TL-191: After the End


January-March, 1968 onwards—Throughout the winter of 1968, Japan’s strategic situation increasingly worsens. The U.S. naval campaign, spearheaded by the newest generation of atomic powered submarines, utterly decimates both the Imperial Japanese Navy and merchant marine. Critical shipments of food and raw materials from the rest of the Co-Prosperity Sphere to the Home Islands decreases accordingly, sparking a panic amidst the Japanese bureaucracy of the potential for famine.

The growing shortages cause the civilian economy in the Home Islands to implode during this time. Ishii’s government, unprepared for a drawn-out total war, attempts a crash course program of rationing and resource conservation, belated efforts which one later historian of the conflict will later label as “catastrophic chaos.” Millions of women and children, fearful of a bombing campaign (and in particular of superbomb attacks) from the cities also begin to flee into the countryside, adding severe burdens to the rural economy and further exposing the central government’s shortsightedness and administrative incompetence.

General Ishii notes the growing air of pessimism amidst the military hierarchy and civilian politicians, and forbids any mention of even the possibility of mass starvation. However, in private, many military leaders, even some formerly loyal to Ishii’s faction, fume. The Empire’s offensive capabilities have been wrecked, and many begin to fear that it will be only a manner of time before C.D.S. forces begin a massive drive into the heart of Japanese Pacific territory.

In fact, the last thing that U.S. military planners want is a long, drawn out “Island Hopping” campaign across much of the Japanese Pacific. The C.D.S. strategic plan is to weaken the Japanese Empire through the destruction of its economic and material assets, with the goal in mind to erode as much of the Co-Prosperity Sphere as possible.

Throughout the winter of 1968, U.S. and Australian bombers attack military targets throughout the Japanese-ruled East Indies, Indochina, and Malaysia. U.S., Australian and New Zealander submarines attack Burmese, Indonesian, Imperial Indochinese, Japanese, and Thai shipping throughout the vast region. By March of 1968, the maritime economy of Southeast Asia has been brought to a standstill.

The Japanese strategic plan, as stated in increasingly blood-curdling rhetoric from General Ishii, is the utterly smash destroy the C.D.S. presence in the Pacific as a prelude towards world conquest.

Among the realists within Japan’s military apparatus, the only consistent strategy apparently available to the Empire is to inflict a single, devastating military defeat on the Americans, thus bringing Washington to the negotiating table, and a restoration of the prewar status quo. By March of 1968, with almost all of Japan’s carrier groups decimated by U.S. submarines, even this plan becomes utterly forlorn.

From the outbreak of war, the Japanese military has lost almost all restraint in attempting to suppress the ongoing Second Chinese Revolution, which has now made much of the countryside of Manchukuo and northern China inhospitable for Japanese forces. Chemical weapons are used against whole rebellious villages and towns (though not biological weapons, as the outbreaks from the Tsitsihar Massacre have spread to Japan’s civilian population throughout the puppet state), killing many tens of thousands of people at a time. In order to blunt these horrific acts, the O.S.S. races to discover the primary locations of Japan’s research centers for weapons of mass destruction.

In Siberia, Russian and Japanese armored regiments continue to clash across the vast, frozen territory. The opposing commanders, General Golovin and General Ikeda, are both very imaginative and skilled military leaders. However, General Golovin has the advantage of guaranteed supplies, from both the Russian government and the C.D.S., while General Ikeda’s supply situation becomes increasingly precarious, especially after Operation Hard Hat I obliterates bulk of his intended stocks in early January. Yukio, over the hard winter of 1968, is forced to retreat towards Vladivostok.

In Indochina, the rebellion against the Imperial government in Saigon only intensifies, as control over the countryside has been all but lost. The O.S.S. begins gunrunning to the Vietnamese militias (via submarine).

In southwestern Indochina, however, Japanese and Imperial forces begin to regain the upper hand, owing to the civil war between the Cambodians and Vietnamese.

In China, the National Reconstruction Army continues its offensives against the Japanese, assisted by the slow but gruesome collapse of Japanese military rule in their portions of China.

Agents from the O.S.S., under directives from Washington, also begin to assist the Reconstruction Army in bringing the other nationalist and warlord armies in unoccupied China under the control of General Zhuang Lin’s authority. Morgan Reynolds, the O.S.S. station chief in Xian (and the future postwar U.S. ambassador to China), spearheads many of these missions.

January 1, 1968—In a televised New Year’s Day address to the nation, President Humphrey confirms, in light of the ongoing Fourth Pacific War, that he will seek a third term for the presidency. His address is noticeably somber, and most political observers see in Humphrey’s speech the subtext of attempting to assure the American public that he will not use the conflict with Japan to extend his power indefinitely. He states that he will not seek a fourth term to office in 1972.

January 3, 1968-January 4, 1968 onwards—On the evening of January 3, President Humphrey authorizes the first Operation Hard Hat.

Operation Hard Hat I sees the detonation of a single superbomb atop the suspected headquarters of Unit 731, in the Pingfang District, on the outskirts of Harbin, Manchukuo. The attack kills many of Japan’s best military scientists, and also destroys a significant portion of Japan’s biological and chemical weapons stocks, although the infrastructure of Harbin is also severely damaged in the process.

The bombing also destroys a huge arms depot, consisting of supplies meant for the Kwantung Army in Siberia. The lack of motor fuel and food rations will force General Ikeda to fall back in the face of the increasingly well-supplied Russian forces.

News of Operation Hard Hat is almost enough for a group of naval officers, former followers of Admiral Okada, to attempt an assassination attempt against General Ishii. Only Okada’s direct orders prevent them from acting immediately; the former naval commander, driven into a deep depression over the outbreak of war and the increasing volume of defeats (and effectively confined to house arrest), is afraid of bringing down Ishii’s wrath down on Japan’s naval leadership.

January 5, 1968—A second American superbomb is detonated over a laboratory complex near the city of Hsinking [OTL Changchun] in Operation Hard Hat II, destroying one of the largest of Unit 731’s testing and manufacturing sites.

January 6, 1968, onwards—In order to further assist the Russians, President Humphrey authorizes the deployment of the Far Eastern Expeditionary Force (F.E.E.F), a force of 50,000 men centered on the best U.S. cold weather troops (and barrels). The F.E.E.F, supplemented by allied units from both Ireland and Quebec, will be shipped out on January 15, 1968 from Boston and New York City.

January 15—1968 onwards—The first of three new air bases in completed in Russian-controlled Siberia, not far from Lake Baikal, which will service the U.S. Air Force. As the weather improves, U.S. air power will be increasingly be brought to bear against Japanese targets in both Manchukuo and the Home Islands themselves.

February 2, 1968 onwards—The F.E.E.F, along with its allied units, arrives in Murmansk. They are moved, over the next two weeks, across Russia into Siberia, where they are headquarted in the city of Irkutsk. The F.E.E.F. is commanded by General Julius MacArthur, who, to the surprise of the journalists attached to this army, lacks the showmanship of his father, retired General Daniel MacArthur.

February 14, 1968 onwards—The U.S. Air Force stages its first mass raid against Tokyo, targeting the industrial centers of Yokohama. This is a prelude to greater raids in the spring and summer of 1968, and only hastens the emptying of many Japanese cities of their civilian populations.

In Tucson, New Mexico, a spontaneous Valentine’s Day musical concert held for the local West Coast evacuees attracts many thousands of local residents as well. This proves to be the genesis of the “Battlefield Jamboree”, an annual musical event that gains rapidly in national popularity during the following decade.

March, 1968 onwards—Japanese intelligence, based in Manchukuo and Mongolia, begin to pick up reports of a major C.D.S/Russian offensive being planned, sometime for the summer of 1968. Details are vague, but the name “Operation Windtalker” is picked up. Reports dispatched to Tokyo suggest that Windtalker is meant to strike directly into Manchukuo, in order to support General Golovin’s forces further to the east. Livid at the thought of U.S. forces setting foot in one of Japan’s most important overseas possessions, General Ishii orders defensive positions in the puppet state boosted accordingly.

With few Japanese troops available due to the ongoing Second Chinese Revolution, Japanese troops are brought in from further afield, from the puppet states of Mongolia and Mengjiang. Concerns that this will leave these two puppet states vulnerable to a land invasion are brushed aside by Ishii, who forbids any discussion of such a possibility.

March-June, 1968 onwards—Over the next three months, Japanese intelligence gains more information about Operation Windtalker. News emerges of “vast” military encampments being constructed throughout the Russian Far East, all concentrated towards the front lines. Heavy U.S. and Russian bombing raids launched against Vladivostok, as well as the bridges spanning the Amur River, confirm Ishii’s suspicions that the Americans plan to attack directly into Manchukuo.

As the weather improves in the Russian Far East, the U.S. Air Force begins to increase its bombing runs against targets in Korea, Manchukuo, and the Home Islands. Escorted by the newest generation of long-range jet fighters, the American B-64s cause untold devastation to Japan’s industrial plant.

The growing food shortages caused by the C.D.S. blockade has now sparked continuous food riots not only in the Home Islands, but also in previously quiet regions such as Korea, the Philippines, and Taiwan, which are put down with great brutality. The previously dormant nationalist movements in both Korea and the Philippines begin to sense opportunities for possible revolts. These sentiments are supported in spirit by exile groups from the United States and practically by O.S.S. gunrunners over the coming year.

The economy of the entire Co-Prosperity Sphere, once held aloft by the Japanese as an example of “unheard of” economic dynamism and growth, utterly collapses during the spring of 1968. Inflation exponentially increases throughout the Co-Prosperity Sphere, wiping out the savings of the middle classes, and in some regions forcing the creation of barter economies. Anger is stoked, especially in Indochina and Indonesia, by the Japanese attempts to co-opt local sources of food and fuel for an increasingly doomed war effort.

Throughout this time, General Ishii repeatedly rejects offers by both the Brazilians and Ottomans to act as mediators for a negotiated end to the fighting.

March 12, 1968—Raymond Longstreet Pinkard dies in Rhodesia, when his Rhodesian National Guard detachment is ambushed near the city of Livingstone [In OTL also known as Maramba, Zambia] by the militant wing of the Rhodesian People’s Union. A fugitive from the United States (for his connections to a series of anti-U.S. bombings in Mississippi and Alabama, as well as his attempts to re-start the Freedom Party), Pinkard, the son of the notorious late war criminal Jefferson Davis Pinkard, has been serving as a mercenary with the R.N.G., a paramilitary unit that attacks villages suspected of being in sympathy with the R.P.U. There is a heavy presence of Confederate expatriates within the R.N.G.

Killed almost instantly during the attack, it will not emerge for another forty years that in fact Pinkard was killed by Jimmy Beverage, alias Edward Smyth, a former affiliate of the Remembrance Center, and currently employed by the O.S.S.

March 18, 1968 onwards—Italian journalist Alessandro Colombo publishes the novel Eternal City. The plot centers around an anonymous narrator who goes on a vision quest after taking hallucinogenic drugs in the Forum. During the vision, which takes the narrator to many strange, bizarre realities (and meetings with dozens of real life and fictional people), the narrator comes to realize that life needs to lived according to his own selfish desires, freed from any kind of “constraining” morality.

The novel, which is eviscerated by reviewers across Europe and the United States, will later be seen as the spark of the European branch of the Nihilist cultural phenomenon. In spite of its hostile reception, the book becomes a massive bestseller. Austro-Hungarian director Amadej Jankovic will adopt the book into a nightmarish surrealistic film in 1976.

April, 1968 onwards—Conditions in the Japanese Home Islands continue to deteriorate. The effective C.D.S. blockade, combined with the lack of government preparedness for a long war, has now led to the evaporation of what little remains of the prewar civilian economy.

Military authorities are alarmed by reports of food riots erupting throughout the countryside. General Ishii begins to dispatch detachments of soldiers, backed by the civilian police, to track down “hoarders” and to seize food supplies for the war effort.

In the major industrial centers, now regularly visited by U.S. B-64s, Japan’s labor movement, already militarized due to decades of suppression from the central government, begins to agitate, as Japan’s workers begin to feel as though they have nothing to lose. Once thought unthinkable, the police now report increasing numbers of “wild” stoppages by growing numbers of malnourished workers.

Many Japanese workers are influenced by the writings of the Rodo Undo (“Labor Movement”), a secretive worker’s organization whose structure is, ironically, inspired by the military’s plethora of ultra-nationalistic secret societies. The Rodo Undo calls for the overthrow of Japan’s ruling “parasitic,” military government, and for its replacement with a syndicalist regime—that is, in the Japanese context, government by the working class, through their unions. The Rodo Undo, unlike the pre-Second Russian Revolution leaders, lack a single charismatic leader, but make up for it in a surprising lack of ideological splintering common in Japan’s far left-wing movements.

General Ishii quickly orders that anyone caught in these actions is to be dealt with as a “traitor to the Emperor and Japanese spirit.” However, many in Japan’s government, particularly in the police and intelligence services, now fear for the worst. A major military defeat could spark an industrial stoppage, if not a revolution.

March-June, 1968 onwards—On every front in the Fourth Pacific War, Japanese military bases face heavy bombardment from C.D.S and allied air forces. General Ishii is paranoid at the possibility of an American attack against Japan’s most resource-rich territories in the East Indies, particularly Borneo. Japanese military forces stationed in the Pacific islands and the wider “Southern Resource Area” are now largely cut off from the Home Islands, with the Imperial Japanese Navy (or what’s left of it), confined to port or sunk by submarine.

In Jakarta, the leaders of the puppet Indonesian Confederation begin to consider the possibility of removing themselves from the war. Although there are a large number of Japanese forces on both Java and Sumatra, there is also the Indonesian National Guard, now fully mobilized for the war effort, but without the means to actually be transported to any front. Quietly, the Confederation’s leaders begin to plot with the National Guard for a “day of reckoning” with the Japanese authorities. Contact is also made with the main nationalist group in the Confederation—the Liberation Front, funded by the Independence Movement, and led by the violently anti-Japanese nationalist Umar Malik.

Throughout the Co-Prosperity Sphere, the Fourth Pacific War only magnifies existing conflicts. In Burma, the O.S.S. begins to supply the warlord armies in the north of the country fighting against the pro-Japanese government in Rangoon.

In Australia, C.D.S. forces, under a unified U.S.-Australian command, begin to plan the next plan of action. The Australians, led by General Christopher Jade, want to end the Japanese threat to their country as soon as possible, and push hard for an assault against Japanese West Papua.

The Americans, under General Theodore Toricelli, are more cautious, and suggest a landing on Japanese Timor instead. Reinforced by U.S. naval units in the spring, it is decided, both in Washington and Canberra, to approve of both plans. West Papua will be the first target, scheduled for July, while Japanese Timor will be attacked in August. The plans are approved under the name Operation Elephant.

April 1, 1968 onwards—German East Africa gains a civilian Advisory Council. Like the Advisory Council for the Congo, East Africa’s Advisory Council will later serve as the basis for the elected government of an independent state.

This new development, ironically, leads to a formal split within the Tanganyika People’s Union, with Matthias Neyere’s faction denouncing the Advisory Council for not going far enough, and the more moderate faction, reforming itself as the Tanganyika People’s Party, seeing the Council as a positive development for the building of a new nation state. The People’s Party will come to dominate the Advisory Council in its first elections, and will use it as a forum to secure more support from Berlin for continued improvements in East Africa’s infrastructure and social structure.

Many German businessmen and politicians, seeing the positive outcomes of the Portuguese attempts to forge a Federation from their colonial empire, begin to ponder a similar scheme for the German Empire. Chancellor Bayer is among them; the Social Democratic Party leader begins to circulate ideas for drawing up a new relationship with Germany’s colonial territories—preferably a new arrangement that will end the burdens of administration while ensuring a prosperous business relationship. Such plans will come to fruition gradually over the course of the next two decades, but implemented by a different generation of politicians.

May 1, 1968 onwards—During a massive May Day walk out at Mitsubishi’s largest (surviving) factory in Yokohama, the police clash in a confrontation with the workers. Historians later view the massive clash as one of the critical events that eventually leads to the fall of Japan’s imperial government—in the postwar Japanese Worker’s Republic, the clash is known as the “Battle for Mitsubishi.” [1]

June 15, 1968 onward—Operation Grizzly, the largest allied land campaign during the Fourth Pacific War, begins with a massive Russo-C.D.S armored assault across the border between Russia and Mongolia.

True to the (muted) worries of the Japanese high command, Operation Windtalker was all a ruse. Operation Grizzly is aimed at driving the Japanese out of Mongolia, and from there out of north China and Manchukuo. Within five days, easily destroying the under-equipped Mongolian and Japanese units in their paths, the allied forces successfully capture the Mongolian capital of Urga [OTL Ulan Bator], disposing the puppet Bogd Khan from power in the process.

The fall of Urga sparks a catastrophic chain reaction for the Japanese across the region. Over the next two weeks, many Mongolian soldiers desert their former overlords, and pledge their allegiance to the new government in Urga, led by the anti-Japanese exile and nationalist Dulma Sükhbaatar. [2]

Enraged by the successful allied deception, General Ishii abruptly orders whatever forces can be spared from Manchukuo to be rushed into Mongolia to halt the offensive. This results in the destruction of an entire armored brigade in the Battle of the Herlen River on June 20; Japanese barrels prove to be match for the newest generation of American and Russian armored fighters. Moving quickly, allied forces cross into Manchukuo at the village of Nomonhan on June 22. [3] A separate Russian contingent overwhelms the puppet state of Mengjiang during this time.

The fall of Mongolia and the invasion of Manchukuo now turns much of the military establishment against General Ishii. Despite efforts by military censors, news of the magnitude of the disaster soon reaches the public (speculated decades later by historian Thiago Amaral through the channel of a disgruntled naval officer).

The allied advance only slows due to the need to construct secure supply lines to the front lines, now centered in Urga. By the beginning of July, the Russo-C.D.S. forces are once again on the move; however, once in Manchukuo, the allied forces exert increasing caution, less from the presence of the Kwantung Army and more from the outbreaks of disease stemming from the previous year’s Japanese usage of biological weapons.

July 1, 1968, onwards—The first phase of Operation Elephant begins with a massive U.S. and Australian naval bombardment of Japanese fortified positions on the south end of Japanese West Papua. The first wave of 50,000 C.D.S. soldiers land near the town of Merauke; most soldiers in this first wave are Americans and Australians, and although they meet with fierce resistance from the defenders, the firepower brought to bear from carrier based fighter-bombers prove to the too much.

A smaller contingent, comprised of C.D.S. soldiers, also seizes control of Yos Sudarso Island over the following two days.

Over the next three months, C.D.S. forces, reinforced by fresh waves of soldiers from Australia and New Zealand, fight a brutal, slogging campaign to drive the Japanese off of West Papua. They are assisted by a local insurgency that erupts behind the Japanese front lines—the insurgency proves to be critical in allowing the C.D.S. to secure Papua’s network of roads and military highways. Generals Christopher Jade and Theodore Toricelli command the invasion; General Jade will later be awarded an Oceanic Knighthood by the Australian government after the conclusion of the war in 1970. [4]

Coinciding with the fall of Mongolia and the invasion of Manchukuo, the successful landings on West Papua deal a nearly fatal blow to Ishii’s regime; with the exception of the general’s staunch loyalists, many officers and civilian bureaucrats begin to plan a coup, hoping to install Admiral Okada in power once Ishii has been removed (although Okada himself is not involved in the planning at all).

Ishii realizes the danger that his government is in, but assumes erroneously the reported plot is being planned and led by Okada. With the assistance of his allies from the intelligence services, and a number of fanatical ultra-nationalists, Ishii decides to “preempt” Okada’s perceived plan, while “purifying” the so-called “corrupt traitors” that Ishii increasingly sees everywhere in the government.

July 6-July 12, 1968 onwards—Throughout the Home Islands and the rest of the Japanese Empire, General Ishii’s allies in the intelligence services, army, and the ultra-nationalist secret societies carry out their master’s “preemption”: a massive purge of naval and army officers suspected of involvement in the planned coup. The purge, later known popularly as the “Days of the Butterfly Swords,” decimates Japan’s leadership, reaching far beyond the scope of the actual planners of the coup to encompass the entirety of Japan’s military leadership and civilian bureaucracy. The victims include Admiral Okada, who is murdered by members of the Yuzhonza secret society. Ishii’s agents also extend the purge throughout the Co-Prosperity Sphere, to varying degrees of success.

Carried out in the name of the Emperor, these gruesome acts have several detrimental long-term consequences: Japan’s government and military leadership is thrown into chaos, as central planning breaks down and General Ishii moves his toadies into key positions of administration and command.

Further afield, the Days of the Butterfly Swords sparks the beginning of the Japanese Civil War, as several factions emerge to counter General Ishii. The largest faction is centered around Admiral Watanabe Arata, the officer in charge of the defense of the Japanese Philippines (and after July 12, the highest ranking surviving Japanese naval officer in the Empire). Enraged at Ishii’s murderous acts, Admiral Watanabe, after his bodyguards dispatch assassins from army intelligence, declares his secession from Ishii’s “mad, bloody, regime, in the name of the Emperor, and all that is still decent and holy in the Japanese nation.”

Watanabe’s move, supported by naval crews confined to Pilipino harbors since the escalation of the C.D.S. naval campaign, is opposed by General Yamazaki Isoroku, who while not an Ishii loyalist, also genuinely believes that Arata was planning a coup against the government in Tokyo. What follows is a miniature civil war that lasts throughout the rest of the Fourth Pacific War, as Arata’s sailors and marines fight Yamazaki’s soldiers for control over the Philippines. Caught in the crossfire are Pilipino and Japanese civilians, who do their best to stay out of the sudden outbreak of violence.

In Siberia, General Ikeda, having by now been driven to the gates of Khabarovsk, suffers a breakdown in which he declares to his aids that the war is lost, upon realizing the magnitude of Ishii’s purge. He leaves written instructions to the Kwantung Army’s officers to surrender to the Russians, and then commits seppuku. Although several officers, all Ishii loyalists, press to continue the fight, they are (violently) overruled by majority of Ikeda’s officer corps. General Golovin accepts the formal surrender of the Kwantung Army’s frontline divisions in Vladivostok on July 20, 1968, an event that leads to wild celebrations across the Russian Republic. Golovin, however, has no time to rest on his laurels, and, after securing the Japanese prisoners of war, begins a new offensive across the Amur River, backed overhead by Russian and C.D.S. fighter-bombers.

The surrender of General Ikeda’s forces has a shattering effect on the rest of the Kwantung Army. Already severely low on morale due to the endless fight against the revolting Chinese civilians, the Kwantung Army, stretched thin across the vastness of Manchukuo by the Second Chinese Revolution, is now confronted by two huge enemy forces advancing from the west and from the north.

By the end of August, 1968, the two allied armies have driven the Japanese entirely out of Manchukuo, over the Yalu River into Korea and further south into China (and, in the process, find a surprisingly high number of Japanese soldiers eager to surrender, to escape retaliation from the vengeance-minded Chinese—captured soldiers from Unit 731 on the other hand often face immediate execution by allied troops). The rebels welcome the allies with unabashed jubilation; the Russian and C.D.S. commanders discover that Manchuria has been turned into a vast charnel house. Postwar historians of the Fourth Pacific War never agree on a precise figure for the civilian casualties in Japanese-occupied China during the conflict, but estimate that the figure is in the millions.

Doctors from the International Health Organization are finally allowed into the region, where they desperately begin efforts, helped by allied military authorities, to contain and eliminate the plagues still raging from the previous year’s Tsitsihar Massacre.

The collapse of the Japanese forces in Manchuria leads to the rapid advance of the National Reconstruction Army in the south. On August 16, Beijing falls to the Chinese, supported by U.S. warplanes. Amidst the ruins of the Forbidden City, General Zhuang Lin, quickly recognized by the Russians, Americans, and the rest of the C.D.S as China’s new interim president, declares the establishment of the Chinese Republic. Lin is purse in his remarks, but does promise a renaissance for China after “centuries of horror and darkness.”

Morgan Reynolds, who has been attached to the Reconstruction Army during its rapid advance east, witnesses the address, and later writes about it in his first book, the best-selling [The End of the Beginning, published in 1971.

The remaining Japanese forces in China, leaderless, low on morale, and now unsure as to who is actually in charge in Tokyo, begin a long retreat towards the Chinese coast, followed closely by Japanese civilian administrators and Chinese collaborators.

Further south, what little remains of the Co-Prosperity Sphere begins to unravel. News received from Tokyo, via another broadcasted tirade by General Ishii, sparks the Indonesian Mutiny. Already in its planning stages, Indonesia’s leaders use this news as the spark they need to spark a revolt. What follows over the next two months is a gruesome struggle for power between the local Japanese commander, General Kohaku Naoki, and the rebels, spearheaded by the now rogue Indonesian National Guard and Umar Malik’s Liberation Front. Massive atrocities are carried out against civilians by both sides; National Guard troops and Liberation Front militias murder Japanese civilians, while General Kohaku leads brutal retaliatory actions that see whole villages destroyed.

The Independence Movement is quick to recognize the Indonesian Confederation’s declaration of independence; even as fighting continues on both Java and Sumatra, the provisional government, led by Malik, is quick to declare Jakarta’s membership in the I.M.

Other Japanese commanders, cut off from contact with Tokyo due to the breakdown in communications, form their own warlord fiefdoms. In Indochina, General Tanaka Goro, nominally only in charge of the endless “banditry suppression actions” against nationalist rebels, turns the already puppet Indochinese emperor into his puppet.

In Formosa, another naval leader, Captain Kato Juro, attempts to seize control of the island in support of Admiral Watanabe, only to be defeated and killed by the army commanders, who while publically pledging their allegiance to the Emperor, seize actual power for themselves.

Similar to the situation in Formosa, other Imperial Japanese Army commanders, in Bali, Borneo, Celebes, and Malaysia all declare their loyalty to the Emperor, while effectively acting as independent warlords. By the end of 1968, the Co-Prosperity Sphere has all-but ceased to exist. The warlords regard Ishii as a madman and an usurper to power.

August, 1968 onwards—In a series of meetings held in the French city of Calais, British and French representatives forge out the Treaty of Calais: the new arrangement abolishes all travelling restrictions between the two nations, and also all business restrictions.

The Treaty of Calais are the result of years worth of lobbying by businessmen and intellectuals in both countries. Since the beginnings of the British and French recoveries from the devastation of the Second Great War, Anglo-French firms have been forced to compete with the massive German and Austro-Hungarian corporations. As a result, businessmen and inventors in both Britain and France have been forced to become more innovative and efficient when competing against their massive rival conglomerates. Beginning in the early 1970s, Anglo-French firms and products gain an international reputation for high quality and imaginative products.

The clause in the Treaty allowing for completely free travel between the two nations will prove to be very influential later on; this is seen by historians as a prelude to the Continental free travel zone signed in Vienna by the other states of the European Community 1971. [5]

August 1, 1968 onwards—The second phase of Operation Elephant sees a C.D.S. landing on Japanese Timor. The island will be declared secure in mid-September, after a month of bloody fighting.

August 3, 1968 onwards—In Bangkok, a successful coup by Thai-nationalist officers removes the puppet civilian government, along with the Japanese military “attaché” from power. Thailand’s new government, declaring a “new dawn” for the dynasty and for the Thai people, promptly requests admission into the Independence Movement, a request quickly granted within hours.

What follows is four months of conflict that sees Thailand’s army pitted against local Japanese forces, and then against the Burmese over their long-disputed border. Thailand’s new rulers accept assistance from Bharat and Bengal, who both send expeditionary forces to Bangkok in support of the new I.M. member. However, the Thais ignore the repeated pleas from Constantinople to halt their conflict with Burma.

August 6, 1968 onwards—Burma’s ruling junta, fearful of going the way of Thailand’s puppet regime, orchestrates the “emergency internment” of the local Japanese military attaché, and also requests admission into the Independence Movement. Unlike Thailand, however, Burma refuses the offer of assistance from their I.M. neighbors; Japanese forces in the north of the country, who had been assisting in Rangoon’s campaign against the Karen rebels, now abruptly find themselves pressed in by two hostile armies. By the end of 1968, Japan’s military forces in Burma have been all but destroyed.

September-December, 1968 onwards—The Japanese Empire is reduced into an increasing shrinking cordon during the fall of 1968. On September 2, C.D.S. and Russian forces launch Operation Rainbow Dawn, the invasion of Korea. Smashing the Japanese defenses after a withering artillery and air bombardment, the allies quickly overwhelm the I.J.A. troops in the country, assisted by timely Korean uprisings in Pyongyang and Seoul. The last Japanese army on the Korean Peninsula is defeated at the Battle of Pusan on September 30, a one-sided fight between the allies and the remnants of the Kwantung Army.

On October 9, 1968, a Korean provisional government, led by the nationalist exile Ryu Dai-Myung, is proclaimed in Seoul. On October 20, Korea becomes the first former member of the Japanese Empire to be admitted into the Compact of Democratic States, even issuing a declaration of war against their former rulers.

The allied commanders begin to consider their next moves, as the strategy makers in Moscow and Washington plan their new targets. Viktor Turov wants to reclaim Sakhalin Island and the Kurile Islands.

The Ottomans and Brazilians work tirelessly to end the escalating conflict between Burma and Thailand, even as they assist the latter nation in removing the Japanese forces from the country.

In Indochina, the Vietnamese militias begin October with a surprise assault on the port city of Haiphong, capturing it in a bloody battle with the assistance of a timely mutiny by the local Imperial forces. An attempt to seize Hanoi, however, fails in the face of desperate Japanese opposition. General Tanaka, the de-facto ruler of the collapsing state, knows that his soldiers are now running low on ammunition, and now have to survive by forcibly taking food from the peasantry, which in turn only drives more young men into the nationalist resistance.

In Indonesia, the Japanese are reduced to fortified enclaves on Java and Sumatra, in the face of their numerically superior opponents. Jakarta falls to the Liberation Front and the National Guard on October 14, where Umar Malik proclaims himself president of the Indonesian Republic.

Representatives from the Independence Movement attempt to contact General Kohaku, who is offered a safe haven for himself, his soldiers, and all Japanese civilians throughout the Independence Movement. Now in utter despair since the fall of Jakarta, and afraid for what’s left of the Japanese community in the new Indonesia, Kohaku informs the Brazilian, Bharati, and Ottoman envoys that he will accept their offers of sanctuary. Authorizing his officers to formally broker the arrangement with President Malik, Kohaku commits seppuku. Malik, in turn, finally orders his soldiers to stop their assaults against Japanese forces. He remains adamant, however, that all Japanese must leave Indonesia as speedily as possible.

Over the next six months, all remaining Japanese in Indonesia, some 150,000 people, are resettled throughout the Independence Movement. Most choose Brazil, settling in the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Curitiba—a prelude of the coming mass resettlement of Japanese refugees in that country. Smaller numbers are allowed to take up residence in Bharat and the Ottoman Empire.

In the face of these repeated disasters, General Ishii now begins to exhibit utterly arbitrary and brutal behavior, ordering several underlings executed for imagined mishaps. Fear pervades Japan, as what little remains of the old civic society is eradicated. Newspaper editors, industrialists, even teachers and doctors begin to vanish without a trace. Many Japanese begin to refer to them as the “Vanished Ones.”

The activities of Japan’s labor movement, now almost entirely dominated by the underground Rodo Undo, have a new sense of urgency for their members. Many labor activists begin to ponder a future for Japan without its Emperor. Most ordinary Japanese civilians who oppose Ishii’s regime, however, are still staunchly loyal to the Emperor. Ironically, in most Japanese civilian circles, loyalty to the Emperor is increasingly explained and practiced as disloyalty to Ishii.

Food riots in the countryside are now so endemic that General Ishii has banned any mention of their existence. Also banned from publication are any reports on the increasingly long work stoppages throughout Japan’s industrial plant, or the alarming memos reporting on the soldiers who’ve apparently deserted their posts in the Home Islands.

General Ishii, however, controls the instruments of oppression throughout the Home Islands, even if the rest of the Empire has either fallen victim to warlordism or been lost to the enemy. Those in Japan’s decimated government who are not his complete sycophants have been cowed into a terrified silence. The Emperor, for his part, continues to reign but not to rule.

October 12-October 27, 1968—The Summer Olympic Games are held in Budapest, Austria-Hungary. The 1968 Games will be remembered primarily for their subdued atmosphere, due to the ongoing Fourth Pacific War. The Empire of Japan and the nations of the former Co-Prosperity Sphere are absent.

November 5, 1968 onwards—President Hubert Humphrey and Vice President Warren Magnuson manage to win an unprecedented third term, defeating the Democratic candidate, Senator James Rhodes of Ohio, and the Republican candidate, Governor Bryson Briggs of Nebraska. In spite of their solid electoral victory, the Socialist Party loses a large number of congressional seats to both the Democrats and the Republicans, as well as control of the House of Representatives, confirming the expectations by most journalists that the public would endorse Humphrey’s conduct of the war, but would want to make sure that any third term would see a divided government.

In his victory speech, delivered after an unusually quiet campaign, President Humphrey pledges to bring a fast end to the war, and to “win a final and just peace for our great nation in the Pacific and Asia.”

The Republicans also dramatically improve their performance in the new Canadian states (winning Manitoba and Saskatchewan), suggesting that the party’s “Northern Strategy” is starting to pay electoral dividends.

Although his party has lost its third presidential election in a row, Senator Joshua Blackford, reportedly on Rhodes’s short-list for Vice President, dramatically raises his national profile by campaigning strongly for the Democratic ticket and congressional candidates, raising speculation by commenters that the New Yorker will be the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination in 1972.

November 26-December 2, 1968 onwards—President Humphrey arrives in Honolulu for the start of a conference with allied leaders from throughout the C.D.S. and beyond. Lasting until December 2, the Honolulu Conference sees the allied leaders reiterate the demand for Japan’s unconditional surrender, a policy, according to Australia’s Prime Minister Arthur Thomas that, “applies to the tyrants in Manila and Singapore as much as it does to the big one in Tokyo.”

Viktor Turov also attends the conference, in his second face-to-face meeting with President Humphrey. Both leaders promise to each other to enhance their mutual security guarantees after the war, as well as to cooperate in the rebuilding of China. Turov also announces that the former puppet state of Mengjiang, under Russian control since July, will be turned over to the new government in Beijing.

Zhuang Lin does not attend the conference, but Humphrey does meet with the former general’s personal representatives. O.S.S. Director Thompson briefs the President on the prospects for China’s postwar recovery, as does former Xian station chief Morgan Reynolds. Reynolds, with his vast knowledge of China’s politics and society, greatly impresses Humphrey, and the Commander-in-Chief promises the intelligence agent a “bright future”. Reynolds will later cite this meeting as one of his inspirations to seek higher political office, over a decade later. Zhuang’s government will gain a massive boost in December when Manchuria’s rebel leaders formally acknowledge him as their president, and agree to fight under the wing of the new National Army.

General Ishii’s reply is predictable—he gives several very Featherston-like rants against the United States, but says little that hasn’t been heard before. In the United States, Ishii is seen, both by the majority of the public and the majority of the government, as a new incarnation of their hated Confederate enemy, and President Humphrey expresses his desire at the Honolulu Conference to see the Japanese dictator to, “leave office in the same manner [as Featherston].”

No one at the Honolulu Conference, however, can predict the upheaval that comes the following year. 1968 has seen the collapse of the Co-Prosperity Sphere. 1969 will see the collapse of Japan’s imperial government and society.

December 4, 1968 onwards—C.D.S. and Russian forces begin Operation Tunnel, to assist China’s National Army in driving the Japanese out of the rest of North China. They meet a demoralized resistance, and by the end of the month, allied forces have successfully secured all territory down to Shandong Province, capturing the port city of Qingdao on December 26. Many Japanese prisoners of war explain that they are honoring the Emperor by weakening Ishii’s regime, assuming that the “mad general” is plotting to seize the throne himself.

* * *

[1] [For an ATL that deals with a successful syndicalist revolution (in the United Kingdom), see EdT’s Fight and Be Right. The discussion around the possible futures for this ATL, one of which involved speculation of the Japanese Empire of that TL succumbing to a syndicalist revolution was the inspiration for the events of TTL.]

[2] [An ATL descendent of our world’s Mongol revolutionary leader Damdin Sükhbaatar.]

[3] [In our world, this was the site of the Battles of Khalkin Gol—the 1939 clashes between the Soviet Union and the Japanese Empire.]

[4] [With the enforced severing of political ties with Great Britain after the Second Great War, Australia and New Zealand in TTL have created their own common knighthood, as well as several other common awards for valor.]

[5] [Similar to our world’s Schengen Area of the European Union.]


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I'm kinda hoping TTL Japan will end up keeping Taiwan, Sakhalin, and the Kuriles.

Hm, I doubt it. I'm quite sure the Home Islands fall to the syndicalists and I'm not sure if they can exert their control over more land than that.

Anyway, great update as always! I can't wait for 1969! :)
I wonder if the Japanese Worker's Republic would be a national syndicalist or communist state, given that there may be no signs of anarcho-syndicalist influence in the Home Islands.
Absolutely great update! Please please keep it coming. Also can we get a map?

You're in luck my friend ;) (if there are any mistakes present please point them out to me guys, I'll rectify them ASAP)

and of course, positively wonderful update David, I can't wait to see what 1969 has in store! :)

world JUN1968 globe TL191.png
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You're in luck my friend ;) (if there are any mistakes present please point them out to me guys, I'll rectify them ASAP)

and of course, positively wonderful update David, I can't wait to see what 1969 has in store! :)

If you're using the RCS scheme, only that Tibet & Kazakhstan have colors available.
Wow indeed. Looks like it's the beginning of the end for Japan! They took quite a beating this year. I'd imagine they still have a few tricks up their sleeve, though. After all, Dave, you mentioned that the war lasts until 1970. But a syndicalist regime in Tokyo should have...interesting consequences on the world. A better question is whose orbit they're going to fall into.

The destruction of the Co-Prosperity Sphere looks troublesome as well. It's good that Japan is so effectively losing its war capabilities (not that Ishii didn't help that by, uh, murdering most of Japan's high ranking military officers). I'm guessing that island hopping is still going to be a very real possibility due to the need to sweep out the surviving officers who control former Japanese territory.

President Humphrey wins a third term, eh? I was beginning to wonder when that sort of thing would finally happen. And Joshua Blackford is on the horizon. So is Morgan Reynolds, apparently, as well. Wonder what party he'll run for office for eventually.

Would the U.K. and France, from OTL's perspective, be seen as something of a double analog of Japan? Your post certainly seems to indicate that they're known for making high quality technology. If video games develop ITTL, I'd imagine it'll come from them. Of course, Germany could still hold its own if it hangs onto its Congo territory and effectively begins to mine minerals at the dawn of the alt-computer age...

Random question: Was I right in guessing that the 'Battlefield Jamboree' is the ATL equivalent of our Woodstock? I wasn't honestly sure. Regardless, looking forward to 1969 which, judging by your earlier post, will hopefully come sooner rather than later. :)
1969: The Beginning of the End?

Wow, David! That was a truly epic update to this TL. I look forward to this TL's 1969 with great eagerness. I kind of suspect that things are not looking good for the Japanese and that it will only get worse for them.

Good job on the update!