If Japan Had Not Attacked Pearl Harbor, History Could Have Been So Different

Pearl Harbor survivor Bill Johnson reads the list of names inscribed in the USS Arizona Memorial.
Pearl Harbor survivor Bill Johnson reads the list of names inscribed in the USS Arizona Memorial.

As we all know, Pearl Harbor was one of the major turning points of World War II.

Japan’s devastating attack was a surprise assault, resulting in the loss of two US Navy battleships and the deaths of over 2,000 people, both military and civilian. The attack led to the USA declaring war on Japan in the Pacific Theatre, and ultimately to the destruction of the Axis powers.

However, what if Japan had never actually bombed Pearl Harbor? How could the events in history have played out?

Of course, looking at the ‘what ifs’ in relation to major historical events can be very difficult. It can also be an endless exercise, and some will undoubtedly see it as a pointless one. But on the other hand, it can be very interesting, and can offer us new insights into what DID happen.

Speculation abounds on this particular topic, as with many of the great events of the 20th-century, and specifically the Second World War. What if Hitler had heeded the old advice, learning from Napoleon, and had not attacked Russia? What if his troops had been better equipped to face the harsh winter conditions when they did attack?

If Japan had not attacked the USA, would Japan have joined the war in some other way? Would have America have been drawn in anyway, or would she have ended up defending herself years later from a Nazi Empire in Western Europe? The questions are endless.

In this video by “All about History” we look specifically at a scenario where Japan that did not only shy away from bombing Pearl Harbor but also turned her back on the war in China. Would that have been likely?

We will never know for sure, but it’s certainly worth investigating further.

Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.

@joris1944 facebook.com/joris.nieuwint