The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #148498   Message #3449047
Posted By: Little Hawk
07-Dec-12 - 10:00 PM
Thread Name: BS: Pearl Harbor Day / December 7
Subject: RE: BS: Pearl Harbor Day / December 7
I think Hitler could have chosen not to back Japan, Kendall, but he made an emotional decision rather than a rational one when he declared war on the USA shortly (2 days?) after the Pearl Harbour attack. It was a big mistake. Japan had not done a thing to help Germany when others declared war on Germany. They were pragmatists. Hitler was a romantic...if you get what I mean...he made decisions on the basis of violent emotions.

Yamamoto had opposed the very idea of war with America...he figured it was unwinnable...but he dutifully followed the order when the government told him to open hostilities...and he put together the best attack plan he felt he could, under the circumstances.

The attack did real damage of a pretty serious sort, and it did put the American Navy in a difficult spot for about 6 months, but they were tremendously lucky to have the 3 aircraft carriers in those waters out of the harbour on training maneuvers that day. (Japanese orders were to sink the carriers first!) American admirals expected still to be fighting naval wars primarily with battleships in 1941. That was the old school naval doctrine they'd lived by all their lives. They thought aircraft carriers would be more useful mainly for scouting and commerce raiding, but Yamamota kicked them right into the modern age by sinking most of their Pacific fleet battleships in one day with his carrier planes. They were thereby forced to modernize their naval doctrine, and they adapted very quickly.

That was bad luck for Japan.

Yamamoto might have done far better to not attack Pearl at all. Had he not, the American fleet would have steamed west toward the Phillipines, seeking a huge battleship duel to decide the war, and the highly trained and experienced Japanese pilots would in all probability have slaughtered them with carrier attacks in deep water, bagged their carriers as well, and the USA (in the Pacific theatre) would have been in very deep shit for at least a year or two after that.

So, I think Yamamoto's best tactic would have been NOT to make a long range forward pre-emptive attack, but to lure the American fleet west into Japanese-controlled waters. He'd likely have beaten them very badly when they arrived, because they'd have been thinking in old school "battleship" terms (a 20 mile punch), and he'd have been thinking in new aircraft carrier warfare terms (a 300 mile punch), he'd have had the aid of many land-based torpedo bombers like the ones that easily sank the battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse off Malaya.

I'd bet 5 to 1 odds on the Japanese to decisively win that fleet confrontation in early '42.

But it's all hypothetical... ;-) And they'd still probably have lost the war in the end anyway. The USA could build at least 10 ships for every ship the Japanese could build, and the American military forces were good at quickly learning new ways of fighting...when they were forced to.


Regarding the War of 1812. I don't think that one was fought for your freedom either. It resulted primarily from American ambitions to conquer Canada. The USA administration at the time thought it would just be a question of "walking" there...since British colonial forces in Canada were very badly outnumbered by the USA. The British never envisioned conquering the USA in that war, and never tried to, they just made some retaliatory raids (like the one on Washington or the one at New Orleans). Therefore, my view of it is that it was fought for Canadian freedom. We were the ones who stood to lose our country. ;-D And that's the way virtually every Canadian sees it. It is the one war we have definitely fought to preserve our way of life.

I'll grant though, that the American Revolutionary War was most certainly fought for your the sense of securing your independence as a sovereign nation. I don't think it made much of a difference in terms of normal civil rights. Those were very similar in the USA and all across the British Empire. It was just a question of who was in charge at the top, who would decide about tax laws, etc....and that's where the revolutionaries and the British Crown could not agree. Britain already had a fully functioning parliamentary democracy in place, and the King (a constitutional monarch) had to defer to parliament. Wars had been fought in England previously which secured those rights.

Most Britons at the time thought themselves to be living in the free-est society in the world, given their civil and legal rights as citizens, their Bill of Rights, their courts, etc.

Americans thought the same. My feeling is that there was little difference between them when it came to ordinary social "freedom", but the Americans wanted a homegrown government, not one that had its headquarters located across the Atlantic Ocean.