It was often worse than disdain; it became a virulent, decades-long, government-driven indoctrination of contempt. In fact, as War Minister Hajime Sugiyama had assured the Emperor in 1937, Japan could crush China in a month. What Should We Do When Japan Has Been Defeated? Huge Mistake: Why Did Imperial Japan Choose War? They did stumble badly on merchant tonnage, estimating U.S. construction capacity in 1943 at five million tons versus the actual 19.2 million tons. The victims were leading statesmen, bankers, industrialists, and even generals and admirals who advocated a moderate policy. To understand what has to be done to prevent another Pearl Harbor we need to know something of the motives which led the Japanese to stake everything on this greatest gamble in their history. The makers of this system did not plan for or want popular government. The all too human desire to possess their neighbors’ property was thus elevated to a patriotic and religious duty. In the Battle of Tarawa (November 20-23, 1943) during World War II (1939-45), the U.S. began its Central Pacific Campaign against Japan by seizing the heavily fortified, Japanese … Could the United States Have Avoided a Showdown? There seemed no need for an elaborate operational intelligence system because the Japanese easily obtained intelligence from the Chinese themselves. Japan began the war facing the possibility that every bit of U.S. manpower, matériel, and resolve (and a little of Britain’s) would be aimed at Japan alone. To answer this question, we have to start from the Meiji restoration in the late 1800's. There were, in 1937, a total of 10 fairly well-trained Chinese divisions. They considered it inconceivable that the landing was anything more than a reconnaissance. They knew that they must strike soon, or give up forever their dream of conquest. Japan’s training techniques, such as naval aviator training, did not allow for the efficient transformation of the average Japanese aviator into a competent pilot. Estimates, therefore, as to Western combat potentials, if explored, were fatally flawed or ignored. The majority of them are poor, proud of their service, and fanatically devoted to the emperor. Actually, the emperor is a figurehead. The speeches and writings of Japanese statesmen and superpatriots in modern times reveal dozens of similar warnings of their intentions. The day after the attack, the USA decided to declare war on Japan. In the summer of 1940 all political parties “voluntarily” disbanded. Moving cautiously, while its modern navy and army were still in the infant stage, Japan took over several groups of small islands not far from its homeland without having to fight for them. The Japanese completely missed the timing of the Guadalcanal landing. Three days later, Germany and Italy, allied with Japan, declared war on the United States. 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In return for this heavy investment, the Japanese expected great gains. In 1894-1895, Japan defeated China in a short war and gained control of the island. by Warfare History Network Key point: Tokyo's warplanners mistakenly thought that Washington would demoralized and sue for peace. A Japanese journalist recorded in 1943, “[We] are totally incapable of standing apart objectively and viewing positively the emotions and thought patterns of other countries. However, the Soviets launched their victorious campaign 600 kilometers from the nearest major supply base. The conventional view, going back to the initial press coverage in 1945, was that the use of atomic weapons was justified as it ended a long and very costly war. A known known was the extent America’s 1941 aviation strength. In addition to trained manpower and modern weapons, Japan had in the mandated islands a string of naval and air bases ideally located for an advance to the south. Japan had no guarantee or assurance that Germany would declare war on the United States. Japan is located at the center of the rich Asiatic-Pacific area and had the strongest and most successful army and navy in Asia. Army officers were alarmed at the spread of Western political ideas, especially communism. In the words of former Ambassador Grew this step meant “a fundamental defeat for the moderate elements in the country and the complete supremacy of the military.”. They estimated British forces in Singapore at 30,000 when there were 85,000. Along with … The Japanese learned their warrior trade and exercised their logistics by fighting the Chinese, an army described by an American as a “… medieval mob.”. The Japanese were dissatisfied with their economic condition. What Should We Do When Japan Has Been Defeated? Why Japan chose a Sunday of all days actually coincides with why many businesses were closed on the seventh day of the week. The Japanese had not adequately studied the American or British armies and therefore could not fathom their latent aviation airfield engineering capabilities. In 1910 Korea was annexed. The answer is because we virtually must, to gain access to the laboratory of human experience. It has been pointed out that highly organized worship of the state and its symbol, the emperor, is a comparatively recent development. These fantastic ideas are based on what they call “history,” in reality a patchwork of fact, legend, and wishful thinking. Then will be the time to employ the treatment that will cure the Japanese once and for all of the disease of creeping aggression. Doing nothing is a viable strategic option, and oftentimes a good one. But that was not the starting point of Japanese aggression. The Japanese, however, blinkered their approach to war with a plethora of unknown unknowns. For support among the civilian population the militarists depended upon the ex-servicemen’s association, with its three million members, and the so-called “patriotic societies.” Membership in these powerful organizations ranged from college professors, government officials, and prosperous merchants to half-starved students, poor peasants, and hired killers. In February 1936, after two years of deceptive quiet, the army volcano erupted again, this time in a mutiny almost within the shadow of the imperial palace. Japan Before World War I: Until the late 1860s, the Japanese were a backward and isolated country, and as they watched China fall to outside forces, several in Japan began to fear a similar fate. They estimated Marine strength on Guadalcanal at 2,000 when there were over 10,000 early in the campaign and later at 10,000 when there were 23,000 Americans on the island. These miscalculations did not improve with time. Their estimates of U.S. aircraft production through the end of 1943 were almost exactly in line with actual production. Japan Counted Planes and Ships Correctly, but Overlooked the Intangibles. The events which led to Japanese entry in WWII happened before the start of the 20th century. We know that the Japanese will be defeated. Every department of the national life—industry, commerce, agriculture, education, the press, even religion—is subject to their will. The most serious short-term strategic failure in estimating the enemy concerned the Allies’ ability to recuperate after the first Japanese blows. If Japan is ever to have democracy in the future there must be fundamental reforms in the system by which the country is governed. But they did, advocate a moderate foreign policy to further the expansion of international trade and they realized the value of remaining on friendly terms with the United States. But from about 1921 to 1931 the Japanese political parties gained in power, and it seemed to many observers that the cabinet and the House of Representatives might in time become the controlling elements in the government. The most serious long-term strategic failure was Japan’s complete inability to understand its own industrial weakness and the overwhelming industrial power of its enemies. The Navy’s operations division often ignored or did not believe its own intelligence, especially when that intelligence threatened planners’ assumptions. This has been interpreted to mean, in plain English, that Japan must dominate about a billion people in Asia and the Pacific area, and eventually rule the world. To us the very ideas are absurd. It appeared to be a huge success however, what the Japanese under estimated was what the Americans were able for. The chief result was greater power for the supreme command. Favourite answer. The mingling of emperor worship with the glorification of war, plus continued victories over half a century, have given the army and navy a popular prestige that will be hard to destroy. For centuries the imperial power has been in the hands of a few nobles, soldiers, or statesmen who had the strength to use it. Their faith in the government was shaken by the evidence of bribery, graft, and corruption in the chief political parties, and by deals between politicians and big business to the disadvantage of the mass of the people. More than seventy years after the end of World War II, the decision to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki remains controversial.Historians and the public continue to debate if the bombings were justified, the causes of Japan's surrender, the casualties that would have resulted if the U.S. had invaded Japan, and more. Japan was less rich in resources than the United States, Great Britain, and the USSR. Economic resources were at a low ebb; this was the chief weakness. In 1932 a government headed by Admiral Saito approved the seizure of Manchuria by formally recognizing Manchukuo, a dummy empire set up by the army. A movement was on foot, however, which in the end swept away the weak machinery of representative government and launched Japan on its biggest gamble for empire. The Japanese were having great difficulties themselves in supplying their own forces at 220 kilometers from a major base. Japanese logisticians had assumed that the Soviets could not launch a major offensive any farther than 200-250 kilometers from a major supply base. When many Westerners look at Japan during World War II, they think that this era was an aberration of Japanese history, and that ideas of Zen Buddhism historically promoted peace in the region. The outbreak of a large-scale war, in China rallied the people to the support of the militarists. The decision to use the atomic bomb to attack two Japanese cities and effectively end World War II remains one of the most controversial decisions in history. By the beginning of 1941, for all practical purposes the army and the state were one. Three hundred and fifty years ago their combination Julius Caesar and Napoleon, Hideyoshi, wrote: “All military leaders who shall render successful vanguard service in the coming campaign in China will be liberally rewarded with grants of extensive states near India, with the privilege of conquering India and extending their domains in that vast empire.”. Only about 1,400 troops, led by their captains and lieutenants, were involved. The First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) was Japan's first overseas war after she came out of isolation in the 1860s, and saw the rapidly modernised Japanese armed forces inflict an embarrassing defeat on less successfully modernised Chinese forces. To understand why Japan lashed out, we must go back to World War I. Japan had been our ally. Equipment was obsolete and poorly maintained, while ammunition was dear and hard to replace. The Navy considered intelligence a secondary function. Did Japan Have to Go to War for Economic Reasons? Therefore, the Americans, they believed, could not do it either. The declaration passed with just one dissenting vote. World War II really began when the Japanese army seized Manchuria in 1931. Because Japan did not understand war, they could not accurately predict the ability of the U.S. to mobilize its resources. Japan started in business as a land-grabbing power in a small way. In 1910, Korea was annexed by the Empire of Japan after years of war, intimidation and political machinations; the country would be considered a part of Japan until 1945. The Japanese Army entered World War II with just 20 officers and 20 enlisted men at its army general staff intelligence section, and their focus was on the Soviets. Japanese shortfalls in resources influenced their assumptions in planning for World War II. Why did Japan begin World War II by invading China in 1937 and then widen it by attacking the British and Americans in 1941? The “New Order in Greater East Asia,” to include not only China but the rich territories in southern Asiatic waters, became the official foreign policy. Why Did Japan Choose War? In Japan the armed forces have won almost complete control of the government and the nation. By the end of its occupation of Korea, Japan had even waged war on people’s family names. Beyond this second group are authors of general textbooks and articles and, still further out, journalists and other pop-ular writers. Its officers regard themselves as heirs of the old samurai. How Can We Keep the Japanese from Future Aggression? During the Second World War, the United States, Britain, Germany and the U.S.S.R. were all engaged in scientific research to develop the atomic bomb. The government of Japan during the ten years before Pearl Harbor has been aptly described as “government by assassination.”. As a result, they underestimated its considerable impact, both on field forces and on logistics. But we can plan and act now to keep the sons of the men who are fighting Japan from having to do the job all over again. For the next fifty years Japan’s conquest and absorption of Asia and the Pacific islands has continued, step by step, with time out to consolidate the gains and gather strength for the next move. In order to execute this ideology and grow its military, Japan needed more natural resources to increase its industrial productivity and strength. On that basis, they started a war they could not fail to lose, and the same process delayed them finally grasping that they had lost. Among the basic reasons why they lost, the US had resources and industrial capacity that were both many, many times greater than Japan had or could hope to have. Commanders of troops guarding the South Manchurian Railway faked a piece of railway sabotage as an excuse to occupy the chief Manchurian cities. They had prepared a long death list of prominent men whose principles and actions they disapproved. Could the United States Have Avoided a Showdown? Like the Nazis, the Japanese military fascists claimed to be friends of the common man. Jesus commanded his disciples to “love one another.” (John 13:34, 35) They would thus form an international brotherhood in which no one would ever wage war against his brother or sister.—1 John 3:10-12. A period known as Occupied Japan followed after the war, largely spearheaded by United States General of the Army Douglas MacArthur to revise the Japanese constitution and de-militarize Japan. Did Japan Have to Go to War for Economic Reasons? For the most part they represented big business. But we must never forget that all Japanese children are instructed in these beliefs from the cradle and that many of the strongest of Japanese emotions are centered in them. But these beliefs and ideals of the Japanese people have made it easy for them to be led into war. “To our soldiers will fall the grave responsibility for quieting unrest in our agrarian communities—both material and spiritual unrest.” To gain their ends the army extremists developed two characteristically Japanese methods: first, resorting to direct military action in China without authorization by the government; and second, terrorism against their political opponents at home. An unusual feature of the Japanese government which the militarists have used in their rise to power is the make-up of the cabinet. The Japanese Army became spoiled by easy access to military intelligence about the Chinese. The Japanese armed forces enjoy a special position that gives them practical control of the government. Japan After World War I . For a brief period after the first World War there were indications that it was on the road to establishing representative government and was following the lead of Western nations in carrying out some badly needed social and political reforms. Can We Find a Punishment that Fits the Crimes? Wilson rejected Japan's claim to German concessions in Shantung, home of Confucius, which Japan had captured at a price in blood. The successful war with China in 1894–95 added Formosa and the nearby Pescadores islands to the Japanese Empire. Another dangerous feature is the division of control over civil and military affairs. On December 8, 1941, America straightened up after Japan’s blow below the belt, full of the anger a fighter feels when he has been badly hurt and knows that his own overconfidence was partly to blame. Relevance. Concurrently, the Japanese woefully underestimated the length of time it would take the Allies to launch counteroffensives. (1945). What Should We Do When Japan Has Been Defeated? Out of those bitter early days of the war, ending in the surrender of Corregidor, came one lesson that millions of Americans will not have to learn a second time. By 1894 it was strong enough to challenge the weak and aging Chinese Empire. This was done without the consent of the cabinet then in office, which resigned as a result. On the other hand, a powerful army and navy tuned to a high pitch of enthusiasm and efficiency are a strong temptation to a war-minded government in time of crisis. Why did Japan do it? The bad thing is, that those Japanese soldiers probably didn't tell their families what they did so later generations, a hundred years from now, will probably think everyone is speaking bullcrap when accusing Japan of the war crimes. But though our victory will remove the immediate danger that threatened us in 1941, it will not of itself make us secure against a repetition of that danger. No one of note was interested in possible Western shipyard expansion, large-scale crew mobilization and training, or scientific exploration. What Sort of Government for Postwar Japan? Actually they succeeded in assassinating only three high officials. It looks like Tokyo ignored its own many military and strategic short comings. Certain events of the years between 1932 and Pearl Harbor had convinced even the arrogant descendants of the gods that the United States was not going to be pushed around much longer. The United States objected to the Second Sino-Japanese War and the occupation of part of China by Japanese troops. They do not protest against military actions or interfere with those who choose to serve in the armed forces. The Army war college gave only superficial intelligence training to its students, and neither the war college nor the air officers training school gave any special intelligence courses. According to historian Rana Mitter, historians in China are unhappy with the blanket revision, and (despite sustained tensions) the Republic of China did not consider itself to be continuously at war with Japan over these six years. Their estimates of U.S. naval air strength in 1941 and increases into July 1942 were excellent. The modern Japanese army admired and imitated the German. Many historians think the note was designed to draw Japan into war and thus claim Japan was not the aggressor nation in the Pacific War. Should we trace it back to the 1940s when President Harry Truman authorized U.S. financial support of the French war in Indochina? A strategic operation such as the early 1942 invasion of Burma, with an objective of cutting the Burma-to-China line of communications, failed to achieve its purpose when the West opened an airlift over the Himalayas. It merely made use of beliefs that the Japanese have held in a rather passive way for centuries. When we study it reasonably well, and so acquire some usable habits of mind, as well as some basic data about the forces that affect our own lives, we emerge with relevant skills and an enhanced capacity for informed citizenship, critical thinking, and simple awareness. This is no new idea to the Japanese mind. Allied forces ordered Japan to abolish the The U.S., on the contrary, always assumed that a war with Japan would be a war of attrition. No Other Choice: Why Truman Dropped the Atomic Bomb on Japan "Truman and his advisers made the only decision they could have made; indeed, considered in the context of World War II, it … The usual answer is “the army.” To be more specific, it was a group of extremists within the army, backed by powerful “superpatriot” influences outside. Yet, in the summer of 1941, when their plan for conquest was officially published in The Way of the Subjects, the so-called “bible” of the Japanese people, many foreigners still did not take it very seriously. Even big business, since 1937 an uneasy partner in the wartime economy, could no longer offer effective opposition to the fascists in uniform. The USSR did essentially zilch in the war against Japan, and could not have been expected to have much time to do much once the US started its atomic annihilation. The Japanese knew what it was. Japan had the best army, navy, and air force in the Far East. The army’s consolidation of the home front proceeded during the years 1937–41. Also: Japan: People: By occupation: Academics / Non-fiction writers: Historians. He is worshiped, but he does not originate either policy or action. The Chinese were little better than animals and insects. Historians are rightly quick to note the transferability of a professional historian's skill set, but as with all things, there are limits. Love for others. 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Please note that the pamphlets did not list specific authors, due to the often significant rewriting by staff and censorship by the War Department and other agencies in the federal government. Key point: Tokyo's warplanners mistakenly thought that Washington would demoralized and sue for peace. There were many failures of small businesses and serious unemployment among industrial and white-collar workers. Why did Japan invade Asia ? Most of the killers were given light sentences when brought to trial and were regarded as heroes by millions of Japanese because of the “purity” and “sincerity” of their motives. Although the collection of intelligence was good, its dissemination to tactical elements was poor. By 1930 there was serious discontent in the armed forces. 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