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Causes Of Pearl Harbor

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Causes of Pearl Harbor

"There is no choice left but to fight and break the iron chains strangling Japan"

(Spector 76) Admiral Nagano Osami gave this statement after finding no other way to resolve relations between the United States and Japan. The attack on Pearl Harbor was the only way Japan sought to break away from the United States oppression of the Japanese people. Poor relations between Japan and America were both economical and political; this caused the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The hatred from the Japanese against the United States dated back from the 1860s. When tension between the two nations grew due to American discrimination against Japanese immigrants. Leland Stanford and his associates were building the western section of the Trans- Continental railroad across the United States. They employed Chinese laborers because they were cheaper and more efficient then European laborers. After the railroad was complete the Chinese sought work in the American labor market. American workers began to oppose this new labor force, the Government responded by passing the Chinese Exclusion Acts, forcing most of the Chinese to return to China. The Japanese were also included in the act, most of the Japanese that came to the United States worked in the fields in Hawaii. This angered the farmers of American, because the Japanese were more skillful. (Hoyt 37)

The Japanese had been coming to America at a steady rate of roughly a thousand per year. After the annexation of Hawaii, the Japanese appeared in record numbers of twelve thousand per year. This resulted in a panic for San Francisco. The mayor quarantined a section of the city just for the oriental immigrants. The Japanese became offended and protested, but the San Francisco Labor Council began to issue laws similar to the Chinese Exclusion acts. The Japanese Government responded by stoping the issuing of passports to contract laborers going to America even if the American employers wanted them and promised employment. (Hoyt 37)

The American Federation of Labor struggled to pass Anti- Japanese laws. The press had a field day with the headlines causing the country to become racist against the Japanese. The headlines were not only insulting but also untrue. Finally President Roosevelt intervened and put an end to segregation in exchange for the Gentleman's Agreement, the United States government agreed to limit immigration into the United States. (Prange 443)

One of the major outcomes of the Russo- Japanese War was the development of animosity between Japan and the United States. The Japanese, having won the war expected to share a pleasant victory. They expected money to built battleships and tanks. President Theodore Roosevelt graciously offered the use of America's offices to secure peace between Russia and Japan. America acted as a referee to the two countries as the met in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The Russians and Japanese settled all territorial expansions but when it came to the money the Russians refused. The Americans supported the Russians decision. In the final agreement between the Japanese and the Russians no money was exchanged. The Japanese public was outraged by the outcome, turning the military victory into a political defeat. A Tokyo newspaper read, "The number one enemy to Japan was the United States." (Spector 37) Portsmouth brought an end to the Russo- Japanese War but it only worsened the hatred from Japan against the United States. (Spector 37)

The Japanese felt that the Americans were too involved in Pacific Affairs, they had to consolidate their territorial gains through secret agreements signed will all powers but the United States. However the Japanese did try to come to a similar agreement with the Americans, but failed. This failure was a result of the Open Door Policy. American businessman insisted on keeping trade options open with China. Ironically the Japanese were China's bankers. (Hoyt 46)

During the Paris Peace Conference of 1920, the Japanese sought to gain racial equality among the other nations of the world. Japan had high aspirations to build even more of an empire. The other topic that was up for discussion at the Peace Conference was the joining of the League of Nations. The Japanese agreed to participate, it was a matter of honor that they did, they were on an equal basic with the other nations. This was the most important matter of the Conference because it began to show racial equality among the powers of the world. (Hoyt 47)

The relations between the Japanese and the Americans continued to worsen because during the Paris Peace Conference, the United States refused to join the League of Nations. The Japanese were deeply insulted and their distrust grew towards the United States because the United States were so involved in Pacific Affairs, but refused to join the League. The Japanese- American relations were in a very critical state from this point on. The Japanese resented American racism and held them responsible for the failure of the Peace Conference. (Spector 53)

America was looking out for China; they felt the Japanese were mistreating the Chinese. After the Versailles Treaty was signed it gave Japan all that they had asked for in the Pacific and China. The American diplomatists' goal in Asia was to stop Japanese expansion. The American bankers tried to support China financially, to keep Japan away. The United States led a movement to form a four - power consortium to finance China. Japan would be involved but to a lesser degree. The other nations, Great Britain, France and the United States would be in full control. If this were successful than it would threaten Japan's hand in China. (Hoyt 48)

In the summer of 1921 the Americans called for an International Disarmament Conference in Washington D.C. This was held to limit the Japanese's colonial expansion in Asia. All the powers with interest in the Far East were invited to attend the conference except the Soviet Union. The Japanese saw the Washington Conference as a ploy to take away Japan's gain of the war. They responded by asking for further information and indicated what they wished not to discuss. Italy, France, Great Britain, and the United States accepted the invitation. The Japanese later excepted the invitation as well.

(Hoyt 52)

The Conference lasted from November 1921 through February 1922. The Americans Open Door Policy was a big topic for discussion. The United States wanted a "Board Of Reference" to over see the Open Door trade in China. The Japanese, refused they didn't want the Western Powers looking over their shoulder. Seven Treaties were made during this time. One of them set the fleet



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