USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 17 Oct 2020 00:55

Tom from Cornwall wrote:I'm trying to point out that any debate on US Strategy during WW2 needs to recognise that it didn't happen in a vacuum
Ok but where did I claim these debates happened in a vacuum?

What you're doing here is straw-manning my arguments. Probably not intentionally, but that's the outcome.

I'm making very specific points about the difference between Strategy X and Strategy Y, you're responding with non-specific and generalized accusations (implicit) that I'm looking at things in a vacuum. I'm not.

I'm saying, once again, that defending India and Australia's LoC is different from launching multi-axis offensives in the South Pacific throughout late '42 and early '43, diverting resources from Bolero.

Please address my points about the necessity of invading places like Buna and Bougainville, and whether these did or did not tie up resources that (1) could have been used for Bolero and (2) were unnecessary for strategic defense of India and Australian LoC's.

Just to clear - this post may come off as defensive or offended. That's not intended. While I do think you are straw-manning me, I don't think you're doing so intentionally or in bad faith. And I appreciate all the primary docs you're sharing, even if I disagree as to their strategic implications.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 17 Oct 2020 02:58

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
16 Oct 2020 17:42
...

Carl,

Thanks for posting up the paper. Some of the planning papers are available on line at the British National Archives in the COS files. It would be interesting to compare the two. Oh to be retired! :idea: ...
Meh. I'm bored with the 1943 & 1942 invasions. I want to see the plans for 1941. Think of it, barely two dozen static & horse draught infantry divisions divisions in France & Netherlands, a single mobile brigade with a battalion of French tanks. The possibilities are endless.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Takao » 17 Oct 2020 03:53

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
17 Oct 2020 00:55
I'm saying, once again, that defending India and Australia's LoC is different from launching multi-axis offensives in the South Pacific throughout late '42 and early '43, diverting resources from Bolero.

Please address my points about the necessity of invading places like Buna and Bougainville, and whether these did or did not tie up resources that (1) could have been used for Bolero and (2) were unnecessary for strategic defense of India and Australian LoC's.
The Australian & American units that fought at Buna were those deployed to the Pacific to defend Australia & it's LoC with the United States. Further, 3 of the Brigades that were at Buna were Australian Militia, which means that they would not go overseas to fight anyway. Also, since those units are in Australia anyway, you only issue is with the supplies used in the 2-month campaign & the shipping used to deliver the supplies from Australia to Buna-Gona. Thus, there is next to no impact on your fantasy Bolero.

Bougainville is simply ridiculous, as the campaign kicks off November 1, 1943. Well outside your mid-1942 - early-43 time line.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Takao » 17 Oct 2020 04:32

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
15 Oct 2020 23:22
Yes, Britain needed to defend India and Australia's LoC. No, that doesn't mean offensives against Bougainville and Buna were thereby endorsed by the British.
The British needed to defend Australia's LoC, but they were incapable of doing so. Thus, they had to release 2 Australian Divisions and rely on the Americans to provide for Australia's defense.

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
15 Oct 2020 23:22
True. In case my previous statements sounded of King-style Anglophobia, I should be clear that American early-war strategy against Japan failed spectacularly as well, and we bare much of the blame for British failures. Also we were very racist against Japan as well - probably worse than the British (one of the causes of all this trouble was our immigration ban on Japanese people - something the Japanese didn't take too kindly).
Well, the American Plan went pretty much according to their previous war plans(the Through Ticket to Manila having been discredited since 1933). Still, while Macarthur's "war plan" did fail, the Philippines held out for longer than was expected of it.

The US bears no blame for British failures, any more than the British and Dutch bearing much of the blame for the fall of the Philippines. You see, there was no common goal...The Dutch were focused on Defending their colonies, The British were focused on defending their colonies, and the Americans were focused on defending the Philippines. As such, there was no concentrated effort at stopping the Japanese forces. Nor did the Allied units have much training to fight as a homogeneous units.

We were very racist? Dear God, not the "race card". The Japanese were just as racist as the rest, except Japanese apologists fail to grasp this fact, focusing only on the supposed racist nature of the west. The lead up to WW2, indeed the rise of Japanese ultra-nationilism, is replete with examples of Japanese racism. but, you chose only to mention American & British racism...Why is that? What is your agenda?

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 17 Oct 2020 05:32

Tom from Cornwall wrote:I've not got into British records for after mid-1942 - it may well be that the strategic relief provided by results of the battle of Midway eased British desire for US defensive and diversionary offensive support sufficiently for them to start pushing for American support to other key British areas of interest (ie Middle East itself).
I provided upthread quotes about British concerns regarding American Pacific deployments, including Admiral King lying about the extent of American commitments because everybody knew the British opposed them. viewtopic.php?f=11&t=248298&start=195#p2296717
Tom from Cornwall wrote:Do you have any primary source documentation for your continued highlighting of anti-Japanese racism as being a key element in the calamity which struck both the British and American empires in late 1941/early 1942? Either US or British primary sources?
The reaction of General Percival, commander of Singapore, on hearing of war with Japan:
I suppose you’ll shove the little men off
https://thediplomat.com/2014/02/the-fal ... -of-death/

Here's another:
The British commanders had a view of the Japanese soldier that they passed along to the Canadians as part of the orientation to their new surroundings, and it was incorporated into the 'intelligence reports' presented to the Canadians to make them aware of the 'situation' and the enemy they might have to contend with.

Even if the Japanese did attack, British Intelligence had information that there were only 5,000 poorly-trained, poorly-equipped troops, who could not fight at night because of the shape of their eyes, and besides they were prone to sea sickness. British Intelligence's assessment was that the Japanese were not much to contend with.

"The Japanese", the Canadians were told, "are badly trained, badly equipped, and physiologically unfit to fight. They are buck-toothed, slant-eyed, near-sighted, scrawny little people. Their slanted eyes make them poor night fighters, and prone to sea-sickness. Most of them have to wear thick corrective glasses. Because their diet consists mostly of rice and fish they are weak from malnutrition, and their stamina is poor. There are only 5,000 Japanese on the mainland at any rate, so don't worry. And besides ... they don't even look like soldiers. In their ill-fitting dung coloured uniforms, long leggings to their knees and rubber boots."
https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2people ... 2887.shtml

----------------------------------------

War without Mercy by Dower has our subject as its main topic. Lest you scoff that it's full of "white liberal guilt" or something, know that the book goes hard against Japan's own delusions of racial superiority - a subject for a different thread. Some excerpts:
At l :20 P.M. on December
9, Pacific time, the day before battle was joined, the flag-deck officer on
the Repulse laughed when asked about the report that a Japanese capital
ship, three heavy cruisers, and a number of destroyers were nearby. "Oh,
but they are Japanese," he declared reassuringly. "There's nothing to
worry about."
Two weeks later, Life quoted a British soldier who told Cecil Brown in
Singapore that "a British soldier is equal to ten Japanese, but unfortunately there are eleven Japanese."24
A comparable and even more extensive catalog of comforting "intelligence" observations permitted British military observers to belittle the
Japanese threat to southern Asia. The Japanese Army was reported to be
ill equipped, especially in automatic weapons. Its drivers and mechanics
were said to be poor. Its troops were supposed to be weak in unit training
-and, despite their own propaganda to the contrary, low in morale. The
officer corps was analyzed as being weak at the junior level, while strategy
and tactics were stereotyped and inflexible. The Japanese were said to be
untrained in guerrilla warfare and jungle combat-and, indeed, culturally
and temperamentally unsuited for this. Cecil Brown, for example, was told
by one middle-echelon British officer that the Japanese were afraid of the
jungle because they believed it was full of ghosts and demons. A British
general told the CBS reporter that even if the Japanese were so foolhardy
as to invade the Malay Peninsula, they would not get far because the hills
near the Siamese border were full of iron ore and would throw the
compasses of the unwary invaders out of whack.13
The British also maintained that the Japanese avoided night operations on land because they were simply incapable of carrying them out
well, while they avoided nighttime aerial attacks, as well as dive-bombing,
for the same reasons Pratt had presented: their pilots were poor and their
aircraft inferior
A particularly ingenious exercise in scientific explanation attended myopia's twin myth: that the Japanese suffered widespread innerear damage. What caused this? Japanese motherhood, in the opinion of
one Western expert, who apparently rejected Pratt's explanation of congenitally defective "tubes." The practice of strapping babies to their
mother's backs, it was explained, caused their heads to bounce about and
permanently impaired their sense of balance. [Myopia describes a supposed defect in Japanese inner-ears that made them incapable of balance. Seriously]
At almost
the same moment, the British defenders of Hong Kong were voicing
similar incredulity as they came under pinpoint low-level fire from Japanese planes. They "firmly believed," as the official British history of the
war in Asia put it, "that Germans must be leading the sorties." (In the
Soviet Union, Stalin joined this early chorus that placed Germans in
Japan's cockpits).
The British Admiralty and naval officers at the
Staff College appear to have been strongly influenced by a report prepared
by the naval attache in Tokyo in 193 5, which not only advanced the
theory that the Japanese had "peculiarly slow brains," but went on to
explain in detail why this was so. The reason was essentially cultural rather
than physiological, being "fundamentally due to the strain put on the
child's brain in learning some 6,000 Chinese characters before any real
education can start." As a consequence of such cramming, the Japanese
tended to be "a race of specialists," incapable of switching their minds
quickly from one subject to another. Such stultifying training carried over
to Japan's Naval College, the attache had been informed by an English
instructor there, in the form of physical over-training and additional
mental over-cramming, "the finished product being a thoroughly overtired human being."
As a result of such considerations, the British report
continued, all of the foreign naval attaches in Japan had concluded that
the unwillingness of Japanese authorities to show their ships and weapons
to others "is due rather to the barrenness of the cupboard than to any
secrets it may contain


The Americans were, of course, just as bad:
On December
4, three days before the Pearl Harbor attack, Secretary of the Navy Frank
Knox dined with a group of Washington power brokers. Over after-dinner
cigars, the secretary agreed that war with Japan might start at any minute,
and when it did it would be pretty much a Navy show. "We're all ready
for them, you know," Knox placidly declared. "We've had our plans
worked out for twenty years .... It won't take too long. Say about a six
months' war." Even in the immediate wake of Pearl Harbor, most Americans
remained optimistic that the war would be a short one. Early in 1942,
Admiral Leahy, President Roosevelt's chief of staff, still calculated that
the war could be over within the year.
Westerners, however, tended to
find essentially what they started out expecting to find-and in the case
of the president of the United States, as Professor Christopher Thorne
has revealed, this turned out to be a brain that was not so much peculiarly
slow as peculiarly small. For this expert information, President Roosevelt
was indebted to the curator of the Division of Physical Anthropology at
the Smithsonian Institution, who, in a lengthy correspondence, explained
that the Japanese were "as bad as they were" because their skulls were
"some 2,000 years less developed than ours." The president's receptivity
to this bogus empiricism reflected the durability of presumedly discredited
nineteenth-century racist theories. And how could the Japanese escape
this unfortunate biological curse? After they had been defeated, Roosevelt
once privately suggested, they should be encouraged by every means
possible to intermarry with other races.
-------------------------------------------------
On American racism, here's another good article: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news ... ary/#close

-------------------------------------------------

Edit: another member has pointed out a linked review of War without Mercy - merely the first I saw on Google - was written by an unsavory group. I've never heard of the group before and, now that I know it, don't want to publicize it. So I've removed the link. I hope the Michael Kenny does so as well.
Last edited by TheMarcksPlan on 17 Oct 2020 09:52, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Michael Kenny » 17 Oct 2020 09:10

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
17 Oct 2020 05:32


War without Mercy by Dower has our subject as its main topic. Book review here: http:Link Removed by T Duncan. Lest you scoff that it's full of "white liberal guilt" or something, know that the book goes hard against Japan's own delusions of racial superiority - a subject for a different thread.........................
It is a long time since I saw anything from the IHR being used as a reference! I think you missed the book the point the reviewer was trying to get across but this should have been a red-flag:

One of the few failings of War Without Mercy concerns the author's occasional superficial remarks about Japan's National Socialist ally. Dower is properly skeptical of the flood of atrocity stories which attributed nearly every conceivable brutality to the Japanese, but accepts uncritically all the cliches and myths about alleged German atrocities that were the staples of Allied propaganda.

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 17 Oct 2020 10:06

Michael Kenny wrote:It is a long time since I saw anything from [group not to be publicized] being used as a reference
Michael please remove the link from your quote as I have done.

You are correct that I didn't read the review closely enough, missing a statement that German atrocities were merely "alleged." The link to the review of War without Mercy is completely orthogonal to the point of my post, which contains copious excerpts from the book itself. Anyone can google Dower's book themselves, the link to a review was offered as a brief convenience and I just skimmed it.

I had never heard of the linked organization before, which has an anodyne name. I don't want anyone else to find about it via this forum. It was simply a link to a review, the first I found that didn't require JSTOR registration to read.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 17 Oct 2020 10:32

Here is a scholarly review of War without Mercy from the Journal of Asian Studies:

Image

Image

To say the British and Americans made military mistakes due to racism should not be controversial; same goes for the Japanese.
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 17 Oct 2020 15:44

Sheldrake wrote:
17 Oct 2020 00:14
One piece of evidence for a gross under estimation of the problems of fighting the Japanese occurs in FSR 1935 Vol 2 Chapter X section 98 which makes some extremely complacent remarks about fighting in bush and jungle.
Hi Sheldrake,

I confess that I struggle to see the relevance of the 1935 version of FSR to a debate on allied grand strategy in 1941-2. At the strategic level, plans for any war against Japan in the mid-30's were heavily biased towards a naval strategy weren't they? The British made no plans to invade Japan (sensibly!) but in a putative Anglo-Japanese conflict intended to rely on a gradual imposition of a naval blockade on Japan relying on Singapore as a main base.

There was a huge difference at the grand-strategic level between the situation for the British Empire in the Far East in 1935 and that in 1941.
Sheldrake wrote:
17 Oct 2020 00:14
the experienced Japanese army also had an advantage over the under trained troops defending Malaya and Burma.
I mostly agree with you there though. I'm also not entirely sure the British empire troops made best use of their time in Malaya either - Jonathon Fennell (Fighting the People's War, p.191, refers to a post-Malaya campaign report by Maj. Gen. Bennett (hmmm, hardly the most unbiased commentator on the non-Australian units in Malaya but I'd typed it out by the time I realised who the author was!) which points out that he found that it was:
Surprising to find that training in jungle fighting, jungle patrols and patrol work generally, had been neglected in so many units that had been in Malaya for many months. In certain Indian units it was admitted that no jungle work had been practiced, units limiting their training to the manning of beach posts, etc.


It would be interesting to plough through surviving British and Indian Army war diaries and try to make a judgement on how fair this kind of comment was.

Regards

Tom

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 17 Oct 2020 16:01

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
17 Oct 2020 05:32
The reaction of General Percival, commander of Singapore, on hearing of war with Japan:
Thank you, but isn't that an anecdote? And the article actually says that it was said to General Percival and not by him!
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
17 Oct 2020 05:32
Here's another:
Yes, another anecdote!
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
17 Oct 2020 05:32
Some excerpts:
Re Repulse - an anecdote and I would have given Prince of Wales and Repulse a better than even chance against the reported Japanese surface units mentioned. If you want to argue whether Phillips' judgement was distorted by racism, over-confidence more generally, or just 'little-man syndrome' then lets do so, historians have been arguing about it for almost 80 years now. :thumbsup:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
17 Oct 2020 05:32
Two weeks later, Life quoted a British soldier who told Cecil Brown in
Singapore that "a British soldier is equal to ten Japanese, but unfortunately there are eleven Japanese."24
Another second-hand anecdote... :D
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
17 Oct 2020 05:32
A comparable and even more extensive catalog of comforting "intelligence" observations permitted British military observers to belittle the
Japanese threat to southern Asia.
It's a shame the author didn't make a more detailed study of the UK COS papers.
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
17 Oct 2020 10:32
Here is a scholarly review of War without Mercy from the Journal of Asian Studies:
Which starts by suggesting that the subject of the book is racism "in" the conduct of World War II - which is not the same as racism before World War II, and particularly not at the grand-strategic level.

And finishes by stressing the limitations of Dower's book and suggesting that in this context 'their ["race and power"] importance must not be overemphasized'.

Regards

Tom

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 17 Oct 2020 19:30

Bugger!!!

I had just written a long, well-reasoned, academically brilliant and deeply referenced post, and it vanished when I pressed 'submit'... :roll:

Apologies, but I'll just have to summarise my original compelling argument with this inadequate replacement. :lol:
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
17 Oct 2020 00:55
Tom from Cornwall wrote:
I'm trying to point out that any debate on US Strategy during WW2 needs to recognise that it didn't happen in a vacuum...

Ok but where did I claim these debates happened in a vacuum?
Isn't the title of the thread a clue and most of the bullet points in your opening proposal?

By April 1942 even Eisenhower had recognised that there was need to support the British position in the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, 'and by holding a chain of bases leading to that region'. (Eisenhower to Stimson, 12 Apr 42).

I'm not trying to straw-man you, I just don't agree with you. :thumbsup:

I've read some of Mark Stoler's work, and am only suggesting that as he argues in Allies in War
p.xxiv
Separating these two wars [that versus Germany and that versus Japan] may make comprehension of them easier in hindsight, but only by introducing a fundamental distortion. Neither Churchill nor Roosevelt, nor their military chiefs, had the luxury of ignoring one war while pursuing the other. The two were closely related, constantly competed for resources, and had to be considered in conjunction.
Incidentally, Eisenhower's memorandum does support your thesis about how [relatively senior] American military men viewed the implications of a collapse of Russian resistance. Eisenhower Papers, The War Years, Vol. 1, pp.241-243

Regards

Tom

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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 18 Oct 2020 19:34

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
17 Oct 2020 15:44
It would be interesting to plough through surviving British and Indian Army war diaries and try to make a judgement on how fair this kind of comment was.
And that is possible for the Australian units whose war diaries are on line:

https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1361024

I picked one as a sample, 2/18 Inf Bn of 22 Bde which arrived in Malaya in Feb 41 so had plenty of time for training and in the March 1941 war diary found these:
2-18 Bn - war diary - Mar 41.JPG
2-18 Bn - Trg Syllabus - 3-8 Mar 41.JPG
Regards

Tom
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Takao » 21 Oct 2020 22:55

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
17 Oct 2020 05:32
War without Mercy by Dower has our subject as its main topic. Lest you scoff that it's full of "white liberal guilt" or something, know that the book goes hard against Japan's own delusions of racial superiority - a subject for a different thread. Some excerpts:
I scoff, because it is Confirmation Bias...the author comes in with a bias(racism), finds evidence he believes to support his bias, and proclaims A-Ha!. The problem is he does not research the evidence to find out if it is truly racism. That is not to say that racism was not involved, it was to a small degree, but the author, and by extension, Mr. Marcks, grossly overstate the problem.

Let's explore....
At l :20 P.M. on December
9, Pacific time, the day before battle was joined, the flag-deck officer on
the Repulse laughed when asked about the report that a Japanese capital
ship, three heavy cruisers, and a number of destroyers were nearby. "Oh,
but they are Japanese," he declared reassuringly. "There's nothing to
worry about."
The Japanese capital ship(actually two) was a Kongo class battlecruiser, modernized but still a WW1 era design. As opposed to the Prince of Wales, Britain's most modern battleship, and the Repulse, a WW1 era battlecruiser. So, of course, the officer is going to be confident - the odds are in British favor and modern vs. WW1 era. As such, this has nothing to do with racism.


Two weeks later, Life quoted a British soldier who told Cecil Brown in
Singapore that "a British soldier is equal to ten Japanese, but unfortunately there are eleven Japanese."24
Yes...Based on Japanese fighting ability in China & the Soviet border battles this is probably true. The Soviets defeated the Japanese in their major border battles, and the Japanese were struggling in China. Here again, this is not racism.

A comparable and even more extensive catalog of comforting "intelligence" observations permitted British military observers to belittle the
Japanese threat to southern Asia. The Japanese Army was reported to be
ill equipped, especially in automatic weapons. Its drivers and mechanics
were said to be poor. Its troops were supposed to be weak in unit training
-and, despite their own propaganda to the contrary, low in morale. The
officer corps was analyzed as being weak at the junior level, while strategy
and tactics were stereotyped and inflexible. The Japanese were said to be
untrained in guerrilla warfare and jungle combat-and, indeed, culturally
and temperamentally unsuited for this.
Right of the bat, the author shows his bias by the use of quotes around intelligence. The author does not delve into this intelligence, where it came from, or how it was analysed. Instead, he immediately discounts it and proclaims "racism."

Were one to look at the intelligence, it was based on what British observers had noted in the China War and the Soviet border clashes. Most of the intelligence was true - the majority of the Japanese soldiers in China were ill-trained and ill-equipped(being mainly conscripts). Japanese troops in the Soviet clashes were also ill-equipped. The Japanese did lack in tanks and motor vehicles, as well as artillery. And, Japanese strategy and tactics did show a degree of inflexibility. The Japanese low morale was a best guess based on perceived Japanese Army faults.
Nor, were the Japanese trained in guerrilla and jungle warfare - IIRC, only one Japanese unit that invaded Malaya was trained in jungle warfare, the rest were not. The only racist statement is at the end - where the Japanese are said to be culturally and tempermentaly unsuited for jungle warfare.
Cecil Brown, for example, was told
by one middle-echelon British officer that the Japanese were afraid of the
jungle because they believed it was full of ghosts and demons. A British
general told the CBS reporter that even if the Japanese were so foolhardy
as to invade the Malay Peninsula, they would not get far because the hills
near the Siamese border were full of iron ore and would throw the
compasses of the unwary invaders out of whack.13
This is also not racist, but a misunderstanding of Japanese beliefs - specifically Kami, which literally is gods, but they are more akin to spirits - They are every where, not just in the jungle, and are both good and bad.

They next is based on British experience, as it gave them occasional problems too.

Again, nothing racist here.
The British also maintained that the Japanese avoided night operations on land because they were simply incapable of carrying them out
well, while they avoided nighttime aerial attacks, as well as dive-bombing,
for the same reasons Pratt had presented: their pilots were poor and their
aircraft inferior
Most Japanese night attacks did go poorly in China and on the Soviet border, as few specialized units were trained in them. Dive bombing was avoided simply because the IJAAF had not taken to dive bombers - Just as the RAF & USAAC/USAAF had not taken to dive bombers either...The IJNAF is another matter.
A particularly ingenious exercise in scientific explanation attended myopia's twin myth: that the Japanese suffered widespread innerear damage. What caused this? Japanese motherhood, in the opinion of
one Western expert, who apparently rejected Pratt's explanation of congenitally defective "tubes." The practice of strapping babies to their
mother's backs, it was explained, caused their heads to bounce about and
permanently impaired their sense of balance. [Myopia describes a supposed defect in Japanese inner-ears that made them incapable of balance. Seriously]
Yes, that is racist...but, still only two out of many of his examples.
At almost
the same moment, the British defenders of Hong Kong were voicing
similar incredulity as they came under pinpoint low-level fire from Japanese planes. They "firmly believed," as the official British history of the
war in Asia put it, "that Germans must be leading the sorties." (In the
Soviet Union, Stalin joined this early chorus that placed Germans in
Japan's cockpits).
Yes, and...Given all they were led to believe, that is the only possible conclusion. It was also reported at Pearl Harbor that some of the attacking pilots had blonde hair. Leading to the false assumption that the Germans were involved there too.

The British Admiralty and naval officers at the
Staff College appear to have been strongly influenced by a report prepared
by the naval attache in Tokyo in 193 5, which not only advanced the
theory that the Japanese had "peculiarly slow brains," but went on to
explain in detail why this was so. The reason was essentially cultural rather
than physiological, being "fundamentally due to the strain put on the
child's brain in learning some 6,000 Chinese characters before any real
education can start." As a consequence of such cramming, the Japanese
tended to be "a race of specialists," incapable of switching their minds
quickly from one subject to another. Such stultifying training carried over
to Japan's Naval College, the attache had been informed by an English
instructor there, in the form of physical over-training and additional
mental over-cramming, "the finished product being a thoroughly overtired human being."
As a result of such considerations, the British report
continued, all of the foreign naval attaches in Japan had concluded that
the unwillingness of Japanese authorities to show their ships and weapons
to others "is due rather to the barrenness of the cupboard than to any
secrets it may contain
The author does not provide any examples of this
Strong influence. Also, he does not link the report to the unwillingness to show their ships & weapons, only assuming the two are interrelated.


Now to the Americans...
The Americans were, of course, just as bad:

On December
4, three days before the Pearl Harbor attack, Secretary of the Navy Frank
Knox dined with a group of Washington power brokers. Over after-dinner
cigars, the secretary agreed that war with Japan might start at any minute,
and when it did it would be pretty much a Navy show. "We're all ready
for them, you know," Knox placidly declared. "We've had our plans
worked out for twenty years .... It won't take too long. Say about a six
months' war." Even in the immediate wake of Pearl Harbor, most Americans
remained optimistic that the war would be a short one. Early in 1942,
Admiral Leahy, President Roosevelt's chief of staff, still calculated that
the war could be over within the year.
How is this racist? The same belief, at the opening of the American Civil War, was held by both sides...What race where the Confederates? The Union? Also, was not the same idea espoused at the beginning of WW1 by several nations.

Westerners, however, tended to
find essentially what they started out expecting to find
Not unlike the author and yourself...
-and in the case
of the president of the United States, as Professor Christopher Thorne
has revealed, this turned out to be a brain that was not so much peculiarly
slow as peculiarly small. For this expert information, President Roosevelt
was indebted to the curator of the Division of Physical Anthropology at
the Smithsonian Institution, who, in a lengthy correspondence, explained
that the Japanese were "as bad as they were" because their skulls were
"some 2,000 years less developed than ours." The president's receptivity
to this bogus empiricism reflected the durability of presumedly discredited
nineteenth-century racist theories. And how could the Japanese escape
this unfortunate biological curse? After they had been defeated, Roosevelt
once privately suggested, they should be encouraged by every means
possible to intermarry with other races.
Roosevelt listened to many people, some crackpots, some not. What was the outcome of this meeting?

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 28 Oct 2020 12:04

Tom from Cornwall wrote:I had just written a long, well-reasoned, academically brilliant and deeply referenced post, and it vanished when I pressed 'submit'
That sucks. Maybe I'll pull more brilliance from you.
Tom from Cornwall wrote:Isn't the title of the thread a clue and most of the bullet points in your opening proposal?
No it doesn't suggest that the US ignore Britain's preferences per se, only that the U.S. comes with a plan to invade Europe and an army with which to do so. OTL they had no army in '42, no coherent plan for '43.
Tom from Cornwall wrote:By April 1942 even Eisenhower had recognised that there was need to support the British position in the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, 'and by holding a chain of bases leading to that region'. (Eisenhower to Stimson, 12 Apr 42).
Tom from Cornwall wrote:I'm not trying to straw-man you, I just don't agree with you.
I had to step back from this thread because my point wasn't getting across. Now I'm refreshed...

Tom do you recognize I don't disagree with anything in the first quote? Do you recognize I'm talking about offensive actions in latter '42 and '43, not defensive actions to shield India/Australia?
Tom from Cornwall wrote:Incidentally, Eisenhower's memorandum does support your thesis about how [relatively senior] American military men viewed the implications of a collapse of Russian resistance. Eisenhower Papers, The War Years, Vol. 1, pp.241-243
It's crazy the extent to which AHF consensus considers it wild to suggest any German victory even if SU falls, yet virtually all W.Allied leaders thought they couldn't beat Germany absent the SU.

I can't think of another example - on the Allied side - where opinion so clearly contradicts the historical record.
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"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

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Takao
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Re: USA executes an Army (and Europe) First strategy

Post by Takao » 28 Oct 2020 13:49

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
28 Oct 2020 12:04

It's crazy the extent to which AHF consensus considers it wild to suggest any German victory even if SU falls, yet virtually all W.Allied leaders thought they couldn't beat Germany absent the SU.

I can't think of another example - on the Allied side - where opinion so clearly contradicts the historical record.
That is because you are too wrapped up in yourself and your idea.

I can name you one right off the bat...The invasion of Japan in 1945. For the decades of War Plan Orange, the very idea of invading Japan was such anathema to the US war planners, that it was never considered. Yet, what was the US doing in late 1945...Getting ready to launch the invasion of Japan.

So, just because one thing may be considered "impossible" in 1941, does not mean that, in 1945, it will still be considered "impossible."

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