** war and social upheaval: World War II Japan 1945 situation

World War II: Japanese Home Front Situation (January-August 1945)

World War II Japan home front situation 1945
Figure 1.--Japanese cities by mid-1945 were reduced to ashes and its people existing on nar starvation rations, but it was not yet incapable of waging war. The Japanese were mustering forces on Kyushu to resist the planned American invasion. A major problem the Japanese faced was a collapse of logistics--a weakness of the Japanese war effort in the best of times. The maru fleet had been destroyed and the rail system at home significantly damaged and fuel hard to obtain. Moving men and supplies and even food into the cities was becoming increasinhly difficicult.

Japan after the American invasion of Okinawa still had powerful forces in the field. They had substantial forces in Manchuria, China, Formosa (Taiwan), Indo-China (Vietnam), Malaya/Singapore, and the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). With so many strong, undefeated forces, many in the militry did not believe Japan should surrender. These forces, however, could not assist in the all-important defense of the Home Islands--unless brought home. And this was only possible with the forces in China and Manchuria. Japan's merchant (maru) fleet by 1945 had been largely destroyed and moving troops and supplies was only possible in the inland seas where American naval patrols could only operate with difficulty--even submarines. The maru fleet had ben lrgely destroyed by American submarines, isolating Japan from its remaining empire and resources it needed to continue the War. The strategic bombing campaign had destroyed most Japanese cities and industry. Using fire-bombing tactics, the wood and paper structures thst housed the population had been reduced to ashes. And in the resulting conflagrations, war industry factories were also destroyed. The once proud Japanese Navy has been almost completely destoyed. But now American surface vessels and carriers patrolled the waters south of Japan. And to complete the blockade of Japan, aerial mines had been dropped in all important ports. This meant that raw material and petroleum could no longer supply the few factories that had survived the bombing. It also meant that badly needed food could not reach Japan. And the Japanese had already been forced to strictly ration food to virtual starvation levels. Personal accounts reveal the joy that civilians had in finding a noodle or bean at the bottom of a soup bowl. Japan was a heavily industrialized nation and the mountenous terraine limited arable land. As result, Japan had to import large quantities of food. And to make matters worse, the 1945 harvest was expected to be a poor one. Along with destoying Japanese cities, the Americn bombardment was also destroying the transportation system, especially the rail system. This meant there would be no way of getting the 1945 harvest into the cities. The Government put school children and other civilians to work collecting acorns in a desperate attempt to utilize every possible food resources. The Japanese had at first attempted to intercept the B-29s with fighters, but with limited and consumed irreplaceable fuel reserves. So by June they stopped interception attempts. This was to conserve availble planes and fuel for a massive Kmikazee assault on the expected American invasion fleet. The American flyers began referring to their raids as 'milk runs'.


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Created: 8:10 PM 10/30/2014
Last updated: 8:10 PM 10/30/2014