However, most Americans were against joining Britain’s war against Germany, and had little interest in Asia.
Something dramatic was needed to arouse war fever in the United States – particularly so since American-Germans constituted one of the largest ethnic group in the United States. In 1900, New York City was the third largest German city after Berlin and Hamburg.
Washington had been demanding since the mid-1930’s that Japan cease its occupation of strategic Manchuria, an autonomous state on China’s northeastern border. America’s warnings to Tokyo intensified after Japan invaded China in 1937. By 1941, Japanese armies were deep in China, a nation that the US considered its sphere of commercial and political interest.