That's a rather Euro-centric view, Walter. I'm sure the Ethiopians and the Chinese might have something to say about that.
It also started for Australia, Canada, and I would guess a number of other Commonwealth countries on that day.
Given that the Chinese had already been viciously and horrendously attacked by an Axis power, (though I am not sure that Japan was formally an Axis power at that point) and a number of countries nowhere near Europe decided that Hitler was worth fighting right there and then, I think your comment re Eurocentrism is quite misplaced. ...
The US was very late to the struggle...but many countries NOT anywhere near Europe were not. ...
I find myself in tears at the anniversary, as I think of the horror and slaughter experienced by so many millions upon millions of people.
I so do not generally do national pride and such crap...and I am aware of the awfulness of theWW I treaty of Versailles and all the other **** that led to this.....and all the other awfulnesses everywhere......
But I find your nit-picking quite untoward and distressingly inaccurate and USA-centric.
I think this is where it started. dlowan is caught somewhere between pride in Australia's early involvement in the conflict (at the behest of Empire) with an associated rebuke to America for delaying; and sad regret for the great suffering the war inflicted on all participants, willing or unwilling.
The fact is that America's delayed entry was a direct result of similar attitudes towards the damage and suffering created during WWI and the nearly complete pointlessness of that struggle. There were other complicating factors as well: a very large population of German descent and a large population of Irish descent which generally had little love for the British Empire. My father, himself a childhood immigrant from Ennis in Ireland, was in the U.S. Congress during the late 1930s and voted against the "Lend/Lease " program for armaments for the UK.
All wars are horrible. Some are fought for bad or unsavory reasons - or sometimes for no apparent reason at all. Others are fought for what at least appear to be very good or defensible reasons; some that stand the test of history, some that don't. Had the European powers that drove and enforced (initially) the Treaty of Versailles either been wiser (and less vindictive) in crafting the initial treaty, or bolder and more active in enforcing its terms when Hitler first challenged it, the European aspect of the War might not have happened.
Japan's interest in a Pacific Empire was in part stoked by her role in WWI sweeping up the island remnants of the German Empire in the Pacific; her cooperation with the Royal navy in doiung so; and the temptation presented by a nearly prostrate China after a century of exploitation and abuse by the European powers.