I. B. 159-A
DECEMBER 5, 1941
Memorandum for the Chief of Staff:
Subject: Supplementary Brief Periodic Estimate of the Situation December 1, 1941-March 31, 1942.
1. This estimate is addressed to the objective of Nazi defeat. Its purpose is to examine the factors of strength and weakness and of strategic positions of the Nazis and of their opponents, in order to present the military possibilities and probabilities during the period December 1, 1941 to March 31, 1942. It supplements and amplifies the Brief Periodic Estimate of the Situation December 1, 1941-March 31, 1942, issued by this Division on November 29, 1941, and is believed to be more suitable for planning purposes than the previous estimate.
2. a. During that period Germany, though weakened by her losses in Russia, will remain the only power capable of launching large scale strategic offensives. Her success in Russia and the advent of winter make disposable a larger portion of German land and air power than at any time since the beginning of the Russo-German war. On the other hand, the price she has had to pay for her Russian success and the width of the wasted zone behind her Eastern Front indicate that a considerable period of time would be required for the reorganization and redisposition of her major forces. The German conduct of war, so far, has been characterized by a thoroughness and deliberation in this regard. Between the end of one campaign and the launching of the next there have been considerable periods of time. In the present case, if Germany should decide to shift the theater of war, all indications point to an even greater necessity for a considerable time lag than has so far existed between her successive campaigns. Large scale German strategic offensives are therefore not to be expected outside of the Russian theater within the period under consideration. It is much more probable that Germany will continue her attack on Russia, particularly in the Ukraine and the North Caucasus plain between the Azov and Caspian Seas during the winter and early spring.
b. Japan also has the strategic initiative, but to a much more limited degree than is the case with Germany. Japan, already extended militarily, has a multiplicity of strategic objectives; but for a variety of reasons, she cannot concentrate the required forces to attack any of them on a large scale and with assurance of success. A possible exception to the latter statement lies in the contingency of a serious depletion of Russian forces in eastern Siberia. But even in this case, a large scale Japanese strategic offensive against Siberia during the period in question is somewhat doubtful in the light of present politico-military situation and of the rigorous winter climate in that region.
c. Great Britain is pressing a limited strategic offensive in Libya and has taken the aerial offensive over Western Europe. She, too, is extended militarily and more extensive ground and aerial action is beyond her means.
d. All other belligerent or potentially belligerent powers must be considered incapable of large scale strategic offensives during the period in question. The United States, committed to the defeat of Nazi Germany, is an increasingly important element in the situation. Our influence is exerted in naval and aerial participation in the Battle of the Atlantic, in the supply of material and technical assistance to the four land theaters and in psychological, economic and political action against the Axis throughout the world. But all this does not sum up to a large scale strategical offensive. We have only a means of strategical maneuver-our ability to make available more or less material and technical facilities and in their allocation to those theaters where they will be most advantageously deployed.
e. Neither the economic nor the psychologic situation in Germany indicates any possibility of weakening the Nazi power to a critical extent during the period in question.
f. From the above it must be concluded that, during the period in question:
(1) Neither the anti-Axis nor the Axis powers can force a decision.
(2) The anti-Axis powers will have a period of at least four months in which they may strengthen their position in one or more of the four important theaters of war, and in which they may decide upon a regrouping of forces, subject to certain physical limitations, consonant with their chosen long range strategy for the defeat of the Nazis.
The outstanding feature of the war in 1941 has been the rise in anti-Axis and the decline in Axis morale.
The anti-Axis powers have been heartened by the failure of the German air attack on Britain, the decreased German success in the Atlantic, the continued resistance in the Middle and Far Eastern theaters, the drain on Germany of the Russian Campaign and of her conquered territories, and probably most of all by the continued progress of America from neutrality towards participation in the war.
Even more notable has been the decline in Axis morale. In Italy and Japan the reasons are obvious. Both are weary of unsuccessful war and economically distressed. But Germany presents a true paradox. Here is a warrior nation which has made colossal sacrifices to build war power and has had unprecedented success in war-and yet is wholly apathetic. No enthusiasm prevails, only the desire to see it all end.
In any given period, a nation at war generally finds itself in one of three military situations. To each of these situations there should be a corresponding moral reaction. These situations and reactions are:
Military situation Moral Reaction
1. Superiority of strength. Possession 1. The elan of victory-fighting
of initiative. Unbroken success. with confidence of success.
2. Approximate equality in strength. 2. The grim struggle fighting
Initiative doubtful. Ultimate to gain success.
success still in balance
3. Inferiority in strength. Strategic 3. Their "back to the wall"-
initiative lost. Ultimate success fighting to prevent defeat.
Perhaps the most fundamental fact in the war situation today is that Germany is, and has continuously been in military situation Number 1, while the moral reaction of her people is, and has been for some time rather lower than Number 2.
The morale factor in the war will be affected by the outcome, probably within the next month, of the operations in Russia and in Libya, and by Japan's decision. But there is no reason to believe that the trend of 1941 in German morale will be reversed or even materially reduced in the period under discussion.
In this factor lies the germ of Nazi defeat.
III. Brief Estimate on the Actual and Potential Theaters of War.
1. The British Isles. This theater is the citadel of the anti-Axis Powers. Its security is, therefore so essential to Nazi defeat that it must be held. The ground, sea and aerial defenses of the islands have been and are being materially strengthened.
For reasons given previously, it is not believed that Germany will be in a position to attempt an invasion of the islands during the period in question. It is probable that an invasion, if attempted, will be delayed until mid-summer of 1942. An attempt made at that time will probably be unsuccessful. As for the present, after a short delay for reorganization and transfer, Germany can launch large-scale air attacks on the United Kingdom at any time that she is willing to move the necessary forces from the Russian front. In view of improved British defenses and of the weakening of the German Air Force, however, it is estimated that in the period in question such attacks cannot reach the intensities of those of the winter of 1940-41.
From this theater the only British offensive capability lies in the air. It is to be expected that strategic bombing of Germany and the occupied territories will continue but that this action will be indecisive.
Material aid from the United States has been an essential element in the resistance and survival of the British Isles. Continuance of this aid is still essential. It is, fortunately, the easiest of all the land theaters for us to aid.
2. The Atlantic. The battle of the Atlantic is essentially a struggle for the sea lanes radiating from the United Kingdom, this conflict is now trending against Germany. Sinkings by the Axis are decreasing and ship construction in Britain and the United States is increasing. It is now probable that replacements have overtaken losses. Figures on ship and tonnage losses during 1941 are as follows:
Losses (British, Allied and Neutral)
Total Monthly average
Ships Tonnage Ships Tonnage
January 1 to June 30 (6 months) ..... 628 2,755,242 105 459,207
June 30 to Nov. 15 (4 1/2 months) ... 285 1,000,990 63 222,442
During October over 4,200,000 tons of goods were imported into the United, as compared with a monthly average for the year of approximately 2,500,000. The October imports were received after the United States Navy began convoy duty in the Atlantic. As the weight of the United States Navy continues to increase, success in the Battle of the Atlantic should be assured.
Since Germany's means of attack (surface raiders, long-range planes and submarines) are of limited use in other theaters, it is to be expected that she will continue the offensive in this theater, regardless of results or of operations elsewhere.
The United States is contributing powerfully to the decision in the Battle of the Atlantic by direct naval action and by the building of cargo vessels. Continuance of this action is essential to the defeat of Germany.
3. Eastern Theater. By a series of relentless offensives Germany has occupied vast stretches of terrain, including many of Russia's industrial regions and has inflicted grave casualties on the Red Army. But Germany has suffered great losses in men and materiel, and has not yet attained her basic objectives of destroying the Russian armies and the Stalin regime. While Germany could transfer her principal military effort to other theaters this winter, it is estimated that she will continue to concentrate on the attack on Russia. Specifically she will:
Seek to destroy the mass of the Russian armies.
Continue the siege of Leningrad.
Attempt to cut the Russian supply lines to Archangel and Murmansk.
Seek to seize the general line of the Volga.
Attempt to overrun the Caucasus, thus obtaining oil and securing a jump-off position for an eventual advance into the Middle East.
The most serious German threat is southeastwards to the Caucasus, and her goal is oil. Axis forces may capture Stalingrad and gain control of the Volga south to its mouth at Astrakhan. Russian defense of the North Caucasus will probably eventually fail, after substantially delaying the Axis advance. With sufficiently determined and prompt allied aid, the Germans may be kept from occupation of the Trans-Caucasus and control of the Baku oil fields.
The U. S. S. R. is weaker, relative to Germany, than at the outset of hostilities. Her political structure has remained stable and her armies, while depleted, have not been irreparably defeated. Russia is favored by the following: The extreme cold of winter is a deterrent to operations, and Russian training and technique in severe weather is considered better than that of the invaders. While the Soviet situation is critical, ready availability of manpower resources is in Russian favor. Defense industry is in operation at approximately 60% of pre-war volume. British and American material assistance is being received; increased and continuing allied assistance is urgently required.
The following considerations are unfavorable to the U. S. S. R.: the uncertainty of the Far Eastern situation causes concentration of efficient Soviet troops along the Manchukuo frontier, not available for use in the western theater. The Soviet Army has shortages in tanks, all weapons, probably in all ammunition. The shortage in tanks is especially serious; that in small arms and small arms ammunition is less marked than in other weapons. The means of supply from the outside world are difficult and precarious. To date no British operation elsewhere has been sufficiently strong to cause any withdrawal of German troops from Russia.
Aside from surrender, which seems unlikely, Russia's only feasible line of action is to resist stubbornly in the hope that attrition, climate and lengthened communications will eventually bring her assailants to a standstill. By the spring of 1942 it is estimated that organized but depleted Russian armies will stand behind the Volga and perhaps even as far west as Moscow. It is also probable that Russian forces will hold the Caucasus mountains and Trans-Caucasia.
With her industry dislocated, Russia is in extreme need of material assistance from abroad. She requires raw materials, machine tools and munitions. Unfortunately, the avenues of entry are vulnerable, limited in capacity and very awkwardly located. Aid to Russia has been planned on the basis of a total import capacity of 500,000 tons per month. It is by no means certain that this figure will be reached. Russian requirements can only be met by the United States and Great Britain. This relatively small contribution at the crisis of the Russo-German war appears to be the total material means available to the Democracies to influence the struggle within this theater.
4. Middle Eastern Theater. In this theater, extending from Libya to the Caspian, only the western segment is active. In Libya the British are engaged in an offensive the issue of which is still in doubt. Farther to the east, Syria, Iraq and Iran are shielded from the war for the time being by neutral Turkey and by the Russian forces in the Caucasus.
Because of the Russian campaign and certain great logistic difficulties, there is practically no danger of an Axis major offensive in this theater, from the north before the spring of 1942. Even a British defeat in their current Libyan operations would so exhaust the Axis forces in North Africa as to free Alexandria and Suez from the threat of a thrust from the west. A British victory in Libya would probably force German entry into Tunisia and their occupation of Algiers and Morocco. But such an eventuality would be more apt to delay than to hasten an all-out German offensive, from the west and the north, against the Middle East Theater.
Even if successful in their current Libyan offensive, it is not believed that the British will be able to advance through Tripolitania without a considerable delay for reorganization. It is therefore probable that from the British point of view this theater will shortly become a defensive one, with a minimum of several months available for the completion of its organization.
In the eastern sector of this theater (the Levant, Iraq and Iran), the British are gradually building a substantial force to meet any Axis threat to the area through Turkey or the Caucasus Mountains. In the Levant, there are three Australian divisions with other troops, and General Wavell told our Military Observer in Iran that he expected to have at least ten divisions in Northern Iraq by March of 1942.
The United States is committed to providing great masses of material to the Middle East, and is undertaking vast construction projects to facilitate supply. Except the British Isles, the Middle East is the most accessible of the important active theaters to us, and our lines of supply to it, though long, are the least vulnerable.
We are building up an influence on British military policy in the Middle East. Further American commitments, including probably the eventual employment of our armed forces, will be necessary in this region.
5. The Conquered Nations. The conquered countries will continue to rally somewhat more strongly against their conqueror. While effective revolts are to be discounted, maintenance of order will divert some 40 German and some 25 Italian divisions. The economic contributions of these countries to the Axis war effort will fall below German hopes and will tend to decline. Germany's failures in administration, in organization of production and above all in reconciliation to her hegemony of Europe will become an increasing drain on her strength.
6. The Far Eastern Theater. Here the initiative rests with Japan in spite of her military over-extension. She has the following lines of action open to her:
a. Attack Siberia.
b. Attack Yunnan Province to cut the Burma Road with a view to an early end to the war with China.
c. Occupy Thailand.
d. Through Thailand, attack
(1) Burma and the Burma Road,
e. Attack the Philippines and Hong Kong, preparatory to a movement on Singapore or the Netherlands East Indies.
f. Contain or isolate the Philippines and Hong Kong and
(1) Attack Singapore
(a) directly, by sea;
(b) by sea in conjunction with a land attack through Thailand and Malaya.
(2) Attack the Netherlands East Indies.
g. Bide her time, wait for a better opportunity to pursue any of the above lines of action, hoping that the course of events will turn in her favor.
h. Seek a general settlement through American mediation, including an understanding with the United States and Great Britain as to political and economic penetration of southeast Asia and the southwestern Pacific.
i. Reorient her whole foreign policy by withdrawing from the Axis.
(h) and (i) are impossible, short of a complete overthrow of her governing forces.
The most probable line of action for Japan is the occupation of Thailand.
The forces of all other countries in the Far East are on the defensive before Japan. The British Commonwealth, the Netherlands East Indies and the United States are in consultative association for the defense of Malaysia. To date this association has been effective in slowing down the Japanese penetration to the southwest. China is containing the equivalent of 30 Japanese divisions. The U. S. S. R., hard pressed for troops in European Russia, has reduced her Siberian garrisons to what she estimates to be the minimum necessary to deter Japan from attacking to the north. So far she has been successful in this effort.
China, aided and encouraged by America, will remain in the war against Japan and will continue to contain important Japanese forces. The effective use of China's unlimited manpower, as an anti-Axis potential, depends entirely on the extent to which she is able to equip it, particularly in artillery and aviation. For this, she is entirely dependent upon the United States. The stronger the Chinese become, the more Japanese troops will be pinned down in China, thereby releasing further Russian strength for use against Hitler.
Although China is receiving an increasing amount of equipment from this country, a mayor offensive by the Chinese cannot be expected during the period ending March 31, 1942.
The British Imperial forces in Malaysia and at Hong Kong occupy a purely defensive role. The forces in Malaya have recently been re-enforced by additional troops from Australia, New Zealand (air), and India, while those in Hong Kong have been augmented by the arrival of Canadian levies. Both of these localities present a very strong defense against any possible Japanese attack.
The people and government of the Netherlands East Indies have continued, affirmatively and constructively, to function practically as a sovereign state loyal to the mother country. As evidence of Dutch spirit, they (a) have reorganized their army, (b) are actively at work manufacturing needed army equipment, (c) are actively training reserves, (d) have expanded their system of air fields throughout the islands, (e) have cooperated with the British and United States governments in preparation of extensive plans for defense, (f) have refused to renew their commercial treaty with Japan, (g) have delivered to Japan only 10,000 tons of oil since January 1,1941-said delivery having been on an old contract still in force.
In the Far East the United States is concerned as a possible belligerent and also as a prime source of war materials for China, the British Commonwealth and for the Netherlands East Indies. We are in process of sending a few military airplanes to Thailand. But this theater will be a secondary one from the point of view of supply. Under all circumstances we will continue to be able to supply Australasia, the Dutch East Indies, and probably also China though somewhat precariously, through the Burma Road. Siberia will become completely cut off if Japan attacks Russia.
Our influence in the Far Eastern Theater lies in the threat of our Naval power and the effort of our economic blockade. Both are primary deterrents against Japanese all-out entry in the war as an Axis partner. If we become involved in war with Japan we could launch a serious offensive against her by Naval and Air Forces based on the Philippines and elsewhere in Malaysia. But such an attack would fall short of a major strategic offensive because it could not be decisive within a reasonable time, and still more, because it would be a diversion of forces away from rather than toward our objective, the defeat of the Nazis.
7. Northwest and West Africa. a. Northwest Africa. Although valuable as a base for aerial operations, northwest Africa cannot provide an anti-Axis offensive theater of operations. Any anti-Axis ground force that had occupied this area would be faced with the crossing of the Mediterranean, if it should decide to conduct operations on the European mainland. Its prime value, therefore, to anti-Axis forces lies primarily in denying its occupation to Axis forces. Paragraph 9, Tab A, outlines the potential opposition to Axis occupation and shows clearly that German forces would meet with little resistance. Time and space factors, as well as potential enemy resistance, clearly indicate that Germany can occupy this area ahead of an anti-Axis force.
On the other hand, enemy potentialities are not as favorable with regard to the occupation of the Azores. With control of the Atlantic still in the hands of anti-Axis forces, the Axis could hardly be expected to span one thousand miles of ocean to reach the Azores. Should the Azores be prevented from falling into the hands of Axis forces, the advantages gained by the Axis occupation of Northwest Africa would be partially nullified.
b. West Africa. West Africa is of value to the Axis in providing submarine and airplane bases from which to operate against Allied shipping and influence Latin America. Axis occupation would also deny the direct bomber ferry service from the United States to the Middle East Theater. The theater is one which would be extremely severe, clue to climatic and disease factors, to all but native troops. With France committed to collaboration with Germany, time and space factors and potential resistance would make undisputed occupation by the Axis difficult but possible. Cape Verde on the other hand, could be occupied by anti-Axis fortes and the occupation would limit the encroachment of Axis forces towards South America and reduce the scope of operation of Axis submarines and planes.
c. The probability of German occupation of Northwest and West Africa during the period December 1, 1941-March 31, 1942, is contingent on the possible outcome of the present campaign in Libya as well as on the plans of the German General Staff. The preceding sub-paragraphs show that Germany can occupy Northwest Africa at will and West Africa with some delay. On the other hand, success by the Axis in those areas, would probably invite anti-Axis occupation of the Azores and Cape Verde. It seems more likely that this German action in Africa will be postponed, but if it is launched it should surprise no one.
8. Western Hemisphere. During the period December 1, 1941 to March 31, 1942, it is not expected there will be any significant change in the Western Hemisphere theater.
The twenty Latin American republics all have individual problems. Most of their political difficulties are due to economic strain and jockeying for power between the "ins" and the "outs", the "outs" always being supported by the anti-American forces. They are all extremely conscious of the world situation and the two powerful antagonists, and are not anxious to make any enmities with the potential winner. Military power impresses them mightily, as few other matters do.
In this area, no direct war effort can be seen during this period, and Germany's line of action and organization will be to perfect and extend her present influence in each of the countries by propaganda, bribery and coercion. Subversive activities will be kept under cover and the Axis influence will not emerge in any large-scale version in this area until a more propitious circumstance arises which will be determined by the progress of events in Europe and Asia.
In other words the Axis threat in the Western Hemisphere theater is potential during this period, with possibilities of political upheavals, sabotage and subversive actions only if it is to cause a diversion of American forces and attention.
Brigadier General U. S. Army
Acting Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2.
Chief of Staff Eastern European Section
Assistant Chief of Staff, W. P. D. Far Eastern Section
G. H. Q. Latin American Section
Air Corps Southern European Section
Director of Naval Intelligence Western European Section
Air Section Record Section
British Empire Section I. B. File
Central European Section
TAB A-SUPPORTING ESTIMATES
1. The British Empire-Omitted.
2. U. S. S. R.-Omitted.
3. The Philippines-Omitted
9. Iberian Peninsula-Northwest Africa-Omitted.
a. Combat. Japan has an active army of about 2,000,000 including an air force of about 65,000. She now has increased her trained and partially trained reserve to approximately 4,750,000. The estimated number of active divisions is 62; of independent brigades, 22; of cavalry brigades, 5; and of tank regiments, 13; plus 16 depot divisions in Japan proper and Korea, and garrison troops and railway guard units in Manchuria.
The active forces are deployed over a wide area from Karafuto (Sakhalin) and Manchuria in the North to the French Indo-China-Thailand border in the south. According to the latest reports available, the distribution outside Japan proper is approximately as follows:
Ind. Cav. Tank
Divs. Brigs. Brigs. Regts.
Manchuria and Adjacent regions 30 6 4 7
North China 8 6 1 1
Central China 10 6 ... 1
Canton and South China Coast 2 1 ... 1
Formosa 2 ... ... ...
Hainan 1 1 ... ...
French Indo-China 3 1 ... 1
This wide deployment creates immense problems of supply and communications and requires the use of a large number of transports and supply ships. Reliable information indicates that as of October 1, the Japanese forces on the continent south of the great wall had reserve supplies and munitions for not more than six weeks, this in spite of extensive use of vessels of the Japanese merchant fleet withdrawn from the Pacific trade. Since October 1, of course, this situation has probably been alleviated, but the problem of supply still exists. Any hostile naval or air action against the lines of communication to the continent would put the Japanese forces in Central China and all areas to the south in a very critical position.
The Japanese army is well trained and has proved an efficient fighting force against the Chinese. The staff has functioned well during difficult tactical operations in China. The enlisted men, although somewhat lacking in initiative, are well trained, the bulk experienced in combat, courageous and aggressive to the point of recklessness. The Japanese have been consistently successful in China from a tactical point of view; only combat with a modern army can determine Japan's relative efficiency compared to modern occidental armies. Japan's army is physically hardy, and psychologically inspired by loyalty to the Emperor, devotion to duty, and a fanatical patriotism which makes it a formidable foe on the Asian continent or nearby islands.
Except for the Russian forces in Siberia, the Japanese army is the best equipped army in Asia. Its equipment, however, is inferior to that of any of the powerful European armies. The shortage of raw materials and production capacity will limit the number of new divisions which can be equipped, even though Japan's partially trained man power is ample for her anticipated needs. Individual equipment appears to be sufficient and in good condition, but there is a shortage of organizational and other equipment, such as tanks, antiaircraft weapons, and modern artillery.
The Japanese Army and Navy air forces have made rapid progress since 1937. Personnel strength of both is about 100,000 officers and men, and the two services have a combined plane strength of approximately 5353 combat planes. The Army has 136 squadrons and 2362 planes; the Navy 159 squadrons and 2901 planes. Plane design has lagged, and many old type planes are included in the totals, above, but lack of formidable opposition has allowed the Japanese to maintain undisputed air superiority. Four years of continuous air operations have increased the efficiency of Japanese aviation in no small degree. Acquisition of German planes and more extensive employment of German technical advisers has probably contributed to a further increase in efficiency. Present plane production is currently estimated at 200 per month, for all combat types, both army and navy.
Japan has a navy consisting of approximately 180,000 men and officers, exclusive of about 35,000 in the naval air corps. Naval strength comprises over a million tons already built and nearly 500,000 tons building. The navy is divided into two main divisions: the Combined Fleet, and the Japanese Naval Forces in China. The latter consists of the North Central and South China Fleets. The Combined Fleet is based in home waters.
The Japanese navy is modern, well balanced, and ready for prompt service. It is relatively strong in aircraft carriers and tenders; it would be a formidable opponent to the navy of any power, or to those of any combination of powers, attempting offensive operations in the western Pacific.
Japan, because of her geographic location including her bases on Formosa and Hainan, flanks all sea approaches to the southeastern coast of Asia north of Saigon; lies athwart all routes from the east to the eastern and northeastern coast of the mainland; and is in a remarkably strong strategical position for defense against any distant naval power. The Formosa base is the key to this position; neutralization of Formosa would imperil all her troops and installations south of Japan proper. However, Japan's geographic position is such that her navy on the strategical defensive could from time to time assume the tactical offensive. Japan's greatest weakness lies in the vital necessity of keeping open the water lines of communication to her forces in central and south China and Indo-China over routes that are vulnerable to underwater and air attack from hostile bases in the Philippines, Malaya, Burma, and China.
b. Political. A year ago, under the premiership of Prince Konoye, Japan set up its own version of totalitarianism, called the "new national structure." Political parties were disbanded, and the Imperial Rule Assistance Association, designed to unite all the people in assistance to the Throne, was hastily whipped into shape. As a political organization, however, the Association does not control the country as do the Nazis in Germany or the Fascists in Italy, since such control would be contrary to the Japanese theory of the Emperor as the supreme head of the State, to whom all Japanese yield obedience and service. The stated aims of the Association were too vague to meet with general approval, and it is clear that the "new structure" movement has not been a success since it has not been able to "unify all phases of Japanese life."
While this attempt to create a totalitarian structure has been going on, the domination exercised by the army clique for nearly a decade has continued. The whole political machinery is geared to preparation for expansion into the maritime provinces of Siberia, for further expansion in southeast Asia, and the southwestern Pacific, and to the solution of the China "Incident".
The Tripartite Pact which Japan signed with Germany and Italy in September, 1940, by implication requires Japan to attack the United States, or any other power, except Russia, not involved in the European war at that time, should it attack either of the Axis partners. The strong Russian resistance to Nazi attack has, however, been a damper to Japanese enthusiasm for her Axis obligations. Although Foreign Minister Togo, who succeeded Toyoda, has announced that there is no change in the foreign policy of Japan, and that Japan will adhere to the Axis alliance, there is evidence that in order to secure a better position for herself, she might disregard her obligations, and even withdraw from the Axis. Japan has boundless ambitions in East Asia, but in view of the increasing American and British strength in the Far East, and the continued stalemate in China, she finds herself in a more and more unfavorable strategic position to realize these ambitions. Japanese government leaders are aware of the perils of further military adventures; they want to avoid a general war in the Pacific. They wish by every means possible to inveigle the United States into an agreement "looking toward a peaceful settlement of all outstanding issues between the two countries." This simply means recognition of Japan's territorial and economic gains in Eastern Asia. The result of these conflicting desires is a state of almost desperate indecision. The fact that Japanese newspapers have come out with their most bombastic bluster during the beginning of Mr. Kurusu's conference seeking a peaceful settlement with this country is the best indication of the lack of coordination, the indecision, and the confused general political situation in Japan. There can be no doubt that the army hotheads, the Black Dragon Society, and other intransigents will oppose most strenuously any major concessions by their present government leaders. Thus the chief obstacle to successful negotiations by Mr. Kurusu or any other envoy, has been the fact that although Premier Togo is an army man, he cannot be said to control the army, the navy, or the ultra-nationalistic secret societies. Until such control is assured, no agreements through negotiations can be successfully carried out. The Kurusu conference can now be said definitely to have ended in failure because of the extreme position taken by the Japanese Government in regard to concessions which they felt could be made in the Far Eastern Area.
Without their previous enthusiasm and behind uncertain leadership, the Japanese are continuing in the path to what they believe is their "divinely appointed destiny" without being too sure as to where that destiny will take them. As a matter of fact, there is evidence that the people of Japan are becoming more and more alarmed and apprehensive; they fear that the present course is taking them into a major war with not just one power, but with a combination of powers. In her present situation, if Japan goes to war, her people will enter it desperately rather than confidently.
c. Economic. Because of the ever increasing stringency of the embargo placed on Japan by the United States, Great Britain, and the Netherlands East Indies the economic situation in Japan is slowly but surely becoming worse. The Japanese have always lacked war materials, adequate foreign exchange, and sufficient foreign trade, the embargo has served to increase sharply the deficiencies in these categories.
Germany's attack on Russia has cut off the supply of military and industrial equipment and machinery from Germany to Japan. The Japanese are finding that economically, as well as politically, the Tripartite Pact has serious disadvantages to them. The pro-Axis leaders are having more and more difficulty in justifying the alliance with Germany.
Japan's Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere is anything but prosperous. Labor shortages, lack of adequate and sufficient transportation facilities, guerrilla warfare and, most of all, lack of cooperation on the part of the people who have been brought into the "sphere" by force or the threat of force, have prevented Japan from realizing the economic benefits which she has so often and so loudly proclaimed would result from her scheme.
The firm united front of the United States, Great Britain, and the Netherlands East Indies in enforcing the embargo has put Japan "on the spot" economically, Even little Thailand has been encouraged to resist Japanese pressure for economic as well as political, concessions. The effects of the embargo will compel Japan to strive to obtain more assistance from the regions under her control in East Asia, and to continue her efforts to persuade the ABD powers through threats and promises to relax the embargo. If she goes to war to achieve her economic objectives, Japan faces ruin; but at the same time she feels that achievement of these objectives are vital to her existence.
Japan lacks essential raw materials to support either her manufacturing industries or a major war effort, even continued effort against China. The stoppage of trade and freezing of credits has drastically reduced Japan's supply of raw materials, and has caused her to begin using her reserves. Many of her industries are suffering from shortages, rationing has been extended and intensified; in short, economically Japan is in perilous plight. The situation calls for strenuous measures, yet if she goes to war, she may use up her reserves especially of oil and steel, before she can force a decision favorable to herself. Thus her economic situation contributes largely to the indecision of her leaders. This is a problem which she must solve within the next few months.
a. The contributions of Thailand toward the defeat of the Nazi or Axis forces has been for the most part negligible. However, beginning in the late Summer of 1941 there have been evidences of her growing will to resist any encroachments on her sovereignty. This is supported by the facts that Thailand has been strengthened both in military force and diplomacy to a position where the Thais could make a very real contribution to the common cause.
b. Thailand, or Siam, a weak buffer state between colonies of Great Powers, has traditionally played one off against the other while leaning toward the dominant one of the moment. The fall of France, accompanied with her replacement in Indo-China by aggressive Japanese troops on Thai borders, compelled the Thai government to reorient her policies. The obvious weakness of the Democracies throughout 1939, 1940 and the first half of 1941 made Thailand's foreign relations appear pro-Japanese. And there is no doubt that several Thai Cabinet Ministers and other influential leaders including Princes of Royal blood are pro-Japanese. However, the Prime Minister and Field Marshal, Luang Pibul Songgram, for all practical purposes the supreme ruler of Thailand, is positively pro-Thai to the exclusion of all foreign ties or bias. The key to the situation may be that since August 1941 Songgram has devoted almost all his efforts and his considerable abilities to the reorganization and strengthening of Thai armed forces. The Thai army is unquestionably loyal, and with their morale high from recent victories over the French forces, they can be counted on to follow the person and leadership of their Commander-in-Chief.
c. The formation of the ABCD coalition and the strong position recently taken by the United States have effectively altered the political and diplomatic outlook. Thailand is now distrustful of Japanese designs and fearful of invasion. A guarantee of Thailand's territory and independence after the war, and immediate, substantial, material aid and supplies, would greatly strengthen Thailand's will and power to resist the Japanese.
d. With reference to Thailand, a great contribution that could be made to the defeat of Nazi forces would be to prevent this country and natural base of operations against the Burma Road, Malaya, and the East Indies from falling into Axis hands. The Thai army and people will fight bravely to defend their independence, but with little or no outside aid, probably could not withstand a determined attack in force more than two weeks. Thai forces are deployed along the long Mekong River frontier, but first line defense units of less than 40,000 reliable combat troops-especially with insignificant mechanized units and woeful weakness in antitank and antiair forces-could not block for long, the logical push from northwest Cambodia west along the railroad to Kangkok and the heart of Thailand.
e. Thailand's resistance may de disastrously affected under heavy enemy bombing, unless fighting planes and antiaircraft units are made available to Bangkok in time. If supporting outside forces could assume the protection of the entire Malay Peninsula, up to and in contact with Bangkok, and give some naval aid in the Gulf of Siam, Thailand could concentrate her entire force against the major threat from the southeast to her distinct advantage. With relatively small quantities of military supplies and equipment, but particularly air force, antiair, and anti-mechanized elements, medium artillery ammunition, and technical or military advisers arriving in time, Thailand might hold out indefinitely.
THAILAND'S ARMED FORCES
40,000 Regular Army-well trained and equipped, organized into 5 Corps
(8,000 each) of 15 Inf. Divisions (2,500 each).
8,000 men mobilized in newly organized 6th Corps.
2,500 in Marine Division.
20,000 police force and border guards under military organization.
200,000 partially trained reserves not mobilized and lacking in
equipment. Only 2,000 trained reserve officers.
Mechanized force of 96 tanks and 150 motorcycle troops.
Anti Air defense-about 12 light guns, 8 75-A.A. and 8 searchlights.
Country wide air defense warning system.
200 airplanes of all types organized into 5 Army wings and 1 Naval wing.
600 trained pilots but no reserve planes.
Thai Naval Force consists of 4 heavy gunboats, 16 medium and small
torpedo boats, 12 motorboats and 5 small submarines. Sufficient
There is an arsenal in Bangkok with means for producing considerable
small arms and light artillery ammunition.
(EXHIBITS OF THE JOINT COMMITTEE, PHA, PT. 14, EXHIBIT NO. 33 MILITARY INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATES PREPARED BY G-2, WAR DEPARTMENT)