Japan's Pacific War

Written by: Augustine Kobayashi


In Decemeber 1941, WW2 became a truly global war with Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, dragging the US into the war both in Europe and Asia. What is not widely known is that war had been going on since 1931 in Asia, provoked by Japan seeking dominance of Asia. Why Japan chose such aggressive course of action is even less well understood. This book seeks to explain how Japan's internal conditions and external relations led her to a war in Asia that would in turn lead to a head-on collision with the US and the Western colonial powers. Japan did not plan for such a general conflict with the entire West. Japan's frustration at the failure to defeat China, however, made her decide that they had no choice but to fight the US also. Japanese strategic thinking was thus still very premature, with Japanese military leaders unable to think through the likely consequences of such a course of action; they certainly did not have flexibility to adjust to changing strategic environment due to change of technology, economic balance and the sheer commitment of the US to the war aim of completely defeating Japan. Neglecting war logistics and obsessed with the idea of decisive fleet action, the Japanese were worn down by the increasing air and naval power of the US and was crushed in the end. Such outcome had been anticipated by the Western Allies in their war studies before the 1940s. Hence the tragedy is Japan's failure to come up with any effective scheme to defeat American strategy. Defeated comprehensively in war of logistics, starving Japanese soldiers acted badly everywhere, a legacy of WW2 in Asia which Japan has to live with even today.


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