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By Akira Iriye, Warren I. Cohen

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Skeptical about domino theories and Munich analogies, analysts have argued that punishment of Japanese aggressors likely would not have deterred Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini. Themes of earlier writers who thought American involvement in East Asian affairs a great aberration have been resurrected, largely as a result of disillusionment with the Cold War in Asia. The single most important study of the crisis, Christopher Thorne's Limits of Power, concludes that Stimson was wrong. While Thorne is not uncritical of British policy, he clearly prefers its prudence.

The American minister to China had long been musing about the outcome of Sino-Japanese tensions over Manchuria. In Washington, however, Henry L. Stimson, the secretary of state, and President Herbert Hoover were preoccupied with, indeed overwhelmed by, the problems of the domestic economy. American interests of the tangible, measurable variety were slight in Manchuria, and the government had no contingency plan nor any disposition to react to a crisis there. When news of Japanese actions penetrated the gloom of the Hoover administration, Stimson was sympathetic to China and Hoover to Japan, but they both wanted the matter to disappear.

AKIRA IRIYE WARREN COHEN Page ix Contributors SHERMAN COCHRAN is a professor of Chinese history at Cornell University and an authority on economic and social history. He is the author of Big Business in China: SinoForeign Rivalry in the Cigarette Industry, 1890-1930 (Cambridge, MA, 1980). WARREN COHEN is a professor of American diplomatic history at Michigan State University and director of its Asian Studies Center. He has written extensively on American-Asian relations. His publications include America's Response to China: An Interpretative History of Sino-American Relations, rev.

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