Regarding the Dec.11 letter, “All Japan had to do was wait“: I would like to refute a couple of points. First, Japan didn’t really have an option to wait (for the United States to be dragged into war with Germany). The oil and raw materials embargo, in addition to the assets-freeze slapped on her by the U.S and its Allies in response to Japan’s push into Indochina, meant that, at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, Japan had a maximum six months of oil reserves.
The conclusion of a neutrality pact with the Soviet Union put expansion in that direction off the table.
Japan could have withdrawn from China and Indochina immediately as U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt had demanded. Naturally, this loss-of-face option was not accepted.
The Allies’ refusal to accept Japan’s racial-equality clause at Versailles in 1919, plus the breakup of the Anglo-Japanese alliance and the Naval Treaty of 1922 contributed to pushing Japan in an “Axis-oriented” direction.
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