Catalogue ref: WO 208/2081
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This source is an extract from a report by a British naval officer soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The officer clearly believed that the Japanese citizens living in and around Pearl Harbor could not be trusted. He was concerned that Japanese citizens in the British possession of Singapore might act as agents for a Japanese attack there.
WW2 broke out in Europe in 1939. The USA was neutral in the early stages of the war although it was clear that US President Roosevelt was no friend of Nazi Germany or its ally Japan. In Japan, hard line military commanders had become increasingly powerful during the 1930s. Japan had built up an empire in Asia and these leaders wanted Japan to become Asia’s leading power. They knew that the USA would stand in their way and that war with America would happen some time. They decided to try and knock out the US fleet in the Pacific. The plan was to buy time to build up their resources in the Pacific so that Japan would be ready to take on the USA once it recovered from the attack at Pearl Harbor.
By 1941 Japan was a dominating force in Asia. It invaded Manchuria in 1931 and then China in 1937. By 1940 Japan controlled Korea and French Indochina (modern Vietnam). It intended to use these territories as a platform to take control of British territories like Malaya and Singapore, the Dutch East Indies and the US dominated Philippines. After Pearl Harbor this plan worked very effectively. At one point it seemed that even Australia might be under threat from invasion.
Hawaii had a large population of Japanese immigrants. Some were Japanese citizens but many others were American citizens as they had been born in Hawaii and grown up there.
During WW2 around 120000 Americans of Japanese descent were put into camps.
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