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Thread: Fall of France

  1. #361
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    BF,

    That makes the decision to invade China look even more foolish in hindsight, if the US would have been prepared to stand by while Japan grabbed those colonies.
    the official invasion of China had been underway for four years when Japan did their colony grab. the unofficial invasion had started five years before that, in 1932, when Japan turned Manchuria into a puppet state. the unofficial invasion was a walkover, and even the official invasion had been pretty successful. Shanghai and Nanjing in 1937 were not easy campaigns for the Japanese but in the end, they were successful and took an enormous toll on the NRA. CKS lost his best German-trained units in the defense of Shanghai, and it took him almost two years to rebuild.

    the Japanese had no idea that France and the Netherlands would fall to Germany, and the Japanese most certainly wouldn't have taken on the British if the UK wasn't already fighting for her life.

    also the Japanese mostly had no idea that the Americans would CARE so much about China, and of the Japanese who did have an idea, they ACTIVELY wanted a war with the US.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Panay_incident

    Modern historians have gone back and analyzed the attack. Many now believe that the attack may have been intentional. According to John Prados, Navy cryptographers had intercepted and decrypted traffic relating to the attacking planes which clearly indicated that they were under orders during the attack and that it had not been a mistake of any kind. This information was not released at the time for obvious secrecy reasons. Writer Nick Sparks believes that the chaos in Nanking created an opportunity for renegade factions within the Japanese army who wanted to force the US into an active conflict so that the Japanese could once and for all drive the US out of China.
    keep in mind that the US army was absolutely minuscule in 1940/1941-- Portugal had a larger army than the US. the Pacific Fleet was a respectable size but the IJN was larger.

    and they were all crewed by inexperienced, materialistic weak Americans whom would give up with one blow of the Yamato spirit, lol.

    so from their POV, it would be easy to smash the Americans, eliminate their oil/rubber bottleneck, and then concentrate on the Chinese.
    Last edited by astralis; 26 Jan 18, at 16:15.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Here is another thought. If Japan isn't attracting all manner of unwanted attention from the US & if tensions in the Pacific aren't as high as they were before Japan & the US went to war, does the US end up at war in Europe? Do Japan & Germany become notional allies? Does Hitler declare war on the US? Is Roosevelt able to get the US into the war in Europe if he doesn't?
    Peter,

    It is my belief that once France fell it was a foregone conclusion that we were getting in the War. We started mobilizing in earnest. And the extension of mobilization in 1941 was more with an eye to fighting Germany.

    And once the war began it was a Germany first policy. Now it was not always followed. It was easier to get back on the winning ledger when you are eating the elephant one bite at a time versus trying to attack a continent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    Portugal had a larger army than the US.
    I always find that comparison funny, especially given that Portugal at the time - with around one-seventh the population of the US - was still beefed up from their participation in the Spanish Civil War, had a rather extreme conscription system with 6 years of service (in infantry and artillery units near 90% were conscripts) - and maintained a defense budget that would have fit in the US budget about 50 times...

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    so from their POV, it would be easy to smash the Americans, eliminate their oil/rubber bottleneck, and then concentrate on the Chinese.
    The only thing that make sense in their POV was self delusion. They could not knock out the NRA when they had free flowing oil and 1939-40 proved that the Chinese were capable of mounting offensive campaigns and destroying whole Japanese armies. The Japanese were at their limits while the Chinese still had more depth. The NRA even had able Generals, Xue Yue and Chen Cheng comes to mind who inflicted serious defeats onto the Japanese. KMT's limitation was munition but like the Soviets in the Urals, their factories were out of Japanese reach.

    It was a war the Japanese could not win and it was staring at them in their face ... and they thought knocking out the Americans would somehow weaken the Chinese. On what planet?

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    The only thing that make sense in their POV was self delusion.
    well, the Japanese were always known for -that-. the entire Russo-Japanese war was one enormous gamble which the Japanese were within a few weeks of getting smashed before Russia lost her nerve.

    and by then, -admitting- weakness wouldn't just get you fired, you'd get murdered-- by your own underlings.

    The Japanese were at their limits while the Chinese still had more depth.
    i dunno about their limits, the Japanese flung an enormous number of troops to fight the Americans and the British after all.

    to put it another way, say the Americans did throw in the towel after Pearl (was never going to happen, but let's just say they did). without LL, the Hump, and with hundreds of thousands of Japanese troops and Japanese industry untouched by the bombing, I don't think CKS could have survived the level of attrition. Mao was worthless the entire war, nothing more than raids punctuated by the One Hundred Regiments offensive.

    i mean, half the reason why CKS lost the civil war was because his taxation and corruption was so bad that it pissed off the entire countryside-- and that was with enormous infusions of American cash, weapons, and training. he probably would have lost the civil war in 1945-1946 if it wasn't for the Americans shuttling his troops around to take Japanese surrenders.

    the true Japanese delusion was that they could beat the Americans. beating the Chinese was probably JUST do-able for the IJA, provided they didn't make any extra enemies.
    Last edited by astralis; 26 Jan 18, at 19:35.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    i dunno about their limits, the Japanese flung an enormous number of troops to fight the Americans and the British after all.
    Measured in brigades and divisions. The Chinese theatre was measured in corps and armies. Japanese Generals at the end of Op ICHI-GO stated that they've taken too much Chinese territories and they were weaker than before ICHI-GO.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    to put it another way, say the Americans did throw in the towel after Pearl (was never going to happen, but let's just say they did). without LL, the Hump, and with hundreds of thousands of Japanese troops and Japanese industry untouched by the bombing, I don't think CKS could have survived the level of attrition. Mao was worthless the entire war, nothing more than raids punctuated by the One Hundred Regiments offensive.
    I don't know about CKS winning but he certainly was not losing. Even the areas under IJA control, the Chinese had free roam of the countryside. The Japanese only had control of rail and major cities (lines and points). Even the roads belonged to the Chinese. The point is that the IJA could not knock out the Chinese. They were relying on Chinese collapse. If the Chinese didn't collapse after Nanking, they were not going to collapse afterwards.

    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    the true Japanese delusion was that they could beat the Americans. beating the Chinese was probably JUST do-able for the IJA, provided they didn't make any extra enemies.
    Reading Sino-Japanese battles, the Japanese didn't have a clue of what being surrounded meant, either surrounding the Chinese or being surrounded by the Chinese. The 3 Chinese victories at Changsha was Xue Yue surrounding the Japanese.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    That makes the decision to invade China look even more foolish in hindsight, if the US would have been prepared to stand by while Japan grabbed those colonies. If japan was really smart it could have just taken Indochina & the DEI and leave British colonies alone. That would secure an awful lot of oil & other resources, give Japan control of vital trade routes, a presence in the Indian ocean & 5 years to settle in while Europe beat itself up. Come 1945 France & the Netherlands could jump up and down all they want, nobody is going to dislodge Japan. With those resources & relative peace Japan can really build up that industrial base, increase the size of the IJN and work on modernizing the IJA.
    I think Japan's situation might be aptly summed up as 'in for a penny, in for a pound'. Each new conquest, and each new flank they secured, did nothing but create more flanks, and there's basically this vicious cycle of insecurity and that they needed to keep securing their additonal flanks.

    To secure Korea, they felt they needed to secure Manchuria. To secure Manchuria, they felt they needed to secure northern China, especially after the Second United Front of 1936. Their attempts to secure northern China were threatened from central and southern China. Which lead them to secure Indochina, to close down the Haiphong corridor supplying the KMT and give them a base with which to conduct operations against southern China. This in turn sparks the oil embargo, and they then move into the Dutch East Indies. DEI in turn is perceived to be threatened on its flanks from the Phillipines and Malaysia, which in turn leads to Pearl Harbor.

    It was a clusterfuck of snowballs and mission creep to the nth degree.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    I think Japan's situation might be aptly summed up as 'in for a penny, in for a pound'. Each new conquest, and each new flank they secured, did nothing but create more flanks, and there's basically this vicious cycle of insecurity and that they needed to keep securing their additonal flanks.

    To secure Korea, they felt they needed to secure Manchuria. To secure Manchuria, they felt they needed to secure northern China, especially after the Second United Front of 1936. Their attempts to secure northern China were threatened from central and southern China. Which lead them to secure Indochina, to close down the Haiphong corridor supplying the KMT and give them a base with which to conduct operations against southern China. This in turn sparks the oil embargo, and they then move into the Dutch East Indies. DEI in turn is perceived to be threatened on its flanks from the Phillipines and Malaysia, which in turn leads to Pearl Harbor.

    It was a clusterfuck of snowballs and mission creep to the nth degree.
    It was no mission crepe. It was imperialism straight and simple. You're not an Asian power until you conquer China. There's an old saying in East Asia, you don't conquer China, China conquers you. However, to be the pre-eminent power in Asia, you have to rule China in order to dictate policy. What Japan wanted was to turn China into a protectorate and kick all the European powers out of Asia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post

    So, right now, it dawned on me to ask, what the hell were they thinking in attacking China?
    A century of concessions to European powers, a weak Chinese central government, valuable resources.... seemed like a smart move.

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    I'm certainly not going to disagree with the notion that Japan wanted to turn China into a protectorate, but the timing for the Japanese war in 1937 suggests other factors beyond simple imperialism were at play in Japan's decision to go into a full-on war in China in 1937. It would have been more advantageous for the Japanese to move in while the KMT and CCP were fighting their civil war and China was at its weakest. Instead, Japan didn't act until the KMT and CCP came to a sort of accord against Japan with the Second United Front.

    While imperialism was no doubt the overarching Japanese goal in China/East Asia, as far as the question "why the hell did Japan attack China anyways", as far as 1937 goes and why Japan did it when they did it, I think the most direct reason is the Second United Front and the nature of the more direct type of threat that it posed to Japan and its holdings in Manchuria.

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    BF,



    the official invasion of China had been underway for four years when Japan did their colony grab. the unofficial invasion had started five years before that, in 1932, when Japan turned Manchuria into a puppet state. the unofficial invasion was a walkover, and even the official invasion had been pretty successful. Shanghai and Nanjing in 1937 were not easy campaigns for the Japanese but in the end, they were successful and took an enormous toll on the NRA. CKS lost his best German-trained units in the defense of Shanghai, and it took him almost two years to rebuild.
    Sorry, should have specified 'further invasion'. Japan directly or indirectly controlled enough of China to secure its existing empire. Obviously Japan felt it could expand that territory successfully ,whether it was strictly necessary or not. Empires do like to expand.

    the Japanese had no idea that France and the Netherlands would fall to Germany, and the Japanese most certainly wouldn't have taken on the British if the UK wasn't already fighting for her life.
    Yeah, it was more a 'what if'. The possibility that China would be harder than it seemed or even that the US might be unhappy might have been forseeable. European Empires effectively collapsing as a result of a European war was not. In hindsight Japan & Italy could have ended the war as serious players rather than occupied piles of rubble.

    also the Japanese mostly had no idea that the Americans would CARE so much about China, and of the Japanese who did have an idea, they ACTIVELY wanted a war with the US.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Panay_incident



    keep in mind that the US army was absolutely minuscule in 1940/1941-- Portugal had a larger army than the US. the Pacific Fleet was a respectable size but the IJN was larger.

    and they were all crewed by inexperienced, materialistic weak Americans whom would give up with one blow of the Yamato spirit, lol.

    so from their POV, it would be easy to smash the Americans, eliminate their oil/rubber bottleneck, and then concentrate on the Chinese.
    Yeah. Spectacular foolishness 101. Even by the standards of the day Japanese groupthink was quite impressive. At least Hitler had some sort of chance to knock Russia out of the war by physical occupation and destruction of military capability.


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  12. #372
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Peter,

    It is my belief that once France fell it was a foregone conclusion that we were getting in the War. We started mobilizing in earnest. And the extension of mobilization in 1941 was more with an eye to fighting Germany.

    And once the war began it was a Germany first policy. Now it was not always followed. It was easier to get back on the winning ledger when you are eating the elephant one bite at a time versus trying to attack a continent.
    I'm inclined to agree Buck. I'm thinking more about timing, but with caveats. An important part of the growing preparedness of Americans to contemplate war in Europe was the threat in the Pacific. A link of sorts was perceived that helped to jolt Americans out of the sort of thinking that might simply dismiss Hitler as a 'European problem'. He was part of a wider problem that threatened US interests directly. Similarly, Hitler might be less inclined to declare war if Japan isn't at war with the US. Absent that it might be harder for Roosevelt to get the US into the war. Not impossible, but more difficult.


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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    A century of concessions to European powers, a weak Chinese central government, valuable resources.... seemed like a smart move.
    Something as simple as how to occupy and administer China did not occurred to them, else they would have figured they couldn't do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    I'm certainly not going to disagree with the notion that Japan wanted to turn China into a protectorate, but the timing for the Japanese war in 1937 suggests other factors beyond simple imperialism were at play in Japan's decision to go into a full-on war in China in 1937. It would have been more advantageous for the Japanese to move in while the KMT and CCP were fighting their civil war and China was at its weakest. Instead, Japan didn't act until the KMT and CCP came to a sort of accord against Japan with the Second United Front.

    While imperialism was no doubt the overarching Japanese goal in China/East Asia, as far as the question "why the hell did Japan attack China anyways", as far as 1937 goes and why Japan did it when they did it, I think the most direct reason is the Second United Front and the nature of the more direct type of threat that it posed to Japan and its holdings in Manchuria.
    The 2nd United Front is at best an excuse, not a threat. The actual Japanese invasion started in 1931 with Manchuria as a response to the Soviet victory in 1928 over the Chinese which threatened to take away China from Japan, so the Japanese struck first, taking Manchuria before the Soviets can. Once in Manchuria, the Japanese used every pretext in the book to expand the Japanese China Garrison Army.

    In short, the Japanese was well in place for war well before 1937.

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    Something as simple as how to occupy and administer China did not occurred to them, else they would have figured they couldn't do it.
    think Japan -could- have done it if they were more patient and didn't have crazy victory disease. they tried to swallow up china in one big gulp, but had they continued their original Manchukuo strategy of grabbing one province and puppeting it at a time, they could have done it without alarming the US.

    pretty much the same thing with Hitler. he got greedy and tried to win the lotto for the third time in a row-- when he didn't NEED to win another lotto.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    think Japan -could- have done it if they were more patient and didn't have crazy victory disease. they tried to swallow up china in one big gulp, but had they continued their original Manchukuo strategy of grabbing one province and puppeting it at a time, they could have done it without alarming the US.
    They had a competitor in the USSR who did their own version of the Manchu Incident in 1928 and one of the reason why they fought the 1939 War.

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