View the h-war Discussion Logs by month
View the Prior Message in h-war's October 2006 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
View the Next Message in h-war's October 2006 logs by: [date] [author] [thread]
Visit the h-war home page.
There are 3 messages in this post. Message 1, John Kuehn On 29 Oct 2006, Eric Lund wrote: "The risk here is that we lose sight of, say, the importance that American public opinion gave to the Pacific Campaign in World War II as a crusade to save China, or of the China Lobby's success in promoting an American rivalry with Japan in the prewar era?" Eric exposes a nerve here that needs exposing. His argument with respect to China and the Pacific War (or the Greater East Asian War, a much better name IMHO), is widely accepted, or at the least understood, throughout the diplomatic historical community in the United States. My own research has uncovered (or rather re-exposed) over and over again -- at General Board hearings, in CNO correspondence, in recently declassified Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of State Correspondence, in Presidential correspondence, in the media of the day, in statements by groups as disparate as the United Garment Workers to the Navy League, from the _New York Times_ to the U.S. _Naval Institute Proceedings_ -- that the snake in the garden of Pacific Security and U.S.-Japanese relations started and ended with (head to tail to belabor the metaphor) U.S. Policy vis-à-vis China. How else does one explain slender Navy budgets going to buy and maintain river gunboats when the need for all the other treaty ships (aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers, submarines, airplane tenders, floating dry docks) made so much more sense? Because the gunboats were always a "non-negotiable" item on the General Board building policy serials due to the political requirement to support the U.S. policy of the Open Door in China. What intrigues is that in the face of inadequate means of national power to support this policy, instead of modifying the policy to better suit national interests and, more importantly, means. (For example, can the Asiatic Fleet do anything meaningful other than "show the flag"?) U.S. administrations from Harding to FDR remained committed to the Open Door while hoping that conflict could be avoided via a continued emphasis on collective security structures and agreements. It amazes one less when one realizes, as Eric has correctly emphasized, that U.S. public opinion would not allow such a policy modification to take place because it was based on a false understanding of just what the policy supported, entailed, and the unrealistic commitments it created for U.S. diplomacy and military power in the Far East. Although a bit dated, this means that the primary argument of the venerable American diplomatic historian Thomas Bailey  has legs as an explanation for the roots of the American China Policy -- at least as an interpretative approach for this period in history. I will leave to another post a similar discussion of our Policy vis-à-vis the Philippines, which both intersects with the Chinese policy problem as well as has its own set of problematic assumptions. VR, John T. Kuehn Assistant Professor of Military History USA Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, KS 913 684-3972 1. Thomas A Bailey _A Diplomatic History of the American People_ Tenth Edition (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1980). "...so far as they stand the test, my own lectures, form a desirable preparation for works such as those of Corbett..." A.T. Mahan 1909 * * * Message 2, Kevan Warner In this world of Counter-Factual Studies let me ask: Does an allied (albeit American in this case) loss at Midway actually cost the Allies "the war" [in the Pacific] or delay the end? Even ignoring the Chinese campaign that wasn't naval, but in the end could easily have cost the Japanese the 'war' regardless of the outcome at sea. It seems from here to be particularly limiting to presume that a setback at Midway or even a stunning Japanese victory would make Churchill or Roosevelt negotiate with imperial Japan Moreover the Imperial Japanese victory postulated here - is that the negotiated conclusion of hostilities that defensive perimeter for the Co-Prosperity Sphere only they thought possible, or some darker world hegemony? Kevan Warner * * * Message 3, Michael Peck If the American victory at Midway was not a miracle, but the result of Japanese flaws, then the reverse must be true. If the Japanese had won, it would have been a stroke of luck where the IJN triumphed despite its flaws. Just imagine that for a moment; the Japanese victorious at Midway, and future historians judge it a miracle. What's wrong with this picture? Michael Michael Peck Writer and Editor ----- For subscription help, go to: http://www.h-net.org/lists/help/ To change your subscription settings, go to http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=h-war -----