Contents - Hirohito's War
4 Mobilization for War in Asia: America and Japan
[Chart: 4.1] [Map: 4.2]
Lack of US Preparedness for War (p 128) America’s Global Task of Production and Supply (p 130) The New Deal and Technological Advance in Pre-War America (p 131) The US Economy in the 1930s (p 134) America’s Pre-War Mobilization Plans (p 135) America’s VICTORY Plan (p 138) The Development of Japan’s Economy in the 1930s (p 139) Japan’s Economic Preparations for War (p 142) Labor Mobilization in Japan (p 144) The Structure of Japan’s Pre-War Economy (p 144) Plan DOG [November 1940] (p 146) ‘Flying Tigers’: America’s Plans for a Backdoor War against Japan in China (p 147) War or Peace? The Final Negotiations [1940–December 1941] (p 150) The Rise of General Hideki Tojo [October 1941] (p 153) Japan’s Decision for War and the Hull Note [5 November–1 December 1941] (p 154) Summary of Causes of the Pacific War (p 155)
Lack of US Preparedness for War: With the imposition of a financial freeze and effective oil embargo against Japan, Roosevelt had begun the countdown to war. By September 1941, after his lunch with Secretary of State Cordell Hull, where Roosevelt decided not to reverse the de facto oil embargo of Japan, the President knew that war, with both Japan and Germany, was not only likely but also probable. Furthermore he knew that the United States was not prepared for war. While Roosevelt had pushed through a huge program of military rearmament from the beginning of 1940, after July 1941 a frantic US mobilization was required to meet an enemy that had fully mobilized for the Second Sino-Japanese War four years earlier. Roosevelt not only had to prepare for war in the Pacific but more importantly from the American point of view, prepare for war in Europe.
The problem for America before 1941 was not simply that it was not prepared for war in the Pacific; it was not prepared for war anywhere. Bernard Baruch, who had run the War Industries Board at the end of World War I, spent the interwar years as a lone prophet of doom—warning of America’s military weakness. It might have been thought that America would have wanted “to prevent a repetition of its utter unpreparedness of 1917,”1 but, on the eve of World War II, it found itself in an even worse position. In 1938 Baruch told the President, “the condition of American defense is unknown only to Americans. Every foreign power knows what we are doing and exactly what we lack.”2 Unlike the politicians, who appeared to have their heads firmly stuck in the sand, America’s Army and Navy were not unaware of Japan’s strengths. During the visit of the USS Augusta to Japan in June 1934, US Naval officers had ample time and opportunity to view the equipment of the Japanese Navy. “One thing was that it was big,” observed Lloyd Mustin, “and the other was that it was good . . . this was indeed a tough, professional navy . . .”3 Mustin, from a famous twentieth century naval family, noted that, in spite of their cordial reception, “There was a clear sense of world rivalry, well recognized. When your instinctive reaction is that you two are on an inevitable collision course, social relationships are inclined to be a little stiff, and they were.”4
When war in Europe was declared on 3 September 1939, two days after the blitzkrieg invasion of Poland, Germany had been rearming for seven years and was the only major power other than Japan that was wholly geared to the immediate conduct of war. Worse