Roosevelt agreed a proposal to bomb Japan in 1940.

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Re: Roosevelt agreed a proposal to bomb Japan in 1940.

Post by OpanaPointer » 23 Jul 2021 16:25

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Steve
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Re: Roosevelt agreed a proposal to bomb Japan in 1940.

Post by Steve » 23 Jul 2021 18:15

Thanks to rcocean I don’t think there is now any doubt that Roosevelt was prepared to bomb Japan from China. Was there any planning done after the idea was discussed at the end of 1940? No there was not because Morgenthau told Soong there were no bombers available till 1942. However the main reason is probably the following:-

“but soong’s proposal soon met strong opposition from the U. s. War Department. high officials in the Chiefs of staff and the department, such as George marshall and henry stimson, vehemently opposed any diversion of limited bombers and crews to China that would deprive the british of more airpower. Their thinking was understandable, since the concept of “europe first” was deep-rooted in the minds of most high military authorities in Washington; American officials were not yet ready to bomb Japan from China. Therefore, the U. s. Chief of staff was only willing to order the british to transfer 100 P-40 fighter planes, not bombers, to China. moreover, the P-40s still had not been delivered to London.”

T V Soong did not give up and in early 1941 he came up with the idea of a non government volunteer air force later known as the Flying Tigers.

Soong did meet Roosevelt https://www.loc.gov/resource/fsa.8b07003/

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Takao
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Re: Roosevelt agreed a proposal to bomb Japan in 1940.

Post by Takao » 23 Jul 2021 19:05

Steve wrote:
23 Jul 2021 18:15
Was there any planning done after the idea was discussed at the end of 1940? No there was not because Morgenthau told Soong there were no bombers available till 1942.
Yes, US planning continued within the Joint Planning Committee culminating with Joint Board 355, submitted for FDR's approval on July 9, 1941, which he gave on July 23, 1941.
See this web page and scroll down to "Secret Documents"
https://preemptivestrikethebook.com


Unfortunately J B 355 is not available online, only in archives.

Steve wrote:
23 Jul 2021 18:15
However the main reason is probably the following:-

“but soong’s proposal soon met strong opposition from the U. s. War Department. high officials in the Chiefs of staff and the department, such as George marshall and henry stimson, vehemently opposed any diversion of limited bombers and crews to China that would deprive the british of more airpower. Their thinking was understandable, since the concept of “europe first” was deep-rooted in the minds of most high military authorities in Washington; American officials were not yet ready to bomb Japan from China. Therefore, the U. s. Chief of staff was only willing to order the british to transfer 100 P-40 fighter planes, not bombers, to China. moreover, the P-40s still had not been delivered to London.”
The strong opposition came from the request for B-17s, of which there were far too few to go around in late-40 & early-41. Light bombers were also in short supply as the British were eyeing offensives in North Africa and refused to release any of their purchases for Chinese use.

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Re: Roosevelt agreed a proposal to bomb Japan in 1940.

Post by Sid Guttridge » 23 Jul 2021 21:17

Hi Steve,

That photo is well after our period, being dated 8 July, 1942.

I am not questioning whether Roosevelt was prepared to bomb Japan or not, just whether any such plan actually existed.

It looks as though the links given above by Takao and Opanapointer indicate that it did, just in mid 1941, not 1940.

(At US$2 second hand, Preemptive Strike by Armstrong looks like a good buy for anyone in the US).

Cheers,

Sid.

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Takao
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Re: Roosevelt agreed a proposal to bomb Japan in 1940.

Post by Takao » 23 Jul 2021 22:02

Soong met with FDR several times, but not in the time frame pertinent to our discussion.
http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/daybyd ... ubmitted=t
These are only the White House log and nothing on the discussion taking place.

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Re: Roosevelt agreed a proposal to bomb Japan in 1940.

Post by robdab » 24 Jul 2021 00:10

Gents,

I'm not at all sure that it helps any but I first raised this topic here in the AHF back in Jan. 2010 at
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=162193&hilit=robdab+AVGII

Its been quite a few years now but IIRC, rather than B-17s, the more serious proposal was for some 66 twin engined Douglas DB-7 (A-20 Havoc) or Lockheed (A-29 Hudson) medium bombers, operated by more ex-USAAF "volunteer" pilots flying for another AVG II force similar to the historical AVG pilots who became the "Flying Tigers" in P-40s. Chennault had a finger in that pie too.

The book "Preemptive Strike" by one Alan Armstrong (2006) provided many details and the initial alternative history scenario, as well as reasons why the AVG II never actually bombed Japan.

Perhaps this thread might extend on to what the effects on Japan's Pacific War might have been, had the AVG II flown even a few of those by surprise missions ? Obviously only 6 squadrons (plus spares) of medium bombers could NOT have caused much strategic damage to Japan's festering War plans in the very short time available before Dec.7 '41 BUT the psychological impact on the Japanese public might have been huge ? The real threat to the life of the Emperor could NOT have been overlooked. Even a few fire bombs dropped on several of Japan's combustible cities might have caused devastation until modern Japanese fighter aircraft could have have been transferred back to Japan proper and effective AA gun defenses organized. Since Zero fighters were historically in very short supply as the War began, would there have been fewer Zeros in the skies above Pearl Harbor and the Philippines as a result ?
Last edited by robdab on 24 Jul 2021 01:13, edited 1 time in total.

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Takao
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Re: Roosevelt agreed a proposal to bomb Japan in 1940.

Post by Takao » 24 Jul 2021 01:12

Don't waste your time perusing robdab's link, it is not worth t he headaches.

Given that I was rather a prolific poster in it, had I thought robdab's fantasies had any bearing on the matter, I would already have mentioned it.

Not to mention it is a locked thread.

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Takao
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Re: Roosevelt agreed a proposal to bomb Japan in 1940.

Post by Takao » 24 Jul 2021 01:36

robdab wrote:
24 Jul 2021 00:10
Perhaps this thread might extend on to what the effects on Japan's Pacific War might have been, had the AVG II flown even a few of those by surprise missions ? Obviously only 6 squadrons (plus spares) of medium bombers could NOT have caused much strategic damage to Japan's festering War plans in the very short time available before Dec.7 '41 BUT the psychological impact on the Japanese public might have been huge ? The real threat to the life of the Emperor could NOT have been overlooked. Even a few fire bombs dropped on several of Japan's combustible cities might have caused devastation until modern Japanese fighter aircraft could have have been transferred back to Japan proper and effective AA gun defenses organized. Since Zero fighters were historically in very short supply as the War began, would there have been fewer Zeros in the skies above Pearl Harbor and the Philippines as a result ?
Robdab, like FDR, does not look at the Chinese cost...Doolittle cost the Chinese some 230,000 lives and a large swath of territory lost to Japan. Later, Operation Ichi Go would throw the US B-29s out of China - the saving grace being the recently captured Marianas.

Further, that is if Chiang would actually use his bombers to bomb Japan. In 1938, the first "American" bombers over Japan dropped leaflets, not bombs. In early 1942, when Chiang was about to get his first heavy bombers, and the Doolittle Raid, suddenly he no longer wanted the American bombers in China. Not to mention, bombing Japan is next to last on the J B 355 "to do" list of the American/Chinese Air unit.

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Steve
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Re: Roosevelt agreed a proposal to bomb Japan in 1940.

Post by Steve » 24 Jul 2021 03:54

The secret documents make fascinating reading Takao but the earliest dates seem to be around mid 1941 and I was referring to planning for Soong’s proposal of late November 1940. Do I get away with that one? I had the impression no planning was done for Soong’s proposal but if planning did start after his proposal then clearly it was taken very seriously.

As well as the proposed extensive bombing campaign set out in the secret documents 1941 saw a huge increase in military aid to China. China Defence Supplies was established in early 1941 to manage military aid with Roosevelt’s uncle as its chairman. In July 1941 an American military mission arrived in Chongqing the Chinese wartime capital. By August 1941 around $600 million of military equipment had been approved for transfer. There was also economic pressure put on Japan. In 1939 America ended its commercial treaty with Japan. On July 2 1940 Roosevelt signed the export control act restricting certain exports to Japan and on October 16 exports of scrap iron and steel were stopped. On July 26 1941 all Japanese assets in the USA were frozen because of the Japanese occupation of Indo China. On August 1 1941 came the straw which broke the Japanese camels back, America and its allies embargoed all oil and gasoline exports to Japan which meant it lost about 88% of its imported oil.

To get the oil embargo lifted Japan among other things had to withdraw from all of China. I would suggest that when this demand was made Roosevelt knew that it was very unlikely to happen.

“but as far as I can see he never met Roosevelt.” Sid, you never said you wanted a specific time period for a meeting.

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Re: Roosevelt agreed a proposal to bomb Japan in 1940.

Post by Sid Guttridge » 24 Jul 2021 07:21

Hi Steve,

You post, "but as far as I can see he never met Roosevelt.” Sid, you never said you wanted a specific time period for a meeting."

Very true, but given the clear context of the thread, which is 1940/41, I didn't think it was necessary to be over prescriptive.

Anyway, we should all be happy. You have our plan and our sources. History has been served by our discussion. Thanks.

Cheers,

Sid

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Re: Roosevelt agreed a proposal to bomb Japan in 1940.

Post by rcocean » 24 Jul 2021 17:05

As shown by Log at FDR library Soong met FDR several times in the 1940-1941. Its astounding that someone would declare that FDR never met Soong, when you can Google their meetings in 30 seconds. In any case, I don't know why a Soong-FDR meeting needs to documented along with a written statement signed by FDR stating "I approve bombing Japan from China". Historians infer things.

FDR controlled foreign policy and made or approved every major decision. If you read the Morgenthau, Ickes, Wallace diaries or the Hopkins papers, you'll see that FDR rarely delegated any significant decisions on foriegn policy. He had a finger in every pie. The idea the the cabinet members were discussing and approving bomber planes to china without FDR knowing about it is simply absurd.

But anyway. What is the point? The B-17s and B-24s weren't available in 1941 for china's use. Production was too low, and after July 1941, every available B-17 not earmarked for the UK, was to be sent to the Philipppines for Marshall's crazy plan to base 250 B-17 bomber there.

One can see FDR's willingness to give China B-17s with American Pilots to bomb Japan as part of his goal of involving the USA in a war. After all, had B-17s bombed Japan from China with American "Volunteers" it would've been an act of war under international law as then understood.

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Re: Roosevelt agreed a proposal to bomb Japan in 1940.

Post by EwenS » 24 Jul 2021 18:20

rcocean wrote:
24 Jul 2021 17:05


But anyway. What is the point? The B-17s and B-24s weren't available in 1941 for china's use. Production was too low, and after July 1941, every available B-17 not earmarked for the UK, was to be sent to the Philipppines for Marshall's crazy plan to base 250 B-17 bomber there.

One can see FDR's willingness to give China B-17s with American Pilots to bomb Japan as part of his goal of involving the USA in a war. After all, had B-17s bombed Japan from China with American "Volunteers" it would've been an act of war under international law as then understood.
In 1941 the USAAC had less than 100 B-17B/C/D in its inventory (only 20 of these having been released to Britain). The first of 512 of the mass produced B-17E, although ordered in Aug 1940, didn’t fly until Sept 1941, and deliveries to US combat units didn’t start until Nov that year with RAF deliveries starting mid-1942.

As for the B-24 production versions didn’t fly until mid-1941, with British orders and deliveries being prioritised over those of the USAAC, the USAAC receiving only 20 before Pearl Harbour. Total production of early versions to Jan 1942 was about 195. The US then grabbed 75 from British orders still on US soil. Production of the first mass produced B-24 version, the B-24D, didn’t begin until Jan 1942.

AIUI any bombers for China were planned to be Hudsons or maybe A-20s as those were the only bombers in full production. B-25 and B-26 didn’t start rolling off the production lines in low quantities until early 1941.

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Re: Roosevelt agreed a proposal to bomb Japan in 1940.

Post by R Leonard » 24 Jul 2021 18:28

Someone might want to read through this. http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/_resou ... fa0264.pdf . . . Lauchlin Currie pursuing some of his pipe dreams vis-a-vis aircraft & personnel for China and attacking Japanese targets in the home islands. I found significant on page 42 of this file:

“May 15, 1941

“Dear Lauch:

“It is quite all right to go ahead and negotiate regarding the air program or any other thing the Chinese request but I don’t want to imply that I am in favor at this time of any of the proposals. Obviously that can only be finally worked out in relationship to our whole military problem and the needs of ourselves and the British. This should be taken up with General Burns and General Arnold.

“Very sincerely yours.

“Franklin D Roosevelt”


In other words, he could ask for whatever he wanted, but FDR was not in favor, so Currie shouldn't hold his breath.

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Re: Roosevelt agreed a proposal to bomb Japan in 1940.

Post by rcocean » 25 Jul 2021 01:07

R Leonard wrote:
24 Jul 2021 18:28
In other words, he could ask for whatever he wanted, but FDR was not in favor, so Currie shouldn't hold his breath.
Thanks for information. I disagree that "FDR was not in favor". What FDR was saying was that any Chinese request would have to evaluated in light of the needs of the US Military and the British. There's no way FDR could promise the Chinese Bomber aircraft since the needs of the European war came first. But just because the Chinese were lower priority, doesn't mean FDR wasn't in favor.

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Re: Roosevelt agreed a proposal to bomb Japan in 1940.

Post by rcocean » 25 Jul 2021 01:08

BTw, its hilarous Currie's name keeps popping up, given he was a Soviet Spy. LIke Harry Dexter White.

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