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An American Ambassador in Prewar Japan: The Countdown to Pearl Harbor

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An American Ambassador in Prewar Japan: The Countdown to Pearl Harbor

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Monday, December 5, 2022 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1L0492
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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In 1932, Japan was in crisis. Naval officers had assassinated the prime minister, and the army had invaded Manchuria without permission from the Japanese government. As the military’s stranglehold on the government tightened, conspiracies flourished and propaganda campaigns swept the country, urging citizens to report spies and schoolchildren to collect money for planes and tanks. Japan’s relationship with the United States and other Western nations was rapidly deteriorating.

Into this maelstrom stepped Joseph C. Grew, America’s most experienced and talented diplomat. He spent the next decade attempting to warn American leaders about the risks of Japan’s raging nationalism and ambitious militarism, while also trying to stabilize Tokyo’s increasingly erratic and belligerent foreign policy. His dispatches and counsel from the darkening heart of the Japanese empire were prescient—but often disregarded in Washington.

Drawing on his new book Our Man in Tokyo, Steve Kemper examines Grew’s tenure in Japan, offering a backstage glimpse at these explosive years from vantage points including the Imperial Palace and the Japanese cabinet. Join him as he shares Grew’s story and his view from the American embassy in Tokyo, and also provides a look at prewar Japan’s turbulent politics, society, and culture.

Copies of Our Man in Tokyo: An American Ambassador and the Countdown to Pearl Harbor (Mariner Books), are available for purchase.

Book Sale Information

  • Purchase your copy of Our Man in Tokyo by Steve Kemper here.
  • SPECIAL NOTE: Politics and Prose is offering a 10% discount to Smithsonian Associates ticket-holders. To claim your discount, enter the code SPECIAL10 (no space between letters and numbers) in the “Coupon discount” section on Politics and Prose's check-out page.

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