Japan: Rising Sun Notes

for The U.S. War Against Asia
by William P. Meyers

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Page 9 of 20

Notes from The Rising Sun, The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-1945 by John Toland

Book Club Edition, Random House, New York, copyright 1970

On September 22, desperate to beat the deadline, Toyoda offered the following peace terms: “Japan was now prepared to offer China: fusion of the Chiang Kai-shek and Wang Ching-wei (or Jingwei) governments; no annexations; no indemnities; economic cooperation; and withdrawal of all Japanese troops except those needed in certain areas to help the Chinese fight the Reds. Grew also wrote a heart-rending letter to accept the Japanese offer directly to Roosevelt, quoted at length, but FDR ignored it. [131-133]

On September 28 Roosevelt sent Hull a memo agreeing that America should continue arguing rather than having a meeting for a final settlement. On September 29 Grew reported to Hull that dragging out negotiations would simply convince the Japanese cabinet that America was playing for time and a peaceful agreement was not the intent. [134-135]

Britain’s ambassador to Japan, Craigie, agreed that “the Americans seem to be playing for time.” [136]

On October 2, Hull replied positively on the possibility of a summit meeting and the acceptance of the four principles, but demanded that all Japanese troops be withdrawn from China immediately. Hull even said he was not trying to delay. Toland comments: “surely Hull had not forgotten the reiterated pleas of General George C. Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff, and Admiral Harold R. Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, for more time to reinforce the Pacific. Ironically, it was giving them less by accelerating Japan’s necessity to make a decision for war.” [137]

On October 5, 1941, Japanese military leaders concluded there would be no diplomatic settlement. They recommended a decision for war. [137-138] Konoye and other pro-peace leaders were discouraged, but still wanted to avoid war even if it meant withdrawal from China, national humiliation and economic suffering. [138] The army, represented by Tojo, refused to consider full withdrawal from China. [139] Tojo predicted the withdrawal of Japanese troops would lead to a communist triumph in China. However, Tojo was willing to give the negotiators until the October 10 deadline to avoid war. [140] They decided to extend their internal deadline for war until October 15. [141] One problem was that the Navy was willing to concede to Konoye that they could not win a war, but refused to say that directly to the Army.

On October 15, the deadline for peace, there was an effort to create a new Japanese cabinet, without Konoye, who resigned. [144-148]

General Tojo was selected premier on October 16, and retained his position of war minister, too. [149]

At the same time he appointed Tojo, in effect Emperor Hirohito cancelled the September 6 decision and October deadline. He instructed Tojo to fully reevaluate the situation. [150] Shigenori Togo was selected as foreign minister. [152]

Cordell Hull “characterized the new Prime Minister as a “typical Japanese officer, with a small-bore, straight-laced, one-track mind” who was “rather stupid.”” [153]

Through spies and analysis, the Russian government knew in October that the Japanese had decided to attack to the south, rather than expanding north of Manchuria. The Russians moved troops from Siberia to the German front because of this. [154-155]

On October 23 Premier Tojo asked the liaison conference members to consider three courses: avoiding war no matter the consequences, deciding on war at once, or continuing negotiations while readying for war. No decision was made [157]

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