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“By early 1945, Japan’s ability to provide raw materials for its industries, and even to feed itself, was fatally crippled. The nation could import by sea no more than a fraction of its requirements. An invisible ring of steel extended around the waters of the home islands, created by the submarines of the U.S. Navy. . . . Every nation’s soldiers instinctively believe that wars are won by engaging the armies of the enemy and seizing terrain. Yet the most critical single contribution to the American defeat of Japan was made far out of sight of any general, or indeed admiral. The Japanese empire was uniquely vulnerable to blockade. Its economy was dependent upon fuel and raw materials shipped from China, Malaya, Burma and the Netherlands East Indies. Yet, unlike the British, who faced a similar threat to their Atlantic lifeline, the Japanese failed to equip themselves with a credible anti-submarine force to defend their commerce. Here was one of the major causes of Japan’s downfall. . . . No other combatant force as small as the U.S. Navy’s submarine flotillas and their 16,000 men achieved a comparable impact upon the war anywhere in the world.” – Max Hastings, Retribution

Published inEconomicsMax HastingsThe Second World War

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