Japan’s Rush to the Pacific War
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✍️ Lionel P. FATTON
This book investigates the phenomenon of overbalancing through an analysis of Japan’s foreign policy during the interbellum. In the mid-1930s, Japan withdrew from a naval arms control framework that had restrained military buildup on both sides of the Pacific Ocean since the early 1920s. By doing so, Japan not only triggered a naval arms race with the United States that exhausted its economy, it also destroyed the last institutionalized structure regulating the relationship between the two Pacific powers. Japan and the United States became caught in a spiral of tensions that culminated with the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Puzzling is the fact that the international environment in the Asia-Pacific was relatively stable in the mid-1930s, while Washington was pursuing a policy of accommodation toward Tokyo. By rejecting arms control and engaging in unfettered naval expansion, Japan overbalanced against the United States and began its rush to the Pacific War.