He probably didn’t actually say this.
What was the political reason (as required by the definition you reference?) It was an attack on a military asset, for strategic reasons. Not political. Not assassination.
Which is why the link is odd, since it pretty much points that out.
The allies did not hold Japanese in general in high regard
as Charles Lindbergh pointed out
It would be similar to the Japanese assassination of the 2800 give or take soldiers at Pearl Harbor.
Yamamoto was perfectly well known to the American public, because our propaganda posters popularized him as the face of the enemy.
On the other hand, the Western allies generally looked down on the Japanese, and were less willing to concede greatness to guys like Yamamoto or Yamashita than to fellows like Guderian or Rommel. The surprise attack at Pearl Harbor reinforced that perception, as it was generally assumed (wrongly) that the Japanese had been aided by fifth columnists, and (perhaps correctly) that Japan would have been far less successful at the outset of the war if it hadn’t attacked before declaring war.
Over and above that, while Yamashita and Yamamoto were indeed superb leaders, IMHO the average quality of Japanese generals was in fact not as good as Germany’s. Homma and the Imperal General Staff, for example, bungled the Philippines campaign fearfully, and Hyakutake did just as bad a job on Guadalcanal. They had probably the fiercest and most dedicated enlisted men of anybody in the war, but their upper leadership wasted that advantage.
The American Military learned the hard way that mass infantry charges don’t work against modern weapons. That’s why the numbers of dead were so high during the Civil War in the 1860’s. It’s estimated 50,000 died (in 3 days) at Gettysburg.
Eighty years later, the Japanese Generals were ordering Banzai charges. It doesn’t make any sense. Their military strategy was way, way out of date. The Carnage at Guadalcanal is just shocking. An entire Japanese division was wiped out in one night. They almost over ran the Marines, but the machine guns saved the battle.
Well, the banzai charge in the classic sense wasn’t intended to have any military value. It was just an honorable means of suicide. When they were actually trying to take a position, the Japanese were quite capable of using infiltration, and were famously fond of night attacks. (Sometimes fonder than made any sense; they made several night attacks in the Philippines in 1941 and 1942, rendering their air superiority useless).
You’re quite right about the shockingness of Guadalcanal, though. Thing is, if the Japanese had just had the sense to destroy the supply depots before withdrawing when the Marines landed, the Americans would have starved to death. The U.S. supply ships weren’t properly combat-loaded, and then had to be withdrawn before they could be finished unloading.
I can’t imagine the US personel Yamamoto MURDERED at Pearl Harbor would agree. Too bad such a “regretable action” didn’t take place immediately prior to the SNEAK ATTACK he devised and implemented.
Unit 731 was no Cub Scout pack, either: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731
The definition I noted does not require a political reason. Note the clause refering to poiltics only begins with the word “often,” (not even “usually”).
If you want to argue against assassination in that case, take it to the other thread.
I don’t think Homma did that badly, considering. He clearly made a mistake in letting the American and Filipino troops get to Bataan, but a lot of his problems stemmed from the fact that he didn’t have the support of either his superiors or subordinates, who didn’t really understand military strategy beyond “make a head on charge at the enemy”.
Well yes, Homma did get royally screwed by his superiors, particularly when they yanked his best units away from him before he could finish the job. I don’t know how much right he has to complain about his subordinates, though; his subordinate commanders were routinely trouncing Filipino units of twice their own strength. And IIRC, his chief of staff had warned him that MacArthur would try to escape into Bataan.
All Homma had to do was throw his air force against the Calumpit bridges, and half of MacArthur’s force would have been trapped on the east side of the Pampanga river, cut off from Bataan. And instead, he throws all his bombers against Corregidor, the best-defended target in the Philippines, and gets his planes chewed up while accomplishing nothing.
“Had to be” is letting someone off the hook. “Were chosen to be” withdraw is closer to the truth.
The Marines then continued to suffer poor naval support on Guadalcanal until their commander (Ghormley) was replaced by Halsey. Halsey asked the marine commander what the marines needed, and was told that the navy simply had to take more risks defending the marines. In a series of naval battles, two US admirals were killed and the navy lost a lot of ships and men…but broke the Japanese naval superiority, reinforced the marines, and eventually enabled them to go over to the offensive and win. It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say the navy’s risk aversion and urge to protect its ships were a big part of the reasons Guadalcanal was so difficult.
Mitsuru Ushijima, the commander at the Battle of Okinawa, refused a personal plea from US Commander Simon Buckner not to commit suicide. Does that count as high regard?
Hiromichi Yahara, a staff officer in the same battle, and the man most responsible for the Japanese strategy in said battle, was captured by the Americans while escaping in disguise (he had been ordered to do so). The Americans according him the privileges due his rank, despite the savage racial hatred present on both sides.
Tadamichi Kuribayashi planned the Battle of Iwo Jima to be a defensive battle of attrition, recognizing the limits of the Japanese military at that point in the war. His fate is unknown, but the Americans regarded his strategy as effective.
Of course, there’s really nothing to admire about the German Army in Europe, either. One could argue, I suppose, that the German Army was responsible for relatively fewer atrocities than the Japanese Army - the Germans tended to use SS units for most (though not all) of their atrocity needs. However, occupying armies have an affirmative duty to prevent harm to civilians under their rule - in this, the German Army failed spectacularly, repeatedly, and even enthusiastically.
Moreover, the German Army was only willing to honor the Geneva Conventions regarding the treatment of enemy soldiers when it wished to do so. When it came to fighting the Soviets, they generally didn’t wish to honor the Geneva Conventions - and so they didn’t.
I agree with the previous posters-most of the IJA generals were regarded as war criminals-certainly the guy who commanded Japanese forces at the Rape of Nanking ought to have been.
The IJA was seriously lacking in modern tactics-even as early as 1939 (in the conflict with the USSR (Khalkin Gol), the japanese charged soviet tanks with swords!
General Stillwell (USA military attache to the Republic of China) commented that the Japanese tactics were rote, and the officers could be easily shot (they wore swords).
The other thing:IJA operations were severely constrained by poor logistics-their field armies were always short of food-in Burma. japanese soldiers were eating rats and horses.
Not regularly. Japanese officers wore swords as a symbol of rank, but officers were also armed with Type 14 pistols, which was an 8 millimeter. Infantrymen carried first the Type 38 rifle, and then, starting in 1939, the Type 99, both of which were standard bolt action rifles, and not all that different from, albeit of smaller caliber than, the British Lee-Enfield or the German Karabiner 98k.
There was one case at Khalkhin Gol of a Japanese officer using a tank against a sword. There was a Captain Fujita who commanded an anti-tank gun that ran out of ammunition, and when a tank was about to overrun his position, he drew his sword, climbed into the tank turret, and killed the tank commander. That was an individual heroic action born out of desperation, though, and not a regular practice.
Also, that incident isn’t a particularly good example of “inferior” tactics, since he apparently killed the guy.
Yamamoto actually intended for the attack to take place 30 minutes AFTER a declaration of war has been announced to America.