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Operation Barbarossa - the UK is neutral and Japan attacks Siberia

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Eastern Front & Balka' started by Kurgan, Mar 15, 2010.

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  1. Kurgan

    Kurgan Member

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    What would Japan do if England stepped out of the war?

    First of all, this is a spin off of another thread: http://www.ww2f.com/what-if-european-theater-eastern-front-balkans/30036-german-vs-russia-no-england.html but the discussion there began to become too focused on the Far East, so therefore this new thread…

    What has happened?

    - Dunkirk has happened as in OTL; let us assume (for argument’s sake) that Halifax becomes PM of Britain and that he is able to get England out of the war (as well as the rest of the Commonwealth).
    - Peace negotiations are made with the Germans, but the English know that their RN could be a real pain for the Germans, so the following is presented: Low countries and France become independent once again, but the Germans have a Versaille-kind of treaty with the Netherlands, Belgium and France, meaning: payments in money/gold/goods over a period of time, greatly reduced armies (France 100.000 as the Germans after WW1), taking down of the Maginot line, etc. Poland is left for the slaughter. The British leave the Poles in the hands of the Germans and Russians. Also, Hitler agrees on only a limited expansion of the KM.
    - The UK and the Commonwealth members will be neutral regarding Germany and Italy (trade is possible between the nations), but any hostile activity from these countries against the UK, a Commonwealth member, or one of the UK allies' (among them France, Belgium and the Netherlands) will lead to a declaration of war against Germany and Italy.

    IMO, what this means for Japan is the following:

    - Japan will reevaluate its plans for an invasion of the Pacific (things were set in motion in the middle of 1940 if I'm correct), because peace in the West means that the British can focus itself more on their Pacific holdings than they did in OTL.
    - Hitler informs Japan that in the case the Japanese get at war with the UK or the US the Germans will hold a neutral stance in this.

    The Japanese have four options IMO:

    1) Still go through (eventually) with an invasion of the Asian territories (French Indochina, DEA, etc.) as in OTL, even though this means war with a UK (and probably US) that can put more focus on its Pacific holdings than in OTL. Resources gained: oil and rubber.
    2) Defeat Chiang Kai-Shek’s Nationalists and exploit China. Resources gained: coal and iron.
    3) Watch north towards the Russian border (even though their last two endeavours in that region weren’t quite successful). Resources gained: coal and iron.
    4) Do nothing and keep the status quo. Resources gained: none.

    Lets say the date we start on is August 1st, 1940…

    What will they do? Maybe you folks even have an option number 5) in store? (I mean, I know you do…:))
     
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Option 4 No Chance! For the Imperial Japan to survive, it needed NEW conquests.

    Option 3 As you pointed out they had allready been trounced by the USSR. Only with the collapse of USSR would they consider it.

    Option 2 There was a funtional limit to how many divisions they could put in play and they had already reached the limit of what they could control.

    Option 1 Coal and Iron are usefull, but Japan's greatest bottleneck is oil. That could only be found by going south. Japan might hesitate, but sooner or later south it is!
     
  3. freebird

    freebird Member

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    First off, there is a bit missing from your hypothetical - what happens to the Dutch government?

    Historically the Dutch government fled to the Uk (& Canada) and supported the US oil embargo, along with the UK.
    Assuming that the UK & Holland normalize relations with Germany, they would very likely continue doing business with Japan - ergo no oil embargo, no reason for Japan to do anything other than complete it's consolidation of China, which may take 3 - 5 years or more.

    The British & the Dutch have plenty of oil in Persia & DEI to supply all of Japan's needs. (with a healthy profit of course. ;) )

    While they were busy fighting in Europe, the UK & the Dutch had very little enthusiasm for a confrontation with Japan, even going so far as to close down the Burma road.

    it was to support US policy that they agreed to support the oil embargo which precipitated the war, and ONLY after FDR gave certain guartantees of support in the event of war.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I think something like 80% of Japan's oil was coming from the US. So Japan still has problems. It's not clear also why the Dutch would increase any shipments to Japan. If anything Germany would seem like a more reasonable customer in this scenario.
     
  5. freebird

    freebird Member

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    Because in the scenario Germany has a "versailles" treaty with the Dutch, so have them under their thumb to some extent. Germany also has a treaty with Japan, and wants to keep Japan a potential threat to the Soviets, while the Nazis prepare for Barbarossa. If Japan runs out of gas and prepares to look south for oil, they withdraw forces from the Soviet border, allowing Stalin to bring Siberian units to Europe (as happened historically)

    No, they just buy their oil elsewhere. The British & the Dutch would much prefer to see Japan in an adversarial relationship with the US & china, instead of conflicting with them in SE Asia.

    But mainly, they have a huge surplus available, (at least 30 - 40 million tons), so they want to sell it for the biggest profit. :cool: Since they can't sell it profitably in the western Hemisphere (US market) that means they need to sell it to the Japanese, italians or Germans

    Remember, the two largest refineries in the world in 1940-41 are in Aruba (Dutch) and Abadan, Persia (British)

    Japan's oil needs ~18 million tons/year
    Domestic production 2.7 million + another million from the Soviets, so they need about 14, or at least 10 - 12 to get by comfortably.

    UK peacetime consumption 10 -12 million tons, Netherlands ~2.5 million

    Production:
    Dutch East Indies: 9.5 million tons war and social upheaval: World War II Indonesia Dutch East Indies
    Persia: 11.3 million tons/year
    Encyclopædia Iranica | Articles
    Mesopotamia: 4 million tons/year
    http://countrystudies.us/iraq/53.html
    The Lago refinery in Aruba (Netherlands Antillies) alone is refining 11.4 million tons per year, with additional capacity from the Eagle refinery
    Lago Colony & Lago Refinery, Aruba
    http://www.bevrijdingintercultureel.nl/eng/antillen.html#wo2
    Anglo-Iranian Oil produces up to another 8 - 10 million from Persian Gulf countries, although drastic cutbacks occurred after 1940 due to shortage of tankers. (But that wouldn't happen in this scenario, with Suez & the Med open)
    The British have further production from Sarawak, Burma and other colonies.

    So with a capacity to produce well over 50 million tons worldwide, they could easily supply 12 - 16 million tons needed by Japan and 20 million tons to Germany/Italy, over and above the domestic British/Dutch requirement of 14 million tons
     
  6. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    But Germany also needs oil furthermore most of the Dutch oil is spoken fore. While Japan may get some additional oil this way it's far from clear that it's enough.
    Would they? In any case where? There's not that much slack in the oil supply especially with countries preparing for or in wars. Even if they can get it it's going to be very expensive. Also Dutch independence is going to be a critical issue for the peace treaty with Britain. If the Germans have too much control they won't go for it.
    Where did this surplus come from and why can't they sell it in the western hemisphere? Note that none of the above with the possible exception of the Germans in this time line have an abundance of cash reserves. The Germans are an exception as the Dutch could be paying them off in oil.
    It's not the larges refineries that matter it's oil production and refinery capacity.
    Or could they? The British are going to be building up (Hitler has shown he can't be trusted) and with the depression over demand for oil is going up rapidly. Even if it is sold to foreign countries hard currency is going to rule the day. While they might have the oil to supply the Japanese for a number of reasons it's not at all clear that it is in their best interest.
     
  7. Sloniksp

    Sloniksp Ставка

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    Such threads have been started here before and what everyone of these have in common is the lack of or not enough reason for Japan going to war with Russia.

    Japan neede oil more than anything. Coal and iron were not enough reason to risk loosing everything especially when Japan would have to spread har troops dangerously thin.

    IF the Germans had such a difficult time with the the Russian winter, how on earth are the Japanese going to do in even colder temperatures with no mechanized infantry or tanks?

    I almost forgot, how was it that Japan was planning on getting all of this iron and coal in Russia and then get it to Japan with her navy commited elsewhere?
     
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  8. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    The status quo included the ongoing war with China, which would continue for the foreseeable future. They don't seem to have much in the way of specific objectives or means of bringing that war to a conclusion.

    Most of the rest of their policy seems to have flowed from the war with China. Although there were ideas about "co-prosperity" and "bringing the world under one roof", specific actions like the invasions of French Indochina and later Burma were largely to cut off supply routes to Chiang's forces. And of course the basic impetus for expanding the war was the embargos, most critically oil.

    I can't claim any expertise in the oil market of the 1940s, but supply and demand usually means that people or nations will be able to buy what they need, unless suppliers specifically impose economic sanctions.

    I agree that there was little likelihood of Japan attacking Russia again or of that having any significant impact on the Russo-German conflict. They had little to gain - the resources of Siberia were not known and the technology to exploit them did not exist in the 1940s - and they had been slapped down twice already. The premise that the Soviets denuded their forces in the Far East to save Moscow is also a myth:

    Soviet troops in the far east on 22 June 1941:

    17 rifle divisions, 1 cavalry division, 3 rifle brigades, 1 airborne brigade, and 12 fortified regions organized into five rifle corps and four rifle armies.

    Soviet troops in the far east on 1 January 1942:

    19 rifle divisions, 1 cavalry division, 2 rifle brigades, 1 airborne brigade, 2 cavalry regiments, 1 rifle regiment, and 12 fortified regions organized into four rifle corps and five rifle armies.

    Source for the data is: http://www.tashv.nm.ru/BoevojSostavSA/
     
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  9. freebird

    freebird Member

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    Yes it is, I think I've just demonstrated that.
    Japan imported about 13 - 16 million tons/year pre-war from the USA.
    Germany's highest oil production was in 1943, of 7,161,800 taccording to Dr. Butefisch.
    http://www.fischer-tropsch.org/primary_documents/gvt_reports/BIOS/bios_1697/bios_1697_tble2.pdf
    Google Answers: Where did Nazi Germany get its Oil in WW2?

    There is some difference in figures between tonnes and tons, but in any event, German production was not more than ~8 million tons.

    The US & Japanese requirement was much higher than Germany's because naval usage (& heavy bomber) is huge compared to that of tanks, fighters & light bombers. Also a large part of German domestic consumption was met by coal.

    Yes there is in fact, there was a huge amount of oil available to Britain & the Dutch, but it was untapped in WWII due to shortage of tankers.

    So, to add up the figures for oil requirements:
    UK domestic:~12 million tons
    Netherlands: 2.5 million tons
    Japan: 14.5 million tons
    Germany: perhaps 7 million tons (which would double the supply used in historical WWII)

    = total 36 million tons

    Supply from just 4 sources that I quoted DEI, Persia, Iraq & Aruba (Aruba refines oil from Surinam, Curacao, & Venezuala) equals that amount.

    9.5 + 11.3 + 4 + 11.4 = 36.2 million tons.

    That doesn't even include all of the other places where Britain could pump or buy crude in 1939, Sarawak, Burma, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar etc.

    So there is no problem to supply that much oil.


    No it's roughly no more expensive than anywhere else to produce oil.
    It's not an "independence" issue for the Dutch, they need to sell oil to make a profit, Germany & Japan need it.

    Because shipping is prohibitively expensive to ship oil from Asia or Arabia to the Caribbean, and prices in that market are already depressed. US oil is cheap, the US is in a deppression so oil prices are low.

    The surplus came from British & Dutch oil companies developing oil production in the Persian Gulf, DEI & South America, which they had been doing for more than 30 years prior to WWII.

    There was also a huge supply available in the Gulf but unused, the oil had been found & development started prior to WWII, but it was mostly left in the ground, simply because there were no tankers to carry it until 1945

    Japan was buying US oil until 1940-41 and had no problem paying for it, they would simply switch suppliers.

    The refineries were built to process oil that was nearby, the supply exceeded refining capacity in every case.

    Because without the embargo and conflict over oil there is no reason for Japan to go to war with the British & the Dutch, and would instead be occupied in China.

    Look at the facts: In 1940 the US is an exporter of oil, as is the USSR. the UK is also an exporter, and controls huge oil resrves.

    The British production capacity was over 24 million tons in 1939, with domestic needs of 10 -12 million tons, even if they increased oil reserves a few million tons per year they still have 8 - 10 million tons to export.

    the Dutch have over 21 million tons production in DEI & Aruba, they need at most 10 million tons in Germany & Netherlands, and still easily sell Japan 10 million tons.

    In 1940 Mexico nationalized it's oil reserves, and so was boycotted by the US & UK oil interests. Mexico is desperate to sell it's oil to the highest bidder for hard cash, and so would sell to Nazi Germany (and did historically, until the British blockade)

    Venezuala was also a producer & exporter in 1940, and is also looking to sell oil in a sluggish & oversupplied world market.
     
  10. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    'Japan was buying US oil in 1940-1941 and had no problem for paying it':in 1941 all Japanese foreign currency (=US $) were frozen (=confiscated) by the US government :Japan had no means to buy oil .
     
  11. freebird

    freebird Member

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    No, not true, the US government didn't hold all Japanese foreign currency, Japanese assets were frozen by Dutch & British banks too, after the occupation of French Indochina, as support for US policy. (Occupation of Indochina seen as a prepatory move to further conquest in SE asia)

    Do you have any data as to how much Japanese currency was siezed by the US, and how much by other Allies?

    As in this scenario the British are not at war, and the (Vichy) French government is not fighting against the British & DeGaulle, there wouldn't be a Japanese takeover of Indochina, right?

    Since the UK, Dutch & French have a negotiated settlement with Germany, France is left with a sizeable army & navy intact, therefore Indochina is not easy pickings for Japan.

    Presumably during British-German negotiation it was (quietly) agreed that germany would look east, in exchange for peace in the west. Britain had no love for the Soviets, so would likely be willing to negotiate trade with the Axis. They would also be looking for a pledge to liberate Finnish territory in the event of an Axis attack on the USSR.
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    NO you demonstrated that the Dutch were producing enough oil to meet the Japanese demands. The question is how much of that oil was need for internal uses and how much was going to other customers.
    If it's untapped it's not part of the supply. If you can't move it like wise.
    For what year? In any case with the war and the industrial ramp up after the depression the demand is going up all over. How about non domestic consumption and stockpiles? Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, India, etc. There's also US demand. The British and Dutch companies are at least in part private enterprises. If they can make more selling to the US or other customers they will.
    But those two aren't the only ones. Given the nature of the peace treaty they have a good reason to sell to Japan (if there are indeed reparations still not sure why there would be though).
    The US isn't in a depression at that point in time and US industries are ramping up as is the USN. The US can actually aford to pay a premium to keep the oil away from Japan if they need to.
    If they had no problems they would have bought more and had a larger stockpile. The US boycott is going to raise tensions and the price of oil at the very least and a lot of Japan's industry apparently needed oil as well. Germany is still short foreign exchange and every one will know Japan is desperate for the oil so there are unlikely to be bargains out there.
    But there was. The British especially had some significant interests in China. Japan's war there was a cause for concern. The British and Dutch wanted to curtail the Japanese expansion long before oil became an issue and I don't see anything to reverse this in this scenario.
     
  13. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

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    In fact, the Soviets kept substancial forces in the Far East and Siberia throughout the war. These forces were several times what Japan could put into Manchuko. The Japanese likewise did not pull forces from Manchuko without replacing them and their numerical strength there went up as the war progressed as well. The quality of troops there did decrease but, Manchuko was where the majority of the Imperial Army was stationed through out the war.
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Indeed over on the thread at:
    http://www.ww2f.com/what-if-other/12090-how-hitler-could-have-won.html
    brndirt1 posted
    Something wierd going on with the quoteing I edited the spacing to try and fix it but it doesn't seem to be working.
     
  15. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    1) almost all Japanese assets were in the US,where happened the selling and buying of oil:I don't see the Japanese have much dollars in Indonesia
    2)Even if France was left with a sizeable army and navy,that's not very relevant,what's relevant is the French strength in Indochina .
     
  16. Black6

    Black6 Member

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    Related link: Popular Science - Google Books

    I think if Japan attacked Vladivostock and the northern half of Sakhalin Island about a week after Barbarossa started that the psychological effect on Soviet morale would be very heavy even if the military effect was minimal. Hitler was counting on political collapse, so perhaps the added weight of a Japanese invasion in the East would be enough?
    Zhukhov's victory over the Kwantung Army at Khalkhan Gol had alot to do with material superiority supporting his effort. If the Japanese attacked on 1 Aug. 1941 with rough parity of numbers and a superior air force I don't think that Zhukhov's victory of 1939 would be repeated. I think they would take Vladivostock, Sakhalin Island and cut the Trans-Siberian railroad before some kind of stalemate followed. The important part for the Axis is that it would be a huge drain on Soviet resources that would critically weaken the Red Army's effort against Army Group Center.
     
  17. freebird

    freebird Member

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    Yes it is extremely relevant, as in the historical model July 1940 (Vichy) France had taken significant naval damage at Mers El Kebir and other ports, was unable to transit the Suez canal to connect to Far Eastern holdings, and was short on oil due to the British blockade of Europe. Since the OP stated that peace was negotiated after Dunkirk, I would assume that the Royal Navy's attack didn't take place, and Anglo-French relations are normalized.

    Ergo, France's valuable Far Eastern territories are not vulnerable & isolated, and France is able to rapidly support them. Therefore it is unlikely that Japan would make any hostile moves into Indochina, especially as the oil supply would not be disrupted, due to the Tripartate Pact, and the German-Dutch peace treaty of 1940

    I am assuming the Tripatite Pact does go into effect in September of 1940, with Japan seeking support from the Axis to ensure the oil supply and in the event of intervention by the US, and the Germans seeking Japanese cooperation in helping to keep Soviet forces in the Far East.

    Please provide some basis for your claim that almost all foreign Japanese assets were in the USA.

    From the link I've provided, assets were frozen by the British & Dutch as well, not only the US.

    Pearl Harbor History: Why Did Japan Attack? Eyewitness Accounts, Casualty List, Background

    Furthermore, Roosevelt tried to convince US shipping firms not to export oil to Japan before the embargo in the summer of 1941. Japanese oil imports from the US then decreased by a third by the time the embargo was enacted.



    From: Horowitz, Manny. "Were There Strategic Oil Targets in Japan in 1945?" Air Power History Vol. 51,

    Therefore, I would assume that in winter 1940/spring of 1941 facing hostile actions by Roosevelt, Japan transfers it's foreign currency reserves into German or Dutch banks to facilitate the continued purchase of oil.

    (Unless the OP states differently about events in his alternate timeline)
     
  18. Kurgan

    Kurgan Member

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    France is still an ally of the UK in this scenario. The Germans though have, as I stated in my first post, enforced upon the French a Versaille-sort of treaty, which implies a very small army (say about 100.000 stationed in France itself, and a couple of tenthousands in the French colonies) and also a greatly reduced navy (which is ordered to be largely dismantled).

    So taking in regard the greatly diminished force of the French military their Far Eastern territories will remain vulnerable and weak; only support from its allies (mainly the UK, as the Dutch also have enforced upon them the same treaty) can be a deterrent factor to the Japanese.
    I still agree that it's very unlikely that Japan, if they have common sense, will make any hostile move, because the UK will most probably declare war on Japan if any hostile action is taken against one of its allies; combined with the fact that the UK can focus itself in this scenario more on its holdings in the Far East than in OTL the Japanese would be very bold to engage in a conflict.

    As stated in my opening post:

    - Hitler informs Japan that in the case the Japanese get at war with the UK or the US the Germans will hold a neutral stance in this.

    This sort of implies that the Tripartite Pact as it went into effect in September 1940 will have another content entirely in this scenario or will not even (IMO most likely) be thought of.

    Of the four options I mentioned, the most common sense would be option 4 (status quo), than next perhaps option 2 (consolidate position in China), but option 1 (Asia, DEA, etc.) and 3 (Russia) will ensure the downfall of the Japanese Empire. (Even in OTL this ranking would hold, but Japan went for option 1 anyway...)
    For Japan to pursue its ambitions in the Far East (a new order dominated by the Empire) option 1 HAS to be chosen (they need the oil); so, the question remains: will the Japanese reevaluate their plans and choose another option than 1 or not?

    My opinion is that in their hubris and due to their lack of common sense they will still go for option 1 as they deem the French and Dutch weak and think they can deal with the UK and US in a swift and devastating way.

    Does anyone know of dissident thoughts within the Japanese ranks which rather would see another policy than the one executed in OTL?
     
  19. freebird

    freebird Member

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    The Tripartite Pact was a follow-on to the pre war Anti-Comintern Pact, so it was certainly already "thought of".
    If the Germans still intend to attack Russia, they will want Japan on board to keep the Soviets occupied in the East, so it is likely there will be some further anti-soviet pact

    Yes, actually.
    Japan was fully intent on continuing the war in China as #1 priority, considering other options only if they run short of oil.
    The British & Dutch only supported the US embargo because the US (secretly) guaranteed to intervene in the event of a Japanese attack. The Dutch have no interest in provoking a war with Japan for their territories that they can't fully defend.

    So in this scenario as presented, presumably the Dutch continue to sell oil to Japan, perhaps under pressure from Germany, as Germany doesn't want japan to withdraw troops from the Soviet border (to attack in the south)
    In history, the Vichy regime got no help from the British to defend Indochina.
    assuming the British & French are allies, Japan won't risk war with all 3 European powers, the British are quite capable of sending a large force to support the Far East. Therefore there is no Japanese occupation of Indochina, and therefore no trigger for a US embargo.

    One serious consideration here is that it that while the US is intent on supporting China against Japan, the British assisted only because of US pressure. The British are wary of the US governments desire to bring an end to their rule in the colonies, and the US & UK are major commercial rivals.

    With the UK not at war with Germany, they have no great need for US supplies, so they (& the French) would actually prefer Japan to keep up it's offensive in China. Britain does not want a strong and unified China free of Japanese influence, because it is distrustful of China's communists & KMT, fearing that their political movement will spread to British & French colonies. Also, a strong unified China could re-open border disputes with British India & Burma, & French Indochina.

    By 1940 the Japan-China war has ground down into mostly a stalemate, Britain & France would prefer to see that continue.
     
  20. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    This is not correct. Japans moves in China and the Pacific were seen as a threat to Dutch and British interest although perhaps more the latter than the former.
     

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