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
Because we cut off petroleum sales to them, that’s one of the reasons.
Thanks for more neat statistics, moonshot925.
The Japanese knew they would never win a war with the United States.
Why they attacked Pearl Harbor is complex.
BTW, FDR wanted to bomb Japan from China in 1940.
They went after Indonesia, which had plenty of oil.
The US didn’t have much of a military at the beginning of the war. It amazes me still how quickly and dramatically we created a fleet and an army from almost nothing to an armada big enough to fight two major wars simultaneously. And win.
That’s a very complex question, one with no simple answer, but a bare bones version is China. Japan invaded China in ‘37, and by 1941, the US government, which had a large and rather vocal Chinese lobby, had had enough. The US enacted trade embargoes on many materials declared to be related to the war in China, such as oil and steel. Trade would be reopened if certain goalposts on an American-backed plan for peace were met. Japan didn’t feel like it could back down, and the embargoes were hitting the import-reliant Japanese economy hard. Therefore, it was decided that Japan would attempt to seize the resource-rich European colonies in the Pacific. The Philippines were (erroneously in retrospect) seen as a dagger straight into the heart of the supply lines of a potential invasion of the Dutch East Indies, and the British holdings in the Pacific. Therefore, it was felt that the US must be quickly knocked out in order to achieve their ultimate goal of conquering China.
Japan underestimated the US military, overestimated their own forces, and completely misread the politics of the US. They were hoping that a swift series of military victories could bring the US to the negotiating table like Russia in 1906. They were very, very wrong.
“oil-rich Dutch East Indies”
Compared to the United States, the Dutch East Indies were NOT oil-rich. The Dutch East Indies produced 7,262,000 metric tonnes of petroleum in 1937. That is only 5% of what the United States produced in the same year.
They believed they were a superior race and invincible. Americans were not much more than apes to their way of thinking.
“The US didnt have much of a military at the beginning of the war.”
We had 17 battleships and 7 aircraft carriers on 6 December 1941. 8 battleships and 5 aircraft carriers were under construction. The US Navy was a strong force.
Of the battleships, 8 were in the Atlantic and the Colorado was at Bremerton, WA being overhauled. We all know what happened to the others.
Of the aircraft carriers, 4 were in the Atlantic and the three Pacific carriers - Lexington and Enterprise were at sea and Saratoga was in CA - were saved. None of the carriers under construction were available before December 1942. We were in bad shape after Pearl Harbor; only America’s mighty manufacturing base saved us.
We also cut off steel, ore and scrap steel too didn’t we?
Also important to remember that many strategic US weapons were in full development BEFORE Pearl Harbor.
The B-29, the P-51 Mustang, the Jeep, which gave field officers unprecedented mobility.
America also developed and deployed the finest battlefield telephone and radio system in military history.
Also, the C-47, which was the finest cargo aircraft in the war.
Rather than commit national economic suicide they attacked.
Logistics did not seem to be their strong point. Instead of field kitchens, they would issue cookable food to the individual soldiers before the campaign, enough for a week or so, even before long campaigns. Capture what you need when you finish this.
I wonder how much that had to do with the atrocities? Take a bunch of prisoners when you’ve been out of food for two weeks and what happens next...
Don’t forget Japan had invaded Manchuria in 1931 , had defeated Russia in the 1904 war, and had invaded Korea before that. Japanese militarists and emperor thought they could do no wrong. The oil embargo also didn’t stop Japan from the scrap with Russia in 1939-40. Japan was in an aggressive mood and needed to take out the U.S. and Britain to further her plans of Asian domination. They miscalculated.
In 1937 we probably produced 400 times more than the rest of the world.
Japan shot their wad at Pearl Harbor and by the end of the war they were parking their ships due to a lack of fuel. The same lack of oil caused Germany downfall.
The Japanese considered anyone not Japanese as inferior ( they still do). They also regarded surrendering as disgraceful and scorned Allied troops who surrendered as cowards who didn't deserve normal enemy prisoner treatment. By contrast, the Nazis treated pows fairly well with the exception of the Russians who they were pretty awful to. Japan's atrocities in China towards the civilian population rival anything the Nazis did, but they did not limit their atrocities to the Chinese. They slaughtered over 100k Filipinos in Manila when retreating after we invaded in 1944 with the return of MacArthur.
So keep that in mind the next time the leftists start whining about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The A-bomb saved about 100k American lives who would have died in an invasion of the home islands... and also about a million Japanese civilian lives who would have been sacrificed to try to stop us.
It is amazing. D'Tocqueville had something to say about why that is:
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