Did anyone else get through the public school system without having once learned that the US had cut off Japan’s oil, acting against Japan long before they attacked Pearl Harbor? Was anyone else not informed that Pearl Harbor was Japan’s retaliation against embargos, and…
Damn, I knew the first part, but hearing the second part worded like that changes my outlook significantly. I always thought we drew the line closer and closer til the Japanese finally crossed it.
Yeah I was. I was also taught that Roosevelt ordered US navy escorts to open fire on German war vessels on sight as early as late 1940, despite not being at war with Germany yet.
Please be sarcastic
It’s not that simple though. There were very specific reasons why we chose to cut economic ties with Japan. Ever since 1931 Japan had been engaging in a very brutal campaign of conquest across China. But 1940 Japan occupied much of Northern China and large parts of Southern China. The Japanese conquest of China was very brutal and was a straight up invasion for resources and territory.
Google “The Rape of Nanking”, where the Japanese Army murdered 200,000 people and raped tens of thousands of women. The wikipedia page and the book The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chiang have very graphic pictures of Japanese atrocities.
Especially sickening were the many instances of sexual mutilation and torture committed by the Japanese Army on Chinese women. For a mild taste there is a picture on the Wikipedia page of a raped and murdered Chinese woman who had been sexually tortured. I am not going to post it because it is extremely graphic and sickening. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nanjing_Massacre_rape_killed.jpg
By 1940 the Japanese Empire had expanded well into China, causing the deaths of millions of Chinese, had occupied Korea and Taiwan, had attempted to invade Mongolia and the Soviet Union, had conducted assaults against American merchant ships (Panay Incident and others), and had assaulted American diplomats. The Japanese also used millions of Chinese and Koreans as slave labor for their growing empire.
When the embargo was announced Japan had invaded and was preparing to occupy Southeast Asia. Most of Japan’s oil was obtained from the United States, essentially the US was inadvertently driving Japan’s conquest. After all the Japanese had done over the past decade it was a pretty simple decision for the US government to decide that it was no long in its interest to support Japan through trade or finance.