Monday, May 10, 2010

The Way to Pearl Harbor: US vs Japan

The US, the biggest oil supplier for Japan at the time, imposed the oil embargo on Japan in July, 1941, and it helped the Japanese to make up their minds to fight against the Americans
From 1939 to 1941, the US gradually tightened the level of economic sanction.

In 1939, the US notified Japan that it would renounce the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation that was signed by both countries in 1911. President Roosevelt, then, went on to the imposition of partial embargo of gasoline for aircraft and scrap-metal on Japan in July 1940. Japan countered the partial embargo by advancing its troops to the northern Indo-China, and the US matched the Japan’s expansion with the addition of more subjects to the list of partial embargo. This vicious circle of retaliations escalated and reached its peak when Japan moved even into the southern Indo-China in July, 1941 and the US replied to it by freezing the Japanese assets in the US and, furthermore, by the complete oil embargo on Japan [12]. As a result, the Japanese leaders found themselves in an extremely difficult situation in which they had to make their decision out of two options: to bow before the US, or to fight a desperate war against the US.

The Japanese side proposed some plans, too. However, the US eventually refused to accept any plans presented by Japan and replied to Japan with the final proposition called the “Hull Note,” which contained only US original demands on issues on November 26th, 1941. As a result, the war became inevitable.

oil was one of the most crucial strategic materials that Japan desperately needed.
the US, which supplied Japan about 80% of oil
the power of life or death was in the hand of the American president. And President Roosevelt decided to choke Japan by keeping all oil, not even one drop, from going to Japan
and followed the America’s oil embargo in August of 1941
Only option that the Japanese leaders could come up with was to take the Dutch East India and control oil fields

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