Why did Japan attack the United States to begin with?
The Japanese were desperate. During WW1 Japan had been America's
ally. When Japan tried to collect her share of the booty at
Versailles she ran into Woodrow Wilson. Wilson rejected Japan's
claim to this which Japan had captured at a price in blood. In 1921
at the Washington Naval Conference, the U.S. pressured the British
to end their 20-year alliance with Japan. The Brits appeased the
U.S. and enraged and alienated Japan that had been a loyal friend,
and so it went. Japan decided to create in China what the British
had in India, a vast conlony to exploit to bring her up amongst
those in world power. In 1937 after a clash at Marco Polo Bridge
near Peking, Japan invaded and after 4 years of fighting, Japan
controlled the coastal cities, but not the interior. Japan moved
into northern French Indochina and though the U.S. had no interest
there imposed an embargo on steel and scrap metal. After Hitler
invaded Russia in June 1941 Japan moved into southern Indochina.
FDR ordered all Japanese assets frozen. FDR didn't want to cut off
oil, but unbeknownst to him at the time the action took place Japan
was oil-starved and was blocked by any Japanese purchases of U.S.
oil. Forcing a choice between death of the empire or fight for it's
life Japan decided to seize oil fields in the Indies and the only
force capable of interfering was the U.S. fleet that FDR had
conveniently moved from San Diego out to Honolulu. And so ... Japan