Causes of Pearl Harbor "There is no choice left but to fight and break the iron chains strangling Japan" (Spector 76) Admiral Nagano O sami gave this statement after finding no other way to resolve relations between the United States and Japan. The attack on Pearl Harbor was the only way Japan sought to break away from the United States oppression of the Japanese people. Poor relations between Japan and America were both economical and political; this caused the attack on Pearl Harbor. The hatred from the Japanese against the United States dated back from the 1860 s.
When tension between the two nations grew due to American discrimination against Japanese immigrants. Leland Stanford and his associates were building the western section of the Trans- Continental railroad across the United States. They employed Chinese laborers because they were cheaper and more efficient then European laborers. After the railroad was complete the Chinese sought work in the American labor market.
American workers began to oppose this new labor force, the Government responded by passing the Chinese Exclusion Acts, forcing most of the Chinese to return to China. The Japanese were also included in the act, most of the Japanese that came to the United States worked in the fields in Hawaii. This angered the farmers of American, because the Japanese were more skillful. (Hoyt 37) The Japanese had been coming to America at a steady rate of roughly a thousand per year. After the annexation of Hawaii, the Japanese appeared in record numbers of twelve thousand per year. This resulted in a panic for San Francisco.
The mayor quarantined a section of the city just for the oriental immigrants. The Japanese became offended and protested, but the San Francisco Labor Council began to issue laws similar to the Chinese Exclusion acts. The Japanese Government responded by stoping the issuing of passports to contract laborers going to America even if the American employers wanted them and promised employment. (Hoyt 37) The American Federation of Labor struggled to pass Anti- Japanese laws. The press had a field day with the headlines causing the country to become racist against the Japanese. The headlines were not only insulting but also untrue.
Finally President Roosevelt intervened and put an end to segregation in exchange for the Gentleman's Agreement, the United States government agreed to limit immigration into the United States. (Prang e 443) One of the major outcomes of the Russo- Japanese War was the development of animosity between Japan and the United States. The Japanese, having won the war expected to share a pleasant victory. They expected money to built battleships and tanks. President Theodore Roosevelt graciously offered the use of America's offices to secure peace between Russia and Japan. America acted as a referee to the two countries as the met in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The Russians and Japanese settled all territorial expansions but when it came to the money the Russians refused. The Americans supported the Russians decision. In the final agreement between the Japanese and the Russians no money was exchanged. The Japanese public was outraged by the outcome, turning the military victory into a political defeat. A Tokyo newspaper read, "The number one enemy to Japan was the United States." (Spector 37) Portsmouth brought an end to the Russo- Japanese War but it only worsened the hatred from Japan against the United States. (Spector 37) The Japanese felt that the Americans were too involved in Pacific Affairs, they had to consolidate their territorial gains through secret agreements signed will all powers but the United States.
However the Japanese did try to come to a similar agreement with the Americans, but failed. This failure was a result of the Open Door Policy. American businessman insisted on keeping trade options open with China. Ironically the Japanese were China's bankers. (Hoyt 46) During the Paris Peace Conference of 1920, the Japanese sought to gain racial equality among the other nations of the world. Japan had high aspirations to build even more of an empire.
The other topic that was up for discussion at the Peace Conference was the joining of the League of Nations. The Japanese agreed to participate, it was a matter of honor that they did, they were on an equal basic with the other nations. This was the most important matter of the Conference because it began to show racial equality among the powers of the world. (Hoyt 47) The relations between the Japanese and the Americans continued to worsen because during the Paris Peace Conference, the United States refused to join the League of Nations.
The Japanese were deeply insulted and their distrust grew towards the United States because the United States were so involved in Pacific Affairs, but refused to join the League. The Japanese- American relations were in a very critical state from this point on. The Japanese resented American racism and held them responsible for the failure of the Peace Conference. (Spector 53) America was looking out for China; they felt the Japanese were mistreating the Chinese.
After the Versailles Treaty was signed it gave Japan all that they had asked for in the Pacific and China. The American diplomatists' goal in Asia was to stop Japanese expansion. The American bankers tried to support China financially, to keep Japan away. The United States led a movement to form a four - power consortium to finance China. Japan would be involved but to a lesser degree. The other nations, Great Britain, France and the United States would be in full control.
If this were successful than it would threaten Japan's hand in China. (Hoyt 48) In the summer of 1921 the Americans called for an International Disarmament Conference in Washington D. C. This was held to limit the Japanese's colonial expansion in Asia. All the powers with interest in the Far East were invited to attend the conference except the Soviet Union.
The Japanese saw the Washington Conference as a ploy to take away Japan's gain of the war. They responded by asking for further information and indicated what they wished not to discuss. Italy, France, Great Britain, and the United States accepted the invitation. The Japanese later excepted the invitation as well. (Hoyt 52) The Conference lasted from November 1921 through February 1922. The Americans Open Door Policy was a big topic for discussion.
The United States wanted a "Board Of Reference" to over see the Open Door trade in China. The Japanese, refused they didn't want the Western Powers looking over their shoulder. Seven Treaties were made during this time. One of them set the fleet ratio among Britain, the United States and Japan, at 5-5-3.
Japan was allowed to have a fleet sixty percent as powerful as the British and the Americans. The idea behind this was that Britain had the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and the Mediterranean to focus on. The United States had the Atlantic and the Pacific to concentrate on, while Japan only had the Pacific. The Americans and British agreed to limit their Pacific navel bases.
The Japanese were also given the right to keep the old German Pacific colonies under mandate for another twenty- five years. The Conference seemed to satisfy the Japanese for a short time. The Americans had been watching the Japanese military force movement in China and Manchuria with concern. The Americans felt that Japan was going to take action. The U.
S. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg called the Japanese ambassador Matsumoto to the State Department and warned him officially that Manchuria belongs to China. If the Japanese attempted to seize Manchuria the United States would handle this in a serious manner. The United States also wanted to know Japan's intentions with Manchuria.
Matsumoto cabled a message to the Prime Minister Tanaka. His response was .".. if "chaos" arise in Manchuria, thereby endangering Japan's special interests, Japan would take action." (Hoyt 66) The Japanese ignored the American threat and proceeded secretly into Manchuria. They didn't want the United States involved in what wasn't their business.
The Japanese didn't want any interference to bring the world under a Japanese control, the Greater East Asia Co- Prosperity. (Spector 53-55) The United States had been trying to persuade the Japanese to cease their conquests of China since 1937, when the Sino- Japanese War began. This was unsuccessful and the movement lead the Japanese to move into Indochina. This indicated the Expansion of Japan's ambitions in Asia. The United States was the only country in a position to challenge Japan. In the summer of 1941 President Roosevelt demanded that the Japanese guarantee the neutrality of Indochina and Thailand.
The Japanese responded by stating they wouldn't farther into the south of Indochina. The troops in Indochina would be removed when the China war was over. The Japanese requested that the Americans leave Guam and Samoa alone, to help the Japanese secure materials from the Netherlands East Indies. The Japanese also asked for help in securing a peace treaty between China and Japan, to restore normal trade with Japan and to recognize Japan's position in Indochina. The United States refused. Helping Japan with what they requested would give them China.
The United States would not permit them self to be part of Japan's expansion. Especially helping them with their interest in China. The United States refused to recognize Japan's conquests in the Far East. The Japanese had begun this policy of conquering the Far East in 1931.
(Spector 76) The United States was informed that Japan was going to move into Indochina. President Roosevelt felt the need to take strong action against Japan. In July 1939, the State Department began to take action by freezing Japanese funds in the United States and cutting off the supply of petroleum to Japan. The United States terminated the thirty one year old commercial treaty with Japan. No more trade or oil would be sent to Japan from the American refineries. Later they found out that Japan was stockpiling oil in preparation for war.
The Japanese were tapping into the East Indies oil supply as well. While doing so the American export of aviation and motor fuel to Japan was three times higher than the previous year. The Untied States also embargoed scrap metal. The Japanese were in crucial need of metal to construct military goods. The Americans in and out of government didn't understand the full effect of cutting off the oil because Japan had reserves.
In Japan, military oil had become a sign of power, without a decent oil supply the military machinery would come to a halt. When the United States made the decision to cut off oil, it was immediately followed by two other nations, Britain and the Dutch. They controlled most of the world's oil. The Japanese were hit like an earthquake. The Dutch Indies couldn't supply them with enough oil to support the military.
(Goral ski 99) General Tojo responded to the situation," ... show that an oppressive and bullying United States forced Japan into a corner, where it has no choice but to fight." (Prang 205) He was tired of the United States pushing them around. He felt that there was no other choice but to act and show the United States they were willing to put up a fight. A Nagano statement was later released," In various aspects the empire is losing materials: that is, we are getting weaker. By contrast the enemy is getting stronger.
With the passage of time, we will get increasingly weaker, and we won't be able to survive. Moreover, we will endure what we can be endured in carrying on diplomacy, but at the opportune moment we most take some estimates." (Hoyt 211) The Japanese military had several conferences to decide on what action should be taken to show the greater powers of the world that Japan wasn't weak. The decision was made by the government leaders at this Nagano conference to continue negotiating with the United States until October 1941. If nothing were settled, then the Japanese would begin war with the United States. The United States refused to give in Japan's requests.
They were not looking to settle. (Hoyt 212) The Japanese's hatred towards the United States was getting increasingly stronger. Japan saw the oil cut off as the last straw. All the pent up anger and frustration that the Japanese felt towards the Americans was released on December 7, 1941.
The Japanese took their revenge on the United States, with a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.