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 10 of 12)

The Nazi conspirators knew that the aggressive war they were urging the Japanese to undertake both threatened the vital interests of the United States and could lead the US to involvement in the contemplated Far Eastern conflict. This fact is clear from the report of the conference between Hitler and the Japanese Foreign Minister Matsuoka in Berlin on 4 April 1941 (1881-PS). The report states, in part:

"*** Matsuoka then also expressed the request that the Fuehrer should instruct the proper authorities in Germany to meet as broad-mindedly as possible the wishes of the Japanese Military Commission. Japan was in need of German help particularly concerning the U- boat warfare, which could be given by making available to them the latest experiences of the war as well as the latest technical improvements and inventions. Japan would do her utmost to avoid a war with the United States. In case that the country should decide to attack Singapore, the Japanese Navy, of course, had to be prepared for a fight with the United States, because in that case America probably would side with Great Britain. He (Matsuoka) personally believed that the United States would be restrained by diplomatic exertions from entering

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the war at the side of Great Britain. The Army and Navy had, however, to count on the worst situation, that is, with war against America. They were of the opinion that such a war would extend for five years or longer and would take the form of guerrilla warfare in the Pacific and would be fought out in the South Sea. For this reason the German experiences in her guerrilla warfare are of the greatest value to Japan. It was a question how such a war would best be conducted -- and how all the technical improvements of submarines, in all details such as periscopes and such like, could best be exploited by Japan.

"To sum up, Matsuoka requested that the Fuehrer should see to it that the proper German authorities would place at the disposal of the Japanese those developments and inventions concerning Navy and Army, which were needed by the Japanese.

"The Fuehrer promised this and pointed out that Germany too considered a conflict with the United States undesirable, but that it had already made allowances for such a contingency."


"Matsuoka once more repeated his request that the Fuehrer might give the necessary instructions, in order that the proper German authorities would place at the disposal of the Japanese the latest improvement and inventions, which are of interest to them, because the Japanese Navy had to prepare immediately for a conflict with the United States.

"As regards Japanese-American relationship, Matsuoka explained further that he has always declared in his country that sooner or later a war with the United States would be unavoidable, if Japan continued to drift along as at present. In his opinion this conflict would happen rather sooner than later. His argumentation went on, why should Japan, therefore, not decisively strike at the right moment and take the risk upon herself of a fight against America?" (1881-PS)

The passages just quoted show not only a realization of the probable involvement of the United States in the Far Eastern conflict that the Nazis were urging, but also a knowledge on their part that the Japanese Army and Navy were actually preparing war plans against the United States. Furthermore, the Nazis knew at least a part of what those war plans were. This fact is revealed in a secret telegram from the German military attache in Tokyo, dated 24 May 1941 (1538-PS). The attache reports

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the conferences he has had regarding Japan's entry in the war in the event Germany should become involved in war with the United States. In paragraph 1, this sentence appears:

"Preparations for attack on Singapore and Manila stand." (1538-PS) .

A review of the Nazi position with regard to the United States at this point, the Spring of 1941, shows that in view of their press of commitments elsewhere and their aggressive plans against the USSR, set for execution in June of 1941, their temporary strategy was naturally a preference that the United States not be involved in war at that time. Nevertheless they had been considering their own preliminary plans against the United States, as seen in the Atlantic Islands document (376-PS) . They were repeatedly urging the Japanese to aggression against the British Commonwealth, just as they would urge them to attack the USSR soon after the launching of the Nazi invasion. They were aware that the course along which they were pushing the Japanese in the Far East would probably lead to involvement of the United States. Indeed, the Japanese Foreign Minister had told Hitler this in so many words, and their own military men had fully realized the implications of the move against Singapore. They knew also that the Japanese Army and Navy were preparing operational plans against the United States. They knew at least part of those plans.

The Nazi conspirators not only knew all these things. They accepted the risk of the aggressive course they were urging on the Japanese and pushed their Eastern allies still farther along that course. On 4 April 1941, Hitler- told the Japanese Foreign Minister that in the event Japan were to become involved in war with the United States, Germany would immediately take the consequences and strike without delay. The following is a passage from the notes of the Hitler- Matsuoka conference in Berlin on 4 April 1941:

"In the further course of the discussion the Fuehrer pointed out that Germany on her part would immediately take the consequences, if Japan would get involved with the United States. It did not matter with whom the United States would first get involved, if with Germany or with Japan. They would always try to eliminate one country at a time, not to come to an understanding with the other country subsequently, but to liquidate this one just the same. Therefore Germany would strike, as already mentioned, without delay in case of a conflict between Japan and America, because the strength of the tripartite powers lies in their

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joined action. Their weakness would be if they would let themselves be beaten individually." (1881-PS)

Hitler then encouraged Matsuoka in his decision to strike against the United States:

"The Fuehrer replied that he could well understand the situation of Matsuoka, because he himself was in similar situations (the clearing of the Rhineland, declaration of sovereignty of armed Forces). He too was of the opinion that he had to exploit favorable conditions and accept the risk of an anyhow unavoidable fight at a time when he himself was still young and full of vigor. How right he was in his attitude was proven by events. Europe now was free. He would not hesitate a moment to instantly reply to any widening of the war, be it by Russia, be it by America. Providence favored those who will not let dangers come to them, but who will bravely face them." (1881-PS)

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

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