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

  1. Top | #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarpedon View Post
    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.
    "Offensive"? Good grief.

  2. Top | #12
    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    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.
    That seems to be a rather liberal interpretation of provocative. The U.S. stopped selling our oil and scrap metal to Japan because we didn't want to supply them with the means to continue their expansion and atrocities they committed on those they conquered. Now if we were sinking their tankers bringing oil from some of the areas they conquered then that would be provocative.
    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.
    Our breaking their code so we knew their war plans (where their fleet was deploying, their ruses, traps, and feints) as well as their admirals that were carrying them out didn't hurt either.

  3. Top | #13
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    Japan did not think the USA would fight and would settle. There was a strong anti war movement in the USA. The Pacific war went very badly at the beginning. At sea the USA at best could fight to a draw and took heavy losses. Reporting was heavily censored out of fears of opinion turning against the war.

    Some say Japan lost the war at Pearl Harbor. They withdrew without destroying dry docks and fuel storage out of fear of the American carriers showing up. It had important consequences later on.

    The emperor had a lot of power but decisions were made more by committee. He could not execute absolute power. There was a coup when he decided to surrender.

    I agree there is revisionist history of both Japan and Germany. What bothers me is a focus on the use of nuclear weapons as a horrific horrible tragedy and crime against humanity. It ignores the slaughter of Chinese by Japan. The firebombing of Japan was far more horrific than the nukes. The nuclear casualties were insignificant compared to all of it.

    The Japanese were no less brutal than the Germans, maybe more so.

    Where does that statement about USA invading PI post war comes from? Are you talking about MacArthur and his 'I shall return' quote?

    Griffith's History Of WWII is a good almost day by day summary account of the war. A good starting point.

  4. Top | #14
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Perhaps the easiest way to answer the OP question is to consider what would have happened if the USA had continued her isolationist position, and the Japanese hadn't made the blunder of forcing her to join the Allies by bombing Pearl.

    If the German and Japanese strategies had worked, and the Germans had taken Moscow in October 1941, and Japan had stayed on her side of the Pacific in December of that year, it is not completely implausible to imagine an Axis victory, leading to a world with three great powers (none of them with nuclear weapons) - Germany, dominating Europe, having mopped up the Soviets in 1942 and '43, followed by an overwhelming invasion of Britain in '43 with the vast forces made available from the Eastern Front; Japan, having control of East Asia, and the East Pacific, including Australasia and Siberia; And the USA dominating the Americas. Italy would remain a minor power, with interests mainly in Africa (at least, the bits Germany didn't want), which would remain a colonial shit-hole.

    Having two powerful and antithetical (if not openly hostile) blocs with whom to share the world doesn't seem like a very good situation for the USA. In the absence of the Operation Paperclip people, even if the US was able to develop an Atomic Bomb (and where's the pressure to do so, for a neutral US?), she wouldn't have the capability to deliver it to targets in either Greater Nazi Germany, or Imperial Japan and her 'Co-Prosperity Sphere'. The Germans, on the other hand, might well develop both the bomb, and the ballistic missile that makes it such a serious weapon in the modern era. Our two-superpower cold war world could be replaced by a world in which the Third Reich is sole superpower.

    Attacking the US via conventional means, across either ocean, would seem to be impossible; But a Germany armed with nuclear ballistic missiles could press such an attack, with relative impunity. And ideologically, it seems implausible that the opportunity to nuke New York City would be eschewed by the Nazi leadership.

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    Veteran Member Sarpedon's Avatar
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    It is fatuous to think that Japan not attacking Pearl Harbor would have led to the fall of Moscow. I don't even understand why you think the two were related. America was giving Lend-Lease aid to the USSR from October 41, and there's no reason to think it was decisive in the defense of Moscow, as things took time to get delivered and deployed.

    I've said it before, the Axis lost when Japan chose to invade China instead of waiting and coordinating efforts with Germany to defeat the USSR and British Empire. Both the USSR and the British Empire were intrinsically stronger than their Axis opponents. The only hope the Axis had was to concentrate their forces on them and use what advantages they had to the fullest. Instead, they dissipated their forces on attacking other countries, simultaneously overextending themselves, alienating potential allies, and provoking the United States. It is not far fetched to think that maybe China could have become an Axis power itself, given the anti-communist bent of their leaders, had Germany and Japan had a more coherent and less hypocritical strategy.

    The "Asia for Asians" thing was just propaganda. Most of Japan's victims were asians, and the first country they attacked was one of the few independent Asian countries. US sanctions which people say were 'provoking' to Japan were put in place because of Japan's brutal and unprovoked invasion of China. You might as well say that the sanctions imposed on the USSR after their invasion of Afganistan was a 'provocation.'

    And yes, making apologetics for Imperial Japan is offensive, just as doing so for Nazi Germany. It's too bad you don't understand that. The points of view presented are so distorted, incomplete and inaccurate that I judge they are a product of deliberate misinformation.

  6. Top | #16
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    The Japanese were not going to be drawn into war with a Russia. And without them, the Germans could not take Moscow. Stalin stripped the far eastern front to make the Dec ‘41 counteroffensive.

    Also, I’m no scientist but I’ve read that without the electricity generated by damming the Columbia river, the US wouldn’t have been able to produce the aluminum necessary to develop an atomic bomb. So if the US barely had the capacity, it seems unlikely that Germany would have.

  7. Top | #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarpedon View Post
    Yes, Japan was a threat to the USA. We know that because they attacked us.
    Only because you were on what they considered their turf. The US has a long history of this, as did other imperial powers at the time. England, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, USA all claimed lands across the oceans far far far away from their homelands. Japan was doing the same, just a little late to the brutality party.

    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.
    The USA invaded the Philippines not once, but twice. The first invasion was no "liberation". It was an attempt to consolidate American power and influence in the Pacific. The US got there just ahead of some other imperial powers who were attempting to do the same. Spain (who had previously invaded the Philippines) had lost power and and power vacuum was opening up since the Flipinos lacked military might.

    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.
    Your accusations are what is inappropriate and not conducive to a reasonable discussion or free thinking. They are also a breach of the board's purported rules.

  8. Top | #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don2 (Don1 Revised) View Post
    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?
    In school as a child.

  9. Top | #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    JThe emperor had a lot of power but decisions were made more by committee. He could not execute absolute power. There was a coup when he decided to surrender.
    Yes. I read the same.

    The Japanese were no less brutal than the Germans, maybe more so.
    They were brutal.

    Where does that statement about USA invading PI post war comes from? Are you talking about MacArthur and his 'I shall return' quote?
    I was referring to the fact that the US had withdrawn from the Philippines and post-war came back to take over again. There were US military bases left there for a long time after that even after the Philippines slowly gained more independence.

    I am interested in looking at history from the point of view of the losers, because the history we tend to hear is written by the victors, and that means we rarely get the full picture of what actually happened or why.

  10. Top | #20
    Veteran Member Sarpedon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly Penguin
    The USA invaded the Philippines not once, but twice. The first invasion was no "liberation". It was an attempt to consolidate American power and influence in the Pacific. The US got there just ahead of some other imperial powers who were attempting to do the same. Spain (who had previously invaded the Philippines) had lost power and and power vacuum was opening up since the Flipinos lacked military might.
    Bullshit, I corrected you once, but you persist in your propaganda. Yes, the USA invaded the Philippines to take it from Spain. No one is defending the Spanish American war, though I will note that Phillipino troops fought on the side of the USA. However, by the 30s, the USA had promised independence, and we delivered it in 1946, exactly as promised. The Japanese wouldn't have. The idea that the Philippines were still 'occupied' after the war and that there was anything 'gradual' about it afterwards is absolutely false. The 'gradual' part of the plan took place in the 20s and 30s, while a government and military were set up, in preparation for independence. The Japanese largely destroyed them, but despite that, we did not use this as an excuse to extend our rule over them, instead we poured in aid to allow for rapid reconstruction, and then withdrew as promised. The maintenance of military bases on a longer term are common and cannot be called 'occupation'.

    While Colonialism is certainly bad, I think the United States' treatment of the Philippines in transitioning them to independence is exemplary, compared to the miserable state that many former colonies of other countries were left in.

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