Crimson Century: An Alternate Cold War

Entry One: Iowa, Iowa, That's Where The Tall Corn Grows
Introduction: This is a collaborative work between me, RedHistorian1917, and GroßDeutchesKaiserreich. Entries from both of us are official for this work. I hope you enjoy Crimson Century.

Entry One: Iowa, Iowa, That's Where The Tall Corn Grows

It was a cold morning in Washington as the sun began to rise. The cool air from the Potomac sat at odds with the swampy terrain which formed Washington DC. A man bound by a wheelchair looked out the window of the Oval Office. He felt very old and frail yet there was still a brightness and glimmer to the man. His mood was that of optimism. The landings in France were successful, the Soviets were in Poland and the Japs were scurrying in retreat in Asia. However, there was a matter he needed to attend to. In the Democratic Party, there was a threatening divide forming between the Southern Democrats and Progressives. At the center of this was his popular Vice President Henry Wallace.

A woman walked in the room, “You’re up early”. FDR smiled, “slept well for once last night. Still, this nomination business is bothering me”. Eleanor then replied, “it’s about Henry isn’t it?” Eleanor walked over to face him directly. Frustrated, he replied. “These Dixiecrat geezers honey. They are making all kinds of trouble over Wallace, I'm just wondering if it’s worth it”. Eleanor’s expression went stern upon this comment, she admired Wallace and saw him as the main architect of the New Deal Policy which made her husband an unprecedented three-term president. After a brief pause Eleanor spoke up, “Henry has stuck by us for a long time Franklin, we should as well”. FDR replied, “I know El, he is the people’s choice but it will upset the Dixiecrats immensely and we may need them”. The first lady paused considering her husband's position. “It’s party vs friend, I think this time we should go with Henry”. FDR’s expression became less stern and he made his decision, “I agree El, I’ll support Henry.

A few days passed as rumors spread around Washington as different news circulated. Some said that FDR was going to drop Wallace while others said Wallace would be President perhaps even longer than FDR himself. Eventually, FDR summoned Wallace to the Oval Office for a late afternoon meeting. The two sat down for tea. “Thanks for inviting me over Franklin, I have a lot to talk with you about”. Wallace was an eccentric idealist, an odd creature compared to the typical Washington politician. He spoke fluent Spanish, studied Zoroastrianism, and represented the left-progressive faction of New Dealers. FDR was glad to see a different face other than that of his doctor. “It’s good to see you, Henry, we have a lot to talk about. FDR motioned for a server to bring the crackers and tea over. FDR took a sip, “This stuff puts me right to sleep, I think it’s something chamomile”, “Herbs do wonderous things Mr. President” Wallace upliftingly remarked.

After finishing the cup the two men began to talk the business at hand with FDR commenting first. “So, I'm hearing a lot of talk at hand about the convention, the dixies are raising a holy war over your candidacy. I suspect they just want one of their guys when I go. “Well I can say one thing, Frank, I’m not one of their guys. These dixie agents of reaction in our party have kept the blacks in Jim Crow bondage”. FDR sighed, it was an unfortunate situation that had developed in the South. “I know Wal,” the man said with the tired voice of a three-term president. Henry and FDR began to conclude the sit down as FDR then asked Wallace to come over, Wallace did. Roosevelt, now very tired, finally said “Henry, I hope it can be the same team and I’ll come to Chicago if that’s what it takes”.

A week later the convention began, despite the resistance and backroom maneuvering, the winds were obvious. In the hot July days of the convention, the delegates made their will known. The chants “we want Wallace” filled the hall, even the loudspeaker was hijacked to play Wallace’s “Iowa Song”. Wallace’s support in the convention looked to be unstoppable. Furious and desperate the party insiders tried to adjourn the first night and not hold a ballot. The uproar was overwhelming as insults of “rigged”, “dixie” and “baron”. However, this was halted as FDR entered the convention building to give a short speech. The convention grew silent as the once thought diminished man began to speak. It was slow but at the same time unmovable and forceful. “Mr. Chairman, the delegate's choice must be heard. You shall not adjourn democracy tonight. If Henry Wallace is supported by the majority of the people of this convention then Henry Wallace shall be my Vice President on my ticket”! As soon as FDR stopped speaking the convention roared in approval. It was almost unanimous, there was little the party insiders could do. Henry Wallace would be on FDR’s ticket as Vice President in November.
Entry Two: The Cripple and The Bolshevik
As Redhistorion1917 said, this a collab timeline so work posted by the two of us is official

Claus von Stauffenburg, attempted assassin of Nazi Fuhrer Adolf Hitler
Entry Two: The Cripple and the Bolshevik

Stauffenburg pulled his briefcase to the sink of the washroom. Opening the leather case, he quickly got to work. Grabbing one of the detonators, he carefully moved one of the plastic explosives, cut into rectangles and wrapped in brown paper. Struggling with the paper, Claus tried in vain to unwrap the bomb with his stubbed right hand. Forced to place down the detonator, only then was Claus able to unwrap the paper to reveal a part of the explosive. Reaching for a pair of pliers within the briefcase, Claus crushed down on the end of the copper detonator and inserted the primed detonator into the explosive brick. Breathing quickly, Claus moved onto the next bomb. the washroom lights flickered as Claus struggled to try and prime the detonator, instead of jabbing the copper tube into the explosive and ripping the paper. Only moments were Claus away from picking up the pliers and arming the second bomb when he heard a knock on the washroom door. “Hurry up Claus! The conference is about to begin!”

In a panicked stupor, Claus slammed shut the briefcase, taking out the unprimed bomb and quickly leaving the washroom, handing the dud explosive to his aide de camp waiting outside and entered into the meeting room, not having noticed his sweat covered and mildly disheveled face. Taking his seat only a handful of feet away from the Fuhrer himself, Claus set down the briefcase, setting it down as close as possible to Hitler. With everyone in the room Hitler spoke: “If everyone is accounted for, let us begin.” The conference then went into action, with Keitel taking center stage “Commonwealth forces have reached Caen, and American armor has defeated our forward positions in Contentin. I find it highly unlikely that the enemy forces there can be contained for much more than a handful of weeks at best.” Hitler nodded “What do you think you would need to contain the Allies for another month?” Keitel immediately responded, “About 15 divisions and air support could allow me to maintain the front for the foreseeable future.” The response was a near-universal complaint from the staff. Claus himself believed it unnecessary to send men to the Normandy meatgrinder when the East was in such a dire situation. After arguing and deliberation with no general consensus, a small break was called.

All the while, Claus impatiently awaited the phone call that would take him from this room. The bomb was going to go off any minute now, and he had to be out of dodge as soon as possible. An aide ran into the room, and Claus perked up in relief. The aide did not, however, bring Claus away for his scripted phone call, but rather passed a note to Hitler. Claus’s face turned white in fear but was soon dispelled from his shock when Hitler began grumbling. “So the cripple has chosen the Bolshevik eh?” The officers and generals peered over, interested. One of the officers, von Puttkamer remarked “They chose Wallace?” Glancing over at the note that Hitler showed to the staff. The mood in the room quickly turned from one of bleak despair to unbridled humor, with the staff members joking about the “capitalist bastion” having fallen to bolshevism “well the jews already ran Roosevelt, now it looks like the Bolsheviks are as well” a general cracked. Claus chuckled mildly, desperately looking for a way out as he could almost feel the primer about to go off. When another aide entered the room and requested for Stauffenberg, he left promptly, not even caring to request permission to leave from the Fuhrer, who Claus assumed would be dead in less than a minute.
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Entry Three: The Hammer and Steel

General Secretary Joseph Stalin and Foreign Affairs Minister Vyacheslav Molotov
Entry Three: The Hammer and Steel

A man stood, staring out into the horizon. The setting sun tinted the sky a vivid orange, and the lake was still and clear. Forming a small smile, he felt himself relax. Four hellish years of war and misery had taken its toll on the general secretary, and being the commander in chief of the largest land army in the world, fighting the largest and bloodiest conflict the world had ever seen wasn’t what anyone would call an easy job. Stalin had little quarrel with that, he was prepared to see this war through to the end, which everyone knew was upon them. A vibrant feeling of victory and joy seemed to linger just beyond the corner. He had felt it in Moscow, at Stalingrad, and after the liberation of Belarus. But now it was really here. Warsaw had been liberated, and the road to Berlin and victory was open.

Turning around, Stalin saw the conference building. Delegates were leaving, among them generals and representatives. Stalin watched the British Prime Minister and his attaches leaving. Frowning, he personally never liked the Prime Minister, who always seemed like more of an adversary than an ally. Still, being in the war longer than the Americans, the British were the first real ally the Soviets shared since the revolution. Stalin was broken from his thoughts by a familiar voice. “Yalta was a good choice.” Called Molotov, walking up towards Stalin with his hands in his pockets. “Well, we weren’t going to show them Sevastopol.” Stalin chuckled, materializing a pipe from his pocket. “That’s the thing, now isn’t it,” Molotov responded, his tone much more serious. Handing a lighter to Stalin, Molotov continued. “We are rebuilding yes, but the country is in ruin. We’ve lost millions of men, and our industry is exhausted.”
“What’s your point?” Stalin started aggressively, annoyed at what Molotov was saying, as though he figured Stalin didn’t know what was going on in the Union. As Stalin lit his pipe, Molotov continued, unphased. “You and I both know Churchill and his political allies in Britain hold contempt for both us and the Union. We can’t ignore it. The Red Army’s position in Poland is under heavy critique.”

“So I'll tell you what I told Churchill, and what I told Roosevelt, and what I told everyone in that conference. I have no intention of swallowing Poland. Poland’s relation to the USSR is a matter of national and ideological security. Besides, Roosevelt and the new vice-president seem to be much more amenable to negotiation.” Molotov nodded but placed in his own counter-argument. “Then if and when they are unelected and replaced by a less amenable leader? What if we are forced into a situation of conflict with our current allies”
“If we see a conflict with the western powers, I am confident the Red Army can defeat them, just as we have beaten back the fascists,” Stalin replied

“What makes you so sure? Forgive me comrade, the USSR alone cannot bring down the combined might of the capitalist powers, with all their untouched industry, their young and strong populations, against ours, bombed, broken, and battered. I have no doubts the Red Army could defeat the Allies and evict them from Germany, but come four years’ time, the back of the proletariat dream will be vanquished.” Stalin grumbled. “I don’t like this kind of talk Molotov.” “Neither do I. But it’s what you need to hear, it’s not an exaggeration to say the fate of international leftism is at stake. The dream of world revolution is not dead. The fascist reich will be destroyed, and from there we will secure East Europe and the Far East. But we cannot overstretch ourselves. I fear committing our interests too far deep into central and western Europe will leave us vulnerable. If we try to fight the capitalists on their own turf, we will be forced back. Us two are the only people standing between our great socialism in one country, and the failure of all socialist countries.” Stalin’s eyes fixated on a lamppost, which he analyzed for no particular reason. “Well, you are right about one thing Molotov.”
“And that is?”
“We will need to destroy the fascists first.”
Entry Four: The Emperor Has No Clothes

USS Iowa prepares a broadside against Japanese coastal batteries, with USS Indiana offering support.
Entry Five: The Emperor has no Clothes

Many scholars consider the Second World War to have started with the Sino-Japanese War, and the argument does hold water. Instigated by the ambitious Kwantung Army to secure territory north of the Yangtze, the conflict escalated with the maintenance of the United Front, as well as the Yangtze theatre. By 1941, the Empire of Japan was stuck over a 1,000 kilometers deep into central China and opened 1942 at war with every single one of it’s West Pacific neighbors sans the Soviet Union and it’s coerced ally, Siam. Despite having over half of the Imperial Japanese Army held inside China, Japan saw rapid success in its Trans-Pacific campaign, overrunning Burma and the East Indies in a matter of months.

Japanese battle plan into Burma

By the end of 1943 however, the war had turned against the Empire. Halted in Bengal, the Imperial Japanese Navy had been decisively defeated by the Allied (more specifically the US) navies, with their progress steadily being overturned in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, along with the steady hammering of the US island-hopping campaign, drawing the Allies ever closer to the Home Islands. However, these damages, at least from the perspective of the Japanese high command, could be seen as negligible compared to the immovable brick wall that was the National Revolutionary Army and the Republic of China. And so in mid-1944, the Japanese developed the Ichi-Go offensive.

Operation Kogo and Togo, two separate formations within the Ichi-Go “Number One” Offensive.

The year of 1944 is, similar to the year of 1916, referred to as the year of offensives. However unfortunately the Number-One Offensive is overlooked amongst the general audience, especially given its importance in the turn of not only the war but also the importance in the post-war arena. While Operation Overlord liberated France, and Operation Bagration liberated Belarus and destroyed German offensive capabilities, Number One was the last major IJA operation, and effectively destroyed the National Revolutionary Army’s capabilities. Designed to seize the US airbases in China, the Japanese saw massive success in the plan, turning the local populous in Henan towards them, in a major breakthrough for the Japanese image in China as well as incapacitating the NRA, encircling dozens of divisions and cutting off millions of troops from their supply bases, as well as capturing Changsha, a feat which the Japanese fought for five years to take. However, Ichi-Go had committed the Japanese irreversibly into Central China, as now it would be not only politically, but also strategically and militarily impossible to withdraw in any organized fashion. Despite the NRA being all but destroyed (With command of NRA divisions placed under US command), resistance in China still continued, now mostly under the ever-growing CCP, and hadn’t stopped the United States from capturing Iwo Jima and later Okinawa the next year. Worse still, the fall of Nazi Germany and the Potsdam conference freed up hundreds of Allied divisions, tens of thousands of airplanes as well as monumental naval assets and set a ticking time bomb for the Kwantung Army in Manchuria.

It is with this context of the Japanese, Allied, and Chinese military situation that the events of the Autumn of 1945 have to be taken into account. With these events in mind, it would be impossible to not observe the Allied war planning entering into the Summer and Autumn of the fateful year. On the beaches of Iwo Jima and the highlands of Okinawa, a startling realization was made that it would be highly unlikely that the Empire of Japan would conventionally surrender. And so a number of plans were drafted.

One of the more popular approaches, especially amongst the USAAF and the US R&D team was the deliverance of the atomic bomb against the Empire of Japan, with strategic targets including Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, and Osaka to name a few. However, the use of the atom bomb was repudiated by the new president Henry Wallace, who was against the use of such weapons against civilian populations. This came under heavy flak by the high command, who began seeing the need for a quick end to the war, as Japanese forces continued to rapidly build up in defense of the Home Islands, and war-weariness began reaching the United States. Despite this, Henry Wallace demanded that other solutions be exhausted before the use of the atomic bomb. The refusal to use the atomic bomb, and the results after the fact, would become an incredibly controversial subject, and will likely remain a hotly debated topic for years to come.

Another proposal was supported mostly by the navy. Suggesting that by maintaining the blockade and bombing campaign, Japan would be starved into submission and forced to surrender. The navy suggested operations to take Shanghai and even the island of Jeju, claiming that it would cripple Japanese capabilities to supply China. Compared to the final proposal to defeat the Empire, the navy’s proposal, despite being much less costly on the American manpower pool, didn’t seem tangible, as Japan had been starving for years. Sugar and other basic materials were being rationed since 1940, and the Empire showed no sign of surrender.

The final proposal, spearheaded mostly by leaders within the United States Army, was codenamed Operation Downfall. A gargantuan nightmare scenario operation, the operation called for a large-scale amphibious invasion of the Japanese Home Islands, split into two different smaller operations, Operation Olympic and Coronet. Operation Olympic involved the invasion of the southernmost Japanese island Kyushu, along with the seizure of Yakushima and Tanegashima Islands, and would be launched if the Japanese hadn’t surrendered by November 1st, 1945. Operation Coronet was to be launched around March 1st of 1946, by invading the Kanto Plain south of Tokyo. Despite being almost unanimously dreaded by the United States high command, the plan would be approved by Henry Wallace, under the condition that if either Olympic of Coronet failed to meet their objectives, the atomic bomb would be used, as well as any other unconventional weapon the United States had at her disposal.

Battleplan of the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation

While the United States prepared for its autumn invasion of Japan, the Soviets closed the summer with their own offensive. After the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Soviets agreed to enter the war against the Empire of Japan. And so on August 8, exactly three months after the surrender of the European Axis, the Red Army launched it’s Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation, in effect bringing it into the Pacific War. Almost immediately, the invasion directed by the famed Soviet general Georgy Zhukov melted through the forward defenses of the Kwantung Army, which was positioned in the far North and West of Manchuria. Bypassing strong defense points, the Red Army utilized it’s full technological and numerical supremacy to great effect against the dissolving Kwantung Army. In a matter of days the Manchurian Army was in ruins and the Red Army raced across Manchuria, crossing into Korea and effectively severing the land connection between the IJA in Korea and China.

For the Japanese, this was a nightmare scenario. Caught by total strategic and operational surprise, Japanese defenses resisted fiercely, holding out for weeks after losing their supply lines, however, the Red Army merely bypassed their strongpoints and bombarded their defenses, maintaining their forward units through air supply. Losing 8 divisions in under a month, the IJA launched a panicked and aggressive retreat, ordering a total retreat of any divisions East of Tianjin to attempt to fight their way to Japanese lines in Korea. Across Menjiang, the Mongolian army forced the surrender of Mengjiang forces. A Soviet amphibious landing in South Sakhalin forced a general withdrawal from Sakhalin to Hokkaido, and the Manchukuo government was captured, followed by the capitulation of both Mengjiang and Manchukuo (Although Japanese soldiers still in Manchuria refused to surrender with Manchukuo, rather surrendering individually on a pocket-by-pocket basis)

Eventually, however, the Soviets were stopped at the Yalu River, mostly due to supply issues. This gave the Japanese a crucial time to reinforce and reorganize within Korea while attempting to evacuate Shandong.

Within China, the response to the Soviet intervention was varied. Despite the cutoff of overland routes to China and significant aerial reinforcements, the National Revolutionary Army was still too broken to really attempt any significant counterattack. The liquidation of the Henan pocket and the destruction of the 13 divisions caught inside crippled any NRA hopes of launching a significant counterattack. Despite this, Chiang Kai Shek’s Second Kwangsi Offensive yielded results, retaking vast amounts of land lost in Ichi-Go. The resumption of the Chinese Civil War would, however, cease any further gains into Southern China or along the Yangtze Valley

Arguably the largest beneficiary of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria was the CCP. While the PLA had grown considerably, taking large swathes of territory behind enemy lines, even vital coastal ports like Tianjin, the Japanese army had managed to contain Chinese resistance, bounding their forces to railroads and railroad junctions. With the Soviet-Japanese war, however, the People’s Liberation Army could once again engage in a conventional war, now with Soviet air support and a thin Kwantung line. The PLA set their sights on the Shandong valley, devastated by the Kuomintang flood of 1938, where the CCP enjoyed wide popular support. The Shandong Offensive would see the Japanese position between Beijing and its Yangtze army cut off as the PLA forced the destruction of multiple Japanese divisions which were either evacuated or driven into the sea, with the CCP now in control of Qingdao and Wanghaiwei. The Shandong Offensive was not postponed upon the resumption of the Chinese Civil War

Communist forces during the Battle of Jinan, as part of the September 1945 “Shandong Offensive”

While the Soviets finished off Manchuria and the Chinese Communists swept Shandong, the United States agreed to pass Operation Downfall into action. Despite the entry of the Soviet Union into the war, the Empire of Japan staunchly refused to accept unconditional surrender, hoping to at least hold onto South Korea or Taiwan. And so on November 1st, 1945, after the Japanese position at Pyongyang finally gave out and the Soviets marched to Seoul, the United States launched Operation Olympic.

Beginning with a massive naval and aerial bombardment campaign, the United States unleashed hundreds of thousands of tons of explosives, as well as napalm and other high explosive bombs upon Kyushu and Shikoku, Kumamoto to the ground and bombarding Kagoshima bay. Osaka and Tokyo also received another round of 48 hour firebombing, And the United States soldiers touched ground on midday of November 1st.


United States soldiers on Kushikino Bay, November 1st, 1945.

The 40th Infantry Division, tasked with capturing the Yakushima islands, was held up by a mere battalion for two weeks before a relentless bombing campaign that rendered the island nearly sterile ended resistance. The 158th Regiment stormed Tanegashima Island with fire support from 8 battleships as well as a plethora of cruisers and destroyers. The USS Pennsylvania, the sister ship to the Arizona, shared the fate of her sister and would be destroyed in a violent magazine detonation after being rammed by three human torpedoes and a kamikaze plane, killing nearly her entire crew. The horrific fight to capture the outer islands would only be the beginning of the slaughter, however.

The landing at Kushikino can only be described as a scene from hell. Torrential waves of kamikaze strikes against the landing craft killed thousands before making it to the beaches, and the US 3rd, 4th, and 5th Marine Divisions would fight for hours on the beaches, with suicidal attacks by Japanese soldiers nearly as young as 15 assaulting the LZ. Despite the elan of the Japanese forces, the disciplined US troops (Many of which had been fighting since 1941) pressed on, bringing armor to the beaches and fighting all throughout the night against the Japanese onslaught. Landings at Miyazaki and Ariake were similarly horrible, with the US soldiers pinned to the coast for hours, even longer than a day at Ariake. As one US Marine put it “When the landing craft door opened we were walking on bodies. Getting out we fell on top of bodies. We waded through dead bodies, some of them dead, others moaning and bleeding, many drowning. The waves pulled back, showing more bodies, pushing bodies into the sore, and tugging others away. We crawled on the beach atop bodies. The entire time I was on the beach I never saw the sand.” However, by the Japanese insistence on holding the US at the beaches, they had expended most of their ammunition. Japanese soldiers found themselves running out of ammo, then choosing to either flee or charge the enemy. After X-Day (Olympic’s landing day), the Japanese had failed to push the US into the sea, and with armor and artillery brought into Kyushu, the Empire was attacking US forces mostly to keep the troops from getting rest or regrouping. The first day alone would see roughly 7,500 US soldiers die on the beaches, with over 5,000 soldiers die due to kamikaze strikes, and another 3,400 sailors killed (With 1,000 of that from the USS Pennsylvania alone) due to kamikazes and human torpedoes. Total casualties involved 23,000.
Despite the horrific losses, the Allies had steady movement in the next couple of weeks. With the Japanese having used much of their ammunition on the first couple of days, the US forces began expanding from their beachheads, capturing Kushima and later linking the 1st and 11th Corps on the eastern beachheads, capturing most of the Southeast of Kyushu in a month. Fighting was still barbaric, with Japanese resistance stiffening inland. In a matter of weeks, the United States had over 3 million men deployed into Kyushu, however, it still needed over 100,000 reinforcements simply to replenish casualties, which rose considerably as battlefield exhaustion spiked. Still, the arrival of US soldiers from Europe, veterans of Overlord, and the Ardennes, as well as those seasoned by Okinawa and Iwo Jima, allowed the US to slowly progress. A diversionary assault against Shikoku had seen multiple Japanese divisions stopped for multiple weeks against US commando units, however, casualties were high on both sides. Japanese use of civilians in warfare was expected, but harrowing nonetheless. Japanese civilians would hide behind the lines, attacking night patrols and placing plastic explosives to damage supply columns, while Japanese children would carry satchel charges and kill themselves upon approaching an American tank. Reprisal killings were common, and many US soldiers would be tried for the Kirishima Massacre, where dozens of Japanese citizens were murdered in reprisal for alleged subterfuge.

Hoping to finish the Kyushu campaign in control of the entire southern coastline, the US set its sights on the city of Kagoshima. With the largest port in southern Kyushu, Kagoshima had been the operational goal for Olympic since Day One. Now that Kagoshima was in sight, the United States planned on taking the port before Christmas. The December snows had set, painting Kyushu a brilliant white. It was informally agreed by both sides that the fate of the war, and likely the world, rested in the outcome of the Battle of Kagoshima.


United States Marines moving through Kagoshima, December 28th, 1945.

Although the war had seen the worst of humanity, from the Nanking Massacre to the Siege of Stalingrad and beyond, the battle of Kagoshima ranks among the most atrocious in terms of combat. Launched on Christmas Eve, the United States began with a tremendous bombardment campaign, and cleared the Kagoshima bay of any remaining torpedo boats, dispatched the fleet to provide air cover and naval bombardment, with the USN flagship Iowa leading the bombardment. GIs fought through the snowy bombed-out ruins of Kagoshima, in an effort that took nearly a week of relentless fighting. The entire civilian population of Kagoshima took some effort in the defense of the city, and Kagoshima was completely depopulated by the end of the battle. However, the city itself was little danger compared to the fighting in the outskirts. Clearing out the suburbs and surrounding villages, the remaining Japanese forces found themselves hastily ferried across the Kagoshima strait to mount Sakurajima. By New Year’s, the Battle of Kagoshima had ended, and the Siege of Sakurajima had begun.

American forces march towards Aira to link the fronts. New Year’s 1946.

With the fall of Kagoshima, the United States moved in to connect the eastern and western beachheads in southern Kyushu. Organized Japanese resistance collapsed, and the Americans marched multiple kilometers in a handful of hours, linking the two fronts as the Japanese recalled what forces they had further inland. However, the United States government was unsatisfied. With little recourse left, Wallace would finally approve the use of the atomic bomb, hoping for the bloodshed to finally be over. Fortunately for both the Japanese population and Wallace, the war had truly been decided only 400 kilometers away, across the Tsushima Strait.

After the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation, the Red Army immediately set out on its next main objective- The seizure and liberation of the Korean Peninsula. Almost immediately, the Red Army found itself estranged in the peninsula, fighting in varied, mountainous territory it had only experienced glimpses of in the 1942 Caucasus front, as well as it’s experiences in the Russian Civil War. The Korean Peninsula, dotted with mountains, valleys, and rivers, was a defender’s heaven, with a large mountain range on the east, and urban areas and rivers on the west. Nevertheless, the Soviets spent a chunk of September reorganizing, then continued operations into October. Moving methodically, the Soviets exploited their asset supremacy to destroy entrenched Japanese positions. Despite this, the Red Army found themselves engaged in fierce combat within Korea, as Japanese resilience increased. Even with the fall of Pyongyang in October did the Japanese not show any sign of slackening resistance. This was little worry to the Soviet Union, it had fought against hard resistance during the campaign into Germany, and the veteran Red Army was more than capable of fighting the Kwantung “Remnant” army, who’s elan could only achieve so much.

With the invasion of Kyushu in November, the Japanese defense started to falter, as demoralized Japanese troops requested to fight for their home islands, not for Korea. Their position turned even worse with the formation of the Korean People’s Republic, formed in Pyongyang by Korean Communists, they quickly set about forming a Korean Red Army to liberate the south from decades of Japanese oppression. Quickly forming nearly 4 full divisions, armed and armored by the Red Army, Zhukov used his new allies to take Seoul and confine the Kwantung to Incheon. After that, most Japanese resistance fell back to Busan, as a bridgehead, ostensibly to retake Korea once the Americans had been driven from the Home Islands.

Lyuh Woon Hyung, the first chairman of the National People’s Representative Conference and later leader of the People’s Republic of Korea.

However, despite the delusions of some Kwantung commanders, the fact was that the Soviet Union and the United States had a seemingly endless supply of resources and manpower to draw on and that inevitably Japan would fall. When the first large scale Soviet air raids began on Hokkaido on Christmas day, the Japanese civilian and military government recognized it was only a matter of time before the Red Army was in Northern Japan. With that knowledge, and with the personal fear for his own life, Emperor Hirohito and his cabinet superseded the IJA and declared their unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers just over the finish line on January 2nd, 1946. After over 6 hellish years, the Second World War was finally over.

Official instruments of surrender were signed later in the month, officially bringing World War Two to an end on January 20th, 1946. The war lasted 6 years, 4 months, and 19 days, ending the largest and deadliest conflict in human history.
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Map of the Japanese Home Islands at the time of the Surrender of Japan, January 2nd, 1946. Despite the surrender, multiple commanders would refuse or ignore the surrender, continuing insurgent combat well into the American occupation of Japan.
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Entry Five: The Titanomachy

Entry Five: The Titanomachy

With World War 2 over, the Greek Civil War became one of the first conflicts which defined the century as one of ideological struggle. The Greek Government in Exile backed by the British returned to Greece in 1944. The main resistance group of the EAM-ELAS felt unrepresented and unsatisfied with the Greek government which was significantly under the influence of the British. The EAM-ELAS was the resistance wing and partisan force of the KKE or Communist Party of Greece. After the violence in the capital of Athens against leftists, a Provisional Democratic Government was declared in order to overthrow the monarchy. A violent civil war then erupted across Greece. In the countryside, armed Greeks loyal to the newly formed Democratic Army rose up against the Monarchists creating vast swaths of territory under the control of the PDG. The British already had troops in the country and saw the Communist revolt as a major threat. Greece was of major importance to the British and to see it fall into the hands of a Soviet-aligned government was something they could not abide. With this the British intervened, moving almost 100,000 troops into the region. This reaffirmed the confidence of the monarchist government but also raised their arrogance. Fighting was sporadic but bloody, The Democratic Army at first used guerrilla tactics in the mountains and valleys across the country. This bogged down the unwieldy British and Greek forces who were forced all over the country on a wild goose chase against the more maneuverable and smaller partisans. The Democratic Army from 1945 to 1946 engaged in a strategy of people’s war avoiding massive battles with the superior Monarchist forces. In frustration and in an effort to destroy the partisans, the British along with Greeks began a program of emptying villages in forced migrations to quell support from the population for the Democratic Army.

(Partisan unit prepares for a raid on a Monarchist strongpoint (Greece, 1946)

This program however backfired with many Greeks resenting the monarchy propped up by the British and this further swelled the size and influence of the Democratic Army. Another nasty side effect of this policy was the many massacres committed by the monarchist forces. Unfortunately for the monarchists, the war in Britain grew unpopular with the public wanting their boys home alive rather than in coffins. Clement Attlee sought a campaign of withdrawal but continued air support, logistics, and material support to the Greek Monarchists. This policy change couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Democratic Army representatives secretly met in Skopje with representatives of the Yugoslav, Albanian, Bulgarian governments, and most secretly Soviet military advisers. The meeting proved an immense success for the Greek Communists with their respective allies agreeing to provide diplomatic support along with funding, volunteers, and equipment. The Soviets however diplomatically wished not to be seen funding a communist revolution as it ran contradictory to their strict policy of avoiding conflict with the West. Although Stalin and Churchill agreed to the “naughty document”, Molotov managed to convince Stalin that socialism in one country would be threatened by a pro-western power so close to Bulgaria. So therefore as a compromise, the Soviets filtered equipment through Yugoslavia who then gave it to the Democratic Army. Along with this, a massive Yugoslavian expedition force of almost 50,000 veteran partisans crossed the border joining the Democratic Army. Reinforced in equipment, men, logistics, and morale and with the British pullout of Greece in September 1947 the Democratic Army switched its tactics from people’s war to conventional warfare. This policy started with a prepared attack upon Konitsa. With the help of Enver Hoxha's Albania, artillery was safely positioned within the protection of the Albanian border. Previously the Democratic Army had been confined to the countryside and controlled very few towns. This changed with the Battle of Konitsa. A superior numbered force of 15,000 Greeks along with a company of British Commandos held the town. They were well entrenched and were thought to be unshakable. However, thanks to large and accurate artillery strike the Monarchist positions were sent into chaos. Massive assaults began upon the town.

After many days of brutal combat, the Monarchists sent in more forces to the region to trap the Democratic Army into an unwinnable battle. However, this drained and weakened Greek government forces defending Macedonia and Western Thrace. This was intentional on part of the Democratic Army to distract and stalemate the Greek Army. After Operation Hermes, the brainchild of Markos Vafeiadis was launched to seize Macedonia and Western Thrace. Using a combination of local support, guerilla warfare and conventional tactics the communists seized their objectives. Operation Hermes culminated in the Battle of Thessaloniki. Street by street house by house the Communists gained ground. In desperation to hold Thessaloniki, the monarchists redeployed away from Konitsa. However, this redeployment proved to be difficult with the transport of troops slowed thanks to partisans. This redeployment also weakened forces in Konitsa which led to its fall along with Thessaloniki to the Democratic Army. In a complete rout, the Monarchists retreated during the winter of 1947 towards a new defensive line around Ioannina and Larissa thus surrendering the north of Greece to the Communists. The Provisional Democratic Republic then established it’s provisional capital in Thessaloniki.

This battle sent shockwaves throughout Greece and the noncommunist world. The British desperately requested aid and support for the Kingdom of Greece. Wallace however refused (despite Republican outcry) to aid and further British Imperialism. However, despite the wishes of the President, the Office of Strategic Services (the CIA wasn’t established by Wallace) sent surplus military aid in the form of outdated P38s, M2s, and Springfields. This reinforced the Monarchists who were quite shaken from the earlier defeats to steady the newly formed Larisa-Ionian line. The war had turned from an offensive war for the Monarchists into a defensive campaign. As the year of 1948 approached, the world began to focus its attention more on the Civil War in Greece. The British and French were backing the Monarchists while the Soviets, Yugoslavians, and their allies were backing the Communists.

Despite earlier reservations, the Soviets under Stalin began to take more interest in the conflict after the successes in 1947. Through Yugoslavia, the Soviets began sending surplus T34 and even some 85s to the Democratic Army. In total about 1,000 of these tanks saw their way into the hands of the Greeks. Along with the tanks came a top-secret Soviet expeditionary force of engineers and tank mechanics. These were organized into the Ares Guard’s Armored Core which had 2 tank divisions, the 5th Guards “Athena” Armored Division and the 7th Guards “Hercules” Armored Division. To help the Greeks properly use these tanks a Soviet military attache was assigned to the Democratic Army Central Command to advise in the formation and use of the tank divisions. With these new powerful divisions, the Greek Democratic Army prepared an offensive to break the Larissa-Ionian line. Behind the lines, immense revolution and counterrevolution were occurring. In the Communist zone of Greece collectivization and formation of workers, collectives seized the land and industry of the country. Along with this, revolutionary terror behind the frontline occurs with executions of Monarchists, Fascists, and Landlords. In the Monarchist zone of Greece, it was more chaotic. After the news of the Battles of Konitsa and Thessaloniki massive upheaval occurred with more Greeks joining the communist partisans. A white terror began with systematic killings of entire villages found supporting the communists. This did damage to the reputation of the Monarchists as the Communists equated them to the Nazis who occupied Greece some years earlier.

Finally, in May 1948 the Democratic Army was ready. The support of their communist allies had paid off and Operation Zeus, a large-scale offensive, was launched into the Monarchist Larissa-Ionian Line. It began with a massive concentrated bombardment of specific areas of the front. Local spies helped gather intelligence on ammunition depots, barracks, troop concentrations furthering the Communists' success. With their ears bleeding and widespread concussion, the Monarchists prepared in vain to meet the communist offensive. However, a new sound of wheeling tracks presented itself and the Monarchists were horrified to find what awaited them. The Soviet tanks of the Ares Guard’s Armored Core were a shocking surprise to the Monarchists and the world at large. Nothing in the Monarchists arsenal could punch through them. Their outdated anti-tank weapons along with the British supplied 6 Pounders proved of little use other than graves for Monarchist troops. Operation Zeus was a two-pincer maneuver both attempting to cut off Larissa and Thessaloniki from the main monarchist territory of the South. Behind the armor hordes of Greek partisans and infantrymen filled in the gaps. In only a few weeks the Larissa-Ionian snapped in half unable to withstand the massive offensive of the Democratic Army. One advantage the Greek Monarchists had was in airpower. The British meteor jets equipped with rockets and cannons slowed and sometimes even stopped the armor in its tracks. However, even with this advantage, the Monarchists were unable to take advantage of the halts in the offensive and thus the air-support itself proved only a delaying action. Soon the Democratic Army reached the sea on both ends cutting off both cities.

Upon news of this, the Kingdom of Greece made preparations for an evacuation of the Government to the Island of Crete and surrounding islands. The Democratic Army united with the partisans flooded into southern Greece. Major uprisings throughout the countryside threw Monarchist logistics and communication into chaos. Weakened, the Government ordered military units to hold at all costs and to entrench their current positions. However, the Democratic Army instead of engaging in a bloody conflict over towns like they had in Konitsa, bypassed major centers of resistance thus isolating them and letting them fall like ripe fruit. Karditsa, Lamia, Livadia town after town fell to the Democratic Army. Remaining Monarchist forces who obeyed their orders and held their ground were left isolated and were encircled. These units with a choice between death or forgiveness surrendered. The Monarchists who fled raced towards Kalamata and Athens to be evacuated by British ships to loyalist islands and Crete. Soon one afternoon in late August of 1948 leading elements of the 5th Guards “Athena” Armored Division advanced into Athens. A veteran partisan got off the back of a T34-85 and climbed toward the top of the Parthenon. He carried the flag of the Provisional Democratic Republic with him. Reaching the top of the structure he got to the edge and planted the flag. Celebratory gunfire and cheering erupted in the air. Soon many people hiding in Athens broke out into celebration in the streets. One soldier began to sing the opening lyrics of the Internationale in Greek, his squadmates soon joined him as on the hill of the Parthenon the song echoed throughout the city. The Greek Communists had fought hard and won their country for themselves.

In the aftermath of the fall of Athens, there was little resistance. The Democratic Army seized control of the remaining important cities within the mainland. The last military forces of the Monarchists surrendered in Patras. The mainland of Greece now was under the control of the Provisional Democratic Republic. With these, the atrocities committed by the Democratic Army reached their peak many Monarchists even after surrendering were summarily shot. After towns were taken the "People's Civil Guard" like in Republican Spain gathered lists of known right-wing figures had them taken away in trucks. They were never to be heard from again. Reprisal killings were common with partisans executing those who killed their own relatives and comrades in years prior. However, After the fall of Athens, the Soviet-aligned nations recognized the Provisional Democratic Government as the legitimate Greek government. The future General Secretary of the Democratic Republic of Greece Markos Vafiadias said in Athens “Like the Olympians who overthrew the Titans, against all odds we have stood up for our homeland and people”. Remaining monarchists with the help of the Greek Navy (which stayed loyal to the monarchy) relocated to Crete and set up a government in exile. Thus the Greek Civil War drew to a close with only its scars remaining. To this day no one knows the total casualties of the Greek Civil War. Estimates range between 150,000 - 215,000 military deaths and 35,000 - 67,000 civilian deaths which brings the figure to 185,000 (conservative) or 282,000 (liberal) from battle, assassination, summary execution or massacre.
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Entry Six: A Mission to Moscow?

Entry Six: A Mission to Moscow?

A car sped down the dark Moscow streets. It was about 02:35 in the morning, Moscow was sleeping quietly. With little traffic on the road apart from the trucks of the feared NKVD Davies found it peaceful outside. Davies was no stranger to these conditions in Moscow, he had spent long periods of time in the Union and was quite aware of what happened in these early morning hours. When Wallace succeeded FDR, he shifted around the administration quite a bit. Davies liked Wallace as their foreign view of non-hostile relations with the Soviets aligned. How could he say no when the native Iowan requested he take up his old position of Soviet ambassador? Davies was on his way to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to meet with Molotov. Wallace had telephoned earlier that day expressing the utmost urgency over the meeting. Davies was to offer an extension of the Marshall Plan to the Soviet Union and its allies. Davies was cautious, it would be a tough sell to the Soviets. As his car approached the Ministry it was stopped at a checkpoint. A stern NKVD officer checked his papers before allowing the car to proceed, as the vehicle continued out the window Davies spotted an anti-aircraft battery still in position. The war hurt them badly, they need this economic aid as much as perhaps the krauts do Davies thought to himself.

His car finally arrived at the Ministry and he got out holding a briefcase in which he held the documents of the proposal. Upon entering the building and passing through security he walked up the marble steps. As he reached the top of the stairs he came upon the hallway filled with red banners of SSRs and of Lenin. Molotov was at the end of the hallway waiting for him. “Tovarisch Davies, please come into my office”. Molotov and Davies sat down in a comfortable tiny office. “Coffee? Vodka”? Molotov offered, “it’s a little too late for hard spirits but I’ll take some coffee”. Molotov poured him a cup, Davies sipped it. it was bitter but it got the job done. “So I take it President Wallace wanted to discuss this new Marshall Plan,” Molotov remarked. “Indeed”, Davies then opened his briefcase to pull out several documents of the plan. “The plan calls for a complete rebuilding of the European continent from the devastation inflicted upon it by the Nazis menace. Wallace recognizes this devastation impacted the Soviet Union greatly both in terms of economic devastation and population. In light of this, the President is willing to extend this plan towards the Soviet nation”. A pause filled the air, Molotov read over the documents intently but not with much enthusiasm.

A pause filled the air until it was filled by Molotov’s voice, “Who holds the majority in the Senate Mr. Ambassador”? Davies' face frowned, “the Republicans sir”. “Yes, and they wish not to extend this aid to the Union, right? “Are those your only reservations about this program”? Davies shot back. Molotov replied, “no, the primary concern of the Politburo is the influence that such aid and capital penetration into the Union would bring. Comrade Stalin is worried about an unhealthy capitalist deviationist strain developing in the motherland”. Again with the ideology, even with the country devastated Molotov “the hammer” along with the party was stubborn. Molotov sighed, “As much as we need to rebuild Mr ambassador we shall do it our own way and alone”. Silence gripped the room again, Wallace won’t like this but it's unlikely the Senate would’ve gone for the extension of this aid to the Soviets anyway Davies thought to himself. “You seem disappointed with our policy Mr. Davies”, “I fear that this rejection will trigger a backlash at home and harm relations between our respective nations” Davies replied quietly. “The future is uncertain Mr. Ambassador but let it be known the Soviet Union harbors no rivalry or ill will towards the United States of America”. “I will let the President know that,” Davies replied. The men shook hands and Davies exited the Ministry well, I tried he thought as he entered the ambassador's car.
Entry Seven: The Treaty of Frankfurt

Entry Seven: The Treaty of Frankfurt

Germany in 1945 sat in utter ruin. In the Allied Zones, signs of strategic bombing and destruction were common throughout major cities. The industry was devastated, manufacturing was non-existent, homelessness, poverty and every other known economic problem were ever more present. In the Soviet Zone much was the same, Nazis were purged from all levels of bureaucracy and the Red Army was ever more present. A low-level ineffectual resistance by “Wehrwolfs” was still active in some regions, assassinating mayors and other Allied officials. The French even established a “Saar Protectorate” in an attempt to peel it from Germany away and integrate the region into France proper. Germany did not exist as a state and as a region, it was in dire straits.

In order to counteract this, the United States established the Marshall Plan to repair Europe but Germany specifically. With the Soviet refusal of the Marshall Plan, only the Western Allied Zones saw this economic support. The Soviets instead with the COMECON program to rebuild their new allies and their own country. This drew a line in Europe but a hard border had yet to be established in Germany. Negotiations didn’t pick up until the Soviets in 1948 sat down with the Allies to discuss the future of Central Europe. This conference was held with the UN Security Council between the Soviets, Americans, British and French.

The Soviets had made the first move towards this decision passing the “Stalin Note” to the Western Powers. It called for a free, democratic, independent, reunited neutral German state. It was an ambitious proposal but the US President Henry Wallace seemed receptive to the plan. Britain was more hesitant due to the recent events in Greece and France was very hostile to emergence to any form of a reunited German state. It would be a hotly debated item within the Allied Control Council. After months of negotiation, debate, and stalling from the French and other factors, an agreement was finally reached. The occupied territories of Germany would be reorganized into states within a German confederation. The terms of independence were made in the “Treaty of Frankfurt”.

The Treaty of Frankfurt:

I: The Allied Powers Occupation Zones will be reorganized into independent states united into a German Confederation for common foreign policy and defense.

II: Within a year after the formation of the German Confederation all military forces of foreign powers will be withdrawn.

III: The German Confederation will be established within the territories of the Potsdam Treaty

IV: Neither the German Confederation nor any of its member states, can enter in an alliance with any foreign power.

V: The Saar Protectorate will be annexed into France

VI: Each of the independent states within the Confederation will have the autonomy to establish their own respective laws, taxes, and regulations.

VII: The governmental structures of each state may vary but they all shall elect a single representative to a Supreme Council of the German Confederation which will represent their respective state within the Confederation.

VIII: A Chancellor of the Confederation shall be elected by popular vote and shall represent the German Confederation and will be the Commander in Chief of the German Self Defense Force.

IX: A German Self Defense Force shall be established to defend the German Confederation with a limit of 150,000 men. It shall exist only for the purpose of defense and shall not engage in offensive conflict.

X: The German Confederation shall not develop Nuclear Weapons.

XI: The German Confederation will have open borders between member states, a single currency, and a decentralized police forces.

XII: Political parties shall remain legal in all states along with democratic elections.

XII: The NSDAP and all successor political parties are outlawed in every single member state of the German Confederation.

XIII: The German Confederation’s member states shall be open to both the Marshall Plan and COMECON dependent on the economic decisions of each member state.

XIV: The German Confederation shall drop all claims on territories formerly held before the Potsdam Conference including the Saarland.

XV: The sovereignty of the German Confederation is guaranteed by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council

Map of the German Confederation:
German Confederation1.2.png

With the establishment of the German Confederation soon elections were held. The participating parties were the Communist Party of German, Social Democratic Party, The Union Parties, the Free Democratic Party, and the Bavarian Party. The election results varied per region but resulted in the election of Kurt Schumacher a Social Democrat to the chancellorship. The KPD won a vast majority of the seats in the region of Saxony and reorganized it into the Democratic Republic of Saxony. In Bavaria, the monarchists and Bavarian nationalists won and established the Kingdom of Bavaria within the German Confederation. In Hanover, Hesse, Rhineland, Baden-Wurttemberg, and Brandenburg the Social Democrats, Free Democrats, and Union Party divided the seats in-between them, establishing the subsequent Republics within the Confederation. The German Confederation soon established it’s capital in Berlin and the Reichstag was soon rebuilt to hold the Supreme Council of the German Confederation. Kurt Schumacher soon passed a series of laws to repair the German economy and living standards. Various former companies were nationalized, using Marshall Plan loans the German healthcare system was reinforced along with a government-funded low-cost housing program and various other social safety nets. Out from the ashes of the Third Reich, the German Confederation a democratic, free, neutral, and decentralized society held the hopes of many across the world that Europe finally would be calm. Unfortunately for these optimists, the future would prove to be a far more complex reality.