Skip to main content

tv   Countdown to Infamy  CSPAN  December 25, 2013 10:45am-11:41am EST

10:45 am
the interesting people, people who made the changes often are people who have the capacity to change their mines, -- minds, ad one of the thing people say about -- go back to lincoln -- was the capacity to grow, and grow means changing your mind and revisiting opinions of view you had earlier and seeing that perhaps they were time-bound, or bound by where you were, but you're willing to say, no, i think i'll move in a different direction, and i think that is what we need always. ... our time >> thank you very much and best wishes to both ofl you. [inaudible conversations] >> this program is part of the
10:46 am
30th annual miami book fair international. to find out more visit miami book >> next, eri hotta examines an attack on pearl harbor and entry into world war ii from the a japanese perspective. this is about one hour.r >> good evening. thank you very much for coming. it's always somewhat artificial situation of two people who know each other well, husband and wife i suppose, fall into thatnw category. and do anything in publicu likea this.r over why should i ask a question that on i can ask her over the breakfast table? on the other hand one doesn'the rarely norma discuss japanese naval strategy in 1941 over thea breakfastte table. y opportunity to discuss it a little bit further. and one of the things that i find most interesting about the book, and revealing and possibly
10:47 am
for many readers in this country also is that it tackles a myth about pearl harbor. and one of the myths is which was, of course, very much encouraged in the postwar period not only the japanese themselves but the american administration is that japan had been hijacked by the militarist and the civilians really were not to blame for what happened. it it was a kind of militarist cue, and the japanese people ab and the emperor himself were really sort of duped by the militarist embarking this reckless adventure. what would you say to that particular myth? it was a very easy and convenient myth. it disengaged quite a few people who were actually responsible in
10:48 am
reality and of course for the japanese nation as well to think that the war could have been averted was too painful a question to ask, i think. and that was sort of self-perpetuating myth. that the japanese themselves took to after the war. >> in your book, you also describe why it's wrong to think of it in term of the civilians being duped. because some of the civilians politicians, not least the prime minister so much of the time -- was actually foe a large extent responsible for what happened. even though he thought it would lead to a disaster. can you say something about that? >> right. the fact decision making
10:49 am
responsibility was shared between civilians and the military is hard to sort of imagine. because people take it for granted that the military took over. but it was no the the case. because the leaders actually met over 70 times in the one year up to the pacific war and discussed the alternatives and different steps to be taken, and those conferences were called liaison conferences. and it was not for anything that was called because it was function was to civilian and military strategies and policies and create sort of a unified voice. so civilian poll additions can't say they didn't really have any say. they did have equal say in the conferences. >> so they got along with it even though they had a great -- >> i think it happened other a
10:50 am
course of period which they gradually -- them in to thinking we can say this much. there's some kind of diplomatic breakthrough will happen and we'll sort of notify all the steps they were taking. and it's going on. i think the military leaders have to put up a old front to preserve their face and to appease younger -- who are strategizing and thinking always about expanding this fear of influence and there was also an rivalry. the navy and the army were always fighting with each other for, you know, bigger budget. and i think the navy and army within themselves were very much guided in to different sympathies. so you can't really talk about the military voice as one.
10:51 am
that's another -- >> which is that there's always tremendous consensus on the one hand, on the surface, there's consensus. but actually behind the scenes there was tremendous rival i are. >> it was power bargaining. i was trying to escapes me. there's a japanese expression for the top guys being driven by the middle-ranking people who were more radical. >> [inaudible conversations] >> yes. could you explain? >> i think the translation would be something like retainers -- does that make sense? does that sound? >> okay. >> relatively the lord complete authority and principle but actually weak and sort of driven in to a more radical position by hot heads who were in the
10:52 am
middle. >> it justifies our power as well by indicting leaders as ineffective basically. so i think throughout the '30s especially in the beginning of this -- [inaudible] up to february, 1963, i think they were driven by a desire to innovate the japanese poetry. and also to strengthen the system. everything was done in the name of salvaging -- influences that japan under tremendous economic strain and economic cannot be separated in this period. like any other part of the world. so i think there were a hot-blooded soldiers ready to mobilize perceived bit leaders
10:53 am
who had to be appeased. there was also a state of fear about what could happen to them as well. >> which is also, again, rather destroy the other myth of japan as a sort of society which on the one hand has some truth. and the other hand the authorities were often not really in control. and you mentioned the 1936 may not meaning to clear to everybody. depression. that's where people are often really hungry. the dogs are sold into prostitution. the military also fits at the
10:54 am
time and, of course, they believed people responsible for this applied whether capitalist, the bankers, the elite, the associate and so on, and they wanted, they were radicals of the right and wanted to stage a coup to put the emperor come to make the emperor into a kind of the data, which he wasn't. so this set of a fascist state with the emperor. so on were sympathetic to the young -- for the more conservative members of the establishment including the imperial household. they went too far. they didn't disagree with necessarily but didn't like the means. and so this was a clear case of young people in the middle rajivs -- ranks driving people in authority in to positions they
10:55 am
may not wanted to be. >> right. i think the fact that the emperor saw effective by the experience of the failed coup which nearly toppled him is important too. the kind in 1936 i didn't say anything. but it also speaks for the fact that he thought that -- [inaudible] which is in the constitution as clear as he claims. >> the idea -- [inaudible] they could have made a case if he was badly advise z and would have replaced him with his -- >> one of the brothers.
10:56 am
>> one of the brothers who was -- >> younger brothers. which was much more radical. >> yes. popular he was an army officer. thewhat about the other which is >> what about the other myth which, the myth that the japanese people, including the emperor were duped by the militarist is sort of the standard mainstream myth. the right wing nationalists, which is still here in japan, is that japan was trapped, was sort of forced into attacking pearl harbor because they were surrounded by western colonial powers. the abcd, my country were involved in this, america, britain -- >> china. >> and the netherlands. and that japan had a perfect right to dissent its interests in east asia and that included its presence in china and someone, and that they were surrounded by western powers who
10:57 am
didn't want japan to have its moment in the sun. and so they were driven by economic boycotts and that kind of thing. they had no more choice. they had to do it. and then, of course, we can also talk about that, the americans -- this is the myth again, the americans forced their hand spent right. the abcd encirclement is a somewhat classic explanation for many of the regions. i think kaiser germany world war i, they complained about encirclement very much. i think that was very much on the japanese might as well. the fact that the wartime government made use of that narrative, told you, gave a speech on the day of the pearl harbor attack that japan was reluctantly going -- [inaudible] >> who was a prime minister. japan entered the war,
10:58 am
reluctantly, despite all the nation's past efforts of trying to achieve peace in east asia. it went hand in hand with this larger regional agencies, the concept that japanese were taken by the sort of, in the end and in effect abuse. that was quite useful at the time as well. and useful to make them believe themselves that they were fighting for the right cause. so i think that narrative was quite strong. and who would really want to die for the wrong cause? so you want to believe that, and if you were ordinary citizens without much access to real information, about the china role of about japanese and realism, i don't think it's hard to imagine how appealing that narrative might have been. >> it had a kernel of truth of course but it's true that unlike
10:59 am
nazi germany, japan was fighting the war against other embryo powers. and george tenet was one person who actually criticized the u.s. diplomacy in retrospect said that they should recognize japanese interests more than they did. the whole problem really stems from the fact that since the middle of the 19th century when japan was forcefully opened up by american gunships, the japanese saw their only chance to survive as an independent nation and not be colonized, much like western powers included. that meant having their own empire but he was a little late in the game. but one can sort of understand why it was felt that they had their rights and the europeans had their empire. >> i can understand, understandable but it's not an
11:00 am
excuse either. and the fact that they had a period of relative peace and democratic experiment in the 1920s, and this whole hearted sort of attraction the middle internationalism of the league of nations, which japanese more than anybody else took it seriously, i think it's a shame that you had to go down that way. .. >> and so we are not triggering that and not even in the medium-term causes of war. it had more to do with japanese ambition and early-stage our rivalries in the control of china as well that it's
11:01 am
competing against the united states as well. and this is the military mindset that perhaps this reckless war could also be wrong. >> and in the past we had some of these powers, like teddy roosevelt, where the japanese beat the russians as well. and they talked about the plucky japanese and soviet redish. and it could be seen as a kind of non-addressed issue. and we americans kind of relate to that. >> absolutely. >> the fact that this operation is also surprising.
11:02 am
the soviets don't seem to make as much of a myth about the surprise of the stealth and sleek nature of the attack. i think that it has to do it being so dramatic and all that america was doing, when attack on its soil, it was a heavily populated japanese island. and i think that it just became part of the american psyche and the connective historical narrative in a sort of departed significant. >> so what does that play with john tower and amongst the others? and we did not necessarily can tell in this attack on pearl harbor. his analysis is that one of the reasons that the americans were so shocked by this event, and so
11:03 am
outraged, the idea of infamy in such. was that it played into this and you see it in so many western movies, the treacherous indians, the brave pioneers. and then suddenly we have these redskins screeching war cries and i think that in his analysis, i think it was part of this and that was one that is part of an explanation and it exactly that. it is the treacherous attack. was it meant to be treacherous? or was it a screwup? >> there is a huge debate about who is responsible with communicating the responsibility of this. but the fact that the deleted document didn't specify and that it was not a declaration of war.
11:04 am
and you cannot really argue the stealth of the attack has remained in this treacherous nature and we are not being affected. the fact that he had this and could model this, it had something to do with the anomaly of it. there is something to be said about the comparison to the indians were the native american. >> the redskins. [applause] >> in movies. they have not been at the breakfast table. >> it speaks for the disproportionate asymmetrical nature of the welfare that was being forged. and i think that's why after 9/11 it was tempting for people to use this analogy of the
11:05 am
attack, feeling much like pearl harbor, and we have had very under resource power to undertake this giant momentarily. so i think that that is part of it. >> perhaps to carry on slightly from what we were talking about before. another analysis is part of this, the japanese intellectuals , one particular who is not with us. ending up with being a nationalist. his face was the hundred year war. and that pearl harbor was part of a wall or actually started in the 1860s when japan was opened up for this. and then ever since we had been
11:06 am
fighting back against the western dominance. is there truth to that? >> well, yes, if you look at the whole history in terms of cultural crash, that is just -- you are attempting this spleen the political events that took place in the meantime and reduce everything to these views. of course, these things affect one's thinking and acts as part of the mind. but we can't really say this because of the racism. of course, we can disquiet individual beliefs and how people might have reacted to different situations and how others may have held onto certain beliefs more strongly than the others. it doesn't explain this.
11:07 am
and i can see how it could be tempting. >> my role here is to be the right wing japanese nationalists. [applause] >> so why didn't this work we met what do they think -- what was the hope? because even the mastermind of the attack on pearl harbor, the general who had been a harvard and the u.s. embassy in washington, he knew the west very well and he was a very sophisticated man who wanted the government and in several occasions it was a very reckless thing to do. and i know that he was a gambling man and he was a vain enough to think he was the man to do it if anyone. but what do they hope to get out of that? >> it was a gamble.
11:08 am
and they felt that they had been ordered into the situation and they justified it in terms of this that something diplomatic could be worked out after infecting a great deal of damage on the united states. but even though the war was being declared and they expect the american side to applaud japan like diplomatic solutions. so japan itself did not have any exit plan. >> shock and awe? >> right. shock and i'll tell you that japan also didn't have an exit plan there either. and it was because of theodore roosevelt and his intervention in peacemaking efforts, it was not a straightforward thing. >> japanese almost went
11:09 am
bankrupt. they were bailed out by a banker in new york who had escaped this in russia and was no friend of the russians. and white russian officers who were there taken prisoner by the japanese introduced us and many of them then put two and two together and we have to keep them on our side as the conclusion. which is why they're used to handing over the jews to the nazis when they requested it. and i think we are getting close to question time. that last question that i have, perhaps, and i think i'm right in saying that in america pearl harbor has become this mythical
11:10 am
occasion and people think of this in world war ii and pearl harbor is not the first thing from my. >> no, it is not. i think that it would be the first things that come to mind, and also bombings of every major city which tend to be forgotten and not discussed. and i think that that experience is part of it. but it's almost been 70 years and that sort of is a collective experience and so we have a strong attachment, including ms., aside from the fact that it's part of this.
11:11 am
>> there may be another reason. and we haven't really discussed it. which is why so many japanese intellectuals, often people are not fascists or militarists applauded the attack in the the summer of 1941. partly because they have been fighting china even though japan was liberating asia and they have been fighting china and getting deeper into what is known as the quagmire and people felt rather -- many people felt embarrassed, i think. by this. especially if more people think about world war ii, they know more about the atrocities that we know about pearl harbor. so a lot of intellectuals felt that at last we are fighting this and this is the war we
11:12 am
should have been fighting to begin with and not our fellow agents. >> that's right, quite a few of them had first-hand experience and that is why we have this complex. >> those are always the worst. >> yes, they are. >> this includes people to study abroad in this issue as well. and it's a bit like this, like daniel ortega in berkeley, california. but i think perhaps we could open it up to questions. and i will field the questions. >> we have a microphone set up on either side. so i call and you and please identify yourself. and you can
11:13 am
address this with your question we'll start with the gentleman over here. >> hello, i am from stony brook university and the worst dressed person here. [laughter] >> i have a couple questions in one of my questions is, one things you guys didn't discuss was in 1939, japan tried to attack the soviet union and it was a lot bigger than operation than most people realize. they were soundly defeated with a bunch of tanks and the use of that market out? i mean, i know that this shows the rightist people, and some
11:14 am
are really freaked out by that. but did not give them pause two or did no one really know about that? >> it was hushed and the public and the leadership was, of course, shaken. and that is why they decided they couldn't really fight the soviet union after june 22, 1941. and that was very much in their minds. they cannot really afford to fight the suit soviet union. and we have is that they reached in the spring. so we will just keep things quiet and keep fighting china and going into china, so that they can sustain that for the time being. >> okay, let's attack another giant. >> yes, it was also part of the inner services rivalry that we have this strike faction who
11:15 am
wanted to go for the soviet union which was naval because they need the resources who wanted to fighting in southeast asia. they were part of these battles were fought their. >> since you're standing there. thank you. >> okay, thank you. to what extent is he sort of trying to write on these factions and sort of move this was a centralized system? >> well, what little i have read and japan was this factionalized
11:16 am
plays in to what extent is he trying to change that? >> well, he wrote and he was into efficiency. and we have individual parts of this and i think that he did try to centralize and also his primary situation was to help others. because he was a very devoted sort of individual that was part of the institution and one he was appointed the prime minister in october of 1941, the first thing you try to do is try to discuss alternative scenarios, which goes against this openly
11:17 am
bellicose system. and he was not a simpleminded and his position was a bit more complex. >> questions? >> hello. ian had mentioned the china quagmire at the end of your dialogue. i'm wondering if you could restore it to what extent was china perhaps the main driver of japanese war and diplomatic policy. and if you have a problem, make it bigger and you can have opportunities.
11:18 am
and this is entirely off the table. so were their worries, and if you could make can make a larger picture. to what extent were they part of this and their actions in europe if anything, and inducements that we can do more and we can look at the germans at the gates of moscow, to what extent are they working to the access partners is a further incitement? >> absolutely. thank you. i think it was central and they did discuss this, but that it was essential for them to end this war somehow and to end it meant to exit. and possibly come up with what was favorable. they had set up this puppet
11:19 am
regime and they wanted the americans to recognize that as well. and it didn't make sense for the americas. especially between the japanese ambassador and others since april of 1941. china was always there. and was always discussed and it became a sticking point of the negotiation, especially the military and army could not say that we are willing to withdraw if we lifted the sanctions were some kind of bargaining.
11:20 am
but they could not openly discuss this thing. so they were depending on civilian leaders to reach a diplomatic breakthrough. especially if you note roosevelt in person. so he promised too much at home to the military, you can prepare for this in the meantime because you never know and you have to allow me to do this and he thought that -- and americans thought that this would happen until september. until mid-september, even early october. and then they sort of notice this but americans are not going to come to any resolution and so they knew it.
11:21 am
>> your second question is about how -- what is that? [inaudible question] >> i think they were mesmerized by this. not that it wasn't a dangerous and legal aspect because the japanese were relegated to second-class citizens in the japanese themselves wanted to be the people who did know the truth of hitler's harassments. so that was not so much embracing the ideology, -- that was part of the natural aspects of this and also the fact that the factors in europe, especially after this, that the japanese commonly thought that
11:22 am
southeast asia is really ripe for plucking. and if we could push the regime to hand over peacefully with the threat of forest, we would be empowered because it is so far away. well, that is a big mistake and that is what triggered this total embargo and de facto embargo and freezing of the japanese assets as well. >> just to add to that, also see this as an opportunity to check southeast asia because they thought the russians out of the way, europe would go? >> the hardest call toilet that idea and that was not the mainstream.
11:23 am
they were not thinking of this in 1941 in july at all. they were more concerned about power struggle at home and this includes the eccentric prime minister with in this corner cabinet and he was saying that, you know, the ally germany and attacking the soviet union quickly so that we can claim to have participated in the war and maybe take some possessions. but everyone, including the army who have traditionally seen the soviet union as the hypothetical enemy had opposed this. and that was partly because of the experience that really told them otherwise. but it was also to undermine the position and especially wanting
11:24 am
him to leave his cabinet without him having to dirty his own hands. >> they didn't really trust one another. and the question is part of the issue of having this is the end administration and being taken out for drunken evening by one of their japanese colleagues who thought that it would please her western colleagues if they had this over their science of your which was not the thing to do to ingratiate themselves. [inaudible question] >> i'm afraid part of this has been taken up and i was
11:25 am
interested in whether germany was knowing they were going to attack? did america declare war? there was a period five days or so when it wasn't clear and there was even some thought that it might be beneficial for hitler not to declare war and see what happens. and did the germans urge them to do that? >> i doubt if they knew. i doubt if they knew it all. and this is why hitler decided to declare war in the united states, which he didn't actually have to do. something maybe he was an honorable man.
11:26 am
[laughter] and thank goodness he did because it made very easy for roosevelt to get into the european war. especially at a late-night dinner and he said that he said it was my first night we slept very well, but he slept very well. >> i think what the germans were keen for the japanese to do in the middle of 1941, was to attack and bring hitler to be obsessed with this idea and being written. and so i think that he probably thought that they could use that more effectively. >> there was actually very little communication to the access powers.
11:27 am
>> [inaudible] >> a different topic. both germany and japan did all that they could to reintroduce themselves and re-ingratiate themselves for the rest of the world. and generally trying to can contribute as much as they could and in the case of this within 20 or 25 years, the relations with the neighbors including occupied countries were somewhere between cordial to one and it did not happen with japan and still did not happen. and i'm just curious about the difference on that.
11:28 am
>> you have written a book about that. >> there is a long answer to that and one is with being very different neighbors. and its neighbors to the west were west of the democracies and this is as well as unifying europe and that was a very different proposition. and this includes communist china and south korea that was a kind of ally. and there was not an east asian alliance comparable to the european community or nato. and that is one reason. i think the other reason is, one must not overstate the one of the relations.
11:29 am
and certainly i remember in 1988 in my own country, when the netherlands beat germany and more people went to the streets to celebrate than in may 1945 at the end of the war. and having said that, there were different wars and that is the other thing. west germany and east germany and i had very different ideas. when people talk about coming to town with a pass the past and all that kind of thing, people are really not talking about the invasion. they are talking about the holocaust and not the invasion of normandy. and that is a very specific crime committed by a criminal regime. japan did not have a criminal regime. they were the same people who had been in power before the war. and there was not an equivalent in the sense of this, the
11:30 am
ideological war to exterminate a particular people because some thought they didn't have the right to exist. so for all of these reasons and there are other reasons as well, and the fact that history became very political issue in japan and very polarizing, unlike the history of the third reich in germany, which is not a particularly good issue. none of them have much to do with the essential aspects of the japanese character or that kind. >> i agree. and thank you. >> i had a very good question.
11:31 am
i had a very good question that you had raised. and i will start with a hard question. i had read about islands in the neighborhood of indonesia or entire populations have been part of it. i had never forgotten the leaving of it. and so when you talk about the difference between but not these were doing, it was pretty awful. and so i'm not clear that there is a difference. because they were both waiting a on populations. the second question is just -- if you can, starting with grade school when i first started reading history. they talked about warm relations between the united states and after the opening of japan. that warm relations was supposed
11:32 am
to have taken continued place until the start of the peace. and the explanation is a contradiction of his sons and that was the beginning of the end of the japanese and u.s. friendship because the japanese resented the fact that they didn't get more out of the peace than they thought they should have gotten and they thought they cheated us. and i'm perfectly open to that as being a question or being denied. but this is my first opportunity to talk about it. so thank you. >> the second question? >> going to take that. >> okay, i have not heard that area before. because i think they concentrate on the negotiators that didn't
11:33 am
get russian indemnities. and there was a riot afterwards. so it was one perceived in japan is a failure of diplomacy. which sort of explains the popularity of strong and hard as diplomats who had signed this compact and here is this very -- here's this clearheaded diplomat who could stand up to the japanese interests. he was incidentally the one who worked on the rule of nations and so i think it is more perceived that this is the role and it is not part of this on
11:34 am
the american side. if anything, it is sort of perpetuating the idea that america is a great power that can afford to be generous and that sort of thing. and it's not going anywhere from a japanese perspective. including being the mediator between the japanese. and that built-in this expectations and the japanese expectations of the united states as being some kind of benevolent thing standing up for us, which is self-serving, of course. >> on the atrocities, of course it makes very little difference if you're the victim of someone torturing you were shooting it.
11:35 am
it doesn't really make much difference who is doing it or for what reasons. but i think that there is a difference between military atrocities and they were indeed terrible. and it cannot be excused and they should be faced with this and there is a difference between military atrocities and you can talk about why that happened. in a government that has a program to exterminate a people for ideological reasons because they do not have the right to exist -- there was never such a thing in the japanese war. there were many military atrocities in the japanese one. and if you would like, they are very provocative about it. and that psychology is a bit like what happened in the vietnam war but on a vast scale and that they had a lot of
11:36 am
soldiers in hostile territory who often could not see the difference between civilians and guerrilla fighters and so on. they were undisciplined, brutalized by their own officers and often found themselves in a position where they thought the safest thing to do is shoot everyone. and that can quickly escalate to these origins of the violence. what we're talking about earlier with his senior officers, i think the middle ranking ones played part of this as well. even though the image of the japanese army is entirely correct and this is a lot to be desired in the second world war. and so we did have these
11:37 am
enormous massacres and raping and looting on a vast scale. but it's not quite the same thing. and we don't have the right to leave. [inaudible conversations] >> i am i have had conversations and the japanese leader at the time, they thought that they really believe that the united states are part of the proposal that the u.s. would actually
11:38 am
accept this document that ratified the japanese control over china. and of course he does not do this. but the fact that they thought the u.s. might do this is incredible and it's a misperception of everything to a stunning degree. from the american side, from what i can see, there are two groups in the leadership who are kind of nuts about what they are doing. and some insisted that they would never go to war because they knew they would get smashed. and many thought that one is a nation ever attacked? and let's take a hard line because that will force the japanese to back down and they
11:39 am
kept talking about it. and they are taking a very soft line. and the astonishing perception are people who are least informed and this is what we have creating is an incredible degree of people lying to themselves about this. >> well, you see, that is the second question. [laughter] >> thank you. the perception of japan could be described as under estimation or
11:40 am
whatever. but then i think that the japanese -- most leaders could not have seen this plan of attack had it not been for it best. so i think it was an outlandish thing to do and i think that roosevelt was perhaps expecting some minor attacks, even as late as december 1 or where ever. because he saw the troops come and feeding of this attack. which really was a dramatic turn of events. and so i think that the japanese themselves were surprised by it. so i think there is an under estimation of what yamamoto could do. you know, and all sides, almost. and that's my feeling about


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on