Invasion was Not an Option

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In his article on the Second World War (May SR), Chris Bambery makes the argument that Churchill's policy of defending the empire meant countries like Australia were 'exposed' to a 'Japanese attack'.

However, it is an important socialist argument in Australia to say Japan was not going to attack because it was not capable of doing so.

Japan's victories meant it was overstretched. Rupert Lockwood wrote in War on the Waterfront, 'In decisive talks in Tokyo, the Japanese army pointed out that Australia was twice the size of occupied China. Conquest would demand diversion of the main naval forces at Japan's disposal; the US navy had shown it was far from finished and could block supply lines, and the army could not provide 12 infantry divisions felt necessary, nor were the required 1,500,000 tons of shipping available.' John Dower in War Without Mercy shows how racist sentiment saw US and Australian troops take less Japanese POWs than would be usual.

Chris Bambery mentions the US atomic bombing of Japan, but a war crime on a similar scale was the incendiary bombing of Tokyo.

The right in Australia campaigns for Japan to 'apologise' for the war, which it did in 1959. And it goes on about the threat of invasion, which even an army officer in 1957 when going through Japanese records concluded was not possible.

Tom Orsag

Melbourne