Pacific War Alternate History

In the Pearl Harbor minute-by-minute series, Indy refers to two possible alternate scenarios that didn’t happen, namely:

  1. The US makes a better deal to Japan to avoid war
  2. Japan just ignores the US, with the knowledge that the US fleet could not prevent an invasion of Malaya/Singapore/Indonesia.

What would these scenarios actually look like?

  1. A better deal would only hold off war for two years at most. The US had passed the Two-Ocean Navy Act in 1940, expanding the US Navy to first in world tonnage with 18 planned aircraft carriers and seven new battleships. I cannot see the US feeling any need to compromise with that size of fleet starting in 1943 when the initial capital ships from the order were commissioned.

  2. A seizure of Malaya, Singapore and Indonesia would be risky if the Phillippines remain in American hands. The sea routes to Japan would not be secure in from subs, surface ships or aircraft in that case.

Britain would retain India and could counterattack with the Indian Army and British naval bases there. If the US continues Lend-Lease and runs convoys to India through the Pacific (similar to the Atlantic and Germany), the temptation for the Japanese Navy to attack American Lend-Leaee convoys would be overwhelming. The Japanese Military had started wars with less justification (see Manchuria).

Same overall result, but the main theater shifts from the central Pacific to the Indonesian Archipelago. The British advocated for this in real life to cut off Japanese raw material supplies. They were overruled by the US Navy which saw the Pavific as a primarily Navy theatre.

I am sure Indy will discuss American Pacific command issues soon.