Japan delays Pearl Harbor, attacks USSR during the high point of Barbarossa

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Re: Japan delays Pearl Harbor, attacks USSR during the high point of Barbarossa

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 05 Nov 2019 02:13

OpanaPointer wrote:
05 Nov 2019 00:54
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
05 Nov 2019 00:50
What are some good sources on the likelihood and timing of American entry into WW2 absent Pearl Harbor?
I've seen it argued that America wouldn't have gone to war in the event of an attack on Singapore/DEI, let alone an attack on the USSR.

Any evaluation of this ATL has to account for the global impact of delayed - perhaps indefinitely? - American involvement.
Secretary of War Stimson noted in his diaries that on two occasion in 1941 FDR's entire cabinet was unanimous that he could get a declaration of war against Japan if they attacked British and/or Dutch colonies in South East Asia. The first time was on July 5th, Stimson noting this in his entry for July 7th. (Stimson was an indefatigable diarist, his diaries run to thousands of pages. He didn't make an entry every day, but he made notes every day that made it into the diary when he had time to update it.)
Thanks.
National Interest has a blog entry analyzing FDR's moves during latter 1941. My overall impression from the article is that FDR wouldn't have been prepared to ask Congress/America to authorize war against Japan but for the clear indications of Japanese aggressive intent in that area throughout the period. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-b ... page=0%2C1

The article also reminds that the American oil embargo in response to Japan's seizures in Indochina didn't come until August 1941, nearly a year after Japan initiated its presence in Indochina (but immediately after certain seizures).

An ATL in which Japan coordinates with Germany in an attack on Russia should be one in which Japan isn't making aggressive moves on Indochina from 1940. Hitler had some leverage here, as he was enticing Vichy France into an alliance but was simultaneously pushing Japan towards confrontation with the U.S. Perhaps some Nazi pressure against the Indochina move, combined with intimations not to ally too closely with Russia, could have at least delayed Japan's move on Indochina.

That would have removed the direct impetus for the beginning and subsequent escalation of embargoes against Japan (starting with steel/copper scrap then moving to oil). It might have maintained Roosevelt's less-bellicose stance towards Japan that prevailed during 1940. Roosevelt planned a speech for December 8th explaining the danger of Japan's moves with an eye towards getting Congressional support for war based on Japanese aggression against the UK/DEI. The article states,
Stimson’s stated conclusion that Roosevelt was “undoubtedly considering an attack on Jap forces threatening Southeast Asia” was incorrect. Instead, Roosevelt was scrambling to avoid having to make an after-the-fact appeal to Congress, in light of additional intelligence reports on December 1 that the Japanese expedition had rounded the southern tip of Indochina and was heading into the Gulf of Siam.
Furthermore, given the desultory 1940 response to Indochina (no oil embargo until ~10 months afterwards), it might have been possible for Japan to continue importing U.S. oil for at least a few months after an ~August/September attack on the USSR [given no Indochina move]. The politics of standing up for Stalin versus for France would surely have been different but I need to learn more on the likely extent of the difference.

If Japan can deal a big blow against SU in 1941 and early 42, all while importing oil, it would be in decent shape for a less-ambitious southwards push during 1942. If the U.S. never embargoes oil due to SU attack, then maybe Japan waits until late 1942 or early 43- when its perceived window of naval superiority would still be somewhat open.

That ATL would delay U.S. entry for 6-12 months, meaning no Torch in 1942. And potentially a Soviet collapse by 1943, prior to delayed U.S. land operations such as Torch.
BobTheBarbarian wrote:So I would imagine some sort of economic assistance to the USSR/pressure on Japan would be forthcoming in the event of an invasion by the latter.
We were already providing Lend-Lease by October 1941 and non-LL (purchased) aid before then. LL was small in magnitude early in the war and has to go through the LW/KM gauntlet to Murmansk in this ATL. It's not going to make much of a difference.
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Re: Japan delays Pearl Harbor, attacks USSR during the high point of Barbarossa

Post by T. A. Gardner » 05 Nov 2019 02:14

If you look at the polling in Public Opinion Quarterly at the time, the US public was overwhelmingly behind slapping heavy restrictions or even embargos on all sorts of goods to Japan. They also saw British and Dutch colonies in Asia as significant and if the Japanese moved against them, the US should intervene.
War with Japan was only approved of by a slight majority (usually 51 to 55%), much higher than war with Germany was.

So, Japan would have faced, most likely, embargos on most imported goods following a declaration of war against the Soviet Union. This would leave them in the same position they were historically. They would be faced with running out of many strategic materials and commodities almost from the day they declared. This would force them into a war with the British and Dutch to gain those resources back which in turn would have brought the US into the war.
The difference here is that with their involvement against the Soviet Union, they'd have far smaller land forces to deal with these new opponents even if their navy was still just as available.

The biggest cause to Japan entering war was the switch from an IJN faction lead government to an IJA lead one under Tojo. Put bluntly, the IJA faction was arrogant and stupid. That's a dangerous combination when you are facing a much more powerful opponent. It was the IJA that continuously expanded the war in China. That was the general cause of US concern. The Navy faction tried to reign in those operations and smooth things over. When the Army took over the government, they basically saw the US as just another big weak opponent like China or the Soviets prior to having their @$$ handed to them at Nomohan.

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Re: Japan delays Pearl Harbor, attacks USSR during the high point of Barbarossa

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 05 Nov 2019 02:22

T.A. Gardner wrote:So, Japan would have faced, most likely, embargos on most imported goods following a declaration of war against the Soviet Union. This would leave them in the same position they were historically.
If they make no Indochina move in 1940, however, they likely have several more months of imports prior to the SU attack.
Even after the SU attack, it might take US policy months to coalesce around oil embargo, just as in OTL following Indochina.
Public opinion majoritarianism rarely carries in the U.S.; Congressional coalitions and personalities were less gung-ho about war and provocative foreign policy than the public at this time.

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Re: Japan delays Pearl Harbor, attacks USSR during the high point of Barbarossa

Post by BobTheBarbarian » 05 Nov 2019 03:12

T. A. Gardner wrote:
05 Nov 2019 02:14
The biggest cause to Japan entering war was the switch from an IJN faction lead government to an IJA lead one under Tojo. Put bluntly, the IJA faction was arrogant and stupid. That's a dangerous combination when you are facing a much more powerful opponent. It was the IJA that continuously expanded the war in China. That was the general cause of US concern. The Navy faction tried to reign in those operations and smooth things over. When the Army took over the government, they basically saw the US as just another big weak opponent like China or the Soviets prior to having their @$$ handed to them at Nomohan.
Even Nomonhan only chastened the Japanese; they never abandoned the idea of invading Siberia and in fact made extensive preparations to do so in 1941 before our oil embargo shifted their attention south permanently.

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Re: Japan delays Pearl Harbor, attacks USSR during the high point of Barbarossa

Post by OpanaPointer » 05 Nov 2019 05:02

The Northern Resources Area strategy was weighed against the Southern Resources Area strategy, as discussed in Political Strategy Prior to the Outbreak of War.

The southern plan had fewer Russians. 8-)
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RE: Japan Delays Pearl Harbor, Attacks The U.S.S.R. During The High Point Of Barbarossa.

Post by Robert Rojas » 05 Nov 2019 05:44

Greetings to both brother "Bob-The-Barbarian" and the community as a whole. Howdy B.T.B. (or Bob if you so prefer). Well sir, in reference to your installment of Monday - November 04, 2019 - 9:16am, old yours was struck by the incredulity of your proposed Japanese gambit for the Soviet Far East. Were you or are serious about mounting a concerted ground operation into the primordial hinterlands of the Siberian Taiga? Never mind Soviet resistance, have you given any practical consideration to the wholly unpredictable role of old mother nature might inflict upon this ostensibly foot slogging and horse drawn INFANTRY invasion force of yours? Given how quickly the seasons change in that part of the world, would you really want to gamble with sudden and unanticipated meteorological developments? With the likelihood of many of your troops NOW freezing to death and your tenuous logistics tail now grinding to a halt, apart from Divine Intervention itself, how is this offensive suppose to maintain its forward momentum? I also rather imagine that the well acclimatized and properly attired and snow suited EVENKI tribesmen will STEALTHILY approach the now hunkered down and beleaguered Japanese on their cross country skis and dispatch many of them at close quarters with their PPsh41 sub machine guns. Like the Germans before Moscow, the Japanese are now learning that the Motherland can be one unforgiving BITCH. Well, that's my latest two Yankee cents worth on this sojourn down Joseph Stalin's infamous ROAD OF BONES - for now anyway. In any case, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day in the community of Charlotte (whatever state that might or might not be associated with).

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
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Re: RE: Japan Delays Pearl Harbor, Attacks The U.S.S.R. During The High Point Of Barbarossa.

Post by glenn239 » 05 Nov 2019 18:07

Robert Rojas wrote:
05 Nov 2019 05:44
Greetings to both brother "Bob-The-Barbarian" and the community as a whole. Howdy B.T.B. (or Bob if you so prefer). Well sir, in reference to your installment of Monday - November 04, 2019 - 9:16am, old yours was struck by the incredulity of your proposed Japanese gambit for the Soviet Far East. Were you or are serious about mounting a concerted ground operation into the primordial hinterlands of the Siberian Taiga? Never mind Soviet resistance, have you given any practical consideration to the wholly unpredictable role of old mother nature might inflict upon this ostensibly foot slogging and horse drawn INFANTRY invasion force of yours?
You're asking if the Japanese want this to happen?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_in ... _Manchuria

My guess is no. No they don't. Here,

https://www.google.ca/search?q=transsib ... XTqFCn1OJM

Can the thing in the first link happen if the IJA holds the Lake Baikal region and thereby cuts that red line?

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Re: RE: Japan Delays Pearl Harbor, Attacks The U.S.S.R. During The High Point Of Barbarossa.

Post by BobTheBarbarian » 05 Nov 2019 18:59

Robert Rojas wrote:
05 Nov 2019 05:44
Greetings to both brother "Bob-The-Barbarian" and the community as a whole. Howdy B.T.B. (or Bob if you so prefer). Well sir, in reference to your installment of Monday - November 04, 2019 - 9:16am, old yours was struck by the incredulity of your proposed Japanese gambit for the Soviet Far East. Were you or are serious about mounting a concerted ground operation into the primordial hinterlands of the Siberian Taiga? Never mind Soviet resistance, have you given any practical consideration to the wholly unpredictable role of old mother nature might inflict upon this ostensibly foot slogging and horse drawn INFANTRY invasion force of yours? Given how quickly the seasons change in that part of the world, would you really want to gamble with sudden and unanticipated meteorological developments? With the likelihood of many of your troops NOW freezing to death and your tenuous logistics tail now grinding to a halt, apart from Divine Intervention itself, how is this offensive suppose to maintain its forward momentum? I also rather imagine that the well acclimatized and properly attired and snow suited EVENKI tribesmen will STEALTHILY approach the now hunkered down and beleaguered Japanese on their cross country skis and dispatch many of them at close quarters with their PPsh41 sub machine guns. Like the Germans before Moscow, the Japanese are now learning that the Motherland can be one unforgiving BITCH. Well, that's my latest two Yankee cents worth on this sojourn down Joseph Stalin's infamous ROAD OF BONES - for now anyway. In any case, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day in the community of Charlotte (whatever state that might or might not be associated with).

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
Hi uncle Bob,

Well, the Japanese had firsthand knowledge of how difficult it would be to operate in the endless steppe, which is why they cancelled plans for a westward thrust after Khalkhin Gol in 1939. The infrastructure wasn't there and the IJA lacked the number of trucks needed to maintain a steady supply line. From that point forward, operational preparations were directed eastward against the Maritime Province (Primorye) and north against Blagoveshchensk and Khabarovsk. Here, distances were not so great and the Red Army was sandwiched between Manchuria and the Pacific Ocean.

Meanwhile, the Russians' whole force was dependent on the Trans-Siberian railway for resupply (as was the entire civilian economy), which ran quite close to the border and could easily be cut off. Without this lifeline, any defensive effort would invariably fail; in other words, a giant Bataan ending at Vladivostok. To make matters worse, STAVKA (Stalin's GHQ) was by that time totally focused on the German Front: per their directives issued in early 1942, just four tank brigades, five artillery regiments, six guards mortar regiments, and five armored train divisions were all that could be scraped up to send to the east in the event of war with Japan.

Regarding the weather, the Japanese command considered it imperative that if there was to be a war in 1941, "first phase operations" (6 to 8 weeks) would have to be wrapped up by mid-October. With this in mind, their actual preparations were running late: final preparations for the grandiose "Kantokuen" plan would not be finished until late September. Given that this plan was actually approved only on July 7th, the only way this could have worked without risking major objectives being left unfulfilled by winter would be if a decision for war were made much earlier. Historically, Matsuoka's visit to Berlin in late March might have proved such a tipping point, but Hitler chose to conceal the details of the Barbarossa plan from the Japanese. If the 'Fuehrer' instead openly requested a joint attack, it's possible the rabidly anti-communist "Strike Northers" backed by Matsuoka's rhetoric (himself no fan of Stalin) could have prevailed.

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RE: Japan Delays Pearl Harbor, Attacks The U.S.S.R. During The High Point Of Barbarossa.

Post by Robert Rojas » 06 Nov 2019 07:18

Greetings to both cousin glenn239 and the community as a whole. Howdy glenn! Well sir, first and foremost, old yours truly would like to convey my appreciation for your expressed concerns about my perceptions about the Japanese theoretical assault upon the southern tier of greater Siberia. Brother "Bob-The-Barbarian's" detailed installment of Tuesday - November 05, 2019 - 9:59am, allayed MANY of my concerns about the overall mission and objectives of what I perceived as a rough equivalent of a Napoleonic march into the hinterlands of the Siberia. Panje horses and ponies notwithstanding, it's not exactly a pleasant walk in the park from the eastern frontier of Manchukuo to the environs of the Trans-Baikal Region of Siberia. As I sit here with my snifter of Hennessy's to provide me with "creative inspiration", I rather imagine that some enterprising Japanese Field Grade Officer will recall his history of the fairly recent Russian Civil War and the activities of the Czechoslovak Legion in year 1917. So, in the continuing effort to stay on mission, who is to say that after interdicting the Trans-Siberian Railroad in the vicinity of metropolitan Chita, would this not be a wonderful opportunity to marshal captured Soviet locomotives and rolling stock, create de facto flying columns to roll down the line in both easterly and westerly directions to capture and occupy settlements along the Trans-Siberian railroad? Apart from isolating the Soviet Far East, the capture and occupation of the disparate settlements along the Trans-Siberian railroad will allow for the proper billeting and the potential provisioning (most likely with captured enemy stocks) of the Japanese Army of Siberia. I will naturally assume, at this point anyway, that the now Japanese Army of Siberia will energetically prepare for the inevitable Soviet counterattack that will emanate out of Europe. Well, that's my latest two Yankee cents worth on this expansive topic of interest - for now anyway. In any case, I would like to bid you an especially copacetic day up in your corner of the proverbial GREAT WHITE NORTH that is Canada - EH!?

Best Regards,
Uncle Bob :idea: :|
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Re: Japan delays Pearl Harbor, attacks USSR during the high point of Barbarossa

Post by Takao » 06 Nov 2019 13:24

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
05 Nov 2019 02:22

If they make no Indochina move in 1940, however, they likely have several more months of imports prior to the SU attack.
Even after the SU attack, it might take US policy months to coalesce around oil embargo, just as in OTL following Indochina.
Public opinion majoritarianism rarely carries in the U.S.; Congressional coalitions and personalities were less gung-ho about war and provocative foreign policy than the public at this time.
It did not take months for US embargoes to coalesce...It took days. The Japanese invaded Northern Indochina on September 22, 1940, and the US embargoed iron & scrap steel on September 27th. When Japan invaded the rest of Indochina some months later, the US embargoed oil within a two days of the start of the invasion. So, it is highly doubtful that Japan will see months of imports before a US embargo.

You could also argue that the oil embargo was very provacative, as it had been presumed to lead to war with Japan since the 1937 sinking of the USS Panay z when such an embargo was first discussed and turned down.

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Re: Japan delays Pearl Harbor, attacks USSR during the high point of Barbarossa

Post by BobTheBarbarian » 06 Nov 2019 17:36

Takao wrote:
06 Nov 2019 13:24
It did not take months for US embargoes to coalesce...It took days. The Japanese invaded Northern Indochina on September 22, 1940, and the US embargoed iron & scrap steel on September 27th. When Japan invaded the rest of Indochina some months later, the US embargoed oil within a two days of the start of the invasion. So, it is highly doubtful that Japan will see months of imports before a US embargo.

You could also argue that the oil embargo was very provacative, as it had been presumed to lead to war with Japan since the 1937 sinking of the USS Panay z when such an embargo was first discussed and turned down.
In fact, historically it was the US oil embargo on 1 August 1941 that delivered the decisive blow to the IJA's ambitions in Siberia: only 8 days later it was agreed at IGHQ that the southward offensive should have priority.

After all, it was pretty difficult to run tanks and planes without fuel...

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Re: Japan delays Pearl Harbor, attacks USSR during the high point of Barbarossa

Post by Takao » 06 Nov 2019 18:03

BobTheBarbarian wrote:
06 Nov 2019 17:36
Takao wrote:
06 Nov 2019 13:24
It did not take months for US embargoes to coalesce...It took days. The Japanese invaded Northern Indochina on September 22, 1940, and the US embargoed iron & scrap steel on September 27th. When Japan invaded the rest of Indochina some months later, the US embargoed oil within a two days of the start of the invasion. So, it is highly doubtful that Japan will see months of imports before a US embargo.

You could also argue that the oil embargo was very provacative, as it had been presumed to lead to war with Japan since the 1937 sinking of the USS Panay z when such an embargo was first discussed and turned down.
In fact, historically it was the US oil embargo on 1 August 1941 that delivered the decisive blow to the IJA's ambitions in Siberia: only 8 days later it was agreed at IGHQ that the southward offensive should have priority.

After all, it was pretty difficult to run tanks and planes without fuel...
Well, the US had ceased exporting aviation fuel to Japan beginning in August, 1940. However, japan could still refine their own as crude oil continued to flow. When that tap was turned off, they truly were up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

Ironically, the were sitting on a sizeable oil field in Manchuria/Manchukuo, but it was not were geologists expected to find an oil field, so the Chinese did not find it until 1958-59. This has also been the source of a few What Ifs.

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Re: Japan delays Pearl Harbor, attacks USSR during the high point of Barbarossa

Post by OpanaPointer » 06 Nov 2019 18:06

The US was still sending high octane gasoline, which could be refined into aviation fuel.
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Re: Japan delays Pearl Harbor, attacks USSR during the high point of Barbarossa

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 07 Nov 2019 06:12

Takao wrote:
06 Nov 2019 13:24
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
05 Nov 2019 02:22

If they make no Indochina move in 1940, however, they likely have several more months of imports prior to the SU attack.
Even after the SU attack, it might take US policy months to coalesce around oil embargo, just as in OTL following Indochina.
Public opinion majoritarianism rarely carries in the U.S.; Congressional coalitions and personalities were less gung-ho about war and provocative foreign policy than the public at this time.
It did not take months for US embargoes to coalesce...It took days. The Japanese invaded Northern Indochina on September 22, 1940, and the US embargoed iron & scrap steel on September 27th. When Japan invaded the rest of Indochina some months later, the US embargoed oil within a two days of the start of the invasion. So, it is highly doubtful that Japan will see months of imports before a US embargo.

You could also argue that the oil embargo was very provacative, as it had been presumed to lead to war with Japan since the 1937 sinking of the USS Panay z when such an embargo was first discussed and turned down.
Oil was of course very provocative and many in the US foresaw that the embargo meant war.
...which is why I don't think it's certain the US would have immediately embargoed oil if Japan makes no non-China moves prior to joining Bararossa. The rising trans-Pacific tensions during 1940-41 were based in large part on perceived Japanese threats to direct U.S. interests (The Philippines and SE Asia's rubber supply). Reports of troop transfers from Northern China to Southern, in particular, alarmed Roosevelt. If Japan made no moves threatening those direct interests, it's harder to see the politics playing out the same.

In the background of all this is the one sliver of feasibility to a Japanese attack on SU in 1941: Hitler was intentionally pushing Japan into confrontation with the US and didn't think Japanese help in Russia was necessary for his quick campaign. He did so by aiming the Tripartite Pact squarely at America, while also not opposing Japanese moves in Indochina (at some cost to his nascent efforts to bring Vichy on side). Hitler also mis-judged American politics, believing that Roosevelt and the "Jewish cabal" controlling him would force America into the war against him soon.

If Hitler accurately judges SU strength and American war-appetite, he'd not have pushed Japan towards the U.S. Instead, he'd have sought to channel Japan into this anti-SU war.

What levers were at his control? Here's my best version of the case:
  • Japan's war effort was - apart from China - largely parasitic on Germany's: they wouldn't have considered fighting UK/France/USA unless they expected Germany to do much of the work.
  • The Tripartite Pact guaranteed Axis support if the USA attacked Japan.
  • In IGHQ cabinet discussions of moves against Southeast Asia, there are multiple mentions of the "deterrent effect" of Germany/Axis on America, should it object to Japanese moves southwards. [anybody have cites at hand? I'm going off memory; I returned the relevant volume to the library].
Hitler's ultimate lever, therefore, is rescission of the Tripartite Pact if Japan doesn't attack the USSR. This would leave Japan to face the U.S. alone if it moves against SE Asia. Hitler's rationale could be that, while Article 5 of the Pact specifically disavows ill intent towards the SU, Stalin had since nullified those considerations by "provoking" Germany to attack it. Given Stalin's treachery, Japan's honor depended on joining her ally. Absent Japanese help with the SU, Germany would see no reason to stick its neck out and fight America.

As a matter of history, I take it there's some debate about whether Roosevelt could have got a declaration against Germany following PH. Hopkins et. al. were at least relieved not to face that political fight after Hitler's declaration. As a matter of contemporary understanding of other countries, Japan wasn't beholden to theories about Roosevelt and the Jewish Cabal; it had good reason to believe the U.S. would stay out of the European war if given the choice.

Besides the Tripartite stick, Hitler had some small carrots as well: Japan was seeking German technical assistance on weapons and on industry, especially coal gasification. OTL Germany didn't send this assistance until late in the war; Hitler could have offered Japan blueprints of anything they wanted plus boatloads (Uboatloads) of German technicians. Germany and Japan also had disagreements - quixotic as they seem now - over the boundaries of their spheres of influence in the Middle East, India, and Central Asia. Germany could have offered concessions in those regions conditioned on Japan attacking the SU.

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Re: Japan delays Pearl Harbor, attacks USSR during the high point of Barbarossa

Post by ljadw » 07 Nov 2019 10:24

1 Stalin did not provoke a German attack.
2 Honor has no place in international politics, honor is a childish notion .
3 The Japanese attack on PH obliged Germany to declare war on US,unless you expect Hitler to remain iddle while US mobilised and eliminated Japan and then to declare war on Germany .Germany had more chances against US if it fought together with Japan .
4 War between US and Germany was already a fact before PH : both countries were firing on each others ships .A formal DOW would not last .
5 The WASPS dominated US politics and the WASPS wanted intervention in Europe .War between US and Germany was inevitable since August 1940 .

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