It was mostly because of the fucking massive hit they took at Midway.
The Japs actually would have had a pretty good chance of winning, but failure to complete some critical objectives at Pearl due to reluctance to send another wave of planes, the loss of most of their experienced pilots at Midway, their defeat at Guadalcanal, Wake and the Coral Sea ultimately doomed the (fairly competent) Imperial Japanese Navy.
Also contributing to it was the shortage of vital supplies like fuel and steel for supply and repair, and the failure of the High Command to modify their "Absolute Victory/Decisive Battle" Doctrine to a carrier based one, like the US. And the giant hit their morale took when Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was killed under their watch at Rabaul.
>>122102492 Japan's defeat was inevitable. The industrial base of the US was vastly greater than that of Japan. Even if Japanese plans had gone perfectly, which of course they didn't, it would have only delayed the inevitable. As Yamamoto said "I shall run wild considerably for the first six months or a year, but I have utterly no confidence for the second and third years." The Japanese thought that democracies were inherently weak and unwilling to wage wars. Japanese plans relied on the US rapidly losing the will to fight and making a peace treaty that was favorable for Japan. That assumption resulted in a colossal miscalculation on the part of the Japanese government and they drove themselves into a conflict that they could not win. The Russo-Japanese war, where they were able to extract a favorable peace treaty from a tottering empire with no will to fight but greater resources than them, had taught them the wrong lesson.
>>122103626 No, it wouldn't have worked. Even if things had gone perfectly for Japan, the US would have kept fighting until they were bled dry. The US was determined to beat Japan. The idea of a advantageous peace treaty after Pearl Harbor was a Japanese pipe dream.
The only way for Japan to have kept its empire would have been to accept the Hull note. That would have involved them withdrawing from China, but they would have kept Korea, Manchuria, Taiwan and other islands. Of course Japan was gripped by such strong nationalism that backing down in such a way was impossible and, and as often happens in such cases, in seeking to gain everything they instead lost everything.
>No, it wouldn't have worked. Even if things had gone perfectly for Japan, the US would have kept fighting until they were bled dry. The US was determined to beat Japan. The idea of a advantageous peace treaty after Pearl Harbor was a Japanese pipe dream.
Not necessarily. The Nazis were still a major threat in 1942 and 1943. A series of major victories could indeed have forced the US to refocus its attention squarely on Europe and conclude a truce.
Of course, there would have been a fresh war a few years down the road, one in which the US had nuclear bombs and Japan did not.
>>122103858 >The only way for Japan to have kept its empire would have been to accept the Hull note. That would have involved them withdrawing from China, but they would have kept Korea, Manchuria, Taiwan and other islands. Thing is, they were majorly confused by Hull's note because he didn't distinguish between Manchuria and China at the time. According to higher-ups after the war, had the Japanese been clarified about being able to keep Manchuria, they would certainly have delayed the idea of an attack until after spring 1942, by which then it would have been clear that their Axis partners were not going to defeat the Soviet Union.
>>122103393 Japan would not have won, but they could have forced a stalemate (still a technical loss). Among other things, they didn't consider carriers a more important target, nor start using them in a more active role (they were always considered second to battleships).
You know, I'm more surprised they didn't join the war vs Germany or Russia; they were formerly on the allied side in WWI.
Or why they didn't join Germany in fighting the British or French.
America would never have joined the war directly had they done so, given their isolationist policies at the time. Up until the attack on Pearl Harbor, America was only sending some supplies over to Europe, if only because it kept the war over there.
>>122104002 What are you going on about? Accepting the Hull note would mean never starting a war with the US or other Western states in the first place. The moment Japan attacked the US, its fate and that of its empire was sealed.
>>122104038 The US was already following a Germany first policy and sending most of its resources to Europe but despite that was able to operate quite effectively in the Pacific theater. But I think you are introducing too many hypotheticals here by assuming a reverse in the European theater.
>>122104065 I've read the argument that they were looking for an excuse to reject the Hull note and seized upon that ambiguity as an excuse to reject it. If they were interested in peace they could have had the US clarify its position before rejecting it.
>The US was already following a Germany first policy and sending most of its resources to Europe but despite that was able to operate quite effectively in the Pacific theater. But I think you are introducing too many hypotheticals here by assuming a reverse in the European theater.
No, I meant victories in the Pacific, not in Europe. If Pearl Harbor had been knocked out of commission, the Panama Canal destroyed, and the West Coast getting constantly raided by Japanese ships? It would have been ugly.
>>122104163 >You know, I'm more surprised they didn't join the war vs Germany or Russia; they were formerly on the allied side in WWI. Because they were snubbed in the Treaty of Versailles and the failure of this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_Equality_Proposal
To the Nips, it was a blow to their national pride because it looked to them like the West would never consider them an equal power due to being yellow, and so they started losing their trust in the democracies.
>>122104163 Japan did fight land battles against the Soviet Union in the late 30s (e.g. the battle of Khalkhin Gol). The Japanese army was utterly crushed by the Soviet army and did not dare to challenge them again. These defeats is one of the main reasons Japan decided to expand in the Pacific.
Still, not signing a neutrality pact with the Soviet Union, thus forcing the USSR to keep significant military forces tied down near the Pacific, would have been extremely helpful to Germany. The fact Japan didn't do that was a pretty big blunder.
>>122104425 That's again too many hypotheticals. And I really don't see how Japan could have been able to dominate the Pacific so completely as as to be able to raid the West Coast. Sounds to me as realistic as the plot of a Tom Clancy novel.
>>122104332 There were plenty of Japanese who wanted to avoid war with a power they knew they could not beat. >All of the men at the liaison conference, from Tojo to Togo, believed that Hull's reference to “China” included Manchuria. In 1967 a number of Tojo's close associates were asked what might have happened if Hull had clarified that point. Kenryo Sato, learning the truth for the first time, slapped his forehead and said, "if we had only known!" Very excitedly he added "If you had said you recognized Manchukuo, we'd have accepted!" Suzuki, Kaya and Hoshino would not go that far. Kaya, now a leading politician, said, "If the note had excluded Manchukuo, the decision to wage war or not would have been rediscussed at great length. There'd have been heated arguments at liaison conferences over whether we should withdraw at once from North China in spite of the threat of Communism." At least, said Suzuki, Pearl Harbor would have been prevented. "There might have been a change of government."
That's from page 145 of John Toland's "The Rising Sun: Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-1945", easily the best book I've ever read for Imperial Japanese history for that period.
Pearl Harbor gets knocked out completely during the sneak attack instead of leaving all the repair and refueling facilities intact. Then the Panama Canal gets bombed by carrier planes, meaning the Atlantic fleet can't come over and reinforce. Midway is won by Japan and the US carrier fleet is destroyed.
That's a rolling storm of disaster. From Midway they could have jumped off and tried an invasion of Hawaii, which would have stretched their supply lines badly but which would have neutralized the submarine threat. Or they could launch carrier-based raids on the West Coast, focusing on the Naval Yards at San Diego. Or both.
Sure, in a year the US will have churned out more than enough ships to replace all their losses. But a lot can happen in a year to make that moot.
>>122104938 Fair enough. Perhaps Japan could have taken a different course. However that isn't at all certain, as these sources indicate. There were plenty of people in the Japanese government who though that the US was weak and would submit to an attack.
Reminds me of Hitler's conviction that France and the UK were too weak and would never dare declare war if he invaded Poland. He was really surprised when they did do so.
>>122105178 Yeah, the army in China did whatever it wanted and the Japanese government was forced to pretend it had approved of its actions in advance in order to maintain the illusion that they were in control. Reigning in the Japanese military would have been extremely difficult at best.
>>122105117 Because Tripartite Pact and Anti-Comintern Pact. >>122105178 No, only the Army wanted war with the United States, because to them, fighting the US would be the Navy's job, which conversely was the reason that the Navy was opposed to war. But uh, Tojo was the Prime Minister, and he was Army, so guess who got their way in the end?
Having an interservice rivalry is one thing, but letting things like this get to that point was disastrous.
>>122105077 I still think this is too unrealistic. In a war things will not go perfectly for one side. Japan wasn't even able to meet its own very ambitious objectives in the Pacific theater; accomplishing what you are proposing would have been pretty much impossible.
>>122105117 Read up on the Anti-Comintern Pact. Japan saw the Soviet Union as a threat, plus it was a revisionist power that wanted to carve out an empire.
>>122105363 Because that's what happens when you triple the size of your army through conscription just to invade a country, you get a lot of pretty scummy people instead of professional soldiers who volunteered.
>>122105310 He was completely pro-war and pushing for an attack on the US. Blame MacArthur for whitewashing him after the war because he thought that Hirohito was necessary for the post-war government to be seen as legitimate.
>>122105434 On paper perhaps. But in practice Hirohito had huge authority simply because he was the emperor. The Japanese government tried to do what he said he wanted done.
>>122105363 Same reason as in the Eastern Front. >induce nationalistic stupor amongst your citizens >get a fuckton of conscripts >set them loose in a nation deemed inferior >make no attempts to curtail any atrocities at best, and go as far as encouraging them at worst
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