In spite of a panoply of comparative national differences, the economics, international business and corporate strategy literature seem to suggest that there are just a few best ways to organize and manage firms for global as opposed to national competition. I am proposing a comparison of the international strategies of 112 American and Japanese firms in 8 industries during a 45 year period, 1954-99, to test this and other points relating to national and global competition. I believe that firms learn ways of doing business as a function of their national histories, and that their international strategies strongly reflect these national experiences. Since the histories of industrial firms in America and Japan have differed with respect to key issues of management, organization and policy, their international strategies likewise differ. Strategic differences impact firm performance, national economic well-being and policy formation, and have notable global effects.