|USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor|
Why do I bring this up? Well, ask yourself a question; why were these land-based bombers being sent to Hawaii? They served no purpose in Hawaii but that was actually the first leg of their longer flight to U.S. bases in The Philippines. Why were they being sent to The Philippines and was that their final destination? Remember that the B-17 was a heavy, strategic bomber. Bombers are not defensive weapons, they are offensive weapons. You can defend yourself with fighter planes, you cannot defend yourself with bombers. All you can do with them is attack someone else. Who in the neighborhood of The Philippines would the United States want to attack other than Japan? Of course it was Japan and we have known since the order was declassified in the 1970’s (though it is still mostly unknown) that President Roosevelt had signed off on a plan to attach a bomber force to the American mercenary fighter group in the service of the Republic of China known as the “Flying Tigers”. The plan, JB-355, was for a first-strike against Japan by American pilots flying American bombers but under the flag of China for political cover that entailed the fire-bombing of Osaka, Tokyo and Nagasaki. It was authorized by the President five months before Pearl Harbor was attacked.
Certainly the Empire of Japan had never attacked or threatened the United States or any part of the American “empire” in the Far East. What were they doing that so outraged the Roosevelt administration that war was the only option, even if America had to be the one to start it? The standard answer, of course, is that Japan had invaded China and the United States didn’t like that. Japan had set up the Empire of Manchukuo in Manchuria and restored the last Manchu Emperor to the throne there and had then gone on to fight Chinese republican forces south of the Great Wall in China proper. There were reasons and “incidents” behind every escalation of this conflict but we do not need to go into those now. The bottom line is that Japanese forces were in China and America did not like that (even though, at that point, China had not declared war on Japan and would not until after America and Britain did). It was an invasion of a sovereign country after all. Whether one thinks it was justified (as Japan did) or not (as America did) this is a fact. The problem with America being so offended by it and compelled to act against Japan because of it arises from another question one cannot help but ask; why was America not similarly prompted to action by other invasions in the East Asia area?
|Bogd Khan of Mongolia|
Some may be wondering what any of this has to do with the matter at hand. It matters because American security or interests were no more threatened by the invasion of Manchuria or China than the invasion of Mongolia. Why was it wrong for Japan to invade China but okay for China to invade Mongolia and then for Soviet Russia to invade Mongolia? Is it only wrong if the country is big enough? Is it only wrong if there are large populations which equate to lucrative markets for foreign businesses at risk? And if Japan was “invading China” by occupying Manchuria because Manchuria had been part of the Qing Empire, why did Roosevelt not condemn Soviet Russia for “invading China” by occupying Mongolia which had also been part of the Qing Empire or when the Soviets invaded Xinjiang in 1934 which had been part of the Qing Empire and is still part of China today? Why the blatant double-standard? Of course, one could also ask why the Soviet attack on Finland was okay or the Soviet occupation and annexation of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and eastern Poland was okay but an, as yet, undeclared war between Japan and the Republic of China demanded that America take action, freeze Japanese assets, cut of all trade with Japan, ban Japanese ships from the Panama Canal and even plan to fire-bomb three Japanese cities to start a war. Yes, I think one can very well see that the Empire of Japan was being held to a very different standard from other countries in the neighborhood.
|Tokyo -when it did happen|
In comparison, the Japanese declaration of war relates a lengthy list of provocations by the United States and Great Britain (and most of what Britain did was done at the insistence of the United States, in fact going all the way back to the breaking off of the British-Japanese alliance) which are all perfectly true and, again, not in dispute. Japan mentions British and American support for the Republic of China that was waging war against Japan (which also violated U.S. neutrality laws), the build-up of American military forces in East Asia and the severance of all trade with Japan by America and Britain. All perfectly true. Just consider the situation for a moment. Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor the U.S. President had authorized and paid for American pilots and American fighter planes to be sent to China to fight against the Japanese, the Allies were sending 10,000 tons of supplies to the Chinese every month through French Indochina and finally had frozen all Japanese assets in the United States, cut off all trade with Japan and banned Japanese ships from the Panama Canal. Would anyone call these the acts of a neutral or indifferent power?
|Chinese Republican troops|
|The President who wanted war|