    • The Japanese started expanding in the 1930s – correct, but people tend to forget that Europe and the US had expanded into the Pacific and mainland Asia decades before and were already extracting resources and making fortunes off of the territories. Once Japan wanted in on the action – things got dirty. Perhaps you missed East/West part (1)? Glad you asked, Dan.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I learn something everyday. It never crossed my mind that all these shenanigans went on, though I often wondered why Japan bombed Pearl Harbour. I’d always thought that somehow Hitler had arranged it in negotiations with Japan. Carry on the good work – it’s very enlightening!

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    • I’m glad to be of some help, Phil. Maybe now some people will understand why I am always blaming those in power – not the citizens of a country.

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  7. I remember learning about the “Hull formula” (in college) which dealt with compensation for international investment. I never knew what he looked like in real life. It’s good to see him here! 🙂

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  8. Excellent post! It was nice to see the article regarding Louis Zamporini!

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  9. Thank you gpcox for the snapshot of history re Japanese aggression from the 30thirties in the three posts . Interesting and as Australians we soon realized where we could look to for help, the USA , the battle of the Coral Sea was our Saviour. ‘Great story of Louis Zamparini wonderful story of how the gospel changes lives attitudes and hearts. Enjoyed , thanks for putting it on .

    Blessings
    Ron

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    • It was all my pleasure, Ron. It certainly was a shame that Australia had to depend on the US instead of the British Empire, but Churchill was determined to have an all-out war with Germany once Hitler walked into Poland and that was that. Thank you for taking the time to read the post.

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  10. Your writing about America, China, Manchuria and Chang Kai-chek reminded me of an excellent book by Barbara W. Tuchman, “Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945”. General Joseph Stilwell was a significant player in China and Southeast Asia.

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    • Yes, he was and he will be mentioned here as well. If you happen to see someone I do miss along the way – make sure you tell me – it’s always good to have back-up! I’ll look into that book, thanks, Allen.

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  11. You captured the feeling of those times — a myriad of back channel communications that never addressed issues directly.

    Kudos — another great post, my friend. 🙂

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  12. A disturbing thought—that somewhere in the US (regularly dusted off and updated) will be plans for the invasion and occupation of New Zealand …

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    • If you are talking about in the 1930-40’s, it does not appear to be on anyone’s plans to have invaded New Zealand. At the time, you only had about 1.3 million people and were too far off the beaten track to be strategically important. Japan was NOT trying to rule the world (i.e. Hitler).

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      • Actually, I’m talking right now.

        Two disassociated thoughts years apart linked in my mind—I remember seeing a US ship in the RAN base in Sydney and thinking that given the order those guys would without question promptly close down and start shooting—at the base, at the Aussie ships, at Sydney itself. I shelved the thought at the time, ha ha ha, as if anyone would …

        And years later I was watching archived footage of the German battleship Schleswig Holstein—right in the middle of a ‘courtesy visit’ suddenly without warning closing down and opening fire on the port it was visiting.

        I venture—can no more prove than anyone can disprove—that right now in the Pentagon current plans are squirrelled away for the seizing of New Zealand by force. (If not, your planners are missing a few …)

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  13. What a fantastic job you are doing! They were playing a complicated and deadly game that became steadily more deadly.

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    • A deadly game of “chicken” or “king of the hill” that rarely ends peacefully! Everyone wanted a piece of the pie. Thanks for reading, Jim – have a great day!

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  14. Under the heading of info sharing with someone I admire, let me just observe that in 1920, the Japanese could not help but notice the discrimination toward Japan at the Naval Conference. Japan was one of the allied powers during World War I. If anyone could justify a strong Navy, it had to be Japan, a maritime power. Japanese naval and army officers could not abide this insult.

    And how could Japan avoid what European powers were doing in China, in Africa, in the Middle East? They reasoned that if Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands could help themselves to the resources of other nations, then Japan should have access to the resources of whomever they could subjugate. Whenever I hear people comment about the massacre in Shanghai, I wonder if they have any idea how many innocent people suffered and died at the hands of the European imperialists.

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    • Exactly, Mustang. There was so much data I could have used, but we would remain stuck in the 1920-30’s forever. Everything you said here is entirely accurate. There was a strong Aryan upbringing in the Ivy League type schools back then and that helped to shape their opinions of the Oriental nations.

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  15. That phrase–“meddle in the affairs on the other side of a vast ocean by every means.” We don’t seem to be able to avoid that. Though, I’d use a different word.

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    • A quote is a quote – I wasn’t about to change it – though I get what you mean. No, we can’t seem to keep our noses out of everyone’s affairs – the government is broke – how much more can they borrow from China to pay for the new problems? Oh, I’d better not get started – thanks for stopping in, Jacqui.

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  16. Fascinating, thank you.

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  17. Very moving about the Olympian POW who endured so much.

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  18. Very interesting and I love also how you condense it but get the point across. I couldn’t help but think about today and the sanctions that are being imposed, also.

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    • Scary comparison, isn’t it! I caught that as well as I watched the news – and NOW the Malayan airliner shot down – I’m afraid to ask, “What’s next?” Thanks for commenting and letting me know I am accomplishing what I intended, Kathy, I appreciate it very much.

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  19. I had not known Japan was “allowed” to occupy French Indo-China… Duh on my part. I always viewed it as a total violent invasion. Now that you reported on it, it makes sense since Germany was now Japan’s ally.

    Indeed, FDR was manipulating the newspapers and secretly went way beyond the boundaries of the Lend-Lease Act. I remember from my school days in the (ahem) late 60’s reading about the Act and the obsolete destroyers in my American history class (even the teacher, Mr. Peek)…but never about FDR taking his freedoms to ignore aspects of the law he developed. Hmmm. Sounds familiar.

    Where did you learn about the newspaper’s plane?!?! Now that’s digging, gpcox!!

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    • You are not the only person surprised about Indochina being as how violent everything else was – I think it was just taken for granted… Did you ever look up the FDR scandal pages in your search engine? Nothing that man did will surprise you after you read that! I was accumulating photos of people involved in the politics leading up to war, but was lacking as far as Japan was concerning…when I looked up the A Saki Shimbun, I had a choice between a page of newspaper or the plane – Viola! (Sort of fell into my lap so to speak.) 🙄

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  20. Another amazing post. And the story of Louis Zamperini — heartbreaking and inspiring.

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  21. gp, This piece on the lead up to war with Japan is a perfect example of what I have learned by reading more since teaching history for years with a over-all “survey textbook” of US history. It is not that the survey textbook was inaccurate, but upon reading the details, like your post here, you learn that the over-all facts were not quite what you think they were. Not that they were wrong, but there is so much misunderstanding until you read the full details leading up to the great events. That’s the point; the history books in our education just hit the high points & “it was quite the way we understood things to be.” GREAT PIECE OF EDUCATION HERE!!! My jealous compliments! Phil

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    • Thank you very much, Phil! That is extremely high praise, but I can not take all the credit. The many books and websites I use for research have been update by the opening of the Archives and people finally discussing the details – our school textbooks would be unable to fill in ALL the data, nor could the kids remember it all in time for Friday’s quiz. O_o Have a good day, Teach.

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  22. This stuff is great, I did not know of any of it. You’re like a history book. Just great!

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    • Hopefully I sound like a bunch of history books and web sites, being that I use quite a few different resources for each post, compare for accuracy, eliminate personal opinions and then condense into a half way descent sized post (hopefully!!!), so thank you for saying I accomplished my goal here. I appreciate your visit.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. An even more interesting post–in light of current economic sanctions against Russia and Iran. I wasn’t familiar with the Louis Zamperini story. I’m sure, when held prisoner and tortured by the Japanese, he felt his perished comrades were the lucky ones.

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    • Quite possible, Adam. I can not even attempt to put myself in POW’s shoes and the different accounts I’ve read indicate a full spectrum of reactions to the trauma. Thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts.

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  24. Fascinating. Thanks for sharing!

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  25. Very interesting lead up to the war with Japan. Konoye was an interesting politician and you wonder if he could have overruled the powerful military had FDR called back! My Grandmother’s brother was a Japanese POW and quite a broken man afterwards. The Zamperini story is amazing.

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    • Konoye made a valiant effort, but I don’t think the Japanese military or US really cared to make peace at this point. My heart goes out to your grand-uncle – it is amazing he survived at all! Thank you very much for reading!!

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  26. A really interesting post, thank you!

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  27. Zamperini’s story is amazing. And you are doing an amazing job of condensing a mass of information!

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  28. Pierre Lagacé

    Reblogged this on Lest We Forget and commented:
    Post No. 3 of East and West…

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  29. The love the background information that lead to the war with Japan provided by your posts. Also thanks for feeding my Louis Zamperini fix. Unbroken was a wonderful book and I can’t wait for the movie.

    Like

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