Who started WORLD WAR II IN THE PACIFICE? What caused Pearl Harbor?
Howard Zinn in his last book, The Bomb, quotes Bruce Russett’s No Clear Danger that SE Asia held significant economic potential for the US: “at the time most of America’s tin and rubber came from there, as did substantial quantities of other raw materials.” So the US began an embargo on Japan to stop its expansion into SE Asia. It was a colonial war. But also racist: the US had not opposed British, Dutch, and French colonization of SE Asia. A Russett also quotes a State Dept. memorandum on Japanese expansion that “did not talk of the independence of China or the principle of self-determination,” but declared: “our general diplomatic and strategic position would be considerably weakened” by the loss of those resources and “loss of the Japanese market for our goods,” while Japan would become stronger. (The Bomb pp. 31-32). The best explanation of the shared blame in this colonial and racist war over territory and resources is No Choice But War by Roland Worth, Jr., who also traces in detail the increasing stranglehold of Japan by the US embargo. Pearl Harbor was Japan’s effort to make the US back off.