No Choice but War

The United States Embargo Against Japan and the Eruption of War in the Pacific


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About the Book

In July 1941 the United States, after a decade of worsening economic relations, announced a total embargo against Japan. The embargo had actually begun in 1940 with a so-called moral embargo under which U.S. exports of planes and war material to Japan were barred. In early 1941 Washington squeezed the Tokyo government further by unofficially tightening exports of petroleum. By December 1941, over 90 percent of Japan’s oil supply was cut off, as was nearly 70 percent of its overall trade. From contemporary source documents, this is a detailed look at the U.S.–led embargo and how it contributed to Japan’s decision to attack Pearl Harbor and declare war on the United States.

About the Author(s)

Roland H. Worth, Jr., is the author of many books. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Roland H. Worth, Jr.
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 248
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014 [1995]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7752-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Introduction 1

1. America’s Growing Alienation from Japan: The 1930’s 7
2. The Slaps on the Wrist Grow Stronger: 1940 26
3. Buildup to Confrontation: January to July 1941 44
4. An Appearance of Totality – The Embargo Becomes Official: July 1941 62
5. Gambling on Economic Strangulation: Appearance Becomes Reality, August to December 1941 82
6. Impact of the 1940 Embargo Measures on Japan 100
7. Impact of the 1941 Embargo Measures on Japan 107
8. The Petroleum Supply Crisis of 1941 123
9. The Public Stance of the Japanese Government 136
10. Top Echelon Dialogue: The Liaison and Imperial Conferences of the Japanese Government 157
11. Internal Diplomatic Communications of the Japanese Government 163
12. Confidential American Evaluation of the Embargo’s Impact 175
13. The American Recognition of the War-Making Potential of an Embargo 187
14. Disavowing the Linkage Between Embargo and War 203

Conclusion 217
Bibliography 221
Index 227

Book Reviews & Awards

“argues that the U.S. total economic embargo of Japan led directly to the bombing of Pearl Harbor”—Reference and Research Book News.