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Thread: Was Japan ever a real threat to the USA in WW2?

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    Was Japan ever a real threat to the USA in WW2?

    When I was a child, I thought that the Pacific part of WW2 was about Japan attacking the US unprovoked and trying to conquer the US. I was way off. First, Pearl Harbour isn't on the US mainland, but nearly half way around the world. After the Spanish, who had conquered the Philippines and made them a colony, faded in power, the US came in and invaded the Philippines. Japan also had its eye on this power vacuum and Japan had agreed to the US taking the Philippines in return for the US not objecting to Japan annexing Korea. Eventually the Philippines won its independence from the US, and Japan became bolder in wanting to conquer Asia. The war in WW2 happened because the US cut off Japanese supplies, Hitler wanted to distract the US from interfering too much in the Atlantic so supported Japan, and Japan saw an opportunity to break the US holding it back, so Japan gabled and attacked Pearl Habour.

    The Japanese goal was to create an Asian empire, that would span from China to Eastern Russia to the Philippines. But I've found no indication that the Japanese nationalists (nasty as they were) wanted anything to do with the USA other than to get the USA to stay our of their affairs. Is this true, or did I miss something? Is anyone aware of plans of the Japanese to attack American cities? Or was this mostly a resource war for America? If not, then this seems pretty relevant when people try to justify dropping the atom bomb on Japan. Why wasn't it dropped on Germany? Maybe I've got the timeline mixed up? I'm not a WW2 historian.

    One other thing I learned was that after the Japanese conquered the Philippines, Filipino underground would set off signal fires and radio the US fleet about Japanese naval positions. Their thanks was being invaded yet again by the US after the war, and then eventually getting independence again.

    I also learned that the Emperor of Japan wasn't as much of a top down director as I thought, and some argue he was merely ceremonial. It was the Admirals and Generals in the nationalistic military that were primarily responsible for the atrocities committed by Japan (especially against Chinese) and they managed to control things primarily because the law dictated the cabinet must have a minister of defence who is an active admiral / general, so by not providing one unless they were happy with all other other posts filled, and had effective control over the government, they could shut the government down. The civilian government was thereby shut down, and were also largely kept in the dark regarding the nasty things the military was doing outside the country (that's probably true of most militaries though, including the US)

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    I think that Hawaii was the extent of the Japanese plans. They wanted to destroy the US Navy there so that America couldn't decide to jump in and interfere with their conquering. If the attack had been successful, it's likely that the US would have lacked the ability to do anything about it until the Japanese had been able to consolidate their power to enough of an extent that an invasion across the Pacific wouldn't have been viable and the Japanese could have negotiated a peace treaty by saying sorry and maybe sending over some baked goods. With the huge navy sitting at their back, they had to keep a bunch of their forces in reserve to potentially deal with that as opposed to mobilizing them against their Asian targets.

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    ^ ^ ^

    But then if the U.S. hadn't decided to really get involved, Aussies would likely be speaking Japanese today.

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    Ah, yes, once again Jolly Penguin goes on to make apologetics for the Axis, for some "unknown" reason.

    Yes, Japan was a threat to the USA. We know that because they attacked us. It really is that simple. While it is true they never had serious plans of invading the continental United States, that does not mean they were not a threat.

    And generally, one does't call being liberated by an occupier as an 'invasion.' The Philippines became fully independent in 1946, exactly as promised, despite the interruption of the war. Your distortion of these events shows that you have a deep bias against the United States.

    Your positions are ignorant, offensive and utterly false. Given the repetition of the same biased themes, I have no doubt that the purpose of these posts is something other than a reasonable discussion.

    Just so nobody forgets, Jolly Penguin previously broached this topic in a thread on Pearl Harbor Day, and alluded to Japan being responsible for only 'thousands' of deaths in China. I would not expect to find this sort of historical revisionism outside a Shield Society meeting.

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    Was Japan ever a real threat to the USA in WW2?

    Why didn’t the US nuke Germany? Many reasons could be cited, but the mere fact the bomb wasn’t finished yet could have had an impact.

    And really, did Germany represent a threat to the US...

    Meanwhile, the Japanese were monsters. Don’t believe me? Call a Korean or Chinese person Japanese.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly_Penguin View Post
    When I was a child, I thought that the Pacific part of WW2 was about Japan attacking the US unprovoked and trying to conquer the US. I was way off.

    ... snip ...
    You weren't way off. War against Japan was declared because of an unprovoked attack by the Japanese that sunk most of the major ships of the U.S. Navy's Pacific fleet and killed a couple thousand military personnel plus some civilians.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly_Penguin View Post
    When I was a child, I thought that the Pacific part of WW2 was about Japan attacking the US unprovoked and trying to conquer the US. I was way off.
    Emphasis added. Where did you hear that?

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    Here are some quotes from government officials who had been isolationist/non-interventionist/anti-war as recorded in an old newspaper, The Austin American (Austin, Texas), 08 Dec 1941, Page 11. There are a lot more, but this provides a picture of politicians who changed their views.

    Kansas City, Dec. 7 -- (INS) -- U.S. Sen. Bennett Clark, Missouri isolationist, in a copyrighted interview carried by the Kansas City Journal, said he was in favor of "ruthlessly pursuing war to a definite conclusion."

    The senator, who had bitterly opposed the administration foreign policies, said he would "back any declaration that the president of the United States makes to congress. Should he ask for a declaration of war I know it will pass by a substantial majority."

    "I was one of those who believed the United States should stay out of the Orient, but I would defend the Philippines and Hawaii as quickly as I would defend Missouri."
    CLINTON, Mass., Dec. 7 -- (INS) Sen. David I. Walsh of Massachusetts, non-interventionist chairman of the senate naval affairs committee, Sunday declared the United States must take "speedy and decisive measures to defend our country."
    BILLINGS, Mont. Dec. 7 -- (UP) Sen. Burton K. Wheeler, leading isolationist said Sunday when informed Japan had attacked U.S. bases at Honolulu and Manila, "That means war, and we'll have to see it through."

    Asked if Pres. Roosevelt had asked congress to declare war, Wheeler said he had received no notification, "but I assume he will."
    WASHINGTON, Dec. 7. -- (UP) -- Rep. Hamilton Fish (R-N.Y.), one of the bitterest of all congressional opponents of the administration's foreign policy, announced Sunday night he will appeal on the house floor Monday for united support of the president in prosecution of war against Japan.

    "I have consistently opposed our entrance into all European and Asiatic wars," he said. "However this unwarranted and brazen attack by Japan while peace negotiations still were pending and in defiance of the president's 11th-hour appeal to the emperor means we are forced against the will of the American people into a war for defense of our possessions.

    "I shall take the floor tomorrow, as ranking minority member of the foreign affairs committee, and ask the united support of the American people behind the president and commander-in-chief in carrying on this emergency and war crisis."
    TOPEKA, Kans., Dec 7. -- (INS) -- Former Gov. Alfred M. Landon, G.O.P. candidate for president in 1936, Sunday sent a telegram to Pres. Roosevelt pledging his full support to the nation's war effort.

    "The Japanese attack leaves us no choice," Landon stated.
    It should be clear from the mosaic of statements that mention of "defense" is in relation to retaliation for Pearl Harbor and defense of US territories, not anything to do with the mainland or continental US. However, strictly logically speaking, there would also have been a very long-term risk to the U.S. mainland, not anything immediate or near-term. This is because if an aggressive imperial neighbor ruled up to our borders, they would be a constant threat at some time in the distant future. No one made that argument or used this as justification of anything, nor do I, but I think it should be noted.

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    Trade sanctions over Japan in China was hurting Japan. It is like calling the Iran attack on SA unprovoked. It is a response to American sanctions.

    Japan's motto was 'Asia for Asians'.

    Pearl Harbor was attacked because Japan felt it had no choice. The embargo on US scrap metal among other things was hurting Japan. They have little in the way of resources. I believe the USA was ready getting ready to give the PI independence.

    Before Pearl Harbor FDR authorized Army pilots to quietly resign and fight as mercenaries in China, the American Volunteer Group aka Flying Tigers. They provided crucial short term opposition to the Japanese. Gebneral Chennault.

    Modern Japanese imperialism began in the 19th century with a resurgence of Bushido.

    Were they a threat? From the books I read it could have gone either way. Nimitz rolled the dice at Midway. IMO the great American victory at Midway was in large part due to fortunate lucky timing. Guadalcanal could have gone either way. Halsey saved the day, a largely unsung hero.

    The Japanese were smart, educated, experienced, and motivated. If anything it was overconfidence that got them. They made no provisions for losses and extended war.

    As soon as there were experienced combat pilots the Americans sent them home to train others, A pipeline was created. Once Midway and Marianas Turkey Shoot happened Japan could not replace pilots. They lost air superiority, after that ir was over.

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