Skip to comments.Why Japan Really Lost the War
Posted on 06/07/2014 8:04:39 PM PDT by princeofdarkness
It's no secret that Japan was, shall we say, 'economically disadvantaged' in her ability to wage war against the Allies. However, the sheer, stunning magnitude of this economic disparity has never ceased to amaze me. So, just go give you an idea of the magnitude of the mismatch here, I decided to compile a few statistics. Most of them are taken from Paul Kennedy's "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" (which, among other things, contains an excellent analysis of the economic forces at work in World War II, and is an all-around great book) and John Ellis' "World War II: A Statistical Survey." In this comparison I will focus primarily on the two chief antagonists in the Pacific War: Japan and the United States. They say that economics is the 'Dismal Science'; you're about to see why....
(Excerpt) Read more at realclearhistory.com ...
We could not win a world war as we stand today . flame away
When the war started we still had guys on horseback, practicing with brooms instead of guns and trucks that said “I am a tank” on them.
The real production shot up AFTER the war started.
They thought they could shock the US out of fighting at Pearl Harbor and they lost the gamble.
Interesting comparison of the war production capabilities of the U.S. vs. Japan.
I’ve read that the biggest mistakes that made at Pearl Harbor was not destroying dry docks and the oil farm.
With US might on his side victory was assured against the Nazi. As for Japan they would "be ground to powder".
Japan won the first months of the war by courage determination, high quality pilots and air crew and better planes and ships.
By 1943 we had equaled them in every respect and probably surpassed them in quality of aircraft. We then totally surpassed them in production. We kept increasing that edge as the war went on.
We probably never did produce pilots as good as the Japanese early war pilots but we did produce ones who were better than what the Japanese had later.
Eventually we just overwhelmed them with numbers and courage.
“We could not win a world war as we stand today
. flame away
No flaming here——I agree.
John Parshall co-wrote, with Anthony Tully, “Shattered Sword, the Untold Story of the Battle of Midway.” I consider this one of the most exhaustive, well-researched books to come out in the last 20 years. And it is in a very readable style as well.
He hosts the “Nihon Kaigun” website, one of my top internet resources regarding the Imperial Japanese Navy.
“Ive read that the biggest mistakes that made at Pearl Harbor was not destroying dry docks and the oil farm.”
Their biggest mistake was not catching our aircraft carriers at dock at Pearl Harbor.
Upon hearing that no carriers were destroyed in his Pearl Harbor attack, Yamamoto said that Japan had just lost the war.
We could not win a world war as we stand today
You may be right. America, in WWII, fought the war on 2 fronts - Europe, and the Pacific. In Europe, Russia is credited with ‘breaking’ the Nazi Military. But, they could not have done it without American supplies & materiel.
In the Pacific, there was the United Kingdom. But America, and the USMC, did the yeoman’s work, sacrificing thousands.
One must always ‘wonder’, given the might of America’s industrial base, could we still have that vast, un-tapped reservoir to fight another war, on 2 Fronts...
But beyond that, never forget - WE WALKED ON THE MOON !
Destroying the dry docks and tank farm would have been a set back, but could not have changed the outcome. The biggest mistake of Pearl Harbor was not destroying the shipyards that turned out 24 Essex Class aircraft carriers.
There was nothing Japan could do to win the war. They could only prolong it.
Fewer than 1 or 2% of the American public really know why Japan surrendered. Yes, their shipping was gone and two cities blown away —very impressive military blows. But that is STILL not the reason why they quit:
Part of the Yalta Agreement was that within a short time of the end of the war in Europe Stalin was required to aid in the defeat of the Japanese, and no Japanese decision maker expected that Soviet conquerers would permit the Emperor system to continue:
At the time of that signing of Yalta the Americans and Japanese both had front row seats see theing way the Soviets were snapping up conquered lands in Europe and the suspicion was that they’d never be in a move to leave those lands —evar.
That is the reason why Germany ended up divided (food had to be flown into a surrounded Berlin by air). That is the reason Korea was divided and is divided to this day —because of the special nature of losing to the *Soviet Union*.
1. The Japanese knew if the Soviets were major players in the defeat of Japan that the Emperor and his family would probably have to be hung.
2. The Americans realized Japan would end up a divided country (the only pre-1900 lands that Japan lost and are still lost are those she lost to the Soviets).
True. As a whole however, we were better prepared for World War II than World War I despite the early setbacks of 1942.
We could win a world war today, IF we had:
A President dedicated to win
A President who was loyal to this country.
A ruling party who didn’t punish American Industry.
A ruling party that didn’t try to eliminate the firearms industry.
Enough young people who were not so self absorbed.
An American media that was loyal to this country.
In fact, I thought I recognized the excerpt you posted. Follow the link and it is one of Parshall’s articles on the Combined Fleet website I linked.
By the way, if you want some really tragic reading, read the article about the sinking of Shokaku at the Battle of the Philippine Sea.
Japan lost because we took the war to them and destroyed their ability to make war. Then we nuked them.
“Japan won the first months of the war by courage determination, high quality pilots and air crew and better planes and ships.”
I don’t think so. If we had been preparing for war for months and years as they had been, they would have won nothing. They launched surprise attacks. If they weren’t a surprise, they wouldn’t have fared as well as they did.
Thanks, I’ll do that.
We couldn’t win a world war as things stood at the outset of WW2 either.
The problem is the next WW is likely to begin and end in a natter of days or weeks.
I’m sure China plans to defeat us conventionally and to destroy our homeland if we resist thereafter.
My mother was born in 1929 so she was growing up during WW2 and watched her brothers, uncles and cousins sign up in the service and be gone for years. Her brother was a missionary in the Philippines. He disappeared into a POW camp in 42 and this 6 foot linebacker came back at 89 pounds in 1945. She said something when I was growing up that I have always remembered. “Anyone who thinks America can be beaten in a war has never seen America mobilize for war.”. Sure we have some liberal wussies, but here in VA we have lots of recent vets. Trust me, if we ever flip the switch to full warfare the other side is ucked.
“That is the reason why Germany ended up divided (food had to be flown into a surrounded Berlin by air).”
The Berlin airlift wasn’t until 1948 and only lasted 11 months.
Most definitely the Russians’ crushing of the Japanese army in Manchuria made the Japanese realize they did not want Russian occupiers in Japan. The nukes sealed the deal.
Let me append #2:
The American side knew that if the war on Japan were drawn out on very stiff surrender terms involving amphibious landings on the main Japanese islands, then this would give Stalin more time to shift his forces east —it would play into Stalin’s greedy, land-seizing hands.
Instead of only losing the “Northern Territories” (which belonged to Japan and are north of Hokkaido, near Sakhalin Island), she would instead lose all of Hokkaido.
More likely is that Japan would have lost MORE than that, since the Red Army never blanched as the type of casualty counts that make American armies nervous.
We could have seen the US sector of Japan being everything south of Tokyo, and the Russians everything north of that, as in Korea.
I wish I could believe you but unfortunately we now live in a different world in regards to demographics, economics, culture, and an outright lying media. All these factors would hinder us winning a global war.
You said it better than I did.
And at the other end of the war, there is an excellent documentary, “The Last Bomb”, featuring Curtis LeMay, showing all the planning and logistics that went into a B29 raid.
I was born just before that awakening. I do remember the fury. If you are going to war what sense does it make to give into the enemies within and do anything less than apply every ounce of our tremendous strength with a cold, methodical fury against both enemies foreign and domestic.
BTW, a couple of years ago John Batchelor interviewed an author of a new book about how (I am trying to remember exactly) the GNP measurements won W.W.II.
The whole measurement of our economy's output was developed to tell the generals what they would have in 1943, 1944, and beyond. The numbers were almost exact it turned out and the generals planned with confidence.
I used to read news articles from back then. One I remember well, late in the war, was a complaint that our aircraft production was simply too high. LOL.
>>Enough young people who were not so self absorbed.
An American media that was loyal to this country.<<
These two are the reasons why we would lose the war. Our youngsters are almost full blooded socialists and the media hates the productive work force.
A successful D-Day probably saved millions of German and Japanese lives as well. If our invasion had failed, we'd have re-grouped in England, the B-29's would've firebombed Germany into the Stone Age, and we would've carpet-nuked our way to Berlin. Japan would've ceased to be a race (Bull Halsey once said the only place the Japanese language would've been spoken "was in Hell").
Economics? That is true but there other reasons Japan could
not defeat the US. Japanese war strategy sucked in many ways. For
example often the US would rotate fighter pilots home so they could
help to train new pilots and provide up to date tactical information
Japanese pilots stayed in combat zone and perished with their
The Japanese soldiers were mostly fanatical but stupid. My paratrooper
dad and his division pursued the Japanese thru the mountain Jungles
of Leyte. When the Japanese became hungry they would stop beside
a creek, start a fire, and boil rice. Of course the fire would mark their
position. Their leather belt and other gear would acquire a nasty odor
in the jungle humidity. This would also betray their position. The ways
that the Japanese lagged behind the Yanks are too numerous to tally.
I'd bet you've read it.
It is not the media sending US manufacturing to China.
Since the United States Army did most of the fighting and dying, and beach assaults, in the Pacific, you should always remember to mention them when addressing our efforts in the Pacific.
“But beyond that, never forget - WE WALKED ON THE MOON !”
I guess we could try moon walking into Tehran.
What about the flying Tigers. If I remember correctly they bested the Japanese early on using inferior planes
The dry docks and tank farms would have been targeted by a third strike on Pearl Harbor. Younger Japanese commanders—specifically Fuchida and Genda—argued forcefully for such an attack, but Admiral Nagumo refused to go along, for several reasons.
First, he was concerned about his ships’ fuel state, and lingering in Hawaiian waters would exacerbate that issue. Secondly, the accuracy of U.S. AAA fire improved remarkably during the second wave, and Nagumo feared additional losses. Third, the location of our carriers was still unknown, and the Japanese were worried about a surprise attack against their flattops while the strike force was over Pearl.
Having won a great victory, Nagumo decided against risking another strike on Pearl and headed home. Tactically, it was the right thing to do, but strategically, it was a costly blunder.
Had the tank farms and drydocks been destroyed,the U.S. would have been forced to evacuate what was left of the fleet from Pearl, and offensive ops in the Pacific would have been delayed until 1943—and Midway might have had a much different outcome, since the maintenance complex at Pearl was responsible for patching up USS Yorktown after Coral Sea (in only 48 hours) and sending her out to fight at Midway. Without that capability, we would almost have certainly lost Midway and the arc of the Pacific War would have been greatly changed.
The Japanese did pretty well by losing to us. They still have the 3rd largest economy in the world.
I heard officers asked the Japanese, after the war, why they attacked Pearl Harbor. They allegedly said, because they did not think we would fight.
I have a theory that shutting down the heavy manufacturing in America was a conscious, intentional decision. The idea was to shut down the old and then when the unions have collapsed, bring in a new hi tech robotic controlled system. Something along the lines of what Amazon is doing in their warehouses. Another ten years or so and there’ll be a mad rush to get it built.
By then I’ll be dead and gone so I’ll never know if my theory is correct.
The biggest mistake of Pearl Harbor was not destroying the shipyards that turned out 24 Essex Class aircraft carriers.
I don’t think any ships were built in Hawaii. Big repair facilities but no ship yards.
They picked the wrong generation to attack.
I met one of the Tigers, he credited the fact that many of our pilots grew up hunting birds and understood how to lead the shot.
Yamamoto said as much. He said Japan would run wild the first year. But he knew America’s industrial capability would eventually win out. I think Japan thought they could hold out and get help from Germany. Didn’t happen. The British army prevented a link up by stopping the Japanese in Burma. They might have prolonged the war if they had developed their jet aircraft earlier than later. Numerous what ifs. But in the end, there’s no substitute for industrial might and the will of a country determined to destroy an aggressor.
From the quotes I’ve read from Yamamoto, he probably thought Japan could never win a war against the U.S. He knew the U.S. industrial capability would eventually overwhelm Japan. That and millions of angry Yanks thirsting for revenge after Pearl Harbor.
Yamamoto had lived in and was educated in the US. He knew and feared the USA.
Has anybody else heard the US war effort “bad mouthed’ by Brits because we entered the war “late”? Aside from significant US combat contributions in Europe which are reluctantly acknowledged, the pivotal role US supplies and materiel played in winning the war against both Germany and Japan is often given short shrift by such critics. As I always say when hear such sentiments, nobody won the war by itself, the Allies won the war. As for the former USSR, it takes full credit for the defeat of Nazi Germany.