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Oil embargo

The final blow to Japan in the growing crisis between that country and the western powers was the American-led imposition of an embargo on the sale of petroleum products. Lacking natural resources of her own, this was seen as tantamount to an act of war in Tokyo, a reaction not fully appreciated by the State Department in Washington. It seemed to the Japanese that the Hawaii Operation and the war that would follow was the only course open, short of the utter humiliation that a withdrawal from China would involve.

See also: Hawaii Operation; Japan