The Pearl Harbor prelude

USS Arizona

What many people forget to realize is that the Pearl Harbor attack did not just happen. The logistics of it alone would have taken months of preparation.

The attack may have been sold to the Japanese population as an honorable event, but there was nothing honorable about it, there cannot be honor with deception.

On the other hand the US Government were naive to believe the Japanese, They knew Japan was going to attack but yet they kept negotiating for peace.

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What really grabbed American attention in the Pacific was the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War, which pitted the Japanese against Nationalist China.After July of 1941, when Japan occupied all of French Indochina, the United States placed tighter restrictions on Japanese trade, starting what has been described as “financial warfare against Japan.”

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Though it hit Japanese troops hard, it didn’t cease the nation’s push forward. In fact, it only angered the nation further and, on November 5th, 1941, the plan for attack on Pearl Harbor was approved.

At the same time, his government made a last effort to arrive at a diplomatic solution of their differences with the United States. Ambassador Kichisaburō Nomura presented two proposals to the American government.Kichisaburo_Nomura_2

Two proposals presented on November 6th and November 20th agreed to a withdrawal of Japanese troops from southern Indochina if the United States discontinued backing Nationalist China. The second proposal also added the stipulation of ceasing Southeast Asian military deployments and providing Japan with oil.

The United States was about to make a counteroffer to this plan, which included a monthly supply of fuel for civilian use. However, President Franklin D. Roosevelt received a leak of Japan’s war plan and news that Japanese troopships were on their way to Indochina. He then decided that the Japanese were not being sincere in their negotiations and instructed Secretary Hull to drop the counter proposal.

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With a counteroffer on the table, the United States shifted gears when dispatches were intercepted and deciphered indicating that Japan was sending more troops to Indochina, meaning any deal made would be futile. In response, six days after the second proposal the US responded with the Hull Note, which essentially demanded a Japanese withdrawal from Indochina and China.

To the Japanese, the Hull Note served as an ultimatum, their only course of action being a full-on war with a nation they saw as the aggressor.

Also on 26 November 1941 – Chūichi Nagumo’s aircraft carrier strike force headed for Pearl Harbor with the understanding that should “negotiations with the United States reach a successful conclusion, the task force will immediately put about and return to the homeland.

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However they had already set everything in motion to attack the US even before they had received the Hull note, regardless what was in the note the attack could not be reversed at this stage. War was always on their mind.

Japan saw the United States’ continued support of China as an act of aggression in itself, leading to the December 7th, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

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