Primary Source Analysis Japanese Fourteen
Primary Source Analysis Japanese Fourteen- Part Message to the United States December 7, 1941 Introduction Japan in 1942 was at the height of its expansion . Japanese political culture and ideology was driven by nationalistic pride and its aim to dominate the Asian political scenario. During this expansionistic period of Japan, idealism dominated realism. Japan wanted to be the hegemonic power in Asia. Its limited resources, mainly due to the lack of land, created a dependency on foreign trade for essential commodities.
The Japanese Government wanted to be independent from economic dependence on he United States; the American Government took to use that dependence to limit Japans ambitions. The Japanese wanted to reverse the international status quo in Asia, whereas the United States wanted to preserve it . Japan wanted to be a power with a reputation matching that of the United States, but lacked the resource capacity to do so. Japan took the first step towards its goal of Imperialistic expansion by signing the Treaty of Shimonoseki;l whereby Japan claimed Taiwan and the Liaotung Peninsula in southern Manchuria .
In the 1930 Japanese military leaders believed nd boasted that Japan could conquer all of Mainland China within three months . Japan then invaded Manchuria on the 18th of September 1931, blaming an explosion on the Sothern Manchurian railway on the Chinese, which the Japanese had themselves orchestrated. The Japanese army occupied major cities, and established the puppet Government of Manchukuo by installing Pu Yi the last emperor of China as its head, making Manchuria a territory of Japan . Japanese ambition of conquering China came to light in the summer of 1937, when Japan succeeded in provoking a full-scale war with China.
When a Japanese soldier failed to appear for roll call near he Marco Polo Bridge in Beijing, the Japanese army ordered a search of the area. During the search the Japanese Army faced resistance from the Chinese commander in charge of the area, which led to a clash between the solders stationed there. In the following weeks the conflict intensified the Japanese Army sent reinforcements of women and children, according to the International Military Tribunal of the Far East 260,000 noncombatants died at Nanking in late 1937 and early 1938.
In 1940 Japan invaded French Indochina with an aim of curbing imports, of oil, raw materials and war supplies to China. The Japanese attempt to conquer China and to reduce western power in Southeast Asia, encouraged armed resistance and provoked economic sanctions. The United States imposed sanctions on Japan on the 26th of July 1941. The aim of this embargo was to bring Japan to its senses but instead it brought it to its knees. Due to the sanctions Japanese assets were frozen and its supply of steel and oil drastically went low.
According to Miller, Japan was left with three options: first suffer economic impoverishment, second accede to America’s demands to yield it territorial conquests or third go to war with the United States and its allies . Japan chose the third option and its intention to do so was made clear to America and the world on the 7th of December 1941 when it attacked Pearl Harbor. Japanese Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura delivered the fourteen-part message to U. S. Secretary Of State Cordell Hull on December 7th, 1941 .
The aim of the fourteen- part message was to defend and Justify Japans actions against the United States and its attack on the Philippines, Dutch East Indies and Pearl Harbor. The Japanese decision for war was driven by Japanese pride and the threatened economic destruction by the United States. In the letter the Japanese government points out nd gives several references to the Japanese governments sincerity and effort in arriving at a consensus and that due to the American Governments unwillingness to cooperate and irrational attitude an agreement could not be reached.
The message also blames China for not seeing Japans true intentions of promoting peace in the region has the war been extended. Audience and Author The primary audiences of the message were the government of the United States and the American people and the secondary audiences were the allies of The United States and the rest of the world. The message was written so that the audience sees Japans logic behind the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The first person to officially read the message was the Secretary of State Cordell Hull who received it from the Japanese Ambassador. After reading the message Secretary of State Hull responded by saying “In all my fifty years of public service I have never seen a document that was more crowded with infamous falsehoods and distortions” . The fourteen-part message was written in Japan by Japanese government officials and officials of the military under the guidance of Japanese political leaders.
Analysis of the source – The message is divided into seven segments. In each segment Japan either points out faults in the American governments approach or the Chinese and the allies. Japan in all the segments portrays its self as the nation promoting peace. The message in the last paragraph reveals that the negotiations have come to an end. The first segment emphasizes the sincerity of the Japanese Government in the negotiations to preserve the peace in the Pacific Area.
It states that negotiations between the Government of second segment of the message points out that Americas and Britain’s policies and actions towards Japan, is the reason that the Pacific and East Asia are destabilized nd that it is Japan’s policy is to ensure stability of the region. Japan points out its immediate concern of resolving the China issue because from the mid-1930 China related issues served to define a relationship of national interests between Tokyo and Washington.
Japan states that it is not responsible for the hostilities that broke out in China and says that it happened because China failed to comprehend Japans true intentions. The message says that Japan endeavored to maintain peace and put in sincere efforts to prevent war like disturbances and for that purpose it signed the ripartite pact with Germany and Italy, but the American government unable to see the Japanese motive behind the tripartite pact took it as a threat. Hence the tripartite pact of September 1940 was a major stumbling block to the relations between the US and Japan.
Japan alleges that The United States and Great Britain have resorted to obstruct the peace between Japan and China by interfering with Japans efforts by assisting the Chungking regime. Japan also blames the American and English governments for the tension in the pacific and accuses them of strengthening their military to encircle Japan. Japans attempt to reduce tension has been pointed out, when the Japanese proposed a meeting between the Japanese Prime Minister Konoe and President Roosevelt.
It states that the United States refused on the basis that Japan and the United States should come to an agreement before the meeting, which the Government of the United States knew was not possible. In the third segment, Japan places emphasis on its efforts to arrive at a consensus and accuses the United States of deviating from that path. It points out the that Japan submitted three proposals each time adjusting to the American demands and eeping its interests at bay.
A version (consisting of five parts) of the final proposal is laid out in this segment. These five points resemble to an extent the open door policy of the United States Government towards China but from a Japanese point of view. The first part proposes that both nations do not dispatch their forces in South East Asia and the South Pacific area except French Indo-China: whereby allowing Japan to keep its forces stationed in French Indo-China. The second part proposes that the United State cooperate with Japan to extract resources from the Netherlands East
Indies, showing that cooperating with Japan will be beneficial to the U. S. In the third part demands that oil be supplied to Japan and Japanese the freezing of the assets be mutually nullified. The forth segment asks the United States not to interfere in Japanese-Chinese relations. The fifth part says that the Japanese government would remove its troops stationed in Indo-China after the Chinese conflict was over, this point directly contradicts the first point in which Japan wants to station its troops in Indo-China.
The American government rejected this proposal and presented its own proposal known as the Hull note. On November 26, 1941 Secretary of State Hull presented it to the Japanese ambassador. One the conditions of the note insisted the withdrawal of all the Japanese forces from French Indo-China and China. It was Japan’s firmness on maintaining its Chinese territory, that was seen as crucial to Japans existence and United States Governments persistence that Japan renounce the territory, created the real tensions between the two countries . The fourth the negotiation.
It says that Japan has maintained an attitude of fairness and tried its best to reach a consensus, pointing out that due to the impractical negotiation pproach of the American government a settlement could not be made. It emphasizes that the United States resume trade and unfreeze Japans assets and it is not Japans intention to prevent other powers from trading with China and South East Asia. The point that the message addresses here is that of the American governments objection to the Japanese declaration of a “Greater East Asian Co- Prosperity Sphere” that comprised of resource abundant Southeast Asia.
Japan’s occupation of Southeast Asia, prompted the American Government to impose an embargo on oil exports to Japan . The message addresses the American Governments bjection to the tripartite pact and reflects the fact that the American Government is determined to dictate policies to the Japanese Government. The message address the fact that Japan will not observe the status quo of the Anglo-American policy of imperialistic exploitation and it claims its dominance over South-East Asia and China.
Section five referring to the Hull Note states that apart from some of the acceptable terms proposed by the American Government, relinquishing the Chinese territory was not possible and the sacrifices Japan has made to gain and maintain them would have been in vain. Section six states that the Hull Note was drafted after consultations with the Chungking regime, Britain, Netherlands and Australia, and completely ignoring the Japanese position and disregarding its views.
Section seven states that Japanese government earnest efforts on arriving at mutual agreement with the United States was lost due to the fact that the American government along with its allies was conspiring against Japan. Japan was hence going to end the negotiations, regretting that the chance for peace in the Pacific was lost. Conclusion The message in essence reveals the fact that Japanese decision for war against the United States was dictated by the threatened economic destruction of Japan by the United States and that that war with the United States was unavoidable.
It was necessary for the Japanese to seize the Dutch East Indies because it offered an alternative to the dependency on American oil imports. It states that Japan pursued the policy of negotiation to arrive at a consensus and it was America’s inability to be practical which led to the war. It states that Japan was not at fault and that it takes two parties to convert a political dispute into a armed conflict. The message follows a attern where in Japans puts in sincere efforts towards the negotiations and US and its allies disregard those efforts.