The Daily Yomiuri,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8055
About the origins of the Second World War in the Pacific theater, Joe Rankin asks “Were the League of Nations and the United States justified in imposing their will upon another nation for wanting to join their den of iniquity? I’ll let history speak for itself.” in his July 7, 2007 letter, “Japan as both victim and perpetrator in history.” The background to this was the hypocrisy of the Western powers trying to deny Japanese imperial ambitions in Asia after they themselves had already successfully pursued such ambitions and established far-reaching global empires. He is right, of course: it was ridiculous and morally obtuse for Western powers to deny Japanwhat they themselves were steeped in - colonial interference in China and Indo-Chinese societies. Except, when you consider the lay of the historical landscape.
It might be said that history does indeed absolve the League of Nations and the United States for standing in Japan’s way even to the point of war and, thereby, denying Japan entry to their “den.” The reason is that the height of empire had already passed by the time of the First World War, and certainly by the 1930s-40s colonial independence movements were well established and moving unrelentingly towards success. The historical movements towards self-government and democracy were already established, and movements towards empire were already obsolete by the time Germanyunder the Kaisers and modern Japan, which were both comparatively late to achieve sufficient industrial/military prowess to compete with previously established powers, sought to realize their dreams of empire. Germany achieved limited success in Africa and the Pacific, but the Great War buried it. Japan continued with its ambitions along those lines even when they were clearly obsolete ambitions, robbing credibility from the claim that Japan’s intention was to liberate Asian countries form their European colonizers.
But I could be wrong.