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Thread: Did the US save Australia from the Japanese?

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    Did the US save Australia from the Japanese?





    I thought this might be better as a seperate post.

    Well speaking from an Australian perspective, Japan would have ultimately devoured Australia.
    Now before anyone here starts quoting known Japanese intentions in regard to Australia, it must be remembered that it is probably true at the start of the Pacific war that to occupy Australia was just as ambitious for them as occupying the western United States.
    We are talking here about "what if?'
    Without the US factor in Japanese military planning, Australia and all it's food production capability would have been gobbled up.

    Japan did not have a very good record as to the treatment of countries it occupied. One only has to read about how they treated the peoples of Singapore, China and all the others to see how they would have behaved with our white European society.
    Our people would have been enslaved, tortured and murdered like our POWs were who fell into their merciless hands.
    Australia had a very narrow escape and we owe modern Australia today to mainly the US Navy and the destruction of the Japanese fleet.

    Britain could not help us. They could hardly help themselves with what they had on their plate in Europe and with the Battle of the Atlantic. Britain couldn't even hold Singapore.
    Australia who sent such a massive committment to aid Britain in the 1st World War got one hell of a shock at just how let down we were in our hour of need.

    After the war Australia lent towards the US and away from Britain for a big friend in a hostile world. We honoured the Anzus treaty by actively participating in any war that the US got itself into.
    The actual wording of that treaty says that we will come to the aid of each other if attacked, but that was stretched by us to include any conflict, as a way of showing Australia's gratitude for the help we received from America that we owed our very existance to.

    As for the Japanese, nothing has changed there. We do not trust them any more today than we did then.
    Their ethics today can be layed bare by just witnessing their attitude to the taking of uncountable whales for scientlfic purposes.

    Never forget.
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    Pacific Historian syscom3's Avatar
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    Yes the US saved Australia, but its a very nuanced "yes".

    In 1942, it was the Aussies (which I include the NZ troops) doing the fighting in NG with the US supporting.

    The USN had success in the Solomons in that year due to the coast watchers ensuring timely intelligence.

    In 1943, it was still a 50-50 affair as the US continued its build up and supplies to the ANZAC forces.

    In 1944, after the summer of that year, the war shifted northwards and the threat to Australia was zero.

    The ANZACians provided plenty of logistical support and their small navies were integral to MacArthurs amphib forces and small supporting fleet.
    "Pilot to copilot..... what are those mountain goats doing up here in the clouds?"

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    Say no more. The first two posts are as close to correct as possible.

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    Der Crew Chief DerAdlerIstGelandet's Avatar
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    Could not agree more.

    Sys I am very proud of you as well! You could not have stated that better and also in a very diplomatic way!


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    Senior Member Emac44's Avatar
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    It was a combined effort. The US helped Australia from being invaded by the Japanese there is no denying it. But we Australians even with our smaller population approximately 6 million at the time and with our Military Forces spread all over the globe due to the War in Europe also helped ourselves from being invaded in the capacity that was needed and that Australia could send or use and muster for self defense.

    Stopping the overland invasion of Port Moresby through Papua New Giunea Owen Stanley's and the USN and combined with Land based Aircraft of both the RAAF USAF and Aircraft from USN in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Which stopped the invasion of Port Moresby by sea or the landings in other possible targets by the Japanese Navy. It was in my opinion a combined effort. The US taking the lion share of the effort of course. And one must not forget that the New Zealanders contributed to the capacity they could muster as well. But the benefits to Australia and New Zealand of the US sending vast troop numbers aircraft ships etc has not been forgotten. The US gained something as well. Not just a huge land base and training areas for the near future in retaking the Pacific Islands and South East Asia and saving Kiwi and Australian arses over the short intrim but most importantly a long lasting friendship and allies in the South Pacific. And the benefits have continued for all 3 countries. For example trade and business being part of the benefits for all 3 countries.

    And the US did benefit from local knowledge of the Aussies and Kiwis in the South Pacific Islands in conducting the war in the Pacific and that local knowledge came in handy when a future President of the United States of America needed to be saved along with his shipmates. Course I am referring to John F Kennedy and the crew of PT 109. But the intelligence work of the Coast Watchers mostly Aussies and Kiwis aided local intelligence for the US Forces and all Allied Forces fighting the Japanese. So I will say it again it was a combined effort and the benefits then multiplied a hundred fold today. We have a saying in Australia. Never let a mate down. It basically means you do everything possible to help a friend in need and you never forget the friendships formed and welded together.

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    Senior Member Watanbe's Avatar
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    Yes I agree the first two posts were excellent...however i think your closing remarks were a bit unnecessary and dissapointed me to be honest!

    "As for the Japanese, nothing has changed there. We do not trust them any more today than we did then.
    Their ethics today can be layed bare by just witnessing their attitude to the taking of uncountable whales for scientlfic purposes."

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    Senior Member Civettone's Avatar
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    Say Aussies, if the US wasn't around to help - for instance if the Battle of the Coral Sea was lost, or Midway - would Japan have invaded and occupied Australia?


    Kris



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    Senior Member Watanbe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Civettone View Post
    Say Aussies, if the US wasn't around to help - for instance if the Battle of the Coral Sea was lost, or Midway - would Japan have invaded and occupied Australia?


    Kris
    hmmm nobody really knows I guess...it makes sense because realistically Australia was the next step and was making quite a large contribution to the Pacific war. However I think that Australia would be a very hard country to invade for a nation like Japan! Australia is a hard country to defend yes with a very large coastline but the massive size of the country would make it difficult to overcome and id imagine the population would put up one hell of a fight!

    Australia however also remember has vast raw materials while the japanese in general have very little, if they could capture australia and gain access to its raw materials they could become quite important and also as said above the food stocks!

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    Pacific Historian syscom3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Watanbe View Post
    hmmm nobody really knows I guess...it makes sense because realistically Australia was the next step and was making quite a large contribution to the Pacific war. However I think that Australia would be a very hard country to invade for a nation like Japan! Australia is a hard country to defend yes with a very large coastline but the massive size of the country would make it difficult to overcome and id imagine the population would put up one hell of a fight!

    Australia however also remember has vast raw materials while the japanese in general have very little, if they could capture australia and gain access to its raw materials they could become quite important and also as said above the food stocks!
    In the spring of 1942, the Japanese were at the end of a very long supply line. While they had the capability to invade NG and perhaps the northern reaches of Australia, they couldnt exploit it to any high degree.

    The most probable thrust after a NG victory (assuming the Battle of Coral Sea was a tactical and strategic victory) would be to cut the supply lines from the US and Australia. That would entail heading towards the SE on the Solomons axis. Just maintaing a bomber airfield means you doinate the sea for a 500 miles radius
    "Pilot to copilot..... what are those mountain goats doing up here in the clouds?"

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by syscom3 View Post
    In the spring of 1942, the Japanese were at the end of a very long supply line. While they had the capability to invade NG and perhaps the northern reaches of Australia, they couldnt exploit it to any high degree.
    It all really depends on whether you assume the US was in the war, or somehow willing to stand separate from a Japanese war against the British Empire (including Australia) and do nothing *no matter what*.

    In the real situation the US was fighting to defeat Japan. The Anglo-Saxon countries are about as close to 'friends' as countries can be, but still countries have interests not friends. They don't really 'save' anybody.

    I think your descriptions by year are not so accurate though. Sure, in land fighting in New Guinea the Australians carried the weight in 1942, but the overall war was a sea-air one, and Australia itself had little naval or air power of its own, and the British little to spare v Japan. The critical battles of 1942 were sea battles between IJN and USN with major impact of each one's air arms but only marginal roles for the sea and air power of the US allies (the disastrous early campaigns had a lot of Allied participation, but the key carrier battles and Guadalcanal campaign, where Japan's sea/air power was mainly tied down and attrited, pretty little. As you said, even the Aussie land role was less central in 43-45.

    US non-entry is a completely different war. It requires suspending belief, not only about US attitudes but Japanese; they would have to trust a neutral US enough to leave the Philippines in US hands right astride Japanese sea lines of communications. But just assuming that scenario, Japan can easily conquer Australia if that's what they really want to do, unless perhaps Britain makes huge sacrifices in the European theater to send the bulk of the RN and much airpower to the Pacific. Australia itself had almost no airpower at home ca. April 1942, famous 75 sdn (P-40 unit in NG at the time) was practically alone, USAAF fighter units defended Australia itself (Darwin) against Japanese air attacks (from Timor) in 1942. And the lack of internal communication in the vast Australian continent would mean an attacker with sea superiority could leapfrog along the coasts using ports as if a chain of islands, only having to fight a real land campaign over short *land* supply lines from bases established on the edge of the populated portion of Australia, with a stranglehold on Australia's SLOC's with Britain and (the neutral) US. Australia alone couldn't stop such a Japanese attack ca. 1942.

    This had been the basic strategic worry particular to Australia, as opposed to Britain itself. A direct US-Australia relationship and confidence in a high degree of US-Japan tension was the strategic answer to it. That went all the way back to Japan's naval rise, Britain's alliance with Japan in 1902, the Great White Fleet tour of the USN, etc.

    Joe

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    Senior Member Watanbe's Avatar
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    thats a very good post and all very true. I still think that Australia would be a very difficult nation to invade, particularly in the 1940's. It would be to hard to supply the army in Australia and there is simply too much land to conquer.

    If they did invade and Australia recieved support I think it could of proven to be a disaster for the Japanese!

    Of course all highly hyperthetical!

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