Could Japan have won the Second World War post-December 1941?

Oct 2013
34
1
#1
Could Japan have won ('won' being achieving all its main goals like resources and 'living-space') the Second World War post-December 1941 (post-Pearl Harbor etc)?

I believe Japan could only have won the Second World War post-December 1941 by defeating the United States of America, but the only way it could have done this was politically, not militarily. It would have had to force the USA into a peace settlement through dealing one or more major blows to the United States military, particularly to the United States Navy, which it tried and failed, for the most part, at Pearl Harbor and then totally at Coral Sea and Midway.

The Battle of Midway in June 1942 was Japan's last chance to achieve this, but by this point I question whether even if Japan had won the Battle of Midway (through destroying most of, if not all, of the USA's aircraft carriers there) it would have forced the USA into a peace settlement.
 

diddyriddick

Historum Emeritas
May 2009
14,692
A tiny hamlet in the Carolina Sandhills
#2
I believe Japan could only have won the Second World War post-December 1941 by defeating the United States of America, but the only way it could have done this was politically, not militarily. It would have had to force the USA into a peace settlement through dealing one or more major blows to the United States military, particularly to the United States Navy, which it tried and failed, for the most part, at Pearl Harbor and then totally at Coral Sea and Midway.
This was pretty much Tokyo's plan as well. Forget the bombast, nobody in power in Japan believed that they could go toe-to-toe with the US. They simply didn't have the resources. The idea was to build a defensive cordon of islands far from home so that they could pursue their other military goals and wait. With time, the Americans would get tired of the bodies coming home and sue for peace on terms favorable to Tokyo.

However, any chance to do that was impossible once Arizona was a wreck, Oklahoma has turned turtle, and 2,000+ Americans are dead. Pearl Harbor galvanized American support for the war, and Americans perceived a backhanded Japanese attack while Tokyo was negotiating in bad faith. By the time Congress declared war, the die was cast for Americans-a fight to the finish.
 
Dec 2010
11,643
Near St. Louis.
#3
Nothing would have allowed a US government to make peace with the Japanese while they were still outside their own borders. The public would have gone nuts.
 

botully

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
3,545
Amelia, Virginia, USA
#4
Nothing would have allowed a US government to make peace with the Japanese while they were still outside their own borders. The public would have gone nuts.
And this shows just how foolish the Japanese government was in 1941. Having concluded that further diplomacy was useless, they decided to attack a country that they couldn't possibly beat in a war, trusting that diplomacy would end the war on favorable terms for Japan. :zany:
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,801
At present SD, USA
#5
The Battle of Midway in June 1942 was Japan's last chance to achieve this, but by this point I question whether even if Japan had won the Battle of Midway (through destroying most of, if not all, of the USA's aircraft carriers there) it would have forced the USA into a peace settlement.
Given the declaration of winning through to absolute victory, it's doubtful that a victory at Midway would have meant an American surrender...

At best a victory at Midway would buy the Japanese time. They would still need to do more to try and defeat the US.
 

pablo668

Ad Honorem
Apr 2010
2,188
Perth, Western Australia. or....hickville.
#6
The whole Japanese strategy was not to win, but to force a climactic battle that they would lose, but would be so costly as to get them a favorable settlement out of the US.

It was this thinking that carried them through the Phillipines, Okinawa and finally Hiroshima and Nagasaki (tragically imo).

If the Japanese could have realised this, perhaps it may have changed their thinking and resulted in a less bloody outcome for the war. If wishes were fishes and all that.
 

funakison

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,381
Between a rock and a hard place
#7
The whole Japanese strategy was not to win, but to force a climactic battle that they would lose, but would be so costly as to get them a favorable settlement out of the US.

It was this thinking that carried them through the Phillipines, Okinawa and finally Hiroshima and Nagasaki (tragically imo).

If the Japanese could have realised this, perhaps it may have changed their thinking and resulted in a less bloody outcome for the war. If wishes were fishes and all that.
A strategy based on flawed logic and wishful thinking.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,801
At present SD, USA
#9
The whole Japanese strategy was not to win, but to force a climactic battle that they would lose, but would be so costly as to get them a favorable settlement out of the US.
Actually, this wasn't the initial plan. At the time of the Pearl Harbor raid through Midway, the plan was force a climactic battle, destroy the Americans through superior warrior skill, and cowards that they are, they'll surrender and give us everything we want...

A strategy based around an over-developed sense of nationalism and an unwillingness accept that the possibility that their assumptions about the US (or the other Allied powers for that matter) were wrong...

Turning to forcing heavy losses on their enemies in the hopes of a favorable settlement didn't come until after Midway and they began suffering defeat after defeat. These defeats didn't change their fanaticism, but it did make those that were more... I suppose "realistic" might work... realize that they'd made a mistake on December 7, 1941, but were too proud to truly admit it.
 
Dec 2010
11,643
Near St. Louis.
#10
Actually, this wasn't the initial plan. At the time of the Pearl Harbor raid through Midway, the plan was force a climactic battle, destroy the Americans through superior warrior skill, and cowards that they are, they'll surrender and give us everything we want...

A strategy based around an over-developed sense of nationalism and an unwillingness accept that the possibility that their assumptions about the US (or the other Allied powers for that matter) were wrong...

Turning to forcing heavy losses on their enemies in the hopes of a favorable settlement didn't come until after Midway and they began suffering defeat after defeat. These defeats didn't change their fanaticism, but it did make those that were more... I suppose "realistic" might work... realize that they'd made a mistake on December 7, 1941, but were too proud to truly admit it.
Pretty much, yeah. The IGHQ was planning for the One Decisive Battle™, but Yamamoto threw a monkey wrench into that idea. The attack on Pearl Harbor was a tactical victory but strategically null.
 

Similar History Discussions