Admiral Yamamoto: "In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success."
Totalists: "Don’t worry, we got this covered."
Why did Japan decide to fight the United States? This video traces the progress of Japanese grand strategy from the end of WWI to the beginning of WWII. The key strategic question Japan sought to address during this period was the challenge of total war - how to militarily survive in a world dominated by industrial behemoths. From internationalism to traditionalism to totalism, from the Manchurian Incident to the US oil embargo, Japanese strategymakers attempted to find solutions amid a deteriorating international environment, ultimately resulting in Pearl Harbor.
All errors (especially the Japanese) are my own.
I should add that while it’s not the point of this video to bring this up, Japan’s totalist strategy did/would have created tremendous regional suffering. Apart from the totalitarian control, exploitation and racism, totalists also argued that one way that Japan could achieve victory with a smaller economy was through chemical and, most notoriously, biological weapons.
Maiolo J. Cry Havoc, Basic Books, 2010
Barnhart M. Japan Prepares for Total War, Cornell University Press, 2013
Drea E. Japan’s Imperial Army, University Press of Kansas, 2016
Evans D, Peattie M. Kaigun, Naval Institute Press, 2012
Paine S. The Japanese Empire, Cambridge University Press, 2017 (NOT as good unfortunately)
- See video sources on Julian Corbett.
Aizawa K. ‘The Shock of the First World War’, 2nd International Symposium on Security Affairs, Mar 2000
Szpilman C. ‘Kita Ikki and the Politics of Coercion’ Modern Asian Studies 36, 2(2002): 467–90
Wilson G. ‘Kita Ikki’s Theory of Revolution’, Journal of Asian Studies 26, 1 (Nov 1966): 89-99
Mimura J. Planning for Empire, Cornell University Press, 2011
Jordan J. Warships after Washington, Naval Institute Press, 2015
Sakai T. ‘The Soviet Factor in Japanese Foreign Policy, 1923-1937’, Acta Slavica Iaponica, 6 (1988): 27-40
Matsuzato K (ed.) Russia and Its Northeast Asian Neighbors, Lexington Books, 2016
Charles River (eds.) The Japanese Invasion of Manchuria, Charles River Editors, 2016
Nish I. Japan’s Struggle with Internationalism, Routledge, 2000
2nd Sino-Japanese War:
Peattie M, Drea E, Van de Ven H. The Battle for China, Stanford University Press, 2011
Wikipedia for basic fact-checking
Google Maps AND Omniatlas for map references
Made using Powerpoint 2013.