“The Japanese Navy is itching for a fight with the American Navy.” News item, ascribed to a Japanese Navy official, on or about October 24, 1941.”
To commemorate the forthcoming 74th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, I have posted a new ebook on Amazon’s Kindle. It describes the diplomatic exchanges between the United States and Japan in the months leading up to the attack. Here’s the complete title: “Prelude to Infamy: How Imperial Japan’s Diplomatic Treachery Led To America’s Greatest Military Disaster – Pearl Harbor.”
This book is a true account of Japanese diplomatic deception which led to the surprise attack on the U.S. Pacific Naval Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in the early morning hours of Sunday, December 7, 1941. It provides an inside look at the virtual day to day diplomatic negotiations, including reports, conversations, communiques, and telegrams, from August to December, 1941, between officials of the U.S. Department of State and diplomats of the Japanese Empire as dark clouds of war continued to loom in the background. Essentially based on the report of a Congressional investigation into the attack, released in July, 1946, it effectively puts the reader in position of becoming an eyewitness to history being made as the process of searching for peace is continued.
The book reveals in depth how the U.S. continued to negotiate for peace but at the same time sought to build up its military and naval forces to counter Japanese aggression in the Far East. Militaristic Japan, bent on expanding its sphere of influence by force and violence to assure, it asserted, its survival as an empire, had been reaching out to acquire the raw materials and other natural resources needed for its survival. It had invaded and subjugated large parts of China in 1937, occupied French Indochina in 1940, and was threatening the Dutch East Indies and other countries and areas in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Region. Peace negotiations faltered as it continued to resist U.S. efforts to pull back its forces.
In February, 1941, unknown to the U.S. and apparently to its own diplomatic corps, the Japanese military began planning an attack on the United States. In October, 1941, Hideki Tojo, a General in the Japanese Imperial Army and Minister of War under former Prime Minister Prince Konoye, who resigned on October 16, 1941, was appointed Prime Minister by Emperor Hirohito. Chances for peace dimmed when Tojo, a hard liner, resisted U.S. efforts to have Japan pull its troops out of China, a key point in U.S endeavors, and took a tough stand against continued peace negotiations with the U.S.
On December 6, 1941, Japan began delivery of a 14 point reply to the latest U.S. peace proposal of November 26, 1941. Due to its own bungling, the 14th point, breaking off talks with the U.S. was not delivered until well after the attack on Pearl Harbor had begun on December 7. No formal declaration of war by Japan against the United States was received in Washington until 4 p.m. (EST), long after the attack had ended.
The book concludes with two noteworthy quotes. One is from the lyric of an old Glenn Miller tune, “You must be vigilant, you must be vigilant, American Patrol…”, and the other is from a 1790 speech by John Philpot Curran in Dublin, Ireland, that “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” These timeless words still ring true today.
For those readers who may not be aware of the diplomatic background behind the attack, this ebook should prove to be very enlightening.
Arnold G. Regardie