Thursday, June 23, 2011

Japan Sneaks

To understand what happened at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, one must go back at least a decade, and possibly more. Japan's imperial ambitions didn't fan into flame overnight. Politically and militarily, much thought and discussion had been given to the question of how Japan would dominate eastern Asia and control the Pacific Ocean. At the same time, other nations were not paying attention. Oxford's Michael Korda writes:

The year 1933 was pivotal in more ways than one. Japan's rearmament and intransigence were increasing at a rapid pace ...

In American, however, people were thinking mainly about economic survival:

Preventing the United States from collapsing into chaos and taking steps to rebuild its crippled economy and self-confidence were foremost in the president's mind, naturally enough, and neither he nor his Army Chief of Staff had much time to worry about events in ...

distant Japan. On the contrary, the U.S. Army was having a difficult time obtaining enough funding to keep itself in existence, let alone defend the nation against Japanese attacks:

War was far from Roosevelt's mind, and the problems of the Army farther still. Military appropriations were relentlessly cut back; the development and production of new weapons were slowed to a standstill, even for the most basic needs.

Japan, however, was building battleships, aircraft carriers, and airplanes at an ever-increasing rate, and developing new theories of warfare - all of which would be directed eventually at America.