The Sun, The Stars and The Sickle: Alt-WWII and a Tripolar Postwar World

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by WaterproofPotatoes, Sep 15, 2018.


What would you like to see next

Poll closed Sep 27, 2018.
  1. Prewar Departures

  2. Technology: Ships, planes, etc

  3. Japan, China & Philippines 1939-1940

  4. Italy 1939-1940

  5. Nazi Germany: Norway Fallout

  6. Other (please describe in reply)

  1. Threadmarks: Prologue: The Hyuga Incident

    WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

    Jul 17, 2018
    September 8th, 1939

    Manila, Philippines

    6:18 AM

    September 8th was a day that began much like any other, and a date after which nothing would be the same.

    The sun rose over Manila. Old men in barong tagalogs opened their small shops, and every tita hung her washing, much like any other day.

    Douglas MacArthur leisurely sauntered into his study, a kimono draped over his pyjamas. He propped his feet up on his desk, half awake, but content. Here sat MacArthur. General MacArthur of the United States Army. Field Marshal (and the only one!) of the Philippine Army, adviser to Presidents Roosevelt (although he might not care to admit it) and Quezon. Retired until four months ago, he was once again the big boss and head honcho of damn near everything between Pearl Harbor and China. Willoughby's intelligence reports of something significant going on in Japan were probably the usual bunk, and all this fuss was purely political. Who better than MacArthur to tamp down a tense situation?

    Who else would be capable of controlling things at peacetime readiness?

    American eyes were on Japan. The Japanese were showing all the signs of preparing for a war- they were overhauling their navy and refusing to back down on their occupation of Manchuria- ostensibly to liberate the Manchu people from their cruel Han masters. Headlines made much ado about terrorists and militias attacking Japanese outposts and emphasis was made on how their equipment was of German or Soviet manufacture.

    At the same time, this was not the aggressive Japan of ten years ago- they cracked down on radical army officers, and signed the 1935 and 1937 naval treaties which few expected that they would. They were also signing trade agreements left, right and centre- any Texas oilman who wanted a free hibachi dinner didn't have to look hard to find one.

    They were also getting very cozy with the Brits- from impressively generous contracts with British companies to a delegation at King George VI's coronation that swept the tabloids- what was Willoughby doing reading tabloids anyhow? MacArthur knew that the Japanese are no fools despite what some may think at home, and must not be underestimated. The only colours MacArthur sees are red, white and blue!

    Still, it never hurt to be cautious. Therefore, MacArthur, the Collossus of the Pacific, would ensure that the Philippines would be untouchable. Admiral Ernest King commanded a mighty fleet based in Subic Bay; his flagship, USS Montana, was the most powerfully armed ship in the world. King was a real son of a bitch too. MacArthur liked that in a naval commamder- those sorts were usually even tougher on the enemy than they were on their own sailors.

    MacArthur had developed a working relationship with King; while he was not always easy to get along with, a stiff drink and a chance to blow off some steam did wonders for King's mood. Despite King's voracious appetite for expensive brandy and women, he drilled his men and ships hard, and made damn sure he knew what to do if the Japanese made a move.

    Then, some jerk decided to shatter the peaceful mood by honking their horn right in front of his house. The car's right passenger door opened up, and a very nervous Marine corporal peeked his head out the window, scrambling to get out and open the door for his passenger.

    He was too late.

    An especially annoyed Admiral Ernest King threw the door open, his shirt rumpled, his tie draped around his collar, untied, and a wedge cap at an impossible angle atop his head.

    King must have been really mad, thought MacArthur, because he didn't even stop to yell at the driver.

    MacArthur rolled his eyes. It was way too early to deal with this. He shuffled to the door and waved his hand to Jean upstairs when she poked her head out, letting her know it was best to stay in their bedroom.

    He opened the door, and as King was about to open his mouth, MacArthur motioned him into his study and closed the door.

    "Now, Admiral King, what's..."

    "You believe this shit?!" roared King, waving a a news paper with one hand, and rifling through a satchel with his other.

    "Did you drive from Subic, or did you fly?" asked a bleary MacArthur

    "No, I rode a goddamn camel; what the hell does it matter?"

    "Cigarette?" offered MacArthur, lighting one of his own in a jeweled holder.

    "Very fucking funny. Those goddamn Japs!"

    "And what, my dear Ernest, have our Japanese friends done now?" inquired MacArthur, his cool giving way to concern.

    "Read this" said King, his nostrils flaring. MacArthur read, while King narrated anyway. "Yesterday, some goddamn Jap battleship, the Hyuga blew up"

    MacArthur was uncharacteristically at a loss for words, his brows furrowed as he read the paper, raising an eyebrow as King looked on.

    "Hyuga. See, we name our battlewagons after states- well, not Kearsarge, but that rotten tub barely counted as a ship anyway- the Japs name theirs after the sound you make when you see the chow they dish up; seaweed and tentacles and shit like that"

    "Goddamn it, Ernie! Are you fucking serious"

    "Damn straight, Mac! The Japs are saying some kind of terrorists did this! And not just any Chinese terrorists. Chinese Nazi terrorists! What a load of shit! And they just declared war on the Krauts!"

    "What?" was all MacArthur could manage.

    King, calmly as he possibly could, pointed to a passage "Just... just read this"

    A communique from the Imperial Palace reads:

    "September 7th, 1939 is a day which will live in infamy.

    On this day, the Empire of Japan was attacked by Chinese warlord-led terrorists from the Steel Helmet Clan (Stahlhelm-Ost). By means unknown, they smuggled a bomb onto the battleship
    Hyuga and detonated it. Our brave sailors, with their superior training and selfless dedication, saved their ship from a catastrophic explosion which would have killed the entire crew, and visiting sea cadets. This dishonourable attack has claimed the lives of twenty-one Japanese sailors. Never shall we forget that these heroes gave their lives for our beloved country on this day. Their spirits shall rest peacefully now, their warriors' duties fulfilled. Their names shall live forever!

    It is immediately obvious that this attack was perpetrated at the behest of the terrorists' German masters. Their propaganda decrees that the Han Chinese are the true Master Race of the East, and they are ordained to rule it all. These are not the words of Chinese warlords- lies such as these are so vile, they could only come from Goebbels. Evidence in the form of German equipment discovered in Manchukuo, and propaganda such as this can mean only one thing- a trail of treachery weaving its way to Berlin! Naturally, Hitler and Ribbentrop will deny this, but the world knows their words are lies and their assurances are meaningless.

    The cowardly invasion of Poland is proof positive that the Nazi regime cannot be trusted. Fight on, brave Poles! The spirit of the Winged Hussar lives on in you as the spirit of the Samurai lives on in us!

    It is now clear that this is a dastardly attempt to open a second front in the East, so that Germany's position will be advantaged in Europe. Not so! We see through such facile trickery, as do our allies, Britain and France. Let it never be said that Japan has even once forsaken her friends! Together, our great empires will purge the terrorists from China and bring about lasting peace and prosperity!

    Not one Nazi jackboot shall set foot on the territories which rely on our protection, from Hsinking to Hong Kong! Our ships and aeroplanes are ready to repulse any attempt at invasion of our home. Our soldiers will fight to the last and never yield so much as a grain of Japanese sand!

    Conspicuously absent is any word of condemnation from Mao and his band of communists. Should they too be found responsible, then they too shall feel retribution! The Rising Sun will reveal their hideouts and blind them where they stand!

    We fear nothing and no one! We will not be cowed by these dishonourable actions! Any hope Japan's enemies have that we will not react swiftly and justly are in vain. I will not allow the House of Yamato to be shamed by weakness and indecision at such a crucial time.

    We have no choice but to declare war on Germany. Prime Minister Konoe and the Diet are in unanimous agreement. Our resolve will never waver as we march forward to our inevitable victory!

    Dai-Nihon Teikoku Banzai!

    His Imperial Japanese Majesty


    "Jesus Christ, Ernie. Does Kimmel know about this? And what about- "

    "They know" said King cutting MacArthur off "Now, how about that cigarette?"

    "Goddamn. An old soldier just can't fade away" muttered MacArthur

    "Never mind fading away" said King "Put some goddamn pants on and get in the car, we have a call with the President, and I'm not talking Quezon."
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  2. Windows95 Well-Known Member

    Sep 18, 2017
    Montreal, Canada
    Eating popcorn.
  3. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

    Aug 19, 2016
    I take it the Sinofascists within the KMT, like the "Blue Shirts", are in charge of the RoC.
    Simeon, Grammar Kaiser and Bomster like this.
  4. FillyofDelphi Banned

    Mar 7, 2017
    Or the folks behind the Marco Polo bridge incident were... not as purged as the world believed. I could see those who'd kept radical/militarist sympathies close to their chest trying to utilize a false flag in order to use the war to wrestle back some institutional power
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2018
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  5. Zheng He Well-Known Member

    Aug 3, 2013
    This is interesting...
    WaterproofPotatoes likes this.
  6. WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

    Jul 17, 2018
    Rest assured that General Hideki Tojo, commander of the Kwantung Army, is pushing his forces westward to ensure the safety of Manchukuo and the determination of the Manchu people.

    Further updates on the situation are forthcoming ;)
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  7. StrikeEcho Procrastinating

    Feb 8, 2015
    Well this is unique, I wonder how this came about.
  8. Luminous Headwing Consulting

    Apr 16, 2014
    The Piedmont of the Appalachians
    Been waiting to like this joke for a while. XD

    Waiting warmly.
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  9. Threadmarks: Sowing the Seeds

    WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

    Jul 17, 2018
    Firstly, I apologize for this update being a bit info-dump-y, but I feel it would be helpful in setting the direction this timeline will take.

    AN: My sincere apologies, I had to do some retconning here. 21/6/2019

    Excerpt from the textbook "Understanding the World" W. P. Oates, Cornell University Press, 1962

    TODAY, the prospect of a major "hot" war is a daunting one. After the horrors of the Second World War, humanity has learned a harsh lesson, and resolves that such horrors never again come to pass. With the invention of the atomic bomb, such a war would destroy us all. The nations of the world must cooperate to create and keep peace. As ever, humanity cannot agree on how that peace is to be achieved and maintained.

    The world is divided into three major blocs, with few other than minor nations unaligned.

    The first of these is the Liberty Bloc, headed by the United States. Its influence is primarily in the Americas, with the exception of the Crown Colonies Britain retains in the Caribbean. The United States' major partners include Mexico, Brazil, the Philippines and the Union of China (Beijing). Argentina is seeking warmer relations with her neighbours, and coming closer to fully joining this bloc. Israel maintains strong relations with both this bloc and the next. These nations are firmly committed to freedom, capitalism and democracy, and stand against colonialism

    The second bloc is the Imperial Bloc. The major nations in this bloc are Britain, France and the Empire of Japan. Canada and Australia are the nations closest to the Liberty Bloc and also serve as "bridges" between the two, with their smaller populations demanding more flexible policies. This bloc is influential primarily in Northern and Western Europe, where Britain and France prove instrumental in policy-making, as well as Japan in the Far East. These states maintain significant colonial holdings, although they are resolutely committed to capitalism and the containment of communism as well.

    Britain retains significant interests in the Caribbean (Jamaica, Bahamas, Bermuda), East Africa (notably but not exclusively Kenya) the Far East (Hong King, Singapore), the Persian Gulf (Kuwait), and the Middle East. Relations with the then Dominion of India worsened in the 1950s (refer to later chapter for further explanation). France maintains her colonies in Indochina and North and Western Africa. Japan exerts her influence in the Far East with her satellite states in China; these are Manchukuo, Menjiang and the Shandong (rendered Kwantung in Japanese and Imperial Bloc sources) Autonomous Republic. Korea falls under Japanese influence as well, a Communist uprising having been crushed in the mid-1950s.

    The third bloc is the Communist Bloc. The Soviet Union dominates this sphere, with a rump People's Republic of China in Mongolia and the former Xinjiang Province as the next most major partner. East Germany appears to be a willing partner, occupied Poland and Hungary less so. It extends its influence throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The bulk of the Communist Bloc's activity to gain influence has been through attempting to sow the seeds of revolution and class conflict throughout the other nations of the world. These efforts have thus far been met with limited success; their largest claim thus far is the Communist Party of India attaining status as an opposition party. Pan-Arabism and the funding thereof is another cause that the Communist bloc has committed itself to, albeit more quietly so.

    Lastly are the unaligned nations of the world. Italy, having maintained her neutrality throughout the majority of the Second World War was once the most significant of these, although after the death of Mussolini, a controversial figure to the end, relations with the Imperial Bloc have warmed. Spain, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of China (Xi'ning) and Yugoslavia are the most significant of these nations. Often headed by a strongman, and with poor economies or ones that rely on primary resource extraction, these nations are often troubled ones, although it would be unfair to say all of them are. Many retain rich cultures, and are simply unwilling to give these up or to compromise their national values. Others are newly independent nations, unsure of their destiny and what their place in the world will ultimately be.


    You, the student of history, might be wondering why things are as they are, and what they might have been if events were different. It is difficult to say exactly what would have happened even in this century, much like how a flock of butterflies will never form exactly the same pattern as it lands.

    However, there are certain events that many historians agree have influenced the world greatly. These are the Treaty of Versailles and the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922.

    Here, shocked by the horrors of the First World War, the major naval powers of the world gathered to prevent the outbreak of a naval arms race. At that time, the battleship was considered as fearsome of a weapon as the nuclear ballistic missile is today; it was the means by which a nation projected its power, and in the early 1920s, the United States, Great Britain and Japan were each designing or building fearsome new battleships, larger than any the world had before seen.

    There were two major voices at the Washington Naval Conference, convened in 1921. One faction's views can be summarized as "To disarm, disarm!"; the other's was "On Guard For Peace". Ultimately, the latter view won out. The United States and Japan were allowed to finish most of the battleships and battlecruisers they were building, and convert others to aircraft carriers; Britain was allowed to scrap a larger number of her old ships and design and build new ones. Ultimately, Japan was allowed to have three battleships for every five that Britain and the United States had individually; France and Italy were each granted two-thirds of Japan's allotment. After a five-year period, another Naval Conference was called in Geneva, which banned the laying down of new capital ships, and placed restrictions on the size of capital ships to be built thereafter.

    This treaty also had the effect of forcing Britain and Japan to terminate the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, which left Japan feeling bitter and betrayed. Radicalism permeated her armed forces, particularly her Army. However, the navy's radical faction had been largely placated- Japan was not forced to scrap a single capital ship under construction, and her rivals with more construction capacity were restrained to a far larger degree by the Treaty than Japan was; for such naval expansionism consumed, at its highest point, over half of Japan's national budget. This was made even worse by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.

    Tensions reached a high point in 1930 after naval negotiators almost agreed to a plan that would force Japan to scrap two of its oldest battleships; this was viewed as a "selling out" and sign of weak will by elements within the Navy and especially the Army. Radicalism permeated the Imperial Japanese Army, and in 1931, Japan controversially invaded Manchuria (see Glossary for "Mukden Incident" ) , an act for which she was nearly expelled from the League of Nations in 1933, although the penalty was reduced to censure. This was to be the last major act of radicalism in the Japanese armed forces. Bolstered by a strong and more moderate Naval Establishment, Emperor Hirohito feared an increasingly powerful and difficult to control faction in the Army; a faction which did not have any qualms about using violence and assassinations to achieve their ends.

    On May 14th, 1932, a plot was discovered by the Kempeitai (Imperial Japanese Army Military Police) to assassinate Prime Minister Tsuyoshi Inukai. Earlier, the same plotters had blown up the electrical transformers of Mitsubishi Bank. The plotters, mostly young junior officers, attempted to use their trial as a stage to prove their personal loyalty to the Emperor, but the Emperor repudiated them in a scathing letter; which also had the effect of turning the public against their goals.

    In this letter, Emperor Hirohito wrote "You say you have crafted this plot in order to infuse our beloved Japan with Yamato Spirit, yet you would dishonourably murder a servant of the House of Yamato and our people? How dare you! Such foolish and childlike insolence is unacceptable from any grown man, let alone an army officer! How could you possibly presume to know the wishes of the House of Yamato better than your Emperor! Do you think your Emperor such a fool that he would allow a traitor to serve as Prime Minister or appoint advisors that would not notice? You have shamed yourselves, your families, the Army and Japan. I hope to never again have to write words such as these, it causes me great sorrow that I should have to at all."

    In the end, only three plotters survived to their executions, suicide claiming the rest.

    Japan's focus then pivoted to strengthening her economy and modernizing her navy, as many of her capital ships were aging. Imperial Japanese Navy planners determined that the United States was the greatest threat to Japan, and would be able to out-produce them in any sort of war. It was also determined that the long-held doctrine of a single decisive battle against US or British forces would more than likely end in disaster. Therefore, doctrine shifted to the use of fast fleets of combined aircraft carriers and capital ships in addition to a slower but powerful battle line.

    Japan also realized that the United States and Britain were unlikely to go to war with each other, and that Britain, another empire with colonies in the Far East, and on top of this, one such power with which relations were historically good, would make a good partner. Japan slowed down her colonial ambitions- officially, the reason given was that nothing that could not be held was to be taken, as too great a loss of face would occur if any territory was lost. This, and signing the 1935 London Naval Treaty, when many nations expected Japan would not, made Britain much more favourably disposed.

    Japan signed the 1937 Treaty, which capped the size of future ships at some 44 000 tons, with an "escalator clause" to 56 000 tons. Japan built her last battleships in 1940 and 1941 to this higher limit, her economy having recovered enough during wartime to permit such construction; as all of her older capital ships had received full reconstructions during the 1930s, placing considerable strain on Japan's budget and steel industry.

    During this interwar period, totalitarianism took hold in Europe. First, Russia faced a Communist revolution, which led to the formation of the Soviet Union, as mentioned in earlier chapters. So too did Hitler rise to power in Germany, bitter at how Germany was treated at Versailles; and Mussolini in Italy [AUTHOR'S NOTE: As in our timeline]. In later years, Hitler and Mussolini's personal brands of fascism would differ much, and their relations became increasingly acrimonious.

    In China too, there was much strife; not only between the Communists and Nationalists, but between the Western powers and Japanese, each of which exerted their own influence. To call China a mere patchwork of warlords, however, would be to do her people a great injustice. Sinologists to this day ponder what a more cohesive China would look like, and what her influence on the world would be.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  10. Noscoper Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2015
    Kuwait was a protectorate not a colony, and Kenya is too big and poor to be retained by Britain.
  11. WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

    Jul 17, 2018
    Good catch! Should read "interests"; I changed my thought without changing the wording :p
    Britannia likes this.
  12. Luminous Headwing Consulting

    Apr 16, 2014
    The Piedmont of the Appalachians
    Makes me wonder if there was a use of such bomb and where. If there is antagonism between the Allies, more than usual, might have seen some development slow down. Or was this used in a later colonial war?

    As it stands, 1961/62 was when the upswing of intercontinental ballistic missiles became very prevalent. Until that point, the bomber mafias of the various country would have been king.

    Pan-Americanism showing its strength in wake of poorer trans-Atlantic/pacific relations, then. What of the other American nations not listed here and elsewhere? (Central American ones, Colombia/Venezuela/Ecuador/Peru/Bolivia). I imagine Chile and, perhaps, Uruguay are still British-leaning.

    Also, Another one to bring up would be Liberia and whether it is aligned anymore with the US than in OTL.

    Implies that Rhodesia and South Africa have gone (or are going) their own separate ways. Are the Trucial States/Egypt still included by this point?

    I guess OTL Malaysia has been spun off at this point, but what state is it in is anybody's guess. Would Britain maintain the Straits Settlements that it still possessed on top of everything else if it is still maintaining control of Singapore?

    Still in Indochina? ...Granted, there seems to be no People's Republic bordering and the Soviet Union might not be prodding this particular point at this time, but even so, 8 years longer makes me how nominal the colony is at this point, and, for that matter, whether it is the French maintaining it or someone else *cough Japan*

    Vague enough that East Germany could be many different things, and the status of Romania and others is still up in the air. Certainly gives you options how it evolves from here.

    Though it certainly begs the question of what happened to the rest of Germany; is it still divided into more than one piece,
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  13. WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

    Jul 17, 2018
    This is the biggest question, but will be revealed later ;)

    I mentioned the ICBM precisely for that reason, the most terrifying weapon that humanity has yet devised
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  14. GDIS Pathe Well-Known Member

    Feb 5, 2016
    eh I think some form of the artificially created virus is probably the most terrifying thing ever created
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  15. WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

    Jul 17, 2018
    For the upcoming part, this will be helpful. If you enjoyed my previous timeline, you will enjoy this part!


    Excepts taken from a 1940 ship spotter's guide

    Class Battlecruiser (1922)

    Flag: Great Britain

    Type: Battlecruiser

    Ships in Class:

    Nelson (Pendant No. 14)
    Rodney (15)
    Anson (16)
    Howe (17)

    Dimensions: 886' LOA x 106' X 35.8 48 000 tons at standard load

    Main Armament: 9 x 16"/L45 BL Mark I Guns in three 3-gun turrets.

    Propulsion: Oil-fired boilers, geared steam turbines. 4 shafts. 32.5kn rated speed, 180 000 shp.

    Characteristics: -Has a flush deck, normal, raked bow and small transom stern. Two main gun mounts (A,B) on centreline forward, ahead of block superstructure, one raised mount superfiring. One mount (Y) abaft the superstructure and ahead of the trunked single funnel. Secondary armament concentrated aft of superstructure.

    Class Battleship (1922)

    Flag: Great Britain

    Type: Battleship

    Ships in Class:

    Triumph (Pendant No. 18)
    Swiftsure (19)
    Orion (20)
    Bellerophon (21)

    Dimensions: 740' LOA x 106' X 35.2 40 000 tons at standard load

    Main Armament: 9 x 16"/L45 BL Mark I Guns in three 3-gun turrets.

    Propulsion: Oil-fired boilers, geared steam turbines. 4 shafts. 28.25kn rated speed, 120 000 shp.

    Characteristics: -Has a flush deck; normal, straight bow and large transom stern. Three main gun mounts (A,B,X) on centreline forward, ahead of block superstructure, one raised mount (B) superfiring. Single funnel, secondary armament concentrated aft of superstructure.

    King George V Class Battleship (1937)

    Flag: Great Britain

    Type: Fast Battleship

    Ships in Class:

    King George V (Pendant No. 22)
    Queen Mary (23)

    5 ships in this class under construction.

    Dimensions: 814' LOA x 108' X 34.2 44 000 tons at standard load.

    Main Armament: 9 x 16"/L45 BL Mark III Guns in three 3-gun turrets.

    Propulsion: Oil-fired boilers, geared steam turbines. 4 shafts. 30.5kn rated speed, 150 000 shp.

    Characteristics: -Has a flush deck; normal, raked bow and small transom stern. Two main gun mounts (A,B) on centreline forward, ahead of block superstructure, one raised mount superfiring. One mount (Y) abaft the superstructure and two narrow funnels . Secondary armament concentrated on sides of superstructure.

    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
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  16. panpiotr Well-Known Member

    Aug 11, 2018
    Are Korea, Formosa and Manchuria still a part of the Japanese Empire?
  17. WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

    Jul 17, 2018
    As of 1962. the latter two are, and as for Korea, stay tuned :) For now, we'll be going back to 1939-40
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  18. GDIS Pathe Well-Known Member

    Feb 5, 2016
    Vaguely wondering how the UK is in the Imperial bloc with their economy is held by America ditto with France or how Manchuria isn't undergoing an insurgency that turns it into Afghanistan 2.0
  19. Anhtuan Well-Known Member

    Jun 8, 2018
    “But Formosa is model colony, Can you give us some hints why they can keep Korea but not Formosa.”
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  20. WaterproofPotatoes #TeamMahan

    Jul 17, 2018
    As alt-WWII unfolds, it will hopefully become more clear.

    Thus far, some nations have larger navies, and Japan has greater civilian control over the military, and has restricted her conquests in China to Manchukuo and Menjiang.

    It is Korea I must be coy on actually. Fornosa, as of alt-1962, remains a Japanese colony.
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