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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The Dan Carlin Podcast (Hardcore History) series ‘Supernova in the East’ is a long slog, but goes pretty deep into explaining this.

The TL;DR is that war is often a battle of attrition, Japan punched way above it’s weight class by creating the largest front of any war, ever (The entire pacific ocean) and it’s military was full of fanatical patriots that were a lot more comfortable with the horrors of the campaign, like not having any rations to live off of, or eventually, being suicide pilots.

While the conditions of the pacific theatre were horrific for GIs, the backbone of the American war effort was it’s robust industry and fuel supplies at home. IE, sink an American aircraft carrier, and 2 more replace it.

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