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 11 of 12)

Here, in the passages just quoted, were assurance, encouragement, and abetment by the head of the German State the leading Nazi co-conspirator, in April 1941. But the Nazi encouragement and promise of support did not end there. Another telegram from the German Ambassador in Tokyo regarding conversations with the Japanese Foreign Minister, dated 130 January 1941, one week before Pearl Harbor, read as follows:

"The progress of the negotiations so far confirms his viewpoint that the difference of opinion between Japan and the US is very great. The Japanese Government since it sent Ambassador Kurusu has taken a firm stand, as he told me. He is convinced that this position is in our favor and makes the United States think that her entry into the European war would be risky business. The new American proposal of 25 November showed great divergences in the viewpoints of the two nations. These differences of opinion concern, for example, the further treatment of the Chinese question. The biggest (one word missing) however resulted from the US attempt to make the three-power agreement ineffective. US suggested to Japan to conclude treaties of non- aggression with the US, the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and other countries in order to prevent Japan's entry into the war on the side of the Axis powers. Japan, however, insisted upon maintaining her treaty obligations and for this reason American demands are the greatest obstacles for adjusting Japanese-American relations. He avoided discussing concessions promised by the US and merely mentioned that grave decisions were at stake.

[Page 867]

"The US is seriously preparing for war and is about to operate a considerable part of its fleet from Southern Pacific bases. The Japanese Government is busy working out an answer in order to clarify its viewpoint. But he has no particulars at that moment. He thinks the American proposals, as a whole, unacceptable.

"Japan is not afraid of a breakdown of negotiations and she hopes that in that case Germany and Italy, according to the Three Power Agreement, would stand at her side. I answered that there could be no doubt about Germany's future position. The Japanese Foreign Minister thereupon stated that he understood from my words that Germany in such a case would consider her relationship to Japan as that of a community of fate. I answered, according to my opinion, Germany was certainly ready to have mutual agreement between the two countries over this situation.

"Minister of Foreign Affairs answered that it was possible that he would come back to this point soon. The conversation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs confirmed the impression that the US note, in fact, is very unsatisfactory even for the compromise-seeking politicians here. For these circles America's position, especially in the China question, is very disappointing. The emphasis upon the Three-Power Pact as being the main obstacle between successful Japanese- US negotiations seems to point to the fact that the Japanese Government is becoming aware of the necessity of close cooperation with the Axis powers." (2898-PS)

Extracts from the handwritten diary of Count Galleazzo Ciano during the period 13 February 1941 to 18 February 1941 fill in the picture (2987-PS). These are taken from notes which Ciano jotted down in the course of his daily business as Foreign Minister of Italy. The entries for 3, 4, and 5 December read:

"December 3. Wednesday "Sensational move by Japan. The Ambassador asks for an audience with the Duce and reads him a long statement on the progress of the negotiations with America, concluding with the assertion that they have reached a dead end. Then, invoking the appropriate clause in the Tripartite Pact, he asks that Italy declare war on America immediately after the outbreak of hostilities and proposes the signature of an agreement not to conclude a separate peace. The interpreter translating this request was trembling like a leaf. The Duce gave fullest assurances, reserving the right to confer with

[Page 868]

Berlin before giving a reply. The Duce was pleased with the communication and said: "We are now on the brink of the inter-continental war which I predicted as early as September 1939." What does this new event mean? In any case, it means that Roosevelt has succeeded in his maneuver. Since he could not enter into the war immediately and directly, he has entered it indirectly by letting himself be attacked by Japan. Furthermore, this event also means that every prospect of peace is becoming further and further removed, and that it is now easy -- much too easy - to predict a long war. Who will be able to hold out longest? It is on this basis that the problem must be considered. Berlin's answer will be somewhat delayed, because Hitler has gone to the southern front to see General Kleist, whose armies continue to give way under the pressure of an unexpected Soviet offensive.

"Berlin's reaction to the Japanese move is extremely cautious. Perhaps they will accept because they cannot get out of it, but the idea of provoking America's intervention pleases the Germans less and less. Mussolini, on the other and, is pleased about it. ***"

"A night interrupted by Ribbentrop's restlessness. After delaying two days, now he cannot wait a minute to answer the Japanese and at three in the morning he sent Mackenson to my house to submit-a plan for a triple agreement relative to Japanese intervention and the pledge not to make a separate peace. He wanted me to awaken the Duce, but I did not do so, and the latter was very glad I hadn't ***"

It appears from the last entry that some sort of agreement was reached. On Sunday, 7 December 1941, Japan without previous warning or declaration of war commenced an attack against the United States at Pearl Harbor and against the British Commonwealth of Nations in the Southwest Pacific. On the morning of 11 December, four days after the Japanese assault in the Pacific, the German Government declared war on the United States. (2507-PS)

The same day, 11 December 1941, the Congress of the United States resolved that "the state of war between the United States and the Government of Germany which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared". (2945-PS)

[Page 869]

It thus appears that, apart from their own aggressive intentions and declaration of war against the United States, the Nazi conspirators in their collaboration with Japan incited and kept in motion a force reasonably calculated to result in an attack on the United States. While maintaining their preference that the United States not be involved in the war at the time, they nevertheless foresaw the distinct possibility, even probability of such involvement as a result of the actions they were encouraging; they were aware that the Japanese had prepared plans for attack against the United States; and they accepted the consequences by assuring the Japanese that they would declare war on the United States should a US-Japanese conflict result. In dealing with captured documents of the enemy, the completeness of the plan is necessarily obscured. But those documents which have been discovered, and introduced into evidence before the Tribunal, show that the Japanese attack was the proximate and foreseeable consequence of their collaboration policy, and that their exhortations and encouragement of the Japanese as surely led to Pearl Harbor as though Pearl Harbor itself had been mentioned.

The entry in the Ciano Diary for 18 February 1941 gives an interesting sidelight on Ribbentrop's reaction to the Japanese sneak attack:

"A night telephone call from Ribbentrop; he is overjoyed about the Japanese attack on America. He is so happy about it that I am happy with him, though I am not too sure about the final advantages of what has happened. One thing is now certain: that America will enter the conflict, and that the conflict will be so long that she will be able to realize all her potential force. This morning I told this to the King who had been pleased about the event. He ended by admitting that in the "long run" I may be right. Mussolini was happy too. For a long time he has favored a definite clarification of relations between America and the Axis." (2987-PS)

A conference was held between Hitler and Japanese Ambassador Oshima on 14 December 1941, from 1300 to 1400 hours, in the presence of the Reich Foreign Minister, Ribbentrop. The subject matter was the Pearl Harbor attack. The top secret notes-of this conference read in part:

"*** First the Fuehrer presents Ambassador Oshima with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the German Eagle in gold. With cordial words he acknowledges his serv-

[Page 870]

ices in the achievement of German-Japanese cooperation, which has now obtained its culmination in a close brotherhood of arms.

"General Oshima expresses his thanks for the great honor and emphasizes how glad he is that this brotherhood of arms has now come about between Germany and Japan.

"The Fuehrer continues: "You gave the right declaration of war!" This method is the only proper one. Japan pursued it formerly and it corresponds with his own system, that is, to negotiate as long as possible. But if one sees that the other is interested only in putting one off, in shaming and humiliating one, and is not willing to come to an agreement, then one should strike -- as hard as possible, indeed -- and not waste time declaring war. It was heartwarming to him to hear of the first operations of the Japanese. He himself negotiated with infinite patience at times, for example, with Poland and also with Russia. When he then realized, that the other did not want to come to an agreement, he struck suddenly and without formalities. He would continue to go this way in the future." (2932-PS)

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

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