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Japan attacks USSR not USA

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by dasreich, Jul 16, 2002.

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  1. dasreich

    dasreich Member

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    I have always wondered what would have happened if the Japanese had hit the USSR and left the USA alone. Would the USA have stayed neutral? Would the USSR prevail against both Axis nations or succumb to them? Perhaps you guys have some ideas.
     
  2. Otto

    Otto Rested & Resupplied with MREs. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    dasreich,

    Interestingly, Japan did in fact attack the USSR in 1939. Few in the west knew or cared, (especially the USA), that Japan and the Soviet Union fought a small war on the Siberia-Manchuria border. In the summer of 1939, Marshal Zhukov gave the Japanese forces such a pasting that they never again thought about venturing into Russia.

    The only good book in English about this conflict is Alvin D. Coox, Nomonhan: Japan Against Russia, 1939 (Stanford Univ Press, 1985).
     
  3. dasreich

    dasreich Member

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    Wow, I didnt know that. But suppose they came back for a rematch in '41, while the Soviets were hauling butt in retreat from the Germans. The story might have been different...
     
  4. Otto

    Otto Rested & Resupplied with MREs. Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    That's a great question, actually many historians question why Japan and Germany were allied at all. They never co-ordinated operations, and they never were true allies. If, like you suggested, both Germany AND Japan attacked in early summer 1941, instead of June 22nd, the outcome may have been entirely different.

    Maybe a good What If? topic.
     
  5. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Definately agreed--Zhukov would have kicked their behinds (as was pointed out that he did) but, had that happened at a later time (the actual japanese attack on the S.U. like in 1941 for instance--to cooincide with Germanys Barbarossa and a possible siege of encirclement of Leningrad by the Finns--I think Russia would have been through--as anykind of a threat.
     
  6. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Otto is right. Marshall Zhúkov wiped Japanesse's asses so strongly in 1939 that they feared the Soviet Union for the rest of the war. This happened in 1939. You could wonder: how did they do that if 1939's Red Army had no-officers because Stalin had killed them all a year-earlier? Simply, because it was the Siberian elite army which was not purgued. It also was very well equipped with the most modern tanks at that time, incluf¡ding KV-1s, T-34s (in low quantities, of course), t-60s and T-70s. All of them absolutely superior to the light-horrendous tanks the mighty Japanesse army had. The Japanesse had as we all know an incredible army, which in 1942 conquested nearly all with a most impressive Blitzkrieg than the German one. Their officer were very good, their morale was so high, their artillery was good and their tactics were very good. But marshall Zhúkov was a genious and the Siberian armies were an awesome fighting machine, much better equipped than the Japanesse. Well, in 1939, Russia finally avenged Porth Arthur. Thanks to this, Japanesse learned which kind of enemy the Soviets were and wisely decided not to get in trouble with them. After that they signed a non-agression pact USSR-Japan. The Japanesse should have attacked the USSR instead USA in 1941. In that case, all the Siberian troops could not have been used against the Germans and no counter attack in Moscow would have occured. And we all have discussed a lot what would have happened then... But then, USSR situation is quite different. They could bear and then defeat the mightiest army in the world. But, could the Soviet Union fight and defeat the 1st and 2nd mightiest armies in the world? I do not think so... But they did not, because they knew it was going to be very difficult to fight the Soviets. In 1945 they were taught an even bigger lesson than the one of 1939, when Zhúkov again smashed the japanesse forces in Manchuria, Northeast China and Corea. Then, the menace of an USSR's invasion of Japan terryfied the Japanesse, because they knew they were 15 times most powerful than them and that they were robbers and butchers as they had seen in Germany. If an invasion occured they could have stopped the Americans with the greatest butchery in USA's history. But this tactic could not work against the Soviets. Stalin had lost thirty million people against Germany. What did he care if he lost another thirty million against Japan? The Japanesse were terryfied by the idea of Russian dogs' feet steping the holy soil of the emperor (words of a Japanesse, not mine). This situation, along with the athomic bombs made Japan surrender. Not only the athomic bombs. The 70% of the reasons for Japan to surrender were about the menace of a Russian invasion. The athomic bombs had killed less people than conventional bombardments in other places and they did not know what kind of weapon was it. It seems pretty logical to me.
     
  7. dasreich

    dasreich Member

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    I agree: a combined assault against the USSR by both Axis nations in 1941 would likely have succeded. And, I never thought about the Japanese surrendering because of a possible Soviet assault. I do know that the Americans were jittery about a Soviet invasion of Japan. That would mean Japans economy would be supporting the East, not the West. It could have made the Cold War very imbalanced against the West had the USSR invaded Japan!
     
  8. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    It is obvious, das Reich. Put yorself in Thruman's shoes for a while.

    Invading Japan:

    -It will cost 150.000 killed. The public is going to hang me.
    -It will cost two more years with its economic consequences.
    -The Soviets will invade Northern Japan, and therefore we will hape a South Japn and North Japan, a Tokio wall, bla, bla, bla. A Corea, Vietnam, Germany, but much worse...

    Dropping the boms:
    -No invasion: 0 casualties.
    -No Soviet invasion.
    -Deal with Japan alone and trade with them later.

    What would you chosse?
     
  9. dasreich

    dasreich Member

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    I myself would have chosen the A-bomb, but what I am saying is that the Americans did NOT want the Soviets to take Japan. That was what the Americans were worried about. If, they HAD to, the US Army would have invaded ASAP if only to keep the Soviets from taking Japan, even though it would mean an estimated 1 million casualties. I know Truman basically had no choice, I was just posting the reasons for the US not wanting the USSR to have anything to do with post-war Japan. Had the USSR even taken part of Japan, it would mean the Cold War would have had yet another front...
     
  10. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    I agree. Nobody would have liked that butchery not the cold-war consequences. But it is a pity that the price for it not to happen was paid by 120.000 civiians in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
     
  11. Miro

    Miro Member

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    I agree that Truman was pretty much left between two bad choices in the summer of 1945. A Soviet invasion against the lightly defended and unfortified shores of Hokkaido and northern Kyushu would probably have overrun much of Japan.
    Even an immediate Anglo-American landing in the South may not have sufficed to take Tokyo: The Germans spared themselves a lot by fighting harder against the Soviets than the Western Allies, the Japanese may very well have fought harder or at least equally hard against the Americans.

    The effects of a Japanese attack 1941 are difficult to predict. If the Japanese broke through and threatened Vladivostok and Irkutsk (the two main Russian cities in the Far East) they may have spared the Germans from the 41 debacle in front of Moscow. But after all, the troops transferred to the West from Siberia were only a small part of the actual troops in that theatre. Throughout the war Stalin never allowed less than 1-1.5 million men in the Soviet Far East. More important is the supply factor. A two front war would have split Soviet supplies, especially critical in ammunition for tanks and artillery. But the Soviet Far East was about the worst terrain possible for offensive warfare (NO roads, no airports, hardly any cities, mountains, bitter cold winters). I really doubt whether the Japanese could have made it far with the equipment they had, facing hardened and experienced Soviet troops.
     
  12. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Well, I agree on Miro's views. It was impossible and worthless for the Japanesse to advance deep into Russia. There are only Vladivostok and Itriansk (spelling?). After that there is nothing for the next 8.000 kilommetres. No one can go there. But a Japanesse invasion to the very East of the Soviet Union would have just worked as a divertement of forces and supplies very important which woud have helped us very much.
     
  13. KnightMove

    KnightMove Ace

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    Hi gentlemen,

    I found this discussion by chance, which made me subscribe to this forum. I know this discussion is old, but I want to add an aspect not mentioned yet:

    Nazi Germany agreed the NAP (and the division of Poland) right at the time when Russia hit Japanese forces in Manchuria severely. Thus the Japanese considered this kind of treason by Germany. It's nothing to wonder about they didn't attack Russia in 1941.

    I wonder whether the Germans did actually know about this war. Their evaluation of the Red Army was only based on the poor performance against Finland.

    [ 19. November 2003, 01:28 AM: Message edited by: KnightMove ]
     
  14. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    KnightMove - a very warm welcome to these Forums and please feel free to contribute to any heading, no matter how 'old'... :cool:
     
  15. De Vlaamse Leeuw

    De Vlaamse Leeuw Member

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    Welcome to the forum Knightmove!

    If Japan would only have invaded Russia, then they would have had a lot of troops, ships and airplanes they could use.

    The Russians would have lost all of Siberia and probably Russia would have had to surrender to the Germans and to Japan.
     
  16. dasreich

    dasreich Member

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    Yes, welcome Knightmove! Hehe this was one of the first topics I started.

    It would have to depend on the quality of Russian troops defending the Far East while the Germans were pushing towards Moscow. The Japanese could have dealt a deathblow if properly timed and executed, but we have to remember that the majority of the fighting Japan did was in temperate to tropical fighting. Was the Imperial Army even equipped for sub-arctic fighting? Snce I'm not sure on that point, geography woud be a major variable in determining the probability of a successful Japanese invasion of Siberia.
     
  17. TA152

    TA152 Ace

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    Japan needed oil,iron, rubber and other raw materials for its nation. I think all the raw material in eastern Russia was forest, so it would be a wasted effort for Japan to go that direction. Japan needed control of the sea lanes to get the raw material home, so that is why it went after the US and British navies. The Russian and China navies were not a threat to them.
    If the British and US had not pursued the war with Japan then perhaps over time Japan would have tried to attack Russia again and help out the German Army in their efforts to beat Russia. I do think Japan would have prefered to go after India instead of Russia though.
     
  18. Mahross

    Mahross Ace

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    I think it would depend on japans actions in the pacific. if they left the phillipines and china alone then yes maybe the US would stay neutral, but if they continued a path to war to expand their empire in the pacific then i think, irrelevant of the events of pearl harbour, the US govt would go to war. simply to protect their interests in china and their open door policy to trade in the area. also if japan did attack the phillipines then america would most likely defend it as they were on the way to giving the country independence, and i don't think they would be to happy about another imperial power taking there place.

    The battle in manchuria in 1939 showed up all the defeciencies in the japanese military and they should have learnt from the lessons. it showed how ill-equiped they were to fight a modern enemy. something they would learn in the pacific and burma.
     
  19. KnightMove

    KnightMove Ace

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    First of all, thank you all for the warm welcome.

    Secondly, I'm afraid nobody was responsive on my points mentioned above. [​IMG]

    Germany agreed the NAP with Russia the 23rd August 1939, right when Japan was beaten (the Russians had launched their victorious assault the 20th August). Thus the Germans backstabbed Japan.

    But - did they really? I wonder whether the Germans knew at all about this war. I haven't found any indication for this. When German OKW evaluated the Soviet army, they deemed it weak and rotten due to the poor performance in Finland. Now did they know about the superbe victory against Japan in Manchuria?

    As it seems the Germans didn't know about it: Why didn't the Japanese tell them?
     
  20. Mahross

    Mahross Ace

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    like you say the germnas probably never knew about the action in manchuria, therefore never considered it. no one really knew about it, anywhere. it never seriuosly came in to consideration when evaluating then soviets. amybe the germans should have asked. it might have helped them. The germans not asking, well that may have come down to the germans believing they didn't need to learn from the japanese. you have to remember that the germans were on a crest of a wave in terms of there victories, and if the did know about the action in manchuria, probably just chose to ignore it. they possible believed they had nothing to learn about a people that they believed to be inferior than themselves.
     
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