If the US wasn't in the Philippines in 1941, would it have made any difference in Japan's decision to attack Pearl Harbor?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
If the US would not have been in the Philippines in 1941 (either as a result of withdrawing earlier or a result of never conquering the Philippines in the first place due to the lack of a Spanish-American War in this scenario), would it have made any difference in Japan's decision to attack Pearl Harbor?
 

Lord Fairfax

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,422
Changing trains at Terrapin Station...
Likely it would, but perhaps not.
Japan assumed that an attack against DEI would bring the British Empire into the war, and an attack against British colonies would bring the US into the war. (Which was correct)
They didn't want to attack south with the US in the PI sitting astride their supply lines.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,586
Dispargum
The US was already moving toward war in the Pacific before Pearl Harbor. We had embargoed Japan over Indochina, sent Lend Lease supplies to China via the Burma Road, and had encouraged the formation of the American Volunteer Group (the Flying Tigers). The real sticking point in the Pacific wasn't the Philipines. It was China. If Japan had only attacked Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Dutch East Indies I think that would have been enough to bring the US into the war, at least unofficially (something similiar to the US escorting convoys in the Atlantic before Pearl Harbor). At the very least, a more aggressive US Navy in the Pacific would have provoked a shooting incident with Japan. Even without Pearl Harbor, I don't think the US would have stayed out of the war much longer. We would have gotten in eventually.
 
Apr 2018
745
India
One point to mention, the souring of relations began long before the embargo. The Washington Naval Treaty was actually the first nail in the coffin.
 
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Edratman

Forum Staff
Feb 2009
6,708
Eastern PA
The Philippines sat directly between the oil in the Dutch East Indies and the Japanese home islands. In 1941 the Japanese needed either an ally in possession of the Philippines or had to occupy the Philippines themselves. I just cannot imagine the Japanese comfortable with a neutral Philippines.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
The Philippines sat directly between the oil in the Dutch East Indies and the Japanese home islands. In 1941 the Japanese needed either an ally in possession of the Philippines or had to occupy the Philippines themselves. I just cannot imagine the Japanese comfortable with a neutral Philippines.
Couldn't they have pressured the Filipinos to make an alliance with them like they did with the Thais, though?
 

Edratman

Forum Staff
Feb 2009
6,708
Eastern PA
Couldn't they have pressured the Filipinos to make an alliance with them like they did with the Thais, though?
The Japanese attacked Thailand, the battle lasted about a minute and a half, Thailand quickly capitulated became a Japanese ally. Thailand then allowed the Japanese to use the country as a base to attack Malaysia. So bottom line, Japanese occupation............
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,586
Dispargum
Couldn't they have pressured the Filipinos to make an alliance with them like they did with the Thais, though?
That's a possibility. Another possibility is if the Philipines were still Spanish. Could Japan make war on a fascist ally of Germany and Italy? Or would Franco make a non-aggression pact with Japan?
 
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Apr 2018
745
India
Was Japan strongly dissatisfied with this treaty?
Extremely would be an understatement. They felt outright betrayed. Japan tried everything to get a fair deal out of the treaty. As per their calculations a ratio of 7:5 with the US fleet size was acceptable. They got only 5:3. Also their naval doctrine put great emphasis on capital ships which were the worst victims of the treaty. The British and French were happy with cruisers and submarines and got the deals in line with their needs. This led to the creation of two factions within the IJN. The Treaty Faction and the Fleet Faction. As time went by, the IJN found it increasingly difficult to abide be treaty limits and design the ships satisfactorily. So they pulled out of it altogether in 1934. However the bitterness remained.

Washington Naval Treaty - Wikipedia
 
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