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While in transit at Narita, I came across Mike Lidgley’s March 18 letter about Pearl Harbor, “Winning the geopolitical game?,” and the Feb. 24 article that it referred to, “Telling the truth at Yasukuni,” by Hisahiko Okazaki. I was so shocked by the article that I referred it to a distinguished colleague.

Here is the response from James McGregor Burns, professor of government emeritus at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Roosevelt: Soldier of Freedom” (1971): “The Americans and the Japanese were involved in a typical Realpolitik in the Pacific with rival ambitions. As for who was the aggressor, (President Franklin D.) Roosevelt was far more concerned about Nazi conquests in Europe than he was about Japanese aggression. He neither planned nor wanted the Japanese attack. And I must say, aside from everything else, Mr. Okazaki has a nerve to make that statement when the Japanese conducted a long-planned, devastating attack on Oahu.”

jay pasachoff

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