Hiromichi Moteki, deputy chairman of the Society for the Dissemination of Historical Fact, recently sent me a copy of Who Started the War Between Japan and the U.S.? Roosevelt’s Offenses and the Memoirs of President Hoover, his new book from Bensei Publishing. This society is chaired by Hideaki Kase, a diplomatic commentator and lecturer at the Shoheijuku school.
In the Foreword Kase declares, “More than a disaster, World War II was an unprecedented, tragic event for humankind. The United States drew Japan into war, and the U.S. has unilateral responsibility for the war.” His foundation for saying this is:
Hoover was aware that Roosevelt was an advocate of communism, and that communists had penetrated to the center of the Roosevelt administration.
In June 1941 – six months before the U.S. joined World War II – Hoover was strongly opposed to the Roosevelt administration’s plans to participate in the war, and stated as follows on a radio broadcast: “If we were to go to war, we would lend a hand to Joseph Stalin’s victory. Stalin would probably swallow up a large part of Europe and bring it under his rule. This would likely result in a major tragedy.”
The U.S. put unreasonable economic sanctions on Japan and drove it into a corner, by which it made Japan strike the first blow in December of that year, leading to the American participation in World War II.
Hoover said, “Japan is a country that shares the same values as the U.S.” He recommended, “We should approve Japan’s continual possession of the Korean Peninsula and Taiwan after the war.” He also said, “The Japanese Army’s withdrawal from the continent of China should be done slowly, taking as much time as possible.”
However, Roosevelt agitated the American public with the slogan “Remember Pearl Harbor,” saying that it was a sneak attack even though he knew about it in advance due to cryptanalysis. This made the American public suddenly turn against Japan. The military authorities strongly opposed Hoover’s proposal, so it was not accepted.
Kase ends his Foreword as follows: “Hoover’s memoirs urge the reader to re-consider modern history. It is an exceedingly valuable document in the 21st century, and is a must-read for people who take an interest in modern history.”
This is followed by a tripartite talk by Moteki, Kobo Inamura, and Genki Fujii. I will include several striking passages from Chapter 1, entitled, “Who started the war?”
F: He clearly wrote it was a cross that the U.S. will bear eternally.
I: Americans still say that many American soldiers might have died if the bombs weren’t dropped, but according to Hoover, Douglas MacArthur said that would not have happened.
M: Sir William Flood Webb, the president of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, wrote a fair amount about how the Tokyo Trials were a mistake.
F: In the U.S., the word “revisionist” is itself a criticism. This term was originally used in Marxism. Because Marxists believe in absolute truth, revisionism is the worst possible offense – no one is allowed to revise what is absolutely true. Yet we must constantly re-examine history in an empirical way. The Western Christian society has a fearful tradition of the Inquisition. Looking back at the term “revisionist,” there is a history of ostentatious monotheism – discord between orthodoxy and heresy.
F: The desire to make the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany fight was not a minority opinion. U.S. Army Commander Albert Coady Wedemeyer had the same view. Regarding England, he pointed out that Winston Churchill was no good because he negated England’s traditional foreign policy. In this foreign policy, balance was maintained by sparking fights on the continent to prevent total control by a single power.
F: It would not be an exaggeration to say the U.S. “fed” the Soviet Union, transforming it into a huge monster. I think Hoover felt regret and a sense of self-criticism regarding this. For example, the very same thing is mentioned in Wedemeyer’s memoirs. Interestingly enough, he wrote about how unskilled Churchill was at war. He said that World War II – or at least the European front – should have been wrapped up in 1944, one year before the actual end of the war. There was no need for fighting in Italy, and the Invasion of Normandy was accomplished one year prior. The war could have been finished by heading to Berlin in a straight line.
F: As described in Wedemeyer’s memoirs, he was a central figure in the army and was made to create a general mobilization plan. The entire American industrial power was invested in all-out war. The order came in December 1940, around one year before Pearl Harbor. There is another piece of strong proof, which isn’t generally known: plan JB 355 for having American bombers fly from the Chinese continent to bomb Japan. This plan was submitted, jointly signed by the secretaries of the Army and Navy, to the president on July 18, 1941. The president approved it with his signature on July 23. This is an official American document.
M: The Asahi Broadcasting Corporation publicized information about this on the 50th anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor. Lauchlin Currie, a special adviser to the president in charge of China, was a central figure in carrying this plan forward. In short, he was the coordinator that ordered the Army and Navy staff officers to produce this draft. The plan is very detailed, including what Japanese cities to bomb from what bases in China. It is different from War Plan Orange because it is a practical plan. Furthermore, the plan was to make China do this. B-17 and B-150 planes were to be used. Currie was finally proven to be a Comintern spy, and he fled to South America.
As the U.S. began this conflict with no proclamation of war, Roosevelt presented Japan with the Hull Note – effectively a declaration of war that was kept secret from the American people and Congress – to inspire it to anger. Japan should not have inflamed the American fighting spirit, such as through the Attack on Pearl Harbor. Moreover, Roosevelt knew about the attack through cryptanalysis, but he did not tell Pacific Fleet Commander-in-chief Husband E. Kimmel about the strike and had the new warships and aircraft carriers moved outside of the harbor. To create a scapegoat, more than the fixed number of personnel was called to the USS Arizona. The USS Arizona was sunk by a mysterious secondary explosion at the powder magazine, just like the USS Maine, which some people say was blown up by the U.S. Half of the roughly 2,400 people that died at Pearl Harbor perished on this ship.
The second chapter of this book is entitled, “Policy mistakes made by the U.S.” It discusses 19 ways in which the U.S. deviated from the correct political path, as pointed out in Hoover’s memoirs.
This first mistake was the blunder of the World Monetary and Economic Conference of 1933. Hoover took the lead in trying to introduce the international payment gold standard system as a way to stabilize the internal economy after the Great Depression in 1929. Roosevelt, his successor, crushed this standard to achieve American prosperity.
I think the biggest mistake was the second one: Roosevelt’s recognition of the Soviet Union in 1933. Up until then, the Soviet Union had been continually repudiated by four presidents and five secretaries of state. This spread the germs of communism in the U.S.
The third error was the success and failures of the Munich Agreement. In 1938, England, France, and Italy accepted Nazi Germany’s demands for the autonomy of Sudeten in Czechoslovakia at the Munich Conference. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policy was criticized by Churchill and later historians, but Hoover had a different estimation of this. According to Fujii, “Both Hitler and England did not really want to fight. It was natural for Nazi Germany to fight with the Soviet Union, both in terms of ideologies and geopolitics. Chamberlain and the British Empire had colonies across the world, but there were no British colonies on the European continent. It would be best to have Germany fight with the Soviet Union, by which England could preserve its colonies. I think this was an immensely rational choice.”
The fourth mistake was how England and France ensured the independence of Poland and Romania in 1939. They pledged that Poland would remain independent without having the ability to prevent a German invasion, which drew both countries into the war with Germany even though they had nothing to do with it. Hoover said that, without this, there would have been war between the Soviet Union and Germany. Fujii says, “Hoover stated that Roosevelt was certainly involved in ensuring Polish independence by England and France, although he lamented the lack of sufficient evidence. But reliable proof has come to light since then. Jerzy Józef Potocki, the Polish ambassador to the U.S., gave testimony that Roosevelt promised to stand and fight with England and France to maintain Polish independence.”
The fifth mistake was how the U.S. began war without a proclamation of war. According to a notice from the U.S. on July 26, 1939, the U.S.-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation would be repealed on January 16, 1940. This was a quasi-declaration of war.
The sixth mistake was that Roosevelt did not conduct patient policy with a sense of wariness. Based on the Lend-Lease Act of 1941, the U.S. supplied weapons and goods totaling 50.1 billion dollars to England, the Soviet Union, China, and other countries by 1945. Yet this act allowed England to use American battleships according to the judgment of the president. Hoover said that providing only economic assistance to England would have been within the scope allowed by international law. Mogi points out, “By all rights, the party in the U.S. with the right to declare war was Congress, not the president. No proclamation of war can be submitted without a decision by Congress. Yet this act gave the president the right to be involved in the war without Congressional approval.”
The seventh mistake was giving aid to Soviet communism. Fujii says, “Looking back at all of American history, the most significant departure from the path of politics was how the U.S. aided Communist Russia when Hitler attacked Russia in 1941, creating a covert alliance between the U.S. and Russia.” As a result, “The victors in World War II were the Soviet Union and Stalin,” says Fujii.
The eighth mistake was the economic sanctions placed on Japan in July 1941. Fujii says, “These sanctions on Japan were Roosevelt’s most enormous blunder. Or rather than a blunder, they were intentional warmongering.” Mogi says, “Right before the start of the war, a public opinion poll showed that 85% of the American people were against the war. That’s why Roosevelt consistently acted as a pacifist, which Charles Austin Beard describes as his ‘appearance.’ Roosevelt even made a public campaign pledge that the U.S. would not take part in the war, which is why he couldn’t act by himself and had to make others do so on his behalf.”
There were three powers that wanted the U.S. to promptly participate in the war. The first was Stalin of the Soviet Union. The second was Churchill of England, and the third was Chiang Kai-shek of the Republic of China. These three men strongly encouraged Roosevelt to gain political power, drive Japan into a corner, and inspire Japan to attack.
The ninth mistake was not accepting the conditions submitted by Fumimaro Konoe. Konoe’s proposals all achieved American goals except for the return of Manchuria. However, Roosevelt used this unimportant issue to deny these proposals because he wanted to bring about a bigger war.
The tenth mistake was refusing a three-month cooling off period with Japan. Japan suggested a cooling off period in November 1941, which Roosevelt rejected. Directly after that, he sent the Hull Note, which Hoover deemed to be an ultimatum. Roosevelt thought that Japan would not want to open hostilities after three months had passed. The three men also discuss commerce raiding; although the true role of the Navy is commerce raiding and the protection of sea-lanes, the Imperial Japanese Navy held the nonsensical belief that commerce raiding was not important or worthy of attention.
The eleventh mistake was requesting unconditional surrender by the Axis powers in January 1943. Hoover pointed out that this ended up prolonging the war.
The three men continued their tripartite talk by discussing eight additional mistakes. Chapter Three is entitled, “The madness of starting war,” and is followed by texts written by the three.
This book provides a viewpoint for re-considering the postwar era’s positive appraisals of Roosevelt and Churchill. However, the most important thing is not included in this book – why did these leaders conspire to enlarge the war? The reason is because the American military-industrial complex was aiming for special demand during the war. If the war in Europe were limited to the fight between Stalin and Hitler, the disastrous World War II and following Cold War would not have occurred. Yet England and France said they would ensure the independence of Poland and Romania in 1939. To maintain Poland’s independence in the case of war, Roosevelt promised to stand and fight with England and Germany. When Germany actually invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, England and France declared war with Germany, even though they didn’t want to. However, there was no war in the western part of Europe until Germany invaded the Netherlands and Belgium in April 1940.
The U.S. made steady preparations for war; announced a complete scrap iron embargo on September 26, 1940; and began conscription for the first time in history in October. Roosevelt was elected for the third time in November, and the Lend-Lease Act was enacted in March 1941. A total oil embargo was enacted on August 1 – an economic sanction on Japan that could be described as an effective declaration of war. The U.S. supplied huge amounts of munitions to England and the Soviet Union, turning the Soviet Union into a military monster. This brought great prosperity to the military-industrial complex. Roosevelt needed emergency war demand to make up for his failure with the New Deal policy to remake the economy after the Great Depression. After World War II, the American defense industry has also wanted to wage the Vietnam War, Gulf War, War in Afghanistan, and Iraq War. The real losers in World War II were England, which lost most of its colonies, and the American people (soldiers). England is a mere shadow of its former, powerful self because of the mistaken judgment of Churchill, who drew Japan into war. He is also highly responsible for delaying the invasion of Normandy by one year and bringing East Europe under Soviet control. Fearing that citizens would suffer under a dictatorship, efforts were made to prevent a government collapse. The Soviet Union defeated Germany – with enormous military assistance from the U.S. – and maintained its position as a major power while suffering extensive human damage to the tune of over 20 million victims.
The U.S. dropped the atomic bombs – described by Hoover as the cross it must bear for all time – to restrain the communization of the world by the Soviet Union, which it had turned into a military monster, and gain global hegemony in the postwar world. It wanted to somehow complete these bombs during the Greater East Asian War and test them out in actual fighting. That’s why it gave vague answers on the maintenance of the Emperor System, which was Japan’s only condition in its desire to cease hostilities, and delayed the end of the war. This condition had been included in the Potsdam Declaration but was then removed to buy time for the U.S. to complete two types of atomic bombs and drop them on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The U.S., having seen the dreadful destructive force and disastrous nature of these weapons, is now bound by their curse. It has had to maintain a story in which the U.S., as a good country, bombed Japan, a bad country, to transform it into a democracy. To that end, the U.S. has collaborated with China and South Korea, such as by not negating fabricated stories like the massacre of 300,000 people in Nanking or the forced transport of 200,000 comfort women into sexual slavery. Now that 70 years have passed since the end of the war, these memoirs by Hoover are a valuable historical record for understanding the thinking behind the actions not only of Japan, but also Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, and Chiang Kai-shek.
War is inhumane, but is started by the defense contractors and influential people that support this industry, who attach no importance to the value of human life. In Japan today, each citizen must think with his or her own head – without depending on television programs or newspapers – to ensure that Japan is not drawn into war again. A balance of power must be maintained to that end, yet our constitution functions like an invitation to attack Japan at any time. As Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says, the American guarantee of Japan’s security through the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty (including the nuclear umbrella) is unilateral, and some Americans are also questioning this. The withdrawal of the U.S. and expansion of China suggests that World War IV (following the Cold War, which was World War III) will be a fight between the U.S. and China. Japan must take urgent steps to prevent this, such as by maintaining balance through the nuclear sharing agreement and introducing weapons that leverage advanced science and technology like railguns and laser guns. With defensive capabilities alone, 20 times more military force is needed than offensive abilities. The ability to attack is itself the greatest defense. I believe it is essential for Japan to revise its constitution to allow for the possession of offensive arms. To push forward this discussion and build a new relationship with the U.S., as many people as possible must understand the truth about World War II. First, I think it is important for as many Japanese citizens as possible to read Who Started the War Between Japan and the U.S.? Roosevelt’s Offenses and the Memoirs of President Hoover. I also hope that the entire text of Hoover’s memoirs, which this book is based on, will be published in Japan without further delay.
February 22 (Monday), 2016 10:00 p.m.