Could Japan defeat China in WW2 if no war with US?

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,970
Could they? As in destruction of bulk Chinese forces and a surrender?
No, Logistically the amount of Japanese troops to impose a regime across all of china was not supportable if there was no political settlement, and I don't think the Japanese were offeringa regime attractive enough to enough Chinese to stop those outside of immediate reach repressive power of the Japanese Army resisting and not supporting the Japanese occupation,. China is a huge country to impose a pretty much repressive regime across the entirely of china is a lot of manpower, and the logistical support network was not developed enough to support that sized occupation.

Around the coast and accessible regions with good infrastructure sure. But To effectively control enough of China, I don't think so,

Could the Japanese win battle after battle sure.

I don't think the Japanese were capable of a Political settlement that enable dthem to control most of China with enough passitvity of the population to be lasting.,

I don't think the Japanese could have supporting say 4 million troops establishing a regime by sheer force through most of China.
 
Oct 2015
999
Virginia
I agree (fwiw). They had been trying since 1937 without success.
Wasn't one supposed objective of the war with the US, UK and Dutch to shut off US aid to China, hoping thus to end Chinese resistance?
Three "puppet" regimes were established in Japanese occupied territory, including one headed by a prominent former KMT figure (Wang Jingwei) without cracking the resistance.
 
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tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
14,257
The japanese had several years to do it and failed... After that it was a war of attrition, one which a nation of 70mio (Japan) vs one which was at least 6 times more populous and covered a huge territory (9 mio sq km) could not win
 
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Edratman

Forum Staff
Feb 2009
6,777
Eastern PA
The Chinese government was a mess in 1937 when the Japanese invaded. There was an ongoing civil war between the Nationalists and Communists and additionally large portions of the nation were actually under the control of a number of warlords.

The absence of a central government meant that the Japanese could not conquer the country by defeating a single entity, similar to the fall of France in 1940. Instead, the Japanese needed to best each individual component and they did not have the manpower or resources to achieve this objective as pointed out several times above.
 
Oct 2015
999
Virginia
Like the Athenians trying to defeat Sparta by starting a new war with Syracuse, the Japanese try to win the war in China by attacking the US, UK and Netherlands (in part at least). Why do people think they can win a stalemated war by starting a second one?
 
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tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
14,257
Like the Athenians trying to defeat Sparta by starting a new war with Syracuse, the Japanese try to win the war in China by attacking the US, UK and Netherlands (in part at least). Why do people think they can win a stalemated war by starting a second one?
Good point

It has to do with different factions me thinks.... China was mostly the army.... The Pacific war was mostly Navy (as in "we
ll show those army boys how a war is won")... Alternatively it can be to draw attention away from one's own failures (
while they are busy fighting the US, they wont notice we messed up in China)
 

robto

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,261
Lisbon, Portugal
Good point

It has to do with different factions me thinks.... China was mostly the army.... The Pacific war was mostly Navy (as in "we
ll show those army boys how a war is won")... Alternatively it can be to draw attention away from one's own failures (
while they are busy fighting the US, they wont notice we messed up in China)
The Japanese assumed that the war with Western powers would be a quick one with few casualties. The entire strategy of making massive and coordinated surprise attacks at Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Malaya were meant to give a huge shock to the Allies and preventing them of making any organised response against Japanese aggression, and more importantly, to make the war not to drag on for too long.

The Japanese knew that Britain was too much involved in the war in Europe and were unable to reinforce their defensive positions in Asia. They also knew that the Netherlands was essentially a German-occupied country and they wouldn't put up a fight in the Dutch East Indies either. The only problem was the US. The Japanese Navy decided to make a coordinated attack against his two navy fleets in the Pacific and tried to completely annihilate it in one blow (they almost achieved that) and then after they should invade and occupy the Philippines (no large or prepared American defenses in the islands).
With that massive blow against the US fleet and the taking of the Philippines, in the eyes of the Japanese High Command, it would completely destroy the morale in the US and they would sue for peace - more or less like what happened with Russia during the 1905 war.
The Japanese erroneously thought Americans didn't had the will to fight a war, specially over their Asian interests and they described American society as too effeminate and commercial.

If the US and Britain sued for peace and accepted Japan as the sole power in the Asia-Pacific region right after the fall of Singapore and the Philippines , then Japan would make use of the valuable resources of their newly conquered southeast Asian territories to finance the "holy war" with China.
It is totally known that even if the war with China would still continued to be waged on without any sort of favorable end for Japan, they would attack the Soviet Union sooner or later as well.
 
Sep 2016
48
France
Chiang Kai Shek thought it would have been impossible for Japan to conquer China and he was sure they would eventually be defeated. I also always assumed there was no way for Japan to win. Reading a bit more about it, I guess it all depends how we define winning. I believe, without the war against the US and Britain, the Kuomintang would have lost. Either the Japanese would have taken Chongqing or the corruption, economic crisis within territories sill under the Kuomintang's control would have led to the defeat of the nationalist forces. Taking that into account, I don't think the Japanese would have been able to maintain control over China. They would have faced guerrillas everywhere and never had to manpower to really do anything about it.
 
Oct 2015
999
Virginia
The Army/Navy rivalry and the idea that the Western democracies were effete and on their way out both have merit.
There was also the "Messianic Complex" that was pervasive in Japan at the time (an affliction not unique to Japan or to the 1930's-40's). Japan was rescuing Asians from Western colonial domination, and Asian resistance to their own salvation was difficult to understand.
 
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