View single post by Texas Defender
 Posted: Thu May 6th, 2010 06:28 pm
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Texas Defender
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Hank C-

  Responding to the first part of your last posting, I would say that while relations between the US and Japan might have been considered good in 1905, that the national interests of the US and Japan would inevitably be in conflict as the 20th century continued.

  In the late 1860s, Tokugawa era Japan was transformed by the Meiji Restoration. As the 20th century approached, the Japanese sought to advance themselves into a modern nation by closing the gap between themselves and the western powers in both the economic and military spheres.

  On the military side, the Japanese used the Prussian model for their army and the British model for their navy. To transform their economy to an industrial one, many Japanese went abroad to study western societies. The resulting rapid industrialization led to increased industrial infrastructure and output. This in turn led to an increased feeling of nationalism among the citizenry.

  Forward thinking Japanese realized that their nation was lacking in natural resources needed to sustain a modern economy, for example, oil. The western powers could control Japan's ability to secure these resources, and this was an intolerable situation for the Japanese. The newly nationalistic Japanese sought to insure access to these resources. The way to do this was to become a regional power.

  Advancing this goal, the Japanese forced a treaty to involve themselves in Korea in the 1870s. They opposed Chinese interests in the region.

  The military was expanded in the 1880s. By the mid 1890s, they provoked the Sino-Japanese War, the aftermath of which increased Japan's influence in the area. They sought expansion into Manchuria, directly opposing the Russians.

  The Japanese sought an alliance with Britain to advance their agenda, and the 1905 victory over the Russians put Japan into the big leagues. By 1910, the Japanese had expanded further into Korea, the Ryukus, and Taiwan.

  Trade conflicts with the US in the 1920s increased Japan's feeling of isolation. The forced naval limitation treaties were viewed as unfair by the Japanese, so they secretly violated them.

  In the 1930s, the Mancurian Incident and the invasion of China led to more confrontations with the west. By then, it was clear to the Japanese that in order to stop the western powers from being able to limit their access to oil and other resources, they would have to expand their empire into areas controlled by the Americans, the British, and the Dutch.

  In order to accomplish this objective, the Japanese saw war with the western powers as being eventually necessary. The national interests of the US and Britain required worldwide distribution of military resources. The Japanese were happy to limit themselves to accomplishing their goals in the Pacific region

  By 1941, the Japanese Navy was the strongest force in the Pacific. Their equipment was the most modern, and they had trained for years.

  The increasingly contentious political relationship with the US (due to the oil embargo and other things) forced the Japanese (in their view) to submit or fight. Finally, they considered that it was time to fight.

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