Eve of Pearl Harbor

Second Sino-Japanese War

East Asia 1941.1206

Eve of Pearl Harbor

Second Sino-Japanese War, Japan-China War, Rape of Nanking (6 December 1941)

Historical Map of East Asia & the Western Pacific

Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June, but Japan declined to join her ally, resolving instead to occupy the rest of French Indochina. The United States and Britain responded by freezing Japanese assets and stopping oil exports. Without oil, Japan faced the choice of either withdrawing from China or invading the oil-rich East Indies and further provoking the US. By December, Japan had made its decision, mobilizing its fleet for a surprise strike on the US navy.

Main Events

Tokyo Peace Treaty

The Kingdom of Thailand signs a formal peace treaty with Vichy France in Tokyo, Japan, bringing an end to the Franco-Thai War. By the terms of the treaty, the Vichy French agree to cede the French Indochinese provinces of Battambang, Pailin, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchay, Oddar Meanchey, Preah Vihear, and Xaignabouli to Thailand.

Operation Barbarossa

At 3:15 am the Axis Powers led by Nazi Germany launch the invasion of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, bombing cities in a broad arc from Kronstadt to Sevastopol as some three million troops advance across the border. Within hours the momentum of the Axis attacks have completely destroyed the Soviet organizational command and control, paralyzing every level of command, and it is only at 7:15 am that Soviet leader Josef Stalin announces the invasion to the Soviet Armed Forces and calls upon them to act.

Operation "FU"

In response to a Japanese ultimatum, Vichy France allows Japan to use air facilities and harbors in southern French Indochina. The Japanese proceed to occupy Saigon and other southern cities, with IJN vessels moving into the ports of Saigon, Tourane, and Camranh Bay.

Freezing of Japanese assets

Following Japan's rejection of a United States sponsored plan to withdraw from most of China and French Indochina and a Japanese agreement with Vichy France to allow Japanese troops into southern Indochina, the US freezes Japanese assets. The United Kingdom and the Netherlands follow suit, depriving Japan of 90% of its oil imports.

Japanese strike force sails from Kurile Islands for Pearl Harbor

Japan rejects terms offered by US government

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