I recently read a book called “The Yamato Dynasty” which describes the Japanese Imperial family and the politics surrounding it from the Meiji restoration of 1868 to the present day. It’s a fascinating read. The book reconfirmed something I had heard before, that the US inadvertently caused the war in the Pacific.
Since the Meiji restoration, which was brought on by US Admiral Perry sailing to Japan and forcing them to open their borders for trade, those that were for open trade and diplomatic relations with the West and those against, balanced the Japanese ruling elite. Britain became an ally of Japan at the turn of the century and supported the Japanese in their annexation of Korea and Taiwan (colonialism was an accepted policy with Western nations back then) as well as the Russian-Japanese war where the Japanese were victorious. This alliance and support from Britain boosted the Japanese Pro West faction considerably. All was well until the end of WWI when the US took over from the British as the most influential world power.
The Americans did not fancy the Japanese-British alliance and pressured the British to give it up. The British did not want to give up the alliance and even proposed a three-way (US, Britain, Japan) alliance, which the Americans rejected. The British, succumbed to the pressure from the Americans and agreed not to renew the alliance with Japan in 1921. The immediate effect in Japan was a realignment of power from the Pro-West to the Anti-West faction. The new rulers began preparing for war 15 years before the first bullets were fired. Had the British remained allied to the Japanese, or better yet, had the Americans joined the alliance, the war in the Pacific would probably never have occurred.
The above is a general recap. For the details, read the book. The thing that is not clear to me is why the Americans were so adamant in isolating Japan. Was it purely a case of yellow jingoism? Or was there something else? I would hate to think it was purely a racial reason.
P.S. Moderators: I’ve posting this in GQ. However, I think it could develop into a debate, if so, please feel free to move it as you see fit.