The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Archive/File: imt/ tgmwc/judgment/j-invasion-usa
Last-Modified: 1997/09/13

                           of the
               International Military Tribunal
                           For The
             Trial of German Major War Criminals

               His Majesty's Stationery Office

                                                   [Page 35]

Four days after the attack launched by the Japanese on the
United States fleet in Pearl Harbor on 7th December, 1941,
Germany declared war on the United States.

The Tripartite Pact between Germany, Italy, and Japan, had
been signed on the 27th September, 1940, and from that date
until the attack upon the U.S.S.R., the defendant
Ribbentrop, with other defendants, was endeavoring to induce
Japan to attack British possessions in the Far East. This,
it was thought, would hasten England's defeat, and keep the
United States out of the war.

The possibility of a direct attack on the United States was
considered and discussed as a matter for the future. Major
von Falkenstein, the Luftwaffe liaison officer with the
Operations Staff of the OKW, summarizing military problems
which needed discussion in Berlin in October of 1940, spoke
of the possibility "of the prosecution of the war against
America at a later date." It is clear, too, that the German
policy of keeping America out of the war, if possible, did
not prevent Germany promising support to Japan even against
the United States. On the 4th April, 1941, Hitler told
Matsuoka, the Japanese

                                                   [Page 36]

Foreign Minister, in the presence of the Defendant
Ribbentrop, that Germany would "strike without delay" if a
Japanese attack on Singapore should lead to war between
Japan and the United States. The next day Ribbentrop himself
urged Matsuoka to bring Japan into the war.

On the 28th November, 1941, ten days before the attack on
Pearl Harbor, von Ribbentrop encouraged Japan, through her
Ambassador in Berlin, to attack Great Britain and the United
States, and stated that should Japan become engaged in a war
with the United States, Germany would join the war
immediately. A few days later, Japanese representatives told
Germany and Italy that Japan was preparing to attack the
United States, and asked for their support. Germany and
Italy agreed to do this, although in the Tripartite Pact,
Italy and Germany had undertaken to assist Japan only if she
were attacked. When the assault on Pearl Harbor did take
place, the Defendant Ribbentrop is reported to have been
"overjoyed", and later, at a ceremony in Berlin, when a
German medal was awarded to Oshima, the Japanese Ambassador,
Hitler indicated his approval of the tactics which the
Japanese had adopted of negotiating with the United States
as long as possible, and then striking hard without any
declaration of war.

Although it is true that Hitler and his colleagues
originally did not consider that a war with the United
States would be beneficial to their interest, it is apparent
that in the course of 1941 that view was revised, and Japan
was given every encouragement to adopt a policy which would
almost certainly bring the United States into the war. And
when Japan attacked the United States fleet in Pearl Harbor
and thus made aggressive war against the United States, the
Nazi Government caused Germany to enter that war at once on
the side of Japan by declaring war themselves on the United

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