Past IBDP Paper 1: Origins of the Second World War in Asia 1931–1941

 May 2000 exam

The following documents relate to the results of the Japanese attack on China in July 1937 after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident.

Extract from the Treaty of Non-Aggression between China and the Soviet Union, August 21 1937.

Article I. The two High Contracting Parties solemnly reaffirm that they condemn recourse [resorting] to war for the solution of international controversies, and that they renounce it as an instrument of national policy in their relations with each other, and, in pursuance of this pledge, they undertake to refrain from any aggression against each other either individually or jointly with one or more other Powers.
Article II. In the event that either of the High Contracting Parties should be subjected to aggression on the part of one or more third Powers, the other High Contracting Party obligates itself [guarantees] not to render assistance of any kind, either directly or indirectly to such third Power or Powers at any time during the entire conflict, and also to refrain from taking any action or entering into any agreement which may be used by the aggressor or aggressors to the disadvantage of the parties subjected to aggression.

Chinese Communist Party Manifesto Together We Confront the National Crisis, September 22, 1937.

1. The CCP will struggle to fulfill completely Dr Sun’s Three People’s Principles which best answer China’s needs today.
2. The CCP will abolish the policy of sabotage and Sovietization which aims at the overthrow of the KMT government, and will stop the forcible confiscation of the holdings of landlords.
3. The CCP will abolish all existing Soviets in favour of democratic government, so as to achieve unified political administration throughout the country.
4. The CCP will abolish the name and insignia of the Red Army, which will be reorganized as the National Revolutionary Army and is to be subject to control by the government’s Military Commission; it is ready to march forward and fight the Japanese at the front.

Cartoon by David Low in the Evening Standard, London, 19 January 1938.
Extract from The Pacific War by Saburo Ienaga, Tokyo, 1968.

Japan’s war objectives were diverse, although economic domination of China was undeniably a major goal. But in the peace negotiations, war goals were reduced to two: the retention of Manchukuo and the stationing of troops in China for joint defence against communism. In view of the fact that Manchukuo was valued partly as a forward military base against the USSR, the war seems very much like a preemptive strike against communism .... The army had prepared carefully for war against the Soviet Union, but had done no planning worthy of the name for a general war with China. Army leaders could not conceive of the Chinese putting up a good fight .... How could China be brought to its knees? That was the major problem. Unable to get a negotiated settlement on favourable terms or win a final military success, Japanese leaders sought victory by expanding the conflict.

Extract from The Origins of the Second World War in Asia and the Pacific by Akira Iriye, London, 1987.

Soviet willingness to become at least indirectly involved in the Chinese-Japanese War was extremely significant, for it served to present Japan with a serious dilemma as to its strategy following the military successes of July and August. For the Japanese were finding it rather difficult to define clearly their war objectives. They had not actively solicited the war, and their stated objective on the eve of the war had been the promotion of ‘Japanese-Manchukuo-Chinese co-operation’ in combating communism and reducing Western influence. But how could such an objective be achieved if the hostilities continued and aroused an intense anti-Japanese feeling among the Chinese people? How could they be persuaded to work with Japan in fighting Soviet and Western influence when they would surely turn to these countries for help? What was the point of fighting China if it drained resources away from military preparedness against other countries, the goal that Japan’s strategists had emphasized, particularly since 1936? More specifically, where and how should the war be ended, and how could a satisfactory arrangement be made so as to restore some sense of stability in Chinese-Japanese relations?

1 (a) What message is portrayed in Document C?
(b) According to Document A what were the mutual promises which were made between Russia and China in August 1937?

2. Compare and contrast the explanations given in Documents D and E of the
aims and effects of Japan’s involvement in China.

3. With reference to their origins and purpose assess the value and limitations of Documents B and C for historians studying the effects of the Japanese attack on China in July 1937.

4. Using the information contained in the documents and your own knowledge, discuss the effects of Japan’s invasion of China in 1937 on Japanese policy-making after January 1938.

 November 2000

These documents refer to the relationship between the United States and Japan in 1941 and the imposition of economic sanctions on Japan in July 1941.


An extract from Asian Transformation, by Gilbert Khoo and Dorothy Lo, Kuala Lumpur, 1977.

In January 1941 the Lend-Lease Act was passed, by which the United States undertook to give direct aid to countries attacked by the Axis powers. In July of the same year when Japan, despite an American warning, occupied Southern Indo-China, the United States froze all Japan’s financial assets in the country. England and Holland soon did likewise. An Anglo-American Dutch embargo was also placed on all exports to Japan. This ‘seriously handicapped Japanese stockpiling of vital materials,’ and cut down Japan’s oil imports to ten per cent of the previous amount ....

An extract from A History of Modern Japan, by Richard Storry, London 1981.

Japan now faced her moment of decision. Talks had been going on in Washington for many weeks between the Japanese American Ambassador, Admiral Nomura, and the American Secretary of State, Cordell Hull. Japan wanted America to abandon all support of the Chinese government in Chungking, to recognise Japan’s hegemony [control] of east Asia; in return, Japan would consider withdrawing in fact, if not in name, from the Tripartite Axis Pact. America distrusted Japanese motives in Asia and wanted Japan to withdraw from both China and French Indo-China. When the American-British-Dutch economic embargo was imposed it became urgent for Japan to reach some agreement with America.

Cartoon from a magazine; News Chronicle, London, 28 July 1941.

An extract from The Road Between the Wars, by Robert Goldston, New York, 1978.

... American reaction to this step was as swift as it was unexpected by the Konoye government. Franklin D. Roosevelt immediately ‘froze’ all Japanese financial assets in the United States and declared a total embargo on trade of any kind with Japan. England and the Dutch government-in-exile which still ruled Indonesia followed suit.
This hurt. Fully 67 percent of all Japanese imports came from Anglo-American nations or their colonies. But of absolutely vital consequence was the fact that Japan imported more than 80 percent of its oil from the United States. Now this essential source was cut off at one blow and Japan could not purchase oil from Indonesia in view of the Dutch embargo. Fuel supplies for the Imperial Navy would last two years at the most, only a year and a half in the event of war. The oil embargo created an immediate crisis among Japan’s leaders; they had manoeuvred their way into a corner. To secure oil they would have to either accept American terms, which, in view of the heavy sacrifices the Japanese people had borne to conquer China, might well provoke revolution, or conquer Indonesian oil, which meant all-out war against the West. Furthermore, they had to reach a decision swiftly, for if negotiations with the United States should prove fruitless, then Japan had to wage war while she still had sufficient reserves of oil.

United States Military Joint Board Estimate of United States Overall Production Requirements, 11 September 1941.

... The Japanese objective is the establishment of the ‘East Asia Co-Prosperity.’ It is Japan’s ambition ultimately to include within this sphere Eastern Siberia, Eastern China, Indo-China, Thailand, Malaya, the Netherlands East Indies, the Philippines, and possibly Burma. The accomplishment of this objective is a heavy task for Japan’s strength.
Dependent upon the results in Europe, Japan’s strategic moves might be as follows:
a. Building up and maintaining an effective screen in Japanese Mandated Islands by the employment of minor naval forces and considerable air forces, supported by the Combined Fleet. This activity would include submarine and raider action against United States naval forces and United States and British lines of communication in the Central and Eastern Pacific Ocean.
b. The conquest of Eastern Siberia by means of land and air operations covered by the Combined Fleet operating to the eastward of Japan.
c. The conquest of Thailand, Malaya, the Netherlands East Indies and the Philippines. Success will require strong air forces, a considerable strength of light naval forces, and rather large land forces. It is unlikely that Japan will attempt a major effort both to the North and South, because of her lack of equipment and raw materials.
d. An offensive from Northern Indo-China against Yunnan (Yenan) for the purpose of cutting the Burma Road and eliminating further resistance of the Chinese Nationalist Army. This move might be supplemented by an attack in Burma. Considerable land and air forces would be required, as well as a large amount of shipping to provide the necessary support.

1(a) What message is intended by Document C?
(b) What reasons are given in Document B to explain why Japan found itself in a difficult position after the establishment of the economic embargo by western powers?

2. To what extent do Documents A, D and E agree about the effects on the Japanese economy of the economic sanctions imposed by the United States, Britain and Holland?

3. With reference to their origin and purpose assess the value and limitations, for historians studying United States policy towards Japan in 1940 and 1941, of Documents B and E.

4. Using these documents and your own knowledge explain the relationship between the economic sanctions imposed by the Allies in July 1941 and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour (December 7, 1941).

Example from one of my students (click to enlarge):

May 2001

These documents relate to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941.


A statement by Vice-Chief of Staff Tsukada Isao to a meeting of the Imperial Cabinet, 1 November 1941.

There is a strong probability that our advance to the South will enable Germany and Italy to defeat England. It will also greatly increase the probability that we can force China to surrender and then eventually the Soviet Union. By seizing the South, we can also strike a heavy blow at America's source of strategic materials. We should be able to ring off Asia, conquer those countries hostile to us one by one, and defeat America and England. If England falls, America should reconsider her position.

Cartoon by David Low (a British cartoonist) November 10 1941.


Dispatch from the Japanese Government to its negotiators (Nomura and Kurusu) in Washington, 28 November 1941.

Well, you two Ambassadors have exerted superhuman efforts but, in spite of this, the United States has gone ahead and presented this humiliating proposal. This was quite unexpected and extremely regrettable. The Imperial Government can by no means use it as a basis for negotiations. Therefore, with a report of the views of the Imperial Government on this American proposal which I will send you in two or three days, the negotiations will be ended. This is inevitable. However, I do not wish you to give the impression that the negotiations are broken off. Merely say to them that you are awaiting instructions and that, although the opinions of your Government are not yet clear to you, to your own way of thinking the Imperial Government has always made just claims and has endured great sacrifices for the sake of peace in the Pacific. Say that we have always demonstrated a long-suffering and conciliatory [peaceful] attitude, but that, on the other hand, the United States has been unbending, making it impossible for Japan to establish negotiations.

Statement by Prime Minister Tojo to Emperor Hirohito at an Imperial Conference, 1 December 1941.

At this moment our Empire stands at the threshold of glory or oblivion [destruction]. We tremble with fear in the Presence of His Majesty. We subjects are keenly aware of the great responsibilities we must assume from this point on. Now that His Majesty has reached a decision to commence hostilities, we must all strive [try hard] to repay our obligations to him, bring the Government and the military ever closer together, resolve that the nation united will go on to victory, make an all-out effort to achieve our war aims, and set His Majesty's mind at ease.

Extract from President Roosevelt's Address to the Nation, 8 December 1941. 

Yesterday, December 7 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation [request] of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor, looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.
It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace [...].
I ask that Congress declare that since [...] Sunday December 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.

1(a) What does Document D suggest Japan should do as a result of the
Emperor's decision to attack Pearl Harbour?
(b) What political message is intended by Document B?

2. How consistent are Documents A, C and E in their portrayal of the relationship which existed between Japan and the US in November and December 1941?

3. With reference to their origin and purpose, assess the value and limitations of Documents B and E for historians studying the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941.

4. Using the documents and your own knowledge assess the state of diplomatic relations between Japan and the US in 1941.

November 2001 (Time Zone 1)

The following documents relate to the role of the emperor, the politicians and the military in decision-making before the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941.


An extract from The Undefeated by Robert Harvey, London 1994.

Hirohito's public position represented the Japanese popular view and overruled his privately voiced objections. More damningly, he felt ñ perhaps because he believed he would run a real risk of assassination that he could not make use of his direct line to the militarists as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, a peculiarity of the Meji constitution. However, the reverse certainly applied: the armed forces made use of their direct line to the emperor to bypass the civilians in the cabinet, and to use the stamp of his supreme authority as a cover for their actions. The emperor certainly deserves the charge of weakness, but not of evil intent.


An extract from The Pacific War by Saburo Ienaga, Tokyo 1968.

The situation got so bad that even Premier Konoe, who had a good personal relationship with the military, was reduced to asking the emperor what was going on. The prime minister requested that the emperor inform the cabinet about matters the military reported directly to the throne which he, as prime minister, absolutely had to know for future planning. The emperor told Konoe that the military were unwilling to discuss certain matters at cabinet meetings because civilian politicians were present, and he agreed to pass on essential information to the premier and the foreign minister. The crucial decision to go to war against America and England followed the same pattern. Everything related to Japan's military strength was classified. Cabinet ministers and other senior advisers lacked the information to assess Japan's chances for victory.

An extract from a conversation between Emperor Hirohito and Grand Chamberlain Hisanori Fujita, January 1946, revealed for the first time by Fujita in 1969.

Hirohito: "Naturally, war should never be allowed. In this case, too, I tried to think of everything, some way to avoid it. I exhausted every means within my power. The Emperor of a constitutional state is not permitted to express himself freely in speech and action and is not allowed to willfully interfere with a minister's authority invested in him by the Constitution. Consequently, when a certain decision is brought to me for approval, whether it concerns internal affairs, diplomacy or military matters, there is nothing I can do but give my approval as long as it has been reached by lawful procedure, even if I consider the decision extremely undesirable[...]. If I turned down a decision on my own accord, what would happen? The Emperor could not maintain his position of responsibility if a decision which had been legally reached based on the Constitution could be either approved or rejected by the Emperor at his discretion. It would be the same thing as if the Emperor had destroyed the Constitution. Such an attitude is unthinkable for the Emperor of a constitutional state."

Cartoon from a western newspaper in the late 1930s.
Japan's Emperor gets the Nobel Peace Prize.


An extract from a television interview on 5 September 2000 between Jennifer Byrne, an Australian journalist, and an historian, Professor Herbert Bix, author of the book Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan.

Byrne: "Why didnít the truth come out during those war crimes trials in Tokyo?"

Bix: "I mean, the truth about the Emperor's role, if that's what you're asking - that was covered up. One thing leads to another but the end result was, for the Japanese people, that there would not be any closure on the lost war because the Emperor had to be protected during his life. I'm talking about a militarist and I'm talking about a man who was never a figurehead, as the deeply entrenched stereotype of the Japanese Emperor. Never a powerless figurehead and a puppet of others, but an active participant in the process of policy formation."

1(a) What message is portrayed in Document D?
(b) According to Document B what concerns are expressed about the way in
which the Japanese government made decisions prior to Pearl Harbour?

2. Compare and contrast the explanations given in Documents A, C and E of Hirohito's influence on making military decisions.

3. With reference to their origin and purpose, assess the value and limitations of documents C and E for historians investigating the role of Emperor Hirohito in Japanese politics.

4. Using these documents and your own knowledge assess the responsibility of the military, the politicians and the emperor for Japan's decision to attack Pearl Harbour on 7 December 1941.

November 2001 (time Zone 2)

These documents relate to the Manchurian Incident, September 1931.


Extract from The Stimson Doctrine, 1932 (Henry Stimson was the United States Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs).

The American Government is confident that the work of the neutral commission recently authorised by the Council of the League of Nations will facilitate [achieve] an ultimate solution of the difficulties now existing between China and Japan. But in view of the present situation and of its own rights and obligations, the American Government deems it to be its duty to notify both the Imperial Japanese Government and the Government of the Chinese Republic that it cannot admit the legality of any such situation. Nor does it intend to recognise any treaty or agreement entered into between those Governments, which may impair [damage] the treaty rights of the United States or its citizens in China, or the territorial administrative integrity of the Republic of China [...].


Japanese Government Policy Statement 12 March 1932.

The maintenance of public order in Manchuria and Mongolia will be entrusted to the Empire [Japan] [...]. Manchuria and Mongolia are the Empire’s first line of defence against Russia and China; no external interference will be tolerated. In accord with these obligations, the Imperial Army forces in Manchuria will be increased appropriately and necessary naval facilities will be established, Manchuria will not be permitted its own regular army [...]. In implementing the above, efforts will be made to avoid conflicts with international law or international treaties.

Extract from an Interview by Karl H von Wiegend with T V Soong (a Chinese financier). Reported in the United States magazine American, 2 May 1932.

Soong’s voice vibrated with feeling and bitterness. He is a man who does not talk much least of all for publication.
“And after all, is China not being driven into desperation, while the world looks on and does nothing to help us?”
By the ‘world’ in this instance, it was obvious that he meant the League of Nations.
“China has been invaded - invaded in Manchuria and invaded here in Shanghai - by a foreign power, that power is a member of the League of Nations, one of the signatories of the Kellogg Pact renouncing war as an instrument of national policy, and a signatory of the Nine-Power Treaty as well. No demands were presented, either in Manchuria or here in Shanghai. None of the machinery provided in the League of Nations, in the Kellogg Anti-War Pact or in the Nine-Power Treaty, was relied upon or set in motion prior to hostilities. There was no declaration of war, but war there was - in Manchuria under the thin veil [disguise] of ‘Bandit Suppression’, in Shanghai in the almost cynical name of alleged ‘Protection of our Nationals’. Later, even that dwindled to the ‘Shanghai Incident’ in the language of the invader. For a little time it was called ‘a state of emergency’. So now we know some of the names that future wars will be called. The ‘Shanghai Incident’ - Yes, an ‘incident’ that has cost more than 12,000 in dead or wounded, destroyed values amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars, paralysing the great commerce of Shanghai for weeks.”

Cartoon by David Low (a political cartoonist working in Britain), 19 January 1933.
Extract from the Report of the Lytton Commission, Geneva, 1 October 1932.

The Japanese [...] had a carefully prepared plan to meet the case of possible hostilities between themselves and the Chinese. On the night of 18-19 September, this plan was put into operation with swiftness and precision. The Chinese [...] had no plan of attacking the Japanese troops, or of endangering the lives or property of Japanese nationals at this particular time and place. They made no concerted or authorised attack on the Japanese forces and were surprised by the Japanese attack and subsequent operations. An explosion undoubtedly occurred on or near the railroad between 10 and 10.30 p.m. on September 18 but the damage, if any, to the railroad did not in fact prevent the punctual arrival of the southbound train from Changchun and was not in itself sufficient to justify military action. The military operations of the Japanese troops during this night cannot be regarded as measures of legitimate self-defence. In saying this, the Commission does not exclude the hypothesis that the officers on the spot may have thought they were acting in self-defence.

1. (a) According to Document E, what can be inferred about the Lytton Commission’s attitude to the Manchurian Incident?
(b) What political message is intended by Document D?

2. How consistent are Documents A, B and C in their view of the Manchurian Incident?

3. With reference to their origin and purpose, assess the value and limitations of Documents A and C for historians studying the Manchurian Incident.

4. Using these documents and your own knowledge comment on the statement in Document B that the Japanese Government made, ‘efforts to avoid conflicts with international law or international treaties’, in its foreign policy between September 1931 and December 1937.

May 2002

These documents relate to Japanese policy in East Asia and western reaction to it in the years 1932 to 1940.

An extract from the Summary of Fundamental National Policies made by the second Koenoe cabinet on 1 August 1940.

1. Basic Policy
The basic aim of Japan's national policy lies in the firm establishment of world peace in accordance with the spirit of Hakko Ichiu [whole world under one rule], in which the country was founded, and in the construction, as the first step, of a new order in Greater East Asia, having for its foundation the solidarity of Japan, Manchoukuo [Manchuria] and China.
Japan will, therefore, devote the total strength of the nation to the fulfilment of the above policy by setting up swiftly a firm national structure of her own, adapted to meet the requirements of new developments both at home and abroad.
2. National Defence and Foreign Policy
The Government will develop armaments adequate for the execution of the national policies, by taking into consideration the new developments both at home and abroad, and constructing a state structure for national defence, capable of bringing into full play the total strength of the nation.
Japan's foreign policy, which aims ultimately at the construction of a new order in Greater East Asia, will be directed, first of all, toward a complete settlement of the China Affair, and the changes in the international situation.

A Western view of Japan, early 1930s. The figure represents a Japanese soldier.

An extract from a secret talk given by Generalissimo Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) to military officers in Hankow in 1934.

The Japanese have been doing their best to obtain domination of the Pacific Ocean. It is not so much the problem between China and Japan, as it is the problem between Japan and the whole world. Why? Our late Party leader, Dr. Sun Yatsen (Sun Yat-sen), plainly told us: "China occupies the status of a semi-colony." What is a semi-colony? It is a country which is oppressed or protected by a group of nations, thus becoming a common colony to them all.
Japan, however, has been trying to make China her colony, and in order to attain this object, she will have to fight the world powers. If Japan cannot wage a decisive war with the world powers, she will not be able to dominate Asia, nor will she be able to solve the Pacific problem. In that case, she cannot become the dominant power in Asia, and she cannot swallow China. As long as Japan is unable to conquer the world, she cannot destroy China or dominate Asia.

The Stimson Doctrine of Non-recognition, 7 January 1932 sent by the American Government to the Governments of China and Japan.

With the recent military operations about Chinchow, the remaining administrative authority of the Government of the Chinese Republic in South Manchuria [Manchoukuo], as it existed prior to September 18, 1931, has been destroyed. The American Government continues confident that the work of the neutral commission recently authorised by the Council of the League of Nations will make an ultimate solution of the difficulties now existing between China and Japan possible. But in view of the present situation the American Government regards it to be its duty to notify both the Government of the Chinese Republic and the Imperial Japanese Government that it does not intend to recognize any treaty or agreement entered into between those governments, or their agents, which may impair [affect] the treaty rights of the United States or its citizens in China, including those which relate to the sovereignty, the independence, or the territorial and administrative integrity [unity] of the Republic of China, or to the international policy relative to China, commonly known as the open-door policy.


An extract from Japan and the Decline of the West in Asia 1894-1942 by Richard Storry, London 1979.

It can be said that public opinion in Britain and America, although by now deeply stirred by events in the Far East, may not have been prepared for a war that was not obviously one of national self-defence.
Be that as it may, such risks had to be accepted if America and Britain hoped to preserve their interests, not to mention their prestige, in the Far East. There was lacking, however, the necessary Anglo-American unity of purpose that a bold course required. Compensation and apologies, unreservedly offered by Japan, were accepted; Washington and London made no further demands. The sense of relief in Tokyo could be felt on all sides.

1 (a) According to Document C, what does Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) regard as Japan's aim and what does he believe will prevent it being fulfilled?
(b) What does Document B reveal about the attitude of the West towards Japan at the time?

2. How consistent are Documents A, C and D in their view of Japanese intentions in East Asia?

3. With reference to their origin and purpose, assess the value and limitations of Documents A and C for historians studying Sino-Japanese relations in the period 1932 to 1940.

4. Using these documents and your own knowledge, assess the role of the western powers, in particular the United States and Great Britain, in the conflict between Japan and China in the period 1932 to 1940.

November 2002

The following documents relate to the state of relations between the United States and Japan from August to November 1941.


An extract from a statement by President Roosevelt handed to Japanese Ambassador Nomura on 17 August 1941.

The Government of the United States is in full sympathy with the desire expressed by the Japanese Government that there be provided a fresh basis for friendly relations between our two countries. This Government's patience in seeking an acceptable basis for such an understanding has been demonstrated time and again during recent years and especially during recent months. Such being the case, this Government now finds it necessary to say to the Government of Japan that if the Japanese Government takes any further steps towards a policy or program of military domination by force or threat of force of neighboring countries, the Government of the United States will be compelled to take action immediately. Any and all steps which it may deem necessary toward safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of the United States and American nationals and toward ensuring the safety and security of the United States, will be taken.


American Cartoon by Theodor (Dr Seuss), 13 October 1941.
An extract from the United States' Memorandum of 26 November 1941, which demanded that Japan agree to the following Draft Declaration.

The United States Government and the Japanese Government declare that they strongly desire peace in the Pacific, that their policies are directed toward the establishment of lasting peace in the entire Pacific Area, and that they have no territorial ambitions or intentions of menacing other countries or employing armed forces for aggressive purposes against their neighbouring countries. Therefore, they hereby declare that they will support and apply the following fundamental principles:
1. Respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other nations.
2. Non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations.
3. Principle of equality, including equality of economic opportunities and treatment.
4. Principles for international cooperation and reconciliation for prevention or peaceful settlement of international disputes and for improving international relations.

An extract from General Hideki Tojo's testimony to the War Crimes Trial for the Far East 1946.

In the meantime the text of the United States' proposal was reported by our Army and Naval representatives in Washington. All were astonished at the severity of the United States' demands. The main conclusions arrived at, were, as I recall them, the following:
1. The United States' memorandum of 26 November 1941 was an ultimatum to Japan.
2. Japan could not accept it. It would appear that the United States proposed these conditions knowing full well that they were unacceptable to Japan. Moreover, the memorandum was made with the full knowledge and consent of the other countries concerned.
3. Taking into consideration the recent measures taken by the United States against Japan and its present attitude, it would seem that the United States had already decided upon war against Japan. Putting it bluntly, Japan felt it necessary to guard against attack from the United States at any time.

An extract from The Second World War by John Keegan, London, 1990.

All ambiguities [lack of clarity] were resolved on 26 November. Then Cordell Hull bluntly presented them with the United States' ultimate position which was a firm restatement of the position from which it had begun. Japan was to withdraw its troops not only from Indochina but also from China, to accept the legitimacy of Chiang Kai-shekís government and, in effect, to renounce Japan's membership of the Tripartite Pact. The Hull note reached Tokyo on 27 November and provoked amazement [...] It appeared to go further than any American counter-proposal yet issued. [...] It revealed, as Tojo and his followers had long argued, that the United States did not regard the Japanese empire as its equal in the community of nations, that it expected the emperor and his government to obey the American President when told to do so, and that it altogether discounted the reality of Japanese strategic power. The army and navy at once agreed that the note was unacceptable and, while Tojo instructed his Washington representatives to continue the talks, ships and soldiers were meanwhile directed to proceed to their attack stations. 

1(a) What political message is intended by Document B?
(b) According to Document E what reaction did the Japanese have to the
United States' Memorandum of 26 November 1941?

2. Compare and contrast the attitude of the United States towards Japan in Documents A and C.

3. With reference to their origin and purpose, assess the value and limitations of Documents D and E for historians studying relations between the United States and Japan in 1941.

4. Using the documents and your own knowledge, assess the effect of the Memorandum of 26 November 1941 [Document C] on relations between the United States and Japan.