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Declarations of War

Discussion in 'WWII General' started by Mussolini, Dec 11, 2017.

  1. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru Patron  

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    Today (Dec 11th) marks the 'anniversary' of the German and Italian declarations of war against the Untied States.

    So I decided to look them up, to see what was actually said:

    From Germany:
    From Italy:
    What I find to be most interesting is how both make out the United States as the aggressor, though in very different tones. The German DOW is pretty clear cut but I am not 100% certain the Italian text is their Declaration as it sounds more like a speech given to the Italians announcing the DOW on the USA.
     
  2. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Interesting the German declaration makes no mention of the Pacific at all. I'm pretty sure the "Germany on her part has strictly adhered to the rules of international law in her relations with the United States" is not quite accurate but the US had supplied plenty of incidents over which Germany could legitimately declare war.
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    The Italian one on the other explicitly ties it into the war in the Pacific. Both attack FDR. We should probably have Japan's declaration of war as well.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    It was just a few sentences long, IIRC.

    740.0011 Pacific War/877


    The Ambassador in Japan (Grew) to the Secretary of State


    [Telegram]


    TOKYO, undated [97]

    [Received December 10, 1941—2:35 a. m.]

    The following note was received yesterday: "Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tokyo, December 8, 1941. Excellency, I have‑the honor to inform Your Excellency that there has arisen a state of war between Your Excellency's country and Japan beginning today. I avail, et cetera. Signed Shigenori Togo, Minister for Foreign Affaires."


    GREW


    [97] This telegram apparently was dispatched from Tokyo on December 9 through the Japanese Foreign Office after the Embassy had been placed incommunicado.


    (PEACE AND WAR, UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY 1931-1941, UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE WASHINGTON: 1943)​

    If you like forty+ pages of Hitler justifying his declaration on the US:
    HITLER ANNOUNCED TO THE REICHSTAG THE DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST THE UNITED STATES



    December 11, 1941
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Wiki gives a somewhat longer version at:
    Japanese declaration of war on the United States and the British Empire - Wikipedia
    And notes that it was published the evening of the 8th (so the same day as PH) but doesn't make any mention of it being forwarded to the US, Britain, or the Dutch. It does however at least mention the British.

    Too
    makes mention of another formal declaration of war that apparently not only was not sent didn't surface until 1997!
     
  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The one I posted was present to Grew. It's worth noting that it wasn't written until after the Gaimudaijin had learned of the attack on Pearl.
     
  7. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    This got me to wondering just what is required for a declaration of war. Found it here:
    The Avalon Project - Laws of War : Opening of Hostilities (Hague III); October 18, 1907
    I don't see that any of the above conform to it. The German declaration does and so (perhaps to a lesser extent) does the Italian one.

    Article 2 goes on to say:
    Not sure the Japanese notified any of the neutral powers but radio certainly made most aware of it.
     
  8. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru Patron  

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    I guess it takes two to tango? German and Italy DOW the USA to which the USA responded with its own DOW's on those countries. I would assume that it only takes 1 country to issue a DOW in order to be 'at war' with some one.

    But yes, as my OP indicates, quite interesting to see the differences in them, especially the 'reasoning' behind them and how both countries differ.
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    My impression from the Avalon Project document is that one country declaring is enough. One of the lessons from the Japanese declaration(s) is that it is a real trap to think of the Japanese government as monolithic. There tendency not to openly/formally mention disagreements obscures just how many players there were.
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    On a related note China and Japan didn't declare war on each other in 37 indeed there was no formal declaration of war in that conflict until after PH from what I recall. The Japanese didn't want to declare war because their cover was it was a campaign vs "bandits" the Chinese didn't want to declare war because US neutrality laws at the time would have stopped arms shipments if war was declared.
     
  11. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Neither side wanted to be a belligerent nation in the eyes of the US. That would have triggered the neutrality laws and materials would have been embargoed. Japan got 90% of her oil from us, she couldn't lose that.

    On the griping hand China was the first country to declare war on Japan on Dec. 7th, 1941, immediately on hearing of the raid on Pearl.
     
  12. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    "The Government of the United States having violated in the most flagrant manner and in ever increasing measure all rules of neutrality in favor of the adversaries of Germany and having continually been guilty of the most severe provocations toward Germany ever since the outbreak of the European war"

    It feels strange taking up for Germany, I do think they're one of the most aggressive and brutal regimes in history, but every word they spoke is true. We did continually break the rules of neutrality with regards to them and to aid Britain. We did continually escalate our actions/policies in order to aid Britain and/or provoke a German response that could be used to enter the war openly. We did do everything we were accused of.
     
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    And the US public supported the "short of war" policy, as well as acknowledging that we would have to fight the Axis eventually. It was a de factor war on our part, spurred in part by sinking US ships bound for the UK.
     
  14. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large Patron  

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    Agreed, to a point. The public supported the policy as stated, but would have been up in arms against the administration if they had been aware of how it was secretly being implemented.

    The USS Greer incident is a perfect example. Roosevelt used the incident to issue his shoot on sight order for German submarines.

    In his September 11th, 1941 "fireside chat" Roosevelt made the following statement:

    "The Greer was flying the American flag. Her identity as an American ship was unmistakable. She was then and there attacked by a submarine. Germany admits that it was a German submarine. The submarine deliberately fired a torpedo at the Greer, followed by another torpedo attack. In spite of what Hitler's propaganda bureau has invented, and in spite of what any American obstructionist organisation may prefer to believe, I tell you the blunt fact that the German submarine fired first upon this American destroyer without warning, and with the deliberate design to sink her."

    What had the German propogandists claimed, that Roosevelt inferred was untrue?

    1. that the attack had not been initiated by the German submarine-true
    2. the submarine had been attacked with depth bombs-true
    3. pursued continuously in the German blockade zone-true
    4. assailed by depth bombs until midnight-true
    5. endeavoring with all the means at his disposal to provoke incidents for the purpose of baiting the American people into the war.-unknown at the time but now known to be true.

    A congressional investigation in October got CNO Admiral Stark to make a statement that revealed the truth, but Roosevelt's lie had already become fact in the American public's mind, Germany had comitted an "act of piracy".
     
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  15. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I'll take the extra 50% of that hair.
     
  16. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Well, that is also leaving out a lot.

    1. that the attack had not been initiated by the German submarine-true
    Actually, false. The Greer never made any offensive move against the German submarine until after the German U-Boat fired on her. The only attack against the U-Boat was made by a British Hudson that was already shadowing the submarine.

    2. the submarine had been attacked with depth bombs-true.
    Yes, four British ones dropped by a British Hudson patrol bomber. The Greer only dropped depth charges after she had been fired upon.

    3. pursued continuously in the German blockade zone-true.
    Pursued continuously in the declared American Neutrality Zone - True

    4. assailed by depth bombs until midnight-true
    Essentially false.

    The British Hudson dropped 4 at 1032, after the torpedo attack the Greer dropped a string of 8 shortly after 1240, the U-Boat fired a second torpedo at 1300 but the Greer was unable to locate it, the Greer did not drop again until she had relocated the U-Boat and dropped a string of 11 charges around 1507.

    Neither side was telling the complete truth.
     
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  17. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Not telling the whole truth? I'm shocked, shocked I say!
     

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