- 02 Aug 2013 06:12
The battle of Khalkin Gol suggests otherwise. And describing Japan as being in control of China is pretty misleading, large swaths of China were not in Japanese hands and parts nominally under Japanese rule were not in practice under their control.
The idea that the Japanese could have attacked the Phillippines, a US client state complete with US troops based there, without a response from the US is farcical. Given you go on to cite US sanctions against Japan during this period, I'm also unclear how you can believe that the US let the Japanese do whatever they wanted in China.[/quote]
Japan's first move in World War II was the invasion and occupation of Korea and China. Did they control the entire land mass of China? No, they really didn't have to, but there was no response, other than diplomatic outrage at the Rape of Nanking and other Japanese atrocities in China. A Japanese attack from the east against the USSR, would have proved tremendously advantageous to the German's on the Eastern front, not only in forcing Stalin to either defend against it, or supply needed manpower and Lend Lease supplies diverted from the main assault by the Nazi's. It also would have had a terrible morale effect on the Russians if they were suddenly attacked by the Japanese, while simultaneously fighting for their lives against the German's. We will never know, because Hitler never demanded quid pro quo of Japan when he declared war on America.
Very few military supplies were available in the Pacific Theater after Pearl Harbor, simply because most of those supplies had already been sent to England and Russia, and General Marshall had shrewdly convinced Roosevelt that Germany First should be America's policy in World War II. Marshall was correct, Germany was the greater threat. Surrounded by two oceans, and immune from air attack until very late in the war (the Nazi V-2 rocket could have reached New York), America was in the position to fight a two-front war, Germany was not. The oddest thing about that was American convoy ships with war material for the Russians, sailing, unchallenged through Japanese controlled waters, beefing up the Soviets to fight the Germans. Had the Japanese put a stop to those convoy runs, and they had the navy to do it, America' navy was mostly sitting in the silt at the bottom of Pearl Harbor at the time, perhaps the outcome would have been different. Even fighting against the huge Soviet Union, the Nazi's were still in a strong military position before Pearl Harbor to win the war. Had they conquered Russia, there would have been no Normandy invasion, the British would have been forced to sue for peace, and Japan would have maintained its Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity sphere.
The Japanese attack on the Philippines, under American control, took place on December 8, 1941, a day after Pearl Harbor, when the Japanese bombers caught General MacArthur's American-based combat aircraft sitting row-to-row, wing-tip to wing-tip, at Clarke Field, and destroyed all 200 aircraft, making the Philippines indefensible against the Japanese land assault that followed. Nobody ever mentions Mac's failure to disperse his aircraft, even with 24-hour warning that the navy had lost the battleships at Pearl Harbor, and even the Japanese couldn't manage to coordinate their attack against Pearl Harbor and the Philippines to occur on the same day, because of the International Date Line. Even so, had it only been the destruction of our aircraft, and soldiers in the Philippines, which is what occurred, America couldn't come to the rescue. Public opinion wouldn't allow it, Roosevelt wouldn't have risked the navy sailing all that way without sufficient air cover and submarine escort, and that is exactly what did occur. Because our battleships were destroyed at Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt ordered MacArthur out of the Philippines (afraid his capture would be too severe a blow to American morale), leaving General Wainwright to fight on at Bataan and Corregidor, and be forced to surrender. America abandoned the Philippines, simply because they couldn't do anything about it. Public opinion prior to Pearl Harbor would never have allowed Roosevelt to send our fleet to attack Japan's, in their seas, if they had initially just attacked the Philippines. China was our ally, we didn't do a thing about their attack on that country by Japan. MacArthur would live to fight another day, and his finest achievement, surprisingly, would not be military, but civilian, in dismantling the Japanese warlord mentality and nation, and rebuilding it into a great Western-style democracy after the war.
The Battle of Midway, where America surprised the Japanese navy, destroying four of their carriers and all their front line combat pilots, only losing one carrier (the Yorktown), ourselves, allowed America to stand pat in the Pacific Theater, and concentrate on building up England and Russian war supplies. The Guadalcanal Navy and Marine attack was an effort to flush the Japanese navy out into the open again, as the "Doolittle Raid" had flushed their carriers out at Midway. Admiral Spraque abandoned the Marines to fight alone on Guadalcanal, fearing the loss of his carrier's, and sailing away to safer waters. Roosevelt replaced him with Admiral Halsey. However, the Marines were abandoned and stuck fighting for an airstrip on Guadalcanal, using captured Japanese gasoline, parts, armaments and food. A desperate defense on a small strip of land, with the ocean to their back, Guadalcanal proved that the Japanese army and navy were vulnerable and could be beat. The Marines situation on Guadalcanal was so desperate, and we couldn't get any supplies in there because of Sprague's actions in sailing away, that Roosevelt, who already had ceded the Philippines to the Japanese, started talking about Guadalcanal in past tense. Halsey returned with the fleet and both the Marines and the Navy fought desperately against the Japanese day and night to win that vital airstrip. By a strange coincidence, Guadalcanal took place at the same time as the desperate battle for Stalingrad, both being last ditch defenses with troops with no place to go, the Marines into the Pacific Ocean, the Soviet's into the river. They were both turning points in World War II, however, few historians make the connection. At both places, the enemy, Nazi Germany and Shogun Japan, were stopped in their tracks. The Russian winter, and Hitler's "stand or die" order, cost him a huge army at Stalingrad, which could have turned the tide on the central Eastern front if he didn't order its destruction. The Marines destroyed and burned out the Japanese defenders on Guadalcanal, fanatical troops who would fight to the death throughout the entire Pacific island hopping campaign. America would fight a two pronged war in the Pacific, the Marines and Navy island hopping at Tarawa, Bougainville, Peliu, Saipan, Guam, Iwo Jima and Okinawa, establishing airstrips on those islands and moving steadily toward the Japanese homeland, while the U.S. Army, under General MacArthur, would parallel the naval assault with a land assault through New Guinea and the Philippines, keeping the Japanese from moving against New Zealand and Australia. Meanwhile, America would go ahead with the North Africa landing's, fighting through Sicily, Italy, than Normandy and on to Germany, and the end of the war in Europe. The atomic bombs would be used to end the war on the Japanese, because of their fanatical defense against our attacks, it was estimated a million American casualties would occur if we had to invade their home islands. Truman was correct in dropping them.
Many historians have criticized Roosevelt for allegedly dividing up Eastern Europe with Stalin into spheres of influence and control prior to the end of the war, but in actual fact, America's troops only got halfway into Germany, and were ordered to stand down and allow the Russian Army to take Berlin. We than traded an entire province of Germany over to Soviet control for a 1/4 interest in the city of Berlin, which, maintaining that "piece" would turn into one of the first confrontations with the Soviets in the new Cold War with the Berlin Airlift. As late as 1947, the Soviets were still considered "tentative" allies of America, at least in American public opinion, and saving Central and Eastern Europe from Soviet control, would have meant America going to war with the USSR over Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, etc. Their troops were already standing on those territories when the war with Germany ended. Truman and MacArthur, did however, keep the Soviets from having any input on the rebuilding of Japan, even though they declared war on Japan with a month left in the war...........Stan............