Eli5: Why was Japan so strong during ww2…

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Why were they such a huge power compared to the neighbours in the beginning of ww2?

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Their navy, a war spread over a large area of mainly islands, they had carriers and well drilled pilots and crews, their only real opposition was the royal navy detachment out of Singapore and some Australian navy ships initially

Speed, momentum and brutality go a long way, but they weren’t actually that strong as regards reserves or long term planning. Way over extended in the end. If they hadn’t attacked pearl harbor they might have been able to take some of the islands and hold onto them

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