During World War II, the United States of America thought they could live safely as none of the warring nations on the other continents could possibly attack the US. Americans were neutral to the war in Europe. What they didn’t anticipate was that they were the ones being targeted. The United States was going to be invited into the war with an attack from Japan at Pearl Harbor. But was the United States invited in or inviting themselves into the war? From the actions of the United States, they invited Japan’s war to come to them.
Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Americans were living life as usual. They were supplying other countries with no desire of war. They even passed a Lend Lease Act to make supplying other countries more business focused and neutral. Americans were at peace. President Franklin Roosevelt gave an addressed on October of 1940, “I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again; your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars. ” Supplying other countries was business. That changed as Japan conquered northern French Indochina and expanded into China.
The United States noticed this was going to be a big issue if Japan was not stopped. In 1940 they embargoed all scrap iron and oil to Japan which prolonged Japans expansion into China. This also led to Britain and the Netherlands cutting oil supply to Japan. This crippled Japans army effectively and became a big issue for Japan. This would force Japan to have to make quicker and better decisions with the limited amount of sources they had. Japan was riding on a huge momentum going into China, but the United States were starting to take that away from them little by little.
The United States started looking more and more like an obstacle for Japan. But those actions don’t count as participating or not participating in a war. The Lend Lease Act was made to look like supplying the Allies was just business. One can’t simply go to war with another country just because they traded for leasing rights. Japan was buying natural resources from the United States but you can’t go to war just because a country won’t give you what isn’t yours either. These actions made it harder on Japan but were not the main reason Japan had to attack Pearl Harbor.
The United States did more direct things to invoke the attack. The United States not only cut these supplies from Japan, they were lending resources to China to defend against Japan. The Americans also sent military advisor volunteers into China to help train Chinese Pilots. For the United States to claim neutrality and then supply China was very disrespectful towards Japan. Japan already felt bound to an island with limited resources and felt the need to seek out larger natural resources. For the United States to just build an obstacle to stop them angered Japan in a big way.
America is already helping China in a big way by cutting oil and iron supply and now they’re training the Chinese on how to fight against Japan. To Japan, their conquest had nothing to do with United States. It’s almost as if you’re quietly fighting the war, but hiding behind the actual battle grounds. In the summer of 1941, the United States and Japan underwent negotiations to see if the U. S. would resume oil, and iron trade with Japan. The offer was that if Japan retreat north of the Great wall, leaving mainland China to the Chinese, they would resume the oil and iron trade with Japan.
The negotiations with America did not go smooth at all. The U. S. dragged out the negotiations which really puts Japan in a tough situation. “The Japanese were tired of negotiations with the United States. They wanted to continue their expansion within Asia but the United States had placed an extremely restrictive embargo on Japan in the hopes of curbing Japan’s Aggression. ” It seemed as if the U. S. prolonged the negotiations in hopes for them to run out of resources. This kept Japan in a desperate position. The result of all this is the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Was it a surprise attack? No. America was already involved in the war. You can say America was involved indirectly with the war but cutting off supplies to Japan and then supplying China with war training, is direct involvement into the war. It is a very one sided involvement against Japan. Pearl Harbor can be said to have happened for many reasons but what is clear is it was invoked by the United States making war related decisions and war related actions. The attack came as a surprise when it should have been expected.