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Egorka
04-08-2007, 04:32 PM
Hello!

How high was the risk of Japanese invasion of the US main land? Any ideas?

Thanks!

Chevan
04-09-2007, 04:00 AM
Hello!

How high was the risk of Japanese invasion of the US main land? Any ideas?

Thanks!
The whole question what we could considered as USA main lands?North America?

The Phillipines was the lands of USA as i remember ;)

AlbertSpeer
04-09-2007, 04:41 AM
I believe there was a substantial threat to Hawaii for a time. If the Japanese could advance so far as to take Hawaii, then they would have been in a position to invade the mainland United States; namely California. This is why the Roosevelt administration had so many Japanese-Americans living in Hawaii and California interned; the people there were the most afraid of conflict with the Japanese and spies in their ranks. However, once the U.S. and Australia defeated Japan at the Battle of the Coral Sea and started to check their advance, this type of attack faded from the realm of reality.

alephh
04-09-2007, 06:30 AM
How high was the risk of Japanese invasion of the US main land? Any ideas?Thanks!

High enough for U.S. to dig/build fortifications along coasts -- At least public had to be calmed down ;-)

But from military point of view, it's very difficult to supply such a large force (required for invasion) over a long distance (compare to troubles nazis had with crossing channel) - requires solid naval and aerial control among many requirements.




_

Egorka
04-09-2007, 06:14 PM
So do I understand correctly that the US goverment/army did not consider invasion to be possible in 1942?

AlbertSpeer
04-09-2007, 09:21 PM
I think invasion was still considered a remote possibility at the beginning of 1942, but as I said, after the U.S. and Australia defeated Japan at the Battle of the Coral Sea in May, and the U.S. again defeated Japan at the Battle of Midway, it was pretty much considered a non-issue.

ww2admin
04-10-2007, 07:59 AM
The Japanese did invade the Alaskan islands and the US forces were on the highest alert possible.

Egorka
04-10-2007, 08:17 AM
The Japanese did invade the Alaskan islands and the US forces were on the highest alert possible.

On the alert for full scale landing (invasion) or the alert for the sabotage by the Japanese special forces?

ww2admin
04-10-2007, 01:16 PM
On the alert for full scale landing (invasion) or the alert for the sabotage by the Japanese special forces?

Full scale invasion. They thought it was entirely possible since it was so close to Japan. However, Alaska was not officially a US state until 1959, so this may not count. Nonetheless, here's a photo from my archive. Japanese attacks on Alaska:

Egorka
04-10-2007, 02:54 PM
Full scale invasion. They thought it was entirely possible since it was so close to Japan. However, Alaska was not officially a US state until 1959, so this may not count. Nonetheless, here's a photo from my archive. Japanese attacks on Alaska:

Right. But I was thinking about the US west coast, not Alaska.
Did they internaly seriously considered to be possible in the goverment and the army center?

cam77
04-10-2007, 08:36 PM
Invasion of the north American continent though possible was never a real threat. As mentioned earlier defenses were constructed mainly as a means of reassuring the population.

When you look at the logistics involved Japan could never have spared the resources necessary. They were trying to hold a land mass from New Guinea north and hundreds on individual islands.

The reasons why Japan attacked the US puzzles me. If America had not been dragged into WWII they would most likely have taken Australia (or part of Australia) As the British were willing to allow them in to the North and Australia had set up defenses on the infamous Brisbane line.

Rising Sun*
04-11-2007, 06:17 AM
How high was the risk of Japanese invasion of the US main land?

Less than zero.

Japan's sole war aim, motivated by a range of domestic and international factors, was to secure resources and a Japanese-dominated trading bloc in East and South East Asia by the conquest of other nations and European colonies to implement the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

The intention was to grab these lands and hold them until the rest of the world accepted Japan's conquests. Exactly the same policy it had pursued in China in the preceding decade, and with much less chance of eventual success.

Conflict with the US was limited largely to 'the decisive naval battle' for control of the Pacific and the strategic necessity of taking the Philippines, Wake etc.

Inavasion of Hawaii was discussed but rejected.

Invasion of the US mainland (continental US) was never contemplated as Japan knew it was beyond its resources.

Nowhere in the primary sources is there any indication that Japan had the slightest intention of invading mainland USA. The Japanese were arrogant and over-confident in their pre-war and some 1942 assessments of their long term military and economic aims, but they weren't insane.

Here are Japan's war aims.
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/PTO/Dip/IR-410702.html

Mainland America was never even remotely anywhere near anything included in the three spheres of the co-prosperity sphere, although parts of Russia were. http://www.isop.ucla.edu/eas/restricted/geacps.htm

Nickdfresh
04-28-2007, 10:54 PM
Less than zero.

Japan's sole war aim, motivated by a range of domestic and international factors, was to secure resources and a Japanese-dominated trading bloc in East and South East Asia by the conquest of other nations and European colonies to implement the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

The intention was to grab these lands and hold them until the rest of the world accepted Japan's conquests. Exactly the same policy it had pursued in China in the preceding decade, and with much less chance of eventual success.

Conflict with the US was limited largely to 'the decisive naval battle' for control of the Pacific and the strategic necessity of taking the Philippines, Wake etc.

Inavasion of Hawaii was discussed but rejected.

Invasion of the US mainland (continental US) was never contemplated as Japan knew it was beyond its resources.

Nowhere in the primary sources is there any indication that Japan had the slightest intention of invading mainland USA. The Japanese were arrogant and over-confident in their pre-war and some 1942 assessments of their long term military and economic aims, but they weren't insane.

Here are Japan's war aims.
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/PTO/Dip/IR-410702.html

Mainland America was never even remotely anywhere near anything included in the three spheres of the co-prosperity sphere, although parts of Russia were. http://www.isop.ucla.edu/eas/restricted/geacps.htm

All very true. But hindsight is 20/20 and all that.

In fact, I believe the US gov't did consider a Japanese invasion to be a remote possibility if not a serious threat. The "war nerves" on the west coast of the United States were at a level of borderline irrationality, and for good reason. No one had expected the Imperial Navy to launch a successful coup de main strike at Pearl Harbor either.

I think I've heard of a fanciful Japanese-German agreement to split up the US at the Mississippi River? While there were no serious plans for an invasion, the fear was still there...

Rising Sun*
04-29-2007, 06:18 AM
All very true. But hindsight is 20/20 and all that.

In fact, I believe the US gov't did consider a Japanese invasion to be a remote possibility if not a serious threat. The "war nerves" on the west coast of the United States were at a level of borderline irrationality, and for good reason. No one had expected the Imperial Navy to launch a successful coup de main strike at Pearl Harbor either.

I think I've heard of a fanciful Japanese-German agreement to split up the US at the Mississippi River? While there were no serious plans for an invasion, the fear was still there...

As you point out, it's important to distinguish between what was known then and now, and to distinguish between post-war knowledge and legitimate fears based on reasonable inferences from events during the war.

The Principal Historian at the Australian War Memorial has delivered a couple of odd papers arguing that, essentially because of what is known now about Japanese intentions and decisions, the Australian Prime Minister in the second half of 1942 deceived the nation by maintaining that there was a risk of Japanese invasion. Given the direction of Japan's advance; hostile acts towards the Australian mainland; Tojo's demands for Australia to surrender; and the Japanese going flat out in Papua - New Guinea and Guadalcanal on Australia's doorstep, the Prime Minister and the rest of the Australian population weren't exactly living in fantasy land by thinking they were at risk of Japanese invasion. We know now that Japan never approved operational plans for that invasion but, as Japan didn't bother to inform the Australian government or people that it wasn't going to invade, the belief was entirely reasonable at the time.

Americans were entitled to the same concerns about Japan attacking the American mainland, if not at quite the same acute level as Australians were with Japanese forces on our doorstep, given Japan's hostile actions towards America.

The somewhat farcical Battle of Los Angeles in February 1942, a few days after a Japanese bombing raid about the same size as Pearl Harbor on Darwin in Australia's north, demonstrates the level of defensive steps taken on the West Coast and the belief that America could be subject to Japanese attack. The Japanese invasion of American soil in the Aleutians in June 1942, like the Japanese invasion of Australian soil in Papua about a month later, was reasonable grounds for the inference that Japan had designs on continental America.

The fears in both nations were real, and justified at the time.

savoy6
04-29-2007, 07:34 AM
the belief that the japanese were coming was quite high on the west coast during the first six months of the war...it was exaserbated by the several instances of japanese submarines surfacing at several points along the west coast,(LA,near san francisco,and near portland) and doing a crappy job of shelling some inland targets with their deck guns and by serveral false air raids( the battle of los angeles was one of these..)...the invasion of the aleutians was seen as a possible first step by many in the media...life magazine even devoted a 20 page,"what if" pictorial ,in late '42,to how a japanese invasion of the US ,via alaska, would play out....i always liked the picture of the american gas station attendent geting shot by the japanese in a light tank he's being forced to refuel,while he sprays burning gas all over the tank.

Rising Sun*
04-29-2007, 08:11 AM
the belief that the japanese were coming was quite high on the west coast during the first six months of the war...it was exaserbated by the several instances of japanese submarines surfacing at several points along the west coast,(LA,near san francisco,and near portland) and doing a crappy job of shelling some inland targets with their deck guns and by serveral false air raids( the battle of los angeles was one of these

Possibly Noburo Fujita and IJN submarine I 25. Fujita had an extraordinary history of flying unchallenged over cities in Australia and New Zeanand from I 25 in wartime and then launching what I think is the only airborne bombing raid on the continental US. Alas, he bombed a forest. Not his fault. That was his mission, to set the land alight.

I had a much better link but can't find it, so this Google result will have to do for a summary
http://www.wolfendenpublishing.com/haroldstephens/bangkokpost_japanamericanbomb.htm

There were also the fire balloons to set the US alight http://www.faqs.org/docs/air/avfusen.html

tankgeezer
04-29-2007, 03:45 PM
I dont belive that The Japanese military could mount an effective attack against the U.S. mainland. They didnt have the resources in materiel, or manpower to accomplish a landing that would be sustainable. Their forces would have been met, and encircled, or at least driven back into the sea. they would have lost their entire force.
They may have thought about a land invasion, but decided it was too great a risk to their ability to prosecute a war.
They would have found that upon arriving, not only were they under attack by the regular military based in the U.S. but also any Army reserve units that could be put to work against them. And lets not forget that America had then, as they do now, a very well armed, and at that time motivated civilian population. possessing most of the types of weapons in their homes, that the japanese infantry would likely possess. This would be one of the main reasons behind the existance of the second amendment to the U.S. constitution.I add that last paragraph for the benefit of those who may live outside the U.S.
- Raspenau -

Egorka
04-29-2007, 04:44 PM
The reason I made the thread was that I wanted to find out if the GOVERMENT of USA seriously considered invasion as a threat. What people think is one think. What the bosses think and therefor do afterwards is an other.

Rising Sun*
04-29-2007, 07:26 PM
The reason I made the thread was that I wanted to find out if the GOVERMENT of USA seriously considered invasion as a threat. What people think is one think. What the bosses think and therefor do afterwards is an other.

It was considered as a realistic possibility, but not necessarily a probability, early in the war. Military provision was made for such an eventuality, although it wasn't all that good in a number of respects.


Until the Japanese attacked in the Pacific, the United States had counted on its Hawaiian bastion and on the Pacific fleet to provide a secure barrier against any serious attack on the continental west coast. After Pearl Harbor it seemed, at the outset, that this barrier had been broken and that the 1,300-mile length of the west coast could be attacked by the Japanese in strength and almost at will. The most vital installations along this coast were military aircraft factories that had sprung up during the prewar years at Los Angeles and San Diego in the south and at Seattle in the north. In December 1941 nearly half of the American military aircraft production (and almost all of the heavy bomber output) was coming from eight plants in the Los Angeles area. The naval yards and ship terminals in the Puget Sound, Portland, San Francisco Bay, Los Angeles, and San Diego areas, and the California oil industry were of only slightly less importance to the future conduct of the war. In the first two weeks of war it seemed more than conceivable that the Japanese could invade the coast in strength, and until June 1942 there appeared to be a really serious threat of attack by a Japanese carrier striking force. These calculated apprehensions were fanned in the first few days of war by a series of false reports of Japanese ships and planes on the very doorsteps of the Pacific states.7

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This was the outlook that persuaded the War Department to establish the Western Defense Command as a theater of operations on 11 December and that led it to concentrate its first attention after Pearl Harbor on the rapid reinforcement of the Army's ground and air garrisons along the west coast. When the war started, the Fourth Army had available fairly adequate harbor defense forces, 11 of the 12 infantry regiments allotted to it under the current RAINBOW 5 plan, and about 5 antiaircraft artillery regiments which lacked two-thirds of their equipment. The Second and Fourth Air Forces had only a fraction of their assigned strength in planes, and they were critically short of bombs and ammunition. During November and early December General DeWitt had requested more ground troops for defense purposes, but these were denied until the Japanese struck.8

On and after 7 December General Marshall and his staff worked feverishly to strengthen the west coast defenses as rapidly as they could. A pursuit group from Michigan began to arrive in the Los Angeles area on 8 December, but it was the reinforcement of antiaircraft artillery defenses that received the most attention during the week after Pearl Harbor. By 17 December nine additional antiaircraft regiments had been rushed from various parts of the United States to the west coast, and, with some assistance from Marine Corps units, the vital installations in the Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego areas were thereby provided with at least some antiaircraft artillery protection. The Army also moved two additional divisions and many lesser types of ground combat and service units to the west coast before the end of December and made the 3d Division, already there, available for defense use. As a result of these moves the Western theater's major Army combat units in January and February 1942 included six infantry divisions, a brigade of cavalry, about fourteen antiaircraft regiments, and the equivalent of three pursuit and three bombardment groups. The troop strength of the Western Defense Command numbered about 250,000 at the beginning of February, and of these nine-tenths were ground troops. Approximately 100,000 of the ground forces were actively engaged in manning harbor antiaircraft defense equipment, in maintaining a beach and forward patrol along the coast line, in patrolling the


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Southern Land Frontier, and in performing anti-sabotage duties at vital installations9

By the third week in December, as the pattern of Japanese operations and the disposition of Japanese naval forces became known, apprehensions about an imminent and serious attack on the west coast subsided.


http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-WH-Guard/USA-WH-Guard-4.html

savoy6
04-29-2007, 08:10 PM
we also have....


California and the Second World War
The Shelling of Ellwood
On 23 February 1942. the Imperial Japanese Navy's submarine I-17, under the command of Commander Nishino Kozo, surfaces shells the oil refinery near Santa Barbara. Before the war, as skipper of an oil tanker, Nishino had refueled there. The shelling does only minor damages to a pier and an oil well derrick, but creates "invasion" fears along the West Coast.

Contemporary newspaper accounts describe the attack as off the Ellwood oil fields 12 miles north of Santa Barbara, and report 16 shells fired, beginning at 7:15 p.m. on the 23rd of February 1942. Three shells struck near the Bankline Co. oil refinery, the apparent target of the shelling. Rigging and pumping equipment at a well about 1,000 yards inland were destroyed but otherwise no damage was caused. One shell overshot the target by three miles and landed on the Tecolote ranch, where it exploded. Another landed on the nearby Staniff ranch, dug a hole five feet deep, but failed to explode. Eleven other shells fell short and dropped into the sea. Description of the attack and damage to the oil refinery was provided by the superindentent, F.W. Borden. The first report of the attack was called in to police by Mrs. George Heaney of San Marcos Pass, who observed the submarine through binoculars and reported it was about a mile offshore. Oil refinery worker Bob Miller also called in a report during the attack. According to the official report of the 11th Naval District, the I-17 surfaced at 7:10 pm, Pacific War Time (2 hours ahead of standard time, so about a half hour after sunset), shortly after President Roosevelt's weekly fireside "chat" began. At 7:15 pm, the submarine began firing from its deck gun at the oil refinery. It ceased firing at 7:35 and departed on the surface; it was observed still on the suface exiting the south end of the Santa Barbara Channel at 8:30.

A 1982 issue of Parade magazine published a possible reason for the attack:

The first Japanese attack on the U.S. mainland, in 1942, was triggered by cactus spines in the rear end of a Japanese naval captain.

In the late 1930s, Kozo Nishino was commander of a Japanese tanker taking on crude oil at the Ellwood oil field. On the way up the path from the beach to a formal ceremony welcoming him and his crew, Nishino slipped and fell into a *****ly-pear cactus. Workers on a nearby oil rig broke into guffaws at the sight of the proud commander having cactus spines plucked from his posterior. Then and there, the humiliated Nishino swore to get even.

He had to wait for war between the U.S. and Japan, but on Feb. 23, 1942, he got his revenge. From 7:07 to 7:45 p.m., he directed the shelling of the Ellwood oil field from his submarine, the I-17. Though about 24 shells were fired from a 5.5-inch deck gun, little damage was done. One rig needed a $500 repair job after the shelling, and one man was wounded while trying to defuse an unexploded shell.

U.S. planes gave chase to the sub, but Nishino got away. Thereafter, American coastal defenses were improved, so the mainland suffered only one more submarine attack by the Japanese during the war, at Fort Stevens in Oregon.


Most accounts however have the I-17 firing 16 17 rounds fired from 19:15 to 19:35 hours



http://www.militarymuseum.org/Ellwood.html

also....


Fire balloons
Between November 1944 and April 1945, Japan launched over 9,000 fire balloons toward the American mainland. Carried by the recently-discovered Pacific jet stream, they were to sail over the Pacific Ocean and land in North America, where the Japanese hoped they would start forest fires and wreak devastation. About three hundred were reported as reaching North America, but little damage was caused. Six people – five children and a woman, Elsie Mitchell – became the only deaths due to enemy action to occur on mainland America during World War II when one of the children tried to recover a balloon from a tree near Bly, Oregon and it exploded. Another landed in Omaha, Nebraska with little effect.[2] Recently released R.C.M.P. and Canadian military reports indicate that fire balloons got as far inland as the rural area near Ituna, Saskatchewan.

tankgeezer
04-30-2007, 07:43 PM
The reason I made the thread was that I wanted to find out if the GOVERMENT of USA seriously considered invasion as a threat. What people think is one think. What the bosses think and therefor do afterwards is an other.
Not having been there , I can only speculate, but I do know that the war dept. would have as a matter of course, constructed a scenario to plan for any possibility including an invasion by Japanese forces upon the soil of the U.S.
The probablity of such an attack was not the greatest issue, but you can be sure that Washington would plan as though it was already coming. That they may have altered their priority list later on is part of the process.
And as far as the people are concerned, in America we are the gov't. And we try not to forget our responsibility to governing ourselves, and protecting our country and our ways. Kindest regards Mr Egorka. - Raspenau -

Gen. Sandworm
05-01-2007, 02:35 AM
The reason I made the thread was that I wanted to find out if the GOVERMENT of USA seriously considered invasion as a threat. What people think is one think. What the bosses think and therefor do afterwards is an other.

Well after pressure placed on Japan im sure the US government had a good idea they would be attacked. What surprised them is the level of the attack at Pearl Harbor. As a result........the US realized that if Japan had been ready that they could have easily landed in the US proper. Of course this would have been to much for the Japanese and an extremely dumb idea.

I think there were many tards in the government that thought a invasion would happen but im not convinced FDR thought this. Counter measures were put in place but nothing like that of the UK. German sub commanders were surprised to show up on the east coast of the US were all the lights we on. A welcomed contrast to Europe. One man wanted to camoflauge the White House in case of air attacks..........FDR wouldnt have it. They also considered building the Pentagon without windows so it would be more structually sound. This was also aborted. There are loads of these examples and are not the decisions of a country that is worried about an immenent invasion. Or course im talking about the mainland US.

The US government was very worried about Alaska and recruited the natives there to assist in its defense. The Japanese did invade some of the Aleutians Islands.

You have to remember also that the US joined in the end of 41. Japan had been in China for sometime and the Germans were starting to get bogged down in Russia. Japan and Germany..........the 2 major threats for a US invasion were already having trouble. Japan was more a threat than Germany. Germany couldnt even take out the UK when they had the chance.........so the threat from them was small. Japan showed that they had the capabilities to launch effective seaborn invasions. However I think it was soon realized that an invasion of the US proper would not be to the advantage of Japan. Hence it would be silly for the US to hide behind its defences and not take the fight to the enemy. I think this becomes clear in the "Doolittle raid." This is an attack launched in a risky manor only 4 months after the US had lost a huge chunk of their pacific fleet. Again it would appear to me that this a is a huge risk for little outcome/success for the US. Again the risk isnt that big if your not worried about a Japanese invasion.

Anyhoo thats my take on it.

Oh and one more thing..........the way the government thinks about it is not how you say it to the public. You want them to join the effort and support the war............tell them that Japanese and the Germans on already on the way over. :)

Rising Sun*
05-01-2007, 04:42 AM
And as far as the people are concerned, in America we are the gov't. And we try not to forget our responsibility to governing ourselves, and protecting our country and our ways. Kindest regards Mr Egorka. - Raspenau -

It's an important point, even if Presidents and Administrations pay only lip service to it at times.

In WWII, the American people were, with rare and unimportant exceptions, united in their outrage over and determination to avenge Pearl Harbor and, shortly after, the Philippines. Their representatives in Congress reflected this, to the very end. It ensured that America, as reflected by the Roosevelt and Truman Administrations, would, and could, accept nothing less than unconditional surrender.

Egorka
05-01-2007, 04:28 PM
:D

And as far as the people are concerned, in America we are the gov't.

Mr. Bush will not be happy to hear that!

Egorka
05-01-2007, 04:36 PM
So as I see it:
American public - alerted for possibly comming japanese and want revenge.
American Gov. - having the intelligence does not expect Japanese comming to main land but needs to meet the publics revenge urges.

Right?

So... conclusion: The poor japanse Americans were deported for no real reason what so ever except satisfying the publics revenge urges. Right? ;)

And you think I opened this thread for no cunning reason? Hey not! All the threads should end showing how terrible US was and how peace loving Stalin was!

;)

Rising Sun*
05-01-2007, 08:10 PM
So... conclusion: The poor japanse Americans were deported for no real reason what so ever except satisfying the publics revenge urges. Right? ;)
;)

Wrong.

Public opinion was an important factor but there were sound grounds for concern.

There were legitimate grounds for concern about the loyalty of many Japanese and those of Japanese descent in America, as shown by the responses to the loyalty question here http://home.comcast.net/~eo9066/1943/43-09/IA106.html

The activities of organisations such as the Black Dragon Society inside (see last link) the camps and previously were also legitimate grounds for concern.

I can't lay my hands on it but somewhere there is an intelligence intercept by America or a statement by someone in Japan which came to American attention about the Japanese in America being ready to act against America after the war began.

Here's the general background to the decision to intern Japanese.


Agitation for a mass evacuation of the Japanese did not reach significant dimensions until more than a month after the outbreak of war. Then,


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beginning in mid-January 1942, public and private demands for federal and state action increased rapidly in tempo and volume.18 Among the first of these were letters of 16 January addressed by Representative Leland M. Ford of Santa Monica, California, to the Secretary of War and to other members of the Cabinet, urging that all Japanese--citizens as well as aliens--be moved inland from the coast and put in concentration camps for the duration of the war.19 Behind this and similar suggestions lay a profound suspicion of the Japanese population, fanned, of course, by the nature and scope of Japan's early military successes in the Pacific. A GHQ intelligence bulletin of 21 January, for example, concluded that there was an "espionage net containing Japanese aliens, first and second generation Japanese and other nations . . . thoroughly organized and working underground."20 In conversations with General Clark of GHQ on 20 and 21 January, General DeWitt expressed his apprehension that any enemy raid on the west coast would probably be accompanied by "a violent outburst of coordinated and controlled sabotage" among the Japanese population.21 In talking with General Gullion on 24 January, General DeWitt stated what was to become one of the principal arguments for mass evacuation. "The fact that nothing has happened so far is more or less . . . ominous," he said, "in that I feel that in view of the fact that we have had no sporadic attempts at sabotage that there is a control being exercised and when we have it it will be on a mass basis."22
The publication of the report of the Roberts Commission, which had investigated the Pearl Harbor attack, on 25 January had a large and immediate effect both on public opinion and on government action. The report concluded that there had been widespread espionage in Hawaii before Pearl Harbor, both by Japanese consular agents and by Japanese residents of Oahu who had "no open relations with the Japanese foreign service."23 The latter

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charge, though proven false after the war was over, was especially inflammatory at the time it was made. On 27 January General DeWitt had a long talk with Governor Culbert L. Olson of California and afterward reported:

There's a tremendous volume of public opinion now developing against the Japanese of all classes, that is aliens and non-aliens, to get them off the land, and in Southern California around Los Angeles--in that area too--they want and they are bringing pressure on the government to move all the Japanese out. As a matter of fact, it's not being instigated or developed by people who are not thinking but by the best people of California. Since the publication of the Roberts Report they feel that they are living in the midst of a lot of enemies. They don't trust the Japanese, none of them.24
After another talk two days later with the Attorney General of California, Mr. Earl Warren, General DeWitt reported that Mr. Warren was in thorough agreement with Governor Olson that the Japanese population should be removed from the state of California, and the Army commander now expressed his own unqualified concurrence in this proposal and also his willingness to accept responsibility for the enemy alien program if it were transferred to him.25

In Washington, as Major Bendetsen told General DeWitt on the same day, 29 January, the California Congressional delegation was "beginning to get up in arms" and its representatives had scheduled an informal meeting for the following afternoon to formulate recommendations for action. Some Washington state Congressmen also attended this meeting, to which representatives of the Justice and War Departments were invited. Major Bendetsen reported General DeWitt's views to the assembled Congressmen and, though denying that he was authorized to speak for the War Department, nevertheless expressed the opinion that the Army would be entirely willing to take over from Justice, "provided they accorded the Army, and the Secretary of War, and the military commander under him, full authority to require the services of any other federal agency, and provided that federal agency was required to respond."26 The Congressmen unanimously approved a suggested program for action, which called for an evacuation of enemy aliens and "dual" citizens from critical areas, but which made no specific mention of the Japanese. p. 120 - 2 http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-WH-Guard/USA-WH-Guard-5.html

Egorka
05-02-2007, 01:31 AM
Wrong.

Public opinion was an important factor but there were sound grounds for concern.

There were legitimate grounds for concern about the loyalty of many Japanese and those of Japanese descent in America, as shown by the responses to the loyalty question here http://home.comcast.net/~eo9066/1943/43-09/IA106.html

The activities of organisations such as the Black Dragon Society inside (see last link) the camps and previously were also legitimate grounds for concern.

I can't lay my hands on it but somewhere there is an intelligence intercept by America or a statement by someone in Japan which came to American attention about the Japanese in America being ready to act against America after the war began.

Here's the general background to the decision to intern Japanese.

p. 120 - 2 http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-WH-Guard/USA-WH-Guard-5.html

Rising Sun,

What is your view on the deportation that took place during the WW2 in USSR? Do you know about them? If yes how wohuld you comment in the light of what we have mentioned in this thread already?

Rising Sun*
05-02-2007, 02:36 AM
Rising Sun,

What is your view on the deportation that took place during the WW2 in USSR? Do you know about them? If yes how wohuld you comment in the light of what we have mentioned in this thread already?

Egorka

It's not an area I know anything about.

Firefly
05-02-2007, 05:07 PM
Hello!

How high was the risk of Japanese invasion of the US main land? Any ideas?

Thanks!

Not a chance. The US Government may have imagined so but the actual mechanics was far beyond the Japanese military.

Even if they could have landed 1 single Division in California it would have taken more resources than the whole Japanese maritime Fleet had to keep just that 1 supplied.

Think of the round trip involved for a supply ship. logistics always dictate military action.

Nickdfresh
05-02-2007, 07:00 PM
Not a chance. The US Government may have imagined so but the actual mechanics was far beyond the Japanese military.

Even if they could have landed 1 single Division in California it would have taken more resources than the whole Japanese maritime Fleet had to keep just that 1 supplied.

Think of the round trip involved for a supply ship. logistics always dictate military action.

Not to mention they would have been overrun with tanks in perfect country for armoured maneuver...:)

However, paranoia and overestimation of ones enemy was probably the rule of the day...

battleaxe
05-15-2007, 11:58 AM
There were forts already in place at the mouth of the Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest. If you get a chance to get out that way the forts are definitely worth checking out. The Oregon/Washington coastline would have been nearly impossible for the Japanese to invade IMO. High cliffs make up most of the coastline. And the distance they would've had to travel would have curtailed any sort of surprise attack.

'Eight coastal military forts, most of them dating from the turn of the 20th century, now serve as historic state parks. Fort Columbia and Fort Worden survive almost fully intact, but all - Fort Casey, Fort Flagler, Fort Ebey, Fort Ward, Manchester and Fort Canby at Cape Disappointment - have at least some original structures and wonderful water views.'

bluedonkey99
05-16-2007, 04:14 PM
to argue against one of my own posts on a alternative post, whislt it would be difficult to launch an intercontinental invasion on the scale of WWII (unlike the relatively small and safe invasion of US/UK of iraq - notwithstanding the "aftermath").

The US was prepared to invade mainline japan - and without the A-bombs would have probably had to at some point, it mmust be at least a strong posibility, even if it prolonged the war and maybe by a significant factor...

now if things had gone the otherway and teh japanese had pushed the US back to its mainland politucal borders (or even just to North america) the japanese would have had the resoruces to feed its factories.... it may have taken time but it could probably build a big enough "deep water" fleet... let see who built the largest battleship and largest submarines of the war - i think that was japan!?

now if the germans with a population of @60mm took on the british, russians and then the usa to varying degrees of sucess, what could have 100m japanese done againt 200m americans, (of course it depends if the USSR had still joined in with the war, would theyhave done so if they had rolled up western europe?)

and of course most of all, i an sensing people talking of a japense invasion in the 1940s .... what if they had waited ??

royal744
05-16-2007, 07:16 PM
One supposes that the risk was rather high in the imagination at a time when we had suffered a terrible defeat at the hands of a truly nefarious and barbaric enemy, but the question must be directed at the ACTUAL risk which was pretty close to zero. The Japanese didn't really have any interest in occupying the mainland of the US, or Australia, for that matter. What they had an ineterest in was holding the Anglo-saxons at arms length and discouraging them from ever interfering in their quest for 1) oil and 2) in securing their ill-gotten gains in China and Korea. They had the wholly unrealistic belief that everyone else was so incredibly inferior to them that all they had to do was surprise us and we would never return the favor. This is almost as unrealistic and stupid a belief as the one we had that the Japanese were a "short and doll like people" with buck teeth and who couldn't see very well. Funny, except that the consequences of both beliefs led to the dropping of nuclear device on two of Japan's cities not too long after their unscheduled visit to Pearl Harbor!

Rising Sun*
05-20-2007, 07:13 AM
The Japanese didn't really have any interest in occupying the mainland of the US, or Australia, for that matter.

They certainly didn't have the slightest intention of invading or occupying America but, while they had no approved operational plans or immediate strategic intentions of invading or occupying Australia, it was part of their long term ambitions, although not formed intentions, to conquer and exploit Australia, along with India and Siberia as parts of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. There is, however, uncertainty about the intentions towards Australia and India as they were not so clearly part of the Co-Prosperity Sphere as was Siberia, which was in the middle sphere. Australia and India are in the outer sphere on some conceptions of it, and apparently not on others. By early 1942 I think Australia was very clearly in it. Henry Frei's book "Japan's Southward Advance and Australia: From the Sixteenth Century to WWII" covers the divisions in Japanese thinking and the evolution of Japanese intentions towards Australia before and during WWII.

Here's one consideration of the competing views http://www.users.bigpond.com/battleforaustralia/battaust/AustInvasion/JapNavy_AustInvasion.html

For my part, Dr Stanley's propositions are based on superficial and selective 'evidence'; elevate illogicality to an art form; and are laughable in the extreme. There are just so many things wrong with his papers that they would sustain a generation of Ph. D's tearing them apart in detail. Or even half-way decent undergraduates.

royal744
05-21-2007, 02:49 PM
They certainly didn't have the slightest intention of invading or occupying America but, while they had no approved operational plans or immediate strategic intentions of invading or occupying Australia, it was part of their long term ambitions, although not formed intentions, http://www.users.bigpond.com/battleforaustralia/battaust/AustInvasion/JapNavy_AustInvasion.html


Rising Sun, think OIL. It was all about oil The Japanese had to have it to continue their consolidation of China, Korea and Manchuria which were their main objectives. The US had cut them off from American exports and, fatally, the Dutch refused to sell it to them as well. Without oil there could be no Imperial Japanese Navy, much less Imperial Japanese Army. The Dutch, who held the East Indies (Indonesia) with a pathetically small and weak army and whose home country in any case was occupied by the Germans were easy pickings. The Indonesians were not favorably disposed towards their colonial masters, much less so than the Indians towards the British. Everyone knew the Dutch weakness, but no one could come to their assistance in time.

Where the Japanese made an absolutely fatal decision was in attacking Pearl Harbor which they did not need to do in order to secure their access to Dutch oil. Roosevelt simply could not have forced congress to acquiesce because isolationists were quite powerful in both the House and Senate. Because the Japanese failed to understand this, their attack on Pearl Harbor guaranteed their defeat on ALL fronts.

But then, the Japanese had no real plan of action beyond the brilliantly executed but fundamentally stupid plan to attack Pearl Harbor.

Rising Sun*
05-31-2007, 08:42 AM
Rising Sun, think OIL. It was all about oil The Japanese had to have it to continue their consolidation of China, Korea and Manchuria which were their main objectives. The US had cut them off from American exports and, fatally, the Dutch refused to sell it to them as well. Without oil there could be no Imperial Japanese Navy, much less Imperial Japanese Army. The Dutch, who held the East Indies (Indonesia) with a pathetically small and weak army and whose home country in any case was occupied by the Germans were easy pickings. The Indonesians were not favorably disposed towards their colonial masters, much less so than the Indians towards the British. Everyone knew the Dutch weakness, but no one could come to their assistance in time.

Where the Japanese made an absolutely fatal decision was in attacking Pearl Harbor which they did not need to do in order to secure their access to Dutch oil. Roosevelt simply could not have forced congress to acquiesce because isolationists were quite powerful in both the House and Senate. Because the Japanese failed to understand this, their attack on Pearl Harbor guaranteed their defeat on ALL fronts.

But then, the Japanese had no real plan of action beyond the brilliantly executed but fundamentally stupid plan to attack Pearl Harbor.

I think we could start a few threads out of those observations.

Taking a wider view of all the factors which led Japan to attack, I don't agree that oil was quite as much at the heart of things as you say.

Oil was unquestionably the trigger for war once oil embargoes were imposed on Japan when it had only a year's reserves for military action, and the militarists had been moving towards war. It was a case of strike now, or forever be doomed. In that sense, I agree that the drive for oil was the cause and the whole basis of Japanís war.

However, the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, the achievement of which was specifically mentioned as the first item in Japanís decision for war in mid-1941 http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/PTO/Dip/IR-410702.html , deserves more serious consideration than it is usually given in popular and even serious Western histories. It is usually written off as a quaint Japanese notion or a smokescreen for its brutal imperialistic ambitions. This reflects the Western interpretation of Japan's actions, with hindsight, rather than viewing them through contemporary Japanese eyes leading to the war.

The GEACPS was the result of several threads in Japanese history and thinking, the essence being the usual colonial era manifest destiny of a nation to dominate others for the good of all. Conveniently, this invariably produced massive benefits for the imperial power and few for the colonised people.

Factors peculiar to Japan which drove its extra-territorial imperial thinking were rapid population increase after it was forced to engage with the West; a severe deficiency in natural resources in Japan; expanding industrial capacity reliant largely upon external sources controlled by the major powers; and unfavourable terms of trade for its industrial and other production with the major powers. All these factors crystallised into economic crisis in the Great Depression, when Japanís position was made worse by the protectionist measures employed by the great powers in their efforts to deal with an unprecedented economic disaster. Japan got screwed over mightily, albeit unintentionally.

The solution to these trade problems was, for Japan, a pan-Asian trade bloc centred on Japan.

It was in part the need for a large trading bloc which drove Japanís militarily ambitious and unsustainable expansion, first into China in the early 1930Ďs and later into the southward drive.

Lots of countries with lots of people (which rather contradicts the Japanese penchant in practice for reducing populations arbitrarily) meant lots of markets. Conveniently, those countries also had lots of things that Japan needed as natural resources etc, the sale of which (in practice often on at best the same terms as the major powers imposed on Japan which led it to war) would supposedly generate a vibrant trading bloc for the benefit of all in Greater Asia. And, conveniently, Japan most of all.

If Japan had had more brains, in the sense of a better understanding of so many things about the nations it attacked, and had had its ambitions been infected less by its arrogant and corrupted martial spirit, it might have chosen to take just the NEI. It would have got one third of the worldís oil production, and better still high quality crude that could be put straight into naval fuel tanks in emergencies. Ten per cent of the worldís tin just from Banka Island. Great trade items in various resources and produce from the NEI.

All without attacking Britain or America. Whether an attack on the NEI would have provoked war with America and Britain will never be known. My recollection is that there was some informal or formal pre-war agreement which might have brought America and Britain in on the Netherlandsí side if Japan attacked it, but Iím not sure just how tight it was (I had the details at one stage, but as usual I canĎt find them when I need them.). Or how likely it was to be implemented, given that Britain had a much stronger and longer arrangement with Australia that turned to dust when Japan attacked.

royal744
05-31-2007, 02:14 PM
Speculation is always a lot of fun. So many possibilities. And you know hindsight and all that. I believe the Japanese made a tremendous and huge error in attacking the US. By attacking us, they guaranteed their own defeat. Consider this: they could attack the Dutch who had only a few pathetic troops in the Dutch East Indies, poorly equipped and of dubious morale in spite of pre-attack propaganda to the contrary, and whose own central government was in exile in London; they could attack the English, who were much better equipped but who were stretched to the point of elastic failure, especially in North Africa. The Japanese, from a strategic point of view, sensibly did both and defeated both. We won't go into Japanese barbarity here.
But when they attacked the US, they attacked a country whose warmaking potential had not been tapped at all, so in effect they attacked a country with, by comparison to Japan, limitless resources, as opposed to two European powers who were at the limit of their resources and who could do no more. Huge mistake.

One supposes that the strategic thinking of the Japanese must have been that America, especially in the Philippines, could menace their shipping bringing resources from captured oil fields in places such as Balikpapan. Reasonable enough, except that America wasn't at war with Japan, and wouldn't be even after Japan had attacked Singapore, British Malaya, Burma, and the Dutch East Indies, or even Australia.

To understand this, consider that the US Congress was fundamentally isolationist in mentality. The reason Roosevelt was so limited in his options, other than Lend-Lease, which was a pretty clever subterfuge on his part, is that short of being attacked, Congress - which has the power to declare war - would not have authorized Roosevelt to go to war. We forget how powerful the isolationist sentiment in this country was at the time and it is easy to look back and see the "inevitability" of it all, but this was not so.

Therefore, if the Japanese had not attacked Hawaii or, a few hours later, the Phillipines, or any other US possession in the Pacific, the US would NOT have gone to war against Japan. Instead they would have left us in a state of tremendous ambiguity, but very much unable to act. That they did was either an act of incredible arrogance and hubris, or of stupidity, which may be the same thing. It showed an utter lack of understanding of US internal politics at the time, so one would have to surmise that their diplomatic corps didn't do a very good job or the Japanese government didn't want to know or wouldn't listen.

Lastly, once having made this terrible error of attacking Hawaii, the Japanese would have been much better served by invading the islands rather than turning around and steaming back to their own home islands. Hawaii would have made a much better base than Rabaul. The anchorage at Pearl is much better, and, basing a fleet there, could have seriously impeded US progress in winning back its losses. B-17s from the mainland could reach the islands, but never make a roundtrip without refueling and not with a meaningful bomb load. One has the impression that, beyond a brilliant air strike at Hawaii, there simply was no real Japanese plan for dealing with the aftermath.

The point and purpose of the Japanese advance into the Pacific was singular - resources. Read: oil and rubber. They might have held on to it much longer if they had never attacked America, and, once having attacked it, would have held on to it longer if it had occupied the Hawaiian islands. Inevitably, it would have lost it all in the long run, but it might have gone on until 1950.
Finally, in spite of reasonable fears on the West Coast, the true risk of invasion from Japan - cooler heads knew it - was nil.

It would be interesting to read commentary from Japanese contributors but I have not seen any.

That's my take.

royal744
05-31-2007, 02:39 PM
QUOTE=Rising Sun*;102948]All without attacking Britain or America. Whether an attack on the NEI would have provoked war with America and Britain will never be known. My recollection is that there was some informal or formal pre-war agreement which might have brought America and Britain in on the Netherlandsí side if Japan attacked it, but Iím not sure just how tight it was (I had the details at one stage, but as usual I canĎt find them when I need them.). Or how likely it was to be implemented, given that Britain had a much stronger and longer arrangement with Australia that turned to dust when Japan attacked.[/QUOTE]

As usual, RS, well-written and thought out.

To my knowledge there was no formal or informal arrangement between the Dutch and the US in the event of war. This would have been known and the Isolationists in Congress would have howled if Roosevelt had proposed such a treaty, which, in any event, would have had to be ratified by Congress which I am quite certain in the climate of the late thirties and prior to Dec 7, 1941, it would not have done. It was literally everything Roosevelt could do to send the British 50 obsolete three-stacker destroyers in exchange for long term bases on British controlled islands. The opposition to this rather lame deal was great.

I am very intrigued by your suggestion that perhaps the Japanese should not have attacked the British either, but confined their depredations to the Dutch. I had not considered that, though it would not have given them access to rubber.

Considering the expansiveness of Winston Churchill, however, it is likely that he would have declared war on the Japanese anyway, especially since London was hosting the Dutch government in exile, but you never know.

Frankly, although I concede that there was a body of intellectual thought in Japan that believed in the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, I continue to believe that in practice its main purpose was simply to gull domestic independence movements into not opposing Japanese invasions in their infamous "smash and grab" operation in the Pacific. There is simply nothing in the evidence post occupation of these countries that would lead me to believe otherwise. Japanese behavior towards natives in these countries was bad, though not as bad as towards European colonials.

Digger
05-31-2007, 06:26 PM
A small part of the Japanese thinking was centered around Colonialism and racism. Their belief Japan was the 'master race' of the Asian region was deeply rooted and it was therefore their 'right' to carve out a new colonial empire.

Of course what they did not realize was the very people they were intent on liberating from the old colonial powers did not share this view. This situation was created by their own blind arrogance. The swift victories of the early Pacific/South East Asion blitzkreig only served to heighten this blindness and ultimately they would pay the price.

They seriously underestimated, partly due to their arrogance/racism they could hold at bay the western nations, not for one minute believing these nations would combine to carry the war to Japan.

The whole adventure was a giant gamble and not a very well planned one at that. Could the Japanese have invaded the US? No. They just did not have the forces or the resources to carry out such a venture.

To take it further, the Japanese estimated if they were to conquer Australia, one million men would be reqired for the task. One million men they did not have. How many men would have been required to invade the US?

Digger.

Rising Sun*
05-31-2007, 09:59 PM
I'll use Digger's quotes but some of my comments cover aspects raised by royal744.


A small part of the Japanese thinking was centered around Colonialism and racism. Their belief Japan was the 'master race' of the Asian region was deeply rooted and it was therefore their 'right' to carve out a new colonial empire.

Agreed.

It was also consistent with German thinking in WWI and WWII and, more importantly, with the long-standing colonial practices and possessions of the major powers. And with Japanís existing colonial possessions in Korea and the Pacific. There was nothing remarkable in that era about having colonies. Japan, and Germany, just left their run too late and had to try to expand into areas already controlled by other powers.

The question is whether Japan had a sincere belief in liberating colonial peoples or whether it was just a rationalisation for what it wanted to do. I think it was both. High minded intellectuals and others probably believed it sincerely. Militarists and economic or territorial expansionists probably used it as a rationalization for what they wanted to do anyway. The latter group was the one that had its hands on the levers of power, not the intellectuals etc. So, as I think is implicit in royal744ís comments, the colonial liberation idea should be viewed cynically so far as it was a motive or justification for the decision makers who took Japan into war, although probably there were some with a sincere belief in it. Just as there are probably some people in the current US Administration who had, and still have, a sincere belief that they were doing the Iraqis a favour by getting rid of Saddam and bringing democracy to Iraq(although it was heavily advertised before the event as nothing to do with regime change but only WMDís), which so far has worked out about as well as Japan liberating colonial peoples.


Of course what they did not realize was the very people they were intent on liberating from the old colonial powers did not share this view. This situation was created by their own blind arrogance. The swift victories of the early Pacific/South East Asion blitzkreig only served to heighten this blindness and ultimately they would pay the price.

Agreed.

There was a noticeable change in behaviour after the war started. For example, before the war Japan courted Thailand with gifts of territory and other things, in part to get tactical advantage for the assault on Malaya. Once Japan was in the ascendant, it just took what it wanted when it felt like it from whomever happened to have it.

One thing that is routinely ignored in many of the countless books and documentaries on the Burma Railway is that many, many more impressed Asian labourers worked and died on it than Allied POWís. Japan was an equal opportunity oppressor throughout its conquered territories.


They seriously underestimated, partly due to their arrogance/racism they could hold at bay the western nations, not for one minute believing these nations would combine to carry the war to Japan.
Agreed.

But some didnít.

Admiral Yamamoto was the most notable. His experience in the West and in America gave him a better understanding of America, its people and its capacity than many of his contemporaries. He was reluctant to attack America but carried out his orders to the best of his considerable ability once the decision was made. His prediction that Japan would have free rein for the first six to twelve months and after that it would be on the back foot was right on the money.


The whole adventure was a giant gamble and not a very well planned one at that. Could the Japanese have invaded the US? No. They just did not have the forces or the resources to carry out such a venture.

Agreed. I am uncommonly agreeable today. It can't last. :D


To take it further, the Japanese estimated if they were to conquer Australia, one million men would be reqired for the task. One million men they did not have. How many men would have been required to invade the US?

Add to that the other main reason they didnít try to invade Australia was that they couldnít find the shipping, or the oil, to launch and sustain an invasion. What hope did they have of finding an awful lot more shipping and oil to invade the US?

Iíve seen the reference to a million men before, but in rejecting the IJNís bid for invading Australia in March 1942 the IJAís realistic assessment was that it needed 12 to 15 divisions. It used only 12 in its initial assaults southwards and eastwards in 1941-42. Fifteen infantry divisions would have been about 300,000 men. When we add the support services and naval and merchant navy men, it might well have approached a million men. Which meant pretty much that Japan had to abandon or at the very least risk losing China, which was a lot more important to it than either Australia or the US, at least in economic strategy. Or try to invade America with largely green troops, which was just a path to earlier destruction on the US mainland.

Rising Sun*
06-01-2007, 12:55 AM
As usual, RS, well-written and thought out.

As are your posts.


To my knowledge there was no formal or informal arrangement between the Dutch and the US in the event of war.

I think youíre right. Iíve been delving into the cobwebbed recesses of my ancient mind and I think my post condensed a long process into a single agreement. What was probably at the back of my mind were informal strategic and tactical understandings reached between the US, British and Dutch commanders in NEI / Philippines / Malaya area at various conferences in 1941, which after Japan attacked led to ABDA, which in turn formally recognised the importance of defending the NEI.


I am very intrigued by your suggestion that perhaps the Japanese should not have attacked the British either, but confined their depredations to the Dutch. I had not considered that, though it would not have given them access to rubber.

I think Japan might have got away with it. America didnít want war, for the reasons you gave, and neither did Britain because it had its hands full elsewhere.

The risk to Japan was that, given the British and American hostility and embargoes arising from its conduct in China, invading the NEI would only produce more of the same. This might lead to war in any event.

So why not get in first, with surprise attacks?

Theyíre just my thoughts. I donít know if Japan ever gave serious consideration to the NEI alone option. Probably not for long.

Militarily, it was less attractive to steam down to the NEI and try to invade when, even if successful, Japan lacked the defence behind it in Malaya and the obvious leap-frogging advantages, especially with forward airfields, in Malaya then Sumatra then Java. If Britain and or the US decided to respond militarily to an NEI invasion, Japan was then at risk of being cut off in the NEI while the US and Britain could attack the sea lanes back to Japan, depriving Japan of its economic advantages in holding the NEI.


Considering the expansiveness of Winston Churchill, however, it is likely that he would have declared war on the Japanese anyway, especially since London was hosting the Dutch government in exile, but you never know.

Iím inclined to doubt it.

The instructions given to General Percival in Malaya were that he was in no circumstances to do anything to start a war with Japan, which hampered his ability to defend Malaya properly by taking the initiative in Thailand. Partly this instruction was because Britain was fully engaged elsewhere, and partly because Britain wanted Japan to start it to avoid Britain incurring negative opinion in America, which it wanted to come into the war. I think those considerations would still have held good if Japan attacked only the NEI.

Rising Sun*
06-01-2007, 01:24 AM
By attacking us, they guaranteed their own defeat. ... But when they attacked the US, they attacked a country whose warmaking potential had not been tapped at all, so in effect they attacked a country with, by comparison to Japan, limitless resources, as opposed to two European powers who were at the limit of their resources and who could do no more. Huge mistake.

Agreed.

At least it was consistent with their custom of ritual suicide.


Consider this: they could attack the Dutch who had only a few pathetic troops in the Dutch East Indies, poorly equipped and of dubious morale in spite of pre-attack propaganda to the contrary …

Also a problem with Indonesians in the service, many of whom promptly went over to the Japanese when they arrived.


One supposes that the strategic thinking of the Japanese must have been that America, especially in the Philippines, could menace their shipping bringing resources from captured oil fields in places such as Balikpapan. Reasonable enough, except that America wasn't at war with Japan, and wouldn't be even after Japan had attacked Singapore, British Malaya, Burma, and the Dutch East Indies, or even Australia.

We shouldn't underestimate the significance of hostility towards America, and Britain and Australia, in forming Japanese attitudes on whether or not to attack them. The Japanese, inside and outside the military, were bitterly resentful about a number of issues which they perceived as slaps in the face from these countries, notably Australian (always) and American (circa 1924) exclusion of Japanese migrants and the British termination of its defence alliance with Japan in the early twenties, under US and Dominion pressure. Japan saw that alliance as confirming its status as an equal with Britain and other nations, and its termination as a relegation of Japan to a lower status. These and other events, including trade disadvantage, created and reinforced Japanese beliefs that they were regarded as second class people by those nations. Which they were. It’s hard to go to war with a nation you like, but it’s a lot easier with one that despises you, and which you despise in return..


Therefore, if the Japanese had not attacked Hawaii or, a few hours later, the Phillipines, or any other US possession in the Pacific, the US would NOT have gone to war against Japan.

I think that’s right. Unless America felt that the Philippines were threatened it was unlikely to risk war. Even then it might not. US strategy until about a year or so before the Pacific War started was based on letting the Philippines fall if it came to that. This approach was changed in the last year or so, partly because MacArthur reckoned he could hold the Philippines if he had sufficient air power but more so because Washington decided that it was better to hold the Philippines. Hence the fairly recently arrived flash new bombers that Mac managed to lose half of on the ground on the first day, by the simple expedient of doing nothing.

Another aspect is that America had no love for European colonial powers. That sentiment wasn’t uncommon at all levels of American society and government. This is reflected by Admiral King who was constantly suspicious of British motives during the Pacific War and expressed the view more than once that he wasn’t using American forces to help the Limeys recover their colonies.



Lastly, once having made this terrible error of attacking Hawaii, the Japanese would have been much better served by invading the islands rather than turning around and steaming back to their own home islands.

I think it was considered by Japan in the planning stages but rejected. I can’t recall why. Probably fear of over-extension. As if they worried about over-extension in the rest of their planning!

Japan took just about everything it wanted and needed, except the two things it needed most for its "plan" (some plan!) of 'holding on' to succeed: Hawaii and Australia. As long as one of them wasn't held by Japan, America could base its forces close enough to Japanese occupied territories to advance on Japan.


Hawaii would have made a much better base than Rabaul. The anchorage at Pearl is much better, and, basing a fleet there, could have seriously impeded US progress in winning back its losses. B-17s from the mainland could reach the islands, but never make a roundtrip without refueling and not with a meaningful bomb load. One has the impression that, beyond a brilliant air strike at Hawaii, there simply was no real Japanese plan for dealing with the aftermath.

Agreed.

The Japanese 'plan' offends my basic principle of conflict initiation: Never light a fuse unless you know what it's connected to, and what's going to happen when it goes off.

Or, as a Japanese admiral whose name I forget wisely cautioned about Japan's 1905 war with Russia: "If you light a fire, you must know how to put it out." In 1941 Japan just lit the fire outside its borders, then stood back to see what would happen and, even now, seems surprised that it burned all the way back to the homeland.

Rabaul could bolster Hawaii, with or without Truk, to reinforce control of the central Pacific. But Hawaii could do it on its own without Rabaul, but not vice versa. Hawaii was the key base in the central Pacific.

Japan’s raid on Pearl doesn’t deserve the awe it commonly inspires as a master-stroke of destruction. They made two serious mistakes by not inflicting more destruction.

First, they failed to destroy the oil storages. This was particularly inept as they had air superiority and could have done what they liked. At the very least this would have seriously limited fleet action from Hawaii in the initial phase while Japan was extending southwards.

Second, Japan failed to concentrate submarine, and limited and expendable surface, forces around Hawaii to destroy tankers bringing in replacement oil.

These two steps, if largely successful, would have severely limited the range and mobility of the fleet based at Hawaii and forced longer transits for supplementary warships from the West Coast, again limiting their range and mobility. It wouldn’t have caused America the same problems as Japan invading and holding Hawaii, but it would have reduced Hawaii’s naval utility considerably.

Another aspect of Japanese error is their use of torpedoes in a shallow harbour. Yamamoto based his attack on Taranto where the British confounded the experts by using modified torpedoes in a shallow harbour. He should have realised from Taranto that all he would do is ground the ships, which could be repaired. He should have used bombs to penetrate the ships and destroy them.

There is no question that Pearl was a cleverly planned and very well-executed attack, but it wasn’t all that brilliant in the lasting damage it inflicted when it could have done a lot more with not much more effort. But it still would have done no more than delay the inevitable result for Japan.

Given the extent to which it outraged the American people as a whole, for little more than a short pause in American naval capability which brought Japan no lasting advantage, it was a stunningly stupid thing to do.

Which leads me into the question of Japanese military attitude. It relied too much on individual spirit and will and focused too much on military conflict, as exemplified by the failure to destroy the oil storages at Pearl and the failure to do much in the way of attacking merchant shipping during the whole war. Another aspect of the same flawed warrior thinking was the failure to provide their troops with proper medical care and to provide their valuable pilots with armour plate protection. In these respects they might have thought that they were tougher than the Allies, and they probably were, but they also inflicted serious cumulative disadvantages upon themselves that the Allies didn’t inflict upon themselves. In the long run those readily avoidable disadvantages had just as significant an effect on Japan as losing some major campaigns. .

royal744
06-02-2007, 08:28 PM
Also a problem with Indonesians in the service, many of whom promptly went over to the Japanese when they arrived.

Agreed. But first, I am stunned and gratified by the breadth and depth of your knowledge. Now, as to the KNIL (Koningklijke Nederlands Indische Leger), in spite of ridiculous screeds of propaganda published by Time Magazine and others, it was a hollow shell. Compare the tremendous service the Indians and the Gurkhas gave to the British and the shortfall is embarrassingly apparent.


We shouldn't underestimate the significance of hostility towards America, and Britain and Australia, in forming Japanese attitudes on whether or not to attack them.

Agreed. We can't be proud of (the West, that is) of having failed to understand the significance of slapping the Japanese in the face, or of having cared enough about the downstream implications.]



.... fairly recently arrived flash new bombers that Mac managed to lose half of on the ground on the first day, by the simple expedient of doing nothing.

As you know, I am not a fan of MacArthur and think his behavior was very bad. Instead of making him an Imperial Pro-Consul, I think he should probably have been court-martialed, or at the very least, cashiered, but, sigh, Roosevelt needed a "hero" even if he despised him.


This is reflected by Admiral King who was constantly suspicious of British motives during the Pacific War and expressed the view more than once that he wasn’t using American forces to help the Limeys recover their colonies.

Yes. Admiral King was a caustic personality whose hatred for the British is thoroughly inexplicable, although his attitude towards recovering European colonies was widely held in American circles. King could merely have kept his mouth shut if he had been farsighted enough to know that Colonialism was tottering on its last legs in any event, but there's that 20/20 hindsight thing again.


Japan took just about everything it wanted and needed, except the two things it needed most for its "plan" (some plan!) of 'holding on' to succeed: Hawaii and Australia. As long as one of them wasn't held by Japan, America could base its forces close enough to Japanese occupied territories to advance on Japan.

Agreed. Both were, like Great Britain, "unsinkable aircraft carriers" and therefore lethal threats to Japan in both the short and long terms. Without Hawaii, the US might have made the investment in Australia instead. It would have taken longer, but the end result would have been the same.


Japan’s raid on Pearl doesn’t deserve the awe it commonly inspires as a master-stroke of destruction. They made two serious mistakes by not inflicting more destruction.

I completely agree. BUt let me add one single irony below.


First, they failed to destroy the oil storages.
Second, Japan failed to concentrate submarine, and limited and expendable surface, forces around Hawaii to destroy tankers bringing in replacement oil.

That the Japanese did not destroy the oil tanks, which were as plainly visible as the noses on our collective faces is puzzling and not a small failure of strategic thinking.


Another aspect of Japanese error is their use of torpedoes in a shallow harbour.

Some bombs were used to fairly devastating effect. Your reference to Taranto is exactly correct. The Japanese indeed watched that attack and drew their conclusions from it.

OK, here's the irony: you already know what it is. The great weapon used by the Japanese against Hawaii was the aircraft carrier. At Pearl, they sank a bunch of battleships which in a previous life would have been considered to be THE top capital ships of any navy (and even then, many of the Admirals on both sides of the pond as well as the Atlantic still thought in those terms.) They didn't sink a single carrier, because none were in harbor. The one type of weapon that could be used to effect against them was not hit. After this date, incidentally, the battleship never served as the lead force again, except, of course, for the Prince of Wales leading the Perth on what was essentially a suicide mission, and the Yamato which went on a similar mission near Leyte Gulf.


There is no question that Pearl was a cleverly planned and very well-executed attack, but it wasn’t all that brilliant in the lasting damage

Again, agreed. The lasting effect of Pearl Harbor was the destruction of Japan, not a good bargain on the part of the Japanese.


Given the extent to which it outraged the American people as a whole, for little more than a short pause in American naval capability which brought Japan no lasting advantage, it was a stunningly stupid thing to do.

In an odd sort of way, the Japanese did us a favor by re-aligning our naval ship building program to place much greater emphasis on the carrier task force, as opposed to the battlewagon task force. We still built battleships, but in actual practice, the carrier was placed out in front, and the battleships became huge, floating gun platforms very useful in assaulting islands.


Which leads me into the question of Japanese military attitude. It relied too much on individual spirit... Another aspect of the same flawed warrior thinking was the failure to provide their troops with proper medical care and to provide their valuable pilots with armour plate protection. .... had just as significant an effect on Japan as losing some major campaigns. .

Amen to that! The Japanese built some terrifically effective and innovative submarines, and their 'long lance' torpedoes were the best of the war, but their submarine service, I have read, was schooled to believe that mercantile shipping was an unworthy target, unworthy of "warriors".

It has been written about before, but is not often mentioned, that the US actually succeeded in doing to the Japanese home islands what the Germans failed to do to England! But then Japanese protection of their own shipping was pathetically bad - sort of like shooting fish in a barrel. Once the scandalous problem with deficient American torpedoes was solved, the silent service had a field day.

Great stuff, RS.

Rising Sun*
06-02-2007, 11:39 PM
I am stunned and gratified by the breadth and depth of your knowledge.

Very kind of you, but any appearance of depth is an illusion. :D


Now, as to the KNIL (Koningklijke Nederlands Indische Leger), in spite of ridiculous screeds of propaganda published by Time Magazine and others, it was a hollow shell.

Maybe, but the Dutch still gave a good account of themselves in the Pacific War, which is usually overlooked. Most people seem to think that the Dutch stopped fighting after the NEI fell. They did more than Britain in the Pacific (as distinct from CBI / Indian Ocean) between then and the end of the war. So I started this thread http://www.ww2incolor.com/forum/showthread.php?p=103163&posted=1#post103163


Compare the tremendous service the Indians and the Gurkhas gave to the British and the shortfall is embarrassingly apparent.

My understanding is that the Dutch were regarded as harsher than the British in running their colonies, which might go some way to explaining the difference.

While about two million Indians volunteered for service in the British forces in WWII, the British also had to contend with Ghandi and strong anti-colonial and nationalist sentiments and actions during WWII, so they weren't universally loved by the people they colonised. The Indian National Army also indicates opposition to Britain, although many of the recruits seem to have joined to avoid being POW's and defected to the Allies when given the chance.

hcbooth
12-24-2011, 11:34 AM
What about the thought that the Japanases Generals had taken the Hunters in the U.S into consideration and that most homes had at least one gun and marksman in them. This would equate to a very large homeland army.