As the attack on Pearl Harbor on this day in 1941 fades into history and the people who were there leave us, a theme has grown up that the American response to the attack by the Empire of Japan was somehow racist.
Sure, there was a lot of propaganda after the start of the war that was very harsh on the Japanese. Americans of Japanese descent were interned under the guise of what we now call “national security.” At the time, it no doubt seemed a reasonable step.
We had been attacked without formal declaration of war by the Japanese. Understand that such was not their intent, but they were inept in how they decoded, typed, and delivered the message. The effect was of an unprovoked “sneak attack.” The Japanese had a history of simultaneously declaring war and attacking, which is what they were planning for Pearl Harbor.
It’s odd, but the people crying “racism” either don’t know or don’t care that there was plenty of “racism” on the part of the Japanese.
Their treatment of prisoners of war was despicable. Japan, not being a signatory of the Geneva Convention of 1929 were not bound by its terms. Which does not excuse the starvation of, the summary executions, or casual torture of prisoners of war.
The Japanese were the provocateurs of the war in the Pacific, not the victims.
The war that followed in the Pacific and Asia was brutal. It was almost four years before the Japanese surrendered. At that, it took the destruction of two Japanese cities by Atomic Bombs before they finally, and in many cases reluctantly, surrendered.
It all started Seventy Seven years ago today.