What if Japan had won the Battle of Khalkhin Gol?

Would Japan have continued a war against the Soviets with a plan to capture resources in Siberia? Rather than switching to a Southern strategy led by the IJN? Would this avoid the US ever entering the war?


well… it is hard to say what might have happened but yes… the Japanese might have gone ahead with their Northern expansion doctrine and may have split the soviet union with the germans. The only problem is that Siberia is vast and cold, so a perfect place for guerilla warfare. The infrastructure isn’t that great too… so I hardly see the japanese succeeding in their conquest of the soviet union.


I got to agree with you on this one. Japan was never going to succeed in Siberia. Besides that there was still the problem of supplies. Siberia has stuff but no infrastructure to get it out. Everything Japan needed now to have their empire was south.


It’s simple. The single greatest resource shortage for Japan was oil. The US had embargo would have shortly crippled Japan. In 1941 the Japanese went to the (utterly undefended) Dutch East Indies demanding supply. The US forced the Dutch to say no, but typically, did nothing to protect that zone. British Malaysia alsi had good oil resources and was very poorly defended.
In contrast Siberia had zero oil (operational and with pipelines) and the Soviet far Eastern forces (even if defeated in one battle) were many times stronger than all the forces facing Japan in the South.
Given these facts the Northern strategy makes no sense irrespective of the tactical situation.


A Jaanese attack on the Soviet Union in 1942 could have helped Germany to defeat the Soviet Union. Japan’s position would have been improved by a collapse of the Soviet Union. Because the Japanese navy Did not inform the army about their defeat at Midway, the Japanese army did not know how much they needed a German victory. Otherwise the might have lobbied harder for an attack on Russia.

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No it would not have because

  1. As mentioned above by @phelim.murnion once the US embargoes Japan, Japan loses around 80% of it’s oil supply. In other words to feed it’s war machine, it needs oil. It can’t get oil from the Soviet union because they are on bad terms and after Germany invades the Soviet Union, I don’t think Stalin’s paranoia will be willing to give Germany’s ally any help because he did the same to germany and was “betrayed”.

  2. Let’s say Japan decides to invade the Soviet union. There’s no doubt that Japan’s navy would obliterate the Soviets Vladivostok fleet. So will the Soviet union surrender to the Japanese and give them what they want? Hard to say as it is alternate history. I think no! Stalin probably would view it as clash of ideologies and not surrender which means japan has to invade the USSR.


Here is a map of the Soviet Unions railroads in the year 1986. As you can see most of the infrastructure, it towards the west. Which means getting the supplies to the army as they advance further inwards would become a nightmare as they keep on advancing the soviet union and they would get bogged down pretty easily. So to solve the problem of one static front, they would solve it by creating another static front.


To add the woes… the general geography of the eastern side of the soviet union is mountainy. And mountains are not exactly an awesome place to conduct warfare. So if the Germans shot themselves in the foot by invading the soviet union, japan would have bazooka-ed their own foot.

  1. It is entirely possible that the Germans may have taken Moscow if the Japanese invaded as they couldn’t divert troops from the eastern front. But Napolean too took Moscow and look how that turned out. And judging by the fight at Stalingrad, the soviets would keep fighting to the bitter end just like the Germans did in our timeline.

  2. The caucus mountains are too far away… Dutch east indies close. Therefore it makes much more sense to take Dutch east indies. But that means the Northern expansion has to be abandoned and war will the allies and that is what happened in our timeline.


Stalin did pull forces from Siberia to defend Moscow. So having yo keep those forces in siberia and supplied would of drained what they could send west.

Also the IJA was always pitching for this northern strategy so they must of had some expectation to be able to exact the resources from Siberia’s nascent oil and mining industries they needed?

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wouldn’t that be for a long term plan, as they would invest resources into Siberia to get that nascent oil. But that doesn’t solve japans immediate problem that being the US embargo due to which they would run out of oil in 2 years which is why they chose the southern expansion doctrine.

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My understanding that the two competing strategies was the IJA northern strategy against the USSR, and the IJN southern strategy. It was the navy that eventually won the argument hence how history played out. However, with a solid victory under the army belt against the soviets then you could see the northern strategy winning out.

In the summer of 1942 Japan had only two ways of delivering a decisive blow to their ennemies. One was a succesfull invasion of British India amd afterwards attacking the Middle East.
The other option was attacking the Soviet Union in order to help Germany crush the Soviet Union.

Half of the Lendlease aid to Russia was shipped through waters controlled by Japan.cutting off that lifeline to Russia alone could have caused a famine in Russia, that had lost many grain producing areas to Germany.