Saturday, December 7, 2013

December 7 and the American Double-Standard with Japan

In writing this article, first let me state that today the United States and Japan are close friends and allies and I for one am very pleased about that. For the most part, both countries have gotten beyond the events of World War II and relatively few hold any grudges about it. This demonstrates a great deal of character and goodwill on the part of both countries. Unfortunately, despite the fact that none of what I shall relate in this article is anything less than documented, established fact, a great many still seem to have a very warped view regarding the war against Japan. In spite of all the evidence known even at the time of the war and other information which has been declassified since, many people in both the United States and Japan for that matter, continue to view the start of the war as being the result of Japanese aggression against the United States and nothing more. Some have even tried to twist the facts or simply fabricate their own in order to spread anti-Japanese bigotry to as many countries as possible. It is for that reason, and because truth is to be pursued for its own sake that I address this subject. I do so because I have touched on it a number of times in the past without ever giving a full explanation and I do so today simply because I enjoy offending people who are wrong. It is certainly not my intention to fuel any bad feelings between America and Japan. I wish nothing more sincerely than for the friendship between America and Japan to continue and would prefer that America was friends rather than enemies with all monarchies.

USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor
To start at the beginning of the war, even the most extreme depths of hatred and often unbridled racism against Japan on the part of the United States in World War II is usually forgiven because of the “treacherous” surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The problem with that scenario is the fact that Japan did not intend the attack to come without warning and indeed it was only incompetence on the part of the American government that prevented Pearl Harbor from being warned that an attack by Japan was expected. However, even that is rather disingenuous as the United States had not only planned and worked for quite some time to maneuver Japan into attacking American forces in the Far East or Pacific area but, in fact, had authorized a plan to attack Japan first. Never heard about that? It is true and has been declassified since the 1970’s, the order exists with the signature of President Roosevelt right on it. You have probably even seen at least some evidence of this, even if you do not realize it. For example, most people have probably seen the film, a Japanese and American co-production, about the attack on Pearl Harbor called, “Tora! Tora! Tora!”. If so, you will remember that on the morning of the attack the Japanese planes were picked up on radar but the officer on watch dismissed the report because it was assumed that the planes were a flight of B-17 “Flying Fortress” bombers coming in from the mainland. Those who have seen the movie will also recall the dramatic scene when these bombers arrived later, during the attack, unarmed and out of gas.

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.

FDR
It should also be kept in mind that the Roosevelt administration was breaking American neutrality laws already by funding the American forces fighting for the Chinese against Japan. They were not really mercenaries at all since they were trained, armed, equipped and even paid by the U.S. government secretly while simply being listed as volunteers of the Chinese army of Chiang Kai-shek. Still, many would and have said that all of this was justified because the Japanese were the “bad guys” and “everyone knows that”. The same sentiment is used to justify the undeniable fact that President Roosevelt had maneuvered Japan into a position in which they would be forced to attack the United States. By cutting off all trade with Japan, including the export of iron and oil, persuading the British Empire and the Dutch government-in-exile to do the same, the United States effectively delivered an ultimatum to Japan: they could do nothing and suffer the total collapse of Japanese society for lack of the vital resources all industrialized countries require (and, indeed, Japan had only 18 months of oil left, in total by December of 1941), they could effectively surrender their sovereignty to the United States by giving up the right to manage their own affairs and allow America to dictate Japanese foreign policy or the Japanese could go to war with the United States. Obviously, only one outcome was in any way remotely possible. Again, however, even amongst the relatively few who are aware of these facts (and they are plain for all to see), some still try to justify it by claiming that the Japanese were “bad guys” who would have to be fought sooner or later, one way or another. Well, why was that?

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
After the collapse of the Qing Empire in China both Tibet and Mongolia reasserted their independence. Mongolia had never been part of China after all. The Manchu Qing dynasty had gained control of Mongolia prior to taking over China and so, even while the Qing came to rule over all of China, Mongolia could more correctly be said to have belonged to Manchuria but never China. Besides which, it had been the United States, at least since the time of the Democrat Woodrow Wilson, that liked to talk about “self-determination” so, presumably, regardless of their prior relationship with China, the Mongolians could declare independence if they wanted to. However, in 1919 the Republic of China sent troops into Mongolia, seized power and deposed the reigning monarch; the Bogd Khan. No one seemed to care in America. The only one who did care was the rogue White Russian general Baron von Ungern-Sternberg who drove out the Chinese and restored the Bogd Khan to his throne in 1921. However, his forces were soon driven out by the Soviet Red Army that took control of Mongolia and made it a part of the Soviet Union in all but name. Again, no one in America seemed to care.

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
It is rather interesting to just take a look at the text of both the American declaration of war against Japan and the much more lengthy Japanese declaration of war against America. The justifications put forward by the United States, that, “the Imperial Government of Japan has committed unprovoked acts of war against the Government and the people of the United States of America:” is a total lie. It has been a matter of public record since the McCollum memo was first widely publicized in 2001 that the Roosevelt administration was doing everything it could to provoke an act of war by Japan against the United States. And even if one disregards the memo, the same President who denounced the “dastardly and unprovoked attack” on Pearl Harbor was also the President who months earlier had signed off on the fire-bombing of several major Japanese cities with the stated intention of causing as much death and destruction as possible. Keep that comparison in mind; fire-bombing major, heavily populated cities versus the attack on Pearl Harbor in which great care was taken so that no civilian areas or targets were hit. Again, that is a matter of public record that has never been in dispute. For the United States to say the attack on Pearl Harbor was “unprovoked” is nothing short of an outright lie.

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
Also remember that, at that time, about the only sources of oil exports in the world were the United States, the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) and Malaysia and the Gulf States which were all under the control of Britain. When the U.S. cut off all oil exports to Japan and persuaded Britain and the Dutch to do the same, this cut off all oil entirely. Can anyone imagine, even with the more diverse sources of energy and greater number of oil producing countries in the world today, just what sort of social and economic collapse would befall a country like the United States if, for example, just the countries of the Middle East decided to cut off all oil exports? It would be nothing short of disastrous and this was exactly the situation that Japan was facing. Likewise, other justifications for American actions do not stand up to scrutiny either. For example, the occupation of bases in French Indochina is often cited as a reason for America to take action against Japan. The problem with that is that it was done with the consent of the French government in Vichy. Aha! I know some are already shouting that this was the terrible, collaborationist government that was pro-Nazi and completely illegitimate. Unfortunately, regardless of how good or bad the Vichy regime was, at that time, the United States itself still recognized it as the legitimate government of France. So try again. In that case, there is the accusation that Japan was simply keeping bad company by having joined the Rome-Berlin Axis with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. The problem with that argument is this; guess who was the biggest supporter of those heroic “freedom fighters” of the Republic of China prior to Japan joining the Axis? Go ahead, guess. Give up? It was Nazi Germany of course. Before the outbreak of war more than half of all armaments exported from Nazi Germany went to the nationalists of the Republic of China and Nazi Germany had, for years, been helping China industrialize and modernize their army.

The President who wanted war
So, again, we come down to a blatant double-standard concerning the Empire of Japan. If being friendly with Germany was a crime, why was it not for China? If the occupation of Manchuria was an invasion of China, why wasn’t the Soviet invasion of Mongolia and Xinjiang not treated the same? Given that America was sending military forces to aid the Chinese, diverting long-rang bombers to within striking distance of the Japanese mainland, cutting off all vital resources to Japan and funding those who were waging war against Japan, how can anyone honestly say that the attack on Pearl Harbor was “unprovoked”? And, I will repeat, none of these facts are in dispute. The sanctions against Japan can be found in any history book as can the history of the American volunteers in China. The order for the fire-bombing of Japan before the two countries were at war was declassified and is now a matter of public record. This is not, furthermore, an attempt to whitewash history. Many terrible things happened during the war that are inexcusable. However, it is a matter of fact that the undeclared war between Japan and certain factions of the Republic of China became part of a world war spreading across the whole of East Asia and the South Pacific because of the actions and desires of the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and not those of the Empire of Japan.

9 comments:

  1. Bravo Good Sir! It warms my heart to see that there are others who defend my ancestral homeland! (I am one fourth Japanese on my mother's side) May Dai Nippon Teikoku one day restore the Imperial Japanese Navy and expel the American troops stationed in bases such as Okinawa. Kimi ga yo wa, Chiyo ni yachiyo ni, Sazare ishi no, Iwao to narite, Koke no musu made.

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    1. I would like to see the day the imperial armed forces are all restored and American troops are no longer necessary. As for right now though, Japan needs allies and with Russia, China and both Koreas hostile or at least unfriendly toward Japan, such allies need to stick together. First thing to do would be to tackle Article 9 and start moving toward the point where Japan can defend itself from any danger.

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  2. How would you justify the actions of the Empire of Japan when it comes to something like, say, the Rape of Nanking?

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    1. 1) That has nothing to do with the issue at hand and is a rather tired tactic of the Chinese and Korean republicans to deflect away from bad behavior by pointing to other bad behavior.
      2) I would never attempt to justify any such thing if it actually happened. However, as I have written about previously (http://madmonarchist.blogspot.com/2011/12/off-topic-tuesday-rape-of-nanking.html) I have my doubts and the more I have read about since then has only caused those doubts to increase dramatically, particularly in the vast number of photos, presented as "evidence" which have been proven to be fakes.
      3) Whatever happened in Nanking had nothing to do with the United States. The U.S. never took any action on the grounds of what Japanese troops did in the field just as the U.S. did not go to war against Nazi Germany because of the mistreatment of Jews.

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  3. Without a doubt, much of Japan's actions in Asia during the war are simply inexcusable. However, far more Chinese were killed other Chinese than by Japanese in the twentieth century, and the same goes for Korea. Japan was responsible for around 6 million deaths, according to R.J. Rummel, out of a population of 379 million. Chiang Kai-shek was responsible for 10 million Chinese deaths, and Mao for between 50-70 million. It's difficult to see how the spread of Communism into China, Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia was preferable to Japanese rule. It's also important to remember that the Allies certainly have blood on their hands as well. None of this is meant to overlook Japan's actions during the war mind you, simply to put them into perspective.

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    1. The more I have studied, the more I have found Japan is actually guilty of less and less. There were abuses carried out by low level officers, many of whom were punished by their own superiors, against orders and which was not official policy. Going through the cases of the "war criminals", especially in the major figures, one after another their trials were complete mockeries of justice with even American legal experts denouncing them. Moreover, the Japanese (and Manchus) who were massacred in Manchuria before the war is rarely brought up, which helped provoke the Japanese occupation of Manchuria in the early 30's. The republicans killed far more people compared to Japan even if one believes the numbers put out by the Chinese (which are hugely exaggerated) and also discounted are the large numbers of Chinese (and Koreans and Manchus and Mongols etc) who fought for Japan because they believed they were the best side and did not want communism to rule East Asia.

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    2. History is written by the victors. Many Japanese officers who weren't guilty of any war crimes were put to death while Soviet war crimes, of which there are too many to list here, were politely ignored. The fact that Soviet Judges presided over the Nuremberg trials only goes to show that the Allies were interested only in victory, not true justice. The deaths of millions of Poles, Cossacks, Ukrainians, Germans, Finns, Russians, Czechs and others were simply forgotten. The whole war was an ugly affair any way you slice it.

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  4. I agree completely. The issue was fresh on my mind because yesterday or the day before was the anniversary of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. The man in charge of that (successful) campaign was General Homma who was executed as a war criminal in 46. Thing was, it was a totally unjust trial and General Homma (who had fought with the BEF in WW1) was actually forced to retire for being too lenient on the Filipinos and American prisoners. The same happened to the conqueror of Malysia and Singapore, General Yamashita, who had his own men executed who committed atrocities. He was a good man but was killed as a war criminal when it was over. It looks less like an attempt at justice so much as retribution against those generals who won major victories against the Allies.

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