The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter IX
Collaboration with Italy & Japan
Aggressive War Against the United States
November 1936 to December 1941
(Part 7 of 12)

Ott's reply to this telegram (2897-PS), dated 13 July 1941, was as follows:

(Secret Cipher System)

"Tokyo 14 July 1941 0230 hrs.
Arrived 14 July 1941 1120 hrs.

As fast as possible!

"#1217 dated 13.7
for Minister for Foreign Affairs.

[Page 856]

Answer to telegram 10, #108 Reichsminister for Foreign Affairs

Arrived Tokyo 12 July 1941

"I am trying with all means to work toward Japan's entry into the war against Russia as soon as possible. Especially using arguments of personal message of Foreign Minister and telegram cited above, to convince Matsuoka personally, as well as the Foreign Office, Military elements, Nationalists and friendly business men. I believe that, according to military preparations, Japanese participation will soon take place. The greatest obstacles against which one has to fight thereby is the disunity among Activist groups which, without unified command, follows various aims and only slowly adjusts itself to the changed situation.

Ott." (2897-PS)

On subsequent occasions Ribbentrop repeated his exhortations to induce the Japanese to aggression against the USSR Three documents, covering July of 1942 and March and April of 1943, record these exhortations.

The first discussion occurred between Ribbentrop and Oshima, Japanese Ambassador to Berlin, on 9 July 1942. As a matter of background, it may be noted that at that time German armies were sweeping forward in the USSR and the fall of Sevastapol had just been announced. The discussion proceeded as follows:

"Notes concerning the discussion between the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Ambassador Oshima at Steinort, on 9 July 1942.

"He, the German Foreign Minister, had asked to see the Ambassador at this time when the situation was as described, because now a question of fateful importance had arisen concerning the joint conduct of the war: if Japan felt itself sufficiently strong militarily, the moment for Japan to attack Russia was probably now. He thought it possible that, if Japan attacked Russia now, it would lead to her (Russia's final moral collapse; at least it would hasten the collapse of her present system. In any case, never again would Japan have such an opportunity as existed at present, to eliminate once and for all the Russian colossus in Eastern Asia. He had discussed this question with the Fuehrer, and the Fuehrer was of the same opinion, but he wanted to emphasize one point right away: Japan should attack Russia only if she felt sufficiently strong for such an undertaking. Under no circumstances should Japanese operations against Russia be allowed to bog down at the halfway mark, and we

[Page 857]

do not want to urge Japan into an action that is not mutually profitable." (2911-PS)

Ribbentrop and Ambassador Oshima had another conference on 6 March 1943. It is noted, again for background, that the strategic military situation in the broad expanses of the USSR had changed somewhat. In the previous month, February 1943, the Soviet Armies had completely defeated the German forces at Stalingrad and inflicted severe losses. To the north and west their winter offensive had recovered large areas from the hands of the invaders. In addition, combined US and British forces had already: landed in North Africa. The tone of Ribbentrop's argument reflects the changed military situation. The familiar Japanese refrain of "so sorry please" likewise appears to have crept in. It is noted, in this regard, that the month of February 1943 had also seen the end of organized Japanese resistance on the island of Guadalcanal. The conference went as follows:

"Ambassador Oshima declared that he had received a telegram from Tokyo, and he is to report by order of his government to the Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs (RAM) the following: The suggestion of the German Government, to attack Russia, was the subject of a common conference between the Japanese Government and the Imperial headquarters, during which the question was discussed in detail and investigated exactly. The result is the following: the Japanese Government absolutely recognizes the danger which threatens from Russia, and completely understands the desire of its German ally that Japan on her part will also enter the war against Russia. However, it is not possible for the Japanese Government, considering the present war situation, to enter into the war. It is rather of the conviction that it -would be in the common interest not to start the war against ,Russia now. On the other hand, the Japanese Government would never disregard the Russian question.

"The Japanese Government has the intention to become aggressive again in the future on other fronts.

"The RAM brought up the question after the explanation by the Ambassador, of how the continued waging of the war is envisaged in Tokyo. At present, Germany wages the war against the common enemies, England and America, mostly alone, while Japan mostly behaves more defensively. However, it would be more correct that all powers allied in the Three Power Pact would combine their forces to defeat England and America, but also Russia together. It is not good when one part must fight alone. One cannot overstrain the

[Page 858]

German national strength. He has worried silently that certain forces work in Tokyo, who are of the opinion and who propagate it, that Germany would come through the fight victoriously, and that therefore Japan should consolidate itself further at first, before it makes further and utmost efforts."

"Then the RAM again brought up the question of the attack on Russia by Japan, and he declared that after all, the fight on the Burma front as well as in the South is actually more of a maritime problem, and on all fronts except those in China -- there are mostly very few ground forces committed. Therefore the attack on Russia is primarily an army affair, and he asked himself whether the necessary forces would not be ready for that". (2954-PS)

Ribbentrop kept on trying. He held another conference with Oshima about three weeks later, on 18 April 1943. The top secret notes of this conference reveal the following:

"The Reichminister for Foreign Affairs then stressed again that without any doubt this year presented the most favorable opportunity for Japan, if she felt strong enough and had sufficient anti-tank weapons at her disposal, to attack Russia, which certainly would never again be as weak as she is at the moment." (2929-PS)

The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

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