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Does OZ owe it's freedom to the US?

Discussion in 'War in the Pacific' started by Ken The Kanuck, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. Ken The Kanuck

    Ken The Kanuck Member

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    I believe that Germany woúld of éventually conquered without the intervention of the American armed forces. But the Australians owe their freedom the the US. When Japan wäs threatening with their southward push, only the US had the resources to save Australia.

    What do you think?

    KTK
     
  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    I would maybe change that to only the US had the ability AND desire to defend Australia...Remember though the Aussies shouldered plenty of responsibility for our own defence. Once the battle of the Coral Sea removed too many Japanese destroyers, we were never in any trouble from there...
     
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  3. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    One could go further back and say that the US were responsible for Australia becoming a country...With the battle for independence won, Britain could no longer send its convicts to the US and had to finally put some capital into Sydney and Van Dieman's land (Tasmania).
     
  4. Ken The Kanuck

    Ken The Kanuck Member

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    Hi Cac,

    I believe that the desire was shared by many more countries than OZ and the US. But the only foreign nation with the ability to stop the Japanese was the US.

    KTK
     
  5. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    I think it's fair to say that the US support/actions prevented a possible invasion attempt, but it is too far to claim that US actions alone 'saved' Australia. Currently reading Rising Sun Victorious and it makes a good point that the failure to seize Port Moresby hinged upon a lack of will as much as limited resources. Japan could have deployed its mass of Carriers there, rather than Midway to take that and then possibly attempt landings either on the north or north east coast. The rub being they could not build up faster than the US/Australian/Commonwealth forces could and the terrain/size would stymie a vehicle poor invader. The books scenario on this does offer some intriguing possible side effects if it had come to pass though.
     
  6. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Indeed...had they landed...our bush and wildlife would have eaten them up...they wouldn't have made it as far south as Katherine even. If they tried Cape York or the Kimberley...we would never see or hear from them again. And once (IF) they got as far as Brisbane they would have a sh*t fight the likes they've never witnessed...so we probably didn't need "saving"...
     
  7. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    There was no real possibility for Japan to successfully invade Australia. They couldn't deliver the knock-out blow to China, and it was right next door to them. New Guinea was another stumbling block as well. The overland push there was very unsuccessful, even before Mac got into the game. And they were stopped cold at Guadalcanal. Japan was at the end of their rope, and couldn't go any further.
     
  8. Ken The Kanuck

    Ken The Kanuck Member

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    I do not know if the China/Australia comparison works well. In 1941 Australia had 7 million people and China 82 million.

    KTK
     
  9. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    But China was right next door and the Japanese had over extended their log network without even getting to Australia.
     
  10. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    My point was that the Japanese were severely over extended, and could not even seriously contemplate pushing into Oz. I think that I read that the IJN thought that they could support an invasion, but the IJA harbored no such delusions. Maybe it was the other way around. Either way, I believe that if they coulda, they woulda. Same with Operation Sea Lion.
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    I think you mean China had a population of some 525 million in 1941.
     
  12. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Operating 'severely over extended' was normal operating procedure for Japanese military operations as a general rule. They counted on a quick victory that would demoralize the opponent to the point they would fold. To be fair it worked against Russia in 1905 and seemed to work against the Dutch/Allies, at least initially.

    My understanding was the Army wanted New Guinea, but was less enthused about points further south, then again there was strong (Army) support to go north into Russia. There was general support from the Navy to move south except for Yamamoto who insisted (to the point of threatening to resign) upon the Midway operation to have the great naval battle that was the center piece of naval strategy.

    The thing is after the Coral Sea, Yamamoto had ample evidence that the USN would deploy its carriers to stop Japanese movement to points further south such as Port Moresby/New Caladonia. Save for Yamamoto's Midway target fixation, they could have both gotten their strategic naval battle and further cut off Australia for easy US support/supplies.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
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  13. Aussiegoat

    Aussiegoat Member

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    Without the pre-war US embargo on oil supplies to Japan, which led to their attacks on British, Dutch, American and Australian territories throughout the Pacific and South/South-East Asia, I don't think Australia would have been in danger in the first place! But that discussion is perhaps for another time...

    And in the end, the Japanese never intended to invade Australia. They considered it in early 1942, but they thought it beyond their capabilities - they were right! They would have faced at least 11 Australian infantry and 3 armoured divisions (plus 100,000 home guard), totalling 569,000 men, had they tried in 1942/3. They wouldn't have had a chance! Their plan instead was to isolate Australia from the United States by capturing Papua, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Samoa and New Caledonia. And I'm not sure this would have worked as surely convoys could have been routed from the US via NZ, and Europe via the Indian Ocean relatively safely - Japanese subs were dreadfully ineffective and planes wouldn't have had the range to attack these.

    So while the US provided the bulk of the land, air and sea forces that beat Japan, I don't think we can say they saved Australian by any stretch of the imagination.
     
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  14. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Regarding the embargo.

    1. The US Chiefs of Staff were demanding that we build up the National Petroleum Reserve. They knew war was coming.

    2. The American public wanted gas for their cars.

    3. The British wanted all the oil they could get.

    4. The Japanese were using our PLO products to kill Chinese.

    It's just a matter of priorities.

    As for saving Australia, no serious historian makes that claim.
     
  15. ColHessler

    ColHessler Member

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    That's what I always understood.
     
  16. Aussiegoat

    Aussiegoat Member

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    I agree these were all reasons for the embargo, but if they proceeded without enough concern for Japan's response, that was a risky endeavour indeed. Hence my comment r.e. this decision setting forth the chain reaction that led to Australia being placed in danger in the first place.

    1. Does anyone know what FDR and the Joint Chiefs of Staff thought would happen as a result?

    2. I also wonder if Japan would have found it necessary/appealing to attack US/UK/Australian/Dutch interests in the foreseeable future if not for the embargo?

    I don't know a lot about this period and would welcome some enlightening.
     
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  17. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Re "1". Ah, now we get into the tangled web. FDR order an embargo on aviation grade gasoline. Certain parties in the administration, ardent anti-fascists, altered the order to a total embargo. Roosevelt wasn't informed of this in time to correct the announcement and accepted the fait accompli rather than have it look like there were divisions in the Administration.

    Re "2". The military had been telling Hirohito that the war in China would take "one more year" to conclude since 1937. They had their hands full with that and really didn't want to fight a wider war. But the pseudo-Bushido code the militarists operated under didn't allow them to back down. So the war that was started without the knowledge or consent of the civilian government just kept dragging on.

    Now, given the above the Japanese had enough fuel for six months to a year of military operations while still operating an economy at home. OR they had 3-4 years of fuel for only peace-time operations. The decision as to a wider war would have come along about this time regardless of whether we embargoed them or not.
     
  18. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    The question of how long the supplies on hand will last is only relevant if they are facing an embargo.
     
  19. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    So this:

     
  20. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The decision for embargo did not set forth the chain reaction, but was part of said chain reaction...The dominoes were already falling, and few remained. Further, Australia had been under the gun for some time, at least since the 1920's, when Japan was growing rapidly as an economic and military power. However, Japan did not yet have the tools or technology needed to make a Southern expansion a reality, but they were looking to acquire the natural resources that Japan did not possess. The IJN always looked to the South and their petroleum resources. Still, throughout the 1930's, Japan looked to move south through peaceful means, as they were not yet strong enough to risk open conflict with the nations already entrenched there. The beginning of WW2 would change that outlook, as the British would be stretched increasingly thin, as they focused on countering German moves. A military solution was furthered with the collapse of the Netherlands, and the continuing US effort to stay out of the European war.

    They thought, as many other westerners did, namely that Japan would back down rather then wage a war that she could not win and would only lead to her destruction. That Japan would enter into such a suicidal war, was seen only as a very remote possibility. Japan, however saw things in a different light.

    Japan found it necessary/appealing to attack US/UK/Australian/Dutch interests in the foreseeable future -Before- the embargo.

    Remember, the Japanese signed their Non-Aggression pact with the Soviets three months before the oil embargo was enacted. Thus, the Japanese were already laying the foundation to strike south prior to the American embargo.
     

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