The news of the Pearl Harbor attack reached the PI around 3AM local time, December 8.
Invasion of northern Luzon (Vigan/Aparri/Gonzaga) occured 10 December.
Air attacks occured on 8 December against Clark Field around 1240PM, catching the majority of the Army Air Force on the ground. (It had been aloft in the morning, but fog over Formosa delayed the Japanese air strike.)
Guam was snapped up on December 8 a few hours after news of PH.
Wake Island was bombed by aircraft on December 8. (Also after PH.)
I think FDR would have pressed Congress for a DoW in December, assuming no attacks were made on American territory, with the Japanese “only” invading Malaya and Borneo.
I have no idea exactly how difficult a political battle that Congressional debate would be, but I think it would have been pretty tough. It wasn’t an election year, but maybe FDR would have been able to “sell it” to the public as helping a neighbor who was laying on the ground being kicked by bullies.
The real question is did we want to get into a war with Japan? In WWI we were looking for any excuse so the Zimmerman Telegram and Lusitania were enough. I think the the US would have resolved the invasion of the Philipines through diplomatic means than war.
Recently finished Parshall and Tully Shattered Sword which takes a look at the Battle of Midway from the Japanese side. Excellent read and anyone interested in the Pacific War should check it out.
Unfortunately, Parshall and Tully don’t offer any cites in that quoted paragraph, so I don’t know where the fact vs opinion line is or where their insight into Japanese pre-war debate comes from.
They go on that while Nagano’s reasoning was sound, Yamamoto and his staff threatened to resign if they didn’t get their way. So the attack on Pearl Harbor was approved.
I agree with Nagano’s assessment of US public opinion.
As I understand it, the US still had a very strong isolationist streak, despite the low level shooting war with Germany in the Atlantic. General opinion seemed to be we would do what we could to support Britain, short of all out war.
Without a direct and deliberate attack on US forces (including the Phillipines), I don’t see any way that Roosevelt could muster congressional support for a war with Japan over European possessions in the Pacific. I think a continued trade embargo and support to China would be about the worst Japan could expect.
This is the big point, I think - I’m assuming by “no pearl harbor” we can reasonably assume they don’t make the mistake of instead just pearl harboring the Philippines. The Dutch, British, and French couldn’t defend their holdings with the goings-on in Europe, and given America’s hesitance when the countries themselves were invaded, there’s little likelihood of congress letting us get involved because their* overseas territories* are being attacked. The war in Europe plays out largely as it had before, with Normandy being that much bloodier, but as previous posters have mentioned, we were de facto at war with Germany anyway. Maybe we would have already declared war with Germany or they against us by then though, and Japan would perhaps just pay lip service to their alliance with Germany by lightly harassing the Philippines with the occasional sail-by shooting, without intent to conquer and explain it away to Germany by saying they were busy in China or the Indies.
Either way, I think Japan fares a lot better than it ended up faring, provided Congress doesn’t turn around after the European theater’s curtain starts to fall and decide to put a lot of energy in the Pacific theater to punish Nazi allies like our attacks on Italy.
AK84, Why would a general war in the Far East draw the United States in?
There is nothing out there resource or material-wise worth risking war over from the US-view. Even for the Japanese, many of the islands they took were more white elephant than anything. What resources did they gain out of Wake, Guam, and Saipan? Bases yes, but bases that had to be supplied and then the merchant ships sailing back home empty.
Mainland Asia was a different story, but Japan had occupied Korea and had been fighting China since the mid-Thirties to little reaction by the United States. We supplied China and helped create the 1st American Volunteer Group (The Flying Tigers) but we weren’t going to send troops over there.
We had much closer ties to Europe than to Asia and were unwilling to do more for the British than loan money, send supplies, and help keep the oceans passable.
Public opinion was dead set against sending American boys overseas to fight for European powers. No reason to believe we’d send them out to die in the Pacific to protect Europe’s colonies.
Firstly I think that you are overemphasizing public opinion, it had become less and less isolationist in the years sins 1939. Secondly, the the Far East the worlds primary sources if manybraw materials
To repeat, the FarEast was the source of many of the primary raw materials used in industry, rubber and tin for instance, and also was a major source of oil. Moreover, if the US did not fight, it would have essentially surrendered the Far East,first to the Japanese and then when the inevitable counter attack came, to the British, which would have overturned one of the greatest success of US diplomacy of the post WWI period, the recognition by the British of US primacy in the Pacific.
Also in June 1940, the US was in no condition to fight, the army was smaller than Romanias and there was a shortage in nearly every arm. The Navy was the worlds second largest, but mostly consisted of old WWI era battlewagons and the a handful of modern carriers (the Yorktowns were only just entering service).
By December 1941 the US had entered into a massive rearmament programme. The Army had grown to about 2.5 million men and counting. The Navy had laid down 12 new carriers and there were 10 battleships and battlecruisers being built or planned alongwith god knows how many cruisers and destroyers. The US was a country preparing to fight whatever the President may say about “all aid short of war” and the fact is the US would have entered the war with 6 to 12 months of 7/12/41 and everyone in any position of power anywhere knew it.
Indeed. By 1941 the Gallup polls were showing that Americans were increasingly resigned to going to war. We weren’t about to just jump in without cause, but it was obvious that neutrality at all costs wasn’t in the American mentality.
As 1941 went on, it appears the US public was resigned to the fact that war with Japan was likely.
But based on answers to questions of supporting Britain against Germany and the fact few wanted to get involved in Europe (sadly, no direct: Would you vote to go to war with Japan?), I think it bolsters the case that without a direct attack on American forces, the United States would choose diplomatic and economic pressure for quite sometime in preference to direct conflict.
If you don’t want to dig through the poll, here are the results on question of Japan:
The USA had a small army as the thought was the Navy could protect the USA. And indeed, even tho many of the battleships were a little old, the same could be said of most navies. There was nothing wrong with the US Navy at that time, it was certainly in the top 3.
And again, unless one of the Axis powers attacks the USA, the USA would not have gone to war. True, some of what the USA was doing was just short of war- in fact woudl have been a solid cause for war- and in fact FDR was trying to bait the Germans into attacking us- all true.
But the fact still remains- Hitler just wasn’t biting. If no attack on the USA, the USA just sends more and more aid, and FDR continues to bait Hitler (and to a lesser extent Tojo) more and more.