Chapter 1: The Tokyo Conference
  • Chapter 1: The Tokyo Conference:

    The Japanese Empire felt betrayed ever since the Nine-Power Treaty of 1922, that was affirming the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China and the Treaty for the Limitation and Reduction of Naval Armament of 1930, so that it later would not be a part of the new Second London Naval Treaty of 1935/36. It all began after the creation of the Japanese puppet state, the Empire of Manchukuo under Emperor Puyi in 1932. The foreign powers mostly European Colonial Powers were unwilling to accept the Great Manchurian Empire as a independent state. It became clear to Japan, that the Europeans and the Americans would not accept Japans special needs, ties and influence in China. What the USA claimed for the Americas in the Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary as natural rights, were no rights they themselves would allow the Japanese equally in China or Asia. This combined with the for many Japanese Militarists, unsatisfying outcome of the Tangu Truce in 1933 that established a cease-fire between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan, that formal ended the Japanese invasion of Manchuria that begun two years earlier lead to a coup of Imperialist in Japan in 1934. During this attempted coup young Imperial Japanese Army officers led a attack in Tokyo, Japan, in a bid to purge the government and military leadership in favor of the radical 'Imperial Way'. Roughly 1500 men joined the rebellion, successfully assassinating several leading officials (including two former prime ministers) and occupying a number of important buildings including the police headquarters. However the Emperor rejected the rebellion and it was suppressed over the following days, bringing an end to the factionalism which had divided the Japanese army.

    The cease-fire with Japan gave Chiang Kaishek time to deal with the Communists in the Fifth Encirclement Campaign, forcing Mao to his Long March. At the same time the Soviet Union began to intervene in Xianjing, threatening Japanese interests in China now from two fronts and not only just from Mongolia. Japan's government realized that it's own stability and it's influence in Asia and the Pacific were still threatened by foreign, colonial powers. To find a solution to this problem the Japanese government, military and industry gathered together at the Tokyo Conference. One at the major themes at the secret Tokyo Conference was colonization and living space, racial and cultural supremacy and even mentioned jinshu (race) and minzoku (people). The members of the Tokio Conference argued that out of all Asian nations and states only Japan was able to industrialize and remain total independent. Because of this the Japanese were not only equal, but superior to any other nation on earth. At the same time the Japanese Sun should guide and liberate the Asian people, seen as children or apprentice to a wise and old Japanese father or mentor/master nation and culture. Other Asian cultures and nations should therefore become more like Japan and while the main slogan was "Asia for Asiatics" it really meant sphere of Japanese Puppet States and Influence orbiting around Japan, like the planets around the sun.

    While the Coup failed, it created a new path and ideology (later known as Coprospism) in Japan that believed that the goal to expand Japanese colonies and influrence could be archived trough nationalism in a non-ethnic way, independence from (European) imperialist domination, divine rule and the people's livelihood (free trade and modernization). While the Nationalist Government of China fought Mao and his communists, the Tokyo Conference declared communism a competing ideology for their plans in China as well as the East Asian and the Southeast Asian Continent. To establish their own ideology and plans as a attractive model against Communist or Capitalist inference, the Tokyo Conference decided a similar strategy than the Nazis would have in Germany and Europe, clearly taking influence from them. For this goal to counter capitalism and communism, the Japanese declared the recreation of the Korean (Cosen) Empire as a independent, protected nation just like Manchukuo to claim their goal of liberating, educating and modernizing other asian nations. Korean Empress Sunjeong had till then became a widow on 24 April 1926, when Emperor Yunghui died without issue at the Changdeok Palace in Seoul.

    The Japanese therefore declared Crown Prince Uimin (also Euimin), son of the last true Emperor Gojon (Sunjong) the new Hwangje (Emperor) and reestablished his rule. Also known as Prince Ri Gin in Japan, the new Chosen Emperor had in December 1907, been taken to Japan and was enrolled at Gakushuin Peers' School, and upon graduating entered the Imperial Japanese Army Academy, both in Tokio. Graduating from the academy on 25 May 1917, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry on 25 December, and steadily rose up the ranks, receiving promotions to lieutenant (April 1920), captain (July 1923) and to major (August 1928). In 1920, he married Princess Masako of Nashimoto (born 4 November 1901), the eldest daughter of H.I.H. Lieutenant Nashimoto Morimasa, linking the Japanese and Chosen Royal Dynasties by doing so. In reality the new Hwangje of the Empire of Chosen had as little influence and power as Puyi in Manchukuo. The truth was that the Japanese military and conglomerates (Zaibatsu) secretly ruled both nations, political, militarily and otherwise. Sometimes directly, sometimes with local branches of their own, like the Imperial Chosen Railway or the Imperial Chosen Army. While Chinese and Koreans made up the majority of the workers and soldiers, Japanese foreman and officers would lead and guide them.
     
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    Chapter 2: The Beginning of the Co-Prosperity Sphere
  • Chapter 2: The Beginning of the Co-Prosperity Sphere:

    All three Empires, that of Japan (Nippon), Chosen (Korea) and Manchukuo signed a treaty in April 1935, creating the Co-Prosperity Sphere. Similar to the Soviet Union who was dominated and ruled by the Russian SFSR, the new federation and alliance that called itself the Co-Prosperity Sphere and promoted the ideals defined in the Tokio Conference was in reality not much more then a Japanese colonial empire, ruled and guided by the Japanese military and conglomerates while it looked like a equal federation on the outside. To promote their propaganda and ideology (later known as Coprospism) as well as to gain more profit, resources and material from Korea and Manchukuo, the Japanese started many projects to industrialist these areas. At the same time the Japanese language was established as the common community language inside the Co-Prosperity Sphere thanks to schools and propaganda. Since citizens of each member of the Co-Prosperity Sphere were defined as equals, this opened Korea and Manchukuo for massive Japanese immigration. The main official goals of the Co-Prosperity Sphere were:
    • The countries of the Co-Prosperity Sphere through mutual cooperation will ensure the stability of their region and construct an order of common prosperity and well-being based upon justice.
    • The countries of the Co-Prosperity Sphere will ensure the fraternity of nations in their region, by respecting one another's sovereignty and independence and practicing mutual assistance and amity.
    • The countries of Co-Prosperity Sphere by respecting one another's traditions and developing the creative faculties of each race, will enhance the culture and civilization of all territory within the Co-Prosperity Sphere.
    • The countries of the Co-Prosperity Sphere will endeavor to accelerate their economic development through close cooperation upon a basis of reciprocity and to promote thereby the general prosperity of their region.
    • The countries of the Co-Prosperity Sphere will cultivate friendly relations with all the countries of the world, and work for the abolition of racial discrimination, the promotion of cultural intercourse and the opening of resources throughout the world, and contribute thereby to the progress of mankind.
    But the Imperialists in Tokio were not pleased and soon demanded more, knowing that Nationalist China under Chiang Kaishek was busy fighting the Communists. The Imperial Japanese Army used this situation to back a collaborationist government in Outer Mongolia. The Japanese civilian government meanwhile attempted to improve the Sino-Japanese relations, and on 22 January 1936, Japan announced a policy of non-aggression against China. In response, Wang Jingwei of the Chinese government announced a suspension of the Chinese boycott of Japanese goods, and the two countries agreed to upgrade relations to the ambassadorial level. However, these improved relations between Japan and China were counter to the secret aims and goals agreed to in the Tokio Conference that planned further influential and territorial expansion into China.

    Not prepared at the time to go to war with Japan when their forces were still tied down in a campaign to exterminate the Communists, the National Chinese Goverment agreed to comply. The terms of the Agreement gave Japan virtual control over the province of Hebei, Shanxi, Pingyuan and Shandong, under the aegis of former government members of the Fengtian and Shanxi Clique. The Japanese also planned to include other northern Chinese Warlords into their zone of influence.

    The Shōwa Emperor and the Japanese Emprie in reality did not accept the idea of national self-determination, and never truely changed the Japanese policies in Korea and China, where the Japanese state secretly remained a policy of imposing the Japanese language and culture on the native population, while officially using Pan-Asian rhetoric. The Emperor viewed Asia through the notion of "place", meaning that all of the Asian peoples were different races that had a proper "place" within a Japanese-dominated "co-prosperity sphere" in Asia, with the Japanese as the leading race. While the Japanese tried to get the Chinese to accept their creation of the Great Manchurian Empire and the Chosen Empire as independent states, they also negotiated for their new puppets like the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region to be recognized as the state of Mengjiang (or Mengguguo) while they expanded Manchuria by annexing the Jehol region. In the He-Umezu Agreement the government of Nationalist China was forced to accept the Japanese demands in exchange for peace and more time that they still needed to deal with Mao's Communists. A anti-communist cooperation or alliance meanwhile as the japanese had hoped was not very realistic as many Chinese still viewed the Japanese as evil-spirited outsiders or imperialists just like the Europeans.

    The Japanese soon used the demilitarization of the Hebei, Shanxi, Pingyuan and Shandong regions besides the demilitarization Mengjiang Region of Suiyuan to establish a new puppet regime in northern China. Thanks to the terms of the He-Umezu Agreement these regions fell virtual under Japanese control and influence. Although the Agreement was reached in secret, its details were soon leaked to the press, causing an upsurge in indignation and anti-Japanese sentiment in China. Local embargo followed or the sheer unwillingness to buy Japanese products. Outside of China the European Powers as well as the Soviet Union protested and some embargo's were enforced. The new pro-Japanese Government (Provisional Government of Beijing/ Yankoku) in Peiping (Beijing) was similar to that of the Japanese puppets in Chosen, Manchukuo, or Mengjiang. The state itself was called Yan, after a ancient Chinese state in the area and soon became known as Yankoku (also Yankukuo or Yanjiang). Residing in the former palace in Peiping, Yan Xishan (who saw the name of the new state more directed towards himself than it's old meaning), the former warlord of Shanxi who had sided with the Japanese during their quick seizing of control in the area reigned as the de-facto Emperor of Yan. He had great interest in Japanese conglomerates modernizing his new, expandet territories, but his loyalty at the point remained questionable for the Japanese. Because of that most of the Imperial Yan Army was made up by Japanese Soldiers and Yan Xishan quickly realized that he did not have the true military power and breaking free from the Japanese once would not be as simple as he thought.

    The new puppet state of Mengjiang meanwhile expanded with the help of the Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Manchukuo Army (mostly the Kwantung Army) into Qahar and later with the Embargo of some European Powers against Japan into Suiyuan to seize Suiyuan's large iron deposits (24% of all iron in China). At the same time while it also claimed Ningxia and the Outer Mongolian Region (Mongolia) as his own mongol territory. Mengjiangs leader Demchugdongrub (also known as Teh Wang or De Wang) saw himself on a mission to inherit the great spirit of Genghis Khan and retake the territories that belong to Mongolia, completing the grand task of reviving the prosperity of the nationality. The Soviet Union saw the Japanese deployment in China with great worries and strengthened the own troops alongside the Sowjet-Manchukuo, Soviet-Chosen and the Mongolia-Mengjiang boarder. Unlike Chosen, Manchukuo, and Yankoku the Soviet Union refused to acknowledge Mengjiang, as they saw Mengjiang's territory as the outer region of the pro-soviet Mongolian People's Republic. Mengjiang and Yankoku joined the Co-Prosperity Sphere a few days after their creation and Japan quickly guaranteed the independence of all member states within the Co-Prosperity Sphere.
     
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    Chapter 3: Development of the Co-Prosperity Sphere
  • Chapter 3: Development of the Co-Prosperity Sphere:

    Directed by the Japanese military, Japanese conglomerates (Zaibatsu) began to develop the infrastructure inside the Co-Prosperity Sphere by building roads and railways, while Japanese Zaibatsu or their subsidiary companies like the Chosen Railway Company, or the Yan Railway Company maintained the facade of full independent states. In reality Chosen, Manchukuo, Mengjiang and Yan had much fewer independence then the similar semi-independent Dominions in the British Empire. The Imperial Japanese Army soon dad different branches inside the Co-Prosperity Sphere, like:
    • the Imperial Chosen Army (6 Infantry Divisions, 1 Motorized Division, 1 Tank Division and 1 Marine Division) under Kenkichi Ueda, with the task to secure the Korean Peninsula and the Chosen-Sowjet Boarder.

    • the Imperial Manchukuo Army (7 Infantry Divisions, 1 Cavalry Division, 1 Motorized Division and 1 Tank Division plus purely Manchukuo Divisions) under Tomoyuki Yamashita, with the task to subdue communists and other rebels inside Manchukuo as well as to guard the Manchukuo-Soviet and Manchukuo-Mongol Boarder.

    • the Mengjiang Army (8 Cavalry Division and 2 Infantry Divisions) under Shizuichi Tanaka, with the task to subdue unrest in the new nation and to guard the Mengjiang-Mongol boarder as well as to expand Mengjiang deeper into ethnic Mongol territory.

    • the Yan Army (8 Infantry Division, 1 Cavalry Division and 1 Tank Division) under Hisaichi Terauchi, with the task to secure and subdue the new regime in Peiping and to stop the infiltration of Mao's Communists into the region.

    • the Japanese Home Army and Reserves.

    • the Pacific Army (14 Garrison Divisions on the Pacific Islands).

    • the Pacification Army (10 Infantry Divisions) under Hitoshi Imamura, with the task to fight communists and other guerrilla and rebels in northeast China.

    • the Chinese Army along the Yan-National Chinese Boarder to counter the massive amount of troops stationed there by Chiang Kai-shek after he had driven the Communists out of eastern and southern China.
    With the enforced policy of the United Front between the National Chinese and Mao's Communists by Chiangs own officers, the Japanese suddenly faced direct and unified opposition for their plans in China. As a countermeasure the Co-Prosperity Sphere started diplomatic relations with the Kuomintang allied Guanxi and Yunnan Clique (Warlord Factions) in hopes to get them to join the Co-Prosperity Sphere either against the Communists and the Nationalists in China, or to force Chiang with this move to become a member of the Co-Prosperity Sphere himself with Nationalist China and accept the leading role of the Japanese. Clearly neither Chiang or most of his government and military were for such a deal in the moment end tensions between the Co-Prosperity Sphere, National China, the Communists and Xibei San Ma in the west. At the same time Japanese Buddhist ambassadors were sent to Tibet to establish relations between Tibet and the Co-Prosperity Sphere while Japan itself promoted mostly Shintoism inside his new realm.

    Between 1935 and 1936 the tensions were at the brink of war again and new boarder-disputes (some fabricated) gave plenty of reason for either side to start new aggression. Chiang despite all provocations tried further to negotiate, because he needed more time to modernize, arm and train his troops in chase of new fighting, while the Japanese tried to utilize what they already had from the Chinese resources and manpower for their own Empire and the Co-Prosperity Sphere. At the same time the building of new harbors, roads and rails was not purely economical driven since the Japanese Military coordinated these projects and plans with the goal to later use these creations for their further control or offensive against mainland China.

    To have a batter chance against the European Powers or America in chase of a open aggression, Japan ordered three new Carrier and several new Battleships to be build, while it also expanded his transport fleet to increase the trade with the Co-Prosperity Sphere in northeast China. At the same time the Chosen, Manchukuo and Yan Navies were created, mostly from old Japanese destroyers and cruisers with the task of coastal and river defense of the Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea that was now viewed by the Co-Prosperity Sphere as Imperial Italian under Benito Mussolini declared the Mediterranean Sea their own Mare Nostrum. The truth behind this was that the ships leased to the other members of the Co-Prosperity Sphere officially stopped to be part of the Imperial Japanese Navy (even if most maintained mostly Japanese crews). Japan political and at least a bit economical in the defensive since the harsh protests of the European Powers, the USA and the Sowjet Union for their Chinese politics hoped that by doing so it could bypass some of the limitations of the London Naval Treaty by building some of the new ships and overall tonnage for the other members of the Co-Prosperity Sphere. With negotiations about Japanese possible return to the Naval Treaty the situation between Japan, the USA and some of the European Powers lightened up a bit and hopes to avoid war in Europe and Asia in our times could be heard again.
     
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    Chapter 4: Beginning Civil Wars
  • Chapter 4: Beginning Civil Wars:

    For Japan and the Co-Prosperity Sphere, the starting Spanish Civil War (between the Nationalists and the Republicans) was a wonderful opportunity, since it serves as a distraction for them to start their next move in China. While most European Powers were focused on the Spanish Civil War, the Japanese Military made plans for the southern Chinese Warlord that was known as the New Guangxi Clique. At the end of the Northern Expedition, Chiang Kai-shek began to agitate to reorganize the army, the fact that it would alter the existing territorial influences among the Cliques in the party quickly aggravated the relationships between the central government and the regional powers. Li Zongren, Bai Chongxi and Huang Shaohong of the Guangxi Clique were the first to break off relations with Chiang in March 1929, which started the confrontation that lead to the Central Plains War. Chiang Kai-shek defeated the Clique in 1929. Following defeat in that civil war, Guangxi allied with Chen Jitang after he became chairman of the government of Guangdong in 1931, and turned against Chiang Kai-shek. Another civil war would have broken out if there had been no September 18 Incident, which prompted all sides to unite against the Empire of Japan and their Co-Prosperity Sphere. As a result, from 1930 to 1936, the Clique organized the reconstruction of Guangxi, which became a "model" province with a progressive administration. As a result, Guangxi was able to supply large numbers of troops. Aware of this the Japanese hoped they could get Guangxi to side with them in the Co-Prosperity Sphere and conspired with some of the military leaders and members of the government inside the New Guangxi Clique to start a coup.

    At the same time the Emperor of Japan and Chosen had visited Mukden in Manchukuo to deny any involvement with the Guangxi Coup. Mukden was with great festivities established as the new Capital of Manchukuo. Emperor Puyi himself had wished to move the Capital to the old Manchu Capital and the Japanese Military accepted his decision, because unlike Hsinking, the former Capital of Manchukuo, Mukden was further away from the Soviet-Manchukuo boarder and therefore believed to be much more secure. That this movement at the same time pleased Puyi and showed the Japanese good will to work together with the other members of the Co-Prosperity Sphere and their wishes was a welcomed side effect. But while the intended coup started by the Imperial Japanese Army failed the pro-Nationalist New Guangxi Clique soon found itself in a small civil war of their own.

    Luckily for Japan their involvement was unnoticed by the rest of the world for now and the fascist rebels inside the New Guangxi Clique still sided with Japan in hopes to get Japanese help against the rest of the remaining New Guangxi Clique. Similar to the Spanish Civil War, where Italy, Germany and the Soviet Union were not as neutral as they claimed, the Japanese had own plans to finish what they had started. In a daring move the Imperial Japanese Navy argued to secure the peace and the trade inside the South Chinese Sea against a new starting Chinese Civil War inside the New Guangxi Clique. The island of Hainan was quickly invaded by the Imperial Japanese Navy and the port of Guangzhou was taken, to capture all ships belonging to the Guangxi Clique, official to prevent them from falling into rebel, bandit or pirate hands. The Guangxi rebels secretly allied with Japan and the Co-Prosperity Sphere, then killed some European Merchants and the situation totally escalated. The Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy quickly used this chance to not only claim to secure and protect the South Chinese Sea but also landed their Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF/ Kaigun Tokubetsu Rikusentai) with the approval of the British Colonial Government in Hong Kong, the Portuguese Colonial Government in Macau and the French Colonial Government in Guangzhouwan -to secure the region- further allowed Japanese and Co-Prosperity Sphere Troops in their Free-Trade Zone Cities for protection against the Rebels Armies.

    Japanese SNLF Troops also invaded the nearby harbor city of Guangzhou and secretly used it to ship more supplies and even whole brigades and divisions into the territory of the New Guangxi Clique in covered support of their new allies inside the territory of the Guangxi Clique. National China itself soon sended own troops to support the remaining New Guangxi Clique against the rebels. The Co-Prosperity Sphere used the so called Guangxi Civil War to test new strategies, tactics, weapons and equipment against the National Chinese loyal troops of the New Guangxi Clique.
     
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    Chapter 5: The Guangxi Civil War
  • Chapter 5: The Guangxi Civil War:

    Even with the National Chinese involvement the Guangxi Civil War soon turned in favor of the fascist rebels. While Chiang Kai-shek's National China mobilized 500,000 men and the nearby warlords of the Yunnan Clique and Xibei San Ma mobilized between 200,000 and 300,000 men themselves. The New Guangxi Clique had the majority of the former 1,000,000 Guangxi soldiers on their side with 640,000 troops while the fascists ally of the Co-Prosperity Sphere had only around 360,000 soldiers siding with them. But despite this unequal numbers and the fact that 76,000 Guangxi fascists died compared to 39,000 dead members of the New Guangxi Clique the war went quickly in favor of the pro-japanese and pro-Co-Prosperity Sphere government that had established itself inside the Japanese occupied city of Guangzhou that soon became the new capital of the fascist so called Third Guangxi Clique Regime. The new regime soon seized control of more parts of the New Guangxi Clique thanks to destroyers and cruisers of the Co-Prosperity Sphere lent to the Third Guangxi Clique. With this ships the fascist rebels managed to cut off the New Guangxi Clique forces from another all across the region and size major parts of the territory along the coastline and rivers. They even were able to capture the New Guangxi Clique capitol of Nanning before any other Warlord or even Chiang Kai-shek's National China could interfere fast enough.

    Since Third Guangxi Clique Regime controlled area of the former Guangxi Clique involved ethnic Han and Tai, their new provisorial flag was yellow and red, representing both people and clearly inspired by the Sun Flag of Japan. Only this time the flag inner sun circle was yellow with small Triangulum stripes for the sunshine around, with a red background behind it. Right after most of the territory of the New Guangxi Clique was taken by the Third Guangxi Clique, the new autonomous state of Taikoku (also Taikukuo or Taijiang) was created. This demonstration of power and influence by the Co-Prosperity Sphere strengthened the United Front between the Chinese Nationalists and the Communists and even Xibei San Ma joined them, even if it had close ties to Tibet, the new Xianjing SFSR and Mengjiang that surrounded it. The fast victory of the Third Guangxi Clique and the membership of the new Taikoku State in the Co-Prosperity Sphere also rise new tensions between the Japanese Empire and it's puppets, National China and the nearby European and American Colonial Powers of Britain, France and Portugal. The nearby Chinese Warlord from the Yunnan Clique quickly joined the Co-Prosperity Sphere so that he would get his independence guaranteed (and more autonomy as he hopes) by Japan like the other members of it's Co-Prosperity Sphere. Clearly Guangxi and Yunnan both hoped for Japanese investors, to improve their industry, infrastructure and influence in the region. This new expansion of the Co-Prosperity Sphere lead to Tibet and Siam getting interested in the anti-colonial pan-asiatic alliance and requested observer status.

    Inside the Co-Prosperity Sphere the Japanese mobilized the population for their industrialize and recruitment programms. Four years military service for men in the age from 18-35 was introduced to create standing armies and in an effort to mobilize all power of their own population the Japanese Militray and Government allowed women to work for their industry to help with the dramatically increased needs for their growing empire. The new Taikoku Army and the allied Yunnan Army were both trained and equipped by the Imperial Japanese Army under General Seishiro Itagaki. Together all three armies formed the South China Army. The Yellow Sea was now viewed as the territorial waters of the Co-Prosperity Sphere. While Britain and France from now on closely watched every step of the Co-Prosperity Sphere and took measures to increase their defenses of nearby colonies, the USA did the same with the Philippines and National China tried to get diplomatic support for their United Front against the growing expansion of the Co-Prosperity Sphere and the Soviets and was diplomatic backed by Great Britain, France and the USA (who together with the Soviets protestes the influrence of the Co-Prosperity Sphere in China as a violation to the open market agreements over China). The year 1936 had another major impact on the world beside the Spanish Civil War and the Guangxi Civil War, as the German Reich (Nazi Germany), the Italian Empire and the Japanese Empire/ Co-Prosperity Sphere together signed the Anti-Comintern Pact aiming against the global influence of the Communist International (abbreviated as Comintern).
     
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    Chapter 6: Investment in the Co-Prosperity Sphere
  • Chapter 6: Investment in the Co-Prosperity Sphere:

    Despite their recent archived goals and their victories, the Japanese Military and the Government realized that they would never win a two-front war against the southern European Colonial Powers and the northern Soviet Union at once. While Empire of Manchukuo had intentions to annex the Amur Province in the Russian Far East, Mengjiang claimed the Mongolian People's Republic, northern parts of he Xianjing SFSR and Tuna Tuva as a united Mongol Imperial State and Japan wished to annex north Sakhalin a new war with the Soviet Union was only favored at the moment by the Army. While there were boarder disputes between members of the Co-Prosperity Sphere and the Soviet Union and their allies, most of the Navy wished for a southern expansion route, aiming to liberate the resource rich and heavily populated European Colonies to then add them as new members into the Co-Prosperity Sphere. The main goal at the moment was to expand the Co-Prosperity Sphere into the rest of China and to kick the Soviets, Europeans and the USA out of that rich marked. Bu to ease the Anti-Japanese and Anti-Co-Prosperity Sphere protests and diplomatic protest notes, the members of the Co-Prosperity Sphere assured their concurrence in China that they would bring more security and stability into the civil war rid former Chinese Empire and accept the Open Market Agreement, but that was a lie.

    While their Pacification Campaign against Communists, other Rebels and minor Warlords increased the stability inside China, the United Front still opposed the Co-Prosperity Sphere heavily and saw it as a new form of Colonialism. The Co-Prosperity Sphere Development Board oversaw the process of modernization and industrialization inside the Co-Prosperity Sphere under the aspect of supporting the Core Region of Japan and Chosen with resources and cheap, massive workforce. Prospectors searched for new minerals, ore and other resources and founded some new mining, agriculture and industrialization operations in Chosen, Manchukuo, Yankoku, Mengjiang and Taikoku. The Co-Prosperity Sphere even used European and American Investors for some of their projects, even if hey were regulate by the local governments (or more true their Japanese Advisers) and allowed outside traders and companies to have access to their part of the Chinese local marked. This assured many in Europe and the USA that the Co-Prosperity Sphere really meant stability and security for a China that was otherwise in civil war after civil war. Even some Nationalist Chinese in the Kuomintang (KMT) like Wang Jingwei saw the positive influence and argued that working together with the Japanese and Asian brothers inside the Co-Prosperity Sphere would be the better course for China. But just like under Mao' Communist China these voices remained a minority inside the United Front for now. Because of this development some European and US Embargo's on Japan were lifted again.

    Realizing that a too direct and open attack against other Chinese Territories would raise new protests, embargo's or even other actions against the Co-Prosperity Sphere, Japan took another route. With the tension of nearby mobilized Xibei San Ma and other minor warlords in central China, the Co-Prosperity Sphere arrange a military mission with the Yunnan Clique Warlord to send Japanese instructors and modernizers as well as a volunteered Yunnan Army of troops from all over the Co-Prosperity Sphere to officially secure Yunnan as well the Yunnan Chinese Boarder with the British Colony of Burma. Since these security troops were placed on the boarder to Xibei San Ma and Nationalist China the British at the time did not protest and some local Burma colonial governors saw this development positively instead of facing a nearby China in full out Civil War again.
     
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    Chapter 7: Orphans and Education
  • Chapter 7: Orphans and Education:

    The Japanese plans for the Co-Prosperity Sphere also involved spreading a certain mindset and what better way to do so then by supporting the Buddhist Religion that they had in common as well as promoting Shintoism and educating all citizens in a way that would support their ideology (Coprospism) and plans. Parts of this education involved a anti-footbinding policy, promoting modernization without neglecting the own traditions, as well as orphan adoption to educate the youngest in any way the Japaneses wished for. Some Co-Prosperity Sphere Nationalist Priests even spread Shintoism and Buddhism, and involved certain sects and extremist groups inside the Co-Prosperity Sphere and China to work together for their goal of a united Pan-Asian Anti-Colonial Block and planned to spread their ideas all over Asia.
     
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    Chapter 8: Chinese Politics
  • Chapter 8: Chinese Politics:

    Surprised by the gains of the Japanese and their Co-Prosperity Sphere, Stalin and the Soviet Union feared that Japan might take all of Chine and become a dangerous threat for the Russian Southeast and Eastern Boarders in Asia. Because of that and because Stalin ordered his troops in the Xianjing SFSR and the Mongolian People's Republic to expand their pressure on Xiben San Ma in 1937. The Ma clique or Ma family warlords as they were also known was a collective name for a group of Hui (Mohammedan Chinese) warlords in Northwestern China who ruled the Chinese provinces of Qinghai, Gansu and Ningxia. Following the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in 1911, the region came under Chinese Muslim warlord Ma Qi's control until the Northern Expedition by the Republic of China consolidated central control in 1928. There were three families in the Ma clique ("Ma" being a common Hui rendering of the common Muslim name "Muhammad"), each of them respectively controlled 3 areas, Gansu, Qinghai and Ningxia. The three most prominent members of the clique were Ma Bufang, Ma Hongkui and Ma Hongbin, collectively known as the Xibei San Ma (Three Mas of the Northwest). Other prominent Ma Worlords included Ma Buqing, Ma Anliang, Ma Qi, Ma Lin, Ma Hu-shan and Ma Zhongying. The Ma clique traces its origins to the officers of Qing dynasty General Dong Fuxiang. General Ma Anliang was the de facto leader of the Muslims of northwest China. The Three (or Five) Ma took control of the region during the Warlord Era, siding first with the Guominjun and then the Kuomintang; they fought against the Red Army, beginning during the Long March and later the Japanese. The Ma Clique controlled vast amounts of land in the northwest, included Xining and Hezhou. The Qing dynasty had granted Ma Bufang's family a yellow standard which had his family name "Ma" on it. Ma Bufang continued to use this standard in battle. Ma Bufang recruited many Salar officers from Xunhua County into his army like Han Yimu and General Han Youwen. During one campaign against the Communists in the Civil War, in Gansu, Qinghai, and Ningxia, Muslim soldiers numbered 31,000, while Ma in total had a little over 100,000 soldiers. As soviet troops infiltrated Xiben San Ma to stop the advance of the Co-Prosperity Sphere and help Mao's Communsts, Xibei San Ma saw itself surrounded from three sides and Lin's eldest son Ma Burong as well as one of Ma Chengxiang's Hui officers, Ma Fuchen, defected to the Communists.

    (flag of the National Chinese Government under Chiang)

    This led to a split in the United Front as some Communists and Hui rebelled against Chiang and sided with the Soviets and Mao in open rebellion, believing that this time they could eliminate the National Chinese Government. Soviet-Japanese Boarder clashes increased, but after the Battles of Khalkhyn Gol 1938 during this Soviet–Japanese border conflicts the Japanese ordered their puppet of Manchukuo and Mengjiang to stop their direct attacks into Mongolia. Japan and the Soviet Union then signed a Non-Aggression-Pact. With the Soviet advance into Northwest China and Xiben San Ma this pact became weaker, but the Japanese Army was sure that they were not ready to face the Soviets yet. At the same time most of the Co-Prosperity Sphere wanted to stop the Communists advance and some even suggested to openly help Chiang Kai-shek with material and volunteers.

    (the new flag of Wang's Shanghai Nationalist Government)

    This situation changed when a Junta of the Kuomintang around Wang Jingwei openly criticized and opposed Chiang for the United Front and his deals with the Communists. Wang and his Junta could take some provinces and cities but were soon beaten by Chiang. After Wang Jingwei and his Junta fled to the territory of the Co-Prosperity Sphere the Japanese saw a rare opportunity. They attacked National China that was fighting the Communists in the Northwest from Yan in the north and Taikoku in the south as well as from the eastern coast where the Japanese invaded portal cities. In Shanghai Wang established his Juta as the true Kuomintang and claimed to be the legitimate anti-communist true Chinese government. While some European Powers and the USA didn't like Japans involvement further into china the government of Wang Jingwei in Shanghai and later Nanjing that soon joined the Co-Prosperity Sphere gave Japan a legitimate excuse to further involve into the new Chines Civil War. Most of these powers also feared that the Soviets and Communists could take all of China and so they supported the either Chiang or Wang and the Japanese diplomatically or with resources in their effort against the Communists. In the meantime the Japanese/Co-Prosperity Sphere-Soviet relations got worse and worse because of both powers involvement in China.
     
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    Chapter 9: The Chinese Civil War Part 1 - the Coastal Campaign
  • Chapter 9: The Chinese Civil War Part 1 - the Coastal Campaign:

    With the help of older, outdated Japanese airplanes the states of Manchukuo and Chosen quickly created their own small fighters and bomber squadrons, that would soon be known as the Manchukuo Imperial Air Force and the Chosen Imperial Air Force. Just like with the army and navy of these states the Japanese sold them outdated equipment in exchange for resources, labor and other work to protect them from the threat of the Soviets or a Chinese reunification or hegemonization. Unlike Chosen, Manchukuo, Mengjiang, Yankoku and Taikoku the Shanghai Nationalist government of Wang Jingwei needed much more equipment, supplies and any form of help and volunteers the Co-Prosperity Sphere could give them. Until now the Chinese Civil War from 1928 to 1936 had cost almost 2 million military causalities. Chiang's government and the warlords allied to him had up to 1,700,000 soldiers, the Chinese Communists nearly 300,000, while between 800,000 and 1,000,000 had switched sides to Wang and the Co-Prosperity Sphere that got help from nearly 600,000 Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Han, Tai and other ethnics from Japan Chosen, Manchukuo, Mengjiang, Yankoku and Taikoku as well as some other parts of the worlds. Just like the Spanish Civil War the Chinese Civil war saw quick and heavy volunteer brigades joining the communist sides, but with involvement in both civil wars the Soviet Union and the international Comintern couldn't focus and support one war alone but had to split it's resources and supplies. While Wang Jingwei had not as much forces and Chiang, the last had to fight a two-front-war against the Communists as well at the same time. Further more Wang's forces got heavily supported during the so called Coastal Campaign by the Japanese/ Co-Prosperity Sphere Navy and Army, that helped them take the coastal regions and cut off their enemies from the quickest main supply routes by sea. With the nearby supply routes now in Wang's hands the government of Chiang fled inland to secure it's position around the new capital Chongqing when Nanjing had fallen into Wang's hands becoming the new seat for his government. But the conquest of central china did not go as quick and easily as Wang and the Co-Prosperity Sphere had hoped because pockets of thousands of Chinese guerrillas tried to use the war to establish their own foothold deep behind the enemy lines.

    What was supposed to be a quick victory for Wang and the Co-Prosperity Sphere turned into a bloody three-sided war that used more and more of the resources and manpower of all sides. The biggest problem besides enemy rebels and resistance pockets surely was the problematic infrastructure of inland China. Just like before in Chosen and Manchukuo, as well as to a extend also in Mengjiang, Yankoku and Taikoku by now Japanese conglomerates (Zaibatsu) formed subsidiary companies or branches of their own inside these new independent states. Heavy controlled and regulated by the military of Japan these zaibatsu helped to develop the infrastructure and used the regional resources to further help the war effort of Wang and the Japanese Tennō (Emperor).
     
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    Chapter 10: The modern Co-Prosperity Sphere Army
  • Chapter 10: The modern Co-Prosperity Sphere Army:

    To have the upper hand and clear advantage against the Chinese in the Civil War, Japan and it's allies of the Co-Prosperity Sphere modernized their equipment and army in hopes to reign supreme over their enemies. The army at the moment had nearly 700,000 man working for them with 646,900 in the field and 52,700 in training. The Japanese Air Force had 18,600 people but was split between the Army and Navy, still lacking numbers needed to face off against the European powers. The Navy itself had 156,620 people and focused mostly on new Battleships, Carriers and a expanding of the own Submarine force for the offensive as well as new Cruisers and Destroyers for guarding the coast and the own trade and supply routes.
    • Each Infantry Division had 12,200 soldiers and support crew in them, and consists of 10 Infantry Battalions supplied by a Tank Battalion. It had support companies of Engineers, Recon, Artillery, Anti-Tank and Anti-Air to create a modern Infantry Division that was equipped with 20 Anti-Air flak, 24 Anti-Tank Guns, 24 Artillery Guns as well as 60 Light Tanks of the Type 95.
    • Each Tank Division had 8,100 soldiers and support crew in them, and consists of 1 Heavy, Medium and Light regular Tank Battalion, 1 Heavy, Medium and Light Artillery Tank Battalion, 1 Heavy, Medium and Light Tank Destroyer Tank Battalion, and 1 Heavy, Medium and Light Anti-Air Tank Battalion. It had support companies of Engineers, Recon, Signal, Maintain and Artillery to create a modern, fast Tank Division that was equipped with 24 Artillery, 10 Fuel Trucks, 40 Heavy Tanks, 24 Heavy Artillery Tanks, 20 Heavy Tank Destroyers, 8 Heavy Anti-Air Tanks, 50 Medium Tanks, 36 Medium Artillery Tanks, 24 Medium Tank Destroyers, 12 Medium Anti-Air Tanks, 60 Light Tanks, 36 Light Artillery Tanks, 30 Light Tank Destroyer Tanks and 15 Light Anti-Air Tanks.
    • Each Cavalry Division had 8,800 soldiers and support crew in them, and consists of five Cavalry Battalions and 1 Motorized Battalion supplied by a small Tank Battalion. It had support companies of Engineers, Recon, Anti-Tank, Logistics and a Field-Hospital to create a modern Cavalry Division that was equipped with 80 Motorized Trucks and 60 Light Tanks for support.
    • Each Motorized Division had 12,000 soldiers and support crew in them, and consists of 8 Motorized Battalions supplied by a small Tank Battalion. It had support companies of Engineers, Recon, Artillery, Maintainance and Anti-Tank to create a modern Motorized Division that was equipped with 400 Trucks, 24 Artillery Guns, 24 Anti-Tank Guns, as well as 60 Light Tanks.
    • Each Marine Division had 11,600 soldiers and support crew in them, and consists of 6 Marine Battalions, 1 Anti-Tank Battalion, 1 Anti-Air Battalion, 1 Artillery Battalion, 1 Light Tank Battalion, 1 Light Artillery Tank Battalion, 1 Light Tank Destroyer Tank Battalion and 1 Light Anti-Air Tank Battalion. It had support companies of Engineers, Recon, Artillery, Logistic and a Field Hospital to create a modern Marine Division that was equipped with 30 Anti-Air flak, 36 Anti-Tank Guns, 60 Artillery Guns, 30 Trucks, as well as 60 Light Tanks, 36 Light Tank Artillery, 30 Light Tank Destroyer Tanks and 15 Light Anti-Air Tanks.
    • Each new Mountaineer Division had 9,400 soldiers and support crew in them, and consists of 6 Mountaineer Battalions supplied by 1 Anti-Tank Battalion, 1 Anti-Air Battalion and 1 Artillery Battalion. It had support companies of Engineers, Recon, Artillery, Anti-Tank and Logistic to create a modern Mountaineer Division that was equipped with 30 Anti-Air flak, 60 Anti-Tank Guns, 60 Artillery Guns as well as 10 motorized Trucks.
    • Each new Paratrooper Division had 10,100 soldiers and support crew in them, and consists of 8 Paratrooper Battalions. It had support companies of Engineers, Signal Company, Artillery, a Field Hospital and small Anti Tank/Artillery all designed for airdrops to create a modern Paratrooper Division that was equipped with 40 Motorcycles and 24 Anti Tank/Artillery Guns.
    • Each Reserve Division had 8,000 soldiers and support crew in them, and consists of 6 Infatry Battalions. It had support companies of Engineers, Recon, Artillery, Anti-Tank, Anti-Air and and a Field Hospital to create a modern Reserve/Garrison/Guard Division that was equipped with 20 Anti-Air flak, 24 Anti-Tank Guns, 24 Artillery Guns as well as 20 motorized Trucks.
    To create all this modern Divisions and Battalions, the Japanese and Co-Prosperity Sphere Industry under it's control focused heavily on producing Light Tanks and motorized Equipment, This meant that nearly no newer Divisions and Battalions could be created or trained with equipment as long as the production tried to supply and train all the old ones. The Japanese Command Staff hoped that this quality would prove itself superior over the quantity the Chinese had and later even surprise the Colonial Powers who still believed that Japan was a savage, backwater nation at this time. The Manchukuo, Yankoku and Taikoku Army had seven Infantry, 1 Cavalry, 1 Motorized and 1 Tank Division at this moment. The Mengkokuo Army had 7 Cavalry, 3 Infantry Divisions accompanied by some Motorized and Tank Battalions for support, while the Chosen Army at this moment only had 10 Infantry Divisions as all modern troops were needed in the offensive against China and the supposed Soviet aggression was most likely directed at Manchukuo. The rest of the army was part of the Home Island Army (that included the Reserves) or the Pacific Army (mostly Marine and Reserve/Garrison Divisions) at this moment.
     
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    Chapter 11: AEIOU or European Revanchism
  • Chapter 11: AEIOU or European Revanchism

    With the ongoing Spanish Civil War in Europe and the equally escalating Chinese Civil War in East Asia most of the world overlooked a certain marriage in Europe that united the states of Austria and Hungary once again. Surrounded by the little Entente and Nazi Germany from the outside, endangered by Fascists and Communists from the inside many monarchists an patriots in both nations dreamed of AEIOU and reuniting the great and powerfull nation of Austria-Hungary. AEIOU rouhgtly meant Austriae est imperare orbi universo (Austria is destined to rule the world), or Austria est imperatrix omnis universi, that (All the world is subject to Austria) or even Austria erit in orbe ultima (Austria will last till the end of the world), Austria est imperium optime unita (Austria is the best Empire) and similar meanings. Because of so much intern and external threats the monarchists and nationalists of both states worked closely together to get rid of the restrictions of Versailles and reclaim their lost national states territory. A first important step to do so was their openly in Vienna and Budapest announced reuinification.

    (Austria, Austria-Hungary and claims of Austria-Hungary)
    Immediately nearby neighbors that had gained territory from Austria-Hungary after the First World War were majorly alarmed (some even more then they feared nearby Hitler) because the new government openly claimed lost territory in Central Europe and the Balkan Peninsula. Some German Generals later claimed that Hitler had a rage attack, some even claimed he was close to a heart attack. Clear was just one thing, with Austria-Hungary claiming dominance over the Balkan Peninsula both Hitlers and Stalins dreams and hopes for the region had to change since a new powerful player suddenly appeared right before them. Hitler, before eager to annex Austria and form a alliance with either Great Britain or Italy against France and Russia suddenly had to give up Austria (knowing that the new government would never support a annexation) and was from now on forced to see a potential new ally in Austria-Hungary. Even more so then Hitler many German Generals dreamed of a new Dual Alliance between a renewed German Empire (with Wilhelm returning to the Throne to rule) and Austria-Hungary or even a new Triple Alliance between Nazi Germany, the Fashists Austria-Hungary and Fascist Italy.
     
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    Chapter 12: The Chinese Civil War Part 2 – International Recognition
  • Chapter 12: The Chinese Civil War Part 2 – International Recognition:

    With the Coast secured Wang Jingwei's government and it's allies from the Co-Prosperity Sphere moved further inland. Because the Chinese Communists advanced rapidly against Xibei San Ma with Soviet help the Western Powers (in Europe and the USA/ Canada) were split over the Chines Civil War. Some recognized Chiang Kai-shek others Wang Jingwei as the legitimate ruler and representative of Nationalist China. The situation in Xibei San Ma soon got worse as the Communists were ruthless against the Muslim religious authorities they saw as a threat to heir rule, provoking a muslim uprising as he first Imams were locked away or even shot as anti-communist agitators (just like they did with most Nationalist Chinese Officers or Government members). While the Western Powers supported both Nationalist Governments the Japanese and the Co-Prosperity Sphere was sending instructors, supplies, weapons and ammunition and signed the Pact of Alliance in Tokio that made Wang Jingwei's government a official ally and observer of the Co-Prosperity Sphere and Wang promised to join the pact fully after China was reunited under his government. This however did not mean all of China, as Wang was forced to recognize all members of the Co-Prosperity Sphere, their territory and claims in exchange for their support and the Pact of Alliance with them. In the meantime some Nationalist Officers under Chiang played with the Idea of restarting a new United Front against Wang and the Co-Prosperity Sphere that even included a alliance trecherous Chinese Communists if necessary.
     
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    Chater 13: The Web of European Alliances 1920-1940
  • Chater 13: The Web of European Alliances 1920-1940:

    The nations of Europe were split between these wishing to secure the outcome of Versailles and these wishing to erase that peace threat as much as they were split between Democracy, Fascism, Communism or Monarchism.

    The Cordon Sanitaire and the Polish Alliance system formed a block of states in the east Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland Czechoslovakia and Romania) that promised to secure each other I chase of another German, Soviet or Austria-Hungarian attack on their territory or sovereignty from 1924 onward.

    The Small Entente between Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia was supported by France in 1920/21 and mostly directed against Hungarian and later Austria-Hungarian revanchism n the region.

    With the new state union of Austria-Hungary the Small Entente was supported by the Balkan Block (Yugoslavia, Romania and Greece to prevent Bulgarian revanchism as well as to oppose Mussolini's early alliance system with Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania and Romania) together both alliances formed the Balkan Entente 1937/38.

    France meanwhile focused on is very own system of alliances targeted against Germany, still feeling insecure despite the Locarno Pact. They formed a ring of alliance with Belgium, Poland and even the Soviet Union. This caused tensions between Great Britain and France. Later the Soviet demands against the Baltic States, Finland, Poland and Romania prevented the now closely political cooperating France and Great Britain to include the Soviet Union in their Alliance.

    The Soviet Union itself guaranteed the independence of Czechoslovakia and tried to support Communist/ Soviet movements (sometimes with weapons) in the Spanish Civil War, France, Italy and the Balkan Peninsula n hopes of gaining allies there to extend their influence.

    Italy meanwhile tried to get a proper alliance with Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania and Romani against Yugoslavia and guaranteed the independence of Austria and Hungary (later Austria-Hungary) since the Roman Protocol's 1934, making Yugoslavia very nervous later as they nearly formed the Roman-Vienna Alliance.

    Germany and Italy also signed the Anti-Comintern Pact against the spreading influence of Communism in the world in 1934 that was soon joined by Japan and other members of the Co-Prosperity Sphere as well as Austria-Hungary (and later nearly all Balkan Puppet States Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary or these easily depending on these nations). In 1939 this lead to the Pact of Steel between Germany and Italy (later Austria-Hungary joined).

    With the return of Wilhelm II to Germany in 1938 after the attempted Anschluss of Austria by Hitler and a nearly total military coup (thanks to General Hans Oster, deputy head of the Abwehr) that limited Hitlers and the Nazi's power, bringing the Military and the Monarchists to rule the German Empire the New Dual Alliance was formed between the German Empire and Austria-Hungary getting Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and some other nations in east and southeast Europe very nervous. Because Hitler and the once again ruling Austria-Hungarian monarch Otto von Habsburg signed the Dual Alliance it was also known as the Pact of Two Austrians. Immediately after signing the Pact Austria-Hungary started supporting the Nationalists in Spain and signed the Anti-Comintern Pact, bringing it, Germany and Italy even closer together.

    While Austria-Hungary tied to regain it's lost territory with the attempted Danube Alliance the network of alliances between the nearby powers directed against it's claim prevented such intentions. With more and more closer ties to Germany and Italy (having similar claims against Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia) the Austria-Hungarian Irredentism would later between 1938 and 1940 lead to the new Triple Alliance (Tripartite Alliance) between Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary as well as joining the Axis (Berlin-Vienna-Rome) in 1940.
     
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    Chapter 14: Two Empires Arise
  • Chapter 14: Two Empires Arise:

    Nearly over night the secret coup of the Reichswehr against Hitler had created a new reality in Germany. The Return of Wilhelm II to be the German Emperor once again had a euphoric support in Germany. The old Weimar Republic and even the authoritarian short lived Nazi State ceased to exist and the German Empire was reborn as a parliamentaric, constitutional monarchy (but not much improved for the german Jews, because Wilhelm II like Hitler was antisemitic, as it was very common in Europe during that time period). While Hitler was no longer the Führer (Leader) he remained the Chancellor after the military coup that not much Germans had even noticed. With his monarchist and military supporters gone there was not much Hitler could do about it for now and at the same time the new government needed the support and members of his Nazi Party as the strongest force in Imperial Diet (Reichstag/ Parliament) so a unholy and uneasy alliance was formed between both powers. Hitler as a charismatic leader hoped his time was not yet done and that he could be for Wilhelm II what his great idol Mussolini was for Victor Emanuel III in the Italian Empire. Yes Hitler could see it he would be the new Iron Chancellor, the Bismark of his time. While the fall of Xiben San Main East Asia led to Tibet (encircled between British Colonies in India and Soviet states in the north) opening diplomatic relations to the Co-Prosperity Sphere the states of Europe had other worries.

    With the rebirth of the Austria-Hungarian Empire under Otto von Habsburg the born Austrian Hitler did his best to form a new Dual Alliance as quick as possible, to secure both German states in the heart of Europe. Together with his Austrian counterpart Kurt Schuschnigg the new Dual Alliance focused on eliminating what was left of the Threaty of Versailles, watching closely to it's neighbor Czechoslovakia that was now surrounded by both powers. Germany and the Austria-Hungarian Propaganda started to show how badly the Czechoslovaks treated the native minorities (Germans, Hungarians) inside their unnatural state as they called it and asked the League of Nations for a plebiscite regarding the future of these people. Ever since 1918 the Republic of Czechoslovakia had been home to a substantial minority of Germans, who lived mostly in the Sudetenland (German Bohemia, German Moravia as well as in the now Czechoslovak parts of Upper and Lower Austria) and Hungarians who lived mostly in the so called "Upper Hungary".

    Under pressure from separatist groups within the Sudeten German Party and the United Hungary Party, the Czechoslovak government offered economic concessions to the region. At this time Otto von Habsburg and Hitler had already decided to incorporate not just the Sudetenland but the whole of Czechoslovakia into Austria-Hungary. The German Nazis and Austria-Hungarian Fashists undertook a propaganda campaign to try to drum up support for an invasion. Not all top leaders of the armed forces were in favour of the plan, as both states were not yet ready for war. The crisis led to war preparations by the British, the Czechoslovaks and France (Czechoslovakia's ally).

    Attempting to avoid war, British Prime Minister Neville Chanberlain arranged a series of meetings, the result of which was the Munich Agreement, signed on 29 September 1938. The Czechoslovak government was forced to accept the Sudetenland's annexation into Austria as a part ofAustria-Hungary and parts of Upper Hungary into the Kingdom of Hungary. Chamberlain was greeted with cheers when he landed in London bringing, he said "peace for our time". The agreement lasted only six months before the Dual Alliance seized the rest of Czech territory in March 1939. Two puppet states were created (Bohemia and Moravia as well as Slovakia). Czech foreign exchange reserves were soon seized by the Austrian-Hungarians, as were stockpiles of raw materials such as metals and completed goods such as weaponry and aircraft. Austria-Hungarian industrial conglomerates took control of steel and coal production facilities in both countries.

    In early November 1938, under the First Vienna Award, which was a result of the Munich Agreement, Czechoslovakia (and later Slovakia)—after it had failed to reach a compromise with Hungary and Poland—was forced by Austria-Hungary, Germany and Italy to cede the rest of southern Slovakia (Upper Hungary, one third of Slovak territory) to Hungary, while Poland invaded Zaolzie territory shortly after. As a result, Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia lost about 38% of their combined area to Germany, with some 3.2 million German and 750,000 Czech inhabitants. Hungary, in turn, received 11,882 km2 (4,588 sq mi) in southern Slovakia and southern Ruthenia; according to a 1941 census, about 86.5% of the population in this territory was Hungarian. Meanwhile, Poland annexed the town of Cesky Tesin with the surrounding area (some 906 km2 (350 sq mi)), some 250,000 inhabitants, Poles made about 36% of population, and two minor border areas in northern Slovakia, more precisely in the regions Spis and Orava. (226 km2 (87 sq mi), 4,280 inhabitants, only 0.3% Poles). Soon after Munich, 115,000 Czechs and 30,000 Germans fled to the remaining rump of Czechoslovakia. According to the Institute for Refugee Assistance, the actual count of refugees on 1 March 1939 stood at almost 150,000.

    On 4 December 1938, there were elections in the returned old Austria-Hungarian provinces, in which 97.32% of the adult population voted for the Imperial Austrian-Hungarian Party and therefore Austria Hungary. About 680,000 Germans and Hungarians joined the Imperial Austria-Hungarian Party, which was 17.34% of the German population in Sudetenland. Because of their knowledge of the Czech language, many Sudeten Germans were later employed in the administration of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia or the Protectorate of Slovakia that were re integrated into Austria-Hungary as semi independent states.

    The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (German: Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren; Czech: Protektorát Čechy a Morava) was a protectorate of Austria established on 16 March 1939 following the Austrian-Hungarian occupation of Czechoslovakia on 15 March 1939. Earlier, following the Munich Agreement of September 1938, Austria-Hungary with the help of the German Empire and backed by the Italian Empire had incorporated the Czech Sudetenland back into it's territory (October 1938). The protectorate's population was majority ethnic Czech, while the Sudetenland was majority ethnic German. Following the establishment of the independent short lasted Slocak Republic (later the Hungarian Protectorate of Slovakia) on 14 March 1939, and the Austria-Hungarian occupation of the Czech rump state backed by Germany the next day, the Protectorate was established on 16 March 1939 by a proclamation from Prague Castle thanks to the influence and schemes of German Chancellor Adolf Hitler.

    The Austrian-Hungarian government justified its intervention by claiming that Czechoslovakia was descending into chaos as the country was breaking apart on ethnic lines, and that the Austria-Hungarian military was seeking to restore order in the region. Czechoslovakia at the time under President Emil Hácha had pursued a pro-German foreign policy; however, upon meeting with the German Chancellor Adolf Hitler for support of their independence against Austria-Hungary, Hácha submitted to the Austria-Hungarian and Germany's demands and issued a declaration stating that in light of events he accepted that Austria-Hungary would decide the fate of the Czech people; Hitler accepted Hácha's declaration and hours later Otto declared that Austria-Hungar would provide the Czech people with an autonomous protectorate governed by ethnic Czechs. Hácha was appointed president of the protectorate the same day. The Protectorate was an autonomous administered territory which the Austria-Hungarian government considered part of the Austria-Hungarian Empire.

    The (First) Slovak Republic (German: Slowakische Republik, Slocak: Slovenská republika) otherwise known as the Slovak State (Slovak: Slovenský štát) and later the Protectorate of Slovakia (or in German: Protektorat Slowakei, also known as the Hungarian Protectorate of Slovakia) was a client state of Austria-Hungary which existed since 14 March 1939. The Republic was at the edge of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire at that time and bordered Poland and the Austrian Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

    Austria-Hungary, the German Empire, the Italian Empire as well as some minor balkan states depending on this trio soon recognized the two Protectorates, as did several other states later, including the Wang Jingwei Government of the Republic of China, the Croatian Protectorate State, the Serbian Protectorate State, El Salvador, Estonia, Japan (and the other states of the Co-Prosperity Sphere), Lithuania, Romania, the Soviet Union, Nationalist Spain, Switzerland and Vatican City. The Western European Powers mostly Britain and France protested but could not do much since this time it was no German or Italian, but a Austrian-Hungarian agression that took them by surprise and off guard. Many Western European politicans hoped that Chamberlain's "peace for our time" would remain true and some of them even hoped that with a little more appeasement towards Germany and Austrian-Hungary from Poland the peace in europe could be saved and the Soviet Union stopped from expanding.
     
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    Chapter 15: When Emperors Dream
  • Chapter 15: When Emperors Dream

    Like Hitler did with the Rearmament of Germany and the re-militarization of the Rhineland, Austria-Hungary was not willing to longer accept the unjust terms forced upon it in the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (between the victors of World War I and Austria) and the Treaty of Trianon (between the victors and Hungary).

    The Bled agreement of 22 August 1938 revoked some of the restrictions placed on Austria-Hungary by the Saint-Germain-en-Laye and the Treaty of Trianon for its involvement on the losing side in World War I. Representatives of Austria-Hungary and three of its neighbours—the so-called "Little Entente" of Czechoslovakia, Romania and Yugoslavia—first met at Bled in Yugoslavia on 21 August. The next day they announced a joint renunciation of the use of force in their mutual relations, and the Little Entente recognised Austria-Hungary as having an equal right to armaments. This gave Austria-Hungary legal cover for the re-creation of it's air force, that had already begun in secret, and the increase of its army in manpower, guns and munitions.

    Almost from its signing, the Treaty of Trianon had been contravened by "secret" re-armament under tight budgetary constraints. This was in fact general knowledge, and Austria-Hungary's neighbors and the great powers looked the other way. The official Hungarian position was that she had a right to re-arm, but with the Bled agreement she obtained legal cover and the re-armament program could shed its nominal secrecy.

    Even before Trianon, Austria-Hungary had begun to plan its secret air force and lay the administrative groundwork. In the 1920s, however, the victorious powers' Aviation Supervisory Committee quashed every effort to circumvent disarmament. By 1 October 1937, the secret air force of Hungary alone had reached a strength of 192 planes. Although, as expected, Austria-Hungary was not prepared for war by 1 October, on 6 October all air force units (except for two short-range reconnaissance squadrons) were ordered to ready for deployment, but none were ready on time. In the end, the air force was not needed, as the Italo-German mediated First Vienna Award solved Austria-Hungary's revisionist claims on Czechoslovakia without war. There was conflict within the government over command of the air force until, on 1 January 1939, it finally came in from the cold and proclaimed a separate branch of the armed forces. It received its baptism of fire in the brief war with Slovakia from 23 March until 4 April in which Slovakia is forced to cede a strip of Eastern Slovak territory and finally accept to become a depending Protectorate of the Kingdom of Hungary inside the Austria-Hungarian Empire.

    Nearly immediately afterwards Emperor Otto called Wilhelm II and Hitler to discuss their new situation in East Europe. Both states had strong claims on Poland (Galicia by Austria-Hungary and Posen, Danzig as well as parts of West Prussia and East Prussia and Upper Silesia by Germany) and even Lithuania claimed the polish region around Wilno. While Hitler hoped they could get all of Poland in a war and then take on Russia Wilhelm II and Otto had other plans. They hoped that just like during World War 1 they could create a strong alliance of East European (Finland the former Baltic Duchies of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and maybe even Romania and a again liberated Ukraine) states led by Germany and Austria-Hungary against the Russian Soviet Union. Unlike Hitlers idea this plan was not as wildly opposed by Britain and France since many people in England by no feared the Soviet Union far more then a central European German power. The two Emperors hoped that their dreams for East and Southeast Europe, maybe even their claim on the colonies lost in WW 1 could be agreed to by Britain and France in exchange for a strong stand against the Soviets. Some dreamers even believed that France could be talked into giving up the Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine but Wilhelm was not that naive. He knew he could one day take it by force, but only after he had dealt with Russia first (or France first and Russia later), here his Chancellor Hitler was right with his aggression against the eastern state. Clearly it was insane to try fighting against France and Russia at the same time and Wilhelm and Otto also hoped to break up the British-French Alliance before another war would come.

    The best way for Wilhelm II, Otto and Hitler to do so would be to break up Frances net of alliances in the east and replacing it with their own, best without even firing a shot. Poland was a good next candidate for that tactic, because France was far away if the Soviets attacked and had long focused on a mere defensive Maginot-Line that would not help them. The German Empire on the other hand and Austria-Hungary were were more then willing to guarantee the independence of the eastern European states in exchange for their lost territory like Memel, Galizia, West Prussia and East Prussia and guarantee the independence of the fascistic partly even antisemitic and therefore ideology close regimes in Poland and Lithuania. With these two in their boat Germany and Austria-Hungary hoped other eastern states like Finland the former Baltic Duchies of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, or even Romania would soon join their new central European alliance in fear of the Soviet Union and open the door in Eastern Europe and the Balkan for a German/Austrian-Hungarian hegemony later. To not again have the potentiall ally Italy join the enemy side Austria-Hungary suggested by Hitler for his friend Mussolini signed the Treat of Trieste, renouncing all claims against the Italian Empire and paving the way for the Dual Alliance to become the Triple Alliance (Tripartite Alliance).
     
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    Chapter 16: The Chinese Civil War Part 3 – 1938-1940
  • Chapter 16: The Chinese Civil War Part 3 – 1938-1940:

    At the start of 1938, the leadership in Tokyo still hoped that the government of Wang Jingwei could have a quick victory and secure most of Nationalist China. They thought this would preserve strength for an anticipated showdown with the Soviet Union, but by now the Japanese government and GHQ had effectively lost control of the Japanese army in China. With many victories achieved, Japanese field generals in command of some Jingwei Nationalist Armies, Co-Prosperity Sphere Soldiers and modern equipment escalated the war in an attempt to wipe out Chiang National Chinese resistance, but were defeated at the Battle of Zhengzhou (March–April 1938). With the end of the Coastal Campaign, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) quickly lost it's influence over the war in China to the Imperial Japanese Army who organized the volunteer forced of the Co-Prosperity Sphere that supported the Wang Jingwei Government and gained more and more influence over Wang's China. Afterwards the Battle of Zhengzhou the IJA changed its strategy and deployed almost all of its existing armies in China to attack the city of Wuhan, which had become the political, economic and military center of rump China under Chiang, in hopes of destroying the fighting strength of the National Revolutionary Army and of forcing the Chiang's KMT government to negotiate for peace with Wang Jingweo. The Japanese captured Wuhan on October 27, 1938, forcing the KMT to retreat to Chongqing (Chungking), but Chiang Kai-shek still refused to negotiate, saying he would only consider talks if Japan agreed to withdraw to the pre-1937 borders. This was possible, because Stalin was worried about the rise of the new German Empire and the reunited Austria-Hungary in Europe, so he shifted his focus and supplies from China towards his European boarders or to the Republicans/Socialists/Communists in the Spanish Civil War.

    With Japanese, Wang's and the Co-Prosperity Sphere casualties and costs mounting, the Imperial General Headquarters attempted to break Chinese resistance by ordering the air branches of their navy and army to launch the war's first massive air raids on civilian targets. Japanese raiders hit the Kuomintang's newly established provisional capital of Chongqing and most other major cities in unoccupied China, leaving millions dead, injured, and homeless. With Stalin's end of his support for the Chinese Communists and Mao, communist forces withdrew from their holds on the provinces of Ningxia, parts of Gansu, Qinghau and eastern Xianjiang. Xibei San Ma who was losing against the Communists had already tried to ally with Chiang and now finally managed to do so. With the newly gained ares to withdraw to Chiang's forces and government was able to continue the fight. Chiang's own officers then used the opportunity to force him to form the United Front against the traitor Wang and his allies in the Co-Prosperity Sphere.

    From the beginning of 1939, the war entered a new phase with the unprecedented defeat of the Japanese in the Provinces of Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi and parts of Wanbei and Henan. These outcomes encouraged the Chinese to launch their first large-scale counter-offensive against the IJA in early 1940; however, due to its low military-industrial capacity and limited experience in modern warfare, this offensive was defeated. Afterwards Chiang could not risk any more all-out offensive campaigns given the poorly trained, under-equipped, and disorganized state of his armies and opposition to his leadership both within the Kuomintang and in China in general. He had lost a substantial portion of his best trained and equipped troops in the Battle of Nanjing and was at times at the mercy of his generals, who maintained a high degree of autonomy from the central KMT government.

    During the offensive, Hui forces in Suiyuan under generals Ma Hongbin and Ma Buqing routed the Japanese army and their puppet Mengjiang and prevented the planned Japanese advance into northwest China for some time. Ma Hongbin's father Ma Fulu had fought against Japanese in the Boxer Rebellion. General Ma Biao led Hui, Salar and Dongxiang cavalry to defeat the Japanese at the Battle of Huaiyang. But their support for Chiang in central China allowed the local Province of Ningxia to break away from direct influence of Xibei San Ma as the conflict between local muslim erased into a conflict in Gansu and Ningxia. Demchugdongrub the leader of Mengjiang used this opportunity to quickly seize the now from the Kuomintang and Xibei San Ma independent province of Ningxia for his dream of a unified greater Mongolian Mengjiang. Finally Mengjiang ruled all of Chinese Inner Mongolia, but Demchugdongrub wanted to gain all lands inhabited by mongols or once part of the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan.

    Until 1940 the forces of Wang and his government managed to get a hold in central China but were still far away from beating Chiangs Nationalist Government despite controlling the majority of China's infrastructure and most modern and industrialized regions in the east. The poorly infrastructure in central China and the growing resistance of Communist and Kuomintang rebel forces prevented a quick victory and led to a long and bloody war over the future of China between Wang and the Co-Prosperity Sphere and Chiang and his United Front.
     
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    Chapter 17: The Soviet – Co-Prosperity Sphere border conflicts
  • Chapter 17: The Soviet – Co-Prosperity Sphere border conflicts:

    The Soviet – Co-Prosperity Sphere border conflicts (also known as the Soviet-Japanese Border War) was a series of battles and skirmishes between the forces of the Union of Socialist Republics and the Co-Prosperity Sphere (mostly the Empire of Japan), as well as their respective puppet states of Mongolia, Mengjiang and Manchukuo. Lasting from 1932 to 1939, most of the conflicts were small border skirmishes until May 1939, with the notable exception of the Battle of Lake Khasan. The Border War was resolved in a series of engagements at Khalin-Gol, where the Co-Prosperity Sphere forces inflicted a decisive defeat on the Soviets. This resulted in a change of the Mongolian border and the Soviet – Co-Prosperity Sphere Neutrality Pact.

    Following the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931, violations of the vaguely defined Manchukuo-Mongolia-USSR border were frequent. Most of these were misunderstandings, but some were intentional acts of espionage. According to the IJA, between 1932 and 1934, 152 border disputes occurred, largely because the Soviets found it necessary to gather intelligence inside Manchuria. For their part, the Soviets blamed the Japanese for 15 cases of border violation, 6 air intrusions, and 20 episodes of "spy smuggling" in 1933 alone. Hundreds more violations were reported by both sides throughout the following years. To make matters worse, Soviet – Co-Prosperity Sphere diplomacy and trust had declined even further in these years, with the members of the Co-Prosperity Sphere being openly called "fascist enemies" at the Seventh Comintern Congress in July 1935.

    In 1937, the Japanese and the Co-Prosperity Sphere helped out Wang Jingwei's Government China, during the Chinese Civil War. During the first two years of the war, the Soviets heavily aided the Chinese Government of Chiang and the Chinese Communists, increasing tensions with Japan. From October 1937 to September 1939, the Soviets supplied the Chinese United Front with 82 tanks, over 1,300 pieces of artillery, over 14,000 machine guns, 50,000 rifles, 1,550 trucks and tractors, and also ammunition, equipment and supplies. They also provided 3,665 military advisers and "volunteers". 195 of these men, almost all officers, died in battle against Japanese forces. Large-scale aid ceased by the end of the Soviet-Japanese border wars.

    In early 1935, the first shooting affray took place. From then until April 1939, the Imperial Japanese Army recorded 108 such incidents. On 8 January 1935, the first armed clash, Halhamiao incident occurred on the border between Mongolia and Manchukuo. Several dozen Mongolian cavalry trespassed in Manchuria near some disputed fishing grounds, and engaged an 11-man Manchukuo army patrol unit near the Buddhist temple at Halhamiao, which was led by a Japanese military advisor. The Manchukuo Army incurred slight casualties, suffering 6 wounded and 2 dead, including the Japanese officer. The Mongols suffered no casualties, and withdrew when the Japanese sent a punitive expedition to reclaim the disputed area. Two motorized cavalry companies, a machine gun company, and a tankette platoon were sent and occupied the point for three weeks without resistance.

    In June 1935, the Japanese and Soviets directly exchanged fire for the first time. West of Lake Khanka, an 11-man Japanese patrol was attacked by 6 Soviet horsemen, supposedly inside Manchukuoan territory. In the ensuring firefight, one Soviet soldier was killed, and two horses were captured. While the Japanese asked the Soviets for a joint investigation of the issue, the Soviets rejected the request.

    In October 1935, 9 Japanese and 32 Manchukuoan border guards were engaged in setting up a post, about 20 kilometers north of Suifenho, when they were attacked by a force of 50 Soviet soldiers. The Soviets opened fire on them with rifles and 5 heavy machine guns. In the ensuing clash, 2 Japanese and 4 Manchukuoan soldiers were killed, and another 5 were wounded. The Manchukuoan foreign affairs representative lodged a verbal protest with the Soviet consul at Suifenho. The Kwantung Army also sent an intelligence officer to investigate the scene of the clash.

    On 19 December 1935, a Manchukuoan army unit engaging in a reconnoitering project southwest of Buir Lake clashed with a Mongolian party, reportedly capturing 10 soldiers. Five days later, 60 truck-borne Mongolian troops assaulted the Manchukuoans and were repulsed, at the cost of 3 Manchukuoan dead. The same day, at Brunders, Mongolian soldiers attempted to drive out Manchukuoan forces three times in the day, and then again at a night. All attempts failed. More small attempts to dislodge the Manchukuoans from their outposts occurred in January, with the Mongolians this time utilizing planes for recon duty. Due to the arrival of a small force of Japanese troops in three trucks, these attempts also failed with a few casualties on both sides. Aside from the 10 prisoners taken, Mongolian casualties during these clashes are unknown.

    In February 1936, Lt. Col. Sugimoto Yasuo was ordered to form a detachment from the 14th Cavalry Regiment and, in the words of Lt. Gen Kasai Heijuro, "out the Outer Mongol intruders from the Olankhuduk region". Sugimoto's detachment included cavalry guns, heavy machine guns, and tankettes. Arrayed against him were 140 Mongolians, equipped with heavy machine guns and light artillery. On February 12, Sugimoto's men successfully drove the Mongolians south, at the cost of 8 men killed, 4 men wounded, and 1 tankette destroyed. After this, they began to withdraw, but were attacked by 5-6 Mongolian armored cars and 2 bombers, which briefly wreaked havok on a Japanese column. This was rectified when the unit obtained artillery support, enabling it to destroy or drive off the armored cars.

    In March 1936, the Tauran incident occurred. In this battle, both the Japanese Army and Mongolian Army used a small number of armored fighting vehicles and military aircraft. The Tauran incident of March 1936 occurred as the result of 100 Mongolian and 6 Soviet troops attacking and occupying the disputed village of Tauran, Mongolia, driving off the small Manchurian garrison in the process. They were supported by a handful of light bombers and armored cars, though their bombing sorties failed to inflict any damage on the Japanese, and three of them were shot down by Japanese heavy machine guns. Local Japanese forces counter-attacked, running dozens of bombing sorties on the village, and eventually assaulting it with 400 men and 10 tankettes. The result was a Mongolian rout, with 56 soldiers being killed, including 3 Soviet advisors, and an unknown number being wounded. Japanese losses amounted to 27 killed and 9 wounded.

    Later in March 1936, there was another border clash, this time between the Japanese and the Soviets. Reports of border violations led the Korea Army to send ten men by truck to investigate, but this party itself was ambushed by 20 NKVD soldiers deployed at a point 300 meters inside the territory claimed by the Japanese. After incurring several casualties, the IJA patrol withdrew, and brought up 100 men within hours as reinforcements, who then drove off the Soviets. However, fighting erupted later in the day when the NKVD also brought reinforcements. By nightfall, the fighting had stopped and both sides had pulled back. The Soviets agreed to return the bodies of 2 Japanese soldiers who died in the fighting, which was seen as encouraging by the Japanese government.

    In early April 1936, three Japanese soldiers were killed near Suifenho, in one of many minor and barely-documented affrays. However, this incident was notable in that the Soviets again returned the bodies of the dead IJA servicemen.

    In June 1937, the Kanchazu Island incident occurred on the Amur River (Soviet–Manchukuo border). Three Soviet gunboats crossed the center line of the river, unloaded troops, and occupied Kanchazu (also spelled "Kanchatzu") island. Soldiers from the IJA 1st Division, using two horse-drawn 37mm artillery pieces, proceeded to hastily set up improvised firing sites, and load their guns with both high-explosive and armor-piercing shells. They shelled the Soviets, sinking the lead gunboat, crippling the second, and driving off the third. Japanese troops then fired on the swimming crewmen of the sunken ships with machine guns. 37 Soviet soldiers were killed in this incident; the Japanese forces suffered no casualties. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs protested and demanded the Soviet soldiers withdraw from the island. The Soviet leadership, apparently shocked by the display and not wanting things to escalate, agreed and evacuated their forces.

    The Battle of Lake Khasan (July 29, 1938 – August 11, 1938) and also known as the Changkufeng Incident in China and Japan, was an attempted military incursion from Manchukuo (by the Japanese) into territory claimed by the Soviet Union. This incursion was founded in the belief of the Japanese side that the Soviet Union misinterpreted the demarcation of the boundary based on the Convention of Peking treaty between Imperial Russia and the former Qing-Dynasty China (and subsequent supplementary agreements on demarcation), and furthermore, that the demarcation markers had been tampered with. The Japanese 19th division expelled a Soviet garrison from the disputed area, and repulsed numerous counterattacks by an overwhelmingly more numerous and heavily armed Soviet force. Both sides took heavy losses, though Soviet casualties were nearly three times higher than Japanese casualties, and they lost dozens of tanks. The conflict was resolved diplomatically on August 10, when the Japanese ambassador in Moscow asked for peace. The Japanese troops withdrew the next day, and the Soviets again occupied the now-empty area.

    With Soviet Russia occupied in Europe by the reborn Empires of Germany and Austria-Hungary and their newly formed Dual Alliance that in forms looked just like the Central Power Pact that so heavily battled the Zardom of Russia in the First Great War the Japanese led Armies of Manchukuo and Mengjian (who by now were agitating very independent from the Army Command in Japan, just like the armies in China), as well as their respective government used this opportunity to expand their territory on costs of the Mongolian People's Republic. Parts of their armies crossed the boarder into Mongolia in the hope to gain more land. This led to the Battles of Khalkhyn Gol.

    The Battles of Khalkhyn Gol were the decisive engagements of the undeclared Soviet – Co-Prosperity Sphere border conflicts fought among the Soviet Union, Mongolia, Japan, Manchukuo and Mengjian in 1939. The conflict was named after the river Khalkhyn Gol, which passes through the battlefield. In Japan, the decisive battle of the conflict is known as the Nomonhan Incident after a nearby village on the border between Mongolia and Manchuria. The battles resulted in the defeat of the Soviet-Mongolian Army of the 57th Special Corps.

    In 1939, Manchuria was a puppet state of Japan known as Manchukuo, and Mongolia was a communist state allied with the Soviet Union, known as the Mongolian People's Republic. The Japanese maintained that the border between Manchukuo and Mongolia was the Khalkhyn Gol (English "Khalkha River") which flows into Lake Buir and hoped to expend their puppet of Manchukuo and Mendjian further into Mngolia. In contrast, the Mongolians and their Soviet allies maintained that the border ran some 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) east of the river, just east of Nomonhan village. The principal occupying army of Manchukuo was the Kwantung Army of Japan, consisting of some of the best Japanese units in 1939. However, the western region of Manchukuo was garrisoned by the relatively newly formed 23rd Infantry Division at Hailar under General Komatsubara and included several Manchukuoan army and border guard units all under the direct command of Sixth Army.

    The Soviet forces consisted of the 57th Special Corps, deployed from the Trans-Baikal Military District. They were responsible for defending the border between Siberia and Manchuria. The Mongolian troops mainly consisted of cavalry brigades and light artillery units, and proved to be effective and agile, but lacked armor and manpower in sufficient numbers.

    In 1939, the Japanese Cabinet sent instructions to the Kwantung Army to strengthen and fortify Manchukuo's borders with Mongolia and the Soviet Union. Additionally, the Kwantung Army, which had long been stationed in Manchuria far from the Japanese home islands, had become largely autonomous and tended to act without approval from, or even against the direction of, the Japanese government.

    The incident began on 11 May 1939. A Mongolian cavalry unit of some 70–90 men had entered the disputed area in search of grazing for their horses. On that day, Manchukuoan cavalry attacked the Mongolians and drove them back across the river Khalkhin Gol. On 13 May, the Mongolian force returned in greater numbers and the Manchukoans were unable to dislodge them.

    On 14 May, Lt. Col. Yaoza Azuma led the reconnaissance regiment of the 23rd Infantry Division, supported by the 64th Infantry Regiment of the same division, under Colonel Takemitsu Yamagata, into the territory and the Mongolians withdrew. Soviet and Mongolian troops returned to the disputed region, however, and Azuma's force again moved to evict them. This time things turned out differently, as the Soviet-Mongolian forces surrounded Azuma's force on 28 May and destroyed it. The Azuma force suffered eight officers and 97 men killed and one officer and 33 men wounded, for 63% total casualties.

    Both sides began building up their forces in the area. Soon, Japan had 30,000 men in the theater. The Soviets dispatched a new corps commander, Comcor Georgy Zhukov, who arrived on 5 June and brought more motorized and armored forces (I Army Group) to the combat zone. Accompanying Zhukov was Comcor Yakov Smushkevich with his aviation unit. J. Lkhagvasuren, Corps Commissar of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Army, was appointed Zhukov's deputy.

    On 27 June, the Japanese Army Air Force's 2nd Air Brigade struck the Soviet air base at Tamsak-Bulak in Mongolia. The Japanese won this engagement, but the strike had been ordered by the Kwantung Army without getting permission from Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) headquarters in Tokyo. In an effort to prevent the incident from escalating, Tokyo promptly ordered the JAAF not to conduct any more air strikes against Soviet airbases. Throughout June, there were reports of Soviet and Mongolian activity on both sides of the river near Nomonhan and small-scale attacks on isolated Manchukoan units. At the end of the month, the commander of the 23rd Japanese Infantry Division, Lt. Gen. Komatsubara, was given permission to "expel the invaders".

    The Japanese plan was for a two-pronged assault. The first attack would be made by three regiments plus part of a fourth: 71st and 72nd Infantry Regiment (23rd Division), a battalion of the 64th Infantry Regiment and the 26th Infantry Regiment under Colonel Shinichiro Sumi (7th Infantry Division). This force would advance across the Khalkin Gol, destroy Soviet forces on Baintsagan Hill on the west bank, then make a left turn and advance south to the Kawatama Bridge. The second prong of the attack would be the task of the IJA 1st Tank Corps (1st TC) (Yasuoka Detachment), consisting of the 3rd and 4th Tank Regiments, plus a part of the 64th Infantry Regiment, a battalion from the 28th Infantry Regiment, detached from the 7th Infantry, 24th Engineer Regiment, and a battalion from the 13th Field Artillery Regiment, all under the overall command of Lieutenant General Yasuoka Masaomi. This force would attack Soviet troops on the east bank of the Khalkhyn Gol and north of the Holsten River. The two Japanese thrusts were to join together on the wings.

    The northern task force succeeded in crossing the Khalkhyn Gol, driving the Soviets from Baintsagan Hill, and advancing south along the west bank. However, Zhukov, perceiving the threat, launched a counterattack with 450 tanks and armored cars. The tanks consisted of primarily BTs with a handful of T-26s, while the armored cars were BA-10s and BA-3/6s, which were similar in armor (6–15 mm (0.24–0.59 in)) and armament (main: 45 mm (2 in) gun 20K mod, secondary: two 7.62 mm (0.30 in) machine guns) to the Soviet light tanks. The Soviet armored force, despite being unsupported by infantry, attacked the Japanese on three sides and nearly encircled them. The Japanese force, further handicapped by having only one pontoon bridge across the river for supplies, was forced to withdraw, recrossing the river on 5 July. Meanwhile, the 1st Tank Corps of the Yasuoka Detachment (the southern task force) attacked on the night of 2 July, moving in the darkness to avoid the Soviet artillery on the high ground of the river's west bank. A pitched battle ensued in which the Yasuoka Detachment lost over half its armor, but still could not break through the Soviet forces on the east bank and reach the Kawatama Bridge. After a Soviet counterattack on 9 July threw the battered, depleted Yasuoka Detachment back, it was dissolved and Yasuoka was relieved. Overall, the Japanese lost 42 tanks in these encounters, primarily to 45 mm gunfire, which outranged the Japanese weapons. In return, on 3 July alone the Soviet-Mongolian side lost a total of 77 tanks and 45 armored cars out of a total of 93 and 59 committed to the fight, respectively.

    The two armies continued to spar with each other over the next two weeks along a four-kilometre (2.5 mi) front running along the east bank of the Khalkhyn Gol to its junction with the Holsten River. Zhukov, whose army was 748 km (465 mi) away from its base of supply, assembled a fleet of 2,600 trucks to supply his troops, while the Japanese suffered did the same thanks to their motorized transports. On 23 July, the Japanese launched another large-scale assault, sending the 64th and 72nd Infantry Regiments against Soviet forces defending the Kawatama Bridge. Japanese artillery supported the attack with a massive barrage that consumed more than half of their ammunition stores at the start over a period of two days. The attack made some progress and break through Soviet lines and reach the bridge. The Soviets disengaged from the attack on 25 July due to mounting casualties heavy enemy artillery fire. By this point the Japanese had suffered over 5,000 casualties between late May and 25 July being replaced by Manchukuoan and Mengjian reinforcements. The battle drifted into a stalemate, but similar Manchukuo and Mengjian attacks on other parts of the boarder prevented heavier Soviet reinforcements at Khalkhyn Gol.

    With war apparently imminent in Europe, Zhukov planned a final major offensive on 20 August to clear the Japanese from the Khalkhin Gol region and end the fighting. Zhukov, using a fleet of at least 4,000 trucks (IJA officers with hindsight dispute this, saying he instead used 6,000 to 10,000 motor vehicles) transporting supplies from the nearest base in Chita (600 kilometres (370 mi) away) assembled a powerful armored force of the 4th tank brigade, and the 7th mechanized brigades (which were armored car units with attached infantry support). This force was allocated to the Soviet left and right wings. The entire Soviet force consisted of two rifle divisions, one tank divisions and one additional tank brigades (in all, some 259 BT-5 and BT-7 tanks), one motorized infantry divisions, and over 550 fighters and bombers. The Mongolians committed two cavalry divisions.

    In comparison, at the point of contact the Kwantung Army had General Komatsubara's 23rd Infantry Division, which with various attached forces was equivalent to two light infantry divisions. Its headquarters had been at Hailar, over 150 km (93 mi) from the fighting. Japanese intelligence, demonstrating the ability to accurately track the build-up of Zhukov's force, and managed to precipitate an appropriate response from below, thereby slowing down his supplies and overall numbers. Thus, when the Soviets finally did launch their offensive, Komatsubara was well prepared. To test the Japanese defenses prior to their main assault on 20 August, the Soviets launched three aggressive probing assaults, one on 3 August and the others on 7/8 August. All three were disastrously thrown back, with around 1,000 combined dead and several tanks knocked out on the Soviet side compared to just 85 Japanese casualties. Moreover, the Japanese counter-attacked and routed elements of the Mongolian 8th Cavalry Division, seizing a hilly sector of the battlefront. Despite the fact that no more major fighting would take place until 20 August, Japanese casualties continued to mount at a rate of 20 wounded per day. Zhukov's Army staff officers were becoming increasingly worried over the disorganized state his Army's and it's supply elements. In addition, the growing casualty count meant that the already weakened forces would have to wait for reinforcements that were only slowly arriving. This good start led to the desire in Tokyo's to escalate the fighting at Khalkhin-Gol and continuing the pressure on the Soviets.

    Zhukov decided it was time to break the stalemate. At 05:45 on 20 August 1939, Soviet artillery and 275 aircraft attacked Japanese positions, the first fighter–bomber offensive in Soviet Air Force history. Approximately 27,000 Soviet and Mongolian soldiers of the 57th Special Corps defended the east bank of the Khalkhyn Gol. Three infantry divisions and a tank brigade crossed the river, supported by massed artillery and the Soviet Air Force. While the Japanese were pinned down by the attack of Soviet center units, Soviet armored units tried to swept around the flanks and attacked the Japanese in the rear, trying to achieving a classic double envelopment. When the Soviet wings could not managed to advance and link up at Nomonhan village their attack was stopped by the Japanese defense lines on 25 August, by the Japanese 23rd Infantry Division was trapped. On 26 August, a Japanese counterattack pushed back the Soviet advance up to this point. On 27 August, the 23rd Division pushed back the soviet-mongolian army and stabilized it's front fighting the enemy artillery with their own. By 31 August, Japanese forces on the Mongolian side of the border managed to advance, nearly crushing all remains of Zhukov's army in their offensive.

    Zhukov realized the outcome of the battle and feared to be surrounded himself, retreating his forces. He hoped to reunite with the remaining troops at Chita to begin a new counteroffensive, but this was canceled then a ease-fire was signed in Moscow. While Zhukov was defeated by the Japanese forces on Mongolian territory, Joseph Stalin had to worry about the guarantees and alliance proposal the German and Austria-Hungarian Empire had given to Poland, Finland, Romania and the Baltic States. With the Soviet defend at Nomonhan, Stalin decided realized that the situation in Europe was too critical to further supply much more material and troops to the Chinese United Front or his puppets like Mongolia at the moment. To be free from any further threat of a second front from Japan an the Co-Prosperity Sphere for now, Stalin hoped to once again become free to concentrate on war in Europe. So the Soviet Union and Japan agreed to a cease-fire on 15 September, which took effect the following day 1:10 pm. Free from a threat in the Far East, Stalin proceeded with preparations for the rise of the New Central Powers (as he called Germany, Austria-Hungary and later the Italian Empire by now) in Europe on 17 September. Sadly for him and the Comintern the Republicans/Socialists/Communists lost the Spanish Civil War against General Francisco Franco and his Monarchists/Nationalists.

    Japanese records report losses for this battle as 8,440 killed, 8,766 wounded, 162 aircraft lost in combat, and 42 tanks lost (of which 29 were later repaired and redeployed). Due to a military doctrine that prohibited surrender, the Japanese listed most of these men that were taken prisoners during the fight as killed in action, for the benefit of their families. Some sources put the Japanese casualties at 45,000 or more killed, with Soviet casualties of at least 25,000. However, these estimates for Japanese casualties are considered inaccurate as they exceed the total strength of the Japanese forces involved in the battle (estimated at 28,000–38,000 troops, despite Soviet claims that they were facing 75,000). According to the records of the Bureau 6A hospital, the Japanese casualties amounted to 7,696 killed, 8,647 wounded, 1,021 missing, and 2,350 sick, for a total of 19,714 personnel losses, including 2,895 Manchukuoan casualties. The Kwantung Army headquarters and their records give a slightly different figure of 8,629 killed and 9,087 injured. The Soviets initially claimed to have inflicted 29,085 casualties on the Japanese, but later increased this to 61,000 for the official histories.

    The Soviets initially claimed 9,284 total casualties, which was almost certainly reduced for propaganda purposes. In recent years, with the opening of the Soviet archives, a more accurate assessment of Soviet casualties has emerged, citing 14,974 killed and 29,251 wounded. In the newer edition, the Soviet losses are given as 18,703 killed and missing (12,472 killed and died of wounds during evacuation, 2,152 died of wounds in hospitals, 16 died of disease, 4,028 missing, 83 non-combat dead), 30,952 wounded and sick, and a further 4,225 hospitalizations due to disease, a total of 43,880 casualties. In addition to their personnel losses the Soviets lost a large amount of materiel including 253 tanks, 250 aircraft (including 208 in combat), 96 artillery pieces, and 133 armored cars. Of the Soviet tank losses, 75–80% were destroyed by anti-tank guns, 15–20% by field artillery, 5–10% by infantry-thrown incendiary bombs, 2–3% by aircraft, and 2–3% by hand grenades and mines. The large number of Soviet armor casualties are reflected in the manpower losses for Soviet tank crews. A total of 1,559 Soviet "Tank Troops" were killed or wounded during the battles. Many of this left over Tanks and Artillery was later used by the Armeis of Manchukuo and Mengjian to increase their strength in the Far East. Mongolian casualties were 956–1.890, with at least 22 armored cars destroyed and 2,821 horses/camels lost.

    Nomonhan was the first use of airpower on a massive scale in a high intensity battle to obtain a specific military objective. The combatants remained at peace from this day onward, neither wanting to risk any further border incidents that could escalate into a full out Soviet – Co-Prosperity Sphere war at this moment. Combat losses include aircraft shot down during aerial combat, written off due to combat damage or destroyed on the ground. Non-combat losses include aircraft that were lost due to accidents, as well as write-offs of warplanes due to the end of their service life. Thus Soviet combat losses amount to 163 fighters, 44 bombers and a reconnaissance aircraft, with further 385 fighters and 51 bombers requiring repairs due to combat damage. VVS (Soviet Air Forces) personnel losses were 88 killed in aerial combat, 11 killed by anti-aircraft artillery, 65 missing, six killed in air-strikes and four dead of wounds (174 total) and 113 wounded. The Japanese combat losses were 97 fighters, 25 bombers and 41 other (mostly reconnaissance), while 128 fighters, 54 bombers and 38 other required repairs due to combat damage. The Japanese air-force suffered 152 dead and 66 seriously wounded.

    While this engagement is little known in the West, it played an important part in subsequent Japanese conduct in the Second Great War. The battle earned the Kwantung Army the praise of officials in Tokyo, but also displeasure not so much due to its victory, but because it was initiated and escalated without direct authorization from the Japanese government. This victory combined with the advance of Wang Jingwei's and Co-Prosperity Sphere forces in the Chinese Civil War together with the anti-Soviet alliance formed by the German Empire, Austria-Hungary and Italy in Europe together with the IJA's basis of a war policy against the USSR, moved the Imperial General Staff in Tokyo a little closer towards the the policy of the North Strike Group favored by the Army, which wanted to seize Siberia for its resources as far as Lake Baikal.

    Despite this, the South Strike Group, favored by the Navy, which wanted to seize the resources of Southeast Asia, especially the petroleum and mineral-rich Dutch East Indies still did not give up their dream of expending Japan and the Co-Prosperity Sphere. Masanobu Tsuji, the Japanese colonel who had helped instigate the Nomonhan incident, was one of the strongest proponents of the continued push into China, central Asia and Sibiria. Even General Ryukichi Tanaka, Chief of the Army Ministry’s Military Service Bureau in 1941, testified that, "the most determined single protagonist in favor of war with the Soviet Union was Tsuji Masanobu." Tsuji later wrote that his experience of Soviet defeat at Nomonhan convinced him to attack the Soviet Union whenever the situation in Europe would favor this assault to secure the Japanese back before striking against the Colonial Powers in the south. On 24 June 1941, two days after the war on the Eastern Front broke out, the Japanese army and navy leaders adopted a resolution of intervening in the Central Powers/ Axis - Soviet by continue the growing of their Co-Prosperity Sphere puppet states of Manchukuo and Mengjian by pushing further into Mongolia or Xianjiang.


    (Kantokuen Plan 1)

    But for now the Co-Prosperity Sphere (led by Japan) and the Soviet Union and their allies/vassals and puppets signed a neutrality pact to stop the boarder incidents from escalating into a full war between both powers. While in Tokio the Kwantung Army Special Maneuvers Plan (Kantokuen) was planned with the goal of a a potential war against the USSR the two countries signed agreements that redraw the borders of Mongolia, Mengjiang and Manchukuo in favor of the Co-Prosperity Sphere for now, while at the same time and pledging neutrality towards each other for the future.

    The battle was a serious loss for Soviet general Georgy Zhukov, later leading to his executed in the 1941 Purges. Following the battle, the Soviets generally found the results very unsatisfactory. Similar the Japanese felt the same despite their victory as some have hoped to gain more land and influence in Mongolia. As noted by Pyotr Grigorenko, the Red Army tried to concentrate on a large advantage in technology, numbers, and firepower, to compensate for the poor battle outcome, which Stalin mostly blamed on poor leadership. Because of their losses, the Red Army always remained cautious about the possibility of another, larger Japanese attack later. Because of this caution, the Red Army kept a large force in the Far East even during the bleakest days of the war in Europe.


    (Kantokuen Plan 2/ Hachi Go Plan)

    The Japanese similarly considered the result not satisfying realizing their tactics, hoping to archive more in East Asia, Mongolia and China. They realized that the battle also highlighted a need to address the material disparity between themselves and their neighbors. They Co-Prosperity Sphere made several notes and even more modern reforms as a result of this battle: Tank and aircraft production was once again increased, even a mechanized headquarters was established in early 1941, and the new Type 1 47 mm Anti-Tank Gun was introduced as a response to the Soviet 45 mm. These cannons were mounted on Type 97 Chi-Ha tanks, resulting in the Type 97 ShinHoTo Chi-Ha ("New Turret") variant, which became the IJA's standard medium tank by 1942. IGHQ also dispatched General Tomoyuki Yamasgita to the German Empire in order to learn more about tank tactics following the crushingly one-sided Battle of France and the signing of the Tripartite Pacts (new Central Powers Pact). He returned with a report where he stressed the need for mechanization and more medium tanks. Accordingly, plans were put underway for the formation of a minimum of 10 new armoured divisions in the near future. The Co-Prosperity Spherealo realized it's needs for more medium and heavy tanks.

    Despite all of the above, Japanese industry was not powerful enough to keep up with either the United States or the Soviet Union at the time, and Yamashita warned against going to war with them for this reason. His recommendations were taken to heart, and Japanese militarists supported the growing own industrialization and these of their allies and puppets in the Co-Prosperity Sphere to get one day toe-to-toe with the European Powers as they hoped. In spite of their recent experience and military improvements, the Japanese would generally continue to underestimate their adversaries, emphasizing the courage and determination of the individual soldier as a way to make up for their smaller industrial base.

    Also, severe problem with lacking emergency blood staunching was detected. The original Japanese indoctrination explicitly forbade first aid to fellow soldiers without order from officer, and first-aid training was lacking. As result, large proportion of Japanese dead was due to hemorrhage from the untreated wounds. Furthermore, up to 30% of the total casualties were due the dysentery which Japanese believed was delivered by Soviet biological-warfare aerial bombs. To reduce susceptibility to diseases, future Japanese divisions will commonly include a specialized Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Departments Finally, the Japanese food rations were found to be less than satisfactory, both in packing and nutritional value and improved for the future.

    The Mongolian People's Republic from now on kept around 10% of the population under arms, Mongolia additionally provided supplies and raw materials to the Soviet military. Mongolia even deepened the mutual assistance pact with the Sovied Union from 12 March 1936 and extendet this defensive military alliance and added the Soviet Puppet of Xianjiang to it for mutual protection against Japan'sCo-Prosperity Sphere and it's puppets of Mengjiang and Manchukuo.

    The new border of the Mongolian People's Republic, the Mongolian territory in the southeast going to Mengjian, the Mongolian territory in the east rounding the border of Manchuria;

     
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    Chapter 18: The Mengjiang Khanate
  • Chapter 18: The Mengjiang Khanate:

    Prince Demchugdongrub of Mengjiang had gained much territory in the Soviet – Co-Prosperity Sphere agreement that granted him and Manchuria the southeastern parts of the Mongolian People's Republic. Still despite this territorial growth Demchugdongrub felt week. His Bank of Mengjiang was depending on the Bank of Japan, his whole Air Force made up from 28 Japanese Fighters only had Japanese pilots and unlike in the Empire of Manchuria where Japanese Zaibatsu (conglomerates) invested heavily under the guidance of Nissan founder Aikawa Yoshiuke (and creating a state controlled industry) during the Five Years Plan. The Manchu Air Force even had 100 NakajimaType 91 from the Japanese, showing that his small 28 fighters were a clear statement how important Japan and the other members of the Co-Prosperity Sphere believed Mengjiang to be. How could Demchugdongrub lame them, he was only a prince, while the Emperor of Chosen was directly connected with his imperial House to the Imperial House of Japan and Emperor Piyu of Mandchukuo was even the rightful last Emperor of Qing China. Recently Mengjiang and Manchu had a border dispute about regions inhabited by both people and ethnics and Japan negotiated a treaty between them to end the conflict.

    Sadly for Prince Demchugdongrub the Manchu and Piyu became most of the disputed territory because the Japanese did not recognize most mongols living there because of their nomadic lifestyle and constant border crossing between both states, Mongolia and even the Soviet Union. With the province of Hsingan, East Hopei, as well as parts of East Chahar (seen as a natural Mengjiang region) going to the Empire of Manchu, Mengjiang only got pats of Hsingan, East Chahar and the whole region of South Chahar. Japan even gave full control of Kanto-Shuandthe Diren harbor to Piyu so that Mancukuo just like Chosen could start it's own navy and control or guard the incoming sea trade themselves. While Manchu Jukogyo Kaihatsu Kabushiki Kasha (the Manchurian Industrial Developement Company) industrialized the Empire of Manchuria and the Manchu Society for Light Metal helped the Kwantung and Manchu Army and Navy grow stronger. Demchugdongrub meanwhile felt like a bystander unable to convince the Zaibatsu to invest in Mengjiang for now.


    Intending to change this he pushed for a Monetary Currency Reform gaining a little bit more independence over the Bank of Mengjiang from the Japanese. With the help of the Directorate General of Communications Prince Demchugdongrub moved Mengjiangs capital from he more nomadic Zhangbei towards the southern border at Kalgan were most central train-rails in Mengjiang came together. Demchugdongrub then focused on urbanizing his nomadic state further and created a monarchic crown diet to support his rule. The original population of nearly 2 millian Mengjiang (Mongol) people quickly rose up to 4 million after the Suiyuan Campaign with a little help of Japanese, Mongols and Chinese that came to colonize, work and live in the new state of Mengjiang.

    Marrying his son Dugursulong, to a Japanese noble woman, Demchugdongrub himself tried to gain more influence in the Imperial House of Japan, legitimizing his own rule and expanding his political independence and influence. Prince Demchugdongrub then declared his royal state the Mengjiang Khanate because he saw and refereed to himself as the heir of Genghis Khan. Since a Khanate or Khaganate was a political entity ruled by a Khan or Khagan, Demchugdongrub claimed this title for himself to get head to head with he Emperors of Japan, Chosen and Manchuria. Despite all this afford and the finally starting of a industrialization and the building of more infrastructure, Demchugdongrub knew that it was a long way till his dreams of the Greater Mengjiang Khanate were fulfilled. While he tried to push further into China with the Mengiang Army the Japanese warned him that the Khalkha Campaign (War of Reunification) against the Mongolian People's Republic should better wait until the Soviet Union would be occupied with a war in Europe.

    (Mengjiang, Manchu and Japan, their claims in the center, the new Manchu-Mengjiang border on the right)
     
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    Chapter 19: The Ultimatum
  • Chapter 19: The Ultimatum:

    (left: border at the moment , middle: German and Austrian-Hungarian claims and guarantee promises, right: what the borders of Europe would looke like if Poland would accept the ultimatum and Germany/ Austrian-Hungarian guaranteed most states independance that bordered the Soviet Union)

    Chancellor Adolf Hitler had just managed to convince Lithuania to give back the strip called Memelland to the German Empire in exchange for a guarantee of it's independence by the German Empire as well as Austria-Hungary. The so called Memel Ultimatum from 20. March 1939 by German Chancellor Adolf Hitler was not as nice as it sounded at first. Not known to many the Germans treated to invade Lithuania and enforce all their demands if Lithuania did not accept it within two days. Gaining more from accepting the ultimatum the government of Lithuania agreed to it and nearly immediately got his independence guaranteed by the German Empire and Austria-Hungary. Soon after German military and political advisers were send to help the state of Lithuania to eliminate all Communist threats inside their territory no matter if politicians or organizations (this included the socialists and liberals as well) forming a fascists and nationalized authoritarian Lithuania state to gain more power, rule and control. Lithuania even accepted to become a part of the Anti-Comintern Pact.

    On orders of Wilhelm II, Chancellor Hitler increased german requests for the incorporation of the Free City of Danzig into the Reich, citing the "protection" of the German majority as a motive. In November 1938, Danzig's district administrator, Albert Forster, reported to the League of Nations that Hitler had told him the Polish frontiers would be guaranteed by the German Empire and Austria-Hungary if the Poles were "reasonable like the Czechs." German State Secretary Ernst von Weizäcker reaffirmed this alleged guarantee in December 1938. The situation regarding the Free City and the Polish Corridor created a number of headaches for German/Austrian-Hungarian and Polish Customs. The Germans requested the construction of an extraterritorial Reichsautobahn freeway (to complete the Reichsautobahn Berling-Königsberg) and railway through the Polish Corridor, effectively annexing Polish territory and connecting East Prussia to Danzig and Germany proper, while cutting off Poland from the sea and its main trade route. If Poland agreed, in return they would extend the non-aggression pact for 25 years. The German Empire and Austria-Hungary even tried to get the polish Government to join the Anti-Comintern Pact.

    German newspapers in Danzig and Germany as well as Austrian-Hungarian newspapers in Vienna and Prague (aiming for Galicia) played an important role in inciting nationalist sentiment: headlines buzzed about how Poland was misusing its economic rights in Danzig and how German or Hungarian citizens were increasingly subjugated to the will of the Polish state. At the same time, Hitler also offered Poland additional territory as an enticement, such as the possible annexation of Soviet Ukraine and Czech inhabited lands. However, many Polish leaders continued to fear for the loss of their independence and a fate like that of Czechoslovakia which had yielded the Sudetenland to Austria-Hungary in October 1938, only to be invaded become split up protectorates in March 1939. Some felt that the Danzig question was inextricably tied to the problems in the Polish Corridor and any settlement regarding Danzig would be one step towards the eventual loss of Poland's access to the sea. Hitler's credibility outside Germany was still very high and even many British and French politicians approved of a peaceful revision of the corridor's borders.

    In 1939, Nazi Germany made another attempt to renegotiate the status of Danzig; Poland was to retain a permanent right to use the seaport if the route through the Polish Corridor was to be constructed. However, parts of the Polish administration distrusted Hitler and saw the plan as a threat to Polish sovereignty, practically subordinating Poland to the Axis and the Anti-Comintern Bloc while reducing the country to a state of near-servitude as its entire trade would be dependent on Germany.

    A revised and less favorable proposal came in the form of the Polish Ultimatum delivered by Chancellor Adolf Hitler in late August. At midnight on August 29, Joachim von Ribbentrop handed British Ambassador Sir Neville Henderson a list of terms that would allegedly ensure peace in regard to Poland. Danzig was to return to Germany and there was to be a plebiscite in the Polish Corridor and Galicia; Poles who had been born or had settled there since 1919 would have no vote, while all Germans and Austria-Hungarians born there (even if not living there anymore) would. An exchange of minority populations between the countries was proposed. If Poland accepted these terms, Germany and Austria-Hungary would agree to the British offer of an international guarantee, which would include the Soviet Union. A Polish plenipotentiary, with full powers, was to arrive in Berlin and accept these terms by noon the next day. The British Cabinet viewed the terms as "reasonable". When Ambassador Jósef Lipski went to see Ribbentrop on August 30, he was presented with Hitler’s demands. However, he did not have the full power to sign and Ribbentrop ended the meeting. News was then broadcast that Poland had rejected Germany's and Austria-Hungarian's offer.

    The German Empire and Austria-Hungary renewed their offer and even promised not only to guarantee the Polish independence if Poland accepted, but also to form a defense Alliance from Finland to Romania against the Soviet Union with Poland as a strong partner in the middle of it. Hitler even telephoned with Neville Chamberlain because of their good terms at the Munich Agreement and ensured him that if Poland would accept this would be his last territorial claims for Germany in Eastern Europe. The world looked towards Poland and waited curious what the polish government would decide in terms of this last ultimatum.
    ----
    Vote to decide Poland's future:
    http://www.strawpoll.me/14600329
     
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    Chapter 20: The increasing Balkan Conflict
  • Chapter 20: The increasing Balkan Conflict:

    Despite their good relations with the German Empire, both the Italian Empire under Mussolini and the Austria-Hungarian Empire under Otto had quiet some dispute. While Austria-Hungary joined the German Empire in the Dual Alliance it was quiet problematic for Emperor Wilhelm II or Chancellor Hitler to convince both, Mussolini and Otto to extend the Dual Alliance to the Tripartite Alliance that would include Italy. Both empires, Italy and Austria-Hungary had great ambitions and sadly both had them for the Balkan peninsula, were Italy tried to get the Yugoslavian coast of Dalmatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and some parts of southern Serbia and Bosnia. Mussolini even dreamed of annexing parts of Greece, French Tunesia as well as Corsica, Savoyen and Nizza from France and making the rest of the Balkan and Iberia his vassal states. Otto on the other hand dreamed of Austria-Hungary claimed their territories lost in the World War. Austria was to annex Slovenia and Dalmatia, while Hungary would regain the Banat, Croatia and Slovenia and some border regions lost. Bosnia and Herzegovina would then once again ruled by both states as would Montenegro and parts of northern Serbia that had to be annexed. In the east Hungary claimed all land lost to Romania (Transylvania and Bukovina) and Austria-Hungary just like Italy dreamed of making the rest of the Balkan peninsula their very own vassals. Some Austrian-Hungarians even dreamed of annexing all of Romania to get direct access to the Black See and make Greece a vassal that was not included in their ambitions after a victorious World War in 1914-1918. Overlooked by many there was another member of the Central Powers in the Balkan Peninsula eager to join the Empires of Germany and Austria-Hungary; Bulgaria that dreamed of annexing Macedonia from Serbia and Greece (as well as West Trace from Greece too) as well as claiming the Dobruja from Romania nullifying the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine. These ambitions and the growing threat from Austria-Hungary led to to Romania and Yugoslavia forming the Balkan Entente as a direct alliance against the ambitions of Otto and to a extend also against Mussolini's plans. Most shocked of this turn of events by far was Mussolini, he had just protected the independence of Austria and Hungary in the Romon Protocols and now all of the sudden after annexing the rest of the Czechoslovakian territories he faced a very ambitious neighbor in the north that managed to largely expend and modernize it's army thanks to Czechoslovakian equipment and industries. Greece on the other hand stayed neutral and hoped to remain that way, while Great Britain and France guaranteed the independance of Romania, Greece, Turkey, Yugoslavia and Poland to prevend Germany, Austria-Hungary or Italy and even the Soviet Union from forcing their demands on these states with the help of their military. Yugoslavia, Romania even got joined by Greece and Turkey that now together formed the Balkan Entente against the ambitiouns of Austria-Hungary, Italy and the Soviet Union in the region.
     
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