Why not "besiege" Japan?

Discussions on WW2 in the Pacific and the Sino-Japanese War.
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mikegriffith1
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Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by mikegriffith1 » 23 Sep 2019 01:22

Or, why even besiege Japan? Why do anything to Japan after we had bombed 66 of their cities, destroyed most of their navy, destroyed most of their merchant marine, and destroyed most of their air force? Why not just go home and leave them alone? We had already extracted more than a pound of flesh for Pearl Harbor. We had avenged Pearl Harbor many times over. Why not just tell Japan that if they'll release our POWs, we'll go home?

If we had done this soon enough, say in June 1945, Japan could have restored the fighting ability of her army in China and prevented the fall of China to communism. North Korea never would have gone communist. Vietnam would not have gone communist either. China, for one, would have been better off with the Japanese in control of a part of China and the Nationalists in control of the other part. When the Maoist Communists took over China, they proceeded to kill over 30 million Chinese.

I'm not sure I agree with all of the above scenario, but it's interesting to think about.

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Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by OpanaPointer » 23 Sep 2019 02:01

The problem is that the militarists would have continued to control the country. That cancer needed excising.
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Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by Volyn » 23 Sep 2019 03:00

mikegriffith1 wrote:
23 Sep 2019 01:22
Or, why even besiege Japan? Why do anything to Japan after we had bombed 66 of their cities, destroyed most of their navy, destroyed most of their merchant marine, and destroyed most of their air force? Why not just go home and leave them alone? We had already extracted more than a pound of flesh for Pearl Harbor. We had avenged Pearl Harbor many times over. Why not just tell Japan that if they'll release our POWs, we'll go home?
OpanaPointer wrote:
23 Sep 2019 02:01
The problem is that the militarists would have continued to control the country. That cancer needed excising.
This is why wars against militarists need to be fought to their complete conclusion; they are a cancer and their death is the most effective cure.

We have two modern examples which reveal to the world what happens when you allow active combatant-militarists to live and fight again:

1. The remaining Sunni militants from Iraq morphed into ISIS in Syria, and it took another international coalition to fight them in both countries.

2. The surviving Taliban leaders regrouped in Pakistan allowing them to continue their fight in Afghanistan for 18 years and counting.

Japan's militarists needed to be destroyed or captured, and the country needed to be occupied like Germany. It would have been an act of grotesque shortsightedness to leave that regime in power after they had inflicted their cruelties upon so many different nations in the Pacific.
Last edited by Volyn on 23 Sep 2019 13:11, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by paulrward » 23 Sep 2019 06:27

Hello All :

Mr. MikeGriffith1 posted the following :
Or, why even besiege Japan? Why do anything to Japan after we had bombed 66 of their cities, destroyed most of their navy, destroyed most of their merchant marine, and destroyed most of their air force? Why not just go home and leave them alone? We had already extracted more than a pound of flesh for Pearl Harbor. We had avenged Pearl Harbor many times over. Why not just tell Japan that if they'll release our POWs, we'll go home?

If we had done this soon enough, say in June 1945, Japan could have restored the fighting ability of her army in China and prevented the fall of China to communism. North Korea never would have gone communist. Vietnam would not have gone communist either. China, for one, would have been better off with the Japanese in control of a part of China and the Nationalists in control of the other part. When the Maoist Communists took over China, they proceeded to kill over 30 million Chinese.

I'm not sure I agree with all of the above scenario, but it's interesting to think about.

I think I am going to handle this in order.

Mr. Griffith, the idea of going to war for a limited goal is a construct ( and an unsuccessful one at that ! ) of the Post WW2 world. Prior to 1945, when a nation went to war, it was all out, no quarter given and none asked, Total War ! It wasn't until Korea that the United States, under the influence of the State Department, began fighting, not to achieve Victory, but merely to attain a political result that was something better than an abject defeat. The result was Korea, VietNam, the First Gulf War, and the current Middle Eastern Morass. Over a Hundred Thousand dead U.S. Soldiers, and not a victory in sight.

But WW2 was different. The United State in those days still fought to defeat it's enemies. Absolutely, Totally, and with an Unconditional
Surrender at the end of the fighting. The American People liked it that way. It made for a simpler life after the war was over. And, with the end of WW1 in mind, where the Germans requested an Armistace, and then the Versailles Follies began, the United States was NOT going to accept ANYTHING from the Emperor but an absolute, abject, unconditional surrender. " Why not just go home and leave them alone ?" Because, after three and a half years of war, with hundreds of thousands of Americans dead, and the sorrow that brought to their loved ones, along with all of the deprivations, dislocations, and disruptions to their daily lives that the war had brought to the American People, it was time for some justice to be meted out to the Emperor and his government. Preferably with lengths of Manila Hemp.

Why not leave the Japanese in control of China ? Mr Griffith, you seem to have aquired some sort of fantasy that the Chinese were in some bizarre way " Better Off " under Japanese occupation. Apparently you have no conception of just how horrible the Japanese occupation of China and the rest of the " Co-Prosperity Sphere " really was. I have a set of photos that I can post, IF YOU REQUEST IT !, of just a few of the attrocities carried out by Japanese soldiers in China. In most cases, the photos were found in posession of Japanese soldiers who were either killed or captured. These Japanese men were carrying these horific images around with them BECAUSE THEY WERE PROUD OF THEM! The Japanese Society, Culture, and Education System was such that it made the average Japanese soldier capable of commiting appalling atrocities . For the American People, to allow Japan to continue to occupy ANY other country than their own was unthinkable, especially a nation such as China, who had suffered so much and for so long at the hands of the Japanese.

There is no evidence that the Japanese were capable of preventing a Communist take-over of China. In 1939 on the Khalkin Gol, and again in 1945, when the Soviets invaded the Kuriles, Stalin basically handed the Japanese their heads milltarily. The thought that somehow a devastated, defeated Japan could protect itself against Russia is laughable. 1905 was forty years in the past, and the Czar and his Monty Python government were long gone. In fact, had the United States simply gone home, the Soviets would have poured into Japan, taking it one island at a time, and would have transformed it into the Peoples Soviet Republic of Japan ! Hirohito, Kido, and the rest of the Royal Family would have ended up in the basement of a ' House of Special Purposes ", and any survivors of the IJA, the IJN, and the Government would have spent a few ugly years digging for Gold at Kolyma until they died of starvation. The Japanese people would have ended up like the East Germans, who, to those Germans who live in the Western portion of Germany, are still referred to as " Ossies "

As for the Maoists killing 30 million Chinese, well, Civil Wars are the most UnCivil of any conflicts. Just look at the English Civil War, the American Civil War, the Russian Civil War, the Cuban and Nicaraguan Civil Wars, I could go on but you get the picture ! And, as Mao once said, "You can't make Egg Flower Soup without breaking a few eggs......"

But, Mr. Girffith, I do agree with you on one point: It's interesting to think about....

Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward

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Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by Globalization41 » 16 Oct 2019 21:49

Permit me to supplement Paul's post.

Japan, 1923-1934

Globalization41.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Oct 2019 12:13

Hi mikegriffith1,

You ask of Japan, "Why not just go home and leave them alone?"

Like we did with Germany after WWI. This was not, I would humbly suggest, a great success!

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by mikegriffith1 » 29 Feb 2020 02:27

Interestingly, even George Feifer, who wrote a labored, lengthy defense of the nuking of Hiroshima, conceded that a strong case can be made against the nuking of Nagasaki:
A stronger case can be made against the second bomb [Nagasaki], especially its dropping so cruelly soon after the first. The Supreme War Council’s minutes reveal that Hiroshima’s destruction made no real dent in its thinking. After acknowledging that an awesome new weapon had caused it, the members essentially proceeded directly to their outstanding military concerns. Nevertheless, three days gave them too little time to assess the damage and the nature of the weapon that produced it, let alone to reflect on the larger consequences. (The Battle of Okinawa: The Blood and the Bomb, Kindle Edition, loc. 8979)
Feifer also conceded that Japan was practically prostrate before Truman nuked her:
The country’s woeful condition before the bombs were dropped was hardly secret either. Virtually her entire merchant marine and Navy lay at the bottom of the Pacific, while America alone, without the Royal Navy, had 23 battleships, 99 carriers, and 72 cruisers on hand in August. The Imperial Navy’s corresponding numbers were one, six, and four—and it had fuel only enough to sustain a force of 20 operational destroyers and perhaps 40 submarines for a few days at sea. Nor was sufficient food available for civilians who showed their ration cards in the shops that stood still. Relentless saturation bombing, easier than ever with the new bases on Okinawa and the feeble opposition from Japanese interceptors, was leveling Japan’s cities.

The average adult existed on under 1,300 calories a day. As many as 13 million were homeless. Malaria and tuberculosis were rampant, especially in shantytowns rising in the urban ashes. Schoolchildren, barefoot in winter as well as summer, rooted out forest pine stumps for the war effort. The trees themselves were long gone. In Tokushima, home of many of the 6,000 troops lost on the Toyoma Maru, metal was so scarce that the bells of shrines were melted down, together with charcoal braziers, the sole source of heat for the remaining wood-and-paper homes. While huge numbers of Red Army troops mobilized to attack Manchuria—just as Tadashi Kojo had feared a year earlier, when his regiment was shipped from there to Okinawa—there was no hope of supplying the defenders even if the merchant fleet hadn’t been destroyed and the country’s industry wasn’t in shambles. Exhausted, slowly starving Japan was in no shape for further fighting. (Ibid., loc. 8862-8878)

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Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 29 Feb 2020 11:53

Hi mikegriffith1,

You quote, "Exhausted, slowly starving Japan was in no shape for further fighting."

Surely, that is not an argument against dropping the A-bomb, it is an argument against Japan not surrendering earlier?

Cheers,

Sid..

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Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by OpanaPointer » 29 Feb 2020 12:03

They were promised a rain of ruin. The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were just big bombs to the Allies, not a wildly new horror weapon. We knew very, very little about the risks of fallout.
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Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 01 Mar 2020 05:03

hselassi wrote:
12 Aug 2018 00:08
One thing I have always wondered about, if there was no atomic bomb, why not just besiege Japan?
Anyway, to get back to the question at hand, why not just sit back and let the survivors beg for peace?
Because, as witness developments in Germany between 1919 and 1939, nobody in Washington wanted to have to go back and do it again, starting in 1965 or thereabouts?

The decision makers - FDR, Truman, Stimson, Knox, Marshall, King, etc. - had all been through the mill, to one degree or another, in 1917-19. Even Cordell Hull was a veteran (S-A War). None of them wanted to see it again, which is why the unconditional surrender of the Axis nations was, essentially, US policy from early on in the war. There's a reason they all pushed so hard for the UN, after all; it was not idealism.

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Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by mikegriffith1 » 07 Mar 2020 12:18

By early 1945, Japan’s air defenses were known to be so weak that when Gen. LeMay planned the massive March 9 bombing raid on Tokyo, he ordered that the bombers be stripped of their machine guns to make room for more bombs!
General LeMay called his wing commanders to meet at his Quonset hut headquarters on Guam. He showed them the results of the [February 26] Tokyo firebomb raid. . . . His XXI Bomber Command was going to switch to night raids.

Moreover, they were going to change their entire tactics. No more high-altitude raids. They would go in low, 5,000 to 6,000 feet, and the crews would be reduced to save weight for more bombs. . . . Japanese anti-aircraft defenses were nothing like the German, LeMay knew from his European Theater experience. He anticipated losses due to flak would be only 5 percent. . . .

Only two aircraft had been lost to flak to date because the Japanese relied on searchlights and radar, while the German flak batteries were controlled electronically. . . .

What about fighters? Somebody asked.

That would not be a problem. The Japanese had only two groups of night fighters in all the home islands, LeMay said. “That’s why I’m sending in the B-29s without machine guns or ammunition.” (Edwin Hoyt, Inferno: The Fire Bombing of Japan, New York: Madison Books, 2000, Kindle Edition, locs. 231-243)
Guess how many of the 298 defenseless bombers were shot down during the raid? Keep in mind that not only did the bombers have no machine guns, but they had no fighter escorts. So guess how many of the 298 bombers the Japanese managed to shoot down? 40? 60? 80? Nope. Try 14. That’s right: only 14 of the 298 bombers were shot down, for a loss rate of only 4.7% (Hoyt, loc. 321). And this was in a two-hour raid with the bombers flying at low altitudes over the capital city.

By the way, that bombing raid killed over 100,000 Japanese civilians, wounded another 200,000, and left over a million people homeless.

By June 1945, we were losing only 0.003 of our bombers in air raids on Japan—in other words, only 3 out of every 1,000 bombers were being shot down (Paul Ham, Hiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath, p. 176).

Hoyt discusses the fact that even in those air raids when our bombing formations encountered sizable numbers of Japanese fighters, the Japanese fighters were so inexperienced and ineffective that they would rarely actually try to engage the bombers. Undoubtedly, this is because there was so little fuel available for training pilots that in many cases much of their training was done with films:
The Toho Motion Picture Company constructed a lake in Setagaya and filled it with six-foot models of U.S. warships. Atop a tower a movie camera on a boom took pictures of the vessels from various angles, simulating different speeds of approach. These films were shown as a substitute for flight training in order to save fuel. (John Toland, The Rising Sun: The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-1945, New York: Random House, 2003 Modern Library Paperback Edition, p. 536)

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Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by ljadw » 07 Mar 2020 13:21

The use of inflated loss figures is not strenghtening your arguments, neither is the us of source of an Australian journalist .

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Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by rcocean » 07 Mar 2020 18:54

"By early 1945, Japan’s air defenses were known to be so weak that when Gen. LeMay planned the massive March 9 bombing raid on Tokyo, he ordered that the bombers be stripped of their machine guns to make room for more bombs! "

The 3,500 B-29 airman who died would've disagreed the Japanese Defenses were "So weak".

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Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by rcocean » 07 Mar 2020 18:57

BTW, "poor defenseless" Japan was killing thousands of civilians in China, Indonesia, and Indochina every week during July-August 1945. Further the Japanese Navy sunk the Indianapolis with 800 American deaths in July. Go look at the statistics, almost 2,000 Americans died from July 1st - August 15th 1945, all killed by "poor defenseless Japan".

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Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by Takao » 10 Mar 2020 22:21

mikegriffith1 wrote:
07 Mar 2020 12:18
By early 1945, Japan’s air defenses were known to be so weak that when Gen. LeMay planned the massive March 9 bombing raid on Tokyo, he ordered that the bombers be stripped of their machine guns to make room for more bombs!
Not all machineguns...the two mgs in the tail, as well as the cannon remained.
General LeMay called his wing commanders to meet at his Quonset hut headquarters on Guam. He showed them the results of the [February 26] Tokyo firebomb raid. . . . His XXI Bomber Command was going to switch to night raids.

Moreover, they were going to change their entire tactics. No more high-altitude raids. They would go in low, 5,000 to 6,000 feet, and the crews would be reduced to save weight for more bombs. . . . Japanese anti-aircraft defenses were nothing like the German, LeMay knew from his European Theater experience. He anticipated losses due to flak would be only 5 percent. . . .

Only two aircraft had been lost to flak to date because the Japanese relied on searchlights and radar, while the German flak batteries were controlled electronically. . . .

What about fighters? Somebody asked.

That would not be a problem. The Japanese had only two groups of night fighters in all the home islands, LeMay said. “That’s why I’m sending in the B-29s without machine guns or ammunition.” (Edwin Hoyt, Inferno: The Fire Bombing of Japan, New York: Madison Books, 2000, Kindle Edition, locs. 231-243)
Well, the switch to low altitude bombing was more pragmatic than described here. And certainly was not simply a case of carrying more bombs...
First, it placed much less strain on the Wright Cyclone R-3350s. This would reduce engine wear & lengthen time between overhauls. Given the problematic engines, this was the real bonus.
Second, it would reduce fuel consumption. You see, the new crews were inexperienced in fuel management and several were lost when they ran short of gas. Without the large fuel burn in the climb to altitude, the chances of the crew making it home improved dramatically.

The Japanese relied on search lights and radar, while the Germans controlled their guns electronically? Ummm...The Japanese use of radar means that the Japanese were controlling their guns electronically.

More than two B-29s had been lost to flak by this date.

As I have stated earlier, the machine guns & cannon in the tail were retained for night combat.

mikegriffith1 wrote:
07 Mar 2020 12:18
Guess how many of the 298 defenseless bombers were shot down during the raid? Keep in mind that not only did the bombers have no machine guns, but they had no fighter escorts. So guess how many of the 298 bombers the Japanese managed to shoot down? 40? 60? 80? Nope. Try 14. That’s right: only 14 of the 298 bombers were shot down, for a loss rate of only 4.7% (Hoyt, loc. 321). And this was in a two-hour raid with the bombers flying at low altitudes over the capital city.
I am not sure what point you are trying to make with this...After all it was a night raid, and Japan possessed few night fighters at the time. It is not like this is a daylight raid, that would be more prone to losses from flak & fighters.



mikegriffith1 wrote:
07 Mar 2020 12:18
By the way, that bombing raid killed over 100,000 Japanese civilians, wounded another 200,000, and left over a million people homeless.
And?

Your only proving that the Japanese should have surrendered well before the war came to this point. That is a problem for the Japanese to answer.

mikegriffith1 wrote:
07 Mar 2020 12:18
By June 1945, we were losing only 0.003 of our bombers in air raids on Japan—in other words, only 3 out of every 1,000 bombers were being shot down (Paul Ham, Hiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath, p. 176).
Seriously? More bombers were lost to combat than 3 out of every 1,000. Overall, almost 4,000 were produced and somewhat over 400 were lost(not all to combat). This author is either inept or deceitful(i'm guessing deceitful), and the stat was 3 combat losses per 1,000 sorties.


mikegriffith1 wrote:
07 Mar 2020 12:18
Hoyt discusses the fact , even in those air raids when our bombing formations encountered sizable numbers of Japanese fighters, the Japanese fighters were so inexperienced and ineffective that they would rarely actually try to engage the bombers. Undoubtedly, this is because there was so little fuel available for training pilots that in many cases much of their training was done with films:
The Toho Motion Picture Company constructed a lake in Setagaya and filled it with six-foot models of U.S. warships. Atop a tower a movie camera on a boom took pictures of the vessels from various angles, simulating different speeds of approach. These films were shown as a substitute for flight training in order to save fuel. (John Toland, The Rising Sun: The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-1945, New York: Random House, 2003 Modern Library Paperback Edition, p. 536)
Actually, the pilots were quite agressive, however, at high altitudes - where most Japanese aircraft performed poorly - they struggled to get ahead of the bombers to make firing passes. When they did get into an ahead position, they often could only make one head-on pass, as their recovery put them to far behind the bombers to catch up for another pass.

In the end game, the Japanese fighters often would not come up to defend cities, as the military was saving all their avgas to fight of the foreseen invasion.

Yet again, it begs the question "Why did Japan not surrender earlier?"

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