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Thread: What was the danger of Japanese invasion of the USA main land?

  1. #1
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    Default What was the danger of Japanese invasion of the USA main land?

    Hello!

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

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorka View Post
    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

    "I decide who is a Jew and who is an Aryan "- Hermann Goering

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorka View Post
    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.




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    So do I understand correctly that the US goverment/army did not consider invasion to be possible in 1942?

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    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.

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    The Japanese did invade the Alaskan islands and the US forces were on the highest alert possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ww2admin View Post
    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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorka View Post
    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:
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    Last edited by ww2admin; 04-10-2007 at 01:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ww2admin View Post
    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?

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Egorka View Post
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    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...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    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.

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    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.

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