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        #190: America History: US-Japan Relations Before World War Two

        作者:David Jarmul 發布日期:8-20-2013

        Japanese soldiers raise their flag over the central government building in Nanking after seizing the city in 1937
        Japanese soldiers raise their flag over the central government building in Nanking after seizing the city in 1937

        STEVE EMBER: Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION - American history in VOA Special English.? I'm Steve Ember.

        (MUSIC)

        In recent programs, we talked about how the rise of Fascist leaders in Europe threatened American neutrality in the nineteen thirties.

        (SOUND: Adolf Hitler)

        Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany created the most obvious threat. But there was also Benito Mussolini in Italy and Francisco Franco in Spain. These leaders challenged both the idea of democracy and the security of some of America's closest allies.

        Hitler's invasion of Poland and the spread of war in Europe in nineteen thirty-nine made Americans wonder if they could remain neutral much longer.

        Benito Mussolini, left , and Adolf Hitler in 1938
        Benito Mussolini, left , and Adolf Hitler in 1938

        The United States would finally go to war against Hitler and the other Axis nations. But its first battle would not be in Europe at all. Instead, the United States would enter World War Two following a surprise attack by Japan on the large American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

        Relations between the United States and Japan had grown steadily worse throughout the nineteen thirties. Both nations were important industrial powers. But they had very different ideas about the economic and political future of East Asia, especially China.

        (MUSIC)

        Until the late eighteen hundreds, Japan had been a nation with ancient political traditions and little contact with the Western world.

        Visits by Commodore Matthew Perry and American warships helped open Japan to trade with the United States and other nations in the eighteen fifties. And in the years that followed, Japan took major steps toward becoming a modern industrial nation.

        By the nineteen twenties and thirties, Japan was a strong country. But it lacked oil, rubber and other natural resources of its own. For this reason, Japanese political leaders looked with envy at the Dutch, French and British colonies across Southeast Asia and the Pacific. And Japanese business leaders saw huge markets for their products in nearby countries like Korea and China.

        Japan's desire to use East Asia to gain natural resources and sell manufactured products was in direct conflict with American plans for Asia. This was especially true concerning China. Washington created an "Open Door" policy toward China. It wanted to keep China's natural resources and markets free from control by Japan or any other nation.

        (MUSIC)

        For this reason, Americans were very concerned when Japanese forces invaded the Manchuria area of China in nineteen thirty-one. And they watched with great interest the efforts of Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek to oppose the Japanese invaders.

        The United States was also very concerned about protecting its imports of oil, tin and rubber from Southeast Asia. This area of the world was a major supplier of these resources in the nineteen thirties. The Middle East had not yet become a leading producer of oil.

        In these ways, the United States and Japan were competing for the same resources and Asian markets. However, there also was a good deal of trade between the two nations. In fact, Japan depended on the United States for most of its metal, copper and oil.

        This trade with Tokyo became a major concern for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Congress in nineteen thirty-seven.

        (MUSIC)

        In the summer of that year, more Japanese troops moved into China. They quickly captured much of the Chinese coast.

        Much of the metal, oil, and other materials that Japan used for its war effort in China came from the United States. Americans did not like selling Japan materials to use against China. But the trade was legal because of a nineteen eleven agreement between Tokyo and Washington.

        However, the American government told Japan in nineteen thirty-nine that it would end the earlier agreement. It would no longer sell Japan materials that could be used for war.

        (MUSIC)

        Washington's decision made the Japanese government think again about its expansionist plans. And the announcement a month later of a non-aggression treaty between Germany and the Soviet Union gave Tokyo even more cause for concern. The Soviet Union could be a major opponent of Japanese expansion in East Asia. And it appeared free from the threat of war in Europe.

        These two events helped moderates in the Japanese government to gain more influence over foreign policy. A moderate government took power in January nineteen-forty.

        However, this period of moderation in Tokyo did not last long.

        (MUSIC)

        In the spring of nineteen forty, Germany launched its blitzkrieg, or lightning invasion, of Europe. The Nazis captured Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and finally France.

        The city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands after a German air raid on May 14, 1940
        The city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands after a German air raid on May 14, 1940

        Extremists in the Japanese government saw the German victory as their chance to launch their own attack on European colonies in Asia. They quickly began negotiations with Hitler to form a new alliance. And within months, militant leaders overthrew the moderate government in Tokyo.

        The new Japanese government was headed by a moderate, Prince Konoye. But the minister of war was an expansionist, General Tojo. Tokyo wasted no time in taking action. It forced France to give Japan permission to occupy northern Indochina. And Tokyo also demanded that Britain close the Burma Road to the Chinese city then known as Chungking.

        (SOUND)

        The Burma Road was a major route by which the United States was supplying China with munitions as part of the Lend-Lease Act.

        These events caused relations between Tokyo and Washington to become even worse.

        In the second half of nineteen forty, President Roosevelt banned the export of metal and oil products to Japan. His administration also lent money to China.

        (MUSIC)

        America began to supply Chiang Kai Shek's government with a fleet of P-40 fighter airplanes with volunteer pilots, led by Army aviator Claire Chennault, to train Chinese pilots. The squadron became known as the Flying Tigers.

        American representatives quietly began to meet with British and Dutch officials, to discuss joint defense plans for possible Japanese attacks in the western Pacific.

        Washington and Tokyo held long negotiations in nineteen forty-one. The American officials hoped the negotiations might delay Japan from launching an attack to the south. They also thought that a delay might give more moderate leaders in Japan a chance to gain more influence. And for a time, the American plan worked. Japan did not make new acts of aggression.

        (MUSIC)

        Again, events in Europe caused this situation to change. Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union in the middle of nineteen forty-one. This prevented Moscow from doing any fighting on its eastern borders. So Japanese troops were free to invade southern Indochina.

        President Roosevelt reacted to Japan's invasion of Indochina by taking three major steps. First, he took control of all Japanese money in the United States. Second, he brought the armed forces of the Philippines under American command. And, third, he closed the Panama Canal to Japanese shipping.

        Once again, a conflict developed between moderates and extremists in the Japanese government.

        More moderate leaders such as Prime Minister Konoye urged one more effort to reach an agreement with the United States. But the Japanese army and navy believed that the time had come to go to war to end American and European power in East Asia forever.

        Negotiations between Japan and the United States continued through the final months of nineteen forty-one. But the two nations were on the edge of war. They were as close to hostilities as Washington was with the Nazi government in Berlin.

        (MUSIC)

        American military officials captured secret messages from Japan during this time. They learned that Tokyo was planning an attack of some kind unless the United States suddenly changed its policies. However, the American officials could not discover exactly where or how the attack would be made.

        Almost everyone in Washington expected that the Japanese would attack south of Japan. They were wrong. The military leaders in Tokyo were planning a surprise attack on America's main Pacific military base, at Pearl Harbor. That will be our story next week.

        (MUSIC)

        Our program was written by David Jarmul. You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and pictures at www.squishedblueberries.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Steve Ember, inviting you to join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION - American history in VOA Special English.

        ___

        This was program #190

        To find earlier programs, type "Making of a Nation" in quotation marks in the search box at the top of the page

        德國的希特勒和納粹黨帶來的威脅最明顯,而意大利的墨索里尼和西班牙的佛朗哥政權也不能忽視。這些法西斯領導人給民主理念和美國一些親密盟國的安全帶來了挑戰。

        1939年,希特勒入侵波蘭,戰火在歐洲的蔓延使美國人開始思考,他們的中立政策還能持續多久。美國最終將與希特勒和其他軸心國成員作戰,但它的第一場戰役卻沒有發生在歐洲,相反,美國是在日本突襲位于夏威夷珍珠港的美國大型海軍基地之后才參加二戰的。

        上個世紀三十年代,美日關系持續惡化。兩國都是重要的工業國,但它們對東亞,特別是對中國的經濟和政治未來所持的觀點截然不同。十九世紀末之前,日本一直沿襲古老的政治傳統,與西方世界幾乎沒有接觸。

        十九世紀五十年代,美國海軍戰艦在艦長馬太.佩里的領導下打開了日本與美國等國家貿易往來的大門。在此后的幾十年里,日本實行大規模改革,向現代化工業國轉變。到了二十世紀二、三十年代,日本已經成為一個強大的國家。但日本缺乏石油、橡膠和其它自然資源。因此,日本政治領袖們看著東南亞及太平洋地區的荷蘭、法國和英國殖民地感到非常眼紅。而且,日本商人發現,朝鮮、中國這樣的周邊國家是銷售日本產品的巨大市場。

        日本想利用東亞來獲得自然資源并銷售日本產品的愿望與美國在亞洲的計劃發生了直接沖突,這一點在中國體現得尤其明顯。美國提出對中國實行"門戶開放"的政策,力圖使中國的自然資源和市場不被日本或任何單一國家所控制。因此,1931年日本侵入中國滿洲地區時,美國非常關注,密切注視著中國領導人蔣介石的抗日舉措。

        美國關心的另外一個問題是如何保護它從東南亞進口石油,錫鐵和橡膠的渠道,因為這一地區在上世紀三十年代是這些自然資源的一個主要供應產地。當時,中東還沒有成為世界上最重要的石油產地。

        由于這些原因,美國和日本為獲得同樣的自然資源和市場而展開競爭。然而,美日之間也存在大量的貿易往來,事實上,日本的大部分金屬、銅和石油都要從美國進口。

        1937年,與日本的貿易往來成為羅斯??偨y和美國國會關心的主要問題。這年夏天,日本派更多兵力侵略中國,并很快占領了中國的沿海地區。日本侵略中國所需要的大部分金屬、石油和其它物資來自美國。美國人不愿意把這些東西賣給日本,再看著日本靠這些東西去侵略中國。

        但是,美日之間的這種貿易是有法律保障的,因為1911年兩國簽訂過協議。美國1939年告訴日本說,美國將結束這一協定,不再向日本出售用于侵略戰爭的物資。這個決定迫使日本政府重新考慮其擴張計劃。一個月后,蘇聯和德國簽訂互不侵犯條約,使日本更加擔心。因為蘇聯可能成為日本在東亞擴張的重要阻力,而且蘇聯似乎并沒有受到歐洲戰爭的影響。

        這兩件事幫助溫和派在日本政府的外交政策中獲得了更多發言權。1940年1月,一個溫和派的日本政府上臺了。然而,日本的這一溫和時期并沒有持續多久。

        1940年春天,德國在歐洲發動閃電戰,先后占領了丹麥、挪威、荷蘭、比利時、盧森堡,并最終占領了法國。日本政府中的極端主義分子在德國的勝利中看到了他們向歐洲列強在亞洲殖民地發動進攻的機會。他們迅速與希特勒談判,成立了一個新的同盟,在此后的幾個月里,日本軍國主義領導人把溫和派政府趕下了臺。

        新一屆日本政府由溫和派的公爵近衛文磨擔任首相,但戰爭部長卻是一個擴張主義分子--東條英機。日本立即采取行動,強迫法國允許日軍占領北印度支那,并要求英國關閉通往中國重慶的滇緬公路。

        根據美國的租借法,美國向中國提供武器彈藥援助,滇緬公路是運輸這些彈藥的重要通道。這些事件使美日兩國關系進一步惡化。1940年下半年,羅斯??偨y禁止美國商人向日本出口金屬和石油。美國政府還向中國提供貸款。

        美國還開始為蔣介石政府提供P-40型戰斗機,并派志愿飛行員到中國訓練飛行員。這些志愿者由美國空軍飛行教官克萊爾.陳納德指揮,這支飛行中隊被命名為"飛虎隊"。美國代表還悄悄地與英國和荷蘭政府官員會面,討論一旦日本向西太平洋發動進攻,如何部署聯合防衛計劃。

        1941年,美日兩國進行了漫長的談判。美國官員希望利用會談盡可能拖延日本向南發動侵略,他們還希望日本政府中的溫和派能利用這段時間獲得更多的影響力。美國這一計劃似乎一度奏效,日本沒有發動新的侵略。

        然而,歐洲局勢的變化再次改變了亞洲的局面。1941年夏天,納粹德國進攻蘇聯,使蘇聯無暇在其東部邊界作戰,所以日軍就趁機侵入南印度支那。對日本新的侵略行徑,羅斯??偨y采取了三項重要措施:一,控制日本在美國的全部資金;二,將菲律賓的軍事力量交由美國指揮;三,禁止日本船只通過巴拿馬運河。

        日本政府中的溫和派和極端分子再次發生沖突,包括近衛首相在內的更多溫和派力主再次嘗試同美國達成協議,但是,日本陸軍和海軍領導人則認為,通過戰爭永遠結束美國和歐洲在東亞勢力的時機已經成熟。美日兩國談判一直持續到1941年最后幾個月,但兩國已經處于戰爭邊緣,美日和美德關系一樣,戰火一觸即發。

        在此期間,美軍官員獲取了日本的秘密情報,得知日本的打算是:除非美國政府突然改變政策,否則日本就要向美國發動襲擊。然而,美國官員無法確定日本將在什么地方,以何種方式發動襲擊。在華盛頓,幾乎所有人都以為日本會向其南面發動進攻,但他們錯了。東京的軍方領導人正計劃向美國位於太平洋的重要海軍基地----珍珠港發動突然襲擊。

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