A recent thread posting gave me an idea to expand on something I've read in the past. The book and the author both escape me as it was at least 10 years ago I've read about what was called the "Third Force" is Japanese military thinking. A postulation that was borne out of necessity, grim determination, and the painful and honest realization that the Imperial Japanese Army would not be able to match any major Western power in terms of technology, industrialization, natural resources, and indeed may even face a manpower deficit.


Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh
Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun*
Why don't we accord the Japanese the same respect for their suicidal bravery at Attu, which drove deep into enemy lines and perhaps nearly put their enemy to rout, or elsewhere that is eulogised in Tennyson's poem?

I think that we are continuing the wartime notions of Japanese as lesser beings than us, 'us' being Westerners.
I think there is a paradoxical view of of the Japanese soldier in WWII. One is the dedication, the absolute courage and unfailing allegiance displayed made him one of the few soldiers that took the axiom 'to the last bullet, to the bayonet' seriously and would fight until the absolute end --even beyond when his means were exhausted.

But at the same time there's also the notion of the Japanese fighting man as sort of a hyped up amateur that could be counted on to waste his courage, often in vain, without any real end result even close to mimicking victory. That these actions were both petulant and impulsive rather than well thought out and tossed off in vanity as automatons. However, I think both Iwo Jima and Okinawa showed that indeed the fanaticism could be channeled and used to good effect - just not in a Banzai charge generally...
I'm not sure where the terminology comes from, whether this was a self-identified term translated from the annals of Japanese military thinking or whether this was a loose translation. But Japanese thought on the subject of the soldier and in warfare at large was separated into three distinct facets or "forces."

The first "force" being the corporeal, or the men:

That is the primal component of any army, the soldier to be trained into the various branches of military sciences.

The second force was the material, or the equipment, weapons, and supplies. This could also apply to industrialization and the mobilization of industry during a major conflict...

As we can see, the Japanese knew they were deficient in the above two categories as they could not hope to match any Western army in the first two categories as far as numbers went.

The third force, or spirit, was thought to be the great equalizer, even the key advantage. That Japanese troops fighting spirit, tenacity, motivation would be so far superior to their Western counterparts that they simply could not fail in a war provided it was waged on their terms. It was here, that in a profound change took place in the indoctrination of the Japanese Army which had been training in a Westernized, modernist manner for at least fifty years prior to WWI. But after the First World War they sought to imbue the previously shunned Samurai tradition and impose it not on the previous ruling classes and elites as it had only, strictly applied too, but on the typical IJA soldier who was now expected not only to conduct himself with an ethos and code of honor resembling say the British Army, but was now expected to fight to the last breath and even well beyond the physical means to resist both collectively and individually..

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