Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

What if Japan Attacks British and Dutch Interests But Avoids War With the US?

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by ozjohn39, Dec 22, 2015.

  1. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,230
    Location:
    Michigan
    From what I've read FDR's military advisors told him the US would be ready for war in the summer of 42 and ready to go on the offensive in late 42. Furthermore they pretty much begged him to try and hold off the war until Spring of 42 at the earliest. The Gallup polls also show a lot more support for a war vs Japan than one in Europe. Given the rather belated effort to fortify the Philippines I agree that the US likely will at least try to hold off 3 to 6 months even with some provocation.
     
  2. Ilhawk

    Ilhawk New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2015
    Messages:
    383
    Likes Received:
    44
    Interesting topic. Ultimately I believe we over estimate the value of public opinion in matters of national interest, both now and then. The course for war was set in 1939 by FDR and there was no mistake about it by the time Lend Lease was signed in 41. Germany never had the naval forces to compete. Japan did, but they had limitations. They did not have industrial capacity. The US dwarfed the rest on capacity. The US Admin set a course for war in 1939 with the Neutrality Act. By Mar 41 with Lend Lease, there was no mistaking the course. Everyone knew that, except maybe the American public. Japan came close to smacking down US naval capacity to do much about things for a time.

    The main reason we weren't involved in the war (my opinion) is that we didn't have the merchant marine capacity early on and US land forces weren't very strong. The Japanese leaders weren't idiots. At a glance their actions seem like such. They took a gamble and lost Why? Holding on to any place as an occupational force is really difficult. The Soviets couldn't even really do it well in Ukraine after WW2.

    The only way this could have played out is if Wallace became President, but I doubt that would have lasted long as he'd either change policies or some way lose the Presidency.
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,230
    Location:
    Michigan
    Public opinion can have considerable impact on legislators. If you follow the polls and the changing rules regarding traffic with participants of the war it's clear that they were closely related. It also looks like FDR didn't want to enter the war with even just a slight majority he wanted overwhelming support. Of course he went about engineering said support and in any case the US wasn't ready for war in 41 and wouldn't be until mid 42 so there was no reason to push things as long as it didn't look like Britain would collapse in the immediate future.

    It wasn't just land forces either. We weren't able to devote adequate forces to the Battle of the Atlantic for months after the war started.

    From previous discussions I thought Wallace was even less of a noninterventionist than FDR.
     
  4. Ilhawk

    Ilhawk New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2015
    Messages:
    383
    Likes Received:
    44
    "From previous discussions I thought Wallace was even less of a noninterventionist than FDR."

    That was my point.

    "It wasn't just land forces either. We weren't able to devote adequate forces to the Battle of the Atlantic for months after the war started."
    Basically agree, but we did have a Navy.

    "Public opinion can have considerable impact on legislators. If you follow the polls and the changing rules regarding traffic with participants of the war it's clear that they were closely related. It also looks like FDR didn't want to enter the war with even just a slight majority he wanted overwhelming support. Of course he went about engineering said support and in any case the US wasn't ready for war in 41 and wouldn't be until mid 42 so there was no reason to push things as long as it didn't look like Britain would collapse in the immediate future."

    Agree, but I don't think public opinion was only a factor in that if it had gone badly early, future war effort support could have been weak. By the 1939, the US was going to war. The timing was the only ? mark.

    The US and British operating in tandem could have been a real problem for the Atlantic enemy.

    But again, what was the point if we couldn't move mass materials or supply land based assets. The Japanese were eventually going to try and minimize US assets in the Pacific....

    The US and Japan were on a collision course for a long time over China. The Depression delayed tougher US actions. Increasing sanctions were meant to greatly harm Japan, not just pressure. Oil was a huge issue...
     
  5. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,965
    Likes Received:
    1,699
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    I would say that is an argumentative statement. The FDR set that course only after Germany invaded and occupied the rest of Czechoslovakia in March, 1939, the German invasion of Poland in September, 1939, and the resulting declarations of war on Germany by Great Britain and France.

    FDR was following the tune, but Germany was the one calling it.


    IIRC, at the time, the US did not dwarf the rest on actual capacity, only potential capacity. The exception to this would be in warship construction.



    No...

    If you are thinking of the "Cash and Carry" clause, that was included in the 1937 Neutrality Act - but it had a two year limitation. The "Cash and Carry" clause of the 1937 Act lapsed in May, 1939, and was not renewed. With the German invasion of Poland, and French and British DoWs, FDR went to Congress and asked for the passage of a new Neutrality Act, which, on November 5, 1939.

    Now, to really twist your bean...If Germany had not invaded Poland, would FDR have been able to get the 1939 Neutrality Act passed? Would he have even tried?



    It wasn't just the US Merchant Marine and Army. The US Navy was inadequate for a two-ocean war, as the US Navy was still building up to that goal. While there was that 50,000 aircraft construction plan passed - it was an unattainable goal in the time frame given. Too many planes needed to be constructed from too few plants in operation, with too few pilots to man said planes, and too few mechanics to service said planes.


    The Japanese leaders were not idiots...And, yes, at a glance, their actions seem like such. But, if you look deeper, their actions are not as idiotic as they seem. The Japanese knew that they were in a position of strength with regards to the Americans. The Japanese also knew that the Americans had undertaken a massive buildup of their military which would eventually eclipse the Japanese military. Thus, the best, and only, chance for a victorious Japanese outcome to any hostilities was to strike as soon as possible. For every day the Japanese delayed the American position became stronger, and the Japanese position became weaker. The Japanese struck, so to speak, because the iron was hot.

    Occupation could be difficult, yes, but the only area of major concern to the Japanese would be the oil fields and rubber plantation of their occupied territories. Also, they may have well believed that the local populaces would welcome them for throwing out the Westerners. Further, the Japanese occupation of Manchuria went fairly well, although the occupied territories in China were somewhat more problematic.
     
  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,965
    Likes Received:
    1,699
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    That has been my read to. Even Wendell Willkie was an advocate for aiding Britain and US allies.
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    Messages:
    7,965
    Likes Received:
    1,699
    Location:
    Reading, PA
    We would have a navy in 1943. In 1939-42, the USN could only offer serious contention in one ocean, and that would require the majority of naval assets from the other.



    The sanctions were meant to greatly harm the Japanese military, not Japan itself.

    Oil was a huge issue for the Imperial Japanese Navy, not Japan.
    Scrap metal was a huge issue for the Japanese military, not Japan.
    Aviation gasoline & aviation technology was a huge issue for the Japanese military, not Japan.
     
  8. Ilhawk

    Ilhawk New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2015
    Messages:
    383
    Likes Received:
    44
    Mostly because their industrial capacity was pretty weak. Without the military, Japan didn't have much other than aggression against the Chinese.

    It's a play on words though. Sort of like surgical strikes in populated areas.
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,230
    Location:
    Michigan
    Or not. I'll go with or not.
     
  10. Ilhawk

    Ilhawk New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2015
    Messages:
    383
    Likes Received:
    44
    For the situation that was presented, we did have a navy to do just that. The Atlantic wasn't a great deal do the limitations of the Germans. Pearl and Midway of course damaged that capacity. The Italian Navy never ventured far outside of immediate interests...The US Navy stood head and shoulders above everyone but the Brits, but by arguable definitions, was superior, if ever so slightly. We also had the advantage of 2 coasts. Japan, Germany, and Italy together could have been a sizable force, but logistically not going to happen. The US and Britain acting together would have been unstoppable. The only other nations really capable of taking care of their own business were the Italians and Japanese. The Italians at that time would have been a force for direct confrontation (but had a lot of old ships). The Japanese were never a complete threat to British and American interests acting together. The Japanese had one other problem. Oil. Their Navy used as a protection for China operations alone were a huge obstacle. They picked a bad fight. But they were cornered and they knew it.
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,230
    Location:
    Michigan
    We were rather difficient in ASW assets early in the war. VS Germany they would have been important. You don't want to send BBs and CVs out without DDs for escorts so ...

    2 coasts aslo meant we couldn't move everything to one ocean.
     
  12. ozjohn39

    ozjohn39 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    594
    Likes Received:
    31
  13. Ilhawk

    Ilhawk New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2015
    Messages:
    383
    Likes Received:
    44
    I've seen similar stats before. The US, USSR and Britain had a staggering amount of war making power. This was never going to be a "fair" fight. Japan was limited to being a regional power (East and SE Asia) and only if they got the natural resources they needed.

    The US and eastern USSR war making industry was largely untouchable by any Axis air power. Germany failed in the Battle of Britain to protect her flank.
     
  14. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    758
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    The US would have almost certainly declared war anyway and Japan would now be in a bind as they have no immediate plan in place to take the Philippines which will be heavily reinforced in the coming months.
     
  15. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2015
    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    6
    Using history as basis of how the US would have reacted:

    1) After Russo-Japanese War of 1904, Theodore Roosevelt won his Nobel Peace Prize for his participation of negotiating for the Treaty of Portsmouth. Imperial Japan won but got southern half of Sakhalin island. Enthusiasts at home were unsatisfied and thus Hibiya incendiary incident broke out in 1905.

    2) IJ committed most number of troops in the Siberian Intervention phase even though IJ did not commit to fight in Imperial Russia at the beginning of ww1. The Nikolayevsk incident caused about 700 Japanese death. US-led coalition pressured J thru diplomacy to evacuate from Russia after coalition force pretty much left in 1920. J evacuated northern half of Sakhalin in 1925 but secured with the Soviet Union an agreement in which the oil resources supplied Japan. Off the top of head, this oil resource satisfied annually only about 5% of J's annual use.

    So if J using the islands of the South Pacific Mandate as springboard for its operation in southeast Asia, amphibious attack from Palau to Sulawesi, New Guinea and nearby islands bypassed American Philippines. From Sulawesi, J could go to Brunei and northern part of Borneo. Would the US not do anything about Japan's advantures ? For resources, Sulawesi and obviously Brunei hold oil. Borneo and Sulawesi hold rubber, iron, gold and other mineral resources.

    Talking about resources, west coast of Sea of Japan hold tin, coal, timber resources. However, when the Russo-Japanese War broke in 1904, the Trans-Siberian Railway has yet to be finished; the Dutch has already controlled almost all islands in the DEI. Given how the Dutch and maybe British had developed or surveyed the geology among other searches of the named islands, going south would still be a better choice than taking the lower estuary of the Amur River, cities and towns along it -- Nikolayevsk, Khabarovsk and whatnots --- and the city of Valdivostok. Climates for these cities are cold, not to mention logistic difficulties. However, the Allies would be unlikely to interfere with the SU directly: how the Western Allies in the ww1 and winter war handled Finland gave a clue of how they would react to Japan's adventure to Manchuria.
     
  16. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2015
    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    6
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    Messages:
    12,312
    Likes Received:
    1,230
    Location:
    Michigan
    Please consider not doing so. If we start discussing multiple what ifs in one thread it becomes very confusing.
     
  18. knightdepaix

    knightdepaix Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2015
    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    6
    Russians to get 'free' land in bid to boost Far East

    Analysis: Russia's Far East Turning Chinese

    Japan's population doubled from 30 million to 60 million from 1868 to 1926. Given the ABC reported Chinese immigrants into Russian Far East, would Japan before ww2 staying neutral against the US and British, but attack Dutch and Soviet interests?
    Russian Far East although it holded in 1939 2 million plus population, maybe only 2 million total population would Japan's military encounter when invading the SU. As RFE has been vast, Japan's military controlling the few cities would control roughly half of the population and meaningful transportation hubs in the area for the SU and the Pacific route of the Far East. Meanwhile, Japanese immigration would have been accelerated beginning from the end of the Russian Civil War, despite Japanese military intervention. Was the US led powers forcing Japan yielding in 1925 northern half of Sakhalin island a shortsighted strategy? Without so, letting Japan and the newly formed SU would have faced against each across the Tartar Strait, much like nowadays the PRC and the ROC across the Taiwan Strait

    Was Project Hola a meaningful operation at the time in 1945? If so, Japan attacking in 1941 around the time of Operation Barbarossa would be another blitzkrieg before that eventful US reaction in 1945.
     
  19. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    33
    I could see the US use a similar strategy like they did in the year lead-up to entering the war in the Atlantic. We may have actively began assisting convoy protection by protecting our shipping that went to the British in the Pacific, and if that happened to cause an engagement with the Japanese, then so be it, as that could lead to a declaration of war by Japan so we didn't have to declare, and then Germany would probably do the same thing and declare war on us with almost no thought.
     
  20. GunSlinger86

    GunSlinger86 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    33
    I could see the US use a similar strategy like they did in the year lead-up to entering the war in the Atlantic. We may have actively began assisting convoy protection by protecting our shipping that went to the British in the Pacific, which may have led to an engagement with the Japanese. If some type of armed conflict happened then so be it, as that could lead to a declaration of war by Japan so we didn't have to declare, and then Germany would probably do the same thing and declare war on us with almost no thought.

    Germany nor us declared war on each other despite naval attacks on destroyers and on German U-boats during 1941 pre-war convoy duties, and neither did the Marines being sent to relieve the British garrison on Iceland, but I can see Japan being more aggressive in their theater if we had some kind of naval clash with them, as it gives them more of a reason to extend their imperial conquests.
     

Share This Page