There was an interesting and excellent documantary (albeit French) on the History Channel last night about the Japanese "General Ishiwara - The Man Who Started the Second World War". From Wikipedia: "Kanji Ishiwara was appointed to the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff in 1935 as Chief of Operations, which gave him primary responsibility for articulating his vision for Japan's future. He was a strong proponent of pan-Asianism and the hokushinron ("strike north") philosophy, as opposed to the nanshin-ron ("strike south") philosophy espoused by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). The strike north view held that Japan should join with Manchukuo (the Japanese puppet state created out of occupied Manchuria in 1932) and China to form an East Asian League, which would then prepare for and fight a war with the Soviet Union. After the Soviet Union was defeated, Japan could move to the south to free Southeast Asia from European colonial rule. Following this victory, Japan would then be ready to tackle the United States. The timescale he was working on was war with the US by 1970 and victory by 1990. It all depended on the premise that all Asian peoples, particularly China, would rally round and support the Japanese as the leader of the Asiatic Peoples. Didn't quite work out! Well worth watching if you get the chance.