July 5, 2005

A well-kept secret about Pearl Harbor

I was reading my Zinn book today, A People's History of the United States. I'm on the chapter about World War II called "A People's War?". According to Zinn (remember, this really is a history book, its in the history section and everything), the attack on Pearl Harbor was not as unprovoked as the media made it seem back in 1941. We actually did do something to piss off Japan that may have caused them to attack us on that horrifying December morning.

You see, before 1941, we had no problem with Japan. They were picking China apart just as much as we were, but they got a little too close to our tin, rubber, and oil interests in Southeast Asia, so the U.S. put "a total
embargo on scrap iron, a total embargo on oil in the summer of 1941".

We screwed Japan out of some money, and that just may have been a reason why they struck. Its important to know this kind of information because it helps to better understand a situation and keeps one from turning to brash rationale like "the Japanese are evil", which led to detention camps for Japanese people in the western United States after Pearl Harbor. Our history books in public schools say that the attack on Pearl Harbor was totally unprovoked and thats why we absolutely had to join the war, and thats simply not true.

Its a shame that one has to go out of his way and choose a book to buy that will give the whole story, but self-education is always a good thing anyway. I encourage (and challenge) anyone who is reading these words to somehow attain Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States and educate yourself about our country's history. Do it now. If I can, you can.

1 comment:

Ron said...

You're going to be such a pain in government class next year. I'm so proud of you!