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COURSERA: The Modern World, Part Two: Global History since 1910, W4.02 Gambling for Victory

W4.02 Gambling for Victory

Hi. Welcome back. This presentation's going to focus on strategies in a total war. But before I get into the presentation, I just want to offer a side observation about my approach to this class. These slides, my discussions, may sometimes seem a little bit drained of the color, human drama, agony and tragedy of all these thing that are going on, all these broken and horribly interrupted lives. That's not because I don't care about those things, in fact, don't find them extremely interesting. There are books, movies, other things that can enlighten you a lot about those, and occasionally we use photographs or other images to give you a glimpse of it. The comparative advantage of what I'm doing in these lectures and what's going on in these slides is to be analytical about it. It's easy just to do storytelling. The hard part is to piece through all the facts, all the things that are happening and try to identify why did things turn out the way they did. Display the structure of that thought so that you can engage with it. First thing, let's talk about a couple of critical gambles that are being made at the end of 1941, as the war escalates into a global conflict. Japan attacks the United States. America is in the war, but the United States had prodded Japan, hoping that Japan would not attack the United States. Remember the American grand strategy that they had fixed on by the end of 1940 was Germany First. Germany First doesn't mean, hey, let's get to war with Japan. So what happened? Well the Americans made some calculations as to how they were going to get their strategy to work. They hope to deter Japan from attacking. Well if you think about their calculations, some things went right. If you remember, we talked about the Americans put sanctions on Japan constraining their access to oil and some vital resources. Why? In part, because they wanted to keep the Japanese from attacking the Soviet Union. And that calculation was right, they did keep the Japanese [LAUGH] from attacking the Soviet Union -- at some cost. There are some other things that went right. They wanted the Japanese to notice the Americans as a critical adversary whom they could not ignore. That they didn't, they wanted the Japanese not to think, oh you can bypass the Philippines, you don't have to have a war with America, you can invade all these other possessions of the British, the French, the Dutch, and control all of the Southeast Asia and you don't have to reckon with the Americans. The Americans asserted themselves in a way that communicated to the Japanese: You gotta deal with us. They thought the Japanese would conclude from that, don't do it. Instead the Japanese looked at their choices and said, let's take a chance and do it, since we can't get the Americans to settle on terms we like. So, obviously, some things went wrong with the American calculations. What went wrong? They underestimated the way the Japanese would work through this problem. Maybe they underestimated the fatalism of the Japanese leadership, faced with extreme choices neither of which they liked. Even towards the end when they saw that we need to maybe work something out to defer this, there was some sense in which they never really quite put it all together. It's very interesting when they are arguing about the modus vivendi idea that I talked about last time, one of the people in favor of the modus vivendi is the head of the Army, General Marshall, because he doesn't want a war with Japan at the end of 1941. America is coming very close already to getting into a war with Germany in struggles over American shipping to Britain in the Atlantic and the German U-boat danger. It's already very close to war with Germany. He doesn't want a war with Japan, at least not then. But for a variety of considerations, the Americans didn't make the deal for fear of offending allies, but it's not clear when, when they decided not to go along with the modus vivendi, that they really put it all together and realized, oh my God, we might find ourselves in war with the wrong enemy at the wrong time. This is another way of visualizing what went wrong. So now, has American strategy failed? They now find themselves involved in a war, but are forced now to deal with Japan first, and have to put Germany aside. No, the Americans are rescued from this strategic mistake. They're rescued from their strategic mistake by a couple of things. First, the Germans declared war on them. Now the Germans did that because they promised the Japanese they would do it, as they were egging the Japanese to attack and preoccupy the Americans. But that turns out to be important. Another reason the Americans were able to avoid the strategic dilemma is the Japanese are incredibly victorious, more victorious than the Americans had thought they would be, but they don't push the Americans to the extreme point that the Americans have to abandon the effort against Germany and concentrate everything on Japan. We'll come back to the key moment where that issue was in play in the middle of 1942. Alright, Gamble #2. This was not an American gamble, this was a Japanese gamble, partly a German gamble, too. Their side gambled, in their grand strategy of 1941, that they could rapidly defeat the Soviet Union. That's why they could afford to go ahead and have a war with the United States. So what went wrong with that gamble? That gets into the German campaign on the Eastern Front, the most colossal and intense ground war probably ever fought in modern history, maybe ever fought in history at all, an extraordinary conflict. It's often portrayed in maps like this one that just show a lot of arrows moving. It's just worth kind of a stopping and making a digression here. What do we mean when we see these arrows on a map? Millions of people moving. It's just useful to visualize what the movement of a modern industrial army is like for just a second. I'm here at the University of Virginia. We have, at our university, about 12,000 undergraduate students. Let's just suppose for a minute that I took all 12,000 of those undergraduate students and said, you're now an army division. That's actually about the right size for a division, and all 12,000 of those students now have to arm themselves and go on a gigantic camping trip, marching two, three, four hundred miles someplace. If any of you have been on a camping trip, an overnight camping trip, let's say for two, three, maybe a camping trip for four days, you know a little bit about what that's like. Now imagine you're going on that camping trip for weeks, for months on end. And you're taking all your stuff with you and then behind you there are people who are providing you, and the hundreds of machines that are accompanying you marching over land, with all the food you're going to need to eat, all the fuel you're vehicles are going to consume, all the ammunition you and the vehicles are going to need, plus the facilities to fix, to take care of the people that get hurt or sick, and the facilities to take care of the vehicles that get broken all along the way. Now think about just the scale of that effort and the ordeal of it. For the human beings a lot, as you would know if you'd been on a multi-day camping trip, a lot of the ordeal is, after a while is just you're tired, you're exhausted, you don't get much sleep. You think all the time about hot food, shelter, getting out of the rain for example. There's no, no particular way you get out of the rain, unless you have shelter. Day in, day out. Plus, occasionally, people are trying to kill you. So, on top of that just, kind of, ordeal, then there's the challenge of just keeping up with all the supplies. We're talking hundreds of tons of supplies every day. Where are the supplies coming from, if you're off road? Maybe you bring them up on a railroad, then they have to be disembarked from the railroad cars. They have to be put on wagons or trucks, pulled either by horses, the German army in 1941 used millions of horses. Horses, trucks, and so on to try to get them and then as far as they can just has to be hauled overland by people. So visualize the enormity of this effort, then add to that the conditions of industrial warfare, which on this scale has now disappeared from modern life and may never I hope recur again. Industrial warfare like this occurs with people standing up and walking someplace or running, and then they have machines that are carrying people. When you stand up and walk, people try to shoot you or they drop high explosives in the vicinity that sends shards of metal in every direction. Whenever that happens, the first instinct of anyone is to try to drop to the ground and indeed get into the ground if they can, because anything above the ground is likely to be shredded by these random pieces of metal or shards of woods from splintered trees and the like. If you're in an armored vehicle, you might think you're safe, except a nine or ten foot armored vehicle can be seen from a mile away, and anything you can see you can try to kill. And then that armored vehicle can't shrink down and get into the ground, it has nowhere to hide. So the other people have something that can kill one of those vehicles, all the people in it would be blown to pieces or burned alive. So that's why sometimes infantrymen were not envious of the people inside the tanks. So you're marching along on this gigantic camping trip with people occasionally dropping high explosives on you, with constant disruptions, and this is going on and on, month after month. Now, that's a little bit of the human reality that we're thinking about when we see these arrows on a map. What the Germans are doing is they're making extraordinary headway against a Red Army that was surprised by the attack, out-maneuvered and takes terrific blows in the early months of the German offensive. But the Germans cannot knock out the Soviet army. They're fighting too hard. The job was simply too big for them. Their estimates of how they could complete it rapidly and keep their armies supplied were rash and over confident. The Germans, what the Germans then do, Interestingly, is they push really beyond their limits. Looking at this map again, by the fall of 1941, let's say by October 1941, the Germans are roughly in a line something like around here. The odds that they were going to succeed in knocking out the Soviet Union were not very good. Rather than settle into strong defensive positions, let their supplies catch up, and then let the Soviets come at and batter them, instead, and somewhat characteristically, Hitler and his generals, but especially his generals, want just one more desperate, really almost desperate final effort to somehow win it all by capturing Moscow. They get pretty close as you can see here, but what happens is, as winter is setting in at the beginning of December 1941, you have soldiers who aren't dug in, aren't well supplied, they're scattered all over the countryside, exhausted in an effort, a failed effort, to try to win. They are at their most vulnerable to a counterattack, which is exactly what happens to them on December 5th, 1941, when the Red Army uses its remaining reserves, and hits the Germans very hard, knocking them back. So their position actually ends being, by early �42, even worse than it would have been if they had just dug in. So the Germans, desperate to somehow win the war in 1941, not content to just ride it into 1942 and build up their strength, try to win it all and make their situation, in a way, even worse. The third big gamble that goes on in the grand strategies of the Axis powers at the end of 1941, both the Germans and the Japanese, is that they can pin the Americans down in the Pacific, and American military power won't make a huge difference in the rest of the world. That gamble fails, too. But it was a close call. The Japanese victory at Pearl Harbor is substantial, but it's incomplete. It's incomplete for two reasons. First, the American aircraft carriers weren't in the Harbor. They were out at sea. People are just beginning to realize as this war starts, that aircraft carriers are the trump cards of naval warfare during the 1940s, and the few American aircraft carriers, there are only three or four of them available in the whole Pacific at that point, they're not in Pearl Harbor. They sink battleships, not aircraft carriers. The other thing that the Japanese failed to do, and this was a very revealing mistake, is they don't get the oil, and let me explain what I mean by that. It's important to understand where Hawaii and Pearl Harbor is on a map. Here it is. You see it is kind of midway, between, the American West Coast and all these key areas out here in the Western Pacific, including Japan itself. For the Americans to supply their ships that want to fight in the Pacific, they can't carry all their oil with them from California, or at least it's, it's really hard to do. So what they do is they use Hawaii as, in a way, a giant fueling station. This enormous gas station, if you will, except of course, it's filled with all kinds of oil and other sorts of naval stores, but on a vast scale, whole tank farms. The Japanese don't attack any of that because, in a way very old fashioned, they're thinking destroy the battleships. But actually, if they had destroyed all those oil tanks with all that oil, the ability of the Americans to operate their navy in this part of the Pacific Ocean would have been crippled until they could laboriously rebuild and refill all those vital supplies from California out to Hawaii. Hawaii is absolutely critical as a strategic base for everything the Americans can do in projecting power in the Pacific. If it seems like sometimes I dive into some detail about these battles or campaigns, I don't do it very often, but where I do it, it's because I think these are choices that actually change pathways in the whole history of the world. And therefore, the same way we might delve into details about the invention of electricity, it's worth going into similar details about matters seemingly as technical as what the Japanese chose to destroy in their attack of December 7, 1941. Put yourself in the Japanese position. They win a series of extraordinary victories in the first months of 1942. But then their big strategic challenge is: What do we do next? And I break it down here as three basic directions. Which way do you want to go now? To help you visualize Japan's big choices, think about the Japanese situation as of say, oh, March 1942. By that time, the Japanese effectively control an area something like this, from that area they can do up to three different things. One, big attack to take out Hawaii and invade and occupy Hawaii, effectively driving the Americans back to California as the place from which they'll have to start any campaign against Japan. Option two, Australia, go south, knock that out as a potential land base from which the Americans would have to mount operations that would climb back up the island chain. Option three, raid around the Indian Ocean, threaten the British position in India, help expand to the west out of Burma and into India itself. Or, frankly the Japanese could have had the option of helping the Germans knock out the Soviet Union by attacking the Soviets up there. Of all those options, what the Japanese do is they don't choose this, cause they think the Germans have that problem under control, and they're preoccupied. And then looking at these three options, they kind of decide, in a bureaucratic compromise, to do all three. They launch a big carrier raid in the Indian Ocean. They launch moves to try to prepare for possible attacks on Australia, down here. And then they also work up an operation that first will invade and occupy Midway Island here, preparatory to the attack on Hawaii. But by trying to do all three of these things, they end up doing none of them adequately. The key was the battle at Midway, because at least in my opinion, the most important strategic objective for the Japanese was to disable their main enemy. That was the United States. And the best way to disable the United States in 1942 was to deprive the Americans of control of Hawaii. So the Midway operation should have been key. And the Midway operation was defeated in an incredibly close call. The Japanese had a plan in which they were going to make a faint, here, towards the Aleutian Islands, hope the American forces would go up there to respond to it, and then they would have their invasion forces come up to Midway, protected by a powerful carrier force. And then if the Americans caught on, belatedly, perhaps, to what was going on, they'd have a decisive naval battle out here in which they'd destroy the American carriers. The Americans, in an incredible intelligence coup, can read the Japanese naval traffic. They know what the plan's going to be before it happens. They're not taken in by the Aleutians move, they get ready for this. Even so, and even exhausted from their other efforts, the Japanese still have four carriers that they can deploy against three by the Americans, and it becomes a battle of who will find the other first, who will be able to strike effectively first, and, in just the fortunes of war, the Americans get the lucky break: They win the battle of Midway; they lose only one of their carriers; they destroy all the Japanese carriers. And that turns out to be key. Why is that so important? Because if the Japanese win this battle and can move on to control to Hawaii, the Americans would have felt that they were being driven back to California itself at that point. It's very hard to imagine that at that point, the Americans don't switch to a strategy of Japan First and suspend the bulk of their operations against Germany. So, as a result of the victory at the battle of Midway, the Americans can afford to still have a grand strategy of putting Germany First. So at this point in the story, into 1942, you can see that a lot of the big gambles to try to get a complete global victory have failed, gambles on several sides, and the result of those gambles failing is that by 1942 the major powers are now all locked in a global total war. The fate of that war, and which strategies for victory in that kind of war are going to pay off, is going to be our subject for next time. See you then.



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W4.02 Gambling for Victory

Hi. Welcome back. This presentation's going to focus on strategies in a total war. But before I get into the presentation, I just want to offer a side observation about my approach to this class. These slides, my discussions, may sometimes seem a little bit drained of the color, human drama, agony and tragedy of all these thing that are going on, all these broken and horribly interrupted lives. That's not because I don't care about those things, in fact, don't find them extremely interesting. There are books, movies, other things that can enlighten you a lot about those, and occasionally we use photographs or other images to give you a glimpse of it. The comparative advantage of what I'm doing in these lectures and what's going on in these slides is to be analytical about it. It's easy just to do storytelling. The hard part is to piece through all the facts, all the things that are happening and try to identify why did things turn out the way they did. Display the structure of that thought so that you can engage with it. First thing, let's talk about a couple of critical gambles that are being made at the end of 1941, as the war escalates into a global conflict. Japan attacks the United States. America is in the war, but the United States had prodded Japan, hoping that Japan would not attack the United States. Remember the American grand strategy that they had fixed on by the end of 1940 was Germany First. Germany First doesn't mean, hey, let's get to war with Japan. So what happened? Well the Americans made some calculations as to how they were going to get their strategy to work. They hope to deter Japan from attacking. Well if you think about their calculations, some things went right. If you remember, we talked about the Americans put sanctions on Japan constraining their access to oil and some vital resources. Why? In part, because they wanted to keep the Japanese from attacking the Soviet Union. And that calculation was right, they did keep the Japanese [LAUGH] from attacking the Soviet Union -- at some cost. There are some other things that went right. They wanted the Japanese to notice the Americans as a critical adversary whom they could not ignore. That they didn't, they wanted the Japanese not to think, oh you can bypass the Philippines, you don't have to have a war with America, you can invade all these other possessions of the British, the French, the Dutch, and control all of the Southeast Asia and you don't have to reckon with the Americans. The Americans asserted themselves in a way that communicated to the Japanese: You gotta deal with us. They thought the Japanese would conclude from that, don't do it. Instead the Japanese looked at their choices and said, let's take a chance and do it, since we can't get the Americans to settle on terms we like. So, obviously, some things went wrong with the American calculations. What went wrong? They underestimated the way the Japanese would work through this problem. Maybe they underestimated the fatalism of the Japanese leadership, faced with extreme choices neither of which they liked. Even towards the end when they saw that we need to maybe work something out to defer this, there was some sense in which they never really quite put it all together. It's very interesting when they are arguing about the modus vivendi idea that I talked about last time, one of the people in favor of the modus vivendi is the head of the Army, General Marshall, because he doesn't want a war with Japan at the end of 1941. America is coming very close already to getting into a war with Germany in struggles over American shipping to Britain in the Atlantic and the German U-boat danger. It's already very close to war with Germany. He doesn't want a war with Japan, at least not then. But for a variety of considerations, the Americans didn't make the deal for fear of offending allies, but it's not clear when, when they decided not to go along with the modus vivendi, that they really put it all together and realized, oh my God, we might find ourselves in war with the wrong enemy at the wrong time. This is another way of visualizing what went wrong. So now, has American strategy failed? They now find themselves involved in a war, but are forced now to deal with Japan first, and have to put Germany aside. No, the Americans are rescued from this strategic mistake. They're rescued from their strategic mistake by a couple of things. First, the Germans declared war on them. Now the Germans did that because they promised the Japanese they would do it, as they were egging the Japanese to attack and preoccupy the Americans. But that turns out to be important. Another reason the Americans were able to avoid the strategic dilemma is the Japanese are incredibly victorious, more victorious than the Americans had thought they would be, but they don't push the Americans to the extreme point that the Americans have to abandon the effort against Germany and concentrate everything on Japan. We'll come back to the key moment where that issue was in play in the middle of 1942. Alright, Gamble #2. This was not an American gamble, this was a Japanese gamble, partly a German gamble, too. Their side gambled, in their grand strategy of 1941, that they could rapidly defeat the Soviet Union. That's why they could afford to go ahead and have a war with the United States. So what went wrong with that gamble? That gets into the German campaign on the Eastern Front, the most colossal and intense ground war probably ever fought in modern history, maybe ever fought in history at all, an extraordinary conflict. It's often portrayed in maps like this one that just show a lot of arrows moving. It's just worth kind of a stopping and making a digression here. What do we mean when we see these arrows on a map? Millions of people moving. It's just useful to visualize what the movement of a modern industrial army is like for just a second. I'm here at the University of Virginia. We have, at our university, about 12,000 undergraduate students. Let's just suppose for a minute that I took all 12,000 of those undergraduate students and said, you're now an army division. That's actually about the right size for a division, and all 12,000 of those students now have to arm themselves and go on a gigantic camping trip, marching two, three, four hundred miles someplace. If any of you have been on a camping trip, an overnight camping trip, let's say for two, three, maybe a camping trip for four days, you know a little bit about what that's like. Now imagine you're going on that camping trip for weeks, for months on end. And you're taking all your stuff with you and then behind you there are people who are providing you, and the hundreds of machines that are accompanying you marching over land, with all the food you're going to need to eat, all the fuel you're vehicles are going to consume, all the ammunition you and the vehicles are going to need, plus the facilities to fix, to take care of the people that get hurt or sick, and the facilities to take care of the vehicles that get broken all along the way. Now think about just the scale of that effort and the ordeal of it. For the human beings a lot, as you would know if you'd been on a multi-day camping trip, a lot of the ordeal is, after a while is just you're tired, you're exhausted, you don't get much sleep. You think all the time about hot food, shelter, getting out of the rain for example. There's no, no particular way you get out of the rain, unless you have shelter. Day in, day out. Plus, occasionally, people are trying to kill you. So, on top of that just, kind of, ordeal, then there's the challenge of just keeping up with all the supplies. We're talking hundreds of tons of supplies every day. Where are the supplies coming from, if you're off road? Maybe you bring them up on a railroad, then they have to be disembarked from the railroad cars. They have to be put on wagons or trucks, pulled either by horses, the German army in 1941 used millions of horses. Horses, trucks, and so on to try to get them and then as far as they can just has to be hauled overland by people. So visualize the enormity of this effort, then add to that the conditions of industrial warfare, which on this scale has now disappeared from modern life and may never I hope recur again. Industrial warfare like this occurs with people standing up and walking someplace or running, and then they have machines that are carrying people. When you stand up and walk, people try to shoot you or they drop high explosives in the vicinity that sends shards of metal in every direction. Whenever that happens, the first instinct of anyone is to try to drop to the ground and indeed get into the ground if they can, because anything above the ground is likely to be shredded by these random pieces of metal or shards of woods from splintered trees and the like. If you're in an armored vehicle, you might think you're safe, except a nine or ten foot armored vehicle can be seen from a mile away, and anything you can see you can try to kill. And then that armored vehicle can't shrink down and get into the ground, it has nowhere to hide. So the other people have something that can kill one of those vehicles, all the people in it would be blown to pieces or burned alive. So that's why sometimes infantrymen were not envious of the people inside the tanks. So you're marching along on this gigantic camping trip with people occasionally dropping high explosives on you, with constant disruptions, and this is going on and on, month after month. Now, that's a little bit of the human reality that we're thinking about when we see these arrows on a map. What the Germans are doing is they're making extraordinary headway against a Red Army that was surprised by the attack, out-maneuvered and takes terrific blows in the early months of the German offensive. But the Germans cannot knock out the Soviet army. They're fighting too hard. The job was simply too big for them. Their estimates of how they could complete it rapidly and keep their armies supplied were rash and over confident. The Germans, what the Germans then do, Interestingly, is they push really beyond their limits. Looking at this map again, by the fall of 1941, let's say by October 1941, the Germans are roughly in a line something like around here. The odds that they were going to succeed in knocking out the Soviet Union were not very good. Rather than settle into strong defensive positions, let their supplies catch up, and then let the Soviets come at and batter them, instead, and somewhat characteristically, Hitler and his generals, but especially his generals, want just one more desperate, really almost desperate final effort to somehow win it all by capturing Moscow. They get pretty close as you can see here, but what happens is, as winter is setting in at the beginning of December 1941, you have soldiers who aren't dug in, aren't well supplied, they're scattered all over the countryside, exhausted in an effort, a failed effort, to try to win. They are at their most vulnerable to a counterattack, which is exactly what happens to them on December 5th, 1941, when the Red Army uses its remaining reserves, and hits the Germans very hard, knocking them back. So their position actually ends being, by early �42, even worse than it would have been if they had just dug in. So the Germans, desperate to somehow win the war in 1941, not content to just ride it into 1942 and build up their strength, try to win it all and make their situation, in a way, even worse. The third big gamble that goes on in the grand strategies of the Axis powers at the end of 1941, both the Germans and the Japanese, is that they can pin the Americans down in the Pacific, and American military power won't make a huge difference in the rest of the world. That gamble fails, too. But it was a close call. The Japanese victory at Pearl Harbor is substantial, but it's incomplete. It's incomplete for two reasons. First, the American aircraft carriers weren't in the Harbor. They were out at sea. People are just beginning to realize as this war starts, that aircraft carriers are the trump cards of naval warfare during the 1940s, and the few American aircraft carriers, there are only three or four of them available in the whole Pacific at that point, they're not in Pearl Harbor. They sink battleships, not aircraft carriers. The other thing that the Japanese failed to do, and this was a very revealing mistake, is they don't get the oil, and let me explain what I mean by that. It's important to understand where Hawaii and Pearl Harbor is on a map. Here it is. You see it is kind of midway, between, the American West Coast and all these key areas out here in the Western Pacific, including Japan itself. For the Americans to supply their ships that want to fight in the Pacific, they can't carry all their oil with them from California, or at least it's, it's really hard to do. So what they do is they use Hawaii as, in a way, a giant fueling station. This enormous gas station, if you will, except of course, it's filled with all kinds of oil and other sorts of naval stores, but on a vast scale, whole tank farms. The Japanese don't attack any of that because, in a way very old fashioned, they're thinking destroy the battleships. But actually, if they had destroyed all those oil tanks with all that oil, the ability of the Americans to operate their navy in this part of the Pacific Ocean would have been crippled until they could laboriously rebuild and refill all those vital supplies from California out to Hawaii. Hawaii is absolutely critical as a strategic base for everything the Americans can do in projecting power in the Pacific. If it seems like sometimes I dive into some detail about these battles or campaigns, I don't do it very often, but where I do it, it's because I think these are choices that actually change pathways in the whole history of the world. And therefore, the same way we might delve into details about the invention of electricity, it's worth going into similar details about matters seemingly as technical as what the Japanese chose to destroy in their attack of December 7, 1941. Put yourself in the Japanese position. They win a series of extraordinary victories in the first months of 1942. But then their big strategic challenge is: What do we do next? And I break it down here as three basic directions. Which way do you want to go now? To help you visualize Japan's big choices, think about the Japanese situation as of say, oh, March 1942. By that time, the Japanese effectively control an area something like this, from that area they can do up to three different things. One, big attack to take out Hawaii and invade and occupy Hawaii, effectively driving the Americans back to California as the place from which they'll have to start any campaign against Japan. Option two, Australia, go south, knock that out as a potential land base from which the Americans would have to mount operations that would climb back up the island chain. Option three, raid around the Indian Ocean, threaten the British position in India, help expand to the west out of Burma and into India itself. Or, frankly the Japanese could have had the option of helping the Germans knock out the Soviet Union by attacking the Soviets up there. Of all those options, what the Japanese do is they don't choose this, cause they think the Germans have that problem under control, and they're preoccupied. And then looking at these three options, they kind of decide, in a bureaucratic compromise, to do all three. They launch a big carrier raid in the Indian Ocean. They launch moves to try to prepare for possible attacks on Australia, down here. And then they also work up an operation that first will invade and occupy Midway Island here, preparatory to the attack on Hawaii. But by trying to do all three of these things, they end up doing none of them adequately. The key was the battle at Midway, because at least in my opinion, the most important strategic objective for the Japanese was to disable their main enemy. That was the United States. And the best way to disable the United States in 1942 was to deprive the Americans of control of Hawaii. So the Midway operation should have been key. And the Midway operation was defeated in an incredibly close call. The Japanese had a plan in which they were going to make a faint, here, towards the Aleutian Islands, hope the American forces would go up there to respond to it, and then they would have their invasion forces come up to Midway, protected by a powerful carrier force. And then if the Americans caught on, belatedly, perhaps, to what was going on, they'd have a decisive naval battle out here in which they'd destroy the American carriers. The Americans, in an incredible intelligence coup, can read the Japanese naval traffic. They know what the plan's going to be before it happens. They're not taken in by the Aleutians move, they get ready for this. Even so, and even exhausted from their other efforts, the Japanese still have four carriers that they can deploy against three by the Americans, and it becomes a battle of who will find the other first, who will be able to strike effectively first, and, in just the fortunes of war, the Americans get the lucky break: They win the battle of Midway; they lose only one of their carriers; they destroy all the Japanese carriers. And that turns out to be key. Why is that so important? Because if the Japanese win this battle and can move on to control to Hawaii, the Americans would have felt that they were being driven back to California itself at that point. It's very hard to imagine that at that point, the Americans don't switch to a strategy of Japan First and suspend the bulk of their operations against Germany. So, as a result of the victory at the battle of Midway, the Americans can afford to still have a grand strategy of putting Germany First. So at this point in the story, into 1942, you can see that a lot of the big gambles to try to get a complete global victory have failed, gambles on several sides, and the result of those gambles failing is that by 1942 the major powers are now all locked in a global total war. The fate of that war, and which strategies for victory in that kind of war are going to pay off, is going to be our subject for next time. See you then.

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