In 1932 career diplomat Joseph Grew was posted to Japan as the American Ambassador.
At the time, Japan was in crisis. Naval officers had assassinated the prime minister, and conspiracies flourished. The military had a stranglehold on the government. War with Russia loomed. Not only was the country in turmoil, but its relationship with America was also rapidly deteriorating. For the next decade, Grew attempted to warn American leaders about the risks of Japan’s raging nationalism and rising militarism while also trying to stabilize Tokyo’s increasingly erratic and volatile foreign policy.
From domestic terrorism by Japanese extremists to the global rise of Hitler and the fateful attack on Pearl Harbor, the events that unfolded during Grew’s tenure proved to be pivotal for Japan and for the world in the run-up to WWII.
To discuss Joesph Grew and Japanese American relations running up to the war, I’m joined by Steve Kemper. Steve is the author of Our Man in Tokyo, which draws on Grew’s diary, correspondence, dispatches, and first-hand Japanese accounts to lay out Japan's road to the Second World War.