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Old 10-02-2019, 08:34 PM
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If the Japanese had retreated to the main islands, would the Allies still have planned for invasion?


If the Empire of Japan had withdrawn all its military forces back to the home islands in, say, August 1944 (before the Battle of Leyte Gulf), removing its armies from China, the Philippines, and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?
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:01 PM
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AIUI, pretty much from Pearl Harbor onwards, the United States was committed to nothing less than the total subjugation of Japan. No armistice or half-assed measures would do.
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:05 PM
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The Japanese used sneak attacks to invade several countries

The Japanese committed war crimes on a similar scale as the Nazis.

The Japanese government was under the control of militarists.

There is no way to believe that the Allies would give them a pass if they retreated back to within their four island home.
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:10 PM
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... to within their four island home.
about 6,852 islands.
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:18 PM
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about 6,852 islands.
Point acknowledged.

Also, the Japanese people would have starved without Chinese rice and froze without SE Asian and USA oil.
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:23 PM
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Also, the Japanese people would have starved without Chinese rice and froze without SE Asian and USA oil.
Froze? They survived for many centuries without foreign oil.


The oil was to fuel their war machine.
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:32 PM
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The policy of unconditional surrender was set in January 1943. So it was in effect in August 1944. That means the official policy of the United States* was that nothing less than a complete Japanese surrender followed by an occupation was acceptable. The justification was that the negotiated surrender in 1918 had just led to another world war.

That said, policies change. The United States might have changed its policy if the circumstances had warranted it. But I don't see how a Japanese retreat back to their home islands would have been seen as a reason to ease off. If anything, it would have encouraged the American side to press harder.

*I realize there were many countries involved in the war. But realistically, the United States was the primary power in the war against Japan and other countries would have followed the American lead.
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:34 PM
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I guess the answer might depend on how confident the Allies were that they'd have a working and deliverable A-bomb in the near future. Because without it, they'd be facing the prospect of huge casualties for no reason other than to deliver judgment in the form of punishment.
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:39 PM
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Froze? They survived for many centuries without foreign oil.
Most countries survived without oil - in pre-industrial times. Japan needed oil both for its military and its civilian economy. And it had almost no domestic oil production.

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.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 10-02-2019 at 09:39 PM.
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Old 10-02-2019, 09:40 PM
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I guess the answer might depend on how confident the Allies were that they'd have a working and deliverable A-bomb in the near future. Because without it, they'd be facing the prospect of huge casualties for no reason other than to deliver judgment in the form of punishment.
I don't think that would be the only reason. As madsircool alluded to, Japan was still being run by a militaristic government that had invaded multiple countries and was responsible for the deaths of tens of million civilians. Leaving Japan to itself after all of that would be leaving the future open to more invasions.

Would it have been worth the many more deaths, both Japanese and Allied, to enforce the surrender? That's harder to answer but in the end we didn't have to; the war in the Pacific ended with much less death than was expected.

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Old 10-02-2019, 11:00 PM
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I guess the answer might depend on how confident the Allies were that they'd have a working and deliverable A-bomb in the near future. Because without it, they'd be facing the prospect of huge casualties for no reason other than to deliver judgment in the form of punishment.
Japan didnt have the transport to repatriate its troops and civilians from its overseas empire. It was systematically raping China for food leading to massive Chinese starvation deaths. There was ample reason to defeat Japan other than delivering judgment. The same reason that we wouldnt allow the Nazis to negotiate a peace applies to the Japanese. One last reason is that a blockade of Japan would have caused even worse death and suffering for the Japanese people. The food was going to the military, Growing up we had Japanese neighbors. The father was born in the thirties and only grew to 4'8". His son was 5'9".
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Old 10-03-2019, 12:00 AM
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. Because without it, they'd be facing the prospect of huge casualties for no reason other than to deliver judgment in the form of punishment.
Huge casualties didn't stop the Soviets from taking Berlin. Are you claiming the U.S. was less determined than the U.S.S.R? More to the point, are you claiming that the U.S. could afford to look less determined than the U.S.S.R?
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Old 10-03-2019, 12:27 AM
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Japan is a Naval power. Doing what the OP said is suicide.
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Old 10-03-2019, 12:36 AM
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The US was planning for the invasion of Japan in 1945. It didn't matter whether or not Japan had retreated to the 4 main islands. FWIW, my father was on the planned invasion force, but Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed the equation.
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Old 10-03-2019, 12:41 AM
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Japan is a Naval power. Doing what the OP said is suicide.
Suicide for who? The Japanese or the invaders? She was a maritime nation dependent on maritime trade, yes, but by the end of the war her Navy was effectively useless against the allies, capable of little more than short-legged suicide missions of the sort that led to the loss of Yamato.
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Old 10-03-2019, 12:46 AM
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Hmm, I don't know. If Japan had left alone all the colonies with a weakened China? I could see the Allies just shoring stuff up the way they did with Russia in Europe. Race as far inland as possible and declare that the new normal. Arm the hell out of it and be the capitalist buffer between an islands only Japan and China. Kinda like now but with a sharper border and maybe a smaller China.

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Old 10-03-2019, 02:30 AM
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Suicide for who? The Japanese or the invaders? She was a maritime nation dependent on maritime trade, yes, but by the end of the war her Navy was effectively useless against the allies, capable of little more than short-legged suicide missions of the sort that led to the loss of Yamato.
And note what happened to her when her Navy was destroyed. She was unable to prevent her homeland being pounded by vast armadas of allied aircraft and to feed her people.

A Naval power **has** to dominate the sea approaches and naval LOCS. Simply retreating to the home islands without a fight simply gives the Americans what they want sans 200,000 casualties they took historically.

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I guess the answer might depend on how confident the Allies were that they'd have a working and deliverable A-bomb in the near future. Because without it, they'd be facing the prospect of huge casualties for no reason other than to deliver judgment in the form of punishment.
Problem with that line of thinking is that it was not an "or" questiion between invasion and nuclear attack. The Allies fully intended to do both.

Last edited by AK84; 10-03-2019 at 02:32 AM.
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Old 10-03-2019, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by madsircool
Japan didnt have the transport to repatriate its troops and civilians from its overseas empire.
This is an excellent point.

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Originally Posted by Alessan View Post
Are you claiming the U.S. was less determined than the U.S.S.R? More to the point, are you claiming that the U.S. could afford to look less determined than the U.S.S.R?
Not claiming, asking. Wondering if it might have been 'less determined' once Japan was no longer intent on, or capable of domination, and if there was no longer anyone for the US to liberate in the Pacific theatre.

And, by 'ignoring' Japan once it had retreated, the US would have more to throw at Germany (ETA: or to support Chiang Kai Shek).

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Old 10-03-2019, 08:43 AM
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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?
Well, while they were retreating (let's skip the part about it being pretty much impossible for them to do so), they would have been under constant attack. And a constant, accelerating attack, since presumably they would have halted all offensive operations at that point.

But, yeah...the planning for the invasion of the home islands (it's not a single island) started, IIRC, in 1943 in earnest. This isn't something we just pulled out of our ass at the last minute, nor something we were counting on not having to do because of the atomic bombs. We had already started staging equipment and making preparations, and I don't see the Japanese retreating as being any sort of deterrent to us invading...just the opposite. Not sure what the dynamic you posited would have done wrt the far east...at that point, the Soviets hadn't pivoted east and prepared to invade Manchuria and drive the Japanese out, in fact they were still totally focused on Germany. But this would have been a huge break for China and Korea...especially as a post war dynamic. But the only thing that would have stopped the US from invading would be an unconditional surrender by the Japanese, and they weren't going to do that at this point in history. Hell, they almost didn't do it after we dropped 2 atomic bombs and it was clear we were starting to do final staging for the invasion.
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Old 10-03-2019, 09:12 AM
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Just as a response to the last line in the OP:

Quote:
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?
I think that it was agreed that unconditional surrender was the only acceptable course for the allies, though this was solidified at the Yalta conference in early 1945. But it wasn't about liberation, it was about ensuring that the military government would not remain in power so that we'd have to go through all of this again in 20 years or so. No way would they have just let Japan off the hook just because they withdrew from their conquered territory.

On that note, the thing is, they had some of that territory long before WWII and I seriously doubt they would or even could just pack up and go home. Korea, especially, had been in Japanese hands since the early 1900's (I think 1905?). This stuff was considered Japanese core territory, and I don't see them pulling up stakes and going home after that long an occupation and investment. Then there is the logistics...simply, they didn't have the means to pull all those folks out, certainly not under fire, which they would have been.
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:43 AM
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I guess the answer might depend on how confident the Allies were that they'd have a working and deliverable A-bomb in the near future. Because without it, they'd be facing the prospect of huge casualties for no reason other than to deliver judgment in the form of punishment.
Huge Japanese casualties, maybe. The Allies (okay, the US) had already decided to abandon Operations Olympic and Coronet due to huge projected losses. If the bombs hadn't forced a surrender, the next weapon of mass destruction was going to be famine, and it was already well underway when the bombs were dropped. The US Navy already had an effective blockade of Japanese ports in place, preventing food from reaching it from the mainland or other territories. Continuous bombing of the railroads kept food from reaching the cities from the farms. 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.
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:50 AM
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Because without it, they'd be facing the prospect of huge casualties for no reason other than to deliver judgment in the form of punishment.
The bigger reason would have been the belief that if we didn't finish the war with Japan in 1945, we'd end up fighting another war with them in 1965.

When you're fighting a war, you don't let the other side call a time out.
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:52 AM
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The US was planning for the invasion of Japan in 1945. It didn't matter whether or not Japan had retreated to the 4 main islands. FWIW, my father was on the planned invasion force, but Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed the equation.
So was my grandfather. As a matter of fact, he was the commander of an amphibious tractor(Army, not USMC) slated to be in one of the first waves onto the beach. They had actually started training him in mid-1944, so this was not a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing; the US had planned for it from a long time beforehand.

I have never met anyone with less doubt about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki decisions, FWIW.

And another point of how much they planned- they minted some 1.5 million Purple Heart medals- they were used in Korea, Vietnam and up through Kosovo, and possibly Iraq/Afghanistan.
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:52 AM
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The Allies (okay, the US) had already decided to abandon Operations Olympic and Coronet due to huge projected losses.
No, the invasion was schedule for November 1, 1945. It was only cancelled after Japan surrendered.
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Old 10-03-2019, 11:21 AM
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Some more detail. The formal decision had not yet been announced but the Joint War Plans Committee had pretty much concluded it.
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These considerations supported the idea of searching for an alternative that still involved capturing some Japanese homeland territory. The appreciation that Marshall and many members of the Joint War Plans Committee would have had for the casualty implications of the Japanese buildup probably would have led them--MacArthur's views notwithstanding--to look for alternative invasion sites.

In addition to the choices suggested in Marshall's cable to MacArthur and in the Joint War Plans Committee paper of 4 August, there was the option of keeping Kyushu as the target but postponing the ground invasion so as to allow the increased air power from bases being set up on Okinawa to administer an extended pounding. Such an intensified air bombardment campaign had been slated to begin in mid-September; the Army Air Forces at MacArthur's request had already accelerated this timetable by 30 days because of Willoughby's recommendation based on the buildup that had been observed.
Timing and weather posed potential problems for the option of choosing an alternative invasion site. Such a major change in plans at this time presumably would have forced a delay in launching the invasion. As noted earlier, the date for invading Kyushu had already been moved up from 1 December to 1 November in response to concerns expressed by MacArthur and Nimitz, among others, over the greater chance of adverse weather during an invasion that did not begin until December and the possibility that such conditions could set the invasion back to spring 1946.

From this perspective, there was little difference between seeking new invasion alternatives and opting for a bomb-and-blockade strategy. Each involved putting the invasion on hold and engaging in an intensified air and sea attack; if that did not produce a surrender within the next six months, the invasion issue might or might not be back on the planning board. The military alternative to this course of action was to go ahead with the invasion and risk the high casualties. The political alternative was to relax the terms for surrender.
Famine is covered under Operation Starvation, which was already under way. The famine continued well into the occupation, btw.

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Old 10-03-2019, 12:18 PM
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A number of people have suggested that if a 'militaristic' Japan had been allowed to persist, another war of Japanese aggression would surely have resulted some years later.

It makes perfect sense to me that a nationalist, militarist sentiment would still have existed in a 'fortress Japan', but how could they ever re-arm themselves?

As others have pointed out, not only would they have had a grossly inadequate supply of oil, but they would have also had no meaningful source of steel. The best they could have done is create a primitive, home islands-based army that could never have threatened anyone or anything beyond its borders.
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Old 10-03-2019, 12:38 PM
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How could the Germans rearm themselves after the highly restrictive Treaty of Versailles? But they easily did with the help of the Soviets. And Japan is a tougher nation to police than Germany because its an island nation.
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Old 10-03-2019, 12:55 PM
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Huge Japanese casualties, maybe. The Allies (okay, the US) had already decided to abandon Operations Olympic and Coronet due to huge projected losses. If the bombs hadn't forced a surrender, the next weapon of mass destruction was going to be famine, and it was already well underway when the bombs were dropped. The US Navy already had an effective blockade of Japanese ports in place, preventing food from reaching it from the mainland or other territories. Continuous bombing of the railroads kept food from reaching the cities from the farms. 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.
This is not true. Yes, the navy said "starve them out" and the Air force said "bomb them out" but plans for the invasion were under way. my Dad was in MacArthur HQ unit and yes, Doug was planning to invade.

And of course either the Navy or AF plan would have caused far more deaths than Hiroshima.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operat...ion_of_Olympic
Prospects for Olympic
General Douglas MacArthur dismissed any need to change his plans:

I am certain that the Japanese air potential reported to you as accumulating to counter our OLYMPIC operation is greatly exaggerated. ... As to the movement of ground forces ... I do not credit ... the heavy strengths reported to you in southern Kyushu. ... In my opinion, there should not be the slightest thought of changing the Olympic operation.[85]...Nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals (awarded for combat casualties) were manufactured in anticipation of the casualties resulting from the invasion of Japan; the number exceeded that of all American military casualties of the 65 years following the end of World War II, including the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In 2003, there were still 120,000 of these Purple Heart medals in stock.[113] There were so many left that combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan were able to keep Purple Hearts on hand for immediate award to soldiers wounded in the field.[113
]

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Old 10-03-2019, 02:11 PM
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MacArthur definitely wanted to invade, but it wasn't his decision to make. Read the cite.
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Old 10-03-2019, 02:33 PM
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MacArthur definitely wanted to invade, but it wasn't his decision to make. Read the cite.
I've seen it before. You are right, it wasn't MacArthur's decision to make, but he certainly would have been very influential in the decision process and his opinion would have carried a lot of weight. There was quite a lot of debate, and quite a lot of after the fact shifting of position on this subject, with several factions supporting various strategies wrt Japan, especially after it became moot. Mac didn't feel the need for the atomic bombs at all, LeMay and others in the air force, of course, had strategies of strategic bombing, Nimitz and others in the Navy wanted a blockade strategy. And, of course, there were the ones who were for and against the atomic bomb.

But, it was ultimately Truman's decision, and I've seen nothing indicating that they were seriously considering calling off the invasion of the lower island had the atomic bomb not brought the Japanese down. In fact, every indication was that we were still preparing for the invasion, and Russia was starting their own logistics build up for the same thing on the upper island. Regardless of the debates and controversy, were were still preparing, training, pre-positioning and doing all of the actual stuff you have to do in order to stage such a military plan, and, frankly, I think by that point it had a life of it's own that was only stopped because of the sudden collapse of the Japanese government. You can show all sorts of contrary evidence, and all sorts of high level debate and argument, but the reality is we WERE preparing, and that didn't stop until Japan surrendered.
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Old 10-03-2019, 02:44 PM
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Certainly existing plans were being continued until a formal decision by the Joint War Plans Committee, endorsed by Truman, changed or cancelled them. The point is that the Committee was about to do so with or without A-bombs, as the record states.
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Old 10-03-2019, 02:52 PM
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Certainly existing plans were being continued until a formal decision by the Joint War Plans Committee, endorsed by Truman, changed or cancelled them. The point is that the Committee was about to do so with or without A-bombs, as the record states.
I don't see that. Here is the part I got out of your cite:

Quote:
Nearly all members of the Joint War Plans Committee (see footnote 2), however, strongly supported targeting Kyushu rather than Hokkaido. They also objected strenuously to any diversion of resources toward an interim operation.
Sure, I suppose you could say that this was a radical change in Coronet, but the reality was simply deciding to invade the lower island instead of the main island, not whether or not to invade at all. I will concede that Coronet and Olympic might (recall, this is a recommendation that the President still would have had to approve) have had different targets, but it's a stretch to go from this to no invasion at all. We would almost certainly have invaded Kyushu had the JWPC been followed, instead of the original plan to go for Honshu. Regardless, it would have been a blood bath, as the Japanese in both cases had figured out exactly where we would be landing and had a lot of hidden fortifications and emplacements to chew us up. They ALSO had begun fortifying where they thought Russia would be invading as well, and while they were less prepared there they still had, again, figured out pretty where exactly where they would be coming from, and Russia was MUCH less experienced with this sort of invasion. It would have been a bloody mess all around had it happened.
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Old 10-03-2019, 03:06 PM
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Huge casualties didn't stop the Soviets from taking Berlin. Are you claiming the U.S. was less determined than the U.S.S.R? More to the point, are you claiming that the U.S. could afford to look less determined than the U.S.S.R?
No, we were NOT as determined. Plus unlike russian soldiers, we were not sticking guns in their backs pushing them forward.

Think about this. The US troops in Germany. They were done and wanted to go home. When word came they might be shifted to fight in Japan their was near mutiny. They had survived not getting killed by the Nazis and wanted to go back home in one piece. The government had to really speed up the process of sending soldiers home and back to their civilian lives.

Also add that by 1945 the US was really running low on money. We could only sell so many war bonds to fund the war. Just the cost to maintain the current 4 million or so troops such as food, housing, fuel, medical care and keep them training was hugely expensive.

An invasion of japan would have been VERY costly in terms of not just men but money. We would have no nearby safe country like England was. Everything would have had to be transported from I think the Philippines which is hundreds of miles away. An invasion could have taken years before we took Tokyo.

No the USA was tired from 4 years of war and wanted it to end.

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?
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Old 10-03-2019, 03:37 PM
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MacArthur definitely wanted to invade, but it wasn't his decision to make. Read the cite.
I did read the cite. I'm not seeing any cancellation. The memo that talked about changing plans wasn't calling for a cancellation of the invasion; it was saying that because intelligence was showing a Japanese build-up at the planned invasion site they might consider changing to a different invasion site. Or maybe postpone the invasion long enough to weaken the Japanese defenses with more bombing. But the fundamental plan for an invasion was still in place.

Another meeting was scheduled and your cite argues that this meeting might have recommended cancelling the invasion. But that's a "what-if" - the atom bombs were dropped and Japan surrendered before the meeting was held.
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Old 10-03-2019, 05:26 PM
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How could the Germans rearm themselves after the highly restrictive Treaty of Versailles? But they easily did with the help of the Soviets.
Europe is one contiguous land mass with multiple potential routes of resupply, whereas ANYthing Japan imported would have to be by ship - slow, limited, and vulnerable.
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And Japan is a tougher nation to police than Germany because its an island nation.
Yes and no. Sure, there are an 'infinite' number of water routes. On the other hand, there are only so many Japanese ports that could handle the mass of material that would need to be brought in.
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Old 10-03-2019, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by KarlGauss View Post
A number of people have suggested that if a 'militaristic' Japan had been allowed to persist, another war of Japanese aggression would surely have resulted some years later.

It makes perfect sense to me that a nationalist, militarist sentiment would still have existed in a 'fortress Japan', but how could they ever re-arm themselves?

As others have pointed out, not only would they have had a grossly inadequate supply of oil, but they would have also had no meaningful source of steel. The best they could have done is create a primitive, home islands-based army that could never have threatened anyone or anything beyond its borders.
A primitive, home-based army that had already shown themselves to be willing (in fact eager) to use suicide tactics as operational battle plans. No way you let that exist. If the bombs had failed, I think we would have just paved every Japanese island, from the bottom up. The only time we land troops is to sweep up the ash. The death toll would have been unimaginable, and the cost quite cheap, considering.
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Old 10-03-2019, 07:42 PM
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No, we were NOT as determined. Plus unlike russian soldiers, we were not sticking guns in their backs pushing them forward.

Think about this. The US troops in Germany. They were done and wanted to go home. When word came they might be shifted to fight in Japan their was near mutiny. They had survived not getting killed by the Nazis and wanted to go back home in one piece. The government had to really speed up the process of sending soldiers home and back to their civilian lives.

Also add that by 1945 the US was really running low on money. We could only sell so many war bonds to fund the war. Just the cost to maintain the current 4 million or so troops such as food, housing, fuel, medical care and keep them training was hugely expensive.

An invasion of japan would have been VERY costly in terms of not just men but money. We would have no nearby safe country like England was. Everything would have had to be transported from I think the Philippines which is hundreds of miles away. An invasion could have taken years before we took Tokyo.

No the USA was tired from 4 years of war and wanted it to end.

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?
Nonsense. Every fond memory Americans had of the Japanese was completely eradicated by Pearl Harbor. If anything, the desire to destroy Japan was even stronger than the desire to destroy Germany. Maybe you don't remember there were a lot of Americans who were extremely pro-German (e.g. Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford) right up until the War. Want to know about the sentiment toward Japan during the war? Just ask my wife, whose America-born Japanese parents spent 1942-1945 in a detention camp. Just ask my father, who trained for Operation Downfall in the spring of 1945, even as the Battle of Okinawa was going on.

Last edited by Kent Clark; 10-03-2019 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 10-03-2019, 08:08 PM
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Nonsense. Every fond memory Americans had of the Japanese was completely eradicated by Pearl Harbor. If anything, the desire to destroy Japan was even stronger than the desire to destroy Germany. Maybe you don't remember there were a lot of Americans who were extremely pro-German (e.g. Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford) right up until the War. Want to know about the sentiment toward Japan during the war? Just ask my wife, whose America-born Japanese parents spent 1942-1945 in a detention camp. Just ask my father, who trained for Operation Downfall in the spring of 1945, even as the Battle of Okinawa was going on.
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.
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Old 10-03-2019, 08:55 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)
Trivia question: What was the last nation to officially join World War II?

SPOILER:
Mongolia. While it was allied with the Soviet Union, it stayed officially neutral in the war between Germany and the Soviet Union. Mongolia did not officially join the war until August 10, 1945 when it declared war against Japan.
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Old 10-03-2019, 10:06 PM
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Nonsense. Every fond memory Americans had of the Japanese was completely eradicated by Pearl Harbor. If anything, the desire to destroy Japan was even stronger than the desire to destroy Germany. Maybe you don't remember there were a lot of Americans who were extremely pro-German (e.g. Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford) right up until the War. Want to know about the sentiment toward Japan during the war? Just ask my wife, whose America-born Japanese parents spent 1942-1945 in a detention camp. Just ask my father, who trained for Operation Downfall in the spring of 1945, even as the Battle of Okinawa was going on.
Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, invaded the Philippines and killed American servicemen and civilians. Then there was the horror of the Bataan Death March. Americans were also aware of the brutality of the Rape of Nanking. Why would you think Americans would hate Germans more than Japanese?
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Old 10-03-2019, 11:32 PM
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Most countries survived without oil - in pre-industrial times. Japan needed oil both for its military and its civilian economy. And it had almost no domestic oil production.... 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 Japan really retreated to its islands, there would have been no need to invade. The Japanese would have been begging Americans to come ... bringing food and oil!
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Old 10-03-2019, 11:42 PM
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The Japanese would have been begging Americans to come ... bringing food and oil!
Maybe some would. Most wouldn't.
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Old 10-04-2019, 08:28 AM
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If Japan really retreated to its islands, there would have been no need to invade. The Japanese would have been begging Americans to come ... bringing food and oil!
No, of course they would not have.

The Allies were going to invade Japan if Japan didn't surrender first. The plans were all drawn up and the idea of starving Japan out had been considered and rejected. It was a done deal.

Japan withdrawing more troops to Japan would have made very little difference. There is a practical limit to the number of troops that can be placed in a particular space to effectively defend that space. Adding more men beyond that number simply would give the Allies more men to kill, and the Allied firepower brought to bear would have been truly devastating, including additional nuclear weapons. This was further exacerbated by the fact that Japan already had more troops in the home islands that they could effectively arm and equip.

It is interesting to note that American planners originally didn't even bother to include non-American forces in their plans; they didn't feel the trouble was worth it and that the USA could provide all the forces needed. They did end up working in some Commonwealth forces but it still was a small portion of the proposed invasion force. Had Japan somehow managed to repatriate capable troops in substantial numbers, that would obviously have changed.
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Last edited by RickJay; 10-04-2019 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:38 AM
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No the USA was tired from 4 years of war and wanted it to end.

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?
We were tired of the war, but we were still PISSED about Pearl Harbor and the Phillipines.

One thing you seem to be overlooking is that the intensity of combat in the Pacific was positively insane compared to the Western Front. It was more comparable to the more intense sectors of the Eastern Front than anything else. No quarter was asked, and none was given. The difference was a certain degree of vitriolic hatred for the Japanese that wasn't present against the Germans.

And we had ALREADY progressed well along the path of utterly destroying every pagoda and city in Japan by the time the nuclear weapons came available. Gen. LeMay had figured out that because of the way Japanese structures were built, incendiary bombs were very effective. So we dropped them in B-29 raids of hundreds of bombers at relatively low level.

The most destructive and lethal bombing mission of the war wasn't either of the nuclear strikes on Japan or the Hamburg or Dresden missions in Europe, but rather the conventional bombing of Tokyo on 9-10 March 1945, where more than 100,000 Japanese were killed outright, with another million left homeless, and over 267,000 structures were destroyed.

And Tokyo was far from the only city destroyed:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_raids_on_Japan

The US had every intention of invading Japan if the nuclear strikes didn't work- they had been preparing for quite a while- training, building, moving units, etc...
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Old 10-04-2019, 10:10 AM
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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.
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Old 10-04-2019, 10:50 AM
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I do not see how the side with nuclear weapons loses. The fighting would have been brutal but the Allies were overwhelmingly stronger.
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Old 10-04-2019, 11:08 AM
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I do not see how the side with nuclear weapons loses. The fighting would have been brutal but the Allies were overwhelmingly stronger.
The number of available nuclear weapons by November '45 is an open question. Problems with the Hanford reactor historically drastically reduced the expected production of Plutonium.

Admittedly the Japanese capitualtion made it less of an issue, they could shut down production for months and wartime they might have continued.

Regardless, I don't see the Japenese winning short of Divine Wind Mk 3.

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The US had every intention of invading Japan if the nuclear strikes didn't work- they had been preparing for quite a while- training, building, moving units, etc...
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).

Last edited by AK84; 10-04-2019 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 10-04-2019, 11:18 AM
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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.
I disagree. If you'd like to lay out your rationale I'd be interested, but with full air and sea superiority over Japan the US wouldn't have lost, even had we invaded alone (which we wouldn't have been...the Soviets were already starting to stage men and equipment for their own invasion of the northern parts of the island chain, and in fact did take several of the northern islands which, IIRC, they still hold to this day). No matter how you set it up, we'd have won in the end, regardless.

This isn't to say that the butchers bill wouldn't have been extreme. The US had printed up something like 500k purple hearts just for the initial invasion plans. But even had the Japanese managed to stop the initial beachheads, something that was unlikely, they had very little way to get large numbers of reinforcements or supplies to the areas, as they would have had even more of a logistics issue than Germany did trying to support and reinforce after D-Day. Even if we assume they had mountains of hidden supplies and didn't have to worry about actually having the material to support the field army they would need (which they didn't have), they had no way to move it around to counter other landings or breakthroughs. They would have cut us up pretty bad, initially, but long term? They were doomed, even if one assumed every Japanese would be willing to sacrifice themselves to defending the home islands and repelling the invaders.

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.
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Last edited by XT; 10-04-2019 at 11:20 AM.
  #49  
Old 10-04-2019, 12:17 PM
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A primitive, home-based army that had already shown themselves to be willing (in fact eager) to use suicide tactics as operational battle plans. No way you let that exist.
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.

Last edited by KarlGauss; 10-04-2019 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 10-04-2019, 12:49 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.
Indeed that was the navy's plan, just starve them out. However, that would have been worse in many ways that using the Bomb.

And how would we get our POWs back?

Of course after a couple of months of starving them out that wouldn't be a issue.

Not to mention they still had planes and warships, and would undoubtedly send suicide attacks on our Navy. And the Japanese still had a very large army in China.
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