Assess to the Extend That Foreign Policies of Usa and Britain Forced Japan to Bomb Pearl Harb

1812 Words Aug 10th, 2012 8 Pages

Assess the view that U.S and British foreign policies in the Pacific (1937-41) forced Japan to bomb Pearl Harbor in December 1941
At 7.55am on Sunday, the 7th of December 1941; “a day that will live in infamy” 1, the first of two waves of Japanese aircraft launched their fatal attack on the US Pacific Fleet, anchored at Pearl Harbor on the Pacific island of Oahu. It is difficult to place blame for this event on one factor, however it is often asserted that the foreign policies of Allies United States and Britain forced Japan into assailing. However, to force is to coerce and leave one no other option, and whilst it can be said that the Allies provoked Japan, they did not, in any way, force them to execute a surprise attack on Pearl
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Jonathan Utley similarly contends; “No one during the fall of 1941 wanted war with Japan... Roosevelt could see nothing to be gained by a war with Japan. Hawks such as Acheson, [Interior Secretary Harold] Ickes, and [Treasury Secretary Henry] Morgenthau argued that their strong policies would avoid war, not provoke one.” 6 British foreign policies contributed in a significantly lesser way to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Britain had three major concerns with Japan. Firstly, any Japanese expansion to the south would jeopardize British colonial territory. Secondly, Japan’s emergence as a naval power endangered Britain’s traditional dominance of the sea and its ability to protect its trade routes. Lastly, Britain had long been supportive of Chian Kai-Shek, the political leader of China, and an independent China. In 1938, the ‘Pact of Steel’ was still in place between Germany, Italy and Japan; this bound them together and gave Britain three potential enemies. By following a policy of appeasement, Britain could delay war and try to improve relations with all three. However, Britain was forced to concentrate more so on the impeding rise of fascist leasers Mussolini and Hitler in order to protect its interests within Europe. Britain’s foreign policies concerning Japan were therefore ineffective and, with the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939, Britain’s inability to develop

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