The Axis Alliance and Japanese-American Relations
by Paul Schroeder
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 is remembered by Americans as something like a bolt out of the blue, a sneak attack from an irrational enemy. The truth, however, is that the Japanese attack was preceded by six months of intense diplomatic negotiations between the Japanese and the Americans. In The Axis Alliance and Japanese-American Relations, historian Paul Schroeder reviews the course of these negotiations. Of particular interest to Schroeder is the role that Japan’s Tripartite Pact with fascist Italy and Nazi Germany played in the negotiations. Schroeder shows that Japan, far from entering an alliance for world domination with Hitler, viewed the pact as an opportunity to secure its interests while avoiding a war with the U.S. and how, when the Pact became a liability in Japan’s negotiations with America, the Japanese were quick to downplay their dedication to it and its importance in their policies. Schroeder also observes the other primary issues at stake in the negotiations – Japan’s war with China and its expansionary intentions in the Pacific – and discusses how American diplomacy wasted many opportunities to not only avoid war in the Pacific, but secure concessions from Japan. This book, a scholarly reconsideration of American policy leading up to the war, is notable for its balance and accuracy and for its revisionist conclusions that are wholly supportable by the facts.
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