Wednesday, May 21, 2008


This Day in the History of Dangerous Times

On this day in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed "an unlimited state of national emergency," regarding Germany's submarine activities in the Atlantic as well as the expected reaction of Japan to the following diplomatic pressures with which we tried to stop Japan's war of conquest in China:

July 25, 1940: The US prohibited the export of oil to countries outside the Americas and Great Britain. This decision was confirmed on August 1, 1941 when it was modified to include aviation fuel and allow exports to all countries of the British Empire as well. (We had supplied Japan with approximately 65% of the oil it used).

September 26, 1940: An embargo on scrap iron and steel exports to Japan was initiated. [and the future action]

July 26, 1941: The US (and Britain)froze Japanese assets. The Dutch East Indies followed-up two days later and cancelled its oil contracts as well. These moves resulted in the loss to Japan of 75% of its foreign trade and 90% of its oil supplies.

The wonder is that Japan waited until December to act out.


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