You are on page 1of 2

Assess the reasons for Allied victory over Japan by August 1945 despite Japans success in South-east Asia

by 1842. Allied victory over the Japanese was attributed to the Allied strategy of island hopping, the flawed and rigid Japanese military doctrine, the weakness of Japans logistical movement and the use of the atomic bomb. In the Pacific War, a war of modern warfare, the Allies were able to exploit technological and numerical superiority over the Japanese nation which reduced their offensive capabilities. On the other hand, the Japanese success in South-East Asia in 1942 was in reality a strategic blunder in that it led to the severe lack of logistical and supply resources for its troops. The disillusionment of the Japanese home front was exacerbated by the use of the atomic bomb in 1945 which forced and Japanese surrender and subsequent Allied victory. The success of the Allies over Japan came down to the strategic and psychological impact of these key elements in the Pacific war to culminated in the defeat of Japan. Japans overstretched supply lines as a result of its national defence sphere created in 1942 was a major logistic dilemma which was exemplified by the economic strangulation implemented by the Allies. In a war of attrition, when logistics are unsuccessful, the offensive capabilities of their military suffer - this was seen with Japan. The Japanese appear over ambitious and hubristic in setting up a national defence sphere which also encompassed India and Australia. This was set up to gain territory with vital war material such as rubber and oil. Yet this over-extended supply lines were unprotected as Allied submarines sank merchant ships easily. This danger was realised at Guadalcanal in 19421943 where the Japanese lost control of Henderson Airfield to the US Marines due to a lack of men and supplies. An inability to secure vital oil necessary for the navy to remain superior to the US navy was another impediment to the offensive capabilities of the Japanese military. Thus the lack of the logistical advantage impinged on the future attempts of Japan to continue the war. Another reason for the defeat of Japan was the immense success of the Allied strategy of island hopping which led to significant military objectives being captured with minimal casualties, consolidating the territory necessary to wage an effective counterattack in the Pacific. The allies operated on a two pronged attack across the Pacific with Nimitz and McArthur. This strategy was effective due to its flexibility to avoid heavily fortified Japanese bases like Truk and only capture strategically important airfields like the Marianas. Allied strategy also relied on the modern revolution in tactical idealogy of capturing important airfield such as the Henderson Airfield at Guadalcanal in 1943 which enabled the protection of Australia as a base. The Allies realised the crucial power of airpower to turn the tide of battle such as inflicting morale damage with the Doolittle Raid. In addition, the capturing of the Marianas Islands by Nimitz created the opportunity to critically damage munitions factories with precision bombings. It was be seen that this one winner of attrition (Van der

Vat) wore down the Japanese capability to fight. With attrition, as an extension of Allied strategy, the effective use of the Essex carriers and amphibious assault technology secured key Allied positions. The Allies were the victors in the end due to their exploitation of technological and strategic superiority over the Japanese. The use of the atomic bomb was a major source of disillusionment on the Japanese home front which eroded their will to fight which contrasts to their 1942 wave of success and optimism for a Japanese victory. The use of the atomic bomb in August 1942 exacerbated the already significant destruction faced by Japan after the fire bombings of cities such as the Tokyo Firestorm where 100 000 people were killed. First instigated by the Doolittle Raid in 1942, the atomic bomb cemented the war weariness and misery towards the war, diluting the effectiveness of the planned concept of Ketsugo or the national defence against invasion. As Truman notes, Japan will fold once Manhattan arrives over their horizon. Thus the psychological impact of the atomic bomb must not be underestimated as a key factor in the defeat of Japan. Japanese military doctrine unlike Allied strategy was rigid and inflexible to modern warfare, focusing on spiritual idealogy over practicality and this led to excessive casualties which accentuated an already low logistic ability. The High command in Japan were entrenched and narrow minded in their focus on a decisive naval battle to crush the US navy. The June 1942 attack at Midway testifies to this self-belief that resulted in a major strategic turning point in the Pacific on the side of the Allies. This was highlighted by the Allied use of ULTRA to negate the surprise attack such as the 1942 attach on Sydney Harbour. Japans ideological master plan of bushido encompasses integrity of spirit over a technologically superior foe. This ineffectual strategy was emphasized with the loss of lives with the kamikaze of divine wind at the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1943 as well as at Okinawa and Iwo Jima in 1945. The Japanese military relied on the notion of making the allies sick of war yet this fanaticism over firepower suggested the lack of military relevant this traditional line of thought took. This excessive loss of pilots and aircraft as was displayed at Midway were a significant flaw in Japanese strategy which cost them the war. The over-reliance on rigid ideological strategy at the expense of men limited the Japanese ability to wage war, leading to their defeat by 1945. Allied victory over Japan in WWI was the result of effective military strategy on the part of the Allies, The inflexible military doctrine of the Japanese and their reckless over-extended supply lines worked against them in deciding the outcome of the Pacific war. Modern warfare such as the Pacific War necessitated practical and flexible thinking which the Japanese lacked. The disillusionment with the war and the errors in Japanese strategy were fundamental to limiting their fighting capabilities, leading to their defeat in 1945.