(World War Two in Asia): Essay #1 on ?Could the Pacific War Have Been Avoided??

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HST 303 (World War Two in Asia): Essay #1 on ?Could the Pacific War Have Been Avoided??

The documents and essays in in Akira Iriye?s Pearl Harbor and the Coming of the Pacific War provide an invaluable glimpse into the thinking of American and Japanese leaders in the lead-up to Pearl Harbor.

Based on these documents and essays, discuss American and Japanese foreign policy during the negotiations preceding the war. Analyze how the Pacific War came about by pinpointing some key events and people that step by step led to the war on both the American and Japanese sides. Could war have been prevented at certain points? What American or Japanese policies would have been pursued to avoid such a war?

For this essay, you must closely analyze the documents and essays in Iriye (and cite them accordingly). Lectures will also give you the broader background on topics such as Japan?s history of imperialism, the war in China, and the lead-up to Pearl Harbor. Essays that use outside sources from the web or elsewhere will receive a zero. General essays that do not closely analyze or cite the material in Iriye will receive a grade of ?E.?

Thinking through the following questions may help you identify key turning points in the negotiations, misunderstandings, irreconcilable differences, missed opportunities, successes and failures, clashing interests, and so on (you do not have to answer all of the following questions in your essay, of course, but these may help you arrive at larger points for your paper):

1. What important concessions did the Japanese think they were making? Why was China so important to them? What was the main reason for Japan?s risking war with the U.S.?

2. What issue was the most important in preventing a settlement between U.S. and
Japan: the Tripartite Pact, the status of China, or the fate of Southeast Asia? Do you think Secretary Hull was open to or against some sort of negotiated settlement with Japan?

3. How would you have read the messages between Tokyo and Washington if you had been a policymaker in Washington at the time? Do you think the Declaration of War, had it been sent, would have spared Japan from the criticism of having perpetuated a treacherous attack?

4. What do Sumio and Sadao?s essays indicate about the nature of strategic decision making in Japan in 1940 and 1941, especially concerning the role and attitude of the Japanese navy? How does Nomura?s view compare to that of Sumio and Sadao?

5. How perceptive was American ambassador to Japan Grew in judging trends in Japan in 1941? Why were his views often ignored by the US government? According to David Khan, was Pearl Harbor the result of a failure in the US intelligence system?

6. Do you agree with Katsumi that the Japanese were making substantial concessions in presenting Plans A and B? How does Wang?s interpretation of US-Chinese-Japanese relations differ from that by Katsumi?

Essay Guidelines

Essays must be 5-6 pages long (about 1,500 to 1,800 words). All written work is due on the appointed day and time. Papers submitted late will be marked down 10% per day they are late. I can only grant extensions in cases of documented medical or family emergencies. All your written work must be word-processed, double-spaced and have 1? margins. The type should be 12 point. Papers should be free of grammatical, spelling, and typographical errors. Please use footnotes for your references and include a full bibliography at the end of your paper. Make sure to give your paper a title. Furthermore, your essays must have an introduction and a conclusion. Please also check the grading rubric on Blackboard/Course Documents. Make sure to submit all your written work on Blackboard (not by e-mail). Your papers will be scanned by anti-plagiarism software.

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