Could Japan's plan of defence have worked in WW2?

Nov 2014
The Japanese plan involved causing so many casualties to invading US and Allied forces that political support for the invasion in the home front will collapse because of anti-war sentiment? Is this plan realistic, based on the anti-war protests during the Vietnam War? If the Japs could cause something like half a million deaths or more and millions of casualties from the invasion, would we have seen massive protests in the US and Britain to stop the war like what happened in Vietnam?


Forum Staff
Aug 2016
There was no Vietnam equivalent to Pearl Harbor. Vietnam was a war of choice for the US. We chose to get into the war, and we could choose to get out of it. WW2 was forced upon the US. Pearl Harbor stirred up a lot of anger that had not yet dissipated by 1945.

Britain entered the war two years before the US did and still had not experienced the kind of war weariness that Japan was hoping for. If the US was the same as Britain, we could have kept the war going to at least 1947, if not longer.

Of course in 1941, no one knew what the war weariness factor would be in 1945. The example from WW1 suggested that countries could go about 2.5 years before experiencing a morale crisis. In France and Russia the crises came in early 1917. Italy had entered the war a little later, and their crisis came in the fall of 1917. Britain had started the war very slowly and did not get fully mobilized until 1916 or so. They never had a two and a half year crisis unless you count the spring 1918 offensives, but Britain never came close to the degree of collapse that her allies saw. Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottomans also managed to stave off collapse for four years instead of two and a half. Japan was probably hoping for a two and a half year collapse, but it never happened.
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Mar 2018
Unlikely but, at a stretch, possible.

Ultimately irrelevant however because the Russians were coming from the other side and would have been absolutely unphazedby a million casualties, or even three times more.


Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
Taking away the atomic bomb, a land invasion by the Allies, primarily American troops, would have succeeded. The U.S. was totally committed and invested in defeating Japan. All one has to do is to look at the commitment the U.S. troops had in the battles leading up to Japan's defeat. Island hopping, they slowly but meticulously cleared the islands of any Japanese fighting force, whatever the cost. As for a Vietnam type of protest, believe it or not, one generation can make a total difference in a society's prevailing view. In 1940s WW2 era U.S., war ending advocates would have been a very minute presence. That generation was in it for total and unconditional surrender, whatever the cost. Remember, these people, the soldiers especially, had been raised or lived a good portion of years during the Great depression. they were used to sacrifice and commitment.