The ZGram series on "Another World War Two Mystery continues. Here is Part III:
I have in my possession the book "The War Lords of Washington" subtitled "Secrets of Pearl Harbor." It is the transcript of a 1971 interview that Colonel Curtis Dall, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's former son-in-law, gave to Anthony Hilder, the reporter of the National Educator.
It opens with a quote from Roosevelt: "In politics nothing happens 'by chance. If something happens, then you can bet that it was planned that way."
Curtis Dall exposes the background leading to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He quotes Roosevelt's promise, made to his voters in fall 1940, that he would not send their men into a foreign war - "unless we are attacked."
Hitler had failed to do him this favor, despite the Lend-Lease war loans, the protective escort of British ships, the gift of 50 destroyers to the British, the underwater attacks on German submarines - all these had been extremely un-neutral provocations but they had failed to force Hitler to take retaliatory measures. But without America's entry into the war, the war could not be won - declared Roosevelt's advisors, Minister of War Stimson and General Marshall, both of whom were on the Council on Foreign Relations. The last trick was to provoke and deliberately insult Japan. Under the Three-Power Pact, a war with Japan also meant war with Germany and Italy.
Since the early 1930s, Japan had had various military conflicts with China, resulting first of all in Manchuria becoming part of the Japanese political system. In 1937 new conflicts with China began; after the outbreak of World War Two Japan's expansionist policy, prompted by overpopulation and a lack of raw materials, began to impinge on colonial territories of the warring European powers.
On April 13, 1941, Japan, in order to cover its back, concluded a non-aggression pact with Russia, with reciprocal obligations regarding Manchuria and the People's Republic of Mongolia. In July, Japan began to take over further parts of Indochina.
On July 24, 1941 the USA froze all Japanese assets in America and imposed an oil and raw materials embargo on Japan which Roosevelt clearly described as an economic war. Nonetheless, for the next four months, Japan repeatedly attempted to defuse the situation without a loss of face.
That was not in the interests of the USA, who were eager to participate in the war. They had strengthened their armed forces in the Pacific; General MacArthur and his ground troops massed into a strong army in the Philippines; the US Pacific Fleet, on the other hand, was largely transferred to Hawaii, on the urging of Admiral Harold R. Stark. Negotiations between the USA and Japan still went on until November 25.
On November 26, 1941 the USA presented Japan with a 10-point ultimatum which demanded the immediate withdrawal of all Japanese forces from Indochina and all of China. FDR's ambassador in Japan called this "the document that pushed the button that started the war."
Tomorrow: Part IV
Thought For The Day:
"Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them to the eyes of men."
-- Bishop Westcott
Back to Table of Contents of the Dec. 2000 ZGrams