The Initial Success Of Japan In World War II

428 words | 2 page(s)

Japan’s participation in the Second World War is a still not fully studied part of world history, also known as the Pacific War. Japan fought on Germany’s side in confronting the Allied forces. At the beginning of the Pacific War, the Japanese army had a quick but short-lived success.

This was facilitated by many factors. Japan was in a state of preparation for war even before the battles in the Pacific began, because of the conflict with China. Thus, the invasion of Thailand, Singapore, and Hong Kong had not met much resistance. So, fundamentally, it might have been that the British forces were occupied with the war in Europe and there were not enough resources to act against the Japanese assault.

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The Japanese offensive was ambitious and unpredictable. In most campaigns, they managed to obtain air and naval superiority, due to the excellent quality of the Japanese navy and naval aviation. This meant that the Japanese could quickly land where they wanted, and launch an offensive that bypassed all major defense. After invading an unprotected place, Japanese troops went deeper into the country, using cars, bikes and light tanks. The Japanese troops were very mobile and used small roads and trails to try to retreat for allied positions.

The big factor of the initial success of the Japanese, was of the warrior mentality behind their motives, which enchanted the rebelliousness and courage of the Japanese spirit. The descendants of samurai adhered to the approach of “no surrender.” Using terrain, shelters and non-standard techniques, like attack from trees and from under the ground, the Japanese troops also successfully used the Banzai attack. A characteristic feature of such attacks was that the Japanese often ran with swords and daggers in their hands against the enemies armed with rifles and machine guns. Despite the early success of the banzai, in the first stage of the war, they gradually lost their importance, because of the US army getting used to such strikes and developing tactics of counteraction.

However, soon as the quality of training and equipment of allied troops became better, the Japanese lost their short-lasting superiority in the Pacific war. This fact contributes to the theory that the Japanese army, as well as German, was successful in the beginning of war, mostly because they took enough time to prepare their attacks against unpredicting world.

  • Drea, Edward J. In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army. Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.1998
  • Ww2history.com. Japanese initial success. Professor Akira Iriye, 2017. Available at: http://ww2history.com

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