“They Were Playing Chicken”—The U.S. Asiatic Fleet’s Gray-Zone Deterrence Campaign against Japan, 1937–40

Naval War College Review – The current environment is not the first time the United States has faced a destabilizing challenge in the western Pacific. In 1937, Japanese forces in China undertook a campaign to expel U.S., British, and other Western interests from that country as part of imperial Japan’s effort to dominate East Asia. The gray-zone tactics used during the Japanese campaign of 1937–40, and the deterrence actions of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet, can help shed light on the situation in the China Sea today.