Skip to comments.Why would Japan attack the United States given the vast difference in petroleum production?
Posted on 06/09/2012 10:58:24 PM PDT by moonshot925
I am going to use the data from the "League of Nations Statistical Yearbook" for the year 1937. It has accurate figures for production.
CRUDE PETROLEUM PRODUCTION(metric tonnes)
United States = 148,070,000
Japan = 354,000
In the Japanese extimation, the United States didn't have the moral strength or unity to fight a bloody war of attrition in the Pacific. They believed that one or two quick, decisive blows would eliminate our naval power and our advance bases in Asia and they would assert control and that we would accept the new reality.
They didn't know us.
It didn’t make much sense for the US to have the majority of its major ships on the Atlantic. Italy’s Regia Marina was confined to the Mediterranean and the Nazi surface fleet was virtually insignificant (apart from a few pocket battleships which were a nuisance...
Precisely. The American psyche, at that time, was such that the only acceptable outcome of the Pacific war was Unconditional Surrender. No other outcome was acceptable.
Mecca still stands. Times have changed.
That the relatively backwards East Indies didn't produce much isn't a surprise. Japan was interested in what was still in the ground, not what had already been pumped.
Japan produced only 7% of their oil needs prior to the war.
but they didn’t need more than a certain basic amount to fuel their manufacturing and military requirements
Maybe Tojo and some generals espoused the above, but the Admirals understood the fuel crisis. The first thing after Pearl Harbor was to try and secure the shipping lanes to the Indies and the oil there.
WWI and WWII ended the same way with the losers stuck without the fuel to continue fighting.
Agree on all counts. The Japanese believed that they were racially superior (and btw, still do)to westerners and even their fellow Asians. Thereby, they held a deep resentment that white westerners were the colonial masters of large chunks of Asia which they considered their right to rule. Also, being that they (Japanese) did have aspirations to have hegemony over the Pacific and all the land associated with that region, including much of China they needed large quantities of natural resources such as iron and oil. When the U.S. embargoed them from access to these resources they had to look elsewhere, such as to SEA, Australia and China. However, they (Japanese) knew that inorder to conquer these countries and to rule the Pacific it would have to take out the U.S. Pacific fleet. Hence, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the following coordinated attacks on strategic countries along the Pacific rim. Btw, initially, the citizens of these various countries perceived the Japanese not as conquerors but as welcome hero's who had arrived to free them from the “white man's yoke”. Sadly, they soon learned that enslavement is enslavement regardless of the color of one’s master - and the Japanese were very harsh masters indeed...
plato told him:
he couldn’t believe it
(jesus told him;
he wouldn’t believe it)
lao tsze certainly told him,
and general (yes mam) sherman ;
and even (believe it or not)
you told him:
i told him;
we told him
(he didn’t believe it,no sir)
it took a nipponized bit of
the old sixth avenue el;
in the top of his head: to tell him
— e. e. cummings
I think we still would have prevailed (due to the atomic bomb which was going to be developed regardless) but short term, the situation in the Pacific would have been much grimmer.
Almost certainly, the Japanese would have gone on to occupy the Hawaiian island and our all-important Pearl Harbor base would be useless to us. Further, the Japanese would have had a free hand in the entire Pacific and would also have captured and occupied Australia as well as the Aleutian islands and quite possibly the oil-rich area of Alaska.
The U.S. Navy would have been forced to retreat to the West Coast of the U.S. until such time that additional battleships and carriers could be built for Pacific operations. Remember that at that time, the focus was on the European War and the priority was to establish a beachhead in northern Europe - which was still two full years away.
It was because of Midway that the Allies saw fit to continue to pour resources into the Pacific - in order to keep the Japanese on the defensive. If not for the turning point of Midway, in which U.S. naval forces were able to achieve parity with the Japanese virtually overnight, the island hopping campaign that brought us virtually to the shores of mainland Japan by the time of the German surrender would not have been possible.
Instead, we would have been forced to put the Pacific War in a holding pattern and focus our efforts there on defending the West Coast until such time the battle in Europe could be won. The Japanese empire would have become just as powerful as Nazi Germany and it would likely taken us into 1946 or 1947 before we could be in position to drop atomic bombs on Japan because first we would need to get close enough to stage aircraft within striking distance (our atomic bombs were delivered by B-29s that were stationed on the island of Tinian) because at that time, our bombers did not have the range that they have today.
Still can’t figure how dumb they were to attack the USA
NO way we would have attacked them for going into SE Asia
Hell the vast majority of the American public wanted no parts of war with Germany or Japan until Pearl harbor
Big blunder on their part
The Japanese vastly underestimated America’s resolve. They thought we’d act like Czarist Russia after getting our nose bloodied.
Yamamoto, who had studied at Harvard and been assigned to the embassy in Washington warned the War Cabinet, “We’ll have to march into Washington and dictate the peace treaty.” in order to win. The Japanese thought that after the defeats at Pearl Harbor, the Phillipines and the western Pacific, the Americans would sue for peace.
We did not feel obligated to honor their assumptions.
What if the Japanese had invaded Pearl Harbor on December 8th?
The Japanese missed the really important target in Hawaii: oil storage facilities. On December 8, 1941, there was more oil in Hawaii than in Japan. If they had wrecked the oil storage facilities, there would have been no Battle of Midway, because there would have been no fuel for the ships and planes that won it. Instead of “The Battle of Midway” it would have been the “Unopposed Occupation of Midway”.
Plus the fact that neither Germany nor Japan bombed any major infrastructure here also helped us win the war.
And why did we do that, exactly? The story does not start with the U.S. embargo on Japan.
Also Hitler didn’t want to declare war on us either. A false promise was made by Japan that they would attack the Soviet Union if Germany declares war on us.
Not necessarily foolish on their part. The West had gotten together to fight the Chinese during the Boxer Rebellion despite the non-existence of any standing military pact. The Japanese probably feared a sneak attack by US forces if they forged into SEA Asia, ex-US possessions like the PI. They also under-estimated the logistical capabilities of US forces, and for good reason - no one in the history of man had ever transported millions of fighting men across so many time zones to fight a war using the amount of equipment needed for modern warfare. The troops and equipment used in colonial ventures like the Philippines-American War were puny in comparison.
Then you have the fact that long distance war is tough on the nation with the long logistical tail (Uncle Sam and every European colonial power in Asia). The Russians sent their Baltic fleet thousands of miles to fend off the Japanese and were crushed at the Battle of Tsushima. Surely the Russians, with the largest empire in the world, were a more formidable opponent than the US.
Besides, Uncle Sam had always been a penny-pincher in terms of military expenditures. Would he spend vast sums of money to recover a soon-to-be ex-colony to which independence had been promised (the Philippines) and a set of islands of marginal economic value (the Hawaiian Islands) whose status at the time wasn't all that different from the Philippine Islands? From a pure dollars-and-cents perspective, it made no sense for us to fight that war. And from a security perspective, it probably never occurred to the Japanese that Uncle Sam would feel threatened by the potential Japanese conquest of the Hawaiian Islands, which are over 2000 miles away from California.
They turned out to be very wrong in their calculations, but I'd say they were unlucky rather than dumb. It never occurred to them that freedom-loving Americans would subject themselves to conscription and that US defense expenditures would ever eat up 50% of American industrial output from a pre-war base of 1% of industrial output.
Perhaps if the Japanese had embarked upon a "peaceful occupation" of the Dutch East Indies, they might have gotten away with it. The British, who were preoccupied in Europe, would probably have done nothing, and so would the US.
If the Japanese still see themselves as superior to everyone else, why do they seem not to express it as in the past and why the seeming ‘’worship’’ of sorts of things (and sometimes people of American descent) American?
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