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The "Just Let It Happen" school.

Discussion in 'Pearl Harbor' started by OpanaPointer, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    We always have new people coming into the forum who may subscribe to the CT's.

    Its an opportunity to educate them.
     
  2. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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  3. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

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    I was mainly referring to our embargos against the Japanese in response to their continued aggression, specifically their move into northern Indochina in June of 1940 (Steel embargo), and after their move into southern Indochina we froze their assets. One thing that revisionists don't understand about all this is that FDR was against cutting off their oil. In July 1941 he told his cabinet that freezing Japanese oil would mean war. What happened then was that a State Dept. lawyer named Dean Acheson (later Truman's Sec'y of State and one of the archetects of the Cold War) drew up the sanctions in such a way that they included an embargo on oil. FDR didn't realize it until it was too late to change the wording as it had already been made public.

    Now, I think it's important to go further back to really understand the estrangement between the US and Japan, and how policies of the US contributed. At the turn of the century the US and Japan were enjoying pretty good diplomatic relations. At this time, however, Japanese emigration to the US was pretty high, and was causing problems on the west coast. Demands were made by citizen groups to curb the immigration from Japan, and to segregate the newly immigrated Japanese in schools and business. The Japanese, being proud people, saw this as an afront. Teddy Roosevelt then made his famous "Gentlemens Agreement" in 1907, in which the US agreed not to impose limits on Japanese immigration and Japan agreed to curb further emigration to the US. The agreement was nullified by the "Immigration Act of 1924", which banned all migration of Asians into the US. This really enraged the Japanese, and really came at a bad time as during the early twenties Japan was undergoing and extreme wave of right wing nationalism. On top of all this after WWI the US tried to keep Japan from collecting it's bounty of German Far East possessions. Wilson backed down, but it further damaged our relations. In 1921, at the Washington conference the US persuaded Britain to end their alliance with Japan. During the twenties Japan, becoming more and more isolated, and at the same time undergoing the aforementioned militaristic nationism, the whole "Asia for Asians" bit. She began setting the stage for imperialistic expansion that started with her conquest of Manchuko (Manchuria) in 1931.
     
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  4. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

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    Oh yes. I think this will become more and more crucial as time goes on. Historic revisionism is alive and well, and growing stronger. It seems that three of the main targets of revisionism, as far as WWII goes, have been Pearl Harbor, The Holocaust and The Atomic Raids.
     
  5. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Always like to see how much people know about this period. I think you have a good grasp on the main points.
     
  6. nevarinemex

    nevarinemex Member

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  7. SymphonicPoet

    SymphonicPoet Member

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    Nice post, TS. Obviously some stuff there I need to research. Have you any recommendations for good sources on U.S.-Japanese relations at and after the turn of the twentieth century? (The gentleman's agreement and Roosevelt's opposition to the oil embargo, for instance, were news to me but they're darned interesting. It does demonstrate a bit about why the U.S. often has a lot of trouble with foreign relations: as soon as someone does something the other party steps in and reverses it. Or even disgruntled members of your own party. I love democracy, but it does get messy sometimes.)
     
  8. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    navmarinemex, I'm familiar with the Avalon documents. They got them from me. I spent a lot of time and effort making sure the frame numbers were correct on those docs. and Avalon deleted them because they didn't know what they were were. Morons.

    As for the "guarantee", what sources do you have that show FDR was aware of it? And that he believed it would be honored by Hitler?
     
  9. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    FDR's opposition to the embargo gets buried by the CTers, it blows their pet argument out of the water.

    One other thing to note about US-Japanese relations prior to WWII. In the Great Kanto Plain Earthquake of the early 1920s, the first outside aid to reach Tokyo was USN ships standing in to render aid.
     
  10. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

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    As far as the Gentlemen's Agreement goes, you could Google it, I believe you will find some good articles on line. The Oil embargo may be more difficult but if you read closely in the Lend Lease amendments crafted by Acheson in the summer of '41 you will find that he managed to include an oil embargo against the Japanese by the the American's, the British and the Dutch.
     
  11. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    "Revisionism" is not a bad idea by itself, it makes little sense to dig into old docments unless you are ready to acccept that something that contraddicts "conventional wisdom" can crop up.
    Think of the re-evaluation of the whole WW2 naval history after ULTRA became pubblic.

    IMHO
    - Pearl Harbor has been researched ad nauseam and there's very little new that can come up unless we get a way to look into what was in people's head 60+ years ago (and it's likely to be different from what they recalled when they wrote their memoirs). AFAIK the CT haven't come up with anything but innuendo.
    - The Holocaust negationists are a mistery for me, the evidence is overwhelming, millions went to the camps and never came back, some details may be worth additional research but the big picture is impossible to deny.
    - The atomic raids (and I would throw in the whole strategic/terror bombing concept) are a completely different kettle of fish. The motivations behind the orders were pretty complex but the moral question is clearly open to debate. Personnally I believe a line was crossed that shouldn't have been. The attempts to criminalize military nuclear research by the same people that are arguing that dropping the bombs saved lives are not very convincing to say the least.
     
  12. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The issue for me is that most "scholars" haven't dug into the old documents. I see much tertiary "research" these days and it's not encouraging. I think taking a fresh look at the primary sources is a good way to get a better grasp on them. Too often I see quotes I know to be wrong being used over and over again because the "scholars" aren't getting into the originals to see if what they're talking about is even close to reality. It's all become rather incestuous in some cases, and it's building a alternate WWII that will be difficult to root out and kill.
     
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  13. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

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    Of course the study of history and the re-evaluation as new data comes to light is important, however, the mistake made by most of whom I call "revisionists" is that they conveniently forget that the data that they are privvy to in many cases was not available to the participants they are judging.

    Look at Stinnett's book Day of Deceit. A lot of his book is based on the so called McCollum memo, which was an analysis by a junior military consultant that that Stinnett not only misrepresents, but even admits that there is no evidence that Roosevelt ever even saw the memo.

    So, what happens is a new piece of evidence is obtained, a book is written concluding that some big conspiracy took place, yet admits that the conclusion is, in the final analysis, pure speculation. Sound familiar? If you have ever read articles in the National Enquirer, this type of journalism would be very familiar.

    You'd be surprized how many people think that Elvis is still alive.
     
  14. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

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    Speaking of Teddy Roosevelt, has anyone read "Imperial Cruise" by James Bradley?

    I got it for Christmas last year but have not read it yet. And I have heard quite a bit of controversy about it, saying that Teddy's cruise was specifically to blame for the Pacific war even happening, because he made some deal that let the Japanese do what they wanted to.

    I am a little suspicious of such a big claim like this, but not knowing in depth about the time period, I thought I'd ask you guys.
     
  15. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Authors love monocausality, you don't have to think too much.
     
  16. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

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    I haven't read it but I have read several reviews. I guess you could make a case that the decisions made by people 20, 30 and 40 (etc) years earlier always shape what is happening today. You could blame TRs actions on the Japanese Imperialistic tendencies that culminted in their war against us, but then you could also blame a Serbian teenager named Gavrilo Princip for causing WWI and WWII and the deaths of 70 million people as well.
     
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Revisionism and revisionist have an ancient and honorable place in the study of history. A recent classic example would be Shattered Sword. However in recent times the label has been used for deniers and conspiracy theorist thus rendiring it something of a dirty word.
     
  18. ULITHI

    ULITHI Ace

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    Shattered Sword???? Really? Good to know. I have not read that either, but have that on my wish list. It got pretty good reviews on Amazon, and it got my interest.
     
  19. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I read it recently, and while it does open one's eyes about some possible aspects of that time period and the pre-Russo-Japanese war I cannot (with good conscience) vouch for all of its veracity.

    Too many references to "diaries" and "journals" that aren't in the public domain. One of those "it might be true, it might be a stretched version". It was a "page turner", but left me sort of wondering. The one part which might be interpretted as T.R. having a "let the Japanese do as they pleased", was his apparent comparing of Japanese application of territorial protection and halting of colonization in their area, to a "Monroe Doctrine" in the Pacific Rim with them enforcing it much as we Americans were doing in our hemisphere.

    Until all the referrence works, diaries, and private journals claimed as basis are open to review by every other historian, I will withhold judgement on its veracity. Still a "good read" even if a bit speculative.
     
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  20. Glenn239

    Glenn239 Member

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    Great book giving scads of operational detail on the Japanese navy. A must have. But at the level of operational analysis the author’s biases tend to overcome any sense of caution and their narrative suffers thereby.
     

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