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United States Involvement In World War Ii

1510 words - 6 pages

The United State’s direct involvement in World War II officially began as soon as the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Prior to that event, America had been providing arms and equipment to England but stopped short of any direct military confrontation with the Axis. The War in the Pacific was considered Asia’s War and the European War was considered a local conflict. US-Japanese relations had become strained in 1941, though America felt secure that her naval fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was powerful enough to discourage any aggression from Japan. On July 24, 1941, Japan occupied French Indo-China (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos). Two days after that, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt froze all Japanese assets in the United States. American trade with Japan, including sales of oil and scrap metal, was brought to a standstill. England took the same action simultaneously and the Japanese government froze all British and American assets there.
President Roosevelt nationalized the armed forces of the Philippines under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, who was also placed in command of all U.S. military forces in the Far East. The President informed the Japanese ambassador in Washington that any further expansion by Japan in the Far East would require a U.S. response to protect American interests. Prime Minister Churchill of Great Britain promised to aid the United States if negotiations with Japan were unsuccessful. On November 20, the Japanese opened discussions with Washington. Japan’s demands included the following: 1) The U.S. must abandon China. 2) Lift the freezing of Japanese Assets. 3) Resume full trade with Japan. 4) Help Japan get supplies from the Dutch East Indies. 5) Stop U.S. naval expansion in the western Pacific. United States Secretary of State Hull countered with his own proposals, which included withdrawal of Japanese forces from Indochina and China and conclusion of a multilateral nonaggression pact. The American proposals included the following principals: respect for the territory and sovereignty of all nations, no interference in the internal affairs of other countries, equal opportunity, and support for the status quo in the Pacific by peaceful means. Secretary Hull promised to free Japanese assets and resume normal trade with Japan if these conditions were met. The Japanese asked for two weeks to consider the proposals and by November 26 the aircraft carrier force that attacked Pearl Harbor was already deployed for that task. American intelligence was expecting a large attack by Japan but believed that it would take place in the Philippines or Southeast Asia. President Tojo of Japan warned the U.S. and England on November 29 that British and American influence in Asia must be eliminated. Japan officially rejected the Hull proposals on December 1 and on December 6, President Roosevelt personally appealed to Emperor Hirohito to pursue peace and withdraw from Indo-China. Early on Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, Japanese air...

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