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'Why Did Japan Attack Pearl Harbour?' In December 1941, Pearl Harbour was attacked by the Japanese. It wasthe consequence of a series of events which brought tension betweenJapan and America to boiling point

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Introduction

'Why Did Japan Attack Pearl Harbour?' In December 1941, Pearl Harbour was attacked by the Japanese. It was the consequence of a series of events which brought tension between Japan and America to boiling point. Japan was a country growing in power and stature and America soon came to realise that this growth could prove a threat to them. America aimed to stop Japan's growth in its tracks as they realised that if the situation was left to evolve much longer then the situation may be out of their control. However, it can be argued that by not seriously dealing with this threat until the 1940's, America had left things too late and faced an opponent who would not back down. Japan was a country of contradictions in the early 1900's. Her growth in industry was a major factor for influencing her growth of power; whilst at the same time their structure was a very traditional political one. The Japanese Emperor Hirohito was right in the centre of the Japanese government. The emperor made Japan very militaristic and the military had a very strong influence in Japan. Japan's growth in industry had risen greatly since in the preceding 50 years and still it continued to grow. ...read more.

Middle

In the future, Japan would be more aggressive and there would be less chance that they would back down to the Americans. In 1937, Japan attacked the rest of China, indicating to America that Japan was a definite threat to their trade links. By July 1940, America's President Roosevelt had decided he must take action against Japan's expansion. He banned the export of strategic materials to Japan. By doing this he hoped to halt their expansion. He also decided that a massive American Naval Expansion was in order. By doing this he hoped that Japan would fear America because the American Navy was a major strength in the Pacific Region. He hoped to threaten Japan into ending her aggression. In September and December of the same year, Roosevelt cut off all supplies of aviation fuel, steel, scrap iron and other vital war materials to Japan. By choosing this option, he hoped to slow down their preparation for war and give America time to plan and think. Negotiations were proposed in March 1941 as Japan felt the pressures of America's actions. America told Japan that they would start to supply them with oil again, if Japan stopped any expansion and with draw from Indo - China. ...read more.

Conclusion

This proved to be a medium term cause. America failed to stop Japan when they attacked Manchuria. This meant that the Japanese army became stronger and militarism grew. The course was almost certainly set for war once the military controlled Japan. The most important medium term cause was the Wall Street Crash, which took Japan into the Great Depression through America's misfortune. They were badly affected by the depression because Japan relied mainly on other countries, especially America, for imports of raw materials. America had been hit with depression as well. They concentrated on their own problems and failed to stop Japan from invading Manchuria. The main short-term cause of the attack on Pearl Harbour was America's decision to reject negotiations and peace talks from Japan about bringing down the Oil Embargo. This angered the Japanese government, causing dangerous tension between the two countries as Japan were in a difficult situation and were now willing to attack the Americans. The rejections of proposals in September 1941 led to Japan confirming the decision for war on the 26th of November. In the end Japan was driven to war by the fact that the military had control of the country. The army thought that an attack on Pearl Harbour would prove vital if they were to become equally as powerful as America and have a fighting chance in the war which had seemed inevitable for a long time. ...read more.

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