Japanese Ministry views of the Situation, September 1941

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Japanese Ministry views of the Situation, September 1941

Post by MKSheppard » 2019-11-28 03:53pm

Reference materials prepared by the Cabinet of Ministers, the War Department and the Ministry of the Navy for answers to possible questions during the imperial meeting on September 6, 1941.

Source:
Японский фронт маршала Сталина (Japanese front of Marshal Stalin) by Anatoly Koshkin (Анатолий Кошкин)


Is war with Britain and the United States inevitable?

Our Empire’s action plan to establish a new order in East Asia, the central issue of which is the resolution of the Chinese incident, is a solid policy based on the national principle of Hakko Itiu.

The creation of a new order will continue forever, as long as our state exists.

However, it is becoming apparent that the United States policy toward Japan is based on the desire to maintain the current situation. In pursuit of the goal of world domination and the defense of democracy, the United States intends to prevent the rise and development of our Empire in East Asia. Under these conditions, it must be recognized that the policies of Japan and the policies of the United States are incompatible. The historically inevitable conflict between the two states, which, depending on the situation, can achieve tension or be moderate, will ultimately lead to war.

There is no need to repeat that until the United States changes its policy towards Japan, our Empire will be in a desperate situation that will ultimately force us to take an extreme step, namely, a war in order to protect ourselves and preserve the nation. Even if we make concessions to the United States, partly abandoning our national policy to achieve a temporary peace, the United States will certainly demand more and more concessions from us as their military strength grows. In the end, our Empire will be defeated and cast at the feet of the United States.

What are the goals of the war against the United States, Great Britain and Holland?

The objectives of the war with the United States, Great Britain and Holland are to eliminate the influence of these three states in East Asia, to create a sphere for self-defense and self-preservation of our Empire, and to establish a new order in Great East Asia. In other words, we strive to establish close and inextricable relations in the military, political and economic fields between our Empire and the countries of the southern region, to achieve self-defense and self-preservation of our Empire, and at the same time create a new order of coexistence and co-prosperity of Great East Asia. Therefore, we must resolutely expel hostile states - the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands, which impede the achievement of the above goals.

What are the prospects for a war with Britain and the United States, in particular, how will we end the war?

The war with the United States and Great Britain will be long and will turn into a war of survival. It is very difficult to predict how it will be completed, but it is almost impossible to assume that the United States will capitulate. However, we cannot rule out the possibility that the war could end as a result of the brilliant successes of our military operations in the South and the surrender of Great Britain, which will result in great changes in US public opinion. In any case, we must ensure an indestructible position. To do this, it is necessary to achieve strategic superiority by occupying important areas in the South, to create an economy that allows for a long time to guarantee self-sufficiency. All this will require the exploitation of the rich natural resources of the southern region and the use of the economic power of East Asia. An important factor is also the establishment of ties between Asia and Europe in the defeat of the Anglo-American coalition by the joint efforts of Japan, Germany and Italy. By this time, we will already be able to influence events and bring the war to its victorious end.

Why did we define the last decade of October as an indicative deadline for completing military preparations?

Needless to say, oil is currently the weak point of our state and military power. Now we are gradually consuming oil that has been accumulated. If this situation continues, we will be able to provide self-supply for a maximum of two years. This period will be shortened if we undertake large-scale military operations. Over time, our ability to continue the war will decrease and the Empire will become militarily weak.

On the other hand, the United States Navy and Air Force will significantly increase, and from the point of view of defense, the United States, Great Britain and the Netherlands will consistently increase their power in the South. Consequently, the passing time will not only create new difficulties for us in conducting military operations, but also mean strengthening preparations for the US Navy for war. This will lead to the achievement of its superiority over the naval power of our Empire by the fall of next year. As a result, we will be forced to surrender to the United States and Great Britain without a fight.

From the point of view of weather conditions for both Japan and its opponents, it will be very difficult in winter to undertake large-scale operations in the North. Therefore, it is necessary to fully prepare for war as soon as possible, so that you can quickly complete the main operations in the South during the winter and ensure freedom of military operations in the North at the end of spring next year.

If we immediately begin preparations for war, we will be able to complete mobilization, requisition and equip ships and deploy armed forces in the main strategic areas by the last decade of October.

How can we prevent the joint actions of the United States and the Soviet Union?

In this regard, there can be no satisfactory answer until we decide on a war with the United States and the Soviet Union. We have already appealed to the Soviet Union and the United States with a demand to stop the flow of aid to the Soviet Union through the Soviet Far East, but to no avail.

What are the prospects for the German-Soviet war and the expected operations of the German army?

There is a high probability that the German army will defeat the main field armies of the Soviet Union by the end of October or early November and occupy important areas of the European territory of the Soviet Union. Part of the powerful German armed forces will complete the defeat of the defeated Soviet Army. Then (Germany) will begin operations in the Caucasus, the Middle East and North Africa. Based on this, we assess the situation as follows:

It is expected that the front line this fall will pass from the White Sea, through the western outskirts of Moscow to the Donetsk basin. By this time, after the end of the offensive in the European part of the Soviet Union, an operation will be launched in the Caucasus, which will sooner or later continue in the Middle East and North Africa. As for operations against Great Britain, air raids on its territory will be intensified in connection with the redeployment of the air forces, which are now used in the war against the Soviet Union. Military action will also be intensified with the aim of violating trade (Great Britain with other countries. - A.K.). However, the invasion of the British Isles will be delayed until spring or summer next year, after the end of hostilities in the Middle East and North Africa.

What should be our relations with Germany and Italy to conduct a war with the United States and Great Britain?

Since, in all likelihood, the war will develop according to the above scheme, our Empire, of course, should be ready to conduct it, relying only on its own power. But the alliance with Germany and Italy is important to keep strong and lasting. Therefore, it is necessary to reach an agreement with Germany and Italy that they do not conclude a unilateral peace treaty with the United States and Great Britain. Japan, Germany and Italy must work together to bring Britain to its knees. At the same time, we must take care to exclude the possibility of refusing to conduct operations in the South only because this may seem undesirable for Germany and Italy.

How should we relate to the North in connection with the implementation of our policy in the South?

While we are busy in the South, it is necessary to do everything in our power in the North to prevent a war on two fronts. In particular, we must prevent the United States and the Soviet Union from forming a united front against Japan. As a result of the use of force in the South, our Empire should consider the cooperation of the United States and the Soviet Union as a completely natural thing. However, such cooperation militarily during the winter is difficult due to weather conditions.

At the same time, if the development of the German-Soviet war would be beneficial for our Empire or the threat from the North as a result of cooperation between the USA and the USSR would become very serious, and also if the Soviet Union would start offensive actions against us, and we should not allow this from our point of view national defense, perhaps we will use military force to solve the northern problem during or even before the use of force in the south.

Is there a possibility of the development of the German-Soviet war so beneficial for us that we can use military force in the North this year?

We can assume that the situation, without a doubt, will become more favorable over time. However, we came to the conclusion that the favorable situation we are counting on is unlikely to develop until mid-winter.

There is almost no doubt that Germany will capture most of the European part of Russia and that the Stalinist government will be evacuated to the Urals and for it. But the Stalinist regime will probably not fall apart right away. Although the current situation in the Far Eastern regions of the Soviet Union is generally depressing, there are no signs of unrest. It will take some time for the influence of the defeat in the European part of Russia to spread to the Far East and there will be an unstable and close to changes situation.

At the same time, by the middle of winter, the most dangerous time would come for the Soviet Union. Lack of food and oil, the introduction of restrictions on them can dramatically change the situation. Obviously, having lost the European territory of Russia, the Stalinist regime will weaken, lose its ability to wage war. Therefore, without a doubt, sooner or later the situation will be favorable for our Empire. We believe that this will happen in the second half of the upcoming winter.

However, it seems difficult to conduct operations in a harsh winter, even if we have good prospects. Therefore, the armed forces will be used (in the North. - AK) at the end of winter, at the beginning of next year.

Source:
Taiheyo senso-e no miti. Shiryokhan (Path to the Pacific War. Collection of documents.) Tokyo, 1963; Japan’s Decision for War: Records of the 1941 Policy Conferences. Stanford California, 1967.
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Re: Japanese Ministry views of the Situation, September 1941

Post by ray245 » 2019-11-28 03:56pm

I don't mind to be rude, but is there a point you're making? Or are you just sharing it with us?
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Re: Japanese Ministry views of the Situation, September 1941

Post by Broomstick » 2019-11-28 04:06pm

There seems to be a great deal of confidence in that document that Great Britain would fall and that Germany would not fail. Did no one consider the possibility of failure?
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Re: Japanese Ministry views of the Situation, September 1941

Post by MKSheppard » 2019-11-28 04:47pm

It was written in late August 1941, early September 1941 for a conference with Hirohito and his ministers on 6 September 1941.

Consider the situation then:

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Re: Japanese Ministry views of the Situation, September 1941

Post by SpottedKitty » 2019-11-28 05:47pm

I'm intrigued by the mention of Holland. Considering they'd been overrun and occupied more than a year previously, what part could they have played in any conflict with Japan? I know they had colonies and outposts in the region, but I had no idea this could have been influential enough to lump them in with Britain and the US. Were the report writers padding things, covering every possible remote contingency, or what?
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Re: Japanese Ministry views of the Situation, September 1941

Post by Elheru Aran » 2019-12-02 10:18am

ray245 wrote:
2019-11-28 03:56pm
I don't mind to be rude, but is there a point you're making? Or are you just sharing it with us?
Don't know if you've noticed but he likes to do random infodumps of military history. Apparently one of his hobbies is digging around in various government archives. This is par for the course.
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Re: Japanese Ministry views of the Situation, September 1941

Post by MKSheppard » 2019-12-02 04:26pm

I've been reading a lot of Russian history books via google translate via Russian copywright laws. Their view of the Pacific War...is a lot different than ours.

For example:

In English language reports; the Konoe Report is briefly summarized, and maybe one or two sentences excerpted. But in this russian book, it's reprinted in full; and you can see why:

Some background from Wikipedia (I know)

In early 1945, in the wake of the losses in Battle of Leyte, Emperor Hirohito began a series of individual meetings with senior government officials to consider the progress of the war. All but ex-Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoe advised continuing the war. Konoe feared a communist revolution even more than defeat in war and urged a negotiated surrender. In February 1945 during the first private audience with the Emperor which he had been allowed in three years, Konoe advised Hirohito to begin negotiations to end the war.

I basically threw the original Russian text into google translate and got this version of Konoe's Report:

------------------

Source:
Японский фронт маршала Сталина (Japanese front of Marshal Stalin) by Anatoly Koshkin (Анатолий Кошкин)

---------------------

(Presented at an audience on February 14, 1945)

It seems to me that our defeat in the war, unfortunately, is already inevitable.

Based on this, I respectfully report to Your Majesty the following: Although defeat, of course, will damage our national political system, the public opinion of England and America has not yet reached the demands of changing our political system. (Of course, in some parts extreme views are also observed there, and it is also difficult to determine how public opinion will change in the future.) Consequently, military defeat alone does not cause much concern for the existence of our national political system. From the point of view of preserving the national political system, the most worrying thing is not so much the defeat in the war as the communist revolution, which may arise after the defeat.

From a mature reflection, I came to the conclusion that the internal and external situation of our country at the moment is rapidly changing in the direction of the communist revolution. Outwardly, this is expressed in the extraordinary nomination of the Soviet Union. Our people do not fully understand the intentions of the Soviet Union. After the adoption of the tactics of the popular front in 1935, in other words, the tactics of the two-stage revolution, and especially after the dissolution of the Comintern, a tendency to underestimate the danger of a red offensive began to manifest itself strongly in its midst. This is a consequence of a too superficial and simplistic view of things. From the maneuvers that the Soviet Union has recently been openly conducting in relation to European countries, it is clear that he has not abandoned his policy of red attack on the whole world.

The Soviet Union is working tirelessly to establish the Soviet regime in neighboring European countries, and in other European countries, at least close in spirit to the authorities. At present, it can be seen that this activity is largely bearing fruit.

Tito's power in Yugoslavia is the most typical and concrete expression of this. In Poland, the Soviet Union is seeking the establishment of a new government on the basis of an association of Polish citizens created in the USSR in advance, completely ignoring the emigrant government in London.

Judging by the terms of the armistice with Romania, Bulgaria and Finland, it seems that the Soviet Union adheres to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs. However, demanding the dissolution of pro-Hitler organizations, he acts in such a way that non-Soviet-type power cannot actually exist there.

In Iran, the Soviet Union is forcing the entire government to resign because the latter refuses to satisfy its demand for oil concessions. The Soviet Union rejects the offer of the Swiss government to establish diplomatic relations on the grounds that it maintained friendly relations with the Axis powers, and thus forced the Swiss Foreign Minister to resign.

In France and Belgium, which are currently occupied by Anglo-American troops, there is a fierce struggle between the rebel groups used in the war against Germany and governments; these countries are now in a political crisis; persons leading the mentioned armed groups are mainly communists or sympathizers with them. As for Germany, the Soviet Union certainly has the idea of establishing here, as in Poland, a new political power on the basis of the already created Free Germany committee. This circumstance is now of particular concern to England and America.

Thus, although the Soviet Union externally stands on the ground of non-interference in the internal affairs of European states, in reality it is actively interfering in their internal affairs and seeks to lead the internal policies of these countries along the pro-Soviet path.

The plans of the Soviet Union with respect to East Asia are completely analogous. A Japan Liberation League has been created in Yan'an, led by Okano, who came from Moscow, which, having established ties with organizations such as the Korean Independence Union, the Korean Volunteer Army, and the Taiwan avant-garde, are calling for Japan.

Reflections on such circumstances lead to the conclusion that there is a serious danger of interference in the near future of the Soviet Union in the internal affairs of Japan (on issues such as the official recognition of the Communist Party, the inclusion of communists in the government, as was demanded from the governments of de Gaulle and Badoglio, repeal of the law "On maintaining public peace", rejection of the Anti-Comintern Pact, etc.). If we take our internal situation, then it is impossible not to see that every day more and more conditions are ripening that contribute to the emergence of a communist revolution. Such are poverty of the population, an increase in the number of workers' speeches, pro-Soviet sentiments, developing along with an increase in hostility towards England and America, the movement in the military circles of supporters of renewal and the so-called movement of the “new bureaucracy” associated with it, as well as the secret intrigues of the left elements weaving behind them. Of the above facts, particular concern is the movement of supporters of the renewal, which is observed in military circles.

The existence of updated ideas in military circles, as well as the fact that most young military men believe in the compatibility of our national political system with communism, is explained by the following. Most of the military personnel comes from the middle and lower layers of the population. Most of them, by virtue of their position, are very susceptible to communist ideas. In the process of education in the army, they were intensively taught only the basic concepts of our national state system, and therefore the communist elements are trying to draw them to their side with the theory of compatibility of our national state system with communism.

Now it became clear that to cause the Manchu and Chinese incidents and, having developed them, eventually lead to a war in the Great East Asia was a conscious plan of these military circles. It is widely known that, during the Manchu incident, statements were made in these circles that the purpose of these events was to renew the country. It is also known that during the Chinese incident, these people openly declared: "It is advisable to drag out this incident, if it is settled, updating the country will be impossible." Those who have made such statements are now central figures among the followers of modernization ideas.

Although the goal of the supporters of renovationist ideas in the army is not necessarily the implementation of the communist revolution, the associated part of the bureaucracy and civilians (among them the right and left wing can be distinguished; the so-called “right” are communists who dress up in the clothes of our supporters national political system) consciously nurtures plans to bring matters to the Communist Revolution, and it would not be a big mistake to say that inexperienced, military men who do not understand the situation are dancing under them a pipe.

Over the past ten years, I met with representatives of the military and bureaucratic circles, as well as with representatives of the right and left. Having calmly analyzed my past activities, I came to certain conclusions. Considering the development of events over the past ten years in the light of these conclusions, I feel that I understood a lot and figured out a lot.

During this time, according to the will of Your Imperial Majesty, I twice had the honor to form an office. Being preoccupied with the desire to unite the country together, in order to avoid internal friction, I tried, whenever possible, to take into account the requirements of the supporters of the update and was not able to clearly see what goals are hidden behind these requirements. This is my unforgivable mistake, and I feel the burden of the greatest responsibility for what happened.

Recently, voices have been intensifying more and more, sounding the alarm about the situation on the front and at the same time calling for the honorable death of the whole nation.

Although such calls come from the so-called “rightists,” I believe that they are encouraged by the communist elements, who strive to plunge the country into chaos and ultimately achieve their revolutionary goals.

On the other hand, as opposed to emphatic calls to destroy the Americans and the British, pro-Soviet sentiments are gradually intensifying. Part of the military even discusses the issue of the need to establish friendly relations with the Soviet Union at the cost of any victims, and some are thinking about establishing contact with Yan'an.

Thus, every day more and more different conditions are ripening within the country and abroad, contributing to the approach of the communist revolution. And if in the future the situation at the fronts develops unfavorably, such a situation will quickly deteriorate.

If there was even the slightest hope of a turning point in the situation on the fronts, everything would be different. Now, proceeding from the inevitability of our defeat in the war, I allow myself to express my firm conviction that to continue the war, in which we have no prospects for victory, is to fully play into the hands of the Communist Party. Therefore, from the point of view of maintaining our national political system, it is necessary to end the war as soon as possible.

The main obstacle to the end of the war is the presence in the army of supporters of renewal, which, since the Manchu incident, have boosted events and brought us to the present situation. Although these people no longer believe in the possibility of successfully ending the war, they are supporters of resistance to the end, considering this the only way to preserve our honor.

There is a danger that if this group is not eliminated, if the need arises to urgently end the war, the right and left civilian supporters of this group, using it in their own interests, will cause unrest in the country and it will be difficult for us to achieve the desired goal. Therefore, if we seek to end the war, then, taking into account the foregoing, it is first necessary to eliminate this group.

If these people are eliminated, then the bureaucracy that follows them, as well as the right and left civic elements, will hide in the shadow. They still do not constitute a great power: these are just individuals who seek to realize their dark intentions using the military. Therefore, if we cut the roots, branches and leaves will fade themselves.

Further, it seems to me (although perhaps this is a somewhat biased opinion, based on the desire to pass off as wishful thinking) that after the liquidation of this group, friction in military circles will stop and the atmosphere in America, in England and in Chongqing may soften: America , England and Chongqing claim that from the very beginning, their goal in the war is to overthrow the Japanese military. However, if significant changes take place in our military circles and their policies change, then it is likely that our opponents will think about the advisability of continuing the war.

In all circumstances, the liquidation of this group and perestroika in military circles will certainly require your Majesty's truly exceptional resolve, since it is about saving Japan from the communist revolution.

Source: History of the Pacific War. T. 4.P. 252–258.
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Re: Japanese Ministry views of the Situation, September 1941

Post by ray245 » 2019-12-02 08:54pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2019-12-02 10:18am
Don't know if you've noticed but he likes to do random infodumps of military history. Apparently one of his hobbies is digging around in various government archives. This is par for the course.
It's good to have primary sources dug up, but primary source without any context as to why you're digging it up makes it half-pointless. Part of the challenge of being a good historian is to understand why you're digging certain source up in the first place.
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Re: Japanese Ministry views of the Situation, September 1941

Post by MKSheppard » 2019-12-02 09:54pm

ray245 wrote:
2019-12-02 08:54pm
It's good to have primary sources dug up, but primary source without any context as to why you're digging it up makes it half-pointless. Part of the challenge of being a good historian is to understand why you're digging certain source up in the first place.
Ok, here's some context:

The Japanese leadership set a "tripwire" for declaring war against the USSR in the Far East. That tripwire was if the amount of soviet forces in the Far East fell below a certain level.

A good portion were siphoned off to fight in Moscow in 1941, but enough remained in the far east to stop the Japanese Tripwire from "tripping".

A decent book (in russian) on this is «Кантокуэн» – «Барбаросса» по-японски. Почему Япония не напала на СССР by Анатолий Кошкин.

That translates to "Kantokuen - Barbarossa in Japanese. Why Japan did not attack the USSR"
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Re: Japanese Ministry views of the Situation, September 1941

Post by TimothyC » 2019-12-03 02:58am

SpottedKitty wrote:
2019-11-28 05:47pm
I'm intrigued by the mention of Holland. Considering they'd been overrun and occupied more than a year previously, what part could they have played in any conflict with Japan? I know they had colonies and outposts in the region, but I had no idea this could have been influential enough to lump them in with Britain and the US. Were the report writers padding things, covering every possible remote contingency, or what?
The Dutch East Indies are now known as Indonesia, and at the time were one of Japan's major sources of oil. What was left of the Dutch Navy was in the area. While there were no capital ships, there were ships flying the Dutch flag in the area.
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Re: Japanese Ministry views of the Situation, September 1941

Post by Broomstick » 2019-12-03 05:16am

MKSheppard wrote:
2019-12-02 09:54pm
The Japanese leadership set a "tripwire" for declaring war against the USSR in the Far East. That tripwire was if the amount of soviet forces in the Far East fell below a certain level.

A good portion were siphoned off to fight in Moscow in 1941, but enough remained in the far east to stop the Japanese Tripwire from "tripping".
Were the Russians aware of this tripwire number, or did they just get lucky in not pulling back sufficient troops to trigger something they were unaware of?
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