Author Topic: Could Japan have won in the Pacific?  (Read 7334 times)

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Offline Con

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Re: Could Japan have won in the Pacific?
« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2012, 09:05:01 PM »
Ian Toll who wrote six frigates just recently finished the first of trilogy of books on the PTO.  The first one is Crucible and in it he gives a good breakdown of the Japanese attitudes and what lead to what they called Victory Disease.  Any Japanese ministers and citizens who advocated for peace were either forcibly removed or assassinated by more martial minded underlings.  It was a very different cultural push that lead to Japan initiating hostilities than what occurred with Germany.

Very good read and worth a spot on any good grognards bookshelf

Con


Online Gusington

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Re: Could Japan have won in the Pacific?
« Reply #31 on: March 30, 2012, 08:49:07 AM »
^Thanks for that. I have become totally fascinated with Japan's history lately and haven't read a good book on the Pacific War in 20+ years.
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Offline eyebiter

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« Reply #32 on: March 30, 2012, 08:38:10 PM »
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« Last Edit: October 23, 2014, 10:09:17 PM by eyebiter »

Offline LongBlade

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Re: Could Japan have won in the Pacific?
« Reply #33 on: March 30, 2012, 09:37:45 PM »
What if the Japanese attacked the British and Dutch without declaring war on the US?  If the Japanese captured Hong Kong, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, and Rabaul...would the isolationist USA been willing to declare war?

No.

Offline MengJiao

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Re: Could Japan have won in the Pacific?
« Reply #34 on: May 21, 2012, 11:14:31 AM »
What if the Japanese attacked the British and Dutch without declaring war on the US?  If the Japanese captured Hong Kong, Singapore, the Dutch East Indies, and Rabaul...would the isolationist USA been willing to declare war?

No.

I suspect the USA would have gone after the Japanese at that point.  After all War Plan Orange and Rainbow 5 (actually all of the Rainbow plans) took that as the most likely way the war would start.  With no Pearl Harbor and a US buildup in the Phillipines and the US Navy already building up (remember the USA started full mobilization and the Draft and a huge naval build up more than a year before Pearl Harbor).  However, that might have given the Japanese just the opening they needed since they could inflict a really bit defeat in their home waters and the US might have been willing to negotiate at that point.

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Re: Could Japan have won in the Pacific?
« Reply #35 on: May 23, 2012, 09:42:31 AM »
  It is conceivable that Japan could have won, but by that logic, it is also conceivable that the Roman Empire might have survived to the present day. Japan simply lacked the indusrial and scientific base to win a protracted conflict. Japan best shot might have been to "turn north" to grab Vladivostock, Mongolia, etc.
Still, their first blunder was to try to conquer China. That straine d their resources enough that they thought they had to seize the Southern Resources Area, and they couldn't realstically hope to do that without first crippling the Pacific Fleet.

Offline LongBlade

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Re: Could Japan have won in the Pacific?
« Reply #36 on: May 23, 2012, 10:05:05 AM »
  It is conceivable that Japan could have won, but by that logic, it is also conceivable that the Roman Empire might have survived to the present day. Japan simply lacked the indusrial and scientific base to win a protracted conflict. Japan best shot might have been to "turn north" to grab Vladivostock, Mongolia, etc.
Still, their first blunder was to try to conquer China. That straine d their resources enough that they thought they had to seize the Southern Resources Area, and they couldn't realstically hope to do that without first crippling the Pacific Fleet.

Welcome! Good point.

Offline Electric_Strawberry

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Re: Could Japan have won in the Pacific?
« Reply #37 on: May 23, 2012, 04:01:41 PM »
The US followed a "Europe First" strategy during WWii which relegated the Pacific Theater to a very subsidiary status.  80% of US resources were devoted to defeating Hitler.  It can almost be said that the US defeated Japan with one hand tied behind its back.  Did Japan have a realistic chance of winning?  No.

Offline LongBlade

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Re: Could Japan have won in the Pacific?
« Reply #38 on: May 23, 2012, 04:29:47 PM »
The US followed a "Europe First" strategy during WWii which relegated the Pacific Theater to a very subsidiary status.  80% of US resources were devoted to defeating Hitler.  It can almost be said that the US defeated Japan with one hand tied behind its back.  Did Japan have a realistic chance of winning?  No.

I chimed in immediately with a "no" and the above is a good reason.

The only possible chance Japan might have had would have been the US following a Europe-First strategy followed by no atomic bomb.

Operation Olympic was conservatively estimated at half a million casualties. The US, after the euphoria of defeating Europe, might not have had the patience for another two years of chasing the Japanese into the mountains of Honshu.

It is unlikely that the US would have quit altogether, but it *might* have settled for something short of unconditional surrender. Japan still would have paid a severe price, though.

Offline pawelj

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Re: Could Japan have won in the Pacific?
« Reply #39 on: May 24, 2012, 04:34:26 PM »
Anyway you slice it and dice it, with US industrial strength, geographic location and a vastly superior combined arms military by 1943 ( particularly air power and artillery capable of overcoming any defences or offensive action of the enemy), not just Japan but no country, had any chance, without nuclear weapons and capabilities to deliver them, to win against the US.
The number of half a million on invasion of mainland Japan was repeated so often people stated to believe it, but I don't think it is realistic. US did not loose that many up to that point fighting on many fronts. By then Japanese army would be a in a very sorry state with no air support and outclassed equipment what was left of it. It would have been a slaughter, but of the Japanese. Of course there would be casualties, but 50 - 100 thousend is probably more realistic estimate and only if the Japanese were fighting to the last man for the last of their islands. And of course it would have taken more time and treasure to finish something that was already a done deal.
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Offline besilarius

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Re: Could Japan have won in the Pacific?
« Reply #40 on: May 24, 2012, 04:40:38 PM »
Another point to chew on is the lack of development in both German and Japanese air forces.
Except for a few designs, FW190, Me262, and such, both air forces by about 1943, were overtaken by allied development.  In effect, by  deciding to recycle older aircraft designs, they made themselves into second rate forces.
By trying to fight the war on the cheap, you could argue it ended up a false economy.
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Offline W8taminute

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Re: Could Japan have won in the Pacific?
« Reply #41 on: May 24, 2012, 06:25:51 PM »
^Never really thought of the air war like that but I see your point.  I agree that by 1943 the allied production output definitely was starting to be felt by the axis.  By 1944 all of the allies pretty much had excellent front line aircraft in great quantities.  That is of course until the jet made it's debut, but with a leadership that didn't appreciate it's potential early on and an economy that was in shambles it was too little, too late.
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Offline Keunert

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Re: Could Japan have won in the Pacific?
« Reply #42 on: June 03, 2012, 06:08:06 AM »
i always read this the other way round: the us and russia relied on 'cheap' mass producable weapons (Sherman, T-34), including aircraft compared to overly complex german weapons.
and i also believed that the different FW 190 versions were on par with most allied planes. it sure wasn't second rate? and the Me262 surely was one of the most modern
ww2 aircraft designs.

wouldn't you rather have to argue that the limited german production capacity made it impossible to introduce the newer weapons in the numbers to effectively replace the pre/early war designs like the Bf109 or the Panzer III ?
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Offline Staggerwing

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Re: Could Japan have won in the Pacific?
« Reply #43 on: June 03, 2012, 07:40:23 AM »
To throw a curve into the discussion, imagine that the Germans bypassed Stalingrad and eventually captured the Caucasus oilfields and been able to refuel their war effort. The war on the Eastern front could have stalemated (due to the Soviets' losing the aforementioned oil supply) and the Anglo-American effort in the West might have become a bit more desperate, requiring an even greater refocus away from the Pacific. Stalingrad was, after all, fought starting only 8 months after Pearl Harbor. Also, on an unrelated note, Japanese submarine doctrine was to only attack warships when possible which meant that Allied supplies shipped with little hassle to where they were needed. US sub doctrine was almost the opposite, allowing the virtual strangulation of the Japanese war effort which was almost entirely dependent on outside resources and one of the primary reasons for their expansionism to start with. BTW, the use of unrestricted submarine warfare by the US was used by the defense team of Adm. Karl Donitz during his Nuremberg trial to try and keep him out of the gallows. It worked.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2012, 07:44:43 AM by Staggerwing »
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Offline besilarius

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Re: Could Japan have won in the Pacific?
« Reply #44 on: June 03, 2012, 11:31:21 AM »
In regards to the air forces, I think a lot of the problem stemmed from Hitler and Goering in Germany.
A number of high ranking luftwaffe leaders, like Field Marschal Milch, argued for a strategic bomber.  Putting the relocated Soviet factories under the threat of air attack would have disrupted the Soviet production effort.  It could have greatly complicated the distribution of new equipment, by attacking the rail lines, and would have, at first, been hard for the Soviet Union to oppose, because all of their fighters were designed for medium and low altitude.
The resources would have been a significant drain on the Geman war effort, but the potential effect on the Soviet Union was obvious to the air planners.
Their probelm was the stonewalling of Goering.
He always came back by saying that the Fuehrer would ask what was being done with all the resources.  What Adolf meant was how many planes are you building.
A long range, four engine bomber took the resources of approximately 2.2 medium bombers, like the JU88.
So Georing could say they were building twice as many medium bombers than if the effort was put into long range bombers.
With this attitude, and the general unwillingness to develop most new plane designs, by 1944, the Luftwaffe, no matter how numerous, was fighting with designs that were five years old, or more.  Remeber Kurt Tank's initial design  that became the FW190 dated from 1937.
This lack of forward thinking also kept engine technology from rapid development, and greater production.
Since the war proved longer than Hitler or Goering anticipated, they ended up way behind the devlopment curve.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2012, 11:32:55 AM by besilarius »
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