Week 8,9 - Sagan - The Origins of the Pacific War

Week 8,9 - Sagan - The Origins of the Pacific War - Great...

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Great Power Politics and War: Weeks 8-9, Sagan; “The Origins of the Pacific War” The Pacific War was part of WWII that took place in the Pacific Ocean (+ its islands) and East  Asia from the  7 th  of December 1941 – 14 th  of August 1945 Most famous event: The  Empire of Japan  attacked  US forces  at Pearl Harbour on the  7 th  of  December 1941 Much speculation as to WHY they did it. The  American  military potential >  Japan ’s People assumed the  Tokyo Government  was acting IRRATIONALLY;  Congressman  Hamilton Fish  said  “The Japanese have gone stark raving mad, and have by their unprovoked attack [on Pearl  Harbor] committed military, naval and national suicide.” But was it irrational? we need to explore this because  “what appears irrational in the past can best illuminate the future that we seek to avoid”  [e.g.  nuclear war]  – Scott Sagan . 1    st     steps: Expansion and mutual Deterrent Bluffs:     1937 Japan  started war against China (Plan to expand into Southeast Asia) Goal:  “To perfect the joint defence against communism and to create a new culture nd realize  a close economic cohesion throughtout East Asia”  - Foreign Ministry in Tokyo, 1938 Key target for  Japanese  expansion = Oil fields of the Dutch East Indies They  took advantage of the situation in  June 1940  when: - Hitler achieved victories in Europe - The British were engaged in the “Battle of Britain” They  planned a surprise attack against British and Dutch colonies in the Far East: - the navy and army  set up large-scale strategic map exercises in May 1940 to decide  whether they could gain military occupation of the Dutch East Indies - These predicted a counterattack from the  American Fleet  at Pearl Harbor which  would lead to (=>) a prolonged war between  Japan  and the  USA - That would be bad because  they  imported 80% of their naval fuel supply from the  1
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Great Power Politics and War: Weeks 8-9, Sagan; “The Origins of the Pacific War” USA . War => banned exports of petroleum - Even if  they  (somehow) managed to get oil from somewhere else,  they  were unlikely  to survive in a war for > 1year.  - The  army  said they’d make plans for the attack against the British and Dutch colonies  and possibly the undesired war against the  US - The  navy  refused to get involved unless it was clear  that the  US  would not intervene  militarily - How were they going to achieve this?
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