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  #51  
Old 10-04-2019, 01:50 PM
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Apologies for the late response to this, but you may be missing my point.

Although a home-based army that uses "suicide tactics" would cost any invader dearly, it is not an army that could invade other countries. In other words, what's the downside to simply ignoring it? Not only would Japan be no threat to the region or the globe, it would be unable to build up its armed forces to the degree necessary to be a threat in the foreseeable future - it is an island and so isolated from everything, including supply of the raw materials essential for an offensive, ocean-transported army.
The down sides to just ignoring it is that you'd be committed to basically an indefinite blockade thousands of miles from the nearest large logistic base. Sure, you could support that through staging (as we were) using smaller bases and stockpiles, but that's going to be a strain year in and year out. And all the while, the Japanese would be trying to rebuild. Sure, Japan is short of some key materials, but they would have had some stockpiles, and no blockade is ever 100%. Eventually, you'd get tired of the constant blockade and leave...no one could do that forever, not even the US. Ships wear out, and so do troops. And when you do, Japan would rebuild. And they would have the same evil folks in charge, only this time they would have a serious chip on their shoulders AND the myth of the invulnerable home land, safe from invasion and conquest would be even more firmly in their minds. What sorts of things do you suppose they could or would do in that situation?

This leaves aside the fact that if the US didn't want to do it, the Soviets STILL would have anyway, or what would happen to our troops or myriad other things (including how politically impossible such a fantasy really was back then...the blockade thing had been debated and rejected and wasn't going to happen). It just wasn't in the cards, and, frankly, it would have been stupid for us to go down that road anyway, IMHO. You don't leave a beaten enemy with a serious grudge the room and time to rebuild or what you get is WWII version 2.0 10 or 20 years later. Just like what we got with Germany and WWI. Better to do what we did. Now we have a trading partner and ally in Japan, and a powerful one to support us in a region that is extremely important to the US and the world wrt trade and everything else, rather than a beaten enemy who remained unconquered with a grudge.
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  #52  
Old 10-04-2019, 02:30 PM
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This, of course, leaves out the atomic bombs which, if we actually had them and used them and had the same number in the pipeline would have allowed us to drop 2-3 more in 6 months or so, with another 2-3 every 6-8 months after that. Even without that, however, there was no way Japan could survive indefinitely or that the US would lose.
I've posted this before - here's a transcript detailing a phone conversation between General Hull on Marshall's staff and Col. Seaman of the Manhattan project, on Aug 13, talking about how many more bombs could be delivered if needed. Some fascinating points in it - according to Hull, if they had a third bomb ready then, they would have already dropped it. There was going to be a third bomb ready on the 19th, and it would possibly be dropped immediately. After that, there wouldn't be another bomb ready until early September, but then there'd be 3/month for the next few months. Hull said there was currently a debate going on as to whether to drop them as they became available, or to hold them and drop them all at once, or to hold them and use them as part of an invasion. Essentially they were thinking that if two bombs didn't convince them to surrender, there was no reason to think a third would, so maybe they needed to rethink how to use the bombs.

So at the time at least, they were planning the invasion with 3 atomic bombs per month. If things had gotten that far there wouldn't be a Japan right now, just the American Protectorate of the East Asian archipelago.

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  #53  
Old 10-04-2019, 02:40 PM
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Yes. And while it's true the American public was fairly war weary by 1945 (despite the fact we were actually the last great power to join the war), I don't think we were to the point where we were just going to pack up and go home if the Japanese didn't surrender. Nor were the other allies, who's populations were ALSO war weary (even the Russian's, despite folks thinking they were mindless robots ready to always jump in the meat grinder at a moments notice, regardless of their personal feelings). Nor was our economy on the brink...hell, we were in the best shape in the world, far better able to invade Japan than the Russians were, economically (or the British or anyone else). We were no were near our limits, despite the pinch our public was certainly feeling with rationing and such. But that's nothing compared to what other countries were having to do to sustain the war effort. The US, by contrast, was still an economic powerhouse, very able to continue the war into Japan for several more years if needs be.
Sure the economy was doing great but the war was being financed thru war bonds and those were not being sold so fast anymore. That is also why they still had important people back home still stumping to buy war bonds in 45.

Also troops were tiring of the war and wanted to return to their lives. Their was a near mutiny from soldiers in europe when told they were going to have to go to japan to fight. Remember these troops were all draftees.

We needed the war to end.
  #54  
Old 10-04-2019, 03:04 PM
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holy crap 3 bombs a month? that place would of been like the 40s version of the Pripyat (i can't get the spelling right sorry) exclusion zone by the 3rd or 4th drop .......

What ive always wondered is if we invaded japan would of that escalated the fighting in china?

I've read years ago that we were worried even if japan was invaded that the command in china would go rouge and continue fighting ...
  #55  
Old 10-04-2019, 03:12 PM
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They'd have to starve until they quit - and that decision was made knowing the first people in Japan to die would be the Allied POW's.
Some POWs, including some members of George Bush' crew, were cannibalized by their Japanese captors.
It was know that POWs were held in either Hiroshima or Nagasaki, I do not recall which city.
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  #56  
Old 10-04-2019, 03:44 PM
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That is inaccurate. The US and its allies had every intention of invading regardless of the outcome of the nuclear strikes and the actual invasion had nuclear weapons use planned by July '45*.
The nuclear bomb was never supposed to be an alternative, it was supposed to be complementary.

(*probably would not have used it, since the Trinity test showed the yield to be several magnitudes larger than expected, which made use on the battlefield iffy, but again, not an alternative).
On doing a little more research, you're right- the bombs AND the looming threat of invasion were both intended to put consequences into refusing the Potsdam Ultimatum. (although I'm sure they hoped deep-down that the bombs would drive the Japanese to surrender)

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It was to spare the Japanese people from utter destruction that the ultimatum of July 26 was issued at Potsdam. Their leaders promptly rejected that ultimatum. If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Behind this air attack will follow sea and land forces in such numbers and power as they have not yet seen and with the fighting skill of which they are already well aware.
  #57  
Old 10-04-2019, 06:05 PM
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...

Also troops were tiring of the war and wanted to return to their lives. Their was a near mutiny from soldiers in europe when told they were going to have to go to japan to fight. Remember these troops were all draftees.

We needed the war to end.
Sure the troops in Europe had a 'end' to the war, then the rugs was pulled out from under them. But in the Pacific, the troops were ready and able. They had seen the sort of stuff the "Japs" did, and invading the homes islands was fairly popular as those things go.

The Invasion would have gone off. Casualties would have been high, especially among the Japanese, even their civilians. Not only would the Allies have had many deaths, the Japanese would have had maybe 10-100 times the number lost due to The Bomb.

We expected to have 200,000-300000 dead, and over 500,000 wounded. In Okinawa, were we lost 14000, the Axis lost nearly 100000, with a addl 150000 civilians dead. Extrapolating from this means 1Million dead Japanese soldiers (they had 4M) and 1.5M civilians dead- not to mention those dead from starvation. The Bomb was a mercy.
  #58  
Old 10-04-2019, 06:59 PM
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Some argue that it was the Russians adding their forces to an invasion that tipped the balance. Instead of getting part of Japan, the Soviets got North Korea.
The Soviets did get some contested Japanese islands, as I recall.

Last edited by carnivorousplant; 10-04-2019 at 07:00 PM.
  #59  
Old 10-04-2019, 08:15 PM
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What ive always wondered is if we invaded japan would of that escalated the fighting in china?

I've read years ago that we were worried even if japan was invaded that the command in china would go rouge and continue fighting ...
Don't forget that the Soviets had declared war on Japan two days after Hiroshima (the deadline they'd agreed to at Potsdam) after quietly shipping 1.5 million troops to the Manchurian border. They had the Kwantung forces outnumbered, outgunned, and out-everything-elsed. Despite that, and the fact that the Japanese had officially surrendered on August 15, the Kwantung kept fighting through the end of the month.

Last edited by Kent Clark; 10-04-2019 at 08:15 PM.
  #60  
Old 10-04-2019, 08:41 PM
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I've read years ago that we were worried even if japan was invaded that the command in china would go rouge and continue fighting ...
How would they change color?
  #61  
Old 10-04-2019, 08:58 PM
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How would they change color?
Side effect of the A-bombs besides Godzilla.
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Old 10-04-2019, 08:59 PM
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How would they change color?
Surely you've heard of Red China?
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Old 10-04-2019, 10:13 PM
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lol nice one flytrap even Grammarly didn't catch that.....
  #64  
Old 10-05-2019, 07:57 AM
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Side effect of the A-bombs besides Godzilla.
Of course!
  #65  
Old 10-07-2019, 02:07 PM
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Some POWs, including some members of George Bush' crew, were cannibalized by their Japanese captors.
The other two members of George H.W. Bush's crew died in the crash that forced him to bail out. While accounts differ slightly it appears to be the case that one man bailed out with Bush but his parachute failed to open, and the other went down with the aircraft. It is definitely the case neither survived to become POWs. There were cases of cannibalism involving men captures in that battle, but not from among Bush's crew.
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  #66  
Old 10-07-2019, 02:50 PM
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The Chichijima incident.
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Nine airmen escaped from their planes after being shot down during bombing raids on Chichi Jima, a tiny island 700 miles (1,100 km) south of Tokyo, in September 1944. Eight were captured. The ninth, the only one to evade capture, was future US President George H. W. Bush, then a 20-year-old pilot.[1]

After the war, it was discovered that the captured airmen had been beaten and tortured before being executed. The airmen were beheaded on the orders of Lt Gen. Yoshio Tachibana (立花芳夫, Tachibana Yoshio). American authorities reported that Japanese officers then ate parts of the bodies of four of the men.
  #67  
Old 10-07-2019, 03:16 PM
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The fog of war.
Some of the Doolittle Raiders were beheaded. I'm sure there were all sorts of rumors.
Here is a link on cannibalism among Japanese forces.
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  #68  
Old 10-08-2019, 01:39 PM
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BTW, lets not forget that just maybe 10 years prior the USA and japan had been friends. Many Americans had fond memories of the unique people, culture, and architecture of Japan. Did we really want every pagoda and city in Japan bombed down to rubble like Germany was?
I don't buy this at all.

First off, how many Americans had ever been to Japan in the 1930's to have fond memories of the "unique people, culture, and architecture of Japan?"

From 1942 to 1946 the United Stated interred 120,000 Japanese, the majority of the US citizens, with nary a protest of dissent (in one of the most embarrassing moments in American history (IMO).

How do you extrapolate any of this to think that the US would have halted an invasion due to American fondness for Japan?
  #69  
Old 10-08-2019, 02:26 PM
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From 1942 to 1946 the United Stated interred 120,000 Japanese, the majority of the US citizens, with nary a protest of dissent (in one of the most embarrassing moments in American history (IMO).
Americans were terrified that American Japanese would work for the enemy. I believe that part of the reason for that fear was the Nihau Incident.
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  #70  
Old 10-08-2019, 03:08 PM
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Americans were terrified that American Japanese would work for the enemy. I believe that part of the reason for that fear was the Nihau Incident.
I know what the rational was. But it was unfounded, and could have been shown to be proven unfounded at the time with out longstanding racial prejudice. Normally I'm against presentism, but I make an exception in this case.
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:11 PM
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I know what the rational was. But it was unfounded, and could have been shown to be proven unfounded at the time with out longstanding racial prejudice.
I agree, it was an attempt to explain the situation.
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:26 PM
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I agree, it was an attempt to explain the situation.
carnivorousplant, copy that. As much as I hate that it happened, I understand that it was a close call at the time. I was unaware of the incident you mentioned. Thanks for pointing that out.
  #73  
Old 10-08-2019, 04:08 PM
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I've posted this before - here's a transcript detailing a phone conversation between General Hull on Marshall's staff and Col. Seaman of the Manhattan project, on Aug 13, talking about how many more bombs could be delivered if needed. Some fascinating points in it - according to Hull, if they had a third bomb ready then, they would have already dropped it. There was going to be a third bomb ready on the 19th, and it would possibly be dropped immediately. After that, there wouldn't be another bomb ready until early September, but then there'd be 3/month for the next few months. Hull said there was currently a debate going on as to whether to drop them as they became available, or to hold them and drop them all at once, or to hold them and use them as part of an invasion. Essentially they were thinking that if two bombs didn't convince them to surrender, there was no reason to think a third would, so maybe they needed to rethink how to use the bombs.

So at the time at least, they were planning the invasion with 3 atomic bombs per month. If things had gotten that far there wouldn't be a Japan right now, just the American Protectorate of the East Asian archipelago.
Heck, just fly a single high-altitude bomber over a random city every other day, have it drop a single bomb. Most of the time, it just explodes to scatter leaflets over the city calling for surrender. Even ten sorties or so, a city gets nuked. The message would be pretty clear - we can destroy you if we choose; we'd rather not, if you surrender. Do that a few times and the disruption caused by panic at the sight of a single bomber should be helpful in itself.
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  #74  
Old 10-08-2019, 04:11 PM
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If the Empire of Japan had withdrawn all its military forces back to the home islands in, say, August 1944 (before the Battle of Leyte Gulf), removing its armies from China, the Philippines, and from everywhere else they were occupiers, would the US and Britain still have pursued a course of total victory including invasion?

Would they have waited for a year and then proceed to annihilate Japan from the air with more than incendiary bombing?

Or might they say it's just not worth it? We will leave the Japanese to their own device (or own demise if they again challenge us)?

How committed would the Allies have been to accept nothing but the total subjugation of Japan and its military, and an unconditional surrender, if there was no longer anyone for them to liberate?
The discussion seems to have drifted pretty completely away from this question and back to the perennial 'A-bomb v other' debate about ending the war with Japan around a year after that.

The situation of August 1944 was pretty different than August 1945
-no A-bomb
-only very limited bombing of Japan by B-29's based in China
-but the seizure of the Marianas in June was a very big deal, caused the fall of the Tojo cabinet in July, first major public recognition that the war was going poorly for Japan. And the B-29's started bombing from there in November, in eventually much larger numbers, much more easily supplied with fuel, munitions and replacement a/c and crews from the US.
-losses of merchant ships to submarines becoming critical but Japan far from totally cut off from its new South East Asian possessions and little problem yet with sea communication to China via Korea then railroad.
-there had not been large land battles where the US suffered heavy casualties to suicidal resistance by Japanese land forces. Tarawa was something of a shock in that regard but only fairly recently, Nov 1943. The remnants of Japanese garrisons had generally retreated into jungles or been lifted out by sea in previous defeats in the Solomons/New Guinea. Campaigns like Iwo Jima and Okinawa were yet to come. Regular, organized suicide a/c attacks were also from late 1944 though some individual airmen crashed into ships before that.

The US was not seriously 'war weary' at all in mid 1944. The large land, sea and air forces it had built up were only then going into combat on a much larger scale than 1942-43, the Army in Europe in particular but generally. Looking forward to some morale-breaking difficulty in totally defeating Japan would not have factored in much, to the extent it even did in 1945, which I think is often overstated by projecting back later anti-war sentiments.

Japan had very little to gain militarily by retreating. In some cases a strategic retreat on one front can strengthen another. But what the Marianas campaign proved was the vulnerability of Japan's island barriers to the east due to US naval superiority. The creeping disaster of the convoy war likewise. Freeing up the IJA from limited fighting in China or occupying mainly pacified areas of China and the new conquests, wasn't going to help with that. Whereas the various territories supplied lots of war materials and general goods like food.

So the question is if Japan could have made any offer besides unconditional surrender that the Allies would have accepted in August 1944. I think not. The perceived lesson of the first world war (where the non-US Entente powers were *really* war weary, to where major social upheaval in the face of any reversal in fortune while invading Germany was still entirely possible) was not to accept such partial solutions. There wasn't nearly enough pain to the US at that point to rethink that, and a huge new military just reaching full stride.

Last edited by Corry El; 10-08-2019 at 04:16 PM.
  #75  
Old 10-08-2019, 04:26 PM
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The US was not seriously 'war weary' at all in mid 1944. The large land, sea and air forces it had built up were only then going into combat on a much larger scale than 1942-43, the Army in Europe in particular but generally. Looking forward to some morale-breaking difficulty in totally defeating Japan would not have factored in much, to the extent it even did in 1945, which I think is often overstated by projecting back later anti-war sentiments.

So the question is if Japan could have made any offer besides unconditional surrender that the Allies would have accepted in August 1944. I think not. The perceived lesson of the first world war (where the non-US Entente powers were *really* war weary, to where major social upheaval in the face of any reversal in fortune while invading Germany was still entirely possible) was not to accept such partial solutions. There wasn't nearly enough pain to the US at that point to rethink that, and a huge new military just reaching full stride.
I've read that Churchill was eager to send the Royal Navy to the Pacific, but then Churchill was always eager to fight.
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Old 10-08-2019, 08:13 PM
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The discussion seems to have drifted pretty completely away from this question and back to the perennial 'A-bomb v other' debate about ending the war with Japan around a year after that.

The situation of August 1944 was pretty different than August 1945
-no A-bomb
-only very limited bombing of Japan by B-29's based in China
-but the seizure of the Marianas in June was a very big deal, caused the fall of the Tojo cabinet in July, first major public recognition that the war was going poorly for Japan. And the B-29's started bombing from there in November, in eventually much larger numbers, much more easily supplied with fuel, munitions and replacement a/c and crews from the US.
-losses of merchant ships to submarines becoming critical but Japan far from totally cut off from its new South East Asian possessions and little problem yet with sea communication to China via Korea then railroad.
-there had not been large land battles where the US suffered heavy casualties to suicidal resistance by Japanese land forces. Tarawa was something of a shock in that regard but only fairly recently, Nov 1943. The remnants of Japanese garrisons had generally retreated into jungles or been lifted out by sea in previous defeats in the Solomons/New Guinea. Campaigns like Iwo Jima and Okinawa were yet to come. Regular, organized suicide a/c attacks were also from late 1944 though some individual airmen crashed into ships before that.

The US was not seriously 'war weary' at all in mid 1944. The large land, sea and air forces it had built up were only then going into combat on a much larger scale than 1942-43, the Army in Europe in particular but generally. Looking forward to some morale-breaking difficulty in totally defeating Japan would not have factored in much, to the extent it even did in 1945, which I think is often overstated by projecting back later anti-war sentiments.

Japan had very little to gain militarily by retreating. In some cases a strategic retreat on one front can strengthen another. But what the Marianas campaign proved was the vulnerability of Japan's island barriers to the east due to US naval superiority. The creeping disaster of the convoy war likewise. Freeing up the IJA from limited fighting in China or occupying mainly pacified areas of China and the new conquests, wasn't going to help with that. Whereas the various territories supplied lots of war materials and general goods like food.

So the question is if Japan could have made any offer besides unconditional surrender that the Allies would have accepted in August 1944. I think not. The perceived lesson of the first world war (where the non-US Entente powers were *really* war weary, to where major social upheaval in the face of any reversal in fortune while invading Germany was still entirely possible) was not to accept such partial solutions. There wasn't nearly enough pain to the US at that point to rethink that, and a huge new military just reaching full stride.
Very interesting. I wish had been able to come up with a quarter of the points you did.
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:30 PM
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Allow me to add another point regarding American will to fight. The pre-war Japanese perception that Americans were soft and unwarlike directly contributed to their decision to go to war to secure resources. The Japanese knew American economic and industrial potential was high, but their comforting assumption that Americans wouldn't fight a hard war led them to gamble they could force the Americans to back down if they could quickly consolidate an advantageous position (which they in fact managed to do).

When the Americans did not back down, the Japanese told themselves that Japanese valor would extract such a heavy price their enemies would be worn down and give up. That also proved to be hopeful nonsense.

The Americans were aware of their enemies' opinions of their will to fight. It would not have been a good idea to give the Japanese any grounds to hope that the long-awaited American failure of will was imminent. Stopping or pulling back would have instead persuaded the militarists in Japan that they'd been right all along -- hit hard enough and America would quit.
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:47 PM
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Japan produced about three million barrels of oil each year. Its civilian economy consumed about twelve million barrels. Its military consumed about twenty-three million barrels. So even if Japan hadn't totally disarmed it would have been dependent on foreign oil. And eighty percent of Japan's oil imports came from the United States.
If that is true, why would Japan eliminate the source of ~80% of their critical war material by bombing Pearl Harbor? Was the giant thought to be a heavy sleeper?

Last edited by Musicat; 10-09-2019 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 10-09-2019, 01:56 PM
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If that is true, why would Japan eliminate the source of ~80% of their critical war material by bombing Pearl Harbor? Was the giant thought to be a heavy sleeper?
I'm sure this was tongue in cheek, but the reason was the US embargo against Japan was cutting deeply, and the Japanese felt that, if they could knock the US out for a couple of years and they could run wild, they could basically get rid of the European colonial empires (to be replaced by a Japanese one of course), where they would have plenty of access to oil fields in Malaysia and South East Asia, as well as access to other critical war supplies. This hinged on the calculation that the US, if handed a fait accompli, would eventually accept this...perhaps with some reparations to salve our wounded pride or whatever.

It wasn't the best calculation, but it's one that seems to still have traction with many people even today.
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Old 10-09-2019, 04:37 PM
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It should be noted that the Japanese believed they could negotiate an end to the war, using the USSR as an intermediary, as late as July 1945.

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On July 12, Foreign Minister Togo sent a telegram to Ambassador Sato, instructing the ambassador to see Molotov immediately to present the emperor’s message requesting Moscow’s mediation to terminate the war. Togo stated that it was the emperor’s wish to end the war, but made it clear that so long as the Allies demanded unconditional surrender, Japan had no choice but to fight to the last man.27 Molotov, however, refused to meet Sato before his departure for Potsdam.
(emphasis added)

The Soviets, having territorial ambitions in eastern Asia, weren't the impartial mediators the Japanese might have hoped for. They refused to give the Japanese any answer until the Potsdam Declaration on July 26 eliminated any further chance of negotiations. The Japanese didn't get the hint.

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Moreover, while the Allies stated that they would not deviate from these terms, Togo believed that if the Soviet Government finally agreed to Japan's mediation request, it would be possible at least to negotiate through Russia to assure that the Potsdam terms would be interpreted in the most favorable way for Japan. It was therefore essential, first, not to reject the Allied declaration, which would at once close the door to further peace negotiations, and second, to await Russia's final answer on the Konoye mission.128 Premier Suzuki promptly concurred in these views.
By then the Japanese cabinet had split into pro-surrender and pro-fight factions, and even after two bombs and the Soviet declaration of war, they couldn't come to an agreement until the Emperor personally intervened.
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Old 10-09-2019, 04:49 PM
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Just by the way, in my professional opinion, the US would have lost had it attempted to invade Japan. If someone want to talk about that we can.
Just a inquiry. Why do you think that. Granted, it would be a bloody mess on both sides.
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Old 10-09-2019, 04:56 PM
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Just a inquiry. Why do you think that. Granted, it would be a bloody mess on both sides.
As I expounded here and other places,,, Geo-politics is a delicate balance.
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Old 10-09-2019, 05:36 PM
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I'm sure this was tongue in cheek, but the reason was the US embargo against Japan was cutting deeply, and the Japanese felt that, if they could knock the US out for a couple of years and they could run wild, they could basically get rid of the European colonial empires (to be replaced by a Japanese one of course), where they would have plenty of access to oil fields in Malaysia and South East Asia, as well as access to other critical war supplies. This hinged on the calculation that the US, if handed a fait accompli, would eventually accept this...perhaps with some reparations to salve our wounded pride or whatever.

It wasn't the best calculation, but it's one that seems to still have traction with many people even today.
The embargo was due to the fact that Japan was invading China, and committing war crime. They were losing in China anyway, they could have pulled back to manchuko and gotten US oil- with a nice healthy addition to their empire.

They also could have taken the DEI without any real US interference.

Instead the did the very worst thing they could have.
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Old 10-09-2019, 05:48 PM
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Instead the did the very worst thing they could have.
I've often wondered why the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor without being absolutely certain that the US carriers were there. I get that the Japanese carriers had already headed east to PH, but could they not have held the launch pending confirmation?
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:17 PM
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I've often wondered why the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor without being absolutely certain that the US carriers were there. I get that the Japanese carriers had already headed east to PH, but could they not have held the launch pending confirmation?
There were mini subs that made their way into Pearl. They could have been used for reconnaissance.
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:46 PM
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The Pearl Harbor attack, like most (if not all) IJN operations, was precisely timed with very little room for improvisation. Also, hanging around waiting for the US carriers to be in port carried the risk of discovery aggravated by the fact that the carriers not being in port meant that they were out in the Pacific somewhere, so there was a chance they would stumble across the Pearl Harbor strike force by accident.

(I've read varying opinions as to whether the carriers or the battle line were the primary target. While Yamamoto was a strong advocate of naval air power, the upper echelons of the IJN were still committed to the Mahan doctrine that control of the seas would be decided by a Jutland-esque slugfest between dreadnoughts. As, of course, were the upper echelons of the USN.)
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:12 PM
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Also, hanging around waiting for the US carriers to be in port carried the risk of discovery aggravated by the fact that the carriers not being in port meant that they were out in the Pacific somewhere, so there was a chance they would stumble across the Pearl Harbor strike force by accident.
An excellent point.
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:36 PM
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Back to the thread topic, when I was growing up I spent many a rainy afternoon (which, around here, meant many afternoons) reading and re-reading wartime newspapers that my parents had saved for one reason or another. Granted that it was a small sample, based on the letters to the editor some people wanted the Japanese reduced to powerlessness and abject penury. And these were the charitable ones: less charitable writers wanted the Japanese exterminated. This attitude seemed just as pervasive toward the end of the war as it was at the beginning. So while war bond revenues were indeed falling off, to say that "war-weariness" was predominant appears overstated.
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:59 PM
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I've often wondered why the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor without being absolutely certain that the US carriers were there. I get that the Japanese carriers had already headed east to PH, but could they not have held the launch pending confirmation?
If we had lost the two carriers, it would have delayed the Japanese defeat by... not much if any- maybe 6 months.


https://nationalinterest.org/blog/bu...l-harbor-85901

If they had hit the gas and oil, it might have delayed the inevitable by... maybe 6 months. Other than not attacking Pearl, nothing leads to a Japanese victory. It is just possible that if the IJN had attacked only the Phillipines the USA would not have been filled with such a terrible resolve...but I doubt it.

They could have gotten away with attacking just the DEI and the Brits- very likely. That would have gotten them the oil they needed.
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Old 10-10-2019, 08:56 AM
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If we had lost the two carriers, it would have delayed the Japanese defeat by... not much if any- maybe 6 months.


https://nationalinterest.org/blog/bu...l-harbor-85901

If they had hit the gas and oil, it might have delayed the inevitable by... maybe 6 months. Other than not attacking Pearl, nothing leads to a Japanese victory. It is just possible that if the IJN had attacked only the Phillipines the USA would not have been filled with such a terrible resolve...but I doubt it.

They could have gotten away with attacking just the DEI and the Brits- very likely. That would have gotten them the oil they needed.
Actually, one counter intuitive strategy I recall seeing or reading about that would have seriously delayed the US was...don't sink the fleet in Pearl Harbor. Instead, lure it out and sink it in deep water where the ships would be unrecoverable. Had the Japanese done that, supposedly, it would have set up back something like 2 years. That was actually what the Japanese originally were planning on...2 years where the US either couldn't seriously respond or could only respond in limited ways, leaving the Japanese free to basically take over all of the South Pacific and to fortify their gains such that the cost to the US to take it back would be, in their opinions anyway, too high for us to accept.
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  #91  
Old 10-10-2019, 10:33 AM
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They could have gotten away with attacking just the DEI and the Brits- very likely. That would have gotten them the oil they needed.
I agree. (And I've argued this point on this board in the past.) If Japan had just attacked the British and the Dutch and not attacked the Americans, they would have done much better. I believe that the United States would not have gone to war against Japan in defense of a third party (they hadn't gone to war in defense of China or France).

The problem was that decision making in Japan had been handed over to the army and navy. They naturally tended to see things in military terms. And from a military point of view, it was a sound idea to secure the route between Japan and Southeast Asia; the presence of another country's military base (the Philippines) meant that Japan's vital oil supply was vulnerable if that country chose to attack it. So the Japanese military decided it would be a safer policy to eliminate that possible threat.

On the local level, it was a sound military decision. But it was a terrible political decision, because eliminating the possibility of a threat from the Philippines meant attacking the United States and creating a genuine threat everywhere else. The Japanese military got so focused on one tree that lost sight of the forest.

A wiser Japanese policy would have been to accept the risk of existing American military bases in the Philippines. Because those bases only really mattered to Japan if the United States chose to use them against Japan. As long as the United States and Japan stayed at peace with one another, they were irrelevant. Japanese oil tankers could have sailed by American bases and waved at them.
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:41 AM
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I agree. (And I've argued this point on this board in the past.) If Japan had just attacked the British and the Dutch and not attacked the Americans, they would have done much better. I believe that the United States would not have gone to war against Japan in defense of a third party (they hadn't gone to war in defense of China or France).
...
A wiser Japanese policy would have been to accept the risk of existing American military bases in the Philippines. Because those bases only really mattered to Japan if the United States chose to use them against Japan. As long as the United States and Japan stayed at peace with one another, they were irrelevant. Japanese oil tankers could have sailed by American bases and waved at them.
And we didnt go to war against Hitler, even after he attacked GB, Belgium, the Netherlands, etc.

Yep.
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:43 AM
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And we didnt go to war against Hitler, even after he attacked GB, Belgium, the Netherlands, etc.

Yep.
I believe that, even after Pearl Harbor we didn't declare war on Germany until they declared war on us. Though we had, admittedly, been fighting a covert war with them on the seas for quite a while before that, so it's possible that eventually it would have happened, regardless.
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:53 AM
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I believe that, even after Pearl Harbor we didn't declare war on Germany until they declared war on us.
True enough. The U.S. declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941 without declaring war on Germany. But Germany saved them the trouble by declaring war on December 11. I suspect if Hitler hadn't moved so fast, the U.S. would have gotten around to a formal declaration pretty quickly.
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:55 AM
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I believe they would have because Japan would have remained too big of a threat if they hadn't, and Pearl Harbor was too great of a crime not to be fully avenged. I think politics and public opinion would have demanded it.
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Old 10-10-2019, 04:27 PM
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True enough. The U.S. declared war on Japan on December 8, 1941 without declaring war on Germany. But Germany saved them the trouble by declaring war on December 11. I suspect if Hitler hadn't moved so fast, the U.S. would have gotten around to a formal declaration pretty quickly.
Maybe. Depends.
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Old 10-10-2019, 05:00 PM
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One wonders the outcome of the USA fighting Japan and Britain being able to withdraw from the Pacific theater to use everything against the Germans.
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Old 10-10-2019, 05:46 PM
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One wonders the outcome of the USA fighting Japan and Britain being able to withdraw from the Pacific theater to use everything against the Germans.
What would the UK have withdrawn? From memory, most of the large Royal Navy assets, including several capital ships were lost to the Japanese in a series of battles around Malaysia and the southern Pacific very early in the war...long before the US could or would have been able to do much. Most of the British territory in the region was similarly lost. They couldn't exactly withdraw Australia (or India), but I doubt they had a hell of a lot they could have withdrawn to make any sort of difference in Europe against the Germans (who, according to the documentary Animal House were the ones who bombed Pearl Harbor). And I think both the UK and Russians kind of needed the US to focus on the Germans...which is why they pushed for that, despite the natural reaction of the US to want to go after Japan with the majority of our effort first, as they had done us the most harm.
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Last edited by XT; 10-10-2019 at 05:47 PM.
  #99  
Old 10-10-2019, 05:59 PM
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What XT said. The Royal Navy ceased to be a factor after the Prince of Wales and Repulse were sunk early on. The Aussies were all busy fighting in North Africa and the Indians had their hands full with Burma and environs. There wasn't a lot left to add to the mix against Germany.

Even if Japan hadn't attacked the USA right off the bat, they still would've gotten their asses handed to them. Once we went to a war footing were weren't going to just ignore a German ally threatening the Philippines. There would have been a massive force build up, making their capture rather more problematic when the time came. All it would have done is skip the early days when we were getting geared up.
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Old 10-11-2019, 06:58 AM
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Some hypotheticals simply are impossible. The one posed in this thread would be even less likely than a scenario where the Democrats would drop the impeachment procedures and ask Trump to run on their party ticket as well, allowing him to have the nomination from both parties.

Too many problems. First, as has been pointed out, Japan considered several of the territories as integral parts of Japan. They got into the suicidal war because they couldn't even get out of China, let alone Formosa or Korea. Then there is no way that they would abandon Okinawa. Any leader who suggested that would have been assassinated.

For Okinawa, I have to assume that the OP wasn't thought out carefully and was overlooked. We'll include that island as part of Japan.

More importantly the reason that this OP would have been impossible is that Japan (even including Okinawa) isn't a viable modern country without outside resources. Oil and steel have been mentioned, as well as rice, but also various minerals, rubber, sugar, etc., etc. Japan got some of its sugar from Okinawa but also depended on Formosa.

Japan wouldn't have been viable as country and would have collapsed. Manufacturing would have stopped. There's simply no way that the Japan leadership would have agreed to that.

They were already started rationing by summer of 1944 and giving up the rice from China and other countries as well as the sugar from Formosa would have started a deliberate starvation campaign by their own government. Impossible. Among advanced nations, Japan is unique in its reliance on ocean transport of essential goods, including food. Rice is grown in Hokkaido and Kyushu. Sugarcane is grown in Okinawa (and Formosa). With advance submarine bases reestablished in the Philippines or whereever, subs would be starving Japan by December of 1944.

Second, Japan couldn't have actually brought back that many troops given its logistics and inability to protect the shipping lanes. They lacked shipping and would have faced US submarines. Bringing back that many troops would have put additional stress on the food situation.

Enough of fighting the hypothetical. If the Japanese were to have done this, an invasion of Japan would have more, rather than less likely. The bloody battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa had not yet occurred, and the US was inflicting heavy casualties with fewer losses themselves.
There would have been more Japanese troops on the main islands, but the US would still have been able to defeat them.
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