Why not "besiege" Japan?

Discussions on WW2 in the Pacific and the Sino-Japanese War.
Peter89
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Location: Hungary

Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by Peter89 » 21 May 2020 10:31

Sid Guttridge wrote:
30 Oct 2019 12:13
Hi mikegriffith1,

You ask of Japan, "Why not just go home and leave them alone?"

Like we did with Germany after WWI. This was not, I would humbly suggest, a great success!

Cheers,

Sid.
The problem was not leaving Germany, the problem was to leave it in a state where a new war seemed like a plausible alternative.

Also, the international table set by the anglo-saxon powers after WW2 was no less discriminatory, it just gave a proper place for Germany and Japan, without whom a global balance (=western dominance) could not be achieved. If you get everything in peace, you don't want to go to war. But if you defeat a worthy opponent and deprive him of the chance to prosper, war is inevitable.

The US brought relative peace, freedom and stability to the world after WW2 by instituting free trade and abolishing colonial empires, thus making space for Germany and Japan, and seriously set back UK, the low countries and France. The SU / Eastern bloc was never a real competitor in economic terms.

The main problem with the WW1 and the peace treaties that followed was that the European colonial powers overreacted and wanted to extend their dominance, or in other words, wanted to win history once and for all. They didn't realize the historical necessity to step back after winning the war. They didn't realize that it was the very reason that started it. That's why we don't recall the WW1 as the most important historical event of the century, because we didn't learn a thing from it.

So they achieved little more than a ceasefire, and they sowed the seeds of their own destruction.

Had they been more far-sighted and realized that Germany (and A-H Empire, for that matter) had to prosper unarmed, international power had to be channeled into soft power institutions and economic relations, there would have been no need to occupy Germany, Japan, Italy, etc.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 May 2020 12:25

Hi Peter89?

I am not sure I follow your argument fully.

WWII became possible because WWI was not definitively concluded in a military sense when an Allied military victory was all but inevitable.

This thereby allowed some Germans, notably one A. Hitler, to indulge themselves in the fantasy that Germany had not been defeated in WWI. Allied total victory ensured that no such illusion was possible after WWII.

There was no "proper place" for Austria-Hungary after WWI, just for its successor states. A really severe Versailles Treaty might similarly have seen Germany returned to its pre-1870 components. As it was, Germany only lost 12% of it territory - areas where Germans were a minority.

You say of the Allies, "So they achieved little more than a ceasefire.....". Yup.

However, you are incorrect in saying that they ".....sowed the seeds of their own destruction" . It was Germany that was destroyed, not the Allies.

The US did not abolish European Empires, but it certainly speeded up decolonosation. It then followed the British example of indirect imperial control in Latin America by setting up its own indirect imperial control in their stead across much of the globe. Indeed, in Israel it might be regarded as setting up an old style settler colony. Nor did it rush to return its non-state overseas territories to local rule and independence.

Cheers,

Sid.

Peter89
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Posts: 429
Joined: 28 Aug 2018 05:52
Location: Hungary

Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by Peter89 » 21 May 2020 22:11

Sid Guttridge wrote:
21 May 2020 12:25
Hi Peter89?

I am not sure I follow your argument fully.

WWII became possible because WWI was not definitively concluded in a military sense when an Allied military victory was all but inevitable.
I respectfully disagree, the problem was that the future of Germany was annihilated in a world of colonial empires.
Sid Guttridge wrote:
21 May 2020 12:25
This thereby allowed some Germans, notably one A. Hitler, to indulge themselves in the fantasy that Germany had not been defeated in WWI. Allied total victory ensured that no such illusion was possible after WWII.
I have to disagree again, because the blame game was not new to Europe at that time. Just think about Ernst Thälmann and the Rotfront - Germany's situation became desperate, and a communist revolution or the nazism were all on the table. The leaders of France and the UK did not really know what to do with Germany. Germany is a highly efficient machine of export - it is either war or products. It has always been so since Bismarck. If you take away their markets, they go to war. The treaty of Versailles was not particurarly harsh because of some lost city or farmland, it wasn't harsh because Germany couldn't keep a big army, it was harsh because Germany lost its exploitable markets (eg. colonies and such), the ability to get new ones (eg. their army) and a reasonable portion of their domestic market (eg. territorial changes, including occupied west Germany).

Chamberlain's policy was to make concessions to Germany to increase its army, and he hoped that he can buy peace without sacrificing the Empire. He couldn't. Churchill's policy was to defeat Germany at all costs, even if it means to sacrifice the Empire. And that he did.

FDR gave his consent to the plan because he saw that opening markets is the only possible way to achieve a sort of balance. A sort of balance that crumbles this very day. The US way was the XX. century way of making peace, the Versailles way was coming very much from the XIX. century.
Sid Guttridge wrote:
21 May 2020 12:25
However, you are incorrect in saying that they ".....sowed the seeds of their own destruction" . It was Germany that was destroyed, not the Allies.
Both UK and France (and the low countries, etc.) had to suffer the loss of their empires, and the loss of power and influence over the world. Thus their world dominance was destroyed. Germany and Japan were destroyed only in a military sense. That is why the western world enjoyed a relative peace in the past 75 years.
Sid Guttridge wrote:
21 May 2020 12:25
The US did not abolish European Empires, but it certainly speeded up decolonosation. It then followed the British example of indirect imperial control in Latin America by setting up its own indirect imperial control in their stead across much of the globe. Indeed, in Israel it might be regarded as setting up an old style settler colony. Nor did it rush to return its non-state overseas territories to local rule and independence.
Yes.
The US turned the table in a manner where everyone could only lose against them, thus destroying the colonial empires' economical principles. Just take a look what happened to Portugal that wanted to maintain the colonies. It became the poorest Western European nation, even more poor than some countries in Eastern Europe.

Such turn of the table provided the much needed economical room for Germany and Japan, thus making the western world safe for half a century. That was my original point.

Sid Guttridge
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Posts: 7441
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Why not "besiege" Japan?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 21 May 2020 23:00

Hi Petet89,

I am not sure that this is the place for this discussion.

If you would open a new thread on the subject in the appropriate section of AHF, I would happily join you there.

Cheers,

Sid.

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