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My (BMcC) participation in Japanese television network NHK Internet forum: "Nuclear Arms and the Human Race"
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[ Go to NHK! ] [ Cross Lacquer ballpoint pen ] [ Go to NHK! ]
The Japanese television network, NHK, gave me this pen, in 1997, in appreciation for my participating in their Internet "Global Court on atomic weapons" project.
In Spring of 1997, I came across a prospectus on the Japanese television station, NHK's website, seeking persons all over the world, to participate in an Internet forum on atomic weapons. I replied that I would like to participate. I noted I had studied this subject, and that I had also visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. In July, a three person film crew came to my house to interview me for the program. The oldest member of the crew was especially impressed when my wife and I offered the crew some fine green tea we had bought at Takashimaya (NYC).
I never previously owned or used any lacquer object (although, in general, I did know about Japanese lacquerware art). I have found the tactile properties of this pen exquisite: The pen is a continuing delight to hold, and to run my fingers over its smooth warm surface.
I never previously used ballpoint pens much (for many years I used Montblanc fountain pens, then Stædtler-Mars technical pens). Ever since I received this gift from NHK, however, I carry this ballpoint pen with me always and write with it almost exclusively. It is "special" both for what it symbolizes (my participation in the NHK project), and also for what it is (the lacquer).
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In early February, 2000, I misplaced my beloved pen. I looked "everywhere", but could not find it. Assuming it was lost, I set about trying to buy a new one just like it. In brief: (1) I found the pen on Cross's website, (2) I found it was not real lacquer (and costs only US$34), (3) I found that this model pen is not made in real lacquer (and neither does, e.g., S.T. Dupont make a lacquer pen in this shape), so (4) I ordered 2 more of the pens, and, as the reader will guess, as soon as I placed the order, (5) I immediately found my lost original in the obvious place where I had previously looked for it but had not seen it then even though now it was in plain view. Now I have three almost identical pens. I am tempted to "mix them all up", so that I will not know which is the "special" one, but will value them all as each possibly being that special one -- in a small-time reenactment of part of Gotthold Lessing's "Three-Ring Parable".
Go to NHK website.
Go /Return to Hiroshima, Pearl Harbor, Nanjing, etc. page (material I put together for the NHK project), Below[ Go to info about Hiroshima, Pearl Harbor, Nanjing, etc.! ]
Read  new Japanese material about the effects of the atomic bombs on ending the war, Below[ Read new Japanese material about the effects of the atomic bombs on ending the war! ]
Learn  a root cause of Pearl Harbor in 19th century American imperialism, Below[ Learn about America's intrusion in Japan's internal affairs, 1853! ]
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Copyright © 2000 Brad McCormick, Ed.D.
bradmcc@cloud9.net [ Email me! ]
14 April 2006 (2006-04-14 ISO 8601)
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"There is no word in the human language capable of consoling the guniea pigs who do not know the reason for their death." --A survivor of Hiroshima (quoted by Elsa Morante, in History: A Novel, 1974/1977)
"And the real reason? Not one that could be discussed in public. The nuclear bomb was dropped on Japan to let the Soviet Union know who would be running the Post-War world. It was the first shot in the Cold War." -- David McReynolds (ref. URL no longer exists)
· Was Hiroshima necessary?
· A-Bomb WWW Museum
· NHK Global Court home page
[ ] (See: web page about lacquer pen NHK gave me, in appreciation for my participation in this project.) [ ]
· Hiroshima: Was it necessary?
[ The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum ]
· Hiroshima-Nagasaki: Fifty Years of Deceit and Self-Deception
· ATOMIC BOMB: DECISION (valuable source documents)
· Nagasaki links....
· The Nuclear Files: Experiencing ethical and political challenges of the nuclear age

· Pearl Harbor: Mother of all Conspiracies
· Pearl Harbor Attack Hearings
· Miscellaneous Documents relating to Pearl Harbor
· The Myths of Pearl Harbor

· Japanese Army's Atrocities -- Nanjing Massacre
All material on this page is posted for personal scholarly research purposes only (no reproduction rights have been obtained; I am operating under my understanding of "fair use"; I will remove any material upon request from the copyright holder).


I do not pretend to be an expert on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the events which led up to it (including those of 7 December 1941 at Pearl Harbor and the Philippines). I believe the following material is worthy of consideration, but I cannot vouch for its accuracy or completeness. Caveat lector! Read at your own risk, and draw your own conclusions. If it does nothing more than cause you to respond to the next official government statement you hear with: "Is that really true? Has anything relevant been left out?...", this text will have done some good in the world.

Since facts are always subject not just to elaboration but reversal, I believe that, wherever possible, action should be based on more secure premises, the sturdiest of which are to be found in reflective cultivation of the always evanescent and fragile moments of (to quote Hans-Georg Gadamer:) "the conversation that we are". However, this is not a line of thought which is appropriate to elaborate here. And conversation must perforce often concern itself with the interpretation of "things".... The two best sources I have found to help in trying to understand the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and its context are:

  • Gar Alperovitz, Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam (2nd expanded edition), Pluto Press, London and East Haven CT, 1994.
  • D.F. Fleming, The Cold War and Its Origins (2 vols), Doubleday, Garden City NY, 1961.
A fine book to help understand the soldier's experience of modern warfare is: Richard A. Gabriel, No More Heroes: Madness and Psychiatry in War (Hill and Wang, 1987).

The reader may disagree with the viewpoints of and claims made by sources cited here. I am certainly not expert on these matters. But I am convinced that official sources of information, here as often, have proven themselves untrustworthy. And, as the Proposal for the December 1997 Princeton conference on the 1937 Nanking Massacre urges: "a healthy tendency to be skeptical about the fragmentary and biased nature of all versions of the past need not preclude an attempt to gain a clearer understanding of what actually occurred through debate and discussion."

I emphasize that I in no way wish to detract from the sacrifices and suffering of the ordinary men, women and children who participated in World War II, either as soldiers or civilians. I believe all "vets" deserve our gratitude. Certainly, those disabled, and their families and the families of those who died "in the service", should receive the very best assistance we who have benefitted from their losses can provide. However, if any suffered or died unnecessarily, the causes need to be found out, that the future may not further augment their number, which would be too large even it was "only" one instead of many millions.

I believe power must be limited to trusteeship (see, e.g., Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power, Seabury Press, New York, 1978). I also believe, as Bertolt Brecht argued, that the well-being of a society is indicated not by its having heroes but by its not needing heroes.

"Never again."

Dallas Patterson <nye@ns1.fidalgo.net>, Re: Paranoid US Citizens on Homefront, from news:soc.history.war.world-war-ii (ed. note: hi-liting added).

Contrary to current popular opinion, Japan represented a very dangerous threat to the American mainland all the way to the end of the war and beyond. Japan only needed a submarine, aircraft, or balloon to deliver a catastophic weapon of mass destruction. Until American and Allied occupation forces took possession of Japan's nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare weaponry and assets in Japan, Korea, and Manchuria, the American mainland was at risk from Japanese forces hell bent on suicide and retribution. Because of the secrecy surrounding the very existance of such weaponry, the public has remained largely ignorant of their existance and the consequences to American war policy to this very day.

John F. McManus (President, John Birch Society)

Dropping the Bomb

Why did the U.S. unleash its terrible weapon?

Prevailing wisdom concerning the August 1945 atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki holds that those twin horrors were undertaken to force Japan to sue for peace. Had the bombs not been employed (so the "wisdom" goes), an enormous number of American troops would have perished in an inevitable amphibious operation against the Japanese mainland.

During much of 1995, controversy engulfed plans by Washington, DC's Smithsonian Institution to exhibit the Enola Gay, the B-29 bomber that delivered the A-bomb over Hiroshima. Incredibly, the exhibit's original commentary intended to empathize with Japan and portray the United States as perpetrators of a "war of vengeance." The planned text even declared of the Pacific conflict, "For most of the Japanese, it was a war to defend their unique culture against Western imperialism."
Much of the historical perspective on the era holds that the Japanese were prepared to fight to their very last man, and that until the horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been visited upon their homeland Japanese leaders had no intention of surrendering. But in fact the Japanese had sent peace feelers to the West as early as 1942, only six months after the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. More would come in a flood long before the fateful use of the atomic bombs.

In his 1966 book No Wonder We Are Losing, wartime U.S. official Robert Morris stated that the undefined demand for unconditional surrender was "frightening" to the Japanese. Working for Naval Intelligence as an expert in its Psychological Warfare Department, Morris reported that careful interrogation of Japanese prisoners confirmed that "the Japanese would yield most readily if they were assured that they could keep Emperor Hirohito." Morris also stated that "intelligent prisoners ... consistently reported that Japan would prefer to surrender before the Soviet Union entered the war [because they] feared the Bolshevization of the home islands."

One of the most compelling [Japanese attempts to surrender] was transmitted by General MacArthur to President Roosevelt in January 1945, prior to the Yalta conference. MacArthur's communiqué stated that the Japanese were willing to surrender under terms which included:

Full surrender of Japanese forces on sea, in the air, at home, on island possessions, and in occupied countries.

  • Surrender of all arms and munitions.
  • Occupation of the Japanese homeland and island possessions by allied troops under American direction.
  • Japanese relinquishment of Manchuria, Korea, and Formosa, as well as all territory seized during the war.
  • Regulation of Japanese industry to halt present and future production of implements of war.
  • Turning over of Japanese which the United States might designate war criminals.
  • Release of all prisoners of war and internees in Japan and in areas under Japanese control.
Amazingly, these were identical to the terms which were accepted by our government for the surrender of Japan seven months later. Had they been accepted when first offered, there would have been no heavy loss of life on Iwo Jima (over 26,033 Americans killed or wounded, approximately 21,000 Japanese killed) and Okinawa (over 39,000 U.S. dead and wounded, 109,000 Japanese dead), no fire bombing of Japanese cities by B-29 bombers (it is estimated that the dropping of 1,700 tons of incendiary explosives on Japanese cities during March 9th-10th alone killed over 80,000 civilians and destroyed 260,000 buildings), and no use of the atomic bomb.
Kei Watase (Australian Broadcasting Company, "Tokyo's Burning")

On the other side Japan could not avoid war because we are scarce of oil and food and I don't know which side are wrong, America or Japan. But nowadays I appreciate American people because they are very generous and they save our lives. If it were Japanese army, never do that.

Only I was sixteen years old. I have not enough education to criticise (the) Japanese army. Also my feeling towards tenno - Emperor - he is war criminal, actually. So I don't care whether the Emperor (is) still existing or not. Don't care.

Obata Masatake (Australian Broadcasting Company, "Tokyo's Burning")

It was incredible that even after this raid [the firebombing of Tokyo, March 10 1945], when it was obvious to anyone, that enemy planes could fly right in, day or night, that the Emperor didn't end the war. How could anyone have seriously believed we could win the war?

Everyone was against it going on, everyone except the bloody military. They wouldn't listen to anyone except the emperor, and what did he do? Nothing. Maybe he seriously believed some divine wind would spring up and blow the enemy away! It was ridiculous, we didn't even have the oil to keep on fighting, let alone turn the thing around.

Defeat was absolutely inevitable. No question.

I believe the Emperor was responsible for many more deaths. The idea that he was a peace loving man is a complete and utter lie. You have to realise that in those days he could have got his own way. He could have told them to stop fighting and the war would have ended

For 22 years I had to wear a mask to cover my face, the scar was so bad before I had a skin transplant. I used to walk everywhere looking down, because kids got scared if they saw my face.

I sometimes think I would have been better off if I'd been bombed by the atomic bomb, at least those victims were recognised and got some financial compensation.

Robert Guillain: interview (Australian Broadcasting Company, "Tokyo's Burning")

The essential fact is that the Japanese knew the war was over and they hated that war. They hated their chiefs, they hated their generals, they had enough after nearly 25 or 30 years or this horrible military regime, so that this explains a remarkable fact which I watched just after the war, that when the Americans finally landed, nobody was hurt, there was no incident, and just the contrary, the whole people of Japan went to the Americans, made friends with them and everything was turned over and the accusation was against General Tojo and all the men and admirals who had put Japan in that horrible position.

Shinichiro Kurimoto, Member of the House of Representatives, Liberal League Secretary General

I think it was a senseless act by the US government. The US public should know that the bomb was dropped after victory in the war had already been achieved and that the real aim was bolstering the US position in post-war affairs.

What was even more cruel than the dropping of the atomic bombs, was the move to ring a major city of a civilized nation with incendiary bombs so that a wall of fire was created through which the citizens could not flee. In that bombing, two of every three children fleeing died not through fire caused by incendiary bombing but through direct hit of dropping bombs. I am referring here to the incendiary bombing of Tokyo in which more than 110,000 perished.

This kind of cruelty toward non-combatants of a civilized country is rare in the history of warfare.

On the other hand, doubts about whether the US knew that a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was coming and let it proceed anyway won't go away. As for myself I consider this "doubt" something close to a nearly proven fact.

The people of the US should debate the facts of the last war with Japan with the Japanese people and without taboos. All that they know has come through the filter of controlled and limited information.

The country that pushed Japan to war must still reflect on what it has done. This kind of reflection and Japan's serious reflection on its own wartime history are a separate matter.

Mitsuko Shimomura, Journalist

What has given Americans opposed to the Smithsonian exhibit an excuse, is the view that although Japan fought a war of invasion 50 years ago in Asia, Japan is even now working to try to justify its actions in that war. Unfortunately, that's a fact. I think this domestic movement in Japan is related here to the US decision to cancel the planned exhibit. If Japan had been more forthcoming and clear-cut in its own assessment of the role it played 50 years ago, it would be easier for Japan to speak with a clear voice now. In that sense, criticism from Japan now lacks a certain power to persuade.

At some point, once Japan comes fully to terms with its own wartime role, the truth of the atomic bombing needs to be proclaimed to the world. I think Japan should take the historical materials of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and--on its own--sponsor an exhibit on the atomic bombing in America.

Hiromasa Nakayama, Chancellor, Meiji Gakuin

On this 50th anniversary of Japan's defeat in the War, I have confessed and apologyzed for Meiji Gakuin's involvement in the war of aggression as well as for its failure to make it known to the public. (Please refer to "The Responsibility of Meiji Gakuin during and after the War: A Confession")

The point is that organizations in all walks of life, such as schools, media, corporations, various government ministries and agencies, must commit themselves to self-examination, and if necessary express remorse after reflection. What we need, I believe, is such a steady effort. It would never amount to a national effort if only politicians passed a resolution just to suit the occasion and other people remained mere onlookers.

It is never too late; each should start a sincere self-examination of their responsibility during and after the War. Such an effort becomes a force which will keep us in the right track in the future. I merely and sincerely pray that our effort will trigger the national endeavor in the same direction.

a.g.kirke@ieee.org (Al_Kirke), GTE net 214-574-3777, Re: Was Pearl Harbour Intentional?, from news:soc.history.war.world-war-ii.
In article <5n99d1$18su@nntp6.u.washington.edu>, orville@weyrich.com 
>I have heard the suggestion from time to time that FDR had 
>advance intelligence indicating that the Japanese were planning
>to attack Pearl Harbour.
>I wonder whether this is a mainstream historical belief, a
>credible but unproven theory, or pure malarky.  Anyone know of
>any supporting evidence (or respected historical texts) which 
>support this suggestion?
Yeah, Orville, lots of it.

The pivot is JN-25, the operational code of the Imperial Japanese Navy. This is the code that was used in the messages sent from Tokyo to the Pearl Harbor attack fleet as it was staging and on it's way. It is different from Purple, the Japanese diplomatic code. The Purple traffic has been freely available to the public. The JN-25 has not.

A good starting place is John Toland's book, Infamy. It was published in 1982-1984, and gives detail on the five(?) Pearl Harbor investigation conducted by the US Congress, Army, Navy, etc. It give some of the drama. Note, all of these investigations were conducted while the Democrats had control. Note that the 1944 Army Board report, which castigated General Marshall and the Washington brass, was suppressed by Roosevelt. The top secret part, which was particularly severe, wasn't in the report.zip file that I downloaded from ftp.purdue.edu But the coded Japanese traffic was pivotal in allocating blame for the disaster. The administration did it's best to make it unavailable to Short and Kimmel, the commanders at PH.

The next book is Eddie Layton's book, And I Was There. Layton was Pacific Fleet Commander Nimitz's intelligence chief. He delayed writing his book until a lot of the Japanese wartime traffic was declassified. He details a lot about JN-25, from the time it appeared in June of 1939. It was used by the Japanese navy throughout the war. We had been reading it for the year preceding the PH attack. Layton knew the files. He has a marvelous index.

A somewhat sensational book is Betrayal at Pearl Harbor, written by James Rusbridger and Eric Nave. He has some farout theories about Churchill. But the book in general is a good read, and he has images of JN-25 messages sent to the attack fleet printed in the appendix. Rusbridger tells of the marvelous sensitivity, even at this late date, of the US government, the to old wartime message traffic. There is also a marvelous quote from the US archive wienie stating the the wereabouts of the records of the JN-25 work that preceded Pearl Harbor is not known. It is not classified. It is missing. How about that.

It is a facinating story.

"Asked why he had wanted to cooperate with the continuing trial involving Unit 731, Mr. Shinozuka delivered a long and highly personal meditation on guilt and forgiveness. "The government made no apology at the time," he said, "and has kept the same attitude ever since. They remain silent.

"But all these years I've thought about who received the germs I created, and how much they must have suffered. I thought about the bereaved, and about the survivors, people whose lives were forever damaged. I thought about the victims of vivisection, and I felt these acts must not be buried away, or else we are condemned to go from darkness to darkness." (The New York Times on the Web, 21Dec00, "Japanese Veteran Testifies in War Atrocity Lawsuit", by Howard W. French)

Note: I originally prepared this web page in late Spring 1997, as part of my participation in the Japanese television network NHK's: "Global Court" Internet forum on atomic weapons.

Go /Return to page about my (BMcC) participation in NHK atomic weapons Internet forum (Above[ Go to NHK Global Firom info! ]).
Go to website Table of Contents.
Return to Brad McCormick's home page.
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Copyright © 1998-2001 Brad McCormick, Ed.D.
bradmcc@cloud9.net [ Email me! ]
30 August 2002
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Addendum (05 Aug 03):
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While American scholarship has undercut the U.S. moral position, Japanese historical research has bolstered it. The Japanese scholarship, by historians like Sadao Asada of Doshisha University in Kyoto, notes that Japanese wartime leaders who favored surrender saw their salvation in the atomic bombing. The Japanese military was steadfastly refusing to give up, so the peace faction seized upon the bombing as a new argument to force surrender.
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"We of the peace party were assisted by the atomic bomb in our endeavor to end the war," Koichi Kido, one of Emperor Hirohito's closest aides, said later.
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Wartime records and memoirs show that the emperor and some of his aides wanted to end the war by summer 1945. But they were vacillating and couldn't prevail over a military that was determined to keep going even if that meant, as a navy official urged at one meeting, "sacrificing 20 million Japanese lives."
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The atomic bombings broke this political stalemate and were thus described by Mitsumasa Yonai, the navy minister at the time, as a "gift from heaven."
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Without the atomic bombings, Japan would have continued fighting by inertia. This would have meant more firebombing of Japanese cities and a ground invasion, planned for November 1945, of the main Japanese islands. The fighting over the small, sparsely populated islands of Okinawa had killed 14,000 Americans and 200,000 Japanese, and in the main islands the toll would have run into the millions.
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"The atomic bomb was a golden opportunity given by heaven for Japan to end the war," Hisatsune Sakomizu, the chief cabinet secretary in 1945, said later.
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Nicholas D. Kristof, "Blood on Our Hands?", OpEd piece, NYT, 05Aug03, p.A15.
Where did Pearl Harbor come from?
(One root cause of the problem)
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YOKOSUKA, Japan.... The reception was hardly lighthearted when... Commodore Perry arrived off this port city on Tokyo Bay on July 8, 1853, and forced Japan to open up to international trade and relations. The shock quickly led to the collapse of a regime that had ruled feudal Japan in isolation and peace for more than two centuries, and then to modern Japan's scramble to catch up with the West and grab an Asian empire....
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"For the United States, Pearl Harbor was a traumatic experience, but the Japanese don't fully understand its significance,"... Kenichi Matsumoto, a professor of the history of Japanese thought at Reitaku University in nearby Tokyo... said. "On the other hand, Americans don't want to dwell on Perry's visit to Japan because it doesn't fit well with America's version of history. This gap in perception is very large."....
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In the United States, historians say, Perry has sunk into obscurity partly because he conjures up an imperial image that makes Americans uncomfortable. When Perry came here, America was in an expansionist mood, moved by Manifest Destiny to export Christianity, civilization and commerce. Historians agree, though, that President Millard Fillmore sent Perry to Japan largely because America needed oil -- though back then it was the oil from whales found off the Japanese coast. It was also competing against Britain for trade in China and needed Japan as a base. Perry arrived here with four ships mounting more than 60 guns and nearly 1,000 men, carrying a list of demands from Fillmore.
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The Japanese were overwhelmed by Perry's firepower. When he returned the next year, the Japanese yielded and signed a so-called treaty of amity and commerce. The treaty thrust Japan -- which until then had banned travel abroad on punishment of death -- onto the world stage....
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To Americans, Japan is the sneaky country behind Pearl Harbor.... To Japan, the United States is an insensitive brute.
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"Japan was saying, 'No,'"... Shu Kishida, a professor at Wako University in Tokyo... said of Perry's demands, "but was forced to open up its ports, like a woman who was raped." That impression has lingered, he added.
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Tatsuru Takimoto, 14, said: "The United States needed Japan to gain markets in Asia, so I think they came only for their own interests. But it's good they came." If they had not, he added, "Japan would have taken longer to modernize."....
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"Americans sometimes tend to come in thinking we're the best thing on earth,"... Rolan E. Logan, a [U.S. Navy] operations specialist first class at the base here said, "but we need to understand Japanese culture, or other foreign cultures, better."
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Norimitsu Onishi, "Ripples From Perry's Ships Are Still Felt in Japan", NYT on the Web, 11Aug03.
"The road to war between Japan and the United States began in the 1930s when differences over China drove the two nations apart. In 1931 Japan conquered Manchuria, which until then had been part of China. In 1937 Japan began a long and ultimately unsuccessful campaign to conquer the rest of China. In 1940, the Japanese government allied their country with Nazi Germany in the Axis Alliance, and, in the following year, occupied all of Indochina.
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"The United States, which had important political and economic interests in East Asia, was alarmed by these Japanese moves. The U.S. increased military and financial aid to China, embarked on a program of strengthening its military power in the Pacific, and cut off the shipment of oil and other raw materials to Japan.
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"Because Japan was poor in natural resources, its government viewed these steps, especially the embargo on oil as a threat to the nation's survival...."
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U.S. Naval Historical Center, "The Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941".
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