Monday, January 21, 2013

The United States Committed at Least Two Acts of War Against Japan Before Pearl Harbor

I can hear everyone say, "NO! Japan attacked the USA first!"

If you mean that the Japanese bombed the military base of Pearl Harbor, before the US ever bombed the Japanese, then that is not exactly true. 

If you mean that Japan committed acts of war against the United States first, before Pearl Harbor, then the answer is a definitive, "No!" 

The United States committed at least two acts of war under international law against Japan before December 7, 1941. They were:
    1. US military pilots — 40 from the Army Air Corps and 60 from the US Navy and Marine Corps — in a clandestine operation organized by and funded by the Whitehouse — flying bombing missions against Japanese forces in the famed Flying Tigers as early as 1937.* These people did “volunteer” to fly for the Flying Tigers but they were paid employees of the US government. US pilots flying bombing missions for the Chinese was an act of war under international law by America against Japan. Even with the weak argument that these professional military men were “volunteers” (when they were actually sent & paid by the US government), under international law, a nation is responsible for the actions of its nationals. To claim otherwise is hypocritical and completely irresponsible.

    2. US initiated oil embargo against Japan. This is an act of war under international law. The US was also totally hypocritical on this point as they forced the British and the Dutch to uphold the embargo, yet secretly allowed Japan oil from the United States as a way to spy on Japanese shipping. See: Day of Deceit by Robert Stinnett.
    Counting the above two, then President Roosevelt had a total of eight plans to incite hostilities with the Japanese. The rest, as they say "is history." There are a great many excellent books and articles on what really happened in World War II. The serious student (and professor) would do themselves and their country good to seek out the truth. Things are not as black and white as US public schooling and US history books would lead us to believe. The true causes of the Pacific War were the clash of the US empire in Asia and the Japanese empire.

    * See: Wikipedia, "Claire Lee Chennault": Chennault retired in 1937, went to work as an aviation trainer and adviser in China, and commanded the "Flying Tigers" during World War II


    Anonymous said...

    How are the Flying Tigers a violation of International Law? Those bombing raids on Japanese forces occurred inside China, which was not Japanese territory. Japan broke international law by invading China. How is it a violation to then respond to that illegal invasion?

    Moreover, "International Law" didn't really exist in an absolute sense. Treaties existed, and great powers had declared enforcement mechanisms if they thought that someone violated those treaties. But because Nation-States are sovereign, "international law" essentially boils down to the court of public opinion in other nations to the point that those nations then feel they have a license to punish the violator.

    Japan's invasion of China gave the US plenty of causus belli.

    mike in tokyo rogers said...

    Dave, how can someone be so wrong consistently is amazing.
    1) See "Short History of International Law"
    2) "Japan's invasion of China gave the US plenty of causus belli." Right. Country A invades country B and that gives country C causus belli to join in the fight? How about finding the real truth instead of the propaganda you read in High School history textbooks? Refer to "War is a Racket" by US Marine Corps General Smedley Butler who wrote, "I've been a muscle man for Wall Street in Shanghai, China in 1927..." (US troops had been in China since 1895) Duh? Why is it not written in US history textbooks that US military were involved in China (along with the Brits, Dutch, French, Russians and Japanese) well before 1930?
    3) I notice that you conveniently ignore the oil embargo...
    4) Read Stinnet's book (and do some more research about "8 plans to trick Japan into firing the first shot" and get back to me, will you?

    Anonymous said...

    Causus belli? Japan invading China gives the USA the green light to go sticking our paws into every problem in Asia? Spoken like a true statist who believes the USA is the policeman of the world... Doing things like that is how we got into the trouble we have today... Some people just will never figure it out. We're a mess....
    -Randy in Illinios

    Anonymous said...

    Troops fighting in any foreign country, regardless of what the government wants to call them or any other excuses, is plainly an act of war

    Mr. Nobody said...

    Hello Mike,

    Regarding the first argument, from my reading of it, the citations don't seem to back up some of the the claims.

    Yes, Mr. Chennault entered China in 1937. He was basically a mercenary/advisor for the Chinese Nationalist government. The same is true of the pilots. They weren't fighting under the US flag, but rather mercenaries under the Chinese. Another possible issue is the "Flying Tigers" didn't battle Japanese forces until 20-Dec-1941. Do you have a link for Whitehouse funding?

    Regarding the second argument, would it have been a good thing or a bad thing for a country, to stop trading with Germany in WWII, to help prevent people being turned into corpses and ash? In a similar vein, what would the likely use of that fuel have been, but to turn various Asian peoples into corpses and ash?

    If one sells a bunch of material to a madman, and if the seller knows they are mad, aren't they then at least partly responsible with what the madman does with it?


    mike in tokyo rogers said...

    There's a literal cornucopia of declassified US gov't documents showing that Chenault and Flying Tigers, while "volunteers," were actually on the payroll of the US government... It's all in Stinnett's book (and elsewhere). If you think, say, Russian "advisors" in Oregon supporting a rebellion (or, say, Mexican Drug Lords or Chinese troops) wouldn't be considered an act of war, you are dreaming... Also for more info (Ralph Raico):

    mike in tokyo rogers said...

    "......The United States waged economic warfare against Japan. The 1911 Treaty of Commerce and Navigation with Japan was abrogated on January 26, 1940. Based on the Export Control Act of July 2, 1940, Roosevelt restricted exports of aviation fuels, lubricants, melting iron, and scrap steel beginning on July 31. On October 16, 1940, an embargo took effect on all exports of scrap iron and steel to overseas destinations other than Britain. All Japanese assets in the United States were frozen on July 25, 1941. On August 1, 1941, a final embargo on all oil shipments to Japan was instituted. Japan was allowed to build up its oil reserves just enough to enable it to go to war.
    In General Smedley Butler's aforementioned book War Is a Racket, he mentions U.S. Navy war games in the Pacific that were bound to provoke Japan: "The Japanese, a proud people, of course will be pleased beyond expression to see the United States fleet so close to Nippon's shores. Even as pleased as would be the residents of California were they to dimly discern through the morning mist, the Japanese fleet playing at war games off Los Angeles."

    mike in tokyo rogers said...

    (Cont: "Then there is the American Volunteer Group (AVG), known as the Flying Tigers. This was the "efficient guerrilla air corps" mentioned in 1940 by Major Rodney Boone (USMC) of the Office of Naval Intelligence. This group of 100 American pilots, who were allowed to resign from their branch of the military with the assurance that they could be reinstated when their one-year contract with a front company called the Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO) was up, were mercenaries who secretly trained in the jungles of Southeast Asia to fly bombing missions for the Chinese Air Force. They sailed from the West Coast as ordinary civilians in order to keep hidden their true mission and mask FDR's secret attempt to support China against Japan. All of the details, supported by government documents, are in Alan Armstrong's Preemptive Strike: The Secret Plan that Would Have Prevented the Attack on Pearl Harbor (The Lyons Press, 2006). In 1991, the Flying Tigers were retroactively recognized as members of the U.S. military during their period of mercenary service.
    The most damaging piece of evidence that the United States provoked Japan into firing the first shot is the "McCollum memo" of October 7, 1940, written by Lieutenant Commander Arthur McCollum, the head of the Far East desk of the Office of Naval Intelligence. McCollum's five-page, ten-point memorandum proposed eight actions under point nine to provoke Japan into war:
    1. Make an arrangement with Britain for the use of British bases in the Pacific, particularly Singapore.
    2. Make an arrangement with Holland for the use of base facilities and acquisition of supplies in the Dutch East Indies.
    3. Give all possible aid to the Chinese government of Chiang-Kai-shek.
    4. Send a division of long range heavy cruisers to the Orient, Philippines, or Singapore.
    5. Send two divisions of submarines to the Orient.
    6. Keep the main strength of the U.S. Fleet now in the Pacific in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands.
    7. Insist that the Dutch refuse to grant Japanese demands for undue economic concessions, particularly oil.
    8. Completely embargo all U.S. trade with Japan, in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed by the British Empire.
    McCollum concludes that "if by these means Japan could be led to commit an overt act of war, so much the better."

    Anonymous said...

    Mr. Nobody said...

    Hello Mike,

    Thanks for the links. As to the assertion of advisers being in China as an act of war, let me ask you this:

    In our modern era, don't the Russian and Chinese governments have all sorts of advisers in many countries who are against the American government's interests? Iran, Syria, N. Korea, Vietnam, etc... Would that be considered an act of war too? Provided that they aren't actually engaged in battle, I fail to see how one could consider it so.

    The links seem to be pointing to the fact that the "Flying Tigers" were funded by the American government. Since they still didn't attack the Japanese, until 20-Dec-1941, could you elaborate as to how this would be considered an act of war?

    Regarding the Whitehouse knowing that war was upon them, I believe that is almost certain. The one trump card they possessed was the decryption of the Japanese traffic. It seems they valued the Japanese decoded traffic more than a good number of American lives. They most likely could have sent all the ships away from Hawa'ii (which in many cases were outdated anyway and probably wouldn't had stood a chance against the advanced designs from Japan), but why play their trump card so early in the game? Especially if the Japanese government suspected, and changed the encryption, with the possible result being that they might develope something uncrackable. For some examples, look at the Enigma encryption, where various governments let untold people die so that they could continue to read the Western Axis traffic.

    Regarding embargoes...

    Isn't the definition of an embargo simply a cessation of voluntary trade?

    Didn't OPEC place an oil embargo against the West? Was that an "act of war"?

    Didn't South Africa have an embargo against it because of apartheid? Was that an "act of war"?

    Didn't the former Yugoslavia have an embargo against it because of war and ethnic cleansing? Was that an "act of war"?

    In theory, the Japanese government could have protested to the League of Nations, but that door was shut because they had already left the League, due to their invasion of China. If Japan remained in the League, there may have been a global embargo against it akin to South Africa in our modern era.

    How is choosing not to trade with someone considered an act of war? As far as I know at the time, the the American people, and the US government never wanted to kill Chinese people en mass. Why would they want to encourage, or more so, be an accomplice, to that behaviour?

    Were all the protests and refusals in the US to load dual-use and war material after the Japanese government invaded China moral or immoral? Should they have loaded the cargo or not, knowing the likely use of the material?

    If some people in general, want to interpret the voluntary cessation of trade as an act of war, to justify the rather abhorrent behaviour in Asia, Australia, and North America, of some of the people of Japan, they can obviously do so. It appears rather unconvincing. But like some "revisionists" under-counting the degree of the horror and the dead in other wars, it tends to strain ones credulity.

    But no means am I saying that the US government is necessarily force for good. Although I believe it seems that the wartime Japanese government took a page from Perry; trade with us, or else...

    mike in tokyo rogers said...

    Legally: 1) "Iran, Syria, N. Korea, Vietnam, etc... Would that be considered an act of war too?" No. We, are not at war with those countries. Japan and China were at war.
    2) ""Flying Tigers" were funded by the American government. Since they still didn't attack the Japanese, until 20-Dec-1941," Not true. They ran bombing missions as early as 1939. It's all in the book and on the internet if you dig deep enough. Don't forget the winners (re) write the textbooks.
    2) "Isn't the definition of an embargo simply a cessation of voluntary trade?" Defacto the embargo was a "Blockade" which is an act of war. Under League of Nations (and UN rules) rules a Blockade is an act of war. And Embargo is a economic sanction. A blockade is full trade embargo (food, oil). The USA has gotten around this law twice in hisotry by calling it something other than a "Blockade." The 1st time was with Japan (this case) the second time was the Cuban missile crisis when they called it a "Quarantine." It was a blockade because the USA forced other nations not to trade with Japan too - the legal definition of Blockade even though different terminology was used.

    Mr. Nobody said...

    Hello Mike,

    1. In the previous wars/"police actions" involving Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq, both the Soviets and the Chinese had advisers in one way or another in those countries. Many times they were physically battling American forces. A search or two should dig up the relevant articles. Were those acts of war?

    2. Mike, the original claim was 1937, was it not? I will try to do some more digging. Do you have any links or references for 1939?

    3. I believe the definition of a blockade is when the ports of a country are physically blocked by foreign ships. Isn't that the definition in a dictionary? When did the US government do that to Japan? I agree regarding Cuba, that it was a blockade. I fail to see what is wrong with saying, "If you trade with country X, then I won't trade with you, country Y."

    There is what is just, and the law. Even though there may be some correlation, it doesn't mean they are enormous with each other.

    The problem with all international bodies, the League of Nations, the UN, the ICC, etc., is that the countries have to agree to be bound by their treaties and decisions. Since the government of Japan left the League, who could they complain to, and what could they do?

    mike in tokyo rogers said...

    Thanks Mr. N.

    Please. No offense, but I really don't have time for this. The answers to the questions you ask can be found on the internet.
    1) Korea, Vietnam and Iraq were, by US criminal obfuscation not "wars." War was never declared. So how could advisors in a zone that's not at war be a an act of war? Japan and China had both declared war.
    2) US advisors in 1937 in China. (War was declared in 1930) and bombing raids began in 1939.
    3) Your definition of Blockade is 19th century. The USA did not block nor mine Cuban harbors in 1961.

    mike in tokyo rogers said...

    Please buy the Stinnet book. There are copies of US government docs with information on (WWII) just about everything you ask!

    Anonymous said...

    To add to the mix.

    Regarding if FDR knew or had a hand in orchestrating the attack...

    It is well documented that the Japanese had spies with eyes on Pearl Harbor.
    Their reports had made it clear that Sunday was the best day for an attack.

    They noted that every Sunday the aircraft carriers were in port (with skeleton crews?)

    On the day of the attack the carriers were out on a "special training mission".
    Amazing coincidence.


    On another tangeant I do beleive the US fired the first shot if you were to discount the previously mentioned acts of war listed here, by firing at a midget sub.


    History is (re) written by the victors normally, except in Japan where history is also re-written by Japan...


    Surely there must be a provision in international laws that forbid a blanket bombing of cities (civilians) or a city wide instant mass killing of civilians (atomic bombs)

    So regardless how anyone feels about the two act of war BEFORE the war. The US is accountable for crimes against humanity, and as the victors do not have to abide by international treaties & laws.

    Anonymous said...

    So this justifies the atrocities committed by japan through 'Oceania' 'Eastern' and 'South-Eastern'Asia during the first half of XX century or their shameless historic revisionism?

    The lack of remorse of japanese left-wingers/imperialists (wrongly known as right-wingers) is disturbing. They like playing the victim role while mocking at the victims' faces. Their attempts to evade that reality are outrageous

    Mary said...

    Very interested in the orgin and subject of the photo showing here on this blog post. anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated.

    Vera said...

    This is cool!

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