entrence of the United States into WW 2 Did the entrence of the United States into WW 2, coming about six months after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, make the defeat of Germany, Japan and Italy inevitable?  

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Had Japan focused on conquering the Far East and India and stayed out of the Pacific, the nominal reason for US involvement would have been removed. Moreover, I wonder if the Axis could have attacked the Soviet Union, Germany from one side and Japan from the other, causing the Soviet Union to fall (remember Hitler almost defeated them with just the European Axis nations.)

Had the US stayed out of the war, perhaps the Axis and Soviet Union would have destroyed each other.

 

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I agree that "inevitable" is too strong a word.  I suspect that the U. S.. population would, at the very least, have demanded victory over Japan. It was Hitler, ironically, who foolishly declared war on the U. S. since Germany was Japan's ally.

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I wouldn't say that the US entrance into the war made defeat inevitable. It certainly changed the dynamics of the war. The war may have been won without US involvement, but the US certainly contributed. The war could also have been lost even with US involvement if Hitler and the countries involved had taken a different role. Japan (nor anyone else) suspected that the US would retaliate with such ferocity. While the US played a part in winning WWII, I'm not sure you can say they made a win inevitable.
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Few historians, including military historians, will say that anything is inevitable. In addition to Post 3's points about Axis strategy, it was also entirely possible that the US might have lost at Midway, or in any of the other crucial battles in the Pacific, just as German victory on the eastern front was possible. Like everything else in life (maybe more than anything else) military history is full of contingencies and possibilities. Axis defeat, while obviously more likely, was by no means inevitable as a result of US entry.

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Conventional wisdom says yes, but how can we really know?  There is no way to tell what might have happened.  It seems to me that the United States were involved in the war in one way or another before officially entering.

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I'll say no.  What if, when the US entered the war, the Axis had sort of gone into a defensive shell?  What if the Japanese hadn't tried to attack Midway?  If the Japanese had concentrated their forces where they already were and hadn't tried to keep expanding, they might well have been able to force a stalemate.  If Hitler had pulled back from trying to invade the USSR and consolidated his power over the rest of Europe, he might have forced a stalemate.

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Absolutely. Hitler had already made the fatal mistake of double-crossing the Soviet Union and invading the huge nation, which forced him to concentrate hundreds of thousands of troops that could have been deployed elsewhere. When Japan's advances in the Pacific were halted and Allied victories in North Africa drove the Axis troops back to the European mainland, it was the beginning of the end for Germany and Japan. The American invasion of Sicily and, later, Normandy, made Allied victory inevitable. 

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