The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #148498 Message #3450538
Posted By: Little Hawk
11-Dec-12 - 12:36 PM
Thread Name: BS: Pearl Harbor Day / December 7
Subject: RE: BS: Pearl Harbor Day / December 7
I'm not saying it was the USA's fault, Don. Not by any means. It was primarily Japan's fault, because they should not have gone on a militaristic kick and invaded China in 1937. Everything they did after that derived from their invasion of China and their commitment to seeking a final (and highly unlikely) victory there.
I am saying, however, that the USA and Japan were getting ready to fight a naval war with each other all through the 20s and 30s, and it finally happened in the 40s. It was probably as inevitable as Britain's confrontation with Germany in WWI or Napoleon's confrontation with England. You build all that expensive stuff and you finally get around to using it sometime. It's what happens when competing empires get in each other's way.
I do think FDR deliberately put the Japanese in a position in '41 where they would go to war, and I think he had good reasons for doing so. That doesn't mean the war was his "fault" in a condemnatory sense...it just means he was a shrewd calculator. I think the one way he probably slipped up was that he most likely underestimated Japanese military capabilities...and I don't think he was expecting his battleship fleet to get sunk in Pearl Harbour! (though I do think he was expecting the Japanese to go to war very soon...he most likely anticipated a Japanese invasion of the Phillipines rather than the Pearl Harbour strike. The American expectation would have been that "McArthur can hold out for several months in the Phillipines. We'll send the fleet to Phillipine waters and destroy the Japanese Navy in a big battle...cut their supply lines...their invasion force will be defeated...and we'll have won the war.")
Just speculation on my part, mind you. I have no way of being sure about it.
It's interesting that you knew an officer who was at Pearl Harbour. I'd love to have had a chance to talk to him about it. My father was in the other war, over in Europe. I did once know a Marine officer who served in the Pacific, but no one who was at Pearl Harbour.