No European war, how ready are the Americans for the Pacific?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Ascent, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. Ascent

    Ascent Member

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    I was just wondering about how prepared America would have been if the war hadn't kicked off in Europe in '39?

    How much development and tooling up of production was undertaken to supply Lend-Lease equipment?

    Would the Americans have felt the urgency to update what they had or would they still be using old equipment?

    And if they hadn't started ramping up things how much difference would it have made to the PTO? Would they have been able to take the fight to the Japanese before they were entrenched in position as they planned?

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if the Japanese would even have considered a thrust to the south without either Britain nor France engaged in a war in Europe.
    Without that there was no reason to start a war with the USA
     
  3. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Exactly Tom. From what I've read, it was Germany's military advances that inspired and emboldened the Japanese to make the pact and start their own world domination tour.
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That was my first thought.

    Without French defeat in Europe (by both Germany and Britain!) the Port of Haiphong will probably remain open as a supply line for KMT China. With a better supplied Chinese Army Japan will have their hands full.

    There won't be a Pacific naval war unless Japan decides to blockade Haiphong. Could be an interesting military confrontation but it has nothing to do with what happened historically.
     
  5. airminded88

    airminded88 Member

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    Dave, could you further expand the thought. You have gotten me intrigued.
     
  6. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    Japan needed the European colonial powers weakened to accomplish the southern thrust.

    With the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact in place, and no European war, perhaps the Japanese would have been fighting the Soviets.
     
  7. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/midd...map_folio/txu-oclc-588534-54922-10-67-map.jpg

    Feb 1939. IJA seize Hainan Island.
    All Chinese seaports were now in Japanese hands.

    KMT China was not yet isolated. Haiphong Vietnam is one of the world's better seaports and it has a connecting rail line into SE China where KMT were holed up. As long as the Vietnamese seaport remained open KMT China would have a major supply line to the outside world.

    Summer 1940.
    French Army defeated by Germany.
    French Navy defeated by Britain.
    Military equipment and supplies purchased by France from USA were shipped to Britain.
    .....This changed everything. French Vietnam was now helpless to resist Japanese demands for closure of Haiphong and those demands weren't long in coming.
    .....1940 France must have felt they didn't have a friend in the world. And they were right.
    .....Rather cynical of USA to diplomatically oppose Japanese occupation of Vietnam after we and Britain had treated 1940 France just as bad. Right and wrong have little to do with foreign policy.

    With Haiphong closed KMT China was left with only a minimal supply line. Rail line from Rangoon, Burma to Myitkyina. Remainder of the trip overland or by air. 1942 conquest of Burma closed even this slender supply route.


    Back to this scenario....
    Undefeated France is unlikely to close the Port of Haiphong. Port fee revenue was a cash cow after all the Chinese seaports were seized by Japan. In fact I would expect France to expand both the seaport and connecting rail line to maximize profits. France may also aggressively market their own weapons to China while imposing a tariff on weapons made by other nations.

    Japanese demands to close the seaport would result in Vietnam receiving significant French military reinforcements and 1940 France has plenty to send. France could send an entire army and air force without noticeably depleting European defenses. They've got plenty of naval vessels too.
     
  8. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #8 stona, Jun 22, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013
    Dave you cannot refer to elements of French naval forces under the nominal control of the Vichy French government, which the British suspected, encouraged by French prevarication, might fall under German control (France had already surrendered) as the French Navy.

    It is typically disingenuous of you and you should know better.

    Germany defeated France and an armistice was signed between the two nations on 22nd June 1940. The Vichy French ships were not attacked until 3rd July. I make that some time after France had formally acknowledged her defeat by Germany.

    The British ultimatum is self explanatory.

    "It is impossible for us, your comrades up to now, to allow your fine ships to fall into the power of the German enemy. We are determined to fight on until the end, and if we win, as we think we shall, we shall never forget that France was our Ally, that our interests are the same as hers, and that our common enemy is Germany. Should we conquer we solemnly declare that we shall restore the greatness and territory of France. For this purpose we must make sure that the best ships of the French Navy are not used against us by the common foe. In these circumstances, His Majesty's Government have instructed me to demand that the French Fleet now at Mers el Kebir and Oran shall act in accordance with one of the following alternatives;
    (a) Sail with us and continue the fight until victory against the Germans.

    (b) Sail with reduced crews under our control to a British port. The reduced crews would be repatriated at the earliest moment.

    If either of these courses is adopted by you we will restore your ships to France at the conclusion of the war or pay full compensation if they are damaged meanwhile.

    (c) Alternatively if you feel bound to stipulate that your ships should not be used against the Germans unless they break the Armistice, then sail them with us with reduced crews to some French port in the West Indies — Martinique for instance — where they can be demilitarised to our satisfaction, or perhaps be entrusted to the United States and remain safe until the end of the war, the crews being repatriated.

    If you refuse these fair offers, I must with profound regret, require you to sink your ships within 6 hours.
    Finally, failing the above, I have the orders from His Majesty's Government to use whatever force may be necessary to prevent your ships from falling into German hands."

    The British knew the Vichy government for what it was.

    Steve
     
  9. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Double-check the timeline, because Japan had started thier expansionism before things warmed up in Europe.

    The tension between the U.S. and Imperial Japan was brought about by the U.S. cutting off raw materials to Japan in protest to Japan's heavy-handed occupation of mainland Asia's nations...
     
  10. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Indeed. On July 2, 1940, Roosevelt signed the Export Control Act, later that month and in October 1940 the pressure was ramped up on Japan.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Tension between USA and Japan began before 1900. Things got particularly nasty during 1915 (21 demands) and 1932 (invasion of Shanghai). There were other incidents too such as 1937 air attack on U.S.S. Panay.

    Events during 1940 and 1941 were just more of the same until President FDR decided to base four heavy bomber groups in Philippines. Japan decided to preempt U.S. action by seizing Philippines before the military build up was complete.

    Diplomatic brinksmanship is a dangerous game. Historically Japan and USA found out just how dangerous during 1941. In this scenario it might be France and Japan that find out just how dangerous brinksmanship can be.
     
  12. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    You make it sound like basing of B-17s was the spark that caused Japan to attack the Philippines. That's simply not the case. Regardless of the state of buildup in the Philippines, Japan would have taken them in late 1941 to remove them as a threat to Japan's Pacific flank and to protect vessels carrying oil from the newly-captured Philippines. Japan attacked the Philippines for the same as the reasons as the attack on Pearl Harbor - the belief in Tokyo that Britain and America were in lock-step over how to handle Japan and that an attack against British interests in the Far East would automatically bring America into the war. I think it's fair to say that such an appreciation was a colossal blunder by Tokyo. I very much doubt Roosevelt would have brought America into the war over British Malaya and Burma, and so Japan could, theoretically, have achieved all its short-term goals without rousing America.
     
  13. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The U.S. and Japan had a diplomTic friendship and when the U.S. started restricting iron and oil shipments in protest of Japanese expansionism, the Japanese saw that as an insult, especially since the two nations had an accord.

    Diplomatic ties were becoming increasingly shakey as the 1930's drew to a close and with this in mind, resources military assets) were being ramped up in the far east by the Americans. There were mixed sentiments as to Japan's ability to wage total war based on assesments of the skirmish between the Japanese and Soviets earlier and their use of force as they expanded thier Empire across Asia and the Pacific prior to summer 1941.

    Washington knew that war was imminent, they just didn't know how long it would be until it happened.
     
  14. bob44

    bob44 Member

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    With no war in Europe, the US probably would have been even less prepared for a war in the Pacific. But then the Japanese would of had the full might of British, French, Dutch, Russian, ect. forces to worry about.
     
  15. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    Without UK, Dutch and French fleets and aircraft being writ down wholesale by the war in Europe, I too doubt the Japanese would have been so bold in lauching their Southeast Asian adventurism.

    Of course, if no war was threatening in Europe (suppose Herr Hilter suffers lead-induced brain death in 1937) then there's a question of how much these countries would have bothered expanding their militaries.

    Re-armament was already underway in the mid-1930s, but how much of the various programmes would have been completed without an immediate threat from Germany is debatable. Certainly, many of the large capital ships already laid down would have been completed, but I doubt that many of the emergency programme escorts and the like every would have seen the light of day.
     
  16. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    Well, the USSR would not stop of supply the Japanese.
     
  17. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Independent Netherlands cannot be coerced into complying with U.S. led economic embargo. That removes any Japanese incentive for an expensive invasion and occupation of East Indies.
     
  18. Jabberwocky

    Jabberwocky Active Member

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    Well, it can. The US was the fifth largest trading partner with Holland at the time.

    That's beside the point, as the Dutch Government in exile decided to follow the US into its oil embargo of Japan in 1941.

    No, it doesn't. Japan still needs oil, as the Dutch joined the embargo. Besides, the country also imported almost 90% of its steel and 100% of its rubber.

    Japan was demanding the Dutch increase their oil exports from the Dutch East Indies during the late 1930s, early 1940s, which the Dutch were reluctant to do.

    In 1939, Japan demanded DEI oil exports be increaed from 570,000 tonnes to 3.75 million tonnes (about 50% of annual DEI production). The Dutch reacted by offering to increase oil exports to 1.8 million tonnes, when additional capacity was available. In 1940 and 1941, the Japanese repeated the demands, increasing them slightly. The Dutch increased exports to Japan slightly in 1939 and 1940, but never accounted for more than 10%
     
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