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.
In this episode, I discuss one of the most remarkable soldiers of the British Army, Adrian Carton de Wiart.
Belgium by birth, he would fight in the Boer War, lose an eye in the Somaliland Campaign, win a VC and lose a hand in First World War, command the British troops during the Norwegian Campaign of 1940, spend time as a POW for the Italians (where he escaped) and finish the war a Winston Churchill’s personal representative to Chiang Kai-Shek.
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography described him thus: "With his black eyepatch and empty sleeve, Carton de Wiart looked like an elegant pirate, and became a figure of legend."
I am joined by Alan Ogden, author of The Life and Times of Lieutenant General Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart: Soldier and Diplomat.