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Thread: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

  1. #1
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    Default What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Ok, Japan Army learnt the lesson at Khalkin Ghol, but what if Japan would pull Russia definitely out of the war after the German attack, instead of attacking Pearl Harbor?

    or

    Because the pact Rome - Berlin - Tokio was a "classic" defensive pact (common help in case of aggression without provocation), Rome and Berlin could say to Tokio: we declare war to USA if you declare war to Russia.
    In this case we have the possibility of two parallel wars, with opposite sides in friendly links, but not properly allies. What if in this case?

    History is not made by "if"... however, say your own!!!

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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Japan's preferred option was to move into Siberia, but it discounted this as beyond its abilities and chose instead to go southwards.

    That's not a 'what if' but a real decision based upon a careful analysis by Japanese military and political leaders of all relevant factors and Japanese ambitions, which says all that needs to be said about what was likely to happen to Japan if it attacked the USSR.

    The Soviet forces marshalled against Japan at the time and throughout the war were probably sufficient to repel a Japanese attack. The Japanese military leaders certainly thought so.

    A Japanese attack on the Soviets would probably have been contained by local Soviet forces without any impact on German actions to the west.

    However, by not attacking the US, Britain, the Netherlands, and Australia to the south and east, Japan would have allowed those nations to focus their resources solely upon Germany, which would only have hastened the defeat of Germany.
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    It **might** have had the effect of delaying/preventing the transfer of the Siberian divisions to Moscow in the winter of 1941, but even if they hadn't been transferred and Moscow had fallen, and Napoleon discovered Moscow isn't actually that important to Russia. It's an important rail junction, but that's about it as far as irreplaceable things are concerned.
    Japan on the other hand would be attacking over terrain well suited to Soviet doctrine and equipment, and very poorly suited to their own. Fighting in the jungles to the south flattered the Japanese army historically - had they invaded Siberia it would have been Khalkin Gol all over again but on a far larger scale. Enough, quite possibly, to knock Japan out of the war.

    Of course, this is where it gets really interesting - if the Soviets do knock Japan out of the war, would the US ever join it?
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by pdf27 View Post
    Of course, this is where it gets really interesting - if the Soviets do knock Japan out of the war, would the US ever join it?
    That's the critical question, isn't it?

    Pearl Harbor gave Roosevelt the grounds to go to war, ably assisted by Hitler's idiotic decision to declare war on the US which then enabled Roosevelt to go to war against Germany, which was the desired course of Roosevelt, Churchill and American and British policy and planning to secure their various national interests.

    Japan never counted for all that much in the grand strategic planning of the US or Britain, as demonstrated by America never devoting more than about 15% of its war effort to the war against Japan.

    Without Pearl Harbor American popular sentiment was unlikely to favour joining another European war and Hitler was unlikely to have declared war on the US, so that the US might have been kept out of the war at a fully committed level (ignoring Atlantic convoy escorts and Lend Lease which were a long way short of putting American troops on the ground)

    A Japanese attack on the USSR might have avoided the so-called Pacific War (anyone noticed the contradiction between 'pacific' and 'war'), but at the same time it would have allowed the Allies to divert to the war against Germany all the resources devoted to the war against Japan, which would have hastened Germany's defeat.

    But the big question which remains is: Would America have gone to war?
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    That's the critical question, isn't it?

    Pearl Harbor gave Roosevelt the grounds to go to war, ably assisted by Hitler's idiotic decision to declare war on the US which then enabled Roosevelt to go to war against Germany, which was the desired course of Roosevelt, Churchill and American and British policy and planning to secure their various national interests.
    I agree.
    But the declaration of war on US was decided just for "tactical" reasons: to give free way for all Atlantic to the Axis submarine fleet, still to US coasts, the possibility to ignore once for all the problem of nationality of convoys (the memory of Lusitania scared German command) and their escorts and to outcome the lack of neutrality of US in escorting British convoys with its units and in supplying the Axis enemies.
    Hitler still believed to defeat Russia during the next year, a time in wich US forces would totally or most engaged by Japan.
    I think the real Hitler's idiotic decision was to attack Russia before Britain was pulled out of the war. He was obsessed for the fear of a war on two fronts, and he opened the second front by himself...
    He should at least delay the Operation Barbarossa one year, concentrating the forces in Mediterranean theatre to push out the Britons from Middle East, and later Gibraltar to...

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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    If Japan had attacked Russia that would have spelled doom Japan just that much faster.

    Why?

    Because Roosevelt would have still CUT OFF JAPAN'S OIL OVER CHINA. And thus Japan would have had to fight Russia without any gas.

    So I really doubt Japan would have even considered seriously attacking Russia while leaving the U.S. able to bar exports of oil and steel.

    Deaf
    “We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality” Ayn Rand

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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Good post.
    I think we had far more leverage at the time.
    They significantly underestimated our response on so many levels, though.

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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deaf Smith View Post
    Because Roosevelt would have still CUT OFF JAPAN'S OIL OVER CHINA. And thus Japan would have had to fight Russia without any gas.

    So I really doubt Japan would have even considered seriously attacking Russia while leaving the U.S. able to bar exports of oil and steel.

    Deaf
    Like forager said, good point.

    Was there any known oil in Siberia at the time to substitute for the Netherlands oil if Japan went into Siberia?
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    I think that was "better" way to the help the germans in the Barbarossa.
    Japan only open another front line and made the axis failure with the attack of the USA
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Like forager said, good point.

    Was there any known oil in Siberia at the time to substitute for the Netherlands oil if Japan went into Siberia?
    No, there were absolutly no oil developed in Siberia that period.Otherwise the Red Amry never fough so desperatively for Caucaus and Stalingrad- to hold ONLY the source of oil for Soviet industry- Caucasian.

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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by DVX View Post
    Because the pact Rome - Berlin - Tokio was a "classic" defensive pact (common help in case of aggression without provocation), Rome and Berlin could say to Tokio: we declare war to USA if you declare war to Russia.
    Berlin can't say this coz after the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact we were the sort af neitral "allies" with Germany. Japanes felt themself pissed on Berlin after that pact, coz it was direct violation of their previous Triple "anti-commintern" pact with Germany.Stalin , though, made a wise step - Japane was politically isolated from possible anti-soviet war for two fronts.
    Last edited by Chevan; 06-24-2011 at 03:47 AM.

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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    No, there were absolutly no oil developed in Siberia that period.Otherwise the Red Amry never fough so desperatively for Caucaus and Stalingrad- to hold ONLY the source of oil for Soviet industry- Caucasian.
    So what real economic or other benefits would Japan have got from taking Siberia, apart from getting more land?

    Or was more land sufficient reward, given that Japan was trying to find space for its expanding population?
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    The USSR as i know send a military help to still resisting China.( both to Gomindan and Communist forces) . The Japane plan was to push the Red Army to the North ( further from Manchgurian border) and cut off the lines of suplies.This mean the invasion to Syberia and capturing the big and unpopulated territories . The original Japane plan, as i read, supposed to reach the Baikal Lake in offensive, if initial attack will be succesfull.

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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    The USSR as i know send a military help to still resisting China.( both to Gomindan and Communist forces) . The Japane plan was to push the Red Army to the North ( further from Manchgurian border) and cut off the lines of suplies.This mean the invasion to Syberia and capturing the big and unpopulated territories . The original Japane plan, as i read, supposed to reach the Baikal Lake in offensive, if initial attack will be succesfull.
    Even if that is successful, does it allow Japan to cut off the lines of supply permanently or does it just spread out Japanese forces and make them weaker and less able to resist a concentrated attack by the Soviets at any point(s) in their defensive line?

    Did Japan have the resources in vehicles, fuel and everything else to supply its forces in a Siberian winter while fighting Soviet forces, or was it just going to be another disastrous assault on Russia like Napoleon's and Hitler's?
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    Default Re: What if Japan attacked Russia rather than USA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevan View Post
    The USSR as i know send a military help to still resisting China.( both to Gomindan and Communist forces) .
    I am completely ignorant on this point.

    My only knowledge of Allied support for China after Pearl Harbor is the US and British support coming through Burma.

    I assumed that as the Soviet and Japanese forces were facing each other in Manchuria that nothing was getting through those lines.

    Were Soviet supplies going to China through other routes? If so, how much and where? I'm wondering if there were any Lend Lease supplies coming through Russia and the USSR to China, or if Russia and or the USSR were supplying China from their own resources?
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