What if Japan and Russia
Blundered into War in 1939?
Throughout the run-up to World War Two, the Japanese and
Russians fought a series of border battles in Manchuria,
culminating in the Battle of Khalkhyn Gol (Battle of Nomonhan).
During the final battle, the Japanese – already outmatched by their
Russian enemies – suffered a string of unlucky events, such as bad weather than
grounded their aerial reconnaissance forces just before the final battle.
The Russians effectively destroyed much of the Japanese army in the
region and largely discouraged the Japanese from picking another fight with
them. The Far
remained quiet until 1945, when the Russians invaded and destroyed the Japanese
positions. What if things had been
butterfly flaps its wings in a slightly different pattern, altering the air
currents in a tiny manner.
August 1939: As
the Russians, under the command of Georgy Zhukov, prepared for their decisive
advance, Japanese aircraft spot the jaws of the advancing trap before it is too
late. Japanese airpower is called
in to delay the Russians while the Japanese High Command, realising that they
have stuck their heads in the tiger’s mouth, start working desperately to get a
realistic defence in place before it is too late.
Although the Japanese air attacks don’t
slow the Russians much, they give the Japanese soldiers on the ground access to
better reconnaissance and tactical support than their opponents.
The Japanese High Command works desperately to build a new
defence line as the first reports come in of encounters with Russian tanks.
The Japanese tin-cans simply cannot stand up to them, something
discovered very quickly after an armoured unit is obliterated by the Russians.
The Japanese airpower, however, is hacking away at Russian supply lines,
forcing the Russians to slow their advance as the Japanese rush units
northwards. Instead of a single
decisive battle, there are a series of running battles that are painful for the
Japanese, but not fatal.
Stalin is displeased by this. He
wanted to slap the Japanese back; instead, the Japanese are continuing to fight.
He orders the Russians to keep advancing, with the result that a Japanese
counter-attack cuts off and surrounds a stranded Russian division (as happened
in the Winter War.) The Japanese
claim that this is a great victory, although it is rather bittersweet as the
Russians keep fighting anyway and force the Japanese to reduce the pocket by
force. The Japanese also learn a
great many lessons about the dangers of Russian artillery and other advantages.
A captured Russian tank is shipped back to Japan urgently
with orders to duplicate it and put a new version into production.
The front stabilises as the Russians suffer a supply
crisis. Zhukov isn’t too worried
about it, because the Japanese are unable to dent his forces too badly.
The Japanese may have superior air power, but the Russians have the
strength to overcome and ignore it.
Stalin is less than happy though, because he has been hearing from the Germans.
They’re offering to split Poland between Russia and Germany, but
with a possible war in the Far East he doesn’t
dare get entangled with another war.
the Japanese Government realises that the war might have spun out of control.
The Japanese Army is acting, effectively, as an independent power.
The militarists insist that the remainder of Japan supports the Army, whatever
the risk. The Imperial Japanese
Navy steams north and hammers the Russian naval base at Vladivostok, destroying the Russian Far East
Fleet. Outraged, Stalin orders
additional units sent east. He has
blood in his eye.
Hitler isn’t too displeased by this turn of events.
He wanted to split Poland between Germany and Russia; now,
with the Russians distracted, he may be able to walk away with Poland anyway –
all of Poland.
He isn’t impressed by the reports from the Far East; if the Russians can be beaten by ‘little yellow
men,’ they won’t last long against his forces.
the German Army streams across the border and rapidly advances, aiming to crush
the Polish Army as fast as possible.
The Poles are originally shocked by the attack, with many army units
destroyed or otherwise shattered, but as the Germans advance the Polish
Government attempts to trade space for time.
They have more room to do it with than in OTL.
The Russians aren’t coming in from the east.
Hitler’s forces rapidly overwhelm the territory assigned to Germany by the
secret discussions between Hitler and Stalin.
The problem is that the Poles aren’t beaten and that they’re using
‘Russian’ territory as a base for rearming and preparing their forces.
Hitler, who knows that a long war would be fatal, orders the German Army
to advance into East Poland
and give chase. The Russians are
none too happy about that either.
The Japanese have been trying to funnel reinforcements
north, but it isn’t easy; relatively few units are up to the task of taking on
the Russians. The Japanese are also
looking for allies and outsiders to sell them tanks, but very few governments
want to sell them any tanks. The
Italians are the only ones to make any concrete offers and Italian tanks are not
only unimpressive, but are a very long way away.
are divided on what to do. The
French Army is unwilling to advance into Germany, even though the Poles are
still holding out. The British are
keen on more action, but there is nothing they can do without French agreement,
apart from a handful of bombing raids on Germany.
Stalin demands that the Germans honour their agreement with
the Russians, but Hitler balks. The
Germans have paid in blood and sweat for the Polish territory and they’re not
inclined to hand it over to the Russians.
Hitler just isn’t very impressed with the Russian Army on the other side
of the army. Every time the
Russians outrun their supply lines in the Far East,
they get roughly handled by the Japanese.
The Japanese are also putting pressure on the Germans to help them out
with the war, but Hitler hesitates.
The German Army is short on supplies and getting into a long war would be fatal.
On the other hand, Hitler knows that neither
would willingly come across the border and invade Germany.
The Western Powers might be quite happy to sit still for a game of ‘let’s
you and him fight.’
In the Far East, the
Russians launch yet another offensive that splutters out when it outruns its
supply lines. Hitler takes it as a
sign and starts shifting additional reinforcements into the east.
If the Russians are truly as weak as they seem…there is a chance for
glory. His generals, who are
themselves divided on the question, insist that Poland not be
treated poorly by the Germans. The
last thing the Germans need, if they do get into a war with the Russians, is a
in their rear area.
Stalin, suspecting that Hitler intends to launch an attack as soon as possible,
starts shifting heavy reinforcements into the west.
It is both alarming and reassuring to Hitler; alarming, because the
Russians are moving a lot of men and guns; reassuring, because the Russians
simply aren’t performing very well.
The Red Army has all kinds of problems, particularly in the west.
The Red Army of 1939 isn’t the force Hitler attacked in
1941 or the force that crushed
and took Berlin
in 1945. There are major weaknesses
within the army. Many experienced
officers had been purged only a short time ago.
Junior officers were not taught how to use their minds and think for
themselves. Political officers held
superiority over professional military officers.
The massive tank armies hadn’t been brought into existence (the famous
T-34 wasn't brought into service until 1940 or 1941) and there were major
shortages at all levels. Worst of
all, morale was rock-bottom, not least because of the ongoing war in the
Hitler’s forces surge across the border and into Byelorussia.
The Russians are to some extent expecting the invasion.
On the other hand, their defences are hardly in position to slow the
offensive down. The commissioners
make matters worse by insisting that the Red Army goes on the offensive at once
– as laid down in Soviet tactical doctrine – and ensure that large numbers of
trained and organised troops are fed into the German meatgrinder.
The Germans establish air supremacy over the battlefield very quickly,
capturing or destroying vast numbers of Russian troops.
Everything isn’t rosy, however.
The Germans are in no way geared up for a war against the
German units suffer massive supply shortages as they press further into
Russian territory, often having to fall back for want of supplies.
The German officers, trained to think quicker than their Russian
counterparts, start capturing and using Russian hardware alongside their own,
something that is – at first – officially discouraged.
There are a number of embarrassing incidents where German units run out
of ammunition and are slaughtered by the Russians.
The shock of those defeats, although tiny in the grand
scale of things, weakens Hitler’s position vis-à-vis his generals.
The Nazi Party was never very good with the economy and never had a
coherent plan to mobilise the entire country for war.
Now, Hitler is forced to demand extra sacrifices from the Germans and
rationalise the German industry.
This creates unhappy mutterings about a return to 1917, when
was starving as a result of the Allied blockade, although the SS manages to keep
a lid on any real discontent.
Stalin demands that the British and French launch an
invasion of Germany
at once, effectively stabbing Hitler in the back.
The various Communist Parties around the world suddenly discover that
Hitler is evil and start demanding immediate action.
This doesn’t amuse their detractors, who conclude – correctly – that most
of them are taking orders from
The governments in both Britain and France regard
the eastern war with a certain degree of relief.
Hitler and Stalin will hopefully destroy one another, allowing the west
to invade afterwards and impose a suitable peace.
Allied production is getting stronger all the time.
By 1942, they calculate,
will be far stronger than
Elements within the British Government are seriously considering aiding
the Germans against the Russians.
They always viewed communism as a greater threat that
As the rains start to fall in Russia, slowing the German advance
to a crawl, Stalin cleans house.
Blaming the defeats upon a number of generals, he orders several hundred people
and their families shot, further weakening morale within the USSR.
More practically, the Russians start working on plans to boost their
industry, calculating that they can eventually out-produce the Germans.
Stalin also takes the calculated risk of shipping some of the
better-trained and more competently-led forces from the Far
East to the West. The
Japanese, he decides, are a pain in the ass.
The Germans could very well be lethal.
More by luck than judgement – and against Hitler’s better
judgement – the Germans have stumbled onto a formula for possible victory.
Vast numbers of Ukrainians lived in Poland (in
territory that had originally been allotted to the Russians in 1939) and they
weren't always very happy about it.
The Russians treated the Ukrainians like dirt and worked hard to commit what was
effectively genocide in the 1930s.
If the Germans can tap that manpower, they would be able to multiply their
forces considerably. Against
orders, at least at first, German commanders reach out to Ukrainian communities
and start building up illicit fighting units.
Hitler isn’t too pleased about this turn of events.
His long-term plan for the USSR doesn’t
include any freedom or self-determination for the locals.
On the other hand, he needs them – and the military logic in favour of
using them has convinced most of his generals.
The last thing he needs is a major split between the civil and military
governments in Nazi Germany. The SS
have been considerably weakened by the sudden need to boost military power as
much as possible. Using captured
Russian equipment, the Germans start officially raising allied fighting units.
Ribbontrop points out that they can make all the promises their allies
could want. They can always go back
on them later.
has refused to declare war on the USSR, but has contributed several
army and air force units to join the fighting.
The Germans rapidly lose all respect for the Italian Army, but their air
force units do remarkably well. The
Italians also sell the Germans military supplies, including some obtained from
the Western Allies.
With offensive operations suspended for the moment, Stalin works hard to build
up a reserve of Russian military power that he can unleash once General Winter
really starts to grip the Germans.
The Western Allies are tapped for as much support as they can, although Britain cannot
send very much to the Russians and the British insist on being paid in hard
cash. Stalin calculates that if the
Russians can hold together for another couple of months, the Red Army can make a
decisive advance against the Germans and break their army.
The Russians are, however, having political problems.
The Germans are not only making use of local manpower, they are making
political promises to the Russians and their subject nationalities.
Stalin has no illusions about his personal popularity with the Russian
people. The collective farms are
loathed by the vast majority of Russian farmers and they would escape them if
they could. The Germans are working
to position themselves as the liberators of the Russians from the communists.
It is having a considerable effect on Russian minds.
The propaganda war is also spreading overseas.
The Germans have uncovered the remains of vast mass graves and have
invited the Red Cross to inspect them, confirming that they were killed by the
Russians. They have been recording
interviews with Ukrainian farmers willing to talk about the joys of communism
and how much they loved being starved to death by Stalin and his goons.
The propaganda plays surprisingly well in the
United States, damaging the reputation of the
Russians and communism. The US, as a general
rule, is content to remain isolationist.
Both sides in the war try to purchase American goods and recruit
Americans to fight on their side.
As October comes to an end, the Germans surround Leningrad.
The Russians, however, dig in and prepare to resist savagely.
Hitler wants to take the city intact, but the generals refuse to launch a
massive invasion of the city itself.
The German Army is too weak to risk it.
December 1939 –
January 1940: The German Army is having major problems.
They are short on almost everything, from fuel to winter clothing.
Worse, the trained cadre of leaders and soldiers the Germans built up is
being burned away…and there are relatively few experienced replacements.
Although the German generals fight hard to prevent it, the quality of
German leadership is falling rapidly.
They do have additional manpower from the Ukraine, opening
up new possibilities, but only if they survive this winter.
The German Air Force isn’t in a much better state.
The Russians have poorer machines than the Germans, yet there are a LOT
more of them.
The war at sea has effectively fizzled out after a handful
of German submarine successes. The
big battleships have been cancelled.
The German Navy has been largely sidelined for the war against Russia.
The Royal Navy has been escorting convoys from
Chamberlain surveys the situation with some satisfaction.
The Germans are being burned out by the war, allowing the British and
French to continue building up their forces and preparing for the final blow.
Some fire-eaters, including Churchill, would love to mount an immediate
offensive, but he sees no reason to risk an advance.
The Japanese Army is in a poor state.
Their main problem is that they cannot mount a challenge to the Russians
that actually will allow them to drive the Russians from the
Far East and gain a victory.
At the same time, they cannot actually withdraw, not after the Russians
managed to successfully bomb Japanese territory. The Italian tanks are better
than the Japanese tanks, but not really good enough to win the Japanese a
victory. The Russians can keep
funnelling in manpower and machines, trapping Japan in a war
of attrition they cannot win.
Worse, from their point of view, China has suddenly grown much worse.
The Chinese Communists have started launching savage attacks against
Japanese positions. The
Nationalists, not to be outdone, have started launching their own attacks.
The Japanese urgently need to deal with both threats, but they don’t have
the resources to deal with either.
Worst of all, the propaganda about Japanese atrocities – not even slightly
exaggerated – is convincing the
to start slapping sanctions on
France and Britain follow
suit, placing the Japanese in a downward spiral.
With the Red Army as ready as it will ever be, Stalin
launches Operation Lenin – the relief of
Two mighty prongs of soviet manpower advance towards the German lines, intent on
forcing the Germans into a war of attrition.
Stalin had scraped up everything he could funnel into the area to make
the offensive as powerful as possible, spearheaded by Far Eastern units.
The Germans see the offensive coming and deploy against it.
The battle begins and rapidly spreads out of control.
Both sides learn a great deal from the fighting.
The Russian Far Eastern divisions learn that German tanks are much better
than Japanese tanks and that the Germans actually know how to use them.
The Germans learn that some Russians are actually capable of commanding
and coordinating a moving battle.
The Russians, however, are not quite good enough to actually deliver a killing
blow to the Germans. The Germans
launch a counterattack that came alarmingly close to breaking the Russian lines
before they ran out of supplies.
With several units destroyed or captured because of supply problems, the Germans
disengage and pull back from Leningrad.
The Russians win the battle on points.
Soviet propaganda transforms it into the greatest victory in world
The defeat brings the tension between Hitler and his
generals into the open. The
Generals have long been critical of advice from the jumped-up corporal.
On the other side, Hitler regards them as conservative hidebound
reactionaries, hardly inclined to give their all for the New Order.
The Generals, who have been giving the Ukrainians more and more
self-government, clearly don’t have the willingness to do whatever it takes to
crush the Russians. Himmler, at
Hitler’s orders, had been drawing up a plan for a new Night of the Long Knives,
aimed at the Generals. Unluckily
for Hitler, one of the people he trusted enough to know about this plot was
Erwin Rommel, the former commander of his personal guard and – since then –
promoted forward by Hitler himself.
Horrified, Rommel alerted the army’s senior officers, believing that a power
struggle in Germany would be
As the German Army stumbles back from Leningrad, the Generals strike first.
is rapidly secured by an infantry unit that had been brought back from the front
for R&R. Hitler is taken into
custody by some of his forces – after a botched attempt to kill himself – and
transported to a secret and secret location.
The SS is rapidly disbanded, with its fighting units folded into the
German Army and its police/security units broken up.
Most of the Nazi elite are either arrested or killed resisting arrest.
The Generals don’t have a clear idea what to do with Germany.
They have no intention of subjecting their country to another humiliating
treaty at the end of a lost war. On
the other hand, they are in an open war with the
and declared war with Britain
That is an untenable situation for Germany and they
don’t share Hitler’s confidence that the British and French won’t intervene.
German intelligence has an excellent idea of just how powerful both sides
are becoming and they know that they cannot win a war on two fronts.
1940: As the Russian offensive in the west burns itself out, the Russians
launch an attack in the Far East.
This time, the Russians have prepared carefully for an offensive,
including stockpiling vast amounts of supplies and older equipment that is less
useful against the Germans, but very capable against the Japanese.
Several Japanese units are destroyed by the shelling and then in the
retreat as the Russians push forward.
The Japanese prepare to cut off the Russians when they run out of
supplies – as in every other Russian advance – but this time the Russians don’t
push the advance too far. Instead,
they chew up the Japanese as they retreat and settle down to resupply.
Stalin is growing more concerned about the Ukraine and the
German-backed nationalists. Now
that the Germans have walked away with a bloody nose, they need the Ukrainians
more than ever. The Ukrainian
Nationalists have established a semi-government over a ‘Ukraine’ that includes parts of
and several Russian enslaves.
Luckily for him, the Ukrainians are carrying out ethnic cleansing rather than
attempting to convince the Russians to stay as part of a new Ukraine.
Even so, the Ukraine does hold an alarming amount
of factories, natural resources and manpower.
Given time, the Ukrainians may be able to become a major threat in their
A worse problem is that the Russians are running out of
foreign exchange. They have a
number of dependences on imported supplies and the West is refusing to sell them
except for cash in hand. Stalin
suspects – from Russian spy rings – that such supplies will eventually become
dependent upon political concessions.
The new Ukrainian nation has been playing well in the west.
Stalin has been seriously considering attempting to do a
deal with the Germans, making concessions now and breaking them later.
It looks attractive, on the face of it, but it wouldn’t play well with
the Russian public. Stalin knows
that outright rebellion is all too possible, if only because of the example of
and the thousands of thousands of Russians working for the Germans.
The last thing he needs is to create a perception of weakness.
Germany, the Generals are concentrating on
rebuilding their army and feeling out the west for peace terms.
Sweden is quite
prepared to help negotiate peace, but Germany and Britain/France are
talking about very different terms. Britain wants a
an independent Ukraine
and general German disarmament. France is more
interested in the latter. The
German Generals want to keep what they’ve gained, at least parts of Poland and
The eastern front is quiet, for the moment, as both sides
struggle to prepare for new battles.
Poland isn’t so
quiet. The Russians have been
trying to smuggle in guns and encourage uprisings against the Germans, in hopes
that the Germans will crack down hard and sully their image in the eyes of the
world. The Poles are not, however,
as badly treated as in OTL and resistance is more random than focused or
No one expects the quiet to last for long.
April 1940: The
Germans, correctly suspecting that the Russians are preparing for another
hammer-blow, launch a spoiling attack of their own.
Without Hitler’s pressure, the plans are much less ambitious than their
former plans. The forces assembled
for battle also include new tank designs, which have been improved with the
lessons learned from the war. The
attack makes considerable progress at first, but then fails as the Russians
counter-attack. Stalin has figured
out the German weakness and is intent on making them burn up as much of their
supplies and ammunition as possible.
The Russians launch a series of additional operations
against German lines, concentrating on heavy attacks that force the Germans to
fight back or fall back in disarray.
Many of the attacks cost the Russians dearly, but Stalin isn’t concerned
and by the end of the fighting, the Russians have definitely gained ground.
Stalin intends to keep on the pressure as much as possible, weaken the
Germans and then launch another mighty offensive in June.
Germany, the Generals find themselves
confronting the possibility of a disastrous defeat.
That looses all kinds of resolutions.
The Germans reach out to the Polish underground – in typical Polish
fashion, the Germans and the Poles had known how to talk to one another for
quite some time – and start trying to do a deal.
They’re prepared to offer to create a rump
that will be independent of the Germans, in exchange for an end to Polish
resistance and Polish support for Germany’s war with Russia.
The Polish underground hesitates.
They have no love for Stalin, and coming back into the open would allow
them to save Poland from the worst excesses of
the German regime, but they don’t trust the Germans to keep their word.
They drive a hard bargain.
The Germans have to arm and train a new Polish Army, release POWs and allow free
communications and trade to the west.
The German Generals are not happy about this, but they don’t see much
choice. Germany is
rapidly running out of friends.
During the Russian offensive, the Russians encountered an
Italian division commanded by a crony of Mussolini’s.
The Italians were unprepared for modern combat and were rapidly and
brutally eliminated. The disaster
shakes the underpinnings of the fascist regime in
and Mussolini is removed from power by the King.
The new Italian government withdraws the remaining Italian troops from
the war and renounces Mussolini’s demented foreign policy.
With the Italians out of the war, the Germans know that the
odds are rapidly tipping against them.
The British and French are not only building up their own forces, but are
learning from the lessons of the German-Russian War.
The Germans are still better trained, but the British and French – mainly
the French – have much more equipment and manpower.
The British also have better aircraft than the Germans and more of them.
Best of all, from the British point of view, the gold the Russians had to
pay them for support is an unexpected boost to the British economy.
The war is actually proving good for business.
In the Far East, disaster
strikes for Japan
as the Russians launch their largest offensive yet into the teeth of the
Japanese positions. This time, the
Japanese have a massive stroke of bad luck as a shell hits their HQ and kills
the officer in command of the Japanese forces in the region.
Before someone else can assume command, the Russians have advanced and
encountered Japanese forces that have not been ordered to fall back and retreat.
The Russians are deploying so much firepower that entire Japanese
positions are just blown out of the ground.
The Japanese lines are not only shattered, but they cannot fall back and
regroup at the next set of lines.
The Russians have a little help from the Chinese
Communists. The Japanese have been
forcing Chinese coolies to work for them as their logistics are poor.
Many of those coolies were communists who volunteered to work for the
Japanese. At the right time, the
coolies turned on the Japanese and attacked them, tearing apart the Japanese
rear areas and wrecking supply dumps.
Japanese troops had to be diverted to deal with the uprising, which meant
that the Russians were able to advance much further without being stopped.
In Tokyo, the Japanese
Government wants to find a way out of the war, but the militarists are
determined to fight on.
May 1940: As
the new Polish Government begins to take on form, the Western Allies finally go
on the offensive. The French start
with heavy shelling of the West Wall, followed by a heavy tank and infantry
offensive to take the German defences before the Germans rally and
counterattack. The RAF and French
Air Force launch massive fighter sweeps, intent on sweeping the German aircraft
from the skies, while Bomber Command launches attacks on German positions to the
The Allies have a number of advantages over the Germans.
The British have perfected radar systems – including airborne radar –
that gives them an unexpected advantage in the battle.
The Allies also have far more firepower and, oddly, better tanks.
The downside is that the Allies have little real experience and most of
the Allied Generals are untested.
The Germans have long had a contingency plan for an Allied
attack. Once Hitler was removed,
the Generals worked to reinforce the West Wall, although the most modern units
had to be deployed to the east. The
Germans concentrate on delaying the allies once it becomes clear that the West
Wall isn’t going to hold them back for long.
The Germans call up their final reserves and put them at the line, hoping
to delay the allies long enough for forces to be diverted back from the east.
Much to the fury of armour enthusiasts like de Gaulle, the
allied advance is slow and ponderous.
It does have the advantage of forcing the Germans to realise that it is a
heavy sledgehammer, but the Germans keep falling back and delaying the advance.
The Germans mount several deception operations intended to convince the
allies that they’re planning to hook through
and strike for Paris, but the defenders of Belgium report that the attacks are
little more than probes and slap them back.
They do not, however, enter the war formally.
In the east, Stalin sees his chance and orders the great
offensive launched a month and a half ahead of time.
At first, the Russians make headway against the Germans, who have been
stabbed in the back, but then the Germans rally and counterattack.
The Russians are not yet good enough to pull off such an offensive and
half of the preparation has not yet been completed.
The Germans launch a series of smashing counterattacks that give the
Russians a very bloody nose.
Historians would later comment that if the British and French hadn’t been
invading from the west, the Germans came closest then to knocking the Russians
out of the war.
The Germans Generals are smart enough to see the writing on
the wall. Working through Sweden, they
make contact with the Allies and ask for terms.
While there is a strong (mainly-French) feeling that Germany should
be ground under, the British are not so keen on the idea.
Crushing Germany will probably mean another
German War in twenty years and this time the Allies might lose.
That would be bad. Stalin
demands a seat at the peace table and doesn’t get it.
The French – and to a lesser extent British – Communists treat it as a
betrayal and riot. The French Army
puts down the French Communists with considerable enthusiasm.
In June, the peace treaty is signed.
Germany agrees to return ethnic
Polish territory to Poland.
The Czechs are freed, although a referendum in
insists that the Austrians want to remain with Germany.
The Ukraine (not the one in OTL; it includes part of Poland and less of Eastern Ukraine) is recognised as an independent state.
The German-held territory in Belarus is
recognised as being in German custody, a droll way of admitting that no one
wants to see the USSR
reoccupy it, least of all the locals.
The Germans promise to respect the locals and, eventually, to leave their
territory. The Poles reluctantly
agree to grant the Germans transhipment rights across Polish territory.
Stalin sees himself – correctly – as having been betrayed,
although the Allies made no promises about the future of Russian territory.
His first inclination is to continue the war, but it seems that the
Germans will be welcomed back into the family of nations and will soon be
drawing on the western industries to power a war against the
Sullenly, Stalin concedes the lost territories – for now.
They can always, he tells himself, be regained later.
In the meantime, the Russians ship additional forces
eastwards and advance against the Japanese.
The Japanese simply cannot stand up to the Russians when they have their
supply lines working, which they do now.
With attacks from Chinese and Korean resistance fighters in their rear –
the Chinese, at least, being supplied by the Americans – the Japanese position
crumbles. Russian tanks keep
advancing until the Russians occupy Manchuria
In Japan, the militarists are removed
from office by the Emperor, who finally speaks out against them.
The Japanese economy effectively collapses.
The new government negotiates terms from the Americans and British and
generally renounces imperialism, for the moment.
Late 1940: The
winding down of the war provokes a major recession in Germany.
The Germans find themselves attempting to sell war material and war
expertise to anyone who will buy it.
The Poles, ironically, find themselves learning from the Germans, as do
the Finns, Ukrainians and local units raised in
The Generals, who are still in command of the state, calculate that if
they can hold on to their links to Eastern Europe, Germany
will be well-placed to rebound.
The absence of the Holocaust means that the German Jewish
population is still alive. Quite a
few are prepared to remain in
Germany, but most of them want to emigrate
to…anywhere that will take them.
is their preferred destination of choice, most of them end up being allowed to
emigrate to Australia,
or South Africa.
The British and French go through a minor recession,
although they don’t suffer as badly as the Germans.
Without the shock of the world wars, decolonisation proceeds slower than
becoming independent in 1950 and much of South Africa after that.
Stalin finds his position increasingly shaky as the Russian
population starts experiencing the fallout from the war.
which has abolished collective farming, is experiencing an economic boom and the
Russians, who have eyes, are able to realise what it means.
Resistance to the communists starts to spread through the Russian
countryside, with commissioners being ambushed and killed and a low-level civil
war underway by 1943. The booty the
Russians took off the Japanese does not make up for the war.
The Japanese find themselves considering a headlong rush
against the Dutch East Indies in the hope that
it will bring them enough raw materials to allow the Japanese Government to
survive. Such a plan, however, is
increasingly obviously suicidal and, eventually, a democratic government makes a
number of concessions. Japanese
society continues to stumble from left to right, but as technology advances they
become increasingly backward and far less of a threat to the rest of the world.
FDR loses the election in late 1940, as there is no
overseas threat to galvanise him into winning.
profited from the war, to some extent, but remained neutral and, over the years,
became even more isolationist.
In this timeline, atomic weapons are not invented until
1950, along with atomic power and other such inventions.
The Germans lead the world into space, but all of the major powers follow