Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

I'm not well versed in the 2nd sino-Japanese war, are they visibly further up shit creek than OTL? They did the breaking the dikes thing in OTL too, with mixed effectiveness.
Somewhat further up shit creek, they got a lot fewer soldiers out of the north with less equipment. On the otherhand OTL they never really got the same sort of breather in the Wuhan campaign they are now getting, which will be explained in a future update
Reading this every Sunday / Monday; Enjoying it...

What is the USA up to during all of this? Isolation/Ignorance or Isolation/buildup? Granted, this is the first portion of a section, but yeah....
Mostly saying "not our problem" to Europe and somewhat building up the Navy due to a mistrust of Japan that has recently gotten worse
I get the holiday issues as my arms are still sore from all the turkeys I been weighing up.

China through is seem its up the creek without the paddle even if they manage the victory or two against the Japanese. But Chaing can't surrender or its his head. So its more of a question what does Japan do that pisses off the US enough to embargo oil?
The embargo OTL only happened they way it did because the US had both the UK and the Netherlands East Indies government by the balls, without that situation no effective embargo can occur
Part 5-32 Communism
…The Soviet Union was not a stranger to purges. Lenin had conducted several purges to ensure the Bolsheviks came out on top of the Russian Civil War and stayed on top. Upon taking control after Lenin’s incapacitation Stalin launched his own purge of the Communist party to strengthen his authority, another purge after the defeat of Trotsky to deal with his followers, and a third purge in 1926 after Lenin died to fully secure his position.

For almost a decade it seemed like the purges were over, that having secured power Stalin would stay with surgical means of dealing with his opponents, rather than the blunt instrument of the purges. In 1935 the purges returned with a vengeance. After the 16th Party Congress in 1935 about 20% of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union were purged, totaling almost 200,000. Unlike previous purges which were primarily just expulsions those purged in the 1935-36 purge were thrown into the Gulags if not executed outright. Many of those previously thought immune were suddenly on the lists, even Central Committee members were no longer immune from Stalin’s wrath…

…The 1935 Purge was probably launched for two reasons. The expected reason being Stalin’s paranoia and desire to secure power. A secondary reason was to provide the Gulags with manpower. The Gulags had originally been filled with troublesome minorities and kulaks, however the Second Five Year Plan, having started in 1934, would require more forced labor than they could provide. Hence the decision for a broad scale purge…

…By 1938 the terror from the 1935 purge had almost worn off when Stalin decided to launch a new purge. This one would be of unprecedented scale and was framed as a reaction to a treasonous plot rather than a culling of insufficiently qualified or motivated party members as the previous purge had been. It opened with the arrest of most of the remaining Old Bolsheviks from the Russian Revolution, and the trial of a Group of Eighteen of them for plotting a Trotsky inspired coup. While it was possible that they really were planning to overthrow Stalin, what circumstantial evidence there is suggests that they were not. This trial was followed by a Trial of Twenty and a Trial of Twenty Three, representing different supposedly separate conspiracies against the Soviet Union.

While these show trials were underway the NKVD, as the Cheka had been reorganized into, launched a reign of terror throughout Soviet society. A third of the Party membership were purged and either sent to the gulags or even executed as Stalin solidified his control over the organs of state to an ironclad degree. Very quickly the purge spread beyond the party to the country at large. Several minorities that had previously been ignored were suddenly targeted for attention from the state and forced deportations. Educated individuals were targeted for special attention and the Soviet intelligentsia suffered heavily. Worse than the losses to the Soviet cultural sphere was the loss from the scientists and engineers taken in the purge, something that would haunt the USSR to its dying day…

…In 1939 the Great Purge spread to the Soviet Military. A conspiracy was fabricated that the Soviet Military was preparing a coup in support of the Old Bolsheviks being tried in Moscow. A large number of the Soviet Military’s most prominent officers were implicated and, as the nature of the Great Purge required, were tortured into implicating their subordinates. This continued onwards down the chain of command until about 10-50% of the Soviet Military’s officers were purged in some manner…

…In 1940 as the Great Purge entered its third year Stalin realized that he had gone perhaps a bit too far and had things halted. The top levels of the NKVD, especially its head Nikolai Yezhov, were blamed for the excesses of the purge and themselves executed. Over a million had died in the purge by the time this had happened…

…While the purges of the Party and most civilian fields ended in 1940 the Red Army continued to be purged after an actual attempt to assassinate Stalin by a Red Army Captain whose sister had been executed in the purge…

…The Great Purge was known for creating the first real fracture in the Trotskyist movement. The vast majority of the dissident communists had followed Trotsky’s will, which was pretty clear on unconditionally supporting the USSR despite its leadership as the only real example of existing socialism. The Great Purge was enough that a substantial minority were willing to break with this viewpoint and consider the USSR unworthy of support while Stalin was at its head, a logical view given that the government of the USSR wanted them dead. Most modern day urban Communist groups descend from this minority…

-Excerpt from The Book of the Hammer, an Irreverent History of Communism, Moon Press, Los Angeles, 2018

Yes this is a short update, working Sundays sucks. Work in general sucks enough that we had a low key mutiny in my department the past couple of days and its only going to get worse
-Excerpt from The Book of the Hammer, an Irreverent History of Communism, Moon Press, Los Angeles, 2018
TTL's "Black Book of Communism" I'm guessing.

Stalin is gonna stalin. Who knows when *Barbarossa will happen, but if purges are still happening into 1940 it sounds like the Red Army will be in an even weaker state than OTL.

At least it sounds like very few of the surviving modern-day communists are tankies, small mercy >_>

Heh speaking of communism, sounds like your department is about to have its own little revolution. Good luck!
So basically WW3 is confirmed. Damn this is going to be nasty
While the consensus has been heavily leaning towards "WW3 will happen" for a while, I don't see how this particular update confirms it.
While the consensus has been heavily leaning towards "WW3 will happen" for a while, I don't see how this particular update confirms it.
The bit about a lack of technical expertise haunting the USSR to its dying day does seem to be a further hint of an American nuclear advantage badly hurting the Soviets, but I agree, I don't see a confirmation
5-33 Into the Abyss, Sideways
…As Hitler’s deadline approached Sanna grew increasingly concerned. He had expected that Hitler would do something that would put him at odds with Britain and France and lead him to war with them eventually. Yet Hitler’s apparent headlong rush into a war in Czechoslovakia was unexpected, the Czechs had agreed to all of his demands, Sanna expected that he would take the win and move on to Poland or Belgium. Hitler’s mad drive to war confused him and placed him in an unexpectedly bad position.

The Soviets were apparently prepared to intervene if the Czechs fought given their security treaty. Ordinarily this would not be a problem, but it would require them to move through either Poland or Romania and Hungary, whose governments would disagree with the move. From Soviet troop concentrations Sanna expected the latter route, especially given that Romania was still occupying Bessarabia and that the USSR had never ceased to claim that territory. As Sanna had provided security assurances to the governments of Romania and Hungary in case of a Soviet attack on them, if Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia it was very likely that Italy would need to get involved.

In the best case Sanna would be involved in an eastern European war against the USSR as a junior partner to Germany, spending blood and treasure to not reap any rewards and putting Itlay behind their rival in France. In the worst case Italy would find itself shackled to Germany in a new World War, and end up receiving a Versailles Treaty of her own. Sanna briefly thought of abrogating his security treaties in Eastern Europe and taking the diplomatic hit to avoid such a fate before he came up with an outside the box solution.

During the first week of October Sanna made some urgent phone calls with the Hungarian government of Miklos Horthy, the Polish government of Edward Rydz-Smigly, the Slovak Peoples Party under Alexander Mach and the Rusyn National Autonomous Party under Stepan Fencik. Sanna very quickly hammered out an agreement between the four groups and on October 9th made a call for a general European Conference to settle the issue of minorities in Czechoslovakia. This call was immediately supported by the governments of Hungary and Poland, along with the representatives of the Slovak and Rusyn minorities in Czechoslovakia.

Hitler was furious on hearing Sanna’s announcement, considering it meddling in his backyard. In France and especially in Britain it was greeted with a major sigh of relief. The leadership of the two countries had resigned themselves to the grim possibility of another European war that they absolutely did not want and were worried that it would drag them in when it occurred. When they saw a chance to avoid such a war they grasped the opportunity like a lifeline thrown to a drowning man. The two countries put pressure on the Czechs to agree to the conference.

The Czechs were initially reluctant, believing that the USSR would come to their aid. However they soon realized that if they did so they would not receive any help from the west. It would be them and the USSR against Germany, Italy, Poland, Hungary and Romania at a minimum. Thus they made the decision to agree to abide by the results of the conference the Italians were holding at Vicenza.

This left Hitler as the main holdout. As late as the 13th he still wanted to invade Czechoslovakia no matter what European public opinion said. The unanimous opinion of the high command of the Wehrmacht and his advisers eventually shifted him, reminding him that refusing to attend Sanna’s conference would completely isolate him. If he went against European public opinion that badly it was likely that he would face Britain and France, as well as the Czechs and Soviets, with the possibility the Italians might compel either the Polish or the Romanians and Hungarians to allow them access. Thus on the evening of the 13th he agreed to attend the conference and cancel the invasion of Czechoslovakia…

…The Vicenza conference on the 16th saw the decision made to remove as much of the German, Polish and Hungarian minorities from Czechoslovakia as possible in accordance with the principle of self-determination. Germany would receive about 38% of the former lands of the Bohemian crown, containing 3.5 million Germans, in the border regions making up the Sudetenland. Poland would receive roughly 450 square miles around the towns of Teschen, Spis and Orava with a polish plurality, formerly a majority before Czech ethnic cleansing during the 20’s. Hungary received about 4600 square miles of former upper Hungary in Southern Slovakia, containing about 600,000 Hungarians and 300,000 others. Furthermore the Czech government in Prague was required to give full autonomy to Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia…

…The Vicenza Conference was hailed as a major achievement in the international press. Another European War had been prevented and the principle of self determination had been further cemented. Sanna, British Prime Minister Anthony Eden and President Roosevelt were credited as the main contributors, with Sanna playing the largest role. The Agreement was widely believed to have, in the words of Eden’s ally Foreign Secretary Neville Chamberlain, “preserved peace in our time.” So great was the hope for Peace that Sanna was nominated for and would have won the 1940 Nobel Peace prize had it been awarded that year…

…The Soviet Union was particularly furious about the Vicenza conference, not only that they had not been invited, but that it made a mockery of their security treaty with the Czechs. However Stalin was not about to come to start a war when the Czech government had capitulated and it would align all of Europe against him. Stalin did make the decision following Vicenza that there was nothing to be gained from opposing Hitler…

…The Vicenza Agreement saved Germany from an imminent balance of payments crisis which would have derailed her rearmament. 70% of the Czech iron and steel industries went to Germany, allowing Hitler to reduce his imports of foreign metallurgical products for a time. Similarly 90% of Czech export industries were located in the area, allowing Germany to earn vital foreign exchange. Whereas before the agreement Germany was likely to run out of foreign exchange in December, she now had enough to last until June without compromising her arms buildup.

Despite this Hitler was still unsatisfied with the arrangement. He wanted the rest of the Czechoslovak industry, especially the Skoda works now just outside German borders. He further wanted a short victorious war to prove the strength of German arms. At the same time he realized the degree of opposition that his moves had caused among his advisers and military officers. He thus decided to wait before he took further action…

-Into the Abyss: The leadup to the Second World War, Harper and Brothers, New York, 2009

…The Sudeten Crisis and the related Vicenza Conference are common as Points of Divergence to avoid the full horrors of WWII. The coup against Hitler being organized to take place if an invasion occurs is commonly used to eliminate Hitler and to usually avoid a major European war. Somewhat less common are situations where the Czechs do not agree to the Vicenza Agreement and a war occurs where Hitler is not eliminated in a coup and a general war against communism almost always brakes out. Other variations on the scenario are much less common…

…Almost inevitably the outcome of a Sudeten Crisis war is better in the short to medium term for Europe. The situation that resulted in our world’s WWII required some very precise circumstances that are not yet present, all the variables had not yet lined up to form the perfect storm that encompassed our world.

Whether this outcome is better long term depends on the aftermath of the war and its impact during the second half of the twentieth century…

-Excerpt from Sideways: An Examination of Common Divergences in Counterfactual History, Gate Publishing, Atlanta, 2016
Well then it sounds like what is about to come is bloody as all hell. Germany is throwing everything into its rearmament program and given it had more to start with than OTL ITL together with a heavily weaken France and Britain with the USSR being a mess, it likely means a freaking blood bath that will make OTL look like a mild disagreement between friends.
*Munich conference being started by Italy and Czechoslovakia's hostile neighbors, with Hitler only a reluctant attendee, is a fascinating twist.

I'm surprised Roosevelt is involved in the conference at all, let alone initially hailed as one of the 'peace-bringers'. When war does break out that will be a stain on his record- could it even hamper America's attempt to mobilize for war?
I think so. IIRC Op said he wanted a better Italy to meme shit up and the best way was to remove Mussolini but keep the fascism so he got Sanna to be the top meatball.
Part 5-34 Into the Abyss
…On June 1st of 1939 the head of the NKVD in the Far East defected to the Japanese in order to avoid being executed in Stalin’s purges. He brought with him complete information on the state of the Soviet forces and border defenses in the Far East, and a partial picture of those in the neighboring trans-Baikal district. This information revealed that the Soviets were very ill prepared for combat in the region, even discounting the effects of the ongoing purges. Elements of the IJA, especially in the Kwangtung Army in Manchuria, wanted to use this information to start a campaign against the USSR. The so called Strike North Faction, lead by the secretive Black Dragon Society or Kokuryu-kai, believed that a war with the USSR was the ideal way to secure the future of Japan by conquering everything east of Lake Baikal.

The higher headquarters of the IJA and the Japanese government realized that an all-out war with the USSR would be a great challenge even without the ongoing distraction of the fighting in China, with it such a war was considered to be disastrous. That said they did take note of how weak the Soviet forces in the area were and that a limited border offensive might bear fruit. Namely that a bite and hold operation could grab an area of strategic terrain and hold it against reasonable sized counteroffensives. Thus such an operation could be used as a bargaining chip to get the Soviets to cut aid to the Nationalist Chinese. It was thus decided on June 30th to launch a limited border offensive to apply pressure on the Soviets.

The target of this offensive would be the Changkufeng Heights west of Lake Khasan on the Korean-Soviet border. This location was chosen so that it would be the Korean Army involved, as not to embolden the Kwangtung Army into greater recklessness, and that it was already disputed between the two sides. The marshy territory nearby and single unpaved road for a supply route would make it difficult for the Soviets to deploy armored forces and heavy artillery while its proximity to the port of Rajin and a nearby railroad would make it easy for the Japanese to supply.

At 12:30 in the morning local time on July 25th a reinforced division of the IJA Korean Army crossed the border and rapidly seized the disputed area before digging in. Three days later the Soviets attempted a division level counterattack and were repulsed with heavy losses after inflicting only minor losses. A week after that a Corps level attack was launched on the Japanese position in concert with a large scale air strike, this was similarly repulsed with heavy losses. Given the Soviet lack of a railhead in the area an Army level attack would take another week to prepare and in that time the Japanese deployed a second division to the area and further dug in.

Given the loss of over a hundred tanks and aircraft already, along with almost 1500 dead and the expenditure of a good percentage of the areas ammunition stocks the Soviet high command was having second thoughts about continuing the counterattacks. A Japanese proposal on August 7th to withdraw from the area in stages alongside a cessation of Soviet aid to the Chinese was seriously considered in Moscow. Unfortunately for the Japanese the incident at Lake Khasan had already been joined by another incident.

Elements of the Kwangtung Army, feeling left out of the glory that the Chinese Armies and Korean Army were earning, decided to earn some glory of their own. On August 1st elements of the Kwangtung Army crossed the border into Mongolia near the town of Nomonhan, intending to occupy the disputed area east of the Khalkha River and evict the Mongolian units grazing their horses there. They expected only light resistance based on the information gleaned from the June 1st defection.

Unfortunately for them Mongolia was part of the Trans-Baikal theatre not the Far Eastern one and their information on the Soviet forces there was far less complete. Rather than one infantry and one cavalry regiment, there was a full infantry division and two cavalry regiments, effectively matching the Japanese invaders and slowing them down. The Japanese were able to continue to advance up until August 10th, when IJA headquarters ordered the IJAAF to stop offensive actions in the theatre. They had not managed to seize the entirety of the disputed area and had expended most of their stocks of ammunition in doing so. The Kwangtung Army forces thus had to stop to allow their strained supply situation to recover.

The Soviet high command looked at the situation and realized that they had an opportunity. The Trans-Baikal theatre was in better shape than the Far Eastern one. The area around Nomonhan further favored them logistically, with the Japanese having a more strained supply situation than they did. There was an opportunity to hand the Japanese a stinging defeat and avoid having to give any concessions. They rushed reinforcements into the area and skirmishing began to escalate.

By the 25th of August the Japanese were losing 100 men a day around Nomonhan and realized that the situation could escalate into a full scale war with the Soviets. Reinforcements bound for China were diverted to Manchuria, but were held at Harbin to prevent the Kwangtung Army from using them to escalate the situation.

On September 5th the Soviet forces near Nomonhan had grown to three infantry, two motorized infantry, two armored and two cavalry divisions, along with two independent armored brigades and almost a thousand aircraft, a concentration made possible by the seizure of every free motor vehicle in the Trans-Baikal, Central Asian and Far Eastern Theatres to provide logistical support. The IJA forces in the area consisted of two infantry divisions, two tank regiments, two Manchurian cavalry regiments and 200 aircraft by that point. Having received intelligence that Hitler was about to try something in Czechoslovakia Stalin ordered that the situation along the Japanese borders be ended immediately.

On September 6th Soviet forces launched a large scale double envelopment on the Japanese west of Nomonhan. Supported by a huge number of bombers the nearly a thousand armored fighting vehicles of the Red Army punched through about a twentieth of their number of Japanese opponents, rapidly destroying the lead Japanese tank regiment and the flanking cavalry units. The lead IJA 25th division found itself encircled by the evening of the 8th. Attempts to break the encirclement on the 10th and 11th merely cost the Japanese their other tank regiment and half of the 9th division’s strength. On the 14th after expending enormous amounts of firepower the isolated Japanese 25th division was functionally destroyed, and with it all Japanese forces east of the Soviet claimed border.

On the 17th The Soviets and Japanese came to an agreement that the Japanese would withdraw from the Changkufeng heights and that the Soviets would return all captured prisoners and equipment. This would quickly be followed by a non-aggression pact, which would allow both parties to turn their attention to matters elsewhere they deemed more vital…

…The Soviet border incidents had the effect of giving the Chinese a two month respite in the vital battle for Wuhan as IJA headquarters would not release further reinforcements until October given the potential of a future flare up. Furthermore the incidents discredited the Strike North Faction within the Japanese military, Nomonhan had demonstrated that they lacked the logistics to make large sweeping advances into Soviet territory. Furthermore even the success at Changkufeng came with costs, the semi-static fighting their used up an enormous amount of heavy artillery ammunition, a full scale fight with the USSR would quickly drain the Japanese stockpiles dry. War with the USSR would thus not be an easy victory like their previous war with Czarist Russia but a long hard slog in the best of conditions. The Navy dominated Strike South Faction thus gained considerable political leverage…

…The Soviet victory over the Japanese at Nomonhan had been relatively costly. Despite a ten to one advantage in armor, a five to one advantage in airpower, a three to one advantage in manpower and a two to one advantage in artillery they had taken heavy losses. They had lost 30,000 men, as many as the entire IJA force, along with 250 tanks and 150 armored cars and 200 aircraft by most reliable estimates. Given these losses against forces that were, outside of the armored and air units, second or third rate by IJA standards, a Japanese invasion remained a major threat in their eyes, especially with the failure to dislodge them from Changkufeng…

…The Soviet commander, one Georgy Zhukov, had pulled off the first true successful large scale mechanized operation, well before any of the German “Blitzkriegs”. For this he was rewarded with a 7.62mm revolver bullet to the back of the head from the NKVD due to Stalin’s paranoia, along with several other individuals key to this victory…

-Into the Abyss: The leadup to the Second World War, Harper and Brothers, New York, 2009

I was so very tempted to make a Magic Bushido Hands joke when mentioning the Black Dragon Society

On a more serious note yeah Sanna is a fictional character. When hammering 3 or now that I think of it 4 sets of TL outlines to make this TL I needed at least an OTL strength Italy, but at the same time Italy gets f*cked over more in WWI, so I need someone who acts a lot differently than the Moose in charge

As for FDR and *Munich, he got some credit unfairly for OTL Munich, for basically just some supportive phone calls, same thing happened here
Stalin once again proving that he is his worst enemy. All the purges teach the Red Army is that it doesn’t pay to be loyal to the Vozhd. If loyalty and success provide the same “reward” as treason I can’t expect that the Red Army would be very loyal when WWII starts.

Either there’d be massive numbers of desertions or the purges are going to discourage out-of-the-box strategy in fear of standing out. Neither are good for the Soviets.
The Soviet Union is going to be up shit creek when the Germans come a calling in a few years. Jesus. Further the Pacific is going to be god damn blood bath ITL.