Oxymoron wrote:I was reading an idea that Germany and Japan had no choice but to fight, since they were being strategically isolated by the Oil Superpowers of the US and USSR. Like it was their only chance to continue to be or become world powers.
My extensive reading of history says this is hog wash.
1] I'll take Japan 1st.
This war started in 1931 [Manchuria] and again in 1937 [China proper]. At those 2 points in time Japan could buy all the oil it wanted. It was only stopped after it occupied Fr. Indo-China. The US let Manchuria go, but started resisting more [short of war] after China was invaded. The move into Fr. Indo-China got them closer to Thailand, Malaya, and the dutch e. Indies [where the oils was and is].
. . . Japan's calamity was that the junior officers of the Army started shooting Cabinet officers and PM who crossed them. They totally intimidated the civilian Gov. The Emperor didn't put his foot down and stop them. There were 3 incidents over a 15 to 20 year period not counting the invasions of Manchuria and China.
. .. . Americana can't imagine it. The Army was out of control. It ignored all reason, like th fact the the US had 10 times the military potential as Japan, and like it was plainly impossible for Japan to invade and occupy the US.
. . . In the end the Emperor asked the leading General [Tojo] to become PM which was against tradition. He hoped Tojo could control the hot heads, he couldn't.
. . . The result was the attack on Pearl Harbor and the atomic bombing of Japan.
To say it was all about oil is ridiculous.
Japan had waited too long [until 1850] to become a modern nation. Then WWI woke up the advanced nations to just how stupid war was. Nobody won WWI, except maybe Japan [because it didn't fight any fight bigger than a skirmish]. Then the nations outlawed war in 1927,Japan signed the treaty because the civilian Gov. could see the wisdom for Japan of not trying to use force to make the other nations accept them as an equal. The Army officers didn't sign the treaty and rejected the whole concept. FDR took the treaty to heart and could not let Japan take China.
2] Now for Germany.
I have never seen any hint that the powers; UK, Fr., US or USSR didn't sell oil to Germany before Sept., 1939. The USSR was selling or giving oil to Hitler on June 21, 1941 [the day before he invaded Russia as their agreement called for].
Hitler wanted to expand to the east. Mainly I think because Russia had lost WWI to Germany before Germany lost to the surviving Allies. So, Russia seemed weaker.
. . . Hitler didn't believe his Generals' warnings that the USSR was much, much stronger than Russia had been and had 30,000 tanks in 1941 when Germany had 3000.
Hitler wanted to *take* the Soviet oil fields, but it was part of his larger land grab, not the cause of it.