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Old 11th February 2021, 12:12 PM   #161
HansMustermann
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You know, the more I think about it, the more it seems to me like the Pearl Harbor attack is itself one of the worst cases of deciding to snatch defeat from the jaws of possible victory.

And it's not even about how it was executed, like whether or not they should have sent the third wave, or whatever.

But basically, why attack Pearl Harbour at all, unless you're actually trying to get your ass kicked?

And to put things into context: the whole idea that Yamamoto proposed with that attack was basically that it will put the Americans on the back foot for a year or so. Or at the very least some half a year, so they don't interfere with Japan's invasions.

But... while America may or may not have eventually joined the war, it probably wasn't going to do so in the next year anyway. Possibly more, if they're not attacked. The popular opinion was very much against repeating the massive losses in WW1 for the sake of some other empire.

And it didn't want a two front war, so even IF it eventually entered the war, it would have to choose between getting involved in Europe (where it was already supporting the UK with equipment) or in the Pacific. So, you know, it might never actually get around to attacking Japan for UK's sake.

So why attack the USA at all, if all you want is to have them out of your hair for a year or so? Seems like really going the extra mile to guarantee snatching defeat in the long run.
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Old 11th February 2021, 02:35 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
You know, the more I think about it, the more it seems to me like the Pearl Harbor attack is itself one of the worst cases of deciding to snatch defeat from the jaws of possible victory.

And it's not even about how it was executed, like whether or not they should have sent the third wave, or whatever.

But basically, why attack Pearl Harbour at all, unless you're actually trying to get your ass kicked?

And to put things into context: the whole idea that Yamamoto proposed with that attack was basically that it will put the Americans on the back foot for a year or so. Or at the very least some half a year, so they don't interfere with Japan's invasions.

But... while America may or may not have eventually joined the war, it probably wasn't going to do so in the next year anyway. Possibly more, if they're not attacked. The popular opinion was very much against repeating the massive losses in WW1 for the sake of some other empire.

And it didn't want a two front war, so even IF it eventually entered the war, it would have to choose between getting involved in Europe (where it was already supporting the UK with equipment) or in the Pacific. So, you know, it might never actually get around to attacking Japan for UK's sake.

So why attack the USA at all, if all you want is to have them out of your hair for a year or so? Seems like really going the extra mile to guarantee snatching defeat in the long run.
I believe that they needed to invade the Philippines which was an US territory. This would have provoked war. Remember Japan needed to invade what is now Indonesia. They did then realised that they had no way of shipping the oil home. Lesson: Always make sure you have an ex supply officer as one (maybe several) of your senior officers.
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Old 11th February 2021, 04:37 PM   #163
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
You know, the more I think about it, the more it seems to me like the Pearl Harbor attack is itself one of the worst cases of deciding to snatch defeat from the jaws of possible victory.

And it's not even about how it was executed, like whether or not they should have sent the third wave, or whatever.

But basically, why attack Pearl Harbour at all, unless you're actually trying to get your ass kicked?

And to put things into context: the whole idea that Yamamoto proposed with that attack was basically that it will put the Americans on the back foot for a year or so. Or at the very least some half a year, so they don't interfere with Japan's invasions.

But... while America may or may not have eventually joined the war, it probably wasn't going to do so in the next year anyway. Possibly more, if they're not attacked. The popular opinion was very much against repeating the massive losses in WW1 for the sake of some other empire.

And it didn't want a two front war, so even IF it eventually entered the war, it would have to choose between getting involved in Europe (where it was already supporting the UK with equipment) or in the Pacific. So, you know, it might never actually get around to attacking Japan for UK's sake.

So why attack the USA at all, if all you want is to have them out of your hair for a year or so? Seems like really going the extra mile to guarantee snatching defeat in the long run.
The four turning points of the Pacific War, according to me:
1. Battle of the Coral Sea. Tactical draw or maybe worse for the USA; but for the first time a Japanese offensive in the Pacific was turned back. They never had a success afterward.
2. Batlle of Midway, obviously.
3. Guadalcanal campaign. First US offensive, six months of sticking it out for ultimate success. Proved the US would not just fold if faced with the enemy.
0. That's zero. About 7:55 AM, Hawaiian Time, when the first bomb fell on Pearl Harbor. It was going to take quite a while, but after that Japan never really had a chance.

Also:
Japanese naval commanders on multiple occasions backed off while having the upper hand through an abundance of caution and thus failed to fully accomplish their objectives. A classic example is the Battle of Savo Island, the worst (tactical) defeat ever suffered by the USN. But the actual mission of the Japanese squadron was to attack the invasion beaches on Guadalcanal and instead they turned around and went home out of concern that there would be US carriers. There weren't.
Other examples include the Battle of the Komandorski Islands, The Battle off Samar*, and of course the cancelled third wave at Pearl Harbor.

*Kurita's mission was, once again, to attack the landing beaches. He'd had a bad couple of days and lost three heavy cruisers to a handful of little carriers and destroyers, but still had four capital ships. Pressing on to attack the beaches may well have been suicidal, but it was, after all, the assigned mission.
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Old 11th February 2021, 05:26 PM   #164
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if there was a fourth Turning point in the Pacific war after Coral Sea, Midway and Guadalcanal I owuld Nominate The Marianas campiagn for 2 Reasons.

1.The resulting Battle of the Philiipine Sea destroyed Japanese Naval Air Power. It once might carrier fleet was reduced to being a decoy a few months later at Leyte Gulf.
2. The Taking of the Marianas gave the US Air Bases which put Japan within range of the B 29 bomber.The result was the total devastation of almost all of Japan's major cities, and it's war industry.
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Old 11th February 2021, 05:48 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
I believe that they needed to invade the Philippines which was an US territory. This would have provoked war. Remember Japan needed to invade what is now Indonesia. They did then realised that they had no way of shipping the oil home. Lesson: Always make sure you have an ex supply officer as one (maybe several) of your senior officers.
There is no "needed" when it came to the Philippines, though, other than being paranoid about the USA having a base next door IF they decided to intervene. If you look at at the invasion on the map, it's not like they planned to first take the Philippines and then use that to stage and supply the invasion of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia.) The Philippines was another invasion parallel to the others, so all it did for the invasion of Indonesia was divert manpower and logistics from it.
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Old 11th February 2021, 06:04 PM   #166
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Invading the Philippines may well have brought the US to war. Roosevelt was (conspiracy theory ahead) looking for an excuse to make war on Hitler. But it would never have brought the US population so thoroughly into it. A dastardly sneak attack by the slant-eyed devils on US territory was the best thing Japan could possibly have done. If it wanted to be totally destroyed, of course.
Japanese propaganda pictured America as weak, decadent, unwilling to fight. Unfortunately for them, Japanese leadership believed their own propaganda.
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Old 11th February 2021, 09:26 PM   #167
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Invading the Philippines may well have brought the US to war.
Well, obviously, but as I was saying, they didn't NEED to do that. It didn't actually help in the invasion of Indonesia (which is really the only one they "needed" for the oil) and any resources from Indonesia could just go along the coast via Taiwan to Japan. The USA wasn't going to enter the war because some Japanese ships sail a thousand miles north of the Philippines.

Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Roosevelt was (conspiracy theory ahead) looking for an excuse to make war on Hitler.
Probably, but that also would have worked in Japan's favour, if they didn't decide to goose the dragon first. I don't think even he WANTED a two front war, and convincing the USA population to enter not just a war, but TWO wars simultaneously would have been downright impossible. Unless both actually declare war on the USA first. So if he got his war with Germany, it would just mean leaving Japan alone, if Japan was willing to stay out of it.

Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
But it would never have brought the US population so thoroughly into it. A dastardly sneak attack by the slant-eyed devils on US territory was the best thing Japan could possibly have done. If it wanted to be totally destroyed, of course.
Basically my point. Deciding to preemptively attack the USA was just ensuring that they do snatch defeat.
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Old 11th February 2021, 10:16 PM   #168
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One of them who knew the USA better than most of them even warned the rest, based on size & manufacturing capacity. Ignoring that factor tends to go not-well. I'm reminded of a couple of other stories I've heard about when one particular soldier or another became certain which side would win in Europe, for supply-based reasons rather than tactical or weapon-based ones. In one case, it was a German who was taken prisoner and saw the enemy filling in bomb craters with bulldozers, while the Germans used shovels. In another case, it was a Belgian who saw new allies arrive from across the sea and bring not just people & guns & such but also enough donut machines to share donuts with their camp neighbors. Both might have made a mistake of overextrapolating a single example, or just used a single stark example apiece to illustrate a general point they'd observed in multiple other ways as well, but either way, at least those guys were thinking in terms of support systems & supply chains, not just maneuvers & explosions. Japan might have had their minds skewed on that whole subject by the general short supply of resources on their own islands and the perception that attack & expansion were the key way to gain more supplies, not use them up.
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Old 12th February 2021, 05:01 AM   #169
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Yes, well, one who also was one of the best when it came to knowing the USA, was Yamamoto himself, who had spent quite a bunch of time there as a naval atache. He was also the one who pushed for the Pearl Harbour attack, which almost nobody else wanted, and had to threaten to resign if they don't go along with his plan.
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Old 12th February 2021, 05:12 AM   #170
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
The four turning points of the Pacific War, according to me:
1. Battle of the Coral Sea. Tactical draw or maybe worse for the USA; but for the first time a Japanese offensive in the Pacific was turned back. They never had a success afterward.
2. Batlle of Midway, obviously.
3. Guadalcanal campaign. First US offensive, six months of sticking it out for ultimate success. Proved the US would not just fold if faced with the enemy.
0. That's zero. About 7:55 AM, Hawaiian Time, when the first bomb fell on Pearl Harbor. It was going to take quite a while, but after that Japan never really had a chance.

Also:
Japanese naval commanders on multiple occasions backed off while having the upper hand through an abundance of caution and thus failed to fully accomplish their objectives. A classic example is the Battle of Savo Island, the worst (tactical) defeat ever suffered by the USN. But the actual mission of the Japanese squadron was to attack the invasion beaches on Guadalcanal and instead they turned around and went home out of concern that there would be US carriers. There weren't.
Other examples include the Battle of the Komandorski Islands, The Battle off Samar*, and of course the cancelled third wave at Pearl Harbor.

*Kurita's mission was, once again, to attack the landing beaches. He'd had a bad couple of days and lost three heavy cruisers to a handful of little carriers and destroyers, but still had four capital ships. Pressing on to attack the beaches may well have been suicidal, but it was, after all, the assigned mission.
A major reason for the success of the Royal navy and also the major reason for it's losses was just this 'fighting spirit'
A willingness to lose ships and take on superior forces if needed.

It's as much history and tradition as anything. 'Fighting Spirit' as it is called.
You expect to win because it has always been expected and usually happens.
Those you come up against are aware of the history and 'spirit' and always start on the back foot.
Hence stories of napoleonic Frigates taking on ships of the line or lone destroyers attacking Battleships and trying to ram them.
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Old 12th February 2021, 05:13 AM   #171
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
One of them who knew the USA better than most of them even warned the rest, based on size & manufacturing capacity. Ignoring that factor tends to go not-well. I'm reminded of a couple of other stories I've heard about when one particular soldier or another became certain which side would win in Europe, for supply-based reasons rather than tactical or weapon-based ones. In one case, it was a German who was taken prisoner and saw the enemy filling in bomb craters with bulldozers, while the Germans used shovels. In another case, it was a Belgian who saw new allies arrive from across the sea and bring not just people & guns & such but also enough donut machines to share donuts with their camp neighbors. Both might have made a mistake of overextrapolating a single example, or just used a single stark example apiece to illustrate a general point they'd observed in multiple other ways as well, but either way, at least those guys were thinking in terms of support systems & supply chains, not just maneuvers & explosions. Japan might have had their minds skewed on that whole subject by the general short supply of resources on their own islands and the perception that attack & expansion were the key way to gain more supplies, not use them up.
Look at the differences between Sealion and Overlord.

Germany was expecting to capture an intact port to bring in supplies and reinforcements , the Allies took three portable harbours with them to Normandy.
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Old 12th February 2021, 06:51 AM   #172
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Well, unlike Halder, Yamamoto did listen to his logistics people most of the time.

The logistics of the industry supplying his army, though, was a bit more in the air. Generally in Japan the Army and Navy didn't really give much of a flip about what the civilian industry or government actually need or want.

I think though his bigger problem was that he only wanted the ideal scenario wargamed.
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Old 12th February 2021, 06:03 PM   #173
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Invading the Philippines may well have brought the US to war. Roosevelt was (conspiracy theory ahead) looking for an excuse to make war on Hitler. But it would never have brought the US population so thoroughly into it. A dastardly sneak attack by the slant-eyed devils on US territory was the best thing Japan could possibly have done. If it wanted to be totally destroyed, of course.
Japanese propaganda pictured America as weak, decadent, unwilling to fight. Unfortunately for them, Japanese leadership believed their own propaganda.
TO be fair, a sneak attack by Germany would have created the same reaction. I am not denying there was a lot of bigoted sterotypes of Japanese during the war, but i think the American people would have been just as angry at Germany if they had done a similiar sneak attack.
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Old 12th February 2021, 06:05 PM   #174
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Yes, well, one who also was one of the best when it came to knowing the USA, was Yamamoto himself, who had spent quite a bunch of time there as a naval atache. He was also the one who pushed for the Pearl Harbour attack, which almost nobody else wanted, and had to threaten to resign if they don't go along with his plan.
Yamamoto felt Japan's chances of winning a war against the Americans were small, but he flet for them to have any chance disabling the US Fleet at the start was their only chance.
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Old 12th February 2021, 11:56 PM   #175
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
There is no "needed" when it came to the Philippines, though, other than being paranoid about the USA having a base next door IF they decided to intervene. If you look at at the invasion on the map, it's not like they planned to first take the Philippines and then use that to stage and supply the invasion of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia.) The Philippines was another invasion parallel to the others, so all it did for the invasion of Indonesia was divert manpower and logistics from it.
Take a look at a map. Between Japan and Indonesia is the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. If the USA had decided to attack Japan after Japan had taken Indonesia without taking the Philippines then Indonesia would be cut off.
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Old 13th February 2021, 04:20 AM   #176
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Not really, if you go via Taiwan, which was Japan's since the last time they had a go at kicking China's ass.

More importantly, though: Yes, well, that's the whole "IF", isn't it?

IF the USA is imminently going to attack Japan, then yes, not only does the invasion of the Phillippines make sense, but so does Pearl Harbour. (*)

IF not, then either is a stupid idea.

My argument is that realistically the USA was very unlikely to actually start a war against Japan.


(*) Well, if you absolutely must start a war. Not doing something that would start an unwinnable war against the USA would still be the more intelligent idea. But then it's the early '40's military we're talking about, and as they say, "military intelligence" is an oxymoron
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Old 14th February 2021, 03:25 PM   #177
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Not really, if you go via Taiwan, which was Japan's since the last time they had a go at kicking China's ass.

More importantly, though: Yes, well, that's the whole "IF", isn't it?

IF the USA is imminently going to attack Japan, then yes, not only does the invasion of the Phillippines make sense, but so does Pearl Harbour. (*)

IF not, then either is a stupid idea.

My argument is that realistically the USA was very unlikely to actually start a war against Japan.


(*) Well, if you absolutely must start a war. Not doing something that would start an unwinnable war against the USA would still be the more intelligent idea. But then it's the early '40's military we're talking about, and as they say, "military intelligence" is an oxymoron
Cannot agree. First Taiwan is far closer to the Philippines than to Indonesia. Then other historians agree that war was coming. It was just a matter who was going to attack first.

Quote:
Negotiations had been going on for months between Washington and Tokyo, without any resolution, so Japan decided to attack first.
https://www.historyonthenet.com/why-...k-pearl-harbor


Quote:
To Japan, war with the United States had become to seem inevitable, in order to defend its status as a major world power. Because the odds were stacked against them, their only chance was the element of surprise.
https://www.history.com/news/why-did...k-pearl-harbor

Plenty more links showing that war was inevitable.
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Old 14th February 2021, 03:50 PM   #178
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War was probably inevitable, but that doesn't mean Pearl Harbor wasn't a mistake. It really accomplished very little other than to bring the US in earlier than otherwise and unite the population behind the war. There might -- might! -- have been some way out for Japan other than total destruction otherwise.

And speaking of mistakes, how about Hitler declaring war on the USA after we did on Japan?
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Old 14th February 2021, 04:08 PM   #179
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Yamamoto felt Japan's chances of winning a war against the Americans were small, but he flet for them to have any chance disabling the US Fleet at the start was their only chance.
Sadly a fair number of the Fascist Militarists in Japan seriously thought they could win a war against the USA.

They seriously underestimated US industrial and thus potential military power. They did not take seriously how their own ongoing war with China would drain resources away from any war with the USA. They didn't take seriously enough that going to war with the Britain and the Netherlands at the same time would also be a drain on any war with the USA. Finally they neglected to take seriously that the need to maintain a massive army in Manchuria against potential involvement of the Soviets would be a drain. They also thought Nazi Germany would greatly inhibit the USA from using it's might to crush them. They also did not take into sufficient account just how weak Japan was compared to the USA in Industry and resources.

What many of them thought was that America did not have sufficient "will" to fight a prolonged difficult war especially if the Americans, (Who were in this fantasy seen has Merchants and Bankers etc., with no real stomach for fighting unlike the martial Japanese.), were also fighting Nazi Germany. Thus the Americans, being "weak" would let Japan have it's way in East Asia rather than fight a bitter war. This was all pie in the sky fantasy. (Although in fairness Hitler also bought some of this tripe.)

Thus a shocking number of these fools thought they could win. Realists, like Yamamoto were not, sadly, in the drivers seat in Japan.

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Old 14th February 2021, 11:06 PM   #180
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
Cannot agree. First Taiwan is far closer to the Philippines than to Indonesia. Then other historians agree that war was coming. It was just a matter who was going to attack first.



https://www.historyonthenet.com/why-...k-pearl-harbor



https://www.history.com/news/why-did...k-pearl-harbor

Plenty more links showing that war was inevitable.
They also don't seem to say what you think it says, or at least nothing contradicting what I was saying. Neither link says that the USA was planning to attack Japan, much less actually threaten it with war.

Negotiations had broken down over the USA embargo, not over the USA threatening war or anything equally silly. And in fact, negotiations were broken off by Japan in the first place.

War was inevitable only from Japan's fascist point of view, and only by way of Japan attacking first. Essentially it's just saying that Japan was inevitably going to attack if it doesn't get what it wants, which really it's like saying that my wife is inevitably going to get punched if she doesn't make dinner: it's not actually that inevitable, it's something you decide to do. It's only "inevitable" in the sense that if you know that one side is an aggressive and entitled ass hole, you kinda expect him to actually do something aggressive sooner or later. Typically around the time when he doesn't get what he thinks he's entitled to.
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Old 16th February 2021, 07:21 AM   #181
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This video makes a big case that by shooting for a empire japan undercuts exactly the resources it needed for the war to create the empire and their military expansion saw reduced imports of goods from all the conquered territory compared to before the war.

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
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Old 16th February 2021, 07:36 AM   #182
HansMustermann
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To be fair, some of that is Germany's fault, though, not strictly speaking Japan's. Not all, mind you, but some.

For example before the war, Japan was getting a LOT of oil and resources from the Netherlands. Then Germany invades the low countries, those join the UK, and put their resources at its disposal, leaving Japan dependent almost exclusively on the USA and extra vulnerable to the US embargo.

And it's not just the resources. For example, the war started by Germany is a main factor for why the USA starts investing heavily in a larger two ocean fleet. So by the time Japan does the US, it doesn't do nearly as much to put the USA on the back foot. Its naval building program is already running at full speed, and Japan is going to get the short end of that stick real soon.

Basically, with friends like these, who needs enemas?
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Old 16th February 2021, 11:03 AM   #183
Trebuchet
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Originally Posted by Pacal View Post
Sadly a fair number of the Fascist Militarists in Japan seriously thought they could win a war against the USA.
Basically they made the mistake of believing their own propaganda.
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They seriously underestimated US industrial and thus potential military power. They did not take seriously how their own ongoing war with China would drain resources away from any war with the USA. They didn't take seriously enough that going to war with the Britain and the Netherlands at the same time would also be a drain on any war with the USA. Finally they neglected to take seriously that the need to maintain a massive army in Manchuria against potential involvement of the Soviets would be a drain. They also thought Nazi Germany would greatly inhibit the USA from using it's might to crush them. They also did not take into sufficient account just how weak Japan was compared to the USA in Industry and resources.

What many of them thought was that America did not have sufficient "will" to fight a prolonged difficult war especially if the Americans, (Who were in this fantasy seen has Merchants and Bankers etc., with no real stomach for fighting unlike the martial Japanese.), were also fighting Nazi Germany. Thus the Americans, being "weak" would let Japan have it's way in East Asia rather than fight a bitter war. This was all pie in the sky fantasy. (Although in fairness Hitler also bought some of this tripe.)

Thus a shocking number of these fools thought they could win. Realists, like Yamamoto were not, sadly, in the drivers seat in Japan.
Here's a good, but incomplete discussion of the economic situation from combinedfleet.com.
It's incomplete because it fails to mention agriculture or natural resources. The USA had (and has) a vast amount of arable land, which is in short supply in Japan. And American agriculture was, compared to 1941 Japan's, highly mechanised, with a significant percentage of farmers having at least a tractor. American agriculture was able to feed not only our own troops and people but those of our allies as well.
Similarly, with its vast area the USA was rich in natural resources. Self-sufficient and then some in fossil fuels. Great reserves of iron and copper ores. Aluminum ore was lacking but available no farther than Canada and the Caribbean. And don't forget the forests -- wood was still a strategic material.
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Old 16th February 2021, 11:49 AM   #184
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
And don't forget the forests -- wood was still a strategic material.
Yes indeed, which after WW1 is why the eBritish set up the Forestry Commission was set up to plant and manage forestry as a national resource.
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Old 16th February 2021, 11:56 AM   #185
ponderingturtle
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Yes indeed, which after WW1 is why the eBritish set up the Forestry Commission was set up to plant and manage forestry as a national resource.
I thought it had one from back in Nelsons day when good oak was a strategic resource as you needed it for your ships. I know that forest management for the navy was a thing then why did that practice stop?
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Old 16th February 2021, 12:16 PM   #186
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When they stopped building ships out of oak.

It was only with the demand for huge amounts of timber to construct trenches and dugouts on the Western front and the reliance on the Baltic trade that it became important.
Domestic supply was seen as important when the Baltic trade was cut by German minefields and U-Boats.
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Old 16th February 2021, 12:50 PM   #187
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I would add that Britain also didn't really foresee what would happen in WW1. Britain was having a grand total army of about a hundred thousand professional soldiers, and seemed to have to discover the hard way that they needed more than that. As such, having the materials to build trenches and whatnot for more than that hundred thousand was also not foreseen.
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