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Modern What would it take for Japan to not get into conflict with America in WW2?

Accelerator

Well-known member
Author
So Japan was doomed the moment it hit America.

So there's only one thing.

Avoid it.

Can it just hit British and Duch colonies, taking them from over? Is there any diplomatic maneuvering they can do to avoid American blockade and hostility? What about making it so that America doesn't fight them over China?
 

Mark Poe

The majestic cock
Author
Well, it really boils down to economics & public perception, as the Japanese conquest of China threatens US commercial interests in the region, so really the Japanese need to grantee US economic interests in the region. Also lobby more (in OTL the China lobby in the US was pretty strong, at least strong enough to sway US public opinion to a certain extent) and play the propaganda war more, point out the horrors of the warlords, the threat of oriental despotism and the judeo bolshevik (the KMT and the Communist respectively).

Also not ally with Germany, that might help a bit.
 

Accelerator

Well-known member
Author
Well, it really boils down to economics & public perception, as the Japanese conquest of China threatens US commercial interests in the region, so really the Japanese need to grantee US economic interests in the region. Also lobby more (in OTL the China lobby in the US was pretty strong, at least strong enough to sway US public opinion to a certain extent) and play the propaganda war more, point out the horrors of the warlords, the threat of oriental despotism and the judeo bolshevik (the KMT and the Communist respectively).

Also not ally with Germany, that might help a bit.
So get better PR, and also bribe the US? Seems pretty easy.
 

Horton

Cat
Administrator
Anti intervention sentiment was pretty high at the time and you can kinda blame WW1 somewhat.

So if they don’t attack at Pearl, who knows?

They might have been able to charm the US and FDR might have sat back to avoid losing political power, which he seemed to quite like.
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
The thing with Imperial Japan is that during the post-Restoration/pre-1920s, the Japanese military was divided between two major factions: The Imperialists (the assholes we all know and love and were the architects of Korea becoming a colony) who were the minor faction for most of this time and The Old Men (who are, as a whole, the exact opposite of the Imperialists in general stature... and were looking towards becoming more of a trade empire over an imperial one) who dominated during this time. In our timeline, the Imperialists won the power struggle that was happening in the 1920s and became the dominant faction in the 1930s onward.

If you want Japan not to get into conflict with America in WW2, you have to ensure that the Imperialists don't win the power struggles in the 1920s. Given that WW1 gave the Imperialists a lot of legitimacy, you have to either have WW1 be a Central Powers victory or a draw to help discredit the Imperialists. That or have the Old Men acknowledge that the Imperialists would be an immense threat and eliminate them as a political and military entity (but that isn't likely to happen) before the power struggles in the 1920s.
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
How about merging them, such that they trade with USA and invade European colonies?
No, the two factions were at odds with each other. Very much so despite the fact that some sub-factions of the Old Men tried to use the Imperialists as proxies. Remember, the Old Men didn't want Korea and blocked it until the Imperialists bypassed them via getting backing by a prince (even then they tried to keep an Old Man aligned 'governor' in charge until either 1) the Imperialists did a false flag and killed said governor or 2) nationalist Korean terrorists assassinated said governor, either of which simply made things worse for Korea).
 

Mark Poe

The majestic cock
Author
So get better PR, and also bribe the US? Seems pretty easy.
You'd think, but somehow they managed to screw that up. Then again, they managed to become a naval & maritime power and still fucked up basic things like anti-submarine warfare and trade protection.

Also it would require a loss of face (among other things), and that ain't gonna happen.
How about merging them, such that they trade with USA and invade European colonies?
You can't just loot white colonial power's colonies without pissing off their other white buddies. The US might be annoyed at European colonialism, but at the end of the day they're not gonna stand for some Asian upstart trying to muscle in on turf that they want to exploit (the US even back then wanted a bigger hand in the pacific).
 

Lordroel

Well-known member
So Japan was doomed the moment it hit America.

So there's only one thing.

Avoid it.

Can it just hit British and Duch colonies, taking them from over? Is there any diplomatic maneuvering they can do to avoid American blockade and hostility? What about making it so that America doesn't fight them over China?
Something from my forum, but only dealing with a Japanese invasion of the DEI but still interesting to read.

So the Japanese invasion of the Netherlands East Indies begins on December 15th 1941 when naval and air units of the empire of Japan suddenly and deliberately attack the Royal Netherlands Navy squadron based at Batavia in the Netherlands East Indies (present-day Indonesia). They destroy or damage three cruisers (HNLMS Java, HNLMS De Ruyter, HNLMS Tromp) and eight destroyers belonging to the Admiralen-class, leaving fifty-five-year-old Vice Adm. Conrad Emil Lambert Helfrich with only twenty submarines and numerous but frail torpedo boats with which to retaliate. Shortly thereafter the Japanese Sixteenth Army invades the Netherlands portion of the island of Borneo—scrupulously avoiding portions administered by the United Kingdom— then rapidly follows up with attacks on Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, and other major islands in the East Indies archipelago. The puny Royal Netherlands East Indies Army garrisons are swiftly overrun, the Royal Netherlands Navy bases at Batavia and Surabaya quickly fall, and by the end of February 1942, Japan has secured the Netherlands East Indies’ cornucopia of petroleum, natural gas, tin, manganese, copper, nickel, bauxite, and coal.

The Japanese government had taken the first step toward an attack on the East Indies in July 1941, when it demanded and received from Vichy France the right to station troops, construct airfields, and base warships in southern Indochina. The German invasion of the Soviet Union the previous month had removed any threat from that direction and cleared the way for a thrust southward. The southward move, in turn, was predicated on Japan’s desire to secure enough natural resources to become self-sufficient. It was dangerously dependent on America for scrap iron, steel, and above all oil: 80 percent of its petroleum came from the United States. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration had been attempting for years to use economic sanctions as leverage to force Japan to abandon its invasion of China. As expected, the move into southern Indochina triggered a total freeze of Japanese assets in the United States and a complete oil embargo.

Japanese leaders initially assume that if they proceed with their intention to grab the Netherlands East Indies, the inevitable consequence will be war with both the British Commonwealth and the United States. Consequently, plans also include attacks on British bases at Singapore and Hong Kong, American bases in the Philippine Islands, and even the forward base of the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. Careful review of the British and American situations, however, prompts a reconsideration by Japan’s planners. They conclude that the beleaguered British cannot afford to add Japan to their existing adversaries, Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. Britain especially cannot do so without a guarantee that the United States will enter a war with Japan. And although the Roosevelt administration might engage in threats, American public opinion is so averse to war that the president has been unable to persuade the country to enter the fight against the Nazis despite their conquest of most of Europe. Indeed, a July 1941 bill to extend the nation’s peacetime draft—which the Roosevelt administration deemed fundamental to United States national security—passed by a single vote. The revised Japanese plan therefore contemplates an attack on the Dutch East Indies alone, albeit with most of the Imperial Japanese Navy held in reserve should either Great Britain or the United States declare war. Events completely vindicate Japan’s gamble. British prime minister Winston Churchill reinforces Singapore but otherwise adopts a defensive posture in Southeast Asia. Already thwarted in his efforts to make the case for war against Hitler’s Germany, neither Roosevelt nor his advisers can think of a rationale persuasive enough to convince the public that American boys should fight and die because the Japanese have overrun an obscure European colony.

How plausible is this scenario? There is little doubt that Japan could have swiftly defeated the Netherlands and seized the East Indies in mid December 1941. Even when (as occurred historically) the Americans, British, and Australians added their available warships to the defense of the Netherlands colony, the Japanese had little trouble overrunning the entire archipelago by March 1942. The harder question to answer definitively is what course Britain and America actually would have pursued if Japan had bypassed their Pacific possessions and also, of course, refrained from an air strike against Pearl Harbor. The British plainly could not have sustained such a war without American help. True, Great Britain and the United States had been steadily making common cause against Nazi Germany. The United States Congress had passed the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941, and United States Navy destroyers had begun escorting convoys bound for Great Britain to the mid-Atlantic before handing them off to their British counterparts. In August, Churchill and Roosevelt had met for a secret conference in the waters off Newfoundland, a summit that had included military as well as diplomatic discussions. And by the autumn of 1941, the United States Navy Navy was engaged in an undeclared but lethal war with German U-boats. Cooperation to prepare for a conflict with Japan, however, was considerably less advanced. At the Atlantic Conference, the British had given the Americans text for a proposed warning to Japan to be sent jointly by Great Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States, stating that if Japan pursued further aggression in Southeast Asia, the three countries “would be compelled to take counter measures even though these might lead to war.” Roosevelt agreed to make such a stern statement— but unilaterally, not jointly—and as matters turned out, the president told the Japanese ambassador merely that if Japan struck southward, he would take steps “toward insuring the safety and security of the United States.” As the crisis with Japan deepened, Roosevelt’s top military advisers told him that while they preferred a less provocative diplomatic line toward Japan, the United States could not stand by if the Japanese struck American, British, or Netherlands possessions and would have no choice but to take military action in that case. Privately Roosevelt agreed, and on December 1st he told the British ambassador that in the event Japan attacked the Netherlands East Indies or British possessions in Southeast Asia, “we should all be in this together.” When the ambassador pressed him to be specific, Roosevelt replied that the British could count on “armed support” from the United States. But the president also worried about his ability to do so if American possessions continued to be spared by the Japanese.

As historian David Reynolds points out, “Roosevelt could only propose war; Congress had to declare it. From a purely diplomatic point of view, Pearl Harbor was therefore a godsend.” It would have been difficult to persuade Congress that an attack upon the Netherlands East Indies alone demanded a military response; it might well have proved impossible. In the end the dilemma never arose because the Japanese never considered such an alternative strategy. Once the Japanese government decided that it must seize the natural resources of the Netherlands East Indies, it never seriously considered any plan but a simultaneous attack against the British and the United States in the Pacific. This decision was driven overwhelmingly by operational considerations: Japan’s military planners believed they could not run the risk of leaving the American air and naval bases in the Philippines athwart their line of communications with the East Indies. For that reason they concluded the Philippines must be captured as well. Ironically, by refusing to run such an operational risk, they wound up taking an even larger strategic risk, for the attack on Pearl Harbor was premised on the highly tenuous assumption of a short war with the United States followed by a negotiated peace that would allow Japan to keep its territorial gains. Japan bet that American public opinion would never countenance a prolonged and bloody Pacific war and that the combination of the blow to the United States Navy at Pearl Harbor and Japan’s erection of a hermetic defensive perimeter in the Central and South Pacific would convince America to throw in the towel. As actual events subsequently showed, that was a poor bet.
 

Eliar

Well-known member
What you propose entirely depends on the point of divergence.

Before 1931? Sure.

Before 1937? Possible, as long as Japan avoids invading Chinese proper. For all the bruhaha the Chinese were too fragmented to pose much of a threat to Machukuo and too busy fighting the communists to do a proper job of uniting. A frozen conflict type of situation was definitely possible and a compromise down the line.

After 1937 thing become difficult. Japan has become essentially one giant war camp, one stuck balls deep in China with no way out. Sure Japan was stronger and wrecked the Chinese in the battlegrounds but China itself was too huge and all other great powers were too happy to fund them to keep the Japanese busy. Japanese attrocities certainly did not help. Japan did not have the ability to sustain such a conflict and the rest of the Great Powers had no interest in helping them out.

So it was choice time. Either a radical shift in policy which would have included withdrawal of troops at least back to Machukuo, thus rendering the sacrifices and expenses of years of war moot, or the idiocy that followed.

I am not saying war was inevitable post 1937 but the Japanese were faced with increasingly worsening conditions and options.

Think of it as a CIV game, one where from a point onwards all major players become hostile no matter what
 

Shandi

Dreaming of waifus
Wasn't Hitler interested in pulling kuomitang China into axis? That could help. A renewal of Anglo-Japanese alliance in addition would help too(though I am not sure how plausible that is).
Japan could then once ww2 comes work with allies and "liberate" Indochina and Indonesia.
 

Lordroel

Well-known member
Can it just hit British and Duch colonies, taking them from over? Is there any diplomatic maneuvering they can do to avoid American blockade and hostility? What about making it so that America doesn't fight them over China?
It is possible, to have Japan invade Netherlands East Indies only, with no Pearl Harbor happening, it might go something like this:

We know that on December 7th 1941, Japanese bombers launched an attack on Pearl Harbor, officially drawing the United States into World War II. After the attack, American forces battled in the Pacific and European fronts, lending aid to Allied soldiers at Normandy and other notable battles while fending off Japan’s forces on the other side of the globe. It was a difficult fight that resulted in the deaths of over 400,000 American soldiers, including the over 2,400 who perished at Pearl Harbor.

But how would things have been different had the harbor been left alone and Japan never launched its attack and instead focusing on invading the Netherlands East Indies, a scenario that Japan never really consider doing but might have been wise to do so.

So the Japanese invasion of the Netherlands East Indies begins on December 15th 1941 when naval and air units of the empire of Japan suddenly and deliberately attack the Royal Netherlands Navy squadron based at Batavia in the Netherlands East Indies (present-day Indonesia). They destroy or damage three cruisers (HNLMS Java, HNLMS De Ruyter, HNLMS Tromp) and eight destroyers belonging to the Admiralen-class, leaving fifty-five-year-old Vice Adm. Conrad Emil Lambert Helfrich with only twenty submarines and numerous but frail torpedo boats with which to retaliate. Shortly thereafter the Japanese Sixteenth Army invades the Netherlands portion of the island of Borneo—scrupulously avoiding portions administered by the United Kingdom— then rapidly follows up with attacks on Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, and other major islands in the East Indies archipelago. The puny Royal Netherlands East Indies Army garrisons are swiftly overrun, the Royal Netherlands Navy bases at Batavia and Surabaya quickly fall, and by the end of February 1942, Japan has secured the Netherlands East Indies’ cornucopia of petroleum, natural gas, tin, manganese, copper, nickel, bauxite, and coal.

The Japanese government had taken the first step toward an attack on the East Indies in July 1941, when it demanded and received from Vichy France the right to station troops, construct airfields, and base warships in southern Indochina. The German invasion of the Soviet Union the previous month had removed any threat from that direction and cleared the way for a thrust southward. The southward move, in turn, was predicated on Japan’s desire to secure enough natural resources to become self-sufficient. It was dangerously dependent on America for scrap iron, steel, and above all oil: 80 percent of its petroleum came from the United States. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration had been attempting for years to use economic sanctions as leverage to force Japan to abandon its invasion of China. As expected, the move into southern Indochina triggered a total freeze of Japanese assets in the United States and a complete oil embargo.

Japanese leaders initially assume that if they proceed with their intention to grab the Netherlands East Indies, the inevitable consequence will be war with both the British Commonwealth and the United States. Consequently, plans also include attacks on British bases at Singapore and Hong Kong, American bases in the Philippine Islands, and even the forward base of the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. Careful review of the British and American situations, however, prompts a reconsideration by Japan’s planners. They conclude that the beleaguered British cannot afford to add Japan to their existing adversaries, Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. Britain especially cannot do so without a guarantee that the United States will enter a war with Japan. And although the Roosevelt administration might engage in threats, American public opinion is so averse to war that the president has been unable to persuade the country to enter the fight against the Nazis despite their conquest of most of Europe. Indeed, a July 1941 bill to extend the nation’s peacetime draft—which the Roosevelt administration deemed fundamental to United States national security—passed by a single vote. The revised Japanese plan therefore contemplates an attack on the Dutch East Indies alone, albeit with most of the Imperial Japanese Navy held in reserve should either Great Britain or the United States declare war. Events completely vindicate Japan’s gamble. British prime minister Winston Churchill reinforces Singapore but otherwise adopts a defensive posture in Southeast Asia. Already thwarted in his efforts to make the case for war against Hitler’s Germany, neither Roosevelt nor his advisers can think of a rationale persuasive enough to convince the public that American boys should fight and die because the Japanese have overrun an obscure European colony.

How plausible is this scenario? There is little doubt that Japan could have swiftly defeated the Netherlands and seized the East Indies in mid December 1941. Even when (as occurred historically) the Americans, British, and Australians added their available warships to the defense of the Netherlands colony, the Japanese had little trouble overrunning the entire archipelago by March 1942. The harder question to answer definitively is what course Britain and America actually would have pursued if Japan had bypassed their Pacific possessions and also, of course, refrained from an air strike against Pearl Harbor. The British plainly could not have sustained such a war without American help. True, Great Britain and the United States had been steadily making common cause against Nazi Germany. The United States Congress had passed the Lend-Lease Act in March 1941, and United States Navy destroyers had begun escorting convoys bound for Great Britain to the mid-Atlantic before handing them off to their British counterparts. In August, Churchill and Roosevelt had met for a secret conference in the waters off Newfoundland, a summit that had included military as well as diplomatic discussions. And by the autumn of 1941, the United States Navy Navy was engaged in an undeclared but lethal war with German U-boats. Cooperation to prepare for a conflict with Japan, however, was considerably less advanced. At the Atlantic Conference, the British had given the Americans text for a proposed warning to Japan to be sent jointly by Great Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States, stating that if Japan pursued further aggression in Southeast Asia, the three countries “would be compelled to take counter measures even though these might lead to war.” Roosevelt agreed to make such a stern statement— but unilaterally, not jointly—and as matters turned out, the president told the Japanese ambassador merely that if Japan struck southward, he would take steps “toward insuring the safety and security of the United States.” As the crisis with Japan deepened, Roosevelt’s top military advisers told him that while they preferred a less provocative diplomatic line toward Japan, the United States could not stand by if the Japanese struck American, British, or Netherlands possessions and would have no choice but to take military action in that case. Privately Roosevelt agreed, and on December 1st he told the British ambassador that in the event Japan attacked the Netherlands East Indies or British possessions in Southeast Asia, “we should all be in this together.” When the ambassador pressed him to be specific, Roosevelt replied that the British could count on “armed support” from the United States. But the president also worried about his ability to do so if American possessions continued to be spared by the Japanese.

As historian David Reynolds points out, “Roosevelt could only propose war; Congress had to declare it. From a purely diplomatic point of view, Pearl Harbor was therefore a godsend.” It would have been difficult to persuade Congress that an attack upon the Netherlands East Indies alone demanded a military response; it might well have proved impossible. In the end the dilemma never arose because the Japanese never considered such an alternative strategy. Once the Japanese government decided that it must seize the natural resources of the Netherlands East Indies, it never seriously considered any plan but a simultaneous attack against the British and the United States in the Pacific. This decision was driven overwhelmingly by operational considerations: Japan’s military planners believed they could not run the risk of leaving the American air and naval bases in the Philippines athwart their line of communications with the East Indies. For that reason they concluded the Philippines must be captured as well. Ironically, by refusing to run such an operational risk, they wound up taking an even larger strategic risk, for the attack on Pearl Harbor was premised on the highly tenuous assumption of a short war with the United States followed by a negotiated peace that would allow Japan to keep its territorial gains. Japan bet that American public opinion would never countenance a prolonged and bloody Pacific war and that the combination of the blow to the United States Navy at Pearl Harbor and Japan’s erection of a hermetic defensive perimeter in the Central and South Pacific would convince America to throw in the towel. As actual events subsequently showed, that was a poor bet.
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
That wouldn't happen @Lordroel, as that would require the Imperialists weren't in charge, and by the time they took over in the late 1920s/early 1930s, they basically murdered anyone that went against them.
 

Lord Kragan

The one and only Lord of Mutton Chops.
Author
I guess it would require a cession of the phillipines to imperial japan? Like, Pearl Harbor was meant to cripple their naval response capabilities, but they wanted the south eastern asia territories, for which they needed the phillipinis as a springboard, if I understand properly.
 

Aaron Fox

SB's Minor Junker Descendant and Hunter of Nazis
Author
I guess it would require a cession of the phillipines to imperial japan? Like, Pearl Harbor was meant to cripple their naval response capabilities, but they wanted the south eastern asia territories, for which they needed the phillipinis as a springboard, if I understand properly.
No, that was done due to the fact that the 'Northern Plan' was a dead end thanks to a scuffle with a certain Georgy Zhukov. China was proving impossible to pacify, and thus the only direction was southwards. Going South would also anger the US...
 

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