The government of the United Kingdom declared war on the Empire of Japan on 8 December 1941, following the Japanese attacks on British Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong on the previous day.
On 7/8 December 1941, Japan attacked British and American territories in Southeast Asia and the Central Pacific with near-simultaneous offensives including an attack on the US fleet at Pearl Harbor.During negotiations with the administration of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had promised to declare war "within the hour" of a Japanese attack on the United States.
News of the attack on Pearl Harbor reached London first. Realizing that President Roosevelt would go through the formal process of asking the United States Congress for a declaration of war, Churchill began making preparations to deliver the UK's own declaration of war immediately after Congress had formally declared war. After learning British territory had also been attacked, the British Prime Minister decided there was no need to wait for Congress to act and promptly summoned the Japanese Ambassador.
The British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Anthony Eden, was in transit to Moscow at the time, so the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was in charge of the Foreign Office. Churchill instructed the British Ambassador to Japan to inform the Japanese government that a state of war exists between the two countries and drafted a letter to the Ambassador of Japan to the United Kingdom to inform him of this. Of the letter, Churchill later wrote: "Some people did not like this ceremonial style. But after all when you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite."
The United Kingdom declared war on Japan nine hours before the U.S. did. The earlier declaration by the UK was due to the Japanese attacks on the British colonies of Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and also due to the fact that the British did not have the American constitutional tradition of requiring the consent of its own national legislature to declare war - the British cabinet could declare war without consulting Parliament, and therefore could act more quickly. Churchill had previously committed to declaring war "within the hour" of a Japanese attack on the United States.
The text of his letter to the Japanese Ambassador was as follows:
On the evening of December 7th His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom learned that Japanese forces without previous warning either in the form of a declaration of war or of an ultimatum with a conditional declaration of war had attempted a landing on the coast of Malaya and bombed Singapore and Hong Kong.
In view of these wanton acts of unprovoked aggression committed in flagrant violation of International Law and particularly of Article I of the Third Hague Convention relative to the opening of hostilities, to which both Japan and the United Kingdom are parties, His Majesty's Ambassador at Tokyo has been instructed to inform the Imperial Japanese Government in the name of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom that a state of war exists between our two countries.
I have the honour to be, with high consideration,
- Your obedient servant,
- Winston S. Churchill
The Atlantic Charter was a statement issued on 14 August 1941 that set out American and British goals for the world after the end of World War II. The joint statement, later dubbed the Atlantic Charter, outlined the aims of the United States and the United Kingdom for the postwar world as follows: no territorial aggrandizement, no territorial changes made against the wishes of the people (self-determination), restoration of self-government to those deprived of it, reduction of trade restrictions, global co-operation to secure better economic and social conditions for all, freedom from fear and want, freedom of the seas, and abandonment of the use of force, and disarmament of aggressor nations. The charter's adherents signed the Declaration by United Nations on 1 January 1942, which was the basis for the modern United Nations.
Events from the year 1941 in Canada.
The South-East Asian Theatre of World War II consisted of the campaigns of the Pacific War in Burma, India, Thailand, the Philippines, Indochina, Malaya and Singapore.
The First Washington Conference, also known as the Arcadia Conference, was held in Washington, D.C., from December 22, 1941, to January 14, 1942.
Sir Franklin Charles Gimson was a British colonial administrator, who served in Ceylon from 1914 to 1941, and later as Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong and Governor of Singapore.
The Allies, later known formally as the United Nations, were an international military coalition formed during the Second World War (1939–1945) to oppose the Axis powers, led by Nazi Germany, the Empire of Japan, and Fascist Italy. Its principal members by 1941 were the United Kingdom, United States, Soviet Union, and China.
The Third Moscow Conference between the major Allies of World War II took place during October 18 to November 11, 1943, at the Moscow Kremlin and Spiridonovka Palace. It was composed of major diplomats, ministers and generals, who discussed cooperation in the war effort, and issued the Moscow Declaration.
The Japanese invasion of Thailand occurred on 8 December 1941. It was briefly fought between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Empire of Japan. Despite fierce fighting in Southern Thailand, the fighting lasted only five hours before ending in a ceasefire. Thailand and Japan then formed an alliance, making Thailand part of the Axis' alliance until the end of World War II.
The following events occurred in December 1941:
Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor took place on December 7, 1941. The U.S. military suffered 18 ships damaged or sunk, and 2,400 people were killed. Its most significant consequence was the entrance of the United States into World War II. The US had previously been officially neutral but subsequently entered the Pacific War, the Battle of the Atlantic and the European theatre of war. Following the attack, the US interned 120,000 Japanese Americans, 11,000 German Americans, and 3,000 Italian Americans.
The declaration of war by the Empire of Japan on the United States and the British Empire (米國及英國ニ對スル宣戰ノ詔書) was published on December 8, 1941, 7.5 hours after Japanese forces started an attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor and attacks on British forces in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The declaration of war was printed on the front page of all Japanese newspapers' evening editions on December 8. The document was subsequently printed again on the eighth day of each month throughout the war, to re-affirm the resolve for the war.
When the United Kingdom declared war on Nazi Germany in September 1939 at the start of World War II, the UK controlled to varying degrees numerous crown colonies, protectorates and the Indian Empire. It also maintained unique political ties to four of the five independent Dominions—Australia, Canada, South Africa, and New Zealand—as co-members of the then "British Commonwealth". In 1939 the British Empire and the Commonwealth together comprised a global power, with direct or de facto political and economic control of 25% of the world's population, and of 30% of its land mass.
On December 8, 1941, the United States Congress declared war on the Empire of Japan in response to that country's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and declaration of war the prior day. It was formulated an hour after the Infamy Speech of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Following the U.S. declaration, Japan's allies, Germany and Italy, declared war on the United States, bringing the United States fully into World War II.
The Sino-British Treaty for the Relinquishment of Extra-Territorial Rights in China, or the Sino-British New Equal Treaty, was a bilateral treaty concluded between the British and the Chinese governments in Chungking (Chongqing) on 11 January 1943. The formal name of the treaty was Treaty Between His Majesty in Respect of the United Kingdom and India and His Excellency the President of the National Government of the Republic of China for the Relinquishment of Extra-Territorial Rights in China and the Regulation of Related Matters.
The Singapore strategy was a naval defence policy of the British Empire that evolved in a series of war plans from 1919 to 1941. It aimed to deter aggression by the Empire of Japan by providing for a base for a fleet of the Royal Navy in the Far East, able to intercept and defeat a Japanese force heading south towards India or Australia. To be effective it required a well-equipped base; Singapore, at the eastern end of the Strait of Malacca, was chosen in 1919 as the location of this base; work continued on this naval base and its defences over the next two decades.
A declaration of war by Canada is a formal declaration issued by the Government of Canada indicating that a state of war exists between Canada and another nation. It is an exercise of the Royal Prerogative on the constitutional advice of the ministers of the Crown in Cabinet and does not require the direct approval of the Parliament of Canada, though such can be sought by the government. Since gaining the authority to declare war under the Statute of Westminster 1931, Canada has declared war only during the Second World War.
The diplomatic history of World War II includes the major foreign policies and interactions inside the opposing coalitions, the Allies of World War II and the Axis powers, between 1939 and 1945. The military history of the war is covered at World War II. The prewar diplomacy is covered in Causes of World War II and International relations (1919–1939). For the postwar see Cold War.
On 11 December 1941, four days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States declaration of war against the Japanese Empire, Nazi Germany declared war against the United States, in response to what was claimed to be a series of provocations by the United States government when the U.S. was still officially neutral during World War II. The decision to declare war was made by Adolf Hitler, apparently offhand, almost without consultation. It has been referred to as Hitler's "most puzzling" decision of World War II. Publicly, the formal declaration was made to American Chargé d'Affaires Leland B. Morris by German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in the latter's office. Later that day, the U.S. declared war on Germany, with Germany's action having eliminated any remaining meaningful domestic isolationist opposition to the U.S. joining the European war.
The following is a timeline of the first premiership of Winston Churchill, who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. Churchill served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the bulk of World War II. His speeches and radio broadcasts helped inspire British resistance, especially during the difficult days of 1940–41 when the British Commonwealth and Empire stood almost alone in its active opposition to Nazi Germany. He led Britain as Prime Minister until victory over Nazi Germany had been secured.
Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914. The declaration was a result of German refusal to remove troops from neutral Belgium. In 1839 the United Kingdom, France, and Prussia had signed the Treaty of London which guaranteed Belgium's sovereignty.
Winston S. Churchill: The Second World War (vol.3): the Grand Alliance. (1950) ISBN 0-395-41057-6