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The War in the Pacific: How Far could Japan have gone?

Half_Life_Expert#4276Half_Life_Expert#4276 Registered Users Posts: 4,686
I am really enjoying these speculative history threads I have been making, so now I have a new one. and for those who might be getting a little tired of the 20th century, don't worry, im going farther back in history with the one after this.

Japan's massive expansion following the December 7 1941 attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii is legendary in naval warfare. They basically took most of the Pacific holdings of UK, US, Netherlands and France in a very short period of around 5 months or so. I personally refer to it as "The Great Pacific Blitz" in reference to the German Blitzkriegs in Europe the previous 3 years.

At the time it was greatly feared that Japan would take Australia, Hawaii, and even make a landfall on the US West Coast. Most consider the battles of Coral Sea/Midway/Guadalcanal to be the turning points in stopping that conquest.

my discussion question this time is:

If Japan had won any or all of the previously mentioned battles, or even struck a much more damaging blow at Pearl Harbor, how far could they have gone in their imperial conquests?

again, I will reserve my thoughts until after some have given their views.

Discuss!
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Post edited by Half_Life_Expert#4276 on

Comments

  • Tyer032392Tyer032392 Registered Users Posts: 4,787
    edited December 2013
    In terms of the strategic level, the attack on Pearl Harbor was a complete failure. Japanese pilots did little to no damage to the shore facilities, and left the petrol supplies virtually untouched. They also failed to destroy the submarine bases which would later come back to haunt them. They also failed to sink any U.S Carriers that were in the vacienty of Pearl Harbor and choose to focus entirely on aging warships that had reached the end of their service life.

    Edit: Also, the Japanese could not of held the tide for long if they did not have any heavy long range bombers to attack the United States heartland and therefor lost the war when they started. Had they even bothered to listen to some of their top commanders like Yamamoto, than they could of done more damage.
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  • Ace_BlazerAce_Blazer Registered Users Posts: 5,921
    edited December 2013
    Sometimes all it comes down to is numbers.

    Population of USA: 140 million, peak of industrial productivity and untouched by war
    Population of Japan: 70 million, already fought for a decade and fighting insurgencies in China
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  • Half_Life_Expert#4276Half_Life_Expert#4276 Registered Users Posts: 4,686
    edited December 2013
    Tyer032392 wrote: »
    In terms of the strategic level, the attack on Pearl Harbor was a complete failure. Japanese pilots did little to no damage to the shore facilities, and left the petrol supplies virtually untouched. They also failed to destroy the submarine bases which would later come back to haunt them. They also failed to sink any U.S Carriers that were in the vacienty of Pearl Harbor and choose to focus entirely on aging warships that had reached the end of their service life.

    Edit: Also, the Japanese could not of held the tide for long if they did not have any heavy long range bombers to attack the United States heartland and therefor lost the war when they started. Had they even bothered to listen to some of their top commanders like Yamamoto, than they could of done more damage.

    I just want to say one thing, Japan did have the Aircraft carriers at high priority for targets, its just that by chance none were in port at the time of the attack, the only close one being the Enterprise to the south of the Island, had it been coming from the North or west it might have been sunk.

    They focused on the ships that were there, they couldn't afford to linger where they were due to the fact they were very far from home.

    The fact that the Carriers survived was just very good luck for the US Navy.
    "we have officially entered into pre-whinning about our games."- Cogre

    I will always respect differing opinions on here, so long as they are presented maturely and in a civil manner

    "No Battleplan ever survives contact with the enemy"- Helmuth Von Moltke the Elder

    The WWI Thread: https://forums.totalwar.com/discussion/30914/why-a-world-war-i-themed-total-war/p1

    I'm skipping TW: Warhammer
  • Ancient_Ruffian#5651Ancient_Ruffian#5651 Registered Users Posts: 2,861
    edited December 2013
    I do not think Japan had the capacity to go much further than it actually did. The closer they got to the Australian mainland, the more stretched their supply lines became, but the shorter the supply lines of their adversaries were. They may have been able to establish a temporary beachhead in northern Australia, but the Allied response would have been ferocious. The Japanese allegedly had plans for the occupation of NZ but no realistic hope of ever fulfilling them - the Tasman Sea is an unforgiving stretch of water with plenty of opportunities for a well-armed defender to send thousands of a prospective invader's personnel to their deaths through submarine and aerial attacks.

    Edit: without knocking Australia and NZ out of the war, Japan could not win, as both these countries became places to concentrate forces and supplies for counter-attacking. There are some advantages to being at the very ends of the earth.
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  • NisemonoNisemono Registered Users Posts: 928
    edited December 2013
    Ace Blazer wrote: »
    Sometimes all it comes down to is numbers.

    Population of USA: 140 million, peak of industrial productivity and untouched by war
    Population of Japan: 70 million, already fought for a decade and fighting insurgencies in China

    Size of economy mattered more than raw population numbers. IIRC the ratio was more than 6 to 1 in US favour. The industrial might of the US guaranteed a US victory. The question is long it took. Pearl Harbour had the US out for payback.
  • daelin4#9896daelin4#9896 Registered Users Posts: 16,526
    edited December 2013
    What became the Japanese plans to carving up the Western possessions in the Indies was ultimately a gigantic gamble, and one in which was not in their own terms. The only good thing going for them was that the holders were already at war with the Germans and in that even many of them were defeated (French, Dutch), and US/British holdings were hard-pressed due to the geographical location respective to the "front" .
    But people like Yamamoto knew that the United States had tremendous power in waging war and his idea of striking a critical blow to the US navy's Pacific capabilities would ultimately be a temporary setback; hence all the more critical of a gamble it became when it was realized with Pearl Harbour. As far as Yamamoto was concerned there were two ways Japan could survive (let alone win); the US lose interest in fighting a consolidated Japanese power (unlikely), or the Japanese actually conquer the United States (even less likely).
    At the time it was greatly feared that Japan would take Australia, Hawaii, and even make a landfall on the US West Coast. Most consider the battles of Coral Sea/Midway/Guadalcanal to be the turning points in stopping that conquest.
    As far as I am concerned that is just hysteria. Any strikes on the mainland would merely have been to deter public opinion on how the war was handled, but if we're to gauge the way people react to such attacks from London during the Blitz, that's not going to happen. Not unless a great amount of hardship convinces the political and military leadership that negotiating peace was preferable: and negotiating peace is usually when things are really at state, which is usually a president or his political party influence rather than civilian lives.

    How the outcome of the war would become lies not towards the Japanese but to the American people: how would they react if the fleet was destroyed at Midway? Would the government cover it up and build more ships? Pearl Harbour, despite it's tactical success, was simply a stopgap, not taking the initiative. The sinking of some battleships is not political capitulation, it was not even military capitulation, as the aircraft carriers, the most critical threats to the Japanese plans of conquest, were not present during the attack. The quick seizure of the East Indies was also not political capitulation, if anything they should not have conquered the lands but simply removed their colonial masters- what happened was the native populations saw a simple switching of colonial overlords, not liberation. The Japanese navy also proved incapable of providing effective logistical service to the forces stationed throughout its newly acquired possessions, and the general lack of civilian shipping thereafter meant that any economic benefits accrued from conquering these resource-rich areas were for naught. The same happened as the Germans expanded eastwards into Russia: infrastructure was damaged and the Nazi programme of expansion did little to utilize the captured land and resources to the greater benefit to the war effort.
    If Japan had won any or all of the previously mentioned battles, or even struck a much more damaging blow at Pearl Harbor, how far could they have gone in their imperial conquests?
    The truth was that the way the Japanese handled their expansion was terrible. They would not have inspired any loyalties from the native opulations they subjugated; in fact China had proven that their methods were far from mature or developed and lacked coordination between the Japanese military services; the army took the coastal regions but inland their progress was greatly hindered by resistance and the sheer vastness of the country. Neither the Chinese communists or those under Chiang were willing to negotiate co-existence, especially where they cede territory, and neither did these two have much political power, as China was in the midst of anarchic civil war. If anything, Yamamoto predicted the same outcome even if the Japanese beat back the American tides all the way to Washington: a country with a solid political support base is infinitely more difficult to dislodge from their stance of war, and the Soviet Union's determination to resist, and ultimately take all of Eastern Europe proves the same, alongside Britain and the US in their own dark hours. Even Germany didn't surrender until Hitler killed himself.

    Ergo, without any political capitulation as a part of waging war, fighting an enemy would be long, and therefore costly in terms of lives, resources, and time. As far as I am concerned, it is not the battles or any military outcome that would change the course of their military conquests: it was the manner in which they conducted the conquests themselves that in some cases are separate and external from military circumstances.

    - Colonization of the Indies.
    The Japanese did not treat the native populations any better than their former colonial masters. Things were worse because the military were there to take and destroy, and efforts in rebuilding were left to the locals to figure out, usually hindered by Japanese military presence such as requisitioning of resources for themselves and criminal activities such as inflicting violence upon civilians. Would it really matter how many times the Japanese beat back the Americans if they still treated locals poorly? The Japanese racial mentality under the militaristic-expansionist programme advocated by the political right that dominated the military leadership was highly imperialist and racist.

    - Exploitation of acquired resources.
    The Japanese failed to effectively utilize the resources that fell into their hands as they drove out the French and Dutch from their colonies. British strongholds were not as economically valuable but were naturally high value targets due to their military presence, and all of these required taking over with force, and then committing to rebuilding the place to allow economic growth. The Japanese vision of this colonialism was that they were organs that contributed to the health of Japan, with little reciprocation. Te Japanese had plans to take over these lands, but no plans existed to which they would be revitalized to provide a beneficial outcome for the Japanese as their masters: they practically assumed that riches would flow into Japan. Of course trade needs ships, and shipping needs peace. Without peace you'd have to supplement with a lot of naval coverage, something the Japanese were neither counting on nor could not provide: despite the success at Pearl Harbour, the Japanese were really just gobbling up whatever before the US makes a return.

    - Japanese home economy
    Even before war began the Japanese were hard-pressed in their economic options. After their invasion into China the United States, and the rest of the League of Nations members, imposed sanctions on Japanese trade; if Yamamoto did not commit to Pearl Harbour, Japan would have starved itself of fuel that their military required to operate. Pearl Harbour was, in effect, part of the Japanese's own vision of Lebensraum: take out the opposition and seize resources to as to not be dependent on external forces.
    Unlike the United States Japan had to commit to a great deal of the Total War mentality to it's extreme to provide for the means to waging effective war. And this was in part the fuel for their ambitious overseas expansion. They needed land and resources, therefore they want...but they need more to protect them, and so on. The Japanese made no friends from their expansionism, except with the Axis powers, and only by virtue of common enemies.
    This issue is, unsurprisingly, linked with the above two points: you can't really become richer from newly acquired riches, if said riches could not effectively be used towards the expected purposes.

    - Japanese military technology and manpower
    Like Germany in previous years, the Japanese ultimately relied on a gamble of committing their limited number of personnel and materiel towards striking capitulating blows to an enemy while taking minimal loss of life. And like Germany the Japanese had designed some impressive machines while also developed experience military manpower. But the pressures of war eventually outpaced their ability to follow up[ on these advantages: the Americans gradually developed more powerful planes, and regardless still maintained ability to manufacture more ships. Meanwhile the Japanese homeland was soon threatened by air raids. Heavy stakes gambling also took its toll on their ability to fight: Midway, the battle where the Japanese were forever crippled from assuming an offensive posture, occurred just six months after Pearl Harbour: all four of Yamamoto's major carriers were lost then; by Leyte Gulf the Americans had about 34 carriers while Japan brought her last four.

    - Japanese military vision
    The Japanese relied entirely on the willingness of the American people to wage war or negotiate peace, while the United States relied on crippling the Japanese's ability to wage war. This is because the former can only hope for that outcome while the latter could do precisely that. The Japanese could barely conquer China or even make the Soviet Union think twice.
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  • BackoBacko Registered Users Posts: 1,199
    edited December 2013
    HG...?
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  • Imperial GuardImperial Guard Registered Users Posts: 543
    edited December 2013
    Nisemono wrote: »
    Size of economy mattered more than raw population numbers. IIRC the ratio was more than 6 to 1 in US favour. The industrial might of the US guaranteed a US victory. The question is long it took. Pearl Harbour had the US out for payback.
    Yes the economy matter more but you can't overlook the population especially for a prolonged war. Germany ran out of manpower and had to recruit children etc. And usually the economy is closely linked to the population number so more populous country has bigger potential and can divert larger production toward the war efforts.
  • bill_reedbill_reed Registered Users Posts: 369
    edited December 2013
    Again Japan were wanting to hit USA hard and hoped they would agree to peace under pressure. they had been having peace talks for many weeks before pearl harbor. Had they had destroyed the 4 aircraft carries at Pearl then the USA my well have considered entering a peace deal, but the shear anger that Japan had attacked Pearl without declaring war put that to bed and there was no way the USA would have agreed any peace with Japan after that. it was only a matter of putting the USA industry to work and it would over time destroy Japan.
  • SmokeScreenSmokeScreen Registered Users Posts: 2,429
    edited December 2013
    Bill_reed wrote: »
    Again Japan were wanting to hit USA hard and hoped they would agree to peace under pressure. they had been having peace talks for many weeks before pearl harbor. Had they had destroyed the 4 aircraft carries at Pearl then the USA my well have considered entering a peace deal, but the shear anger that Japan had attacked Pearl without declaring war put that to bed and there was no way the USA would have agreed any peace with Japan after that. it was only a matter of putting the USA industry to work and it would over time destroy Japan.

    I don't believe for a second that the US would have simply been ready to accept and acknowledge that the "status quo ante" of the pacific would no longer exist due to Japanese expansion. The war between the US and Japan was inevitable, merely the fact of the British losing Singapore would have made the US join the war in the Pacific, in case Pearl Harbor had never happened.

    Before the Japanese attack on Guam, Pearl Harbor and Wake Island, US, Britain and Dutch embargoed Japan, denying raw materials (oil and iro ore) that were essential to not only the IJA fighting in China (Second Sino-Japanese War) but also vital to the whole Japanese economy. Basically Japan had to attack or face almost total economic collapse.

    Oh and Japan never had a chance of winning, the IJA was stuck in 1920 both in doctrine and equipment.
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  • Amilcar BarcaAmilcar Barca Registered Users Posts: 557
    edited December 2013
    Frankly, all i think it might have happened is a few more months of war in the Pacific. Material losses could be replaced relatively easily by the US. And losing Australia and even NZ, wouldnt be such a disaster, as they could be simply left there. They are not in the way to Japan.

    Now, what would have happened if the Wehrmatch had wiped out the SU? Would have the United nations had the power, or the will, to defeat Germany? I think this would make for a great discussion.
  • daelin4#9896daelin4#9896 Registered Users Posts: 16,526
    edited December 2013
    Indeed there's no reason the US would be shocked enough. If their infrastructure was in a shambles, and civil unrest was rife, then maybe (that was the case for Russia during the Russo-Japanese War and WW1), then maybe, but they already have the vast Pacific Ocean tat limited Japanese hostilities anyhow...and the Japanese were focused on grabbing the East Indies, not carving up North America.

    The United States was no suffering any circumstances that made war with an aggressive belligerent unsuitable.

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  • RajaRaja Registered Users Posts: 585
    edited December 2013
    To begin with, it was impossible that the United States would have agreed to a negotiated peace after Pearl Harbor, which was a strategic blunder of the highest magnitude. Secondly, the Japanese would never have extended their empire much beyond the limits of what was actually achieved - the overall strategic 'objective' was to avoid having to withdraw from China, the Dutch East Indies were intended to provide independence of movement given US sanctions and the South Pacific would provide a defensive zone in which to ward off American counter attacks.

    It is also important to understand that the strategic imperatives moving Japan towards war with the US were incredibly flimsy. To simplify crudely, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) favoured the 'Southern invasion' because it would allow it to become the salient service - with the resources and prestige that came with that distinction - and it was forced to move by 1942 because the Two-Ocean Navy Act passed by the US Congress (1941) would have rendered the IJN completely unable to compete with the US by early/mid-1943. In essence, the IJN would have been rendered strategically irrelevant and would not have been able to justify any further procurement funding from the central government. The emphasis would have remained with the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) and the interminable campaign in China, which, given increasing US strategic pressure, would have also become untenable. In short, the Japanese services gambled recklessly to avoid a humiliating withdrawal from China.

    There is a palpable sense of defeatism and resignation that pervades the IJN command up to Pearl Harbor, at which point the stunning series of victories completely reverses this psychology.

    Some major points to keep in mind in assessing the Japanese decision for war and overall 'strategy' (if one can call it that) are (1) that the overall strategic objective remained China throughout the war, (2) that the decision for war and its 'planning' were conducted under conditions of intense inter-service rivalry, and (3) that given strategic naval doctrines for a Pacific War adopted by the US Navy in the late 1930s, the IJN emphasis on the 'decisive battle' and a military cordon were completely misguided.

    Given all that, however, it must still be said that the scale, sophistication, and organization of the vast American armadas that crossed the Pacific, the establishment of elaborate heavy bomber bases within range of the Japanese home islands, and ultimately the development of nuclear weapons were understandably under-appreciated by the Japanese high command.

    The overall strategic imperatives driving Japan to war in 1941 were not significantly different from the calculations Germany made in 1938/9 - as Hitler put it 'there [was] nothing to be gained by waiting'. As Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and even the United States began massive re-armament after 1936 (1939 for the US) the temporary advantage accrued to the early starters was being rapidly eroded. Narrow windows of opportunity were seized by the revisionary powers, and for a short period of time they were able to capitalize with startling and, in the long term, profound consequences.
  • IstvanIstvan Registered Users Posts: 1,233
    edited December 2013
    At the time it was greatly feared that Japan would ... even make a landfall on the US West Coast

    Right... because every state that has ever been at war with the US always had planned to invade the US and always could have realistically carried out the invasion. :rolleyes: Reminds me of the countless games and movies about the USSR invading the US. It must be some sort of an American complex to wish to be invaded due to lacking enough wars on the home turf.
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  • NisemonoNisemono Registered Users Posts: 928
    edited December 2013
    Yes the economy matter more but you can't overlook the population especially for a prolonged war. Germany ran out of manpower and had to recruit children etc. And usually the economy is closely linked to the population number so more populous country has bigger potential and can divert larger production toward the war efforts.

    Nazi Germany was running low on raw materials before then. And before running low on raw materials, the Wehrmacht was running low on tanks and other military vehicles long before then.

    The main reason why Germany was running desperately low on manpower in 1945 was due to the severe losses suffered (eg. Op Bagration), which in turn is partly due to the lack of war materiel in the first place (and the Soviets learning from their mistakes).
  • SmokeScreenSmokeScreen Registered Users Posts: 2,429
    edited December 2013
    Nisemono wrote: »
    Nazi Germany was running low on raw materials before then. And before running low on raw materials, the Wehrmacht was running low on tanks and other military vehicles long before then.

    The main reason why Germany was running desperately low on manpower in 1945 was due to the severe losses suffered (eg. Op Bagration), which in turn is partly due to the lack of war materiel in the first place (and the Soviets learning from their mistakes).

    True, but in WW2 the war wasn't over until a substantial amount of able bodied soldiers were dead, wounded or taken prisoner. The conflict continued with or without material shortages. Finland is quite a good example of the fact that you could make do with very few tanks and planes if you utilized the equipment you did have effectively and sparingly.
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  • Maeda_ToshiieMaeda_Toshiie Registered Users Posts: 3,601
    edited December 2013
    The Finnish terrain is quite different from that of the Russian steppes, the Finns were purely on the defensive, and the Red Army had a gutted officer corps at that time. On the other hand, the Wehrmacht, while being on the strategic defensive after Kursk, will still have to content with regaining terrain if they intend to achieve more than a stalemate. I cannot imagine the Wehrmacht doing better if they had a million more young and able bodied manpower, while I am very sure they could have done better with a couple of thousand more armoured vehicles, trucks, and artillery pieces. The vehicle availability was dreadful most of the time, even with the general lack of mechanization within the Wehrmacht.

    More manpower for Wehrmacht would mean little in the face of massive numbers of Russian tanks and artillery. It would just delay the inevitable, since the Soviet weren't about to give up and were willing to bleed not just the Slavic population, but also any Turkic speaker they can get hold of.



    On the original topic: the IJA was stuck in the 1920s, but the IJN was decidedly more modern, even if their ships weren't quite competitive with the USN qualitatively (on the equipment side). They had quality, but not the industrial capacity for a long fight which the US was prepared to go for.

    Seriously, the Germans had a far better chance beating the Soviets than the IJN beating the USN in a long war.
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  • NaishoNaisho Registered Users Posts: 3,426
    edited December 2013
    Maeda pointed out in an earlier thread that in terms of pilots alone Imperial Japan would hit their attrition cap and lose combat effectiveness. In a long war Japan was going to lose their entire flight force.
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  • SmokeScreenSmokeScreen Registered Users Posts: 2,429
    edited December 2013
    The Finnish terrain is quite different from that of the Russian steppes, the Finns were purely on the defensive, and the Red Army had a gutted officer corps at that time.
    You are only referring to the situation during the Winter War, while during the Continuation War Finns were on the offensive from June to December, 1941. The objective was the Reconquest of the Karelian Isthmus and Ladoga Karelia, i.e. reclaiming territory lost during the Winter War as well as getting into more defensible positions.
    On the other hand, the Wehrmacht, while being on the strategic defensive after Kursk, will still have to content with regaining terrain if they intend to achieve more than a stalemate. I cannot imagine the Wehrmacht doing better if they had a million more young and able bodied manpower, while I am very sure they could have done better with a couple of thousand more armoured vehicles, trucks, and artillery pieces. The vehicle availability was dreadful most of the time, even with the general lack of mechanization within the Wehrmacht.
    Very true, when it comes to Kursk. But imagine 1:1 soldier ratios for the relief of Stalingrad, or during the Leningrad–Novgorod Offensive, or later when defending areas like Romania, Hungary or Austria, places that are geographically good defensive positions.

    I'd think IJA could have greatly, at least initially, capitalized on their gains if they had more men.
    More manpower for Wehrmacht would mean little in the face of massive numbers of Russian tanks and artillery. It would just delay the inevitable, since the Soviet weren't about to give up and were willing to bleed not just the Slavic population, but also any Turkic speaker they can get hold of.
    Was never imagining a victory, not for the Wehrmacht nor for the IJA or IJN, however I'd think the Germans and Japanese would have welcomed better numerical odds.
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  • CloverClover Registered Users Posts: 4,964
    edited December 2013
    After Pearl Harbor a snowball would have a better chance of surviving in hell than the US agreeing to a peace treaty with Japan on disfavorable terms. You had a record 98% of the population being polled in 1940 saying they wanted to stay out of the wars in Asia and Europe, and in just a year you have a rare moment of unanimous commitment to war. Clearly a nerve was stuck, and the belief that it was a dishonorable surprise attack didn't help. What's more is that Japan also attacked countries the US had a positive view on, like the United Kingdom and Australia, and undid decades of work in the Philippines. In addition Congress passed guarantees of independence to all parties in South-East Asia, and said numerous times that an attack by Japan would mean war.There was no way the US was going to back off after the events of December 7th and 8th.

    Manufacturing was also a one-sided story. The US could produce more ships, planes, weapons, and tanks in one month than Japan could all year, and this gap grew several times over as the US retooled its factories for war. Eventually the US would have a higher GDP than both the Axis and the United Nations combined, which speaks volumes of its potential to outlast Japan via attrition. The only possible way I see Japan changing history is to pull 10 divisions out of its magical hat and land them in Darwin, while also sinking the US fleet at Midway and the Coral Sea in a lopsided victory, while also getting China to agree to a peace treaty by 1943. Perhaps then Japan could say "We will evacuate Australia, India, and the Philippines, if you recognize our territorial gains in Java East-China, and Malaysia."
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  • Amilcar BarcaAmilcar Barca Registered Users Posts: 557
    edited December 2013
    No more "what if..." Questions?
  • Half_Life_Expert#4276Half_Life_Expert#4276 Registered Users Posts: 4,686
    edited December 2013
    Sorry, ive been a little busy preparing for finals, ill get the next one up today

    EDIT: ok, the next one is up, go check it out! It's Hannibal and whether or no he could have taken Rome after Cannae

    as always, this thread is still open
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  • LuciusRamoneLuciusRamone Registered Users Posts: 66
    edited December 2013
    Japan gone as far as Japan could have really gone, or have hoped to have gone. The MOST they could have realistically expected to do, was completely cripple the US pacific fleet. While that would have been a disaster still, the sleeping giant would still have been woken up, and the pacific war runs its bloody course, albeit a little bit later than it would have otl. I guess what I'm trying to say, is that even if Japan reached the full potential with the attack on Pearl Harbour, it wouldn't have made a difference.
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  • Half_Life_Expert#4276Half_Life_Expert#4276 Registered Users Posts: 4,686
    edited December 2013
    They could have taken midway island, maybe Hawaii if they sank all carriers at midway.
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  • daelin4#9896daelin4#9896 Registered Users Posts: 16,526
    edited December 2013
    A better question actually would be how more effective in short and/or long-term would the Japanese have been had the carriers been sunk. Most surface ship types are designed primarily for surface operations, not anti-air, as Pearl Harbour have proven.

    Conversely, the IJN's loss of all major carriers at Midway proved disastrous.

    Corrected action is the most sincere form of apology.

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