BANKRUPTING THE ENEMY

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BANKRUPTING THE ENEMY
The Financial Siege of Japan before Pearl Harbor
  • ISBN/SKU: 9781591145202
  • Binding: Hardcover & Ebook
  • Era: World War II
  • Number of Pages: 352
  • Subject: Causes of WWII
  • Date Available: October 2007
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Full Description:

To listen to the author's lecture at the Library of Congress click on the following link.

A great world power can wage economic war, forcing another country to go bankrupt. In the period leading up to Pearl Harbor, the United States deployed its formidable control of a war-torn financial system to freeze Japan's dollars and gold supply held in U.S. banks, driving the country into international bankruptcy. Edward S. Miller, award winning author of War Plan Orange: The U.S. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897-1945, convincingly demonstrates that financial strangulation, more than the more well-known blockade of oil exports, drove the Japanese leaders to desperation and ultimately to attack.

While researching newly declassified records of the Treasury and Federal Reserve, Miller, a retired chief financial executive of a Fortune 500 resources corporation, uncovered the details of how the U.S. used financial measures to curb Japan's aggression in Asia. Washington experts confidently predicted that the war in China would bankrupt Japan, not knowing that the Japanese government had a huge cache of dollars fraudulently hidden in New York. Once discovered, Japan scrambled to extract the money. But, Miller explains, in July 1941 President Roosevelt invoked a long-forgotten clause of the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 to freeze Japan's dollars and forbade it to sell its hoard of gold to the U.S. Treasury, the only open gold market after 1939..Roosevelt's temporary gambit to "bring Japan to its senses, not its knees," was thwarted, however, by opportunistic bureaucrats. Dean Acheson, his handpicked administrator, slyly maneuvered to deny Japan the dollars needed to buy oil and other resources for war and for economic survival.

Miller's lucid writing and thorough understanding of the complexities of international finance enable readers unfamiliar with financial concepts and terminology to grasp his explanation of the impact of U.S. economic policies on Japan. His review of thirty-seven studies of Japan's resource deficiencies begs the question of why no U.S. agency calculated the impact of the freeze on Japan's overall economy. His analysis of a massive OSS-State Department study of prewar Japan clearly demonstrates that the deprivations facing the Japanese people were the country to remain in financial limbo buttressed its choice of war at Pearl Harbor. Such a well-documented study is certain to be recognized for its significant contributions to the historiography of the origins of the Pacific War.

Edward S. Miller, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate in economics at Syracuse University and the Harvard Advanced Management Program, served as chief financial officer of a major international mining corporation and the U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation. His interest in business planning led to his first book, War Plan Orange: The U.S. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897–1941, winner of five distinguished history book awards. He lives in Washington, D.C.

 

"This is a fascinating, exceptionally clearly presented book, based on research in hitherto unused archives, and a fine sequel to Miller's 1991 book, War Plan Orange: The U.S. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897–1945. The U.S trade sanctions against Japan, particularly the oil embargo, are relatively well known, but the U.S. financial embargo is not. This is the first study of it, set within the fuller story of the road to "economic war." —Mark Metzler in Enterprise and Society

Edward S. Miller, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate in economics at Syracuse University and the Harvard Advanced Management Program, served as chief financial officer of a major international mining corporation and the U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation. His interest in business planning led to his first book, War Plan Orange: The U.S. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897–1941, winner of five distinguished history book awards. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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5.00 Stars
As reviewed in Sea Classics Magazine, January 2008
Thursday, November 29, 2007
By: Rod Redman
"Written by an economist who has an uncanny knack for simplifying the often complex world of international finance, BANKRUPTING THE ENEMY is perhaps the most important of the 'Now It Can Be Told' genre to recently emerge since much of its content was contained in long sealed Treasury and Federal Reserve records. Miller establishes a convincing, well-researched scenario as to why Japan had no choice but to lash out in desperation at a Washington administration that was too demanding in seeking its own international goals and ambitions: thereby hastening a war that many believed to be essentially inevitable. This is an important book by a renown author that should be required reading in every economics class. BANKRUPTING THE ENEMY stresses the tragic consequences of blind ambition and misapplied remedies to stem their realization; a book that adds much to the historiography of the true origins of the Pacific War."
 

 
 

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