What was the Nazi's reaction to the attack on Pearl Harbor?

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Matthew
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What was the Nazi's reaction to the attack on Pearl Harbor?

Post by Matthew » 23 Nov 2002 09:45

Does anyone know what the Nazi's reaction was to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor? Did they fully believe Japan could defeat the US because of the suprise attack?

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GFM2000
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Post by GFM2000 » 24 Nov 2002 12:39

According to Shirer, Hitler was amazed by this Machievallian act by the Japanese, and and ordered Ribbentrop to openly declare war on the Americans as soon as possible.

I'm not sure if they knew for sure if the Germans knew what Japan's "grand strategy" for the "Greater East Asia Co-operative Sphere" actually was, not to mention whether the Japanese were able to defeat America*. My guess is the Germans did not give it too much thought, since the German Army was already facing trouble outside Moscow, and could only hope that Japan's sense of honour would push the Japanese into declaring war on Russia.

:D

* Come to think of it, it seems as if the Japanese themselves do not know how they are going to accomplish this, but perhaps this can be discussed in a different thread.

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Post by varjag » 24 Nov 2002 13:10

Most contemporary records and subsequent history seems to agree that the German government was as surprised as the sailors,airmen and soldiers at Pearl. The Japanese had sent veiled warnings to Berlin - but their interpretation seems to have been that the strike was going to fall on Britains Eastern Empire - which delighted them. The implications of the PH strike was obvious to Hitler and the German Admirals.Few German generals even knew where Pearl Harbour was. But when Hitler on 11.12. brazenly declared war on the US - every German from private to Field Marshal, I think took notice with what can only mildly be discribed as dismay. My view is - that Hitler, by fulfilling the conditions of the Tri-Partite Agreement - thought that Japan, correspondingly, would declare war on the Soviet Union - and send it's underemployed Kwantung Army to ease the pressure before Moscow. But, perfidious Nippon, choose otherwise - the rest is history.

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Gareth Collins
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Post by Gareth Collins » 24 Nov 2002 16:21

Excellent post varjag. Don't think I could have put it better myself.

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David C. Clarke
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Post by David C. Clarke » 24 Nov 2002 17:10

Well "perfidious Nippon" would have been "stupid Nippon" if they had declared war on the Soviet Union as well as the U.S. at the same time.
Let's remember that there wasn't much in it for Japan. How many thousands of kilometers of empty Siberia would the Japanese Army (already fighting in the quicksand pool of China) have wanted to take?
My humble opinion is that Stalin would have still used his Siberian Troops to fight in european Russia if the Japanese had declared war, knowing that there was literally nothing of strategic value for the Japanese to endanger for thousands of square kilometers in the East.
The Japanese shouldn't bear the blame for Hitler's mistake, which was to plan to conquer Russia in a single year's campaign.
Regards, David

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red devil
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Post by red devil » 10 Dec 2004 16:41

Shock! Then Germany declared war on the USA about 3 -4 days later

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Post by Karl » 18 Dec 2004 13:49

red devil wrote:Shock! Then Germany declared war on the USA about 3 -4 days later
This was maybe the biggest of a long line of blunders...even without the benefit of hindsight, one would imagine they would not have acted so fast to do this…the US was already an econmoic powerhouse to be reckoned with…maybe more then forty years already and especially after ww1…dumb and too emotional imho...I really don't know what they were thinking.

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Post by Jon G. » 18 Dec 2004 14:05

Well, the Soviets did have Vladivostok close to Manchuria to worry about, so they couldn't just have abandoned the Far East altogether.

By Dec. 1941 there was more or less a state of undeclared war between the US and Germany in the Atlantic - so you could reasonably argue that war between Germany and the US would have come about anyway, Pearl Harbor or not.

Hitler's simplistic view may simply have been that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor would mean that the US would be too preoccupied fighting in Asia to interfere much in his European war. At least for a while, he was actually right - had he beaten the USSR in 1942, he would have had the time to concentrate west again, before the US could intervene.

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Post by Karl » 18 Dec 2004 14:22

Shrek wrote:
By Dec. 1941 there was more or less a state of undeclared war between the US and Germany in the Atlantic - so you could reasonably argue that war between Germany and the US would have come about anyway, Pearl Harbor or not.
You think?
Hitler's simplistic view may simply have been that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor would mean that the US would be too preoccupied fighting in Asia to interfere much in his European war. At least for a while, he was actually right - had he beaten the USSR in 1942, he would have had the time to concentrate west again, before the US could intervene.
He never should have messed with Russia either dangit! :x

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Post by Jon G. » 18 Dec 2004 14:35

Karl wrote:
Shrek wrote:
By Dec. 1941 there was more or less a state of undeclared war between the US and Germany in the Atlantic - so you could reasonably argue that war between Germany and the US would have come about anyway, Pearl Harbor or not.
You think?
Yes. From September 1941, USN ships in the Atlantic were ordered to shoot on sight at German U-Boats. Of course it goes to Roosevelt's credit that Hitler spared him the trouble of actually declaring war.
He never should have messed with Russia either dangit! :x
Well, the wisdom of taking on the USSR single-handedly while still at war with the UK is another discussion :)

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