Pearl Harbor and the Coming of the Pacific War


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Could more have been done during those fanatic months of negotiating between Washington and Tokyo to prevent the surprise attack by Japanese fighter planes on US carriers docked at Pearl Harbor? Assembling over 30 primary documents -- including proposals, memorandums, decrypted messages, and imperial conferences -- Akira Iriye allows the reader to view exchanges between the two governments from both American and Japanese perspectives, asking them to decide how and why particular key figures, events, and contingencies brought the US and Japan to war. A substantial introduction reaches back to Japanese aggression in China and Southeast Asia in the 1930s and to economic unrest and isolationism in the US to frame the ensuing diplomatic crisis leading to Pearl Harbor. A second part of the volume places Pearl Harbor in global context showcasing interpretive essays by historians from China, the Soviet Union, Germany, and Britain to show how these various countries applied pressure, offered assistance, exacerbated rifts, and significantly affected negotiations and Japan's decision to go to war.

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