Nonsense from The Conservative Club: Japanese Invasion of the U.S.Foiled by Armed American Civilians in WWII

As an argument against gun control, The Conservative Club makes the following absurd claim:” The Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!” As a historian for some 30 years,  I must take issue with this blatant nonsense.

Why didn’t’ the Japanese invade America? Here are some actual historical reasons not just NRA myth :

1) The Japanese never intended to invade America in the first place; they were quite content to control Asia and the Eastern Pacific Ocean*. Beyond that they had no plans to invade. However, if the wars against Japan and Germany had both failed, one can imagine the Japanese- German Axis powers dividing up the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. into respective, fascist spheres of influence. Would Lone Ranger Americans have stopped that, the combined assault of victorious Japanese and German militaries? Highly improbable, probably impossible!

2)  The Japanese could have easily overrun the U.S. immediately after Pearl Harbor;** the weakest we’ve ever been in history due to our nearly total disarmament after World War I. General Joseph Stilwell said, “If the Japs had only known, they could have landed anywhere on the coast, and after our handful of ammunition was gone, they could have shot us like pigs in a pen.”*** I find laughable in the extreme the notion that armed American civilians could have defeated the mighty Japanese army. We couldn’t even handle H.G. Wells imaginary “War of the Worlds”!

3) Practically speaking what made such an invasion totally out of the question were three extremely significant American victories and one Australian one:

a. the defeat of the Japanese at Midway

b. the defeat of the Japanese in the Aleutian Islands

c. the defeat of the Japanese at Guadalcanal

d. the defeat of the Japanese on the Kokoda Trail in New Guinea

From Guadalcanal and Midway forward in time, the U.S. Armed Forces advanced in the opposite direction, towards the Japanese home islands.

Finally, for some comic relief on the subject of the Japanese invasion of the West Coast of America, I recommend everyone see John Belushi in the film “1942” That comic rendition of such an event has about as much truth to it as what the Conservative Club proposes in their statement above.

*see Professor Gary Gallagher’s “History of the United States”

**  Ibid.

***from Robert Cowley’s “What If? Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been” chapter titled “The Boys Who Saved Australia, 1942”


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