After one of my grandchildren asked how did WW2 start I was at first upset how could anyone not know, but then I thought there is no simple answer, for wars don't just start they develop.

In 1900 the industrial revaluation had taken root fast, and most countries were ruled by some sort of roalety which depended its subjects livening off the land with loyalty to the landlord. The oldest son was always the ruling successor and other sons became clergy while daughters would marry to form alliances with other countries. This system clashed with Industry which depended on production and money which were not fully controlled by the roalety. Industry required raw materials which were not controlled by royalty.

In the industrial countries the Muslim and Christian religion was controlled by the royalty, and although the Jewish religion was the foundation of both religions they had no country left of their own.

There was a lot of claims to lands needed to fuel the industrial revolution, and when a Archduke was assented in BosniaWW1 started. For over three years it was fought by all the countries in Europe, Russia and Asia. United States needed an incident to enter the war. When a German Submarine sank the SS Lusitania an English Ship with Americans on board, The United States then entered the war. My Father Ira Toler went to France during that war. The airoplain was introduced as observation and later for fighting, The Zeppelin was introduced as a long range bomber, and the Tank made trench warfare obsolete. (of interest when Britain developed the tank, to keep it secret they stated they were making water tanks to deliver fresh water to the troops and that is how it got its name.) Although American troops were still fighting in Russia, "The War to End all Wars" officially ended on The 11th Month--The 11th Day--The 11th Hour in 1918 thus the term "The Eleventh Hour" was conceived.

WW2 was a result of that war. The loosing countries in W.W.I  lost much of their territories, and in an attempt to settle economic, ethnic and religious differences, countries were created for the different Christian and Muslim religions, nothing was created for the Jewish communities. The economy of the winning nations were of main concern, oil was not as important as is now, coal, iron and rubber were important resources. In Russia a Socialist revolution Killed all the roalety and most Clergy, and later on the Soviets took control. The League of Nations was formed to prevent future wars. Israel was put under British control, and its independence was not optioned for several decades.

Early in the century. Japan had a dispute with Russia and destroyed their fleet with the help of a cyclone, to the Japanese this was "a Divine wind"  (Kamikaze)  meaning God was on their side. Japan took over Korea and Manchuria. Japan was ruled by an Emperor who was considered a god.

Italy, was taken over by a Fascist government and disposed of their King.

Communist is a form of Socialism ruled by a dictator with advisors coming from the working people. Fascist are ruled by a dictator with advisors coming from Industrial owners.

In 1935 Italy decided to invade Ethiopia which was ruled by an Emperor, Emperor Hile Salsia pleaded to the "League of Nations" The League took no action and later it was dissolved.

A Civil War broke out in Spain in 1936, The King was disposed, fighting broke out between the Fascist and Communist. Polly's father (Vern Toler's wife, now deceased,) returned to Spain to join the war on the side of the socialist. He was part of the "Abraham Lincoln Brigade" US considered it communist and has never lifted the sanctions against the survivors. (Polly's father was interned in Spain and never returned.) Germany and Italy sent equipment to the Fascist side. The also provided air strikes and submarines to sink ships heading for Spain. This became the proving ground for Germany's war equipment.

Japan invaded Korea, then China, The newsreels showed atrocities, which I saw, The Japanese were tossing babies in the air and catching them on their bayonets. They also had pictures of people being buried alive. They even bombed and sank the USS Paney. This was not enough to start a war, but when the Japanese became a threat to the islands that supplied our rubber, then America put diplomatic pressure on Japan.

Germany invaded several countries surrounding it, saying that Germany living there were being harassed. England's Prim Minister Chamberlain made a peace pack with Germany and Germany stated they would not invade any more countries. When Germany then invaded Poland, The pack was broken and WW2 began. Russia also invaded Poland  as a joint venture with Germany. Finland resisted and was able to remain free throughout WW2  Later Germany invaded Russia at which time Russia became our allies. Germany captured all of Europe and most or Russia and North Africa.

America remained neutral, it seemed that no one would ever be able to cross the ocean to invade us.

Japan became allied with Germany, United States stopped selling oil to Japan.  Japan wanted to invade the Philippines but it was an American possession from the Spanish American War. Japan felt that the American Fleet was strong, and had to be distorted in a surprise first strike, Japan then bombed the American Fleet at Pearl Harbor in a surprise attract.

USA entered the war. December 1941 Vern Toler and his brother Ira served in WW2.

Russia did not declare war on Japan until after the Atomic Bomb was dropped. But then occupied North Japan, North Korea and several other countries. And started to aid the Communist in Chine and French Indo China (incl. Vietnam)

After WW2 Russia occupied Asia and Eastern Europe. The United Nations was formed to maintain peace. USA occupied South Korea and Japan. France returned to French Indo China. China was not occupied, but civil war broke out between the communists and Nationalist.

North Korea was occupied by Russia and their government became communist.

Chinese communist captured China and the Chinese government fled to Taiwan.

North Korea invaded South Korea, USA along with the United Nations pushed the North Koreans back to China, China felt that was a threat so they joined the war. The war became stalled at the 38th parallel. No war was ever declared and the stalemate still exist. Bob Toler was borne in Masan, Korea and he was adapted by Vern Toler.  . Vern Toler served about 2 years in Korea.

After WW2 the French returned to their colonies in French Indo China, Vietnam was part of that. Ho Chin Minn had a communist army and finally drove the French Out. In the peace settlement Vietnam was divided in half North and South. USA had the job of maintaining the piece but the communist infiltrated the South and USA involvement increased. Because of lack of support from Americans and President Nikon scandals, America had to pull out of Vietnam. Vern; Toler spent four years in Vietnam .

The cold war fueled both by the Korean and Vietnam war and the occupation of Eastern Europe by Russia. Part of that time Vern Toler was stationed in Germany. Russia was expanding throughout the world by funding revolutions. Both US and Russia had nuclear bombs, and a hot war could wipe everyone out. Berlin Germany was occupied by the four allied powers, which was surrounded by the Russians, they decided to blockade access, so supplies were sent in by air. "The Berlin Airlift" -- A communist revolution in Cuba took over and Russia tried to installed Atomic Missiles there, we came close to war but Russia backed down. US tried to support a counter reevaluation by supporting Cubans in America for an invaison but the attempt failed "The Bay of Pigs" since the US denided involvement and could not offer air support.

The Panama Canal was started by; France which turned it over to the USA which built  the canal. and by Treaty Panama was turned over to a local government, with joint defense operations between USA and Panama. Panama was taken over by a Dictator who tried to run the USA troops out, US troops captured the Dictator Naraga and jailed him on drug charges.

In the Island of Granada, Cuba was supporting communist government members and they tried take over an American Medical School on the Island, to protect students who where being held prisoners USA invaded the island and drove the Cubans out.

When Iraq invaded Kuwaiti, the USA oil pipeline was cut off so we pushed the Iraqis out of Kuwait. The was ended in 100 days without finishing off Sadum Hausane for political reasons, so there is still a chance of us returning. Before the Gulf war when the environmentalist were fighting to prevent off-shore drilling because it may kill some fish I would answer them with a question. "How many Arabs do you want to kill to save some fish?" my question became a reality.

In the final chapter of "How to Start a War" please return to top of page, Bosnia.



This is a copy of an unknown publication, by Henry Berry ? provided by Homer Compton a TANEY Pearl Harbor Survivor. I feel that it is important and should be part of the USCGC Taney History.

"Why The Pacific War?" Page 20 to 26

 "For fifty years many historians have asked the same question, why was anyone amazed at what Adolf Hitler tried to do? After all, he had outlined all his plans in his book Mien Kampf . It was there in black and white for the whole world to see.

 Well in 1936 the Telegraph Press of New York City published the translation of a Japanese book entitled Japan Must Fight Britain. Its author was a lieutenant commander in the Japanese Imperial Navy named Tota Ishimaru.

 In 1936 Great Britain was assumed to have the strongest navy in the world. It was the British Navy that Japan copied the most when it decided to build the Imperial Fleet. Japan’s dream of a Greater East Asia Empire could not be stopped by the British fleet, or so thought Tota.

 He did point out the strong possibility of the United States jumping into such a conflict on the side of the British. He still felt the Japanese could handle both countries in a Pacific war.

 Besides, he also felt that America would be inclined to stay neutral in a Japanese-British war. Japan would look to the U.S. for huge amounts of oil and military supplies.

 This thought is, of course, a fantasy. But the important theme of the commander’ book is that it maps out Japan’s plans of conquest for Asia.

 By 1936 the Japanese military was definitely gaining the upper hand in Tokyo. The cry was ‘Asia for the Asians’. They wanted the ‘round eyes’ no farther in the Pacific than the Aleutian Islands. They already controlled Korea and Formosa. But that was just for openers. In 1931 their plan for conquest really exploded with an extensive invasion of Manchuria.

 The Japanese force was called the Kwantung Army. For the next decade this army waged war first against the Manchurians, then against the Chinese. It grew immensely powerful and much to the chagrin of the Tokyo government almost a law unto itself.

 A Japanese officer, while serving in Manchuria, would grow in stature to such an extent that his fame became known through out the Empire. The troops called him ‘the Razor’ due to his uncanny ability to slice through details to get things done. His name was General Hideki Tojo.

 Because of the Kwantung Army’s aggression in Manchuria, Japan received sanctions by the League of Nations. Their emperor was embarrassed. But the Army thought it was a joke. Yosuke Masuoka, the Japanese delegate to the League, packed his bags and quickly returned home. This was just the first blow to the League of Nations during the 1930’s. The grip of the military was tightening. There was resistance in Tokyo, but it lacked the power and the resolve to stand up to the Army.

 The next move concerned an incident at the Marco Polo Bridge near Peking. It started with a firefight between Japanese and Chinese troops on July 7, 1937.

 Who fired first? Who knows? But on July 26 a Japanese ultimatum was delivered to the Chinese insisting that Chinese troops withdraw from the Peking area at once. Another Chinese versus Japanese war had started. It would not end until August of 1945 when Japan surrendered.

 One world leader who was infuriated by the Japanese action was FDR. In a speech in Chicago he called for a quarantine of all aggressor nations. What could be considered Japan’s reply to FDR’s speech occurred on December 12, 1937.

 The U.S.S. Panay, a gunboat, had gone up the Yangtze River toward Nanking. Its mission was to help evacuate American nationals from a war zone. In order to make sure the Panay was easily recognized as an American ship, it was flying an oversize American flag.

 Nevertheless, a wave of Japanese bombers descended on the ship. It was quickly sunk. To make matters worse the Japanese pilots then strafed the swimming American sailors. Before it was over, four blue jackets of the American Navy were killed.

 Tokyo may have been as shocked as Washington but not the Army in the field. The Japanese Air Force colonel responsible for the Panay attack admitted several years later that this was no mistaken identity. The pilots knew exactly what they were doing.

 Of course there were apologies coming from all over Japan. There was no question but that Tokyo did not want war.

 Neither did the U.S. With an army the size of the Netherlands’, America was in no shape to go to war with Japan. The President even sent a letter to the emperor telling him to put a bridle on the runaway cannon the Japanese had in China. The letter arrived in Tokyo, but it is doubtful it ever reached the emperor. After the war the U.S. Army had a chance to check all the emperor's correspondence. The letter was nowhere to be found.

 But what happened a few weeks after the sinking of the PNEY was to show the world what they were dealing with when the Japanese Army captured Nanking. Back in the Middle Ages when an army captured a city, the victorious army was allowed to plunder the town.

And this is just what happened. The Rape of Naking belonged in A.D. 900, not in 1937. But it happened and over two hundred thousand civilians were massacred in a bloody orgy that lasted over two months. By the start of 1938 the average American was disgusted with the Japanese in general.

 I was twelve years of age at the time. It seems to me that the four dead sailors from the Panay were remembered by lads like me than the so-called adults. There were a series of cards you could buy with bubble gum. They were called War Cards. I had cards showing tied-up Chinese prisoners being bayoneted by Japanese soldiers.

 There was another card entitled ‘The Rape of Nanking’. But the most valuable card of all was entitled ‘The Panay goes Down’. This picture showed a half-submerged American gunboat going under with the American flag still waving above the water. That card alone was enough to sour me personally on the Japanese of fifty years ago. At this time Japan was the epitome of what happens when a country comes under the iron hand of a military dictatorship.

 During this period there were many people in Tokyo who were trying to halt the march of the military toward war. But it was like trying to stop a flood.

 In 1924 the United States had passed an immigration law that the American mind against Imperial Germany. made it almost impossible for a Japanese to immigrate to the United States. Losing face in the Orient is a serious insult. Japan lost a lot of face when our government as much as said that their citizens were not wanted in the U.S.

 There was a group in the French Air Force called the Lafayette Flying Corps in 1916. It was mainly made up of American college lads flying for the French. A glamorous lot, they received great press in the U.S. The dashing airmen played their part in the propaganda drive to turn

 Well, in 1940 a former U.S. Army pilot and stunt flyer started his famous Flying Tigers. His name was Claire Lee Chennault. He drew the same type of idealistic and adventurous young Americans to his group that had gone to France in 1916. Using revolutionary flying tactics developed by Chennault, the Flying Tigers were soon knocking down Japanese Zeros like kingpins. Japan protested to Washington, but this time it was the Japanese who ran into the blank stare. These excellent fliers remained a thorn in the Japanese side until the end of the war.

 Well, as 1941 progressed so did hostilities between Japan and U.S. As a result of Roosevelt’s battle with the American First Committee, America’s relations with Japan never got the press that the U.S. relations with Nazi Germany did.

 But when it was all said and done, it got down to one word. OIL, The Japanese Imperial Fleet ran on oil. In 1941 Japan was buying most of its oil from the United States. In July of 1941 Washington froze all Japanese assets in the U.S. This would eventually make it impossible for Japan to continue its all-out war of aggression in China and the rest of Asia.

 But the Japanese had anticipated this act. Admiral Nagumo had designed a fast-moving plan to use the whole Imperial Fleet to capture the East Indies oil-producing islands before the U.S. Pacific Fleet could get out of Pearl Harbor.

 By the time the U.S. had arrived near Japan, the Japanese fleet, with its ten aircraft carries, could destroy the U.S. fleet in the Japan’s home waters. This had been mapped out in the late 1930’s. But the most prestigious man in the Japanese Navy, Isoroku Yamamoto, had other plans. He had visions of the bulk of the Japanese fleet being in the East Indies and the U.S. fleet coming over and finishing off what was left around Japan.
 Anyway, Yamamoto had spent many years in the United States. He had even taken a two-year course at Harvard University.

Above all, he studied the American people. He knew not only of the mighty industrial power of the United States but also the pride Americans took in their country. It wasn’t an intensely paternalistic pride such as the Germans and the Japanese had; it was a much lower-key pride. But it was there and the Americans would fight for it.

So, Yamamoto came up with a different plan. The Japanese would load up six of their ten aircraft carriers. They would come at Pearl Harbor from the North on a Sunday morning in December. The damage done to Pear Harbor would be immense.

Yamamoto knew a surprise strike at Pearl Harbor was so revolutionary that the Americans wouldn’t even consider it. And with a few exceptions he was right.

It was the same with the Japanese admirals. Would they or would they not fight the United States? This was definite; if the U.S. shut off their oil, they would have no choice but to fight.

There was one-man in the government who at least questioned the wisdom of going to war with the U.S. His name was Shigenori Togo, The foreign minister. After being told that as negotiations had broken down, the only choice was war, he commented: ‘Just because we can no longer negotiate with the Americans, must we bomb them?’ For that remark alone he should have been given a medal.

So be it. On October 17, 1941 General Hideki Tojo, Japan’s war minister, replaced Prince Konoye as prime minister. He retained his position as War Minister. Now, both the civilian government and the military were under one man.

Tojo was a career military man in the best samurai tradition. However, he was dedicated to the Japanese plans for expansion in Asia. While men like Tojo and Yamamoto were completely honest men, they, like most Japanese leaders, firmly believed that the Japanese people were the chosen people of the East, if not the world. They were borne to lead, or so these men thought.

So, while many historians think that the appointment of Tojo played a big part in starting the war, plans for the Pearl Harbor attack were made long before he got the bib job.

So, with all the meetings and hoopla, the question of peace or war came down to one controversy. It was like teenagers playing chicken.

Japan said, ‘You must sell us oil’ America replied, ‘We will sell you oil as long as you start withdrawing your troops from French Indochina’.

The whole thing brings up a moral question. Did the United States have the right to tell Japan what she must do?

On the other hand, did Japan have the right to tell the U.S. to whom it must sell its oil? Take your pick.

An interesting aside. Would Japan have taken on the U.S., Great Britain, and the Netherlands if the Netherlands had not been conquered by Germany and if England wasn’t fighting Germany for its life? "


Petrell Joona <>     4 July 2001
 I had few thought about your written text in your web page called " How
to Start a War". It's very subjective view on WWII, but that is not why I
am emailing to you now. I'm Finnish and I was disturbed by you notation
that "Russia also invaded Poland and Finland as a joint venture with
  Finns remained free over the whole WWII. By Germany's preasure we
attacked the Russia to free our lands invaded in the earlier "Winter War",
an offensive by Russia( Russia had the aim to make us a part of the
Communist Russia.) After we got our lands back we stopped advancing the
Russian territory. We did get some assistance from nazi-Germany to fight
the Russians. At the end of the WWII finns made a peacepack with Russians
and drove the German troops( which had been helping the Finland to
attack Russia) out of the Finnish territory. The peace agreement was hard
and Finland lost much land from it's eastern part. Finland stayed
democratic over the whole Cold War. We had good trade relations between
the Russia so some Western Countries thought we were communists. Nowadays
Finland has gross national product that of an England, Germany and other
wealthy western countries. Finland is not a part of the poor Eastern
Europe,  it's part of the Northern Europe countries like Sweden and
  By the way, I stumbled my way to this article by founding The Petrell
Family Newsletter, also located at your web page. I thank you for
maintaining important genelogy imformation lettertables about various
families. I'm also Petrell and I know something about Petrell-family. In
Finland there even exists a written book conserning Petrell-family
history. I know my grandmum has one copy and I've been meaning to contact
her where to buy one myself.

- Joona Petrell