So what's the shelf life of an independent Yan'an?
Depends on local sensibilities to joining the RoC before they get forcibly annexed by them at a guess.
That's about right. Yan'an will be TTL's rough analogue to North Korea, but will not make it to the 21st century. It will be remembered as one of the worst regimes in human history (on a par with Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany) for its blatant human rights violations and appalling standards of living.
 
Is Chiang planning an invasion of Ya'naan? No one is going to stop him really. The Soviets are probably gonna look the othet way. And he has nuclear weapons if things get muddy
 
Chapter Six
"Tao guang yuan hui."- Chiang Kai-shek's response to learning of the coup d'etat. (1)
"Tell me one good thing that has come out of this damned coup- and don't say the Nationalists invading Manchuria!"- JFK, commenting a week before his death.
"This is good. Wang Ming will be more willing to accept the idea of peaceful coexistence than Mao. Besides, if we let Chiang Kai-shek conquer Yan'an, then that can only make us look better in Nanjing's eyes. Mao... Mao has served his purpose."- Nikita Khruschev to the Politburo.
"Now that the Soviet revisionists have conspired with that son of a turtle (2) Wang Ming, my power to lead the Chinese revolution has been reduced... I must reclaim China for the sake of socialism."- Mao Zedong, a journal entry on October 10, 1963.

These four quotes basically describe the attitudes of all parties concerned to the coup. For Mao, the main thing is his loss of power over Manchuria, while the Soviets are glad to have someone more dependable at the helm. The Great Leap Forward had been hard to swallow, but the Cultural Revolution was simply a bridge too far. The attitude in Moscow is that Yan'an would last only a few years at most, and then everyone can put this whole Maoist mess behind them and get behind Wang Ming, while Moscow tries to covertly get a slice of the cake that is the Chinese economy. Of course, that means that approximately three million people are slightly f*cked, condemned to living under Maoism on steroids for who-knows-how-long, but Khruschev and the like are willing to pay that price.

Meanwhile, the Chinese attitude is very much one of "wait-and-see". An invasion of Wang Ming's Manchuria might be militarily successful in the short term, but the long-term consequences would be very serious. For all of his talk of "peaceful coexistence", Khruschev would have no qualms about coming to the Soviet Republic of Manchuria's aid should the need arise, and would certainly use nuclear weapons against the KMT army. That would result in World War III. Prideful though the Generalissimo might be, he is not stupid and realises this. Yan'an, however, is a different story. It is an absolute pariah amongst the nations of the world- its communist ideology means that the West wants nothing to do with it, and since the USSR just tried to purge its leader, the Communist bloc keeps its distance. In other words, should Chiang try to conquer the small, mountainous, territory, he will succeed. Nonetheless, Mao has been granted a stay of execution, as other things rank higher on Chiang's list of priorities.

The People's Commune of Yan'an is perhaps most aptly described by the words of one American political scientist: "a blend of Ukraine in the 1930s and the Cultural Revolution-era PRNC, all to the power of 2". Yan'an by this point has been under Maoist rule for almost thirty years and is as such extremely poor. It suffered greatly in the Great Leap Forward, and during the Cultural Revolution became a useful dumping ground for exiled Manchurian cadres. Within two weeks of the coup, virtually all of the exiled cadres are dead. The Maoist propaganda cult, already more extravagant than any in the world, is "turned up to eleven". (3) Not wearing a Mao lapel is grounds for arrest (read: death), and from the age of ten or so, carrying around a Little Red Book and wearing a Mao suit becomes obligatory. Boys are forced to wear their hair like the Chairman, although they do not have to give themselves a bald spot! (4)

During the later 1960s, the rift between the US and ROC widens. This is due to a number of factors: Nanjing's continued authoritarian style of rule, where only the Kuomintang is permitted and dissent is crushed, the occupation of Tibet, Chiang's habit of getting into tense situations with the USSR, forcing America to step in and avert WWIII (such as the Mongolia Claim Crisis), and simple jealousy on the part of Washington as the gap between Washington and Nanjing narrows, both in terms of economy size and as the world's leading anti-Soviet power. Although relations remain cordial for the moment, this gulf will widen...

The Soviet Republic of Manchuria's motto is not "We dodged a bullet", but it might as well be. Wang Ming ensured his popularity with the Manchurian people right from the get-go by condemning Maoism, and by undoing the Cultural Revolution. Little Red Books are banned, as is Mao's portrait. The political atmosphere is also loosened an iota. That said, though, Wang Ming is still a dictator of a Communist country, on a par with Erich Honecker in East Germany or Wojciech Jaruzelski in Poland (or, for that matter, Kim Il-sung in TTL). Manchuria is by no means liberal or capitalist, but it is better off than in the Cultural Revolution days.


October 3, 1963: In Yan'an, the Chinese Communist Party is formally outlawed, with Mao claiming that it is "in the hands of Wang Ming and the counter-revolutionary aspects which are stooges of the Soviet Union." In its place, the Chinese Maoist Revolutionary Party is created. (It's a mouthful in Chinese as well, for the record- 中国毛主义革命党, Zhōngguó máo zhǔyì gémìng dǎng). The central goal of the party is "to advance Mao Zedong Thought". This represents the ludicrous cult of personality centred around Mao in the newly independent Yan'an- worse than that surrounding Stalin in his day.

November 22, 1963: US President John F. Kennedy is assassinated. His replacement is Lyndon B. Johnson. A sign of the deteriorating state of Sino-US relations is that, whereas normally Nanjing would have dispatched a senior government official to the funeral, the ROC delegation consists merely of vice-ambassador Luang Linbo, who stays for as brief a period as possible and refuses to make a speech.

December 17, 1963: The China Space Bureau is formally launched- pun intended- with its headquarters in Beijing. Its leader is China's premier rocket scientist Qian Sanqiang (5). Construction on a rocketry base in Lop Nor, Xinjiang, is begun, projected to cost somewhere in the region of $100 million USD. (6) The US does not offer much in the way of technical assistance, preferring a joint Sino-American space project. Hopes of this come to nought, however, as Chiang views outer space exploration as a means of giving vent to nationalism.

May 27, 1964: Indian Prime Minister Jawalahru Nehru dies. Two weeks of power struggles follow, before the Indian Communist Party gets its man into power: Kandispal Vispoot. (7) Vispoot pledges to "aid our Tibetan comrades", "resist Chinese aggression", and "show the imperialists that they have no place in this corner of the world."

The Western world takes a very dim view towards Vispoot's taking power. America steps up aid to Pakistan and offers a security guarantee to Sri Lanka. Chinese troops are rushed into Tibet, both as a precaution against another uprising and in case Chiang decides to go to war with India. Moscow, meanwhile, is elated. Already close before India's conversion to communism, aid massively steps up. Red Army advisors help modernise the Indian Army, and Mig-21 jets and T-64 tanks are sold to India.

Throughout the summer of 1964, it becomes evident that China and India are on the brink of war. Since China is a nuclear power and India is not, New Delhi is dependent on a Soviet nuclear guarantee, which would in turn involve the USA... and there we have World War III again. Frantic American negotiators try to extract a guarantee that Chiang will not start a war, but Nanjing is noncommittal.

During this period, the USSR sponsors the Tibetan People's Committee- an organisation of Tibetan emigres who see Moscow as a potential liberator. Its militant wing, the Tibetan People's Liberation Army (TPLA), is a very small force but is well-equipped.

June 22-July 1, 1964: Starting on the twenty-third anniversary of Operation Barbarossa, the Vostok Soyuz military exercises are held in Mongolia. The USSR, Manchuria, and Mongolia all send troops to practice "for a liberation war in East Asia"- read, war with China. In total, three million communist troops take part. The East Turkestani ambassador to Moscow, Pashid Ruhazizi, also declares that the Second East Turkestan Republic will permit "any and all units of the Soviet Red Army through East Turkestani territory." In
People's Daily, Liu Shaoqi urges the "Indian comrades to boldly venture forwards, unafraid of the rightist army opposing them."

June 30, 1964: In a speech given to the Chinese Parliament, which has been called into an emergency session to discuss mobilisation, Chiang Kai-shek claims that China is under threat from "a great red arc stretching from Harbin to Moscow to Urumqi to New Delhi." In the end, the Republic of China mobilises for war.

August 1, 1964: Chinese Ambassador to the US Zhou Shukai converses with President Lyndon B. Johnson. Zhou asks for a guarantee that if the USSR uses nuclear weapons on Chinese soil, America will enter the conflict. Anything else, he promises, China can deal with. In order to placate the US, Zhou promises to grant American companies a major stake in the soon-to-be-opened Taipei Open Investment Zone. Johnson is noncommittal but does promise that in the event of an unprovoked, pre-emptive nuclear strike on the ROC, the US will place all of China under its nuclear shield. The US also expels a number of Indian diplomats, although it retains the ambassador and vice-ambassador.

August 1964: Violence against occupying Chinese troops in Tibet increases, and is met with harsher and harsher crackdowns. Border skirmishes between Chinese and Indian troops also occur, although these are limited to individual soldiers taking shots and throwing rocks at each other, and the like.

August 12, 1964: US Secretary of State Dean Rusk travels to Islamabad to meet with top Pakistani military officials. His goal is to negotiate an arms sale between the US and Pakistan, as well as to advise the Pakistani military in how best to resist India's inevitable invasion should war break out. He leaves two days later. The ageing Nationalist general Li Zongren also visits Pakistan for the same purposes.


The term "Summer of 64" will become ubiquitous in the years to come with the China-India slide to war. Fearful observers in both the US and USSR predict a Third World War. The situation is widely compared to the Cuban Missile Crisis of two years previous.

During this period, large numbers of Red Army troops enter Manchuria and East Turkestan, just in case...

August 28, 1964: Start of the Great Tibetan Uprising. Soviet-educated TPLA leader Mi-Gyaltsen (8) sparks an uprising in Lhasa, which quickly ejects the KMT garrison. The slogan "Chinese go home!" is shouted in front of government buildings, and ROC army barracks are attacked, in the name of "the people". The conflagration spreads quickly, and within three weeks much of 1959 Tibet is in revolt. In response, Chinese troops become increasingly vicious,

The Dalai Lama is hesitant to throw his weight behind the new rebellion- while he naturally wants to see the ROC leave Tibet and is not opposed to some of the tenets of Marxism, it is clear that what will come of this revolt is a state-atheist, communist Tibet under Moscow's thumb.

India begins to send arms and men covertly through Himalayan passes to the rebels, while also escalating border incidents with Chinese troops. Prime Minister (and General Secretary of the Communist Party) Kandispal Vispoot urges "the brave Tibetan comrades to oppose Chinese imperialism, aware that the Indian people stand behind them." It is taken as an Indian promise to go to war soon.

September 3, 1964: A development in the USSR sets events moving beyond the point of no return. Nikita Khruschev is ejected from power in a coup led by Leonid Brezhnev (9). He retires to a house in the countryside and cedes all of his official posts. He will die in obscurity seven years later. Brezhnev is opposed to peaceful coexistence and is dead-set on confrontation with the West. Two days after his confirmation by the Politburo, he dispatches his number two Alexei Kosygin to New Dehli to confirm that the USSR will stand by India should war break out.

September 9, 1964: Eighteen years to the day after the bombing of Baicheng, the storm breaks. Chiang Kai-shek formally declares war on India, sending troops to attack Indian positions on the border. The USSR, Mongolia, Manchuria, and Second East Turkestan Republic declare war on China that same day, and Pakistan declares war on the communists a day later. America, for the moment, remains neutral, although it has contingency plans drawn up to use nuclear weapons and declare war should the need arise...

(1) Deng Xiaoping will never get to use this iconic quote ITTL, and I wanted to use it somewhere.
(2) A Chinese phrase roughly equivalent to "son of a bitch"
(3) I can promise that ITTL Nigel Tufnel (Spinal Tap still gets made ITTL, by the way) is not a supporter in any way, shape, or form of Mao's dreadful personality cult. I couldn't resist inserting this, though!
(4) Roughly analogous to a mistaken rumour that in OTL North Korea, young men are forced to wear Kim Jong-un haircuts.
(5) IOTL Mao's top nuclear scientist
(6) ITOL Mao's main nuclear test site
(7) A fictitious character
(8) Traditionally, Tibetans lack surnames. Mi-Gyaltsen, as far as I can tell, translates very roughly as "people's conflict." If anyone has access to a reliable Tibetan translator, please leave a comment saying so!
(9) This coup had been in the works since March. ITTL, with the slide to war, Brezhnev might decide to go ahead a month earlier.

Comments?

 
Given the China-India war, how long before theories start (if they haven't already) that the ROC killed President Kennedy to prevent him from interfering in the India war?
 
Given the China-India war, how long before theories start (if they haven't already) that the ROC killed President Kennedy to prevent him from interfering in the India war?
This theory will certainly exist OTL, and will rank alongside all of the other JFK assassination conspiracy theories- namely, fodder for a documentary, investigation, or National Enquirer cover or two.
 
Were we at ending civilization levels in the nuclear weapon area in 1964? I heard somewhere that the the Soviets are screwed in a Nuclear war but that they couldn't even reach America with theirs before we bombed back into the stone age. It's why the Cuban missile crisis was such a big deal; at the time there was no other way to strike America on the Soviet end.
 
Were we at ending civilization levels in the nuclear weapon area in 1964? I heard somewhere that the the Soviets are screwed in a Nuclear war but that they couldn't even reach America with theirs before we bombed back into the stone age. It's why the Cuban missile crisis was such a big deal; at the time there was no other way to strike America on the Soviet end.
In 1964, we were at the point where humanity could survive WWIII without getting bombed into the Stone Age, but Europe and Russia would be absolute wastelands unfit for human habitation.
 
Were we at ending civilization levels in the nuclear weapon area in 1964? I heard somewhere that the the Soviets are screwed in a Nuclear war but that they couldn't even reach America with theirs before we bombed back into the stone age. It's why the Cuban missile crisis was such a big deal; at the time there was no other way to strike America on the Soviet end.
You only have to right of all of asia and europe if this war goes Nuclear.
 
Chapter Seven- WWIII
World War III-- Part One

"The Japanese lost the war because, although they could take Peking, Nanking, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, they could not hold those areas against the will of the inhabitants and dig us out of our mountains. Now... now, the Russians will learn this too."- Chiang Kai-shek, in a journal entry on September 10, 1964

"For the third time, communism will be brought to the Chinese people from the north."- Mao Zedong, in an address to the Yan'an Politburo

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Well, everyone- I'm not dead, and neither is this TL. After a long hiatus, I've decided to pick the KMT up again and see where it goes. Thanks to everyone who decided to give this update a chance- I hope that you won't be disappointed.

In 1964, the Republic of China was in a precarious strategic position. The colossus of the Soviet Union stood to the north and west, ready to penetrate the RoC's borders and invade its homeland. Meanwhile, hostile India created a second front, and furthermore was doing all it could to undermine the Chinese position in Tibet. Only on the southern flank- with the pro-Western regimes in Indochina- could the Chinese afford to rest easy. The United States was an ocean away and was, to Chiang's chagrin, adopting a stance of neutrality, preferring to concentrate on potentially fighting the Soviets in Western Europe. Although China possessed the atom bomb, the airfields from which bombers could take off to destroy Moscow or New Delhi would soon be gone- plus, using the ultimate weapon would come at the cost of whatever American goodwill Chiang still possessed. Realistically, China had only one advantage in the ensuing fight: population.

Along the Manchurian border alone, the ROC Army- commanded by the ageing Li Zongren- disposed of a million and a half troops, while in Beijing and the surrounding area, three-quarters of a million were utilised. The North Chinese Front of the USSR, under the command of General Kuzma Galitsky, consisted of over 350,000 men and the most modern, up-to-date armour and Red Air Force detachments, while the Soviet Republic of Manchuria had approximately 650,000 men, virtually all of which were made available to the Russians. Furthermore, although precise numbers are hard to come by, very approximately 200,000 Mongolian troops were ready to pour into China , themselves accompanied by two Soviet armies. In the far west of China, Alexander Altunin's Turkestan Front was roughly 200,000 strong, and accompanied by East Turkestani soldiers, was ready to pour into the vast western hinterland of China. Meanwhile, India brought approximately 800,000 soldiers to the Himalayan front, although small Pakistan, fighting on the Chinese side, offered a distraction which kept Indian troops tied down. (1)

Chinese strategy, then, was designed to make maximum use of the country's massive numerical superiority. Namely, the goal was to tie the Soviets down in an attritional battle- the further north, the better. Although it was clear that Beijing was untenable, if the Soviets could be brought to heel north of the Yellow River, that would put the Chinese in a good position to wear their foe out while not having their valuable east coast subject to another long-term foreign occupation like in 1937-1945. In the Himalayan front, the plan was simply to use the fact that the Indians would be advancing in some of the worst terrain possible to stand on the defence, while the vast expanses of Xinjiang were to be traded for time, allowing the Russians to stretch their supply columns to the breaking point. Of course, the nuclear option remained on the table, while Chiang's main hope- namely, that the USA would get into the war- remained...

September 11, 1964: With war well and truly declared, the invasion of China commences on an almost six-thousand-kilometre front. In the vast western reaches, Chinese troops fall back, trading space for time. However, in the eastern extremity of the front, where the density of forces is much higher, the Soviet advance is much slower. The invaders lack the element of surprise and suffer heavy casualties as they push the Chinese back. The town of Qinhuangdao, located a mere twenty-three kilometres from the Manchurian border, surrenders in forty-eight hours after a devastating artillery bombardment, but at the cost of 80,000 Soviet casualties, the majority of which are Manchurians. Chinese casualty figures are similar.

September 15, 1964: Chengde and Tangshan are both occupied by the Soviets, along with Kashgar in the far west.

September 17, 1964: Indian troops, advancing through the Khyber Pass, invade Pakistan. A smaller force also moves into Kashmir. In spite of being heavily outnumbered, the Pakistanis are able to put up a strong defence, entrenching in the high mountains. Many international observers compare the fighting to the Isonzo front of the First World War.

That same day, hundreds of miles away, the Russian and Chinese armies clash just to the northeast of Beijing. In spite of suffering heavy casualties, the Soviets win the day, thanks in large part to the superiority of their armour. However, their own losses, to go alongside those of their Mongol and Manchu allies, were not inconsiderable...

In spite of the casualty figures, the Stavka is confident that it can now wheel south and prepare for an assault on Beijing.

September 19, 1964: In a macrocosm of the fighting in Kashmir and Khyber, the Liberation Offensive is launched against Chinese positions in the Himalayas. This front will prove an absolute logistical nightmare for both sides, with rations and supplies seldom reaching the troops. As such, this will be dubbed the "forgotten front", as for months nothing will be accomplished here save the tying down of Indian and Chinese troops.

September 20, 1964: The "Lhasa Massacre". After continued riots and sedition in the Tibetan capital, Chiang gives the go-ahead to bomb the city to quell it into submission. Although the death toll is horrifically high- with some giving an estimate of 5,500- this only furthers the determination of the Tibetans to seek their freedom from Chinese tyranny.

September 23, 1964: The Yan'an Annihilation Drive is launched, a concentric attack on Mao Zedong's remnant regime. The people are more than happy to cast off the Maoist yoke after thirty years, and Chiang's troops are welcomed as liberators. Although organised resistance is relatively weak, a small guerilla campaign will last even past the end of the war. Mao himself is killed in the initial assault by a KMT sniper. The death of Chiang's oldest enemy is a morale-booster to the Chinese public, who have precious few things to cheer about. Nonetheless, its actual strategic value is minimal.

September 25, 1964: Taking advantage of the chaos in the region, North Korean dictator Kim Il-sung decides to finally fulfil the dream which he has harboured for fourteen years- namely, to invade and conquer his southern, pro-Western neighbour. Nine Korean People's Army divisions, equipped with Soviet tanks of varying age, accompanied by tactical bombers, cross the 38th parallel at 3:30 AM, catching the South Koreans off-guard. Within hours, the Southerners are being pushed back. Seoul will fall the next day, with President Park Chung-hee fleeing to Busan.

October 1, 1964: After a brief pause, the Soviets commence the "Beijing Encirclement Strategic Operation". This consists of a heavy armoured thrust to take the town of Tianjin from the west, thus encircling and isolating the Chinese capital. Chiang is more than willing to let this occur, as it fits in nicely with his goal of bringing the Soviets to battle in an environment where Chinese manpower superiority can make itself felt, wiping out as much of the Russian heavy armour as possible.

The KMT commander in Beijing is Fu Zuoyi, a former warlord soldier who distinguished himself considerably in the Sino-Japanese War and brief Manchurian epilogue. (2). He has approximately a million soldiers at his command, which gives him a very slight numerical superiority over the Soviets and their allies.

October 5, 1964: Russo-Mongolian troops capture Jiquan, site of the Chinese nuclear tests and rocket programme. Although all nuclear weapons have been evacuated from the site, several classified documents are captured by the Soviets and sent back to Moscow.

October 12, 1964: The Indians launch a new offensive through Arunachal Pradesh, aimed at taking Lhasa. It quickly becomes reminiscent of Ypres or Passchendaele- namely, a pointless slaughter that gets nowhere, and the Chinese, although suffering heavy casualties, cede almost no land.

October 16, 1964: After almost two weeks of street-fighting, the city of Langfang on the outskirts of Beijing falls to the Soviets. By this point, both sides have suffered almost half a million casualties each, and the war is only a month old. Brezhnev visits the Warsaw Pact capitals, demanding that each satellite provide troops for the war. Brezhnev does not want to pull Russian troops out of Eastern Europe for fear of losing political control, and sees the forces of his allies as more "expendable".

October 21-24, 1964: The Xianghe Skirmish. Over the course of three days, this small Beijing suburb is reduced to rubble as Chinese and Soviet troops clash. Horrified by the losses, and aware that if this kind of attritional fighting is extrapolated to the rest of the Chinese seaboard then the war will be lost, Brezhnev decides to take the ultimate step...

On October 25, 1964, the defenders of Beijing awoke to the ominous whistling sound of a rocket, followed a moment later by a blinding flash of light and a great mushroom cloud. Li Zongren was killed instantly in the attack, along with millions of Chinese, both soldiers and civilians. Suddenly, the Red Army's task had just become a whole lot easier...

Comments?

(1) These numbers are all extremely rough estimates.
(2) Commander of the KMT army defending Beijing in the OTL Chinese Civil War
 
Last edited:
World War III-- Part One

"The Japanese lost the war because, although they could take Peking, Nanking, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, they could not hold those areas against the will of the inhabitants and dig us out of our mountains. Now... now, the Russians will learn this too."- Chiang Kai-shek, in a journal entry on September 10, 1964

"For the third time, communism will be brought to the Chinese people from the north."- Mao Zedong, in an address to the Yan'an Politburo

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Well, everyone- I'm not dead, and neither is this TL. After a long hiatus, I've decided to pick the KMT up again and see where it goes. Thanks to everyone who decided to give this update a chance- I hope that you won't be disappointed.

In 1964, the Republic of China was in a precarious strategic position. The colossus of the Soviet Union stood to the north and west, ready to penetrate the RoC's borders and invade its homeland. Meanwhile, hostile India created a second front, and furthermore was doing all it could to undermine the Chinese position in Tibet. Only on the southern flank- with the pro-Western regimes in Indochina- could the Chinese afford to rest easy. The United States was an ocean away and was, to Chiang's chagrin, adopting a stance of neutrality, preferring to concentrate on potentially fighting the Soviets in Western Europe. Although China possessed the atom bomb, the airfields from which bombers could take off to destroy Moscow or New Delhi would soon be gone- plus, using the ultimate weapon would come at the cost of whatever American goodwill Chiang still possessed. Realistically, China had only one advantage in the ensuing fight: population.

Along the Manchurian border alone, the ROC Army- commanded by the ageing Li Zongren- disposed of a million and a half troops, while in Beijing and the surrounding area, three-quarters of a million were utilised. The North Chinese Front of the USSR, under the command of General Kuzma Galitsky, consisted of over 350,000 men and the most modern, up-to-date armour and Red Air Force detachments, while the Soviet Republic of Manchuria had approximately 650,000 men, virtually all of which were made available to the Russians. Furthermore, although precise numbers are hard to come by, very approximately 200,000 Mongolian troops were ready to pour into China , themselves accompanied by two Soviet armies. In the far west of China, Alexander Altunin's Turkestan Front was roughly 200,000 strong, and accompanied by East Turkestani soldiers, was ready to pour into the vast western hinterland of China. Meanwhile, India brought approximately 800,000 soldiers to the Himalayan front, although small Pakistan, fighting on the Chinese side, offered a distraction which kept Indian troops tied down. (1)

Chinese strategy, then, was designed to make maximum use of the country's massive numerical superiority. Namely, the goal was to tie the Soviets down in an attritional battle- the further north, the better. Although it was clear that Beijing was untenable, if the Soviets could be brought to heel north of the Yellow River, that would put the Chinese in a good position to wear their foe out while not having their valuable east coast subject to another long-term foreign occupation like in 1937-1945. In the Himalayan front, the plan was simply to use the fact that the Indians would be advancing in some of the worst terrain possible to stand on the defence, while the vast expanses of Xinjiang were to be traded for time, allowing the Russians to stretch their supply columns to the breaking point. Of course, the nuclear option remained on the table, while Chiang's main hope- namely, that the USA would get into the war- remained...

September 11, 1964: With war well and truly declared, the invasion of China commences on an almost six-thousand-kilometre front. In the vast western reaches, Chinese troops fall back, trading space for time. However, in the eastern extremity of the front, where the density of forces is much higher, the Soviet advance is much slower. The invaders lack the element of surprise and suffer heavy casualties as they push the Chinese back. The town of Qinhuangdao, located a mere twenty-three kilometres from the Manchurian border, surrenders in forty-eight hours after a devastating artillery bombardment, but at the cost of 80,000 Soviet casualties, the majority of which are Manchurians. Chinese casualty figures are similar.

September 15, 1964: Chengde and Tangshan are both occupied by the Soviets, along with Kashgar in the far west.

September 17, 1964: Indian troops, advancing through the Khyber Pass, invade Pakistan. A smaller force also moves into Kashmir. In spite of being heavily outnumbered, the Pakistanis are able to put up a strong defence, entrenching in the high mountains. Many international observers compare the fighting to the Isonzo front of the First World War.

That same day, hundreds of miles away, the Russian and Chinese armies clash just to the northeast of Beijing. In spite of suffering heavy casualties, the Soviets win the day, thanks in large part to the superiority of their armour. However, their own losses, to go alongside those of their Mongol and Manchu allies, were not inconsiderable...

In spite of the casualty figures, the Stavka is confident that it can now wheel south and prepare for an assault on Beijing.

September 19, 1964: In a macrocosm of the fighting in Kashmir and Khyber, the Liberation Offensive is launched against Chinese positions in the Himalayas. This front will prove an absolute logistical nightmare for both sides, with rations and supplies seldom reaching the troops. As such, this will be dubbed the "forgotten front", as for months nothing will be accomplished here save the tying down of Indian and Chinese troops.

September 20, 1964: The "Lhasa Massacre". After continued riots and sedition in the Tibetan capital, Chiang gives the go-ahead to bomb the city to quell it into submission. Although the death toll is horrifically high- with some giving an estimate of 5,500- this only furthers the determination of the Tibetans to seek their freedom from Chinese tyranny.

September 23, 1964: The Yan'an Annihilation Drive is launched, a concentric attack on Mao Zedong's remnant regime. The people are more than happy to cast off the Maoist yoke after thirty years, and Chiang's troops are welcomed as liberators. Although organised resistance is relatively weak, a small guerilla campaign will last even past the end of the war. Mao himself is killed in the initial assault by a KMT sniper. The death of Chiang's oldest enemy is a morale-booster to the Chinese public, who have precious few things to cheer about. Nonetheless, its actual strategic value is minimal.

September 25, 1964: Taking advantage of the chaos in the region, North Korean dictator Kim Il-sung decides to finally fulfil the dream which he has harboured for fourteen years- namely, to invade and conquer his southern, pro-Western neighbour. Nine Korean People's Army divisions, equipped with Soviet tanks of varying age, accompanied by tactical bombers, cross the 38th parallel at 3:30 AM, catching the South Koreans off-guard. Within hours, the Southerners are being pushed back. Seoul will fall the next day, with President Park Chung-hee fleeing to Busan.

October 1, 1964: After a brief pause, the Soviets commence the "Beijing Encirclement Strategic Operation". This consists of a heavy armoured thrust to take the town of Tianjin from the west, thus encircling and isolating the Chinese capital. Chiang is more than willing to let this occur, as it fits in nicely with his goal of bringing the Soviets to battle in an environment where Chinese manpower superiority can make itself felt, wiping out as much of the Russian heavy armour as possible.

The KMT commander in Beijing is Fu Zuoyi, a former warlord soldier who distinguished himself considerably in the Sino-Japanese War and brief Manchurian epilogue. (2). He has approximately a million soldiers at his command, which gives him a very slight numerical superiority over the Soviets and their allies.

October 5, 1964: Russo-Mongolian troops capture Jiquan, site of the Chinese nuclear tests and rocket programme. Although all nuclear weapons have been evacuated from the site, several classified documents are captured by the Soviets and sent back to Moscow.

October 12, 1964: The Indians launch a new offensive through Arunachal Pradesh, aimed at taking Lhasa. It quickly becomes reminiscent of Ypres or Passchendaele- namely, a pointless slaughter that gets nowhere, and the Chinese, although suffering heavy casualties, cede almost no land.

October 16, 1964: After almost two weeks of street-fighting, the city of Langfang on the outskirts of Beijing falls to the Soviets. By this point, both sides have suffered almost half a million casualties each, and the war is only a month old. Brezhnev visits the Warsaw Pact capitals, demanding that each satellite provide troops for the war. Brezhnev does not want to pull Russian troops out of Eastern Europe for fear of losing political control, and sees the forces of his allies as more "expendable".

October 21-24, 1964: The Xianghe Skirmish. Over the course of three days, this small Beijing suburb is reduced to rubble as Chinese and Soviet troops clash. Horrified by the losses, and aware that if this kind of attritional fighting is extrapolated to the rest of the Chinese seaboard then the war will be lost, Brezhnev decides to take the ultimate step...

On October 25, 1964, the defenders of Beijing awoke to the ominous whistling sound of a rocket, followed a moment later by a blinding flash of light and a great mushroom cloud. Li Zongren was killed instantly in the attack, along with millions of Chinese, both soldiers and civilians. Suddenly, the Red Army's task had just become a whole lot easier...

Comments?
Oh shit.
The commies actually did it.
Looks like China's going to give any Sovs captured the Japan treatment.
No prisoners and probably torture.

I have two questions though.
Where is Sun Li-jen?
The guy was known as Rommel of the East for his military achievements and he was made C in C of the ROC Army in 1950.
Do you think you could have him take over in Manchuria and lead KMT forces to liberate my ancestral home from the evil commies?
What about the Ma Clique?
They were loyal to the KMT to the end and their forces were both well equipped and experienced.
Might they spearhead the conquest of Xinjiang and southwestern China?
 
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Sun will spearhead the RoC counteroffensive into Manchuria following the Second Battle of Beijing
The Ma Clique has supplied the bulk of the forces involved in the Xinjiang front
 
You're missing the footnotes to your last update...

If Johnson doesn't do something, assuming Barry Goldwater is still his opponent ITTL, he'll be crushed in a landslide in November; of course, since the chapter is titled World War III Part 1, I have a feeling I know what's coming...
 
From what I've heard, a world war at this time wouldn't hurt America that much. The Soviets didn't have the ICBM tech to reach us yet.
 
The September 1963 Coup and the Division of Communist China


When Mao Zedong began his Cultural Revolution in the summer of 1963, he intended for it to be a means of consolidating his own power. By viciously eradicating any other potential source of political or cultural strength, the people of the PRNC would have only one thing in their lives to look up to or admire- him- and have no distractions- such as books or music- from their lives spent as Mao worshippers. It was an absolutely horrifying image, but it would elevate Mao's own personality cult and power within the CCP, and to him, that was all that mattered

For four months, the People's Republic of North China lived in a state of anarchy and fear. Nothing was safe or sacred, except for Mao's portrait and Little Red Book. All aspects of Chinese culture were viciously purged. Anyone found with books or music in their homes was tortured and most likely executed, such was the level of depravity. People learned to live in fear. But that was not all. Any of Mao's opponents- that is, anyone who did not sufficiently worship him- was purged. State president Liu Shaoqi was toppled in August, and at the time of the coup, he was awaiting imprisonment in a state of de facto house arrest, having been branded "the biggest capitalist-roader". The second-biggest "capitalist-roader" was Deng Xiaoping, who was subject to house arrest and occasional denunciations and lived in fear of being exiled or imprisoned. Mao's inner circle at this point consisted of Zhou Enlai, Lin Biao, Kang Sheng, and his wife Jiang Qing. They all had the power to ruin anyone’s life. Of course, they all knew that currying favour with the Chairman was essential to their own survival. This meant that they stomached the Great Leap Forward, and were willing to throw their comrades under the bus during the Cultural Revolution.

However, the People’s Republic of North China was moving in a direction which its Soviet patron refused to stomach. In the eyes of Moscow, it was one thing for a satellite nation to conduct a purge, or even to implement agricultural reform reminiscent of the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s. However, when that nation loses five percent of its population to a famine, and then not ten years later attacks the rest of the Communist bloc as revisionists, that was something else again.

Three days after the downfall of Liu Shaoqi, Wang Ming, a former CCP member who had fled to Moscow during World War II, received a knock on his door. He opened it, to find five KGB men standing there, armed to the teeth. Wang assumed that he was to be taken to prison or the gulag, and nearly cried with joy when they reassured him that that was not what they wanted him for. Wang was driven to KGB headquarters in Moscow, where he was met by none other than Vladimir Semichastny, chairman of the KGB. Semichastny poured Wang a drink, and reassured him that he was not in any trouble. Then, acting on behalf of Khruschev, he explained the situation and informed Wang that he was to become the next chairman of communist China. Realising that if he said no, his life would end very shortly, Wang agreed. On August 22, 1963, a Soviet train from Irkutsk arrived in Harbin. Two dozen KGB men were aboard, disguised as Russian migrant labourers. Wang Ming was present too, disguised as a People’s Liberation Army captain, complete with dog tags and uniform faked by the Russians. It seemed like nothing out of the ordinary…

Ten days later, at five minutes to 1 AM on September 2, the plotters struck. Bombs planted by the plotters over the past ten days were remotely detonated in Mao’s compound in an attempt to kill the leadership. In the midst of the confusion, the KGB men slipped in and went hunting for the leaders. Mao and Lin Biao managed to flee in separate planes, Mao in a (ironically enough) Soviet-built plane, Lin in his personal plane, the Trident. Both had the same destination: Yan’an. The Nationalists, whose airspace the two vessels crossed, were too surprised to do much, and in any case, Nanjing was not yet aware of the situation. As such, Mao was able to land in Yan’an unmolested. Lin Biao, however, was not so fortunate. His car had been pursued by KGB men, and his plane had had to take off in a hurry, there not being enough fuel in the tank. As such, at approximately 4:30 AM, his plane crashed into Nationalist territory, somewhere between Xinzhou and Taiyuan. Aboard was Lin, his wife, their daughter Lin Dodo, and their son Lin Liguo, along with the Lin family’s butler. (1) Mao did not learn of the circumstances of Lin’s death for over a month.

Back in Harbin, the plotters quickly assumed control over the government. Liu Shaoqi was released from prison at nine AM. Zhou Enlai, meanwhile, was caught and executed along with Jiang Qing and Kang Sheng. Deng Xiaoping, however, managed to keep his head down, and was able to safely remain in Harbin. Twenty-four hours after the coup began, the Manchurian part of the PRNC was solidly under Wang Ming’s control. On September 4, the front page of People’s Daily was dominated by two articles. One formally announced the takeover by Wang, and the other was the text of a speech by Liu Shaoqi formally condemning Maoism. The next day, Wang gave a speech in which he proclaimed the establishment of the Soviet Republic of Manchuria. “We renounce the errors and over-pursuit of the revolution by Mao Zedong, and will stand by our Soviet comrades for 10,000 years.” he said. Wang also pledged to undo the Cultural Revolution, and to help recover from the Great Leap Forward. The Little Red Book, Mao’s portrait, and the hymn “The East is Red” were all banned. The new Manchurian government consisted of the following: Wang Ming as CCP Chairman, Liu Shaoqi as state president, Deng Xiaoping as vice-president and interior minister, and Zhu De as defence minister, along with plenty of others. The Communist world, acting on Moscow’s orders, granted Manchuria diplomatic recognition.

Meanwhile, in Yan’an, Mao was reeling from the loss of his country. Virtually all of his hierarchy had either chosen to throw in with Wang Ming (Liu, Deng, and Zhu), or been killed (Lin, Zhou, Kang Sheng, and Mme Mao). He decided, then, that there was only one thing to do- to abandon the PRNC and create a new Communist regime in Yan’an, even more totalitarian than his old country. The People’s Commune of Yan’an was formally inaugurated, ironically enough, on October 1, 1963, seventeen years to the day after the founding of the People’s Republic of North China. However, it received no support or recognition from any Communist countries, and was from its birth an international pariah. Conditions within the country were appalling from the get-go: Yan’an was already a very poor part of China, and Mao was determined to show no mercy towards it. A personality cult dwarfing that of Stalin was rapidly put in place (2), with Mao's personality cult elevated to heights that, had they not had such horrible consequences for those forced to live under them, would've been comic. Myths were created that the Chairman had personally fought in 100,000 battles during the Sino-Japanese War and the civil war, and that the only reason that Yan'an was the sole part of China under his rule was because of the Americans and their nuclear weapons. It was the duty of every subject of his, Mao claimed, to "strive aggressively, and to be prepared for our next conflict with counter-revolutionary elements in China and elsewhere." Khruschev was also condemned as a "counter-revolutionary revisionist", and a "lackey of the imperialists", while Wang Ming was "the biggest counter-revolutionary bastard and the biggest capitalist-roader, along with Liu Shaoqi." The Cultural Revolution continued in Yan'an. Prison camps- dubbed laogai- were constructed to hold enemies of the regime (read, those who had displeased Mao in any way, shape, or form) or anyone who attempted to flee to the ROC.

Thus, Communist China was divided in two.

(1) Analogous to one account of Lin's OTL death.
(2) Hey, I had to put the North Korean personality cult in somewhere!
Who's Mao's chosen successor going to be? The usual suspects are all dead or have rebelled. Interesting.

Also a small nitpick: "laogai" refers to a penal system instead of an institution.
 
Mao will have no successor, as the Commune of Yan'an is rapidly overrun by Soviet troops
For fear of a coup, he himself never got round to anointing a formal successor
 
Chapter Eight- WWIII
World War III- Part Two
"We Chinese have 600,000,000 people. Is sacrificing a few million of them so that the American genie may be released from its bottle a fair trade? I think so." Chiang Kai-shek to his son, upon hearing of the destruction of Beijing.

For the third time in forty-seven years, the United States Congress met in a joint session convened by the President. Mincing no words, Lyndon Johnson asked for a declaration of war on the Soviet Union, "for the good and freedom of all the peoples of Asia and the world." He was quickly granted the request, and on October 27, 1964, the United States declared war on the Soviet Union. Now, this raised an important dilemma: namely, that while the ROC was an American ally on decent terms with all of the West, it was not a NATO member, and as such, NATO was not bound by Article V to come to its defence. Many in Western Europe were adamantly opposed to joining an East Asian war on the other side of the planet just because the USA wanted to get involved- one commentator in Holland compared it to the idea of Sweden declaring war on Hitler after Pearl Harbour to keep relations with America good. It was pointed out by many that western Europe would have to face the Red Army and tactical nuclear weapons, and would be suffering civilian casualties. The first one to opt out was France. "We have no desire to bleed for the Chinaman.", declared Charles de Gaulle. While de Gaulle did not make any moves to leave NATO or expel foreign troops, he did make it clear that the Allies would be forbidden to use French ports or rail lines, for fear that such behaviour would invite pre-emptive Soviet nuclear strikes. Tiny Denmark, fearful of being conquered in a day, was on the verge of proclaiming neutrality when the Americans and British pledged to rush additional troops to the country to protect against the Red Army. In the Far East, the still unpopular (and not particularly trusted by the Americans) Japanese government refused to join the war, although it did permit the transit of US forces through its territory. Turkey and Italy also refrained from joining the war.

NATO (excluding France) had very approximately 2.5 million (1) forces ready in western Europe, including naval and air personnel, while the Warsaw Pact had roughly 3 million. (2) Brezhnev was aware that the commitment in China meant that there was simply no way for the Warsaw Pact to win an attritional war in Europe-- it just couldn't be done. Therefore, as he conferred with the Stavka, a new Soviet strategy took shape. The Red Army was to advance through the Fulda and Kassel gaps, aided by tactical nuclear weapons, and from there converge at Marburg. From Marburg, it was a straight shot to the French border. That was the essence of it. On October 28, 1964 (3), the defenders of Fulda and Kassel- including a young soldier by the name of Colin Powell (4)- were awoken by a terrific artillery bombardment, creating chaos as commanders attempted to co-ordinate a response. The panic only lasted for perhaps fifteen minutes, as first Kassel, then Fulda, felt the brunt of tactical nuclear weapons. As soon as it was safe to do so, Warsaw Pact troops- mostly Russians, with satellite states supplying cannon fodder- advanced west. The greatest gamble had begun.

October 28, 1964: All along the front line, the Soviet Union advances against the NATO armies, driving deep into West Germany. Two East German battalions, meanwhile, overwhelm West Berlin. Although many Western units fight long and hard, they are overwhelmed by the first shock of the Soviet offensive.

November 1, 1964: The last Chinese units in Beijing surrender to the Russians, who now begin planning for a drive south. However, their own casualties in the Battle of Beijing were not inconsiderable. Although the sheer size of Beijing meant that much of the city survived the initial blast, radiation now creeps through the city, infecting Soviet troops.

Chiang, meanwhile, is harbouring plans for an offensive of his own…

November 3, 1964: Running on a platform of patriotism and support for the new war, Lyndon Johnson is easily elected as President in his own right, defeating Barry Goldwater by an even larger margin than OTL

November 4, 1964: In a move designed to please the West, new Saudi king Faisal announces drastic cuts in the price of Saudi oil to neutral nations. The hope is that they will buy cheaper Saudi oil instead of Soviet supplies, which Moscow cannot afford to cut right now owing to the cost of maintaining the war effort.

November 4, 1964: The last pocket of South Korean troops surrender in Busan. General Park is found dead amongst the ruins of the city. The Korean Civil War- as it will come to be known- is now over. The outpost of Jeju Island surrenders upon hearing the news.

November 12, 1964: After a long fight, Soviet troops capture Wolfsburg from the West Germans. The city is largely in ruins, with its famed auto works no more.

That same day, the two Soviet armies which set out from Fulda and Kassel achieve their rendezvous at Marburg. Two West German divisions remain encircled at Alsfield, and will be mopped up by Polish troops over the next week.

November 15, 1964: The Soviet armies invading from Xinjiang and Mongolia link up at the Qinghai town of Hainan. In spite of the symbolism of this defeat for the Chinese, on one level it is a good thing for Nanjing: the Soviets are now in some places thirteen hundred kilometres from their supply bases, and that distance will only increase. (5) Nonetheless, the Chinese high command now realises that a threat to Xian exists, and that plans must be drawn up to defend the city.

November 19, 1964: Sun Lijen is appointed commander of the forces in the Beijing theatre. Although he has previously had a rocky history with Chiang, the KMT army’s need for a good commander, plus Chiang’s vulnerability to bribes, mean that Sun now finds himself in Chiang’s graces. Sun has roughly a million men at his command, giving him a considerable numerical advantage over the Soviets. However, many of the best KMT troops have been chewed up and obliterated in the Beijing battle, and as such these units are of poorer quality.

November 24, 1964: The Battle of Frankfurt commences. Soviet armoured forces clash with American tanks. The first day ends in a draw, and only human wave attacks and massive air and artillery support- all accomplished at very high cost in Russian casualties- are sufficient to push the Americans out.

November 29, 1964: Operation Eagle Liberty is launched by the Americans. Commanded by General William Westmoreland, it incorporates two American corps and three British divisions, along with one regiment from both Holland and Belgium. Westmoreland's target is Magdeburg, which is to be liberated by means of a drive from the south-east. Eagle Liberty catches the Soviets off-guard, but they soon manage to draw the Allied forces into a stalemate battle inside Magdeburg itself. Fearful that his forces will fall victim to a Soviet tactical nuclear weapon, Westmoreland decides to cancel the operation on December 2, abandoning the ruins of Magdeburg to the Soviets once more.

December 5, 1964: Commanded by General Creighton Abrams, Jr, six US infantry divisions land in Nanjing harbour, the first of many. They will travel by rail to the Beijing theatre. Additionally, several squadrons of US B-52 bombers land in Nanjing, from where they will strategically bomb-- using only conventional weapons-- rail lines and infrastructure behind the Soviet lines.

December 12, 1964: After a long push forward, Soviet troops capture Karlsruhe, very close to the French border. West Germany is now almost completely divided in two. Brezhnev- running the war from Moscow and giving the Stavka limited freedom- now hopes to capture Hanover and Hamburg, and from there, overrun Denmark.

However, the strategic situation is slowly slipping out of Soviet control. Their advance into West Germany has more or less taken the shape of a salient 200 kilometres long, one which, though frightening on paper, is a logistical nightmare for supplies, given that the two largest cities at its base have been nuked. This congests the remaining roads, which are in turn prime targets for Allied conventional bombing. The Red Air Force can protect these roads, but only at the cost of sacrificing combat air superiority.

The body count is also piling up. The density of forces is much higher than in World War II, and weaponry all that much more advanced, meaning that combat is far more intense and casualties are much higher. (6) While this certainly generates a fair amount of resistance to the war in Western countries (7), they have the advantage of an almost bottomless reservoir of American men and industry to feed into Germany. Meanwhile, the Soviets are fighting a two-front war and are dependent in large part on their Warsaw Pact “allies” for cannon-fodder. In Warsaw, Bucharest, Sofia, Budapest, and even Berlin, there are whisperings of revolt, as the Russians send more and more of their young men to die while still finding the manpower to occupy their homelands…

December 19, 1964: In a telephone call between Lyndon Johnson and Chiang Kai-shek, the US President gives the Chinese his tacit permission to use tactical nuclear weapons, and hints that he may do the same himself…

December 25, 1964: In what will be dubbed “Santa’s gift to Chiang” by one New York Times columnist, a joint Sino-American offensive opens up against the Soviets in the city of Cangzhou. Although the Russian troops in the city fight hard, the Allies are surprised by the numbers of Polish and Hungarian troops who are all too eager to defect to the Americans.

However, in a harbinger of things to come, one ethnic Latvian regiment which defects en masse to the Chinese on the 27th, expecting to be treated well, is instead summarily massacred. General Sun manages to keep the incident hushed up, but word leaks to the Americans. After this, although Warsaw Pact troops are still willing to surrender to the USA, they almost universally fight to the death against the Chinese. Many put this down to the fury and hatred the Chinese feel for the Soviets after the nuclear attack on Beijing.

January 1, 1965: Assisted by several American divisions, the Pakistanis make a fresh attempt to achieve a breakthrough in Kashmir. The mountainous town of Leh is reduced to rubble, but little ground changes hands. America now begins to consider the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons of its own to achieve a breakthrough in the high mountains…

January 6, 1965: The Allies commence Operation Scorpion, a pincer attack on Mannheim designed to cut off the Soviet forces at the tip of their long salient. This time, their attack meets with success, as the poorly-supplied, tired Soviet forces- who are hindered, as always, by the willingness of the Warsaw Pact troops to go over to the Americans or British (8), give way. After ten days of heavy fighting, Mannheim falls, along with Heidelberg.

The news that tens of thousands of Soviet troops are now cut off sends Brezhnev into a fit of rage, and he decides to take the ultimate step, one from which he has until now refrained for fear of retaliation.

On January 7, 1965, Norwich, Ipswitch, Amsterdam, Brussels (9), and Suzhou joined the list of cities to meet nuclear death. The next day, a furious America, using its ICBMs stationed in England, added Kiev, Kharkov, Minsk, Leningrad, and Smolensk to the list, bringing the total to seventeen cities to meet firey nuclear death.

(1) Again, a very rough number. Bear in mind that this excludes French troops
(2) See above
(3) October 28 German time, October 27 US time
(4) No Vietnam War means that Powell would be stationed in Germany for longer
(5) For comparison purposes, just slightly over the distance between the current front in Europe and Minsk, Belarus
(6)This is not a guerilla war like Vietnam-- combat is direct, and out in the open, with no real places to hide on the flat North German Plain
(7) Although things like draft-card-burning have not come around yet, there are plenty of young hippies passionately opposed to this war. However, there are plenty more people who view this as a "good-vs-evil" fight, like WWII, and anti-war dissidents have a lot less respect amongst the mainstream of society, especially those who fought in WWII.
(8) Given that the war is being fought on their soil and that the Soviets have nuked two of their cities, the West Germans were not known for their kindness towards prisoners, either. This includes East Germans, who are typically sent to the Chinese front for fear that they will be disloyal.
(9) After this, the Americans were pretty much the only ones taking prisoners
 
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