Preemptive Strike

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Major Major, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. Major Major Tired Old Man

    Mar 5, 2005
    Where everyone watches for two minutes in May

    At noon, all across the country, whistles blew and everyone stopped. The speech was broadcast on every radio channel and repeated on loudspeakers. Everyone heard the unfamiliar voice speaking in an antiquated dialect, saying:

    “To Our Good and Loyal Subjects: Yesterday, the seventh day of the twelfth month of the sixteenth year of Showa — a date which will live in infamy — The Empire of Japan was suddenly and deliberately attacked by air units of the United States of America. We were at peace with that nation, and at the solicitation of America, were still in conversation with its government and its president looking towards the maintenance of peace in East Asia.

    “Indeed, one hour after American air squadrons had commenced bombing in Our port of Hiroshima, the American ambassador to Japan delivered to Our Foreign Minister a formal reply to a recent message of Our government. And this reply contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.

    “It will be recorded that the distance of Our Empire from America makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the American government has deliberately sought to deceive Us by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

    “The attack yesterday on Hiroshima has caused severe damage to Our naval and military forces. We regret to tell you that very many Japanese lives have been lost. In addition, Our ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between Nagasaki and Shanghai . . .”

    As the China Incident became greater and more widespread, Captain Claire Lee Chennault of the U.S. Army Air Corps had a simple proposal. With a handful of heavy bombers -- three dozen or so to begin with -- he could bring the mighty Japanese Empire to its knees. The American Volunteer Group, the fighter pilots, would only be a beginning. There were spare B-17s going to the Philippines. There were A-20s that the British had ordered but couldn't use just yet. These bombers could be transferred to the Chinese government as the P-40s of the AVG had been, crewed as the AVG was staffed. With these planes, operating out of China, for China, under the Chinese flag, China could defeat its invader.

    Now it's clear that the Japanese would regard a bombing of China by American planes with American pilots and crew as an act of war by America, any "American Volunteer Bomber Group" to the contrary. But how would it affect the war?

    Presumably, the "American Volunteer Bomber Group" would find its airfields conquered by the Japanese Army. So much for that.

    Would American enthusiasm for the war be tainted by the "they did it first" attitude, and the coincidental beginning of the Greater East Asia War be just a rapid Japanese reply?

    (See Preemptive Strike by Alan Armstrong for a discussion of the background to this plan.)