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Germany's strategic error? Barbarossa...

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Monash View Post

    Again possibly, but upon reflection maybe it was just a matter of that one key phrase you mentioned - loss of face. That and the need for 'Nemawahsi'. Point is you'd think any objective/cool headed analysis of Japan's strategic situation just prior to the commencement of the war (like Yamamoto's) would have placed the need for the earliest possible peace deal with the US at the forefront of Japan's priorities after it had achieved it's primary objectives. And yet what was there nothing, not even a peep.

    Even allowing for the huge disparity in industrial capacity, population and education I starting to think cultural issues may have been an even bigger weak spot. Perhaps there's a lesson there for everyone.
    Well it was a government by assassination.... The Japanese government was at cross purposes with itself. The Army and Navy hated each other. Neither had a firm grip on the political aspirations of mid-level officers and the Prime Minister had no constitutional authority over either, and the Emperor rarely intervened. The War with China was deliberate, but contrived at the level of colonels not generals. The Army had its own aircraft carriers.... The two services would meet and try to hammer out compromises on the direction of the war for the next six months.

    Doolittle scrambled them though. Coral Sea was a set back, but Doolittle opened up a whole new dimension to the war. For the First time in living memory, Japan itself had been attacked, and the emperor almost killed. The Navy couldn't catch the American carriers, so the army went crazy in China. They razed multiple cities, devastated 20,000 square km of country side and fully unleashed UNit 731 against the provinces where Dolittle was supposed to land and where the planes actual bailed out. Hundreds of thousands died in what can only be described as a revenge offensive. They also redirected JAAF ad JNAF fighters back to the home islands to defend against repeat raids. It really messed with their whole decision matrix. It was the impetus for taking Kiska and Attu and for Midway.