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Where Did the Japanese Come Up With Plan To Attack the U.S.?

Discussion in 'Pearl Harbor' started by billlayton_50, May 11, 2007.

  1. billlayton_50

    billlayton_50 Member

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    I came across this article about where the Japanese came up with the plan to attack America in 1941. Would you like to read about just where the plan came from that caused WWII? Well go to the URL below and start reading. Thanks Bill

    JAPAN STRIKES: 1941

    Sixteen years before Pearl Harbor an English naval expert uncannily prophesied in detail the war in the Pacific. Now comes evidence that the Japanese heeded his theories—but not his warnings. Article from America Heritage Magazine
    December 1970 Volume 22, Issue 1
    By WILLIAM H. HONAN is the travel editor of the New York Times.

    http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1970/1/1970_1_11.shtml
     
  2. bf109 emil

    bf109 emil Member

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    The plan for the pearl harbour attack was proven and shown to be effective by the British attack previously upon the Italian fleet at anchor at Taranto by swordfish pilots of the R.N.

    Japanese planning staff studied the Taranto attack intensively when planning their successful attack on US naval forces in Pearl Harbor in 1941.

    The naval Battle of Taranto took place on the night of 11 November12 November 1940 during World War II. The Royal Navy launched the first all-aircraft naval attack in history, flying a small number of aircraft from an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea and attacking the Italian fleet at harbour in Taranto. The effect of the British carrier-launched aircraft on the Italian warships foreshadowed the end of the "big gun" ship and the rise of naval air-power.
     
  3. Lias_Co_Pilot

    Lias_Co_Pilot Member

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    Complacency kills. The US believed it's own propoganda, and the Japanese believed they were superior in most-if not all respects. It was just a matter of time till these two tussled.
     
  4. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Very interesting. No doubt Intelligence was aware of this, but there were other theories too and until they happened they were all fiction and noone believed Japan would actually dare to attack the U.S. Surprise was a major asset, just like the Blitzkrieg in Europe.
     
  5. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    Many years ago, I read Hector Bywater's "The Great Pacific War" and my theory is that he was not that much of a visionary and prophet, but merely was reporting on the the speculative theories of the more intellectual military thinkers of the day as to how a conflict between Japan and the United States would unfold. His modern day equivalent would be someone like Tom Clancey. I base this on the fact that, while Bywater may have been the first to put all the concepts and ideas about warfare in the Pacific into the context of an imagined war, there was nothing in Bywater's book that hadn't already been discussed and debated by the more intellectual military and naval officers on both sides. His ideas in the book actually reflected then current concepts being war-gamed in various war colleges and staff schools in Japan and the US. For instance, it's known that the Japanese had debated several ideas about the best way to attack both the US Asiatic Fleet at Manila and the burgeoning US naval bastion at Pearl Harbor, since before WW I. The concept of establishing a series of defended island bases as stepping stones to the attack on Japan was even in 1925, gaining currency as the only feasible way to support a large fleet across the vast distances involved in the Pacific. War Plan Orange began evolving in the mid-1920's to reflect this reality.

    Bywater's status as an internationally known naval journalist and commentator assured him easy access to exactly those military and naval circles in Japan, the US, and Britain where such topics were routinely discussed. It's interesting to note that although Bywater failed to accurately predict the role of the aircraft carrier in the coming war, such ideas had already been seriously expressed in the US, notably by Admiral Sims. Sims, in testimony before Congress, claimed that the day would come when fleets of carriers would stand off enemy ports and attack them at will, while battleships would be helpless to intervene; this was in 1922.

    The Japanese weren't inspired by Bywater's ideas, rather Bywater was inspired to write his novel by the military and naval thinkers in Japan and the United states who were already thinking of what would be necessary to fight the war both sides believed to be inevitable.
     
  6. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    So the Germans had nothing to do with starting WW2... Just so you know... It started a few years before 1941.
     
  7. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    Yes, it certainly did. Some non Euro-centric historians date it to 1937 or even 1931.
     
  8. TheRedBaron

    TheRedBaron Ace

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    Exactly.
     
  9. mavfin

    mavfin Member

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    Some say the roots of the European war were laid in the shambles at the end of WWI, or even say that it goes back to Bismarck, and that the Pacific side goes all the way back to the Meiji days for the Japanese aggression.

    I think the origins of the war came in 2 parts -- Pacific and European, and only merged when the US entered the war. Of course, at the same time the US was attacked, so were the British and the Dutch in the Pacific. At the time the US was already involved in supplying belligerents in Europe, and had been building to a confrontation with Japan for a while. However, until that time, the only linkage between Japan's war and Germany's war was that the US was giving some supply to opponents of both aggressors, meaning China and Britain.

    (Yes, I'm aware that the Japanese and Russians had clashed at the Manchurian border a few times, but, the Japanese had decided that dog wasn't going to hunt, and had made a non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union)
     
  10. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    All quite true, except there was another linkage between the Pacific War and the European war and it existed in the calculations of the Japanese militarists. The Japanese looked upon the European war as a golden opportunity to expand their empire while the European powers were otherwise occupied. They had done the same thing in WW I by seizing the German territories in China and the Pacific while Germany was helpless to do anything about it.

    While the United States was not yet part of the European war, the Japanese certainly expected it to become a belligerent and assumed (incorrectly) that the US would not be able, or have the will, to successfully fight on two fronts at once. This was factored into the equation that the Japanese developed to assess their chances in a war precipitated by their seizure of the Southern Resources Area. They knew that they would normally have scant chance of prevailing in a war against both Britain and the US, but felt that Britain would be sorely wounded, if not defeated, by Germany and the US, with the European war on it's hands, would be much more likely to negotiate with Japan than fight a costly and bloody war.

    Of course, their stupid and unnecessary attack on Pearl Harbor upset all of their assumptions and rendered any hope of negotiation with the US dead on arrival.
     
  11. mavfin

    mavfin Member

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    Yes, awakening the sleeping giant at Pearl Harbor, while militarily defensible, was quite politically unwise. Better (for Japan) to have attacked the European powers' possessions in the south, and forced FDR to convince the American people of the need for war. Instead, they did it themselves. At that point, there really was little hope for Japan.
     
  12. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    Actually, it wasn't even militarily defensible. Yamamoto's reason for the attack was that the US Pacific Fleet had to be crippled so it would not be able to intervene in the western Pacific while a portion of the IJN was supporting the attacks on the Southern Resources Area. Yamamoto was supposed to have had excellent, up-to-date intelligence on every aspect of the Pacific Fleet, but if he did he was extraordinarily dumb not to realize that the US pacific Fleet had neither the intention, nor the capability, to intervene with any large scale attacks in the western Pacific. War Plan Rainbow 5 assigned the task of defending the Malay Barrier to the USN, but only with the remnants of the Asiatic Fleet. The USN realized this was probably not enough to stop the Japanese from capturing the NEI, but it was committed to the "Europe First" policy, which meant that the Pacific Fleet would have to stand on the defensive and protect the "strategic triangle" (Alaska, Hawaii, and the Panama Canal) which was crucial to the defense of North America.

    In the simplest terms, The Pacific Fleet simply did not have the requisite number of fleet oilers to undertake large scale offensive operations much further west than Midway. This fact was, or should have been, known to Yamamoto, and it rendered his argument for the necessity of an attack on Pearl Harbor moot. It's difficult to escape the conclusion that Yamamoto's plan was executed out of professional pride and to prove the expertise of the Mobile Striking Force carriers, rather than out of military necessity.
     
  13. mavfin

    mavfin Member

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    Actually, I think it was for shock value, as much as anything. He knew a long war was basically suicide for Japan. It's possible that he had a (very small) hope that a successful attack could shock the American people enough for them to sue for peace quickly. They were trying the same pattern as the previous Chinese and Russian conflicts that Japan won by grabbing what they wanted by surprise, then getting peace quickly. He thought he knew us, having been here as a Naval Attache, but evidently not well enough. I think that if he had known the US well enough to realize how violent the reaction by the average American would be, he wouldn't have attacked Pearl Harbor.
     
  14. Tristan Scott

    Tristan Scott Member

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    Very interesting article Bill, Thanks.

    I don't think it would be far fetched to believe that a British naval expert would have had a great deal of influence over Japanese naval strategists. War planners often are looking the optimum and, as Devil's advocate has pointed out, I'm sure that in studying the strategic realities facing them in 1940 the Japanese would have come to the same conclusions, but in this case since Bywaters book was evidently well known, it would have supported their conclusions.

    Honan is certainly correct in the British influence over the IJN. many of the Japanese capital ships were of British design and powered by Parson's turbines. The IJN was truly modelled after the RN.
     
  15. Devilsadvocate

    Devilsadvocate Ace

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    Not only the ships were modeled after RN warships, but operating doctrine and tradition owed much to the Royal Navy. In fact, until shortly before WW II, bridge commands were rendered in English and followed RN practice.
     
  16. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    As early as 1925, an air attack on Pearl Harbor with the enemy fleet lying off of Oahu to the Northwest was dicussed, as it was in a book that was part of the cirriculum. Wasn't it called Winged Defense or something like that and was written by Billy Mitchell?
     
  17. mavfin

    mavfin Member

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    I think you may have read the same book I did, but I can't remember what it was. It examined the Japanese *political* side of the war, with history all the way back to Meiji, and looked very closely at the planning for Pearl Harbor. The US had thought up the scenario in the early days of air power, but evidently had decided it was unrealistic. They soon found out they were wrong, and many books have been made about that...
     
  18. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    Quite an interesting read. I'm just surprised that it took almost a year before the first response to this post. William Honan's article is a fascinating example of how idle curiosity can unearth an intriguing tale.
    What Mr. Honan did is good old fashioned leg work, in short, research.
     
  19. OpanaPointer

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

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    You may find it interesting to see the "Japanese Monographs" at Ibibilio.org, which does a good job of telling the Japanese side of the advance to war.

    On another note, and I'm sure it's been mentioned before, the "woke a sleeping giant" quote was not heard before it was created for the movie "Tora, Tora, Tora." :cool:
     
  20. OpanaPointer

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

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    Pardon, I'm still working this out. Check the "WWII Resources" link in my sig.

    Larry J
     

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