No Pearl Harbour raid. Victory for Japan?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Draconis, Jul 1, 2019.

  1. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2014
    What if the Japanese had decided against attacking Pearl Harbour when they started the Pacific War? In retrospect they didn't really need to as the U.S. Navy was no longer planning to adopt War Plan Orange to relieve the Philippines. The Japanese didn't know that but if the U.S. Navy had tried to relieve the Philippines it would have provided the IJN with the opportunity for their "decisive battle" which their doctrine called for anyway.

    Using the benefit of hindsight the Japanese might have done better without attacking Hawaii as it truly did outrage the American public and the U.S. Navy. Here's what they could have done differently to their benefit.

    Conduct all the other initial operations against the Allies the same as our time. No doubt other uses could have been found for the Kido Butai and its supporting ships too. The Southern Resource area is swept up same as OTL if not a little sooner. The Philippines, DEI, Burma, Malaya and Singapore, Guam, everything the same as OTL.

    But with a couple of key differences. There is not the same level of anger among the American public. The U.S. Navy command is not as outraged. This matters politically. Perhaps the Navy blames the Army for not better protecting the Asiatic Fleet in P.I. from air attack. The fall of the Philippines is regarded as
    a faraway battle by the American public.

    What the Japanese need are a General or two with a more wider "worldly" outlook. The American POWs in the Philippines should have been well treated and protected from abuse. Put into camps in Luzon and fed, guarded but otherwise left alone. Invite 3rd party diplomats from the embassies in Manila to verify that. So, now it's time for Japan to negotiate with the fait accompli of the Southern Resource area grab. And more then 20,000 U.S. POWs as bargaining chips. Offer a few concessions like promising to leave Australia alone. Give back Wake island. Offer to resume some commerce between the P.I. and the U.S.

    The war with Germany is starting out badly with the heavy shipping losses due to the U-boats conducting Operation Drumbeat. The American public is mostly not emotionally tied to the Philippines, a colony that was going to be divested soon anyway. There is a somewhat less pissed off U.S. Navy. And FDR is seeing, correctly, that Nazi Germany was the main threat. The Japanese might have been able to negotiate a peace treaty with the U.S. in early 1942.

    Possibly if the Japanese are also not abusing the British and Commonwealth POWs from Singapore but using them a bargaining chips and with the Americans signing a peace treaty with Japan the British would agree to a peace treaty. If the Americans insist that no lendlease items can be used against Japan. And if the Japanese promise to not to attack Australia. And if some limited trade deals are offered to allow trade between Malaya and the U.K. The British might agree. Winston Churchill might agree. They have their hands full with the Germans and the Americans are not going to support them in any operations against Japan.

    What might also push for concluding a peace treaty with Japan for the British would be the shock of the loss of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse. If the U.S. Navy also suffered some costly losses in early 1942 in operations against Rabaul or Lae with little to show for it this would also push the Americans to accept a negotiated peace.

    What would happen a few years later after the defeat of Germany and Italy is anybodys guess. Would a war weary Allied public support another war to liberate colonies they don't care about? The British, maybe. The Americans, no. And the Japanese have had 3 years to further arm up. Maybe by then they've come to some kind of agreement with the Chinese.

    What do you all think?
     
  2. water123 Really bad at names

    Joined:
    May 11, 2014
    Location:
    Space
    The forum consensus is that the European Axis MAYBE could beat the Soviets and burn the British to a stalemate where they would persist until the mid 1960 when between playing musical chairs with leaders and the inevitable rash of civil wars and ethic rebellions the whole thing falls apart.

    You would need a POD at least around the Russo-Japanese War or at the absolute latest WWI before you could get Japan to achieve anything close to what could be considered a Japanese victory in WWII. The most you could get OTL is a temporary Japanese hegemony over China and a few areas of Southeast Asia (Indochina, Indonesia, etc) which would eventually outpace it, and even that revolves on a change of German foreign policy that makes it want to guaruntee Japan as a strong power base in Asia.

    However, based on a traditional, military-based POD, Japan cannot win WWII.
     
    BELFAST, sendô, Andrew Boyd and 21 others like this.
  3. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2014
    @Aqua817 Hitler still declares war on the U.S. The Allies including the U.S. still win the war in Europe in 1945. Japan negotiates a peace deal in 1942 because the Allies are busy with Hitler and the Americans are not as worked up against Japan.
     
    Kaze likes this.
  4. water123 Really bad at names

    Joined:
    May 11, 2014
    Location:
    Space
    Why would Hitler declare war on the US? the only reason why Hitler did OTL was because of Pearl Harbor. And the US wasn't gonna just give away the Philippines.
     
  5. Draconis Emperor of the North Pole.

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2014
    Hitler declared war on the U.S. because Japan did. Please reread my OP more carefully.
     
  6. Ian_W Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2015
    If Hitler doesnt declare war against the US, then the USN gets very worried about "Japanese submarine attacks" and starts escorting convoys all the way to the UK. Similarly, the US Army Air Force gets massively expanded, and many of those new planes go to their UK Allies, so they can fight the Japanese better.

    Lend-Lease in general is more fully expanded.

    And so on.
     
  7. water123 Really bad at names

    Joined:
    May 11, 2014
    Location:
    Space
    Upon rereading it, yeah no Japan is still getting clapped because if it isn't that means that the US was weak in war. Hell, a war focused on the Philippines might even make the Philippines even more integrated into the United States since a lot more battles are fought there and so the Philippines become way more "ours" than it is OTL.
     
  8. Dathi THorfinnsson Daði Þorfinnsson

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Location:
    Syracuse, Haudenosaunee, Vinland
    The Philippines were US territories. They had US military there. Japan simply can't attack the Philippines without drawing the US into the war. Once the US is in the war, Japan is toast, no ifs ands or buts.

    Now. Without the Pearl Harbor Day of Infamy (only a Subic Bay one, say), you are right, the US is going to be LESS committed to the war on Japan. But that doesn't really matter. The Essexes are rolling down the assembly line, and it's just a matter of time.
    This scenario COULD see a less punitive peace, but no way a victory.

    The ONLY way Japan could even conceivably win is by leaving the US completely alone. And even that's unlikely.
     
  9. JAG88 Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    Doubt it, racist US would love the chance to teach the buck-toothed, yellow midgets a lesson over the Phillipines... which opens a very interesting scenario for a carrier battle around some Japanese island base with an overconfident USN against the IJN... whatever carriers the IJN sink go down for good.
     
  10. nbcman Donor

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Did you mean carriers or battleships? The USN CVs that were lost IOTL stayed sunk. It was the BBs attacked at PH that were refloated and and some of which were returned to service (West Virginia, California - sunk but returned to service Nevada - beached but returned to service).
     
    Draconis likes this.
  11. JAG88 Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2012
    No, carriers, simply making a parallel with the PH losses, first battle taught a lesson to the USN and they never underestimated the IJN after that, and those ships were repaired. In this case, he first target are the CVs and those which go down in the first engagement cant be recovered like IOTL.
     
    phx1138 and Draconis like this.
  12. Jellico Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2017
    They have to get their first. No fleet train, no bases, and a fleet of fuel hog battleships. Hilariously they might end up operating out of Singapore.
     
    Johnrankins and Draconis like this.
  13. Zincwarrior Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2019
    Japan wins WWII by not starting WWII.
     
    TheNerd_, Eyrtxd, Adamant and 14 others like this.
  14. gatordad699 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    What you are asking is for the Japanese in the Philippines to not be Japanese. At that time the world was a seriously racist place. Japanese thought that every other race was inferior. These are the people who tested bio weapons on people and kept “Comfort women.” This TL has them attacking the US and declaring war. FDR will spin that to get the US fired up (not saying that is good or bad, probably prudent during a World War). Once the US gears up and starts fighting the war is over. As the poster above said, Americans really didn’t like the Japanese much. The fighting will be just like OTL. They will fight to the last man and the US will help with that.

    Even if they sink the entire US fleet in a decisive battle at the Philippines they still lose. The US built 23 Essex and stopped building them before the war was even over. 2700 Liberty ships, 60,000 Sherman’s, around 300,000 planes. Plus the stuff the US built was better then what the Japanese had.

    Now toss in that they’re an island nation who has to import virtually everything. They are fighting an enemy they can never reach and are very vulnerable to submarine warfare.

    I really enjoy playing carrier war games about early WW2 in the Pacific and I enjoy what ifs, but IMHO the Pacific war is lost as soon as it starts. They were like War Game. The only way to not lose was to not play.
     
    sendô, Eyrtxd, Adamant and 9 others like this.
  15. Zheng He Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Also, the issue of the Japanese not abusing POWs is pretty close to ASB. The Bushido code forbid surrender and they viewed those who did surrender as sub-human and not worthy of anything remotely resembling proper treatment.
     
    Alfa290, Eyrtxd, Kaiser Chris and 8 others like this.
  16. Intosh Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    The Japanese were able to treat the Austro-Hungarians and Germans prisoners very well during WW1.

    The same happened during the war against Russia in 1904-1905. Japan respected their POWs as much as possible.
     
  17. Look More Closely Later Gone fishing means 'responses unlikely'

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2014
    http://www.captivememories.org.uk/fepow/

    I don't know how Imperial Japan treated them a generation earlier, but it says right there that WW2 Imperial Japan subjected Prisoners of War to '...years of neglect, malnutrition, disease and slave labour...'
     
  18. trurle bored blue collar worker

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
    Location:
    Kyoto
    This is over-simplification. US Army and Navy did not make an abrupt changes in battle capabilities due "lost of overconfidence" - the improvements were gradual in 1942-1945 period, as commanders gained battle experience, unfit staff members were sidelined, and attrition took its toll on Japanese. Overall, it is plausible, regardless of number of lost battles, for US to continue losing throughout 1942.
     
    Eyrtxd, Johnrankins, phx1138 and 3 others like this.
  19. WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2018
    The radical militarists that took over the Japanese government had a particularly brutal interpretation of Bushido, and were certainly not above using violence, up to and including murder, to obtain and secure power.
     
    cpip, TheNerd_, Eyrtxd and 9 others like this.
  20. trurle bored blue collar worker

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
    Location:
    Kyoto
    The distinction of WWI and WWII Japanese attitude toward prisoners is significant. The driving force was "no surrender" policy promoted from leadership top since 1929. I remember diaries mentioning several senior Japanese officers were reprimanded/repressed for "too lenient" handling of POWs during WWII. Some IJA dissident officers, despising new rules, even organized break-outs of prisoners (Nanjing in particular).
     
    Ran, Damian0358, Eyrtxd and 10 others like this.