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To Have and Have Not: Southeast Asian Raw Materials and the Origins of the…

by Jonathan Marshall

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Jonathan Marshall makes a provocative statement: it was not ideological or national security considerations that led the United States into war with Japan in 1941. Instead, he argues, it was a struggle for access to Southeast Asia's vast storehouse of commodities--rubber, oil, and tin--that drew the U.S. into the conflict. Boldly departing from conventional wisdom, Marshall reexamines the political landscape of the time and recreates the mounting tension and fear that gripped U.S. officials in the months before the war. Unusual in its extensive use of previously ignored documents and studies, this work records the dilemmas of the Roosevelt administration: it initially hoped to avoid conflict with Japan and, after many diplomatic overtures, it came to see war as inevitable. Marshall also explores the ways that international conflicts often stem from rivalries over land, food, energy, and industry. His insights into "resource war," the competition for essential commodities, will shed new light on U.S. involvement in other conflicts--notably in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf.… (more)
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This is an important book in how it lays out the importance of asian sources of strategic materials in driving the US to war in the Pacific. It also is a good source on the pre-war diplomacy aimed in disuading Japan fom aggression. But it fails to recognize the other US motive in the Pacific, that of wanting to avoid the rise of an asian power block that could one day threaten US security directly. ( )
  Winomaster | Jan 21, 2007 |
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Jonathan Marshall makes a provocative statement: it was not ideological or national security considerations that led the United States into war with Japan in 1941. Instead, he argues, it was a struggle for access to Southeast Asia's vast storehouse of commodities--rubber, oil, and tin--that drew the U.S. into the conflict. Boldly departing from conventional wisdom, Marshall reexamines the political landscape of the time and recreates the mounting tension and fear that gripped U.S. officials in the months before the war. Unusual in its extensive use of previously ignored documents and studies, this work records the dilemmas of the Roosevelt administration: it initially hoped to avoid conflict with Japan and, after many diplomatic overtures, it came to see war as inevitable. Marshall also explores the ways that international conflicts often stem from rivalries over land, food, energy, and industry. His insights into "resource war," the competition for essential commodities, will shed new light on U.S. involvement in other conflicts--notably in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf.

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