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Old 02-13-2019, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Howard County, Maryland
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Assume that the history of Japan up to mid-1941 had gone as it actually did. That is, they had already invaded China, and the U.S. had already put its embargo of raw materials on Japan, thus leading the Japanese leadership to prepare to conquer other places to obtain the needed materials. However, let's say they conclude beforehand that there is no way that Japan can defeat the United States. Therefore, they diverge from actual history by deciding that under no circumstances will they attack anything American unless in self defense.

Thus, on December 7th, Japan launches its war of conquest in the Southwest Pacific. British and Dutch territories are attacked and fall. But Hawaii, the Philippines, Guam, and anything else American are completely left alone. American merchant ships are allowed to continue sailing the Pacific without interference. America's naval forces and army bases are left untouched.

How does the war go from here? Does America come to the aid of its European allies and fight on behalf of their conquered territories, or do our isolationist tendencies continue to hold sway? Do we provide material support to China, but don't get militarily involved? Does Japan manage to keep its conquered territories, take their resources for themselves, and decide that they've satisfied their war aims and stop further fighting? Does the Japanese Empire (excuse me, the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere") become a long-term reality, like the British Empire was?

In other words, how would the Pacific War gone if America had not been attacked first?
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:32 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
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We almost certainly would have focused all war efforts on Europe, once we got involved, and not maintained even the holding action we had in the Pacific until 1944 or so - minimal patrols along the Hawaii longitude and modest defense of the west coast.

Whether we ever went out against the Japanese empire - counting racism, disinterest and war fatigue on the other side - is the real question.
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Old 02-13-2019, 02:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bus man View Post
Assume that the history of Japan up to mid-1941 had gone as it actually did. That is, they had already invaded China, and the U.S. had already put its embargo of raw materials on Japan, thus leading the Japanese leadership to prepare to conquer other places to obtain the needed materials. However, let's say they conclude beforehand that there is no way that Japan can defeat the United States. Therefore, they diverge from actual history by deciding that under no circumstances will they attack anything American unless in self defense.

Thus, on December 7th, Japan launches its war of conquest in the Southwest Pacific. British and Dutch territories are attacked and fall. But Hawaii, the Philippines, Guam, and anything else American are completely left alone. American merchant ships are allowed to continue sailing the Pacific without interference. America's naval forces and army bases are left untouched.

How does the war go from here? Does America come to the aid of its European allies and fight on behalf of their conquered territories, or do our isolationist tendencies continue to hold sway? Do we provide material support to China, but don't get militarily involved? Does Japan manage to keep its conquered territories, take their resources for themselves, and decide that they've satisfied their war aims and stop further fighting? Does the Japanese Empire (excuse me, the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere") become a long-term reality, like the British Empire was?

In other words, how would the Pacific War gone if America had not been attacked first?
American involvement in the War in Europe I think was inevitable.

Edit - now this is what I get for reading too quickly, I had to completely delete my original paragraph because I thought you assumed that there was nothing but the second sino-japanese war.
So you propose that Japan attacked the European colonial colonies in the Pacific EXCEPT for the American held interests. My response is 1.) I beleive that would be a bridge too far for Japan in regards to threats to America, with or without a direct attack by Japan. America would have declared war. Japan knew that, which is why it was never considered - and hence the Pearl Harbor plan. I mean, America already had an oil embargo against Japan as a result of it's operations in China and indo-china. Relations were not good 2.) Japan also had it's own concept - the Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere - you couldn't do one (defeat Eureopean influence in the Pacific) without the other ( defeat American influence in the Pacific). It would have not made sense. It would be like Nazi Germany attacking Russia and leaving Poland as a free country.
So my response is your scenario could never have occurred.

Last edited by Dd714; 02-13-2019 at 02:50 PM..
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
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Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
So my response is your scenario could never have occurred.
Mmm. I can see three or four years of detente in the Pacific, plus war-weariness after settling the European mess, plus that general sense of distance and racism meaning a long-term acceptance/cold war over "American interests in the Western Pacific," which if I remember consisted almost entirely of rubber plantations. All the Japanese had to do was avoid overt attacks and tug their forelocks at our fearsome might and inherent rights while they consolidated the region over another decade or two. Maybe some token reparations/settlements President Garner could wave around in Congress.
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bus man View Post
Assume that the history of Japan up to mid-1941 had gone as it actually did. That is, they had already invaded China, and the U.S. had already put its embargo of raw materials on Japan, thus leading the Japanese leadership to prepare to conquer other places to obtain the needed materials. However, let's say they conclude beforehand that there is no way that Japan can defeat the United States. Therefore, they diverge from actual history by deciding that under no circumstances will they attack anything American unless in self defense.

Thus, on December 7th, Japan launches its war of conquest in the Southwest Pacific. British and Dutch territories are attacked and fall. But Hawaii, the Philippines, Guam, and anything else American are completely left alone. American merchant ships are allowed to continue sailing the Pacific without interference. America's naval forces and army bases are left untouched.
First, it's really hard to imagine Japan doing any such thing. Just look at a map. The U.S. presence in the Philippines represents such a massive strategic compromise to the Japanese position that would ensure once they have moved to seize the Dutch East Indies that it was simply intolerable from a military standpoint. Having made the decision to seize the British and Dutch resources that it needed to sustain its war effort, Japan essentially had to roll the dice and try and take the United States by surprise and hope that it could hit America hard enough to convince it to fold. That was a long-odds wager, but leaving American forces in the Pacific untouched while hoping the U.S. would politely let Japan run roughshod over SE Asia without intervening would have been an even lousier gamble for Japan.

Second, if Japan did do that then the United States would very likely intervene. Look at Gallup polls from 1941. Throughout the year, Gallup was asking the American public whether it was more important - avoiding war with Japan, or taking measures to check Japanese expansion even at the risk of war. For example, this question in August 1941 showed 70% in favor of checking Japanese expansion, 18% opposed. And by a 2-to-1 margin in early December but before Pearl Harbor, the American public thought that the U.S. and Japan would be at war 'in the near future'. So it's not like the public was either unamenable to moving against Japan or expecting that it would not come to war, notwithstanding the enduring myth of near-unilateral domestic opposition to intervening in the developing war.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bus man View Post
How does the war go from here? Does America come to the aid of its European allies and fight on behalf of their conquered territories, or do our isolationist tendencies continue to hold sway? Do we provide material support to China, but don't get militarily involved? Does Japan manage to keep its conquered territories, take their resources for themselves, and decide that they've satisfied their war aims and stop further fighting? Does the Japanese Empire (excuse me, the "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere") become a long-term reality, like the British Empire was?

In other words, how would the Pacific War gone if America had not been attacked first?
Third, the same polling revealed an American public that prioritized aiding the United Kingdom over remaining out of the war. Minutes reveal that after Pearl Harbor the White House was ready to commit to the war in Europe but waited for Hitler to declare war first for political reasons. In other words, the United States was going to be all-in in both the theaters (European and Pacific) once it entered the war. There never was going to be a situation in which the U.S. was involved in one theater but not the other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quietude View Post
Mmm. I can see three or four years of detente in the Pacific, plus war-weariness after settling the European mess, plus that general sense of distance and racism meaning a long-term acceptance/cold war over "American interests in the Western Pacific," which if I remember consisted almost entirely of rubber plantations. All the Japanese had to do was avoid overt attacks and tug their forelocks at our fearsome might and inherent rights while they consolidated the region over another decade or two. Maybe some token reparations/settlements President Garner could wave around in Congress.
Japan didn't have four years. The Japanese move to seize the Dutch East Indies was to secure oil, which the home islands lack. The Japanese military was consuming a great deal of fuel, both prosecuting the war in China as well as fueling the navy, necessarily large due to Japan being an island nation. With the U.S. refusing to export oil to Japan, the Japanese military was going to run out of fuel within the year unless Japan found an alternate source. They did, which was what December 1941 (not just Pearl Harbor but the seizure of the so-called 'Southern Resource Area') was all about.
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 2x3x29x41 View Post
Japan didn't have four years. The Japanese move to seize the Dutch East Indies was to secure oil, which the home islands lack. The Japanese military was consuming a great deal of fuel, both prosecuting the war in China as well as fueling the navy, necessarily large due to Japan being an island nation. With the U.S. refusing to export oil to Japan, the Japanese military was going to run out of fuel within the year unless Japan found an alternate source. They did, which was what December 1941 (not just Pearl Harbor but the seizure of the so-called 'Southern Resource Area') was all about.
That is exactly true. In 1940 Japan estimated it had only 2 years of oil left. There option was to withdraw from China and Indo-China and the death and destruction it was dealing (and thus lift the US oil embargo), or seize the oil fields in Dutch East Indies and go to war with the US.
We know what option they chose.
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Old 02-13-2019, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Aurora Denveralis
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I won't argue. There does seem to be some chicken-and-egg in assessing the US position; had we gone to war in Europe and thus been committed beyond Lend/Lease etc., I think opinion about engaging Japan would have rapidly changed.
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Old 02-13-2019, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bus man View Post

Thus, on December 7th, Japan launches its war of conquest in the Southwest Pacific. British and Dutch territories are attacked and fall. But Hawaii, the Philippines, Guam, and anything else American are completely left alone. American merchant ships are allowed to continue sailing the Pacific without interference.
I believe that the unraveling of your scenario would be a product of what you mention above. I think that it is safe to assume that in the above situation, the US would have supported the European powers and happily have sold them whatever weapons and supplies which were requested. A Naval power like Japan could not afford to allow a rival naval power a free hand in equipping its enemies, it would have to start targeting the US merchant ships. They sink a few.....outraged headlines in the US......declaration of war.
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Old 02-13-2019, 06:36 PM
 
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"In other words, how would the Pacific War gone if America had not been attacked first?"
the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs would not have been used.
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Old 02-13-2019, 06:44 PM
 
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I think we wouldn't have joined the war with Churchill against Germany, and in a short period of time, Germany would have won the war.

Churchill must have secretly been SO RELIEVED that Japan attacked the US, because until that happened, little England was having to stave Hitler off pretty much all by themselves.

Finally, FINALLY, Churchill had the assistance of Roosevelt in WWII.
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