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The War Journal of Baron Tekisasu Belasar, Prime Minister of Imperial Japan

Discussion in 'Fiction' started by belasar, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    What is to follow is the fictional journal of a member of the Japanese Imperial Council, in a alternate history setting. This is a companion to the Is Anyone Interested in a Intellectual Exercise thread. I joined this endeavor primarily in the hope the I, and anyone keeping up with it, would learn just how difficult waging war can be when divergent personalities are involved.

    We have several member's 'role playing' various persons within a newly formed Imperial Council, each with his agenda and view of how Japan could prevail in a war with the west. To accomplish anything we have to work together, yet we have our disagreements. Sometimes this means swallowing our pride so as to curry favor with the other Council members in the hope that when you truly need them, they will back you.

    In short, real world politics 101.

    I thought it would be even more informative if those outside could 'see' how one participant really thought about the process. Since it was common for the period for 'important' men to have a journal or diary where they could pour out their thoughts unvarnished and without censor, this would be a good format (and possibly fun) to use. As with any such document, you the reader must judge just how honest the writer is being.

    I will, to the best of my ability, be writing in character. Expressing, not so much my personal opinion, but that of my character. To be fair much of my own personality is invested in the Prime Minister, but I strive to act as one who is a civilian head of a war time government that is heavily suffused with a military centric make-up and outlook.

    As a westerner by birth, undoubtedly I will get a fair bit wrong and any mistakes are my own. To my fellow council members, on occasion I will seem critical of you, understand that it is not personal, just the way my character would view your character based on who he is. If any of you are interested in doing your own journal I would welcome it.

    Lastly, I will be breaking one of the cardinal rules of story telling, I have no idea how it will end. As we are creating this as we go, it can go anywhere.

    I hope you will enjoy it.

    Darrell

     
  2. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Great, let's light this candle !

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Volga Boatman

    Volga Boatman Dishonorably Discharged

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    Bring it on Mr Belesar!
     
  4. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    October 4, 1941

    As I set pen to paper, I do so with some trepidation. I have never started a journal before, I have never thought such a simple man as myself needed a place to record his private thoughts. My life to this point has been free of complication or discord, despite the troubles our people have endured over the last decade. Father would have thrived in this environment.

    Father.

    Sailor, Leader, Warrior, Samurai, everything I have never been. Command of a ship at war under the revered Togo, man of Empire. I have lived under his shadow all my life. Understand, I have never complained about my position, I have always known my limitations, and a comfortable life of privilege has its perks. I have fulfilled my familial obligations. Since Father's passing, I have not squandered our families honor, and I have provided an heir in the hope they will add luster to our heritage.

    Ironically, fate seems to have a sense of humor. For a man who worked so hard to avoid responsibility, I find it dropped unto my lap. Our Empire stands upon a crossroad. One path leads to an ever grander epoch, or to its utter ruination. My fate is now unshakably intertwined with that of our Empire. More vexing still, I cannot let others accept the burden, but must place it upon my most unsteady of shoulders.

    How I have gotten here is why I am writing this, and my desire to leave behind a true record of events. My brief period on the pinnacle has shown me that truth is the rarest of commodities in politics. If all my efforts come to naught, let this at least be a positive legacy I leave behind......

     
  5. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    ....A few days ago Col. Neuchi Bobimoto approached me with a fantastic story about a new military coup about to take place. Military coup's are not in themselves fantastic any more here in Japan, but this one was unique indeed. This time hardliner's were going to kill or arrest other hardliner's deemed not sufficiently dedicated to a war like path. I would have shown the Colonel the door and happily let the fools kill each other off, but one part of his tale caused even me some pause.

    It seems the conspirator's were not content to kill each other but was prepared to seize His Imperial Majesty and hold him as their ultimate pawn. Col. Bobimoto deduced I was obscure enough to escape notice of the conspiracy and warn His Majesty as once when we were young and not subject to duty we were Friends at school. I am not a brave man, but I had to go to the Emperor and beg him to take steps to protect his person.

    It would be nice to claim I saved his Majesty in some heroic manner, but I played little part in stopping the conspiracy. Nervously pacing the Imperial grounds with the unfamiliar weight of a pistol in my pocket while soldiers exchanged shots and bayonet thrusts. We prevailed of course, otherwise I would not be writing this, but I sometimes wonder how. All I can deduce is our resistance came so far outside their expectation that they simply did not plan for it.

    Over the next few days arrests follow arrests. Some members of the conspiracy committed suicide, others are encouraged to do so or 'helped' to do the deed. The full extent will never be written down officially as it would be too embarrassing to His Majesty if how far widespread the conspiracy was ever made known. I could make Colonel Bobimoto give me the lists, but soon enough rivers of blood will stain my hands in the war we are about to embark on that I will spare myself that knowledge.....

     
  6. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    .....A new Imperial Council must be formed. As no good deed goes unpunished, I have been asked to become Prime Minister. I am under no illusion that I am anyone's first choice save perhaps His Majesty. This only because the available candidates are few and far between. I am surprized the military has not voiced any objection yet, but I suspect that the assasination's, arrests and resignations has left them in a very chaotic state.

    Perhaps the rank and file worry that I have power they never expected or possibly my assiduous efforts to steer clear of politics gives them the impression that I am no threat to their goals. What ever their reasoning, I know that as the weeks and months progress I will have to carve out my own power base or find myself visited by some obscure Major or Colonel in the dead of night out to correct their mistake....
     
  7. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    ....A stroke of good fortune! Retired Admiral Takao has agreed to serve on the council without portfolio as a senior adviser. His reputation is beyond question and he at least is well known to me. During his visits with Father I can still remember his kindnesses to an awkward young boy. I wish I knew the other members as well, but we have had to dig deep to find persons not connected to the Conspiracy.

    General Nishio has become Chief of Staff of the Army. He has spent a considerable time in Europe studying our Allies armies. This has kept him free of the various intrigues befuddling the military. He does seem to have a very Tutonic outlook on what the IJA should be, especially if we ever must face the Russian's. On the positive side he seems dedicated to reign in the hothead's and this has been long overdue.

    His deputy is a General Terauchi. He is not shy about offering his opinion about any subject. This could be either good or bad, only time will tell. It seems at first glance General Nishio will oversee central and north China and the Home Islands, with Terauchi controlling south China and points south. So far they seem to be working together well enough, but as we enter rough water will this continue?....

    ....Our Ambassador to Rome, the retired General Kourie has also joined the council. Fortuitously, he was back home for a brief consultation when all this commotion began. Like General Nishio, his absence has kept him from the taint of conspiracy. He will have the unenviable task of forging closer, yet discreet, ties to our European Allies. He seems most level headed, and for a former Army officer, well versed in naval matters. We need this, for too long the Army and Navy have gone th[SIZE=3]eir [SIZE=3]separate[/SIZE] way's, rarely co-operating when we need it most. We can no longer afford each spending research money upon projects not their concern, or engaging on ventures without consulting the other...... [/SIZE]



     
  8. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    ....Admiral Rikanaga has taken over as Chief of Naval Operations. Like General Nishio, he will be spending a lot of his time weeding out those naval officer's too close to the conspiracy. He has been quiet on Army matters so far, but I hope this will change. He and Nishio must work well together.

    Admiral Karonada is tasked to command the 1st Fleet. Since this will encompass our best and most powerfull units, he will either go down as a new Togo or a failure. Much of our success will have to come from his actions. I cannot affored to alienate him unduly.

    Admiral Michanze commands 2nd Fleet. Far less glamorous a posting, but vital. On him will hinge the taking, without undo loss, the resources we must have to survive. He seems at first glance a quiet and thoughtful officer. I hope this is a indication of still waters running deep and not a stagnate pool. As with our other members only time will tell.

    Next, newly promoted Admiral Noka seems to have the least glamorous post of all. Co-ordination of our ship building program and our merchant shipping. What many do not realize is that what he, perhaps more than most, does will give us the means to prevail. He seems tireless, and I sense a possible close ally. We seem to share similar thoughts on our merchant fleet and the need to safe-guard our shipping lanes.

    Lastly, there is Colonel Bobimoto. We would not be where we are without him, and like Noka he seems to be un-exhaustable in his duties. Still he holds a curious place within the council. As secretary, one would think him part of the back ground, but he is not shy about arguing his position. So far his input has been worthy of note, but is he another of those middle rank officers who think they know better than their superior's?

    Could he have used the actions of the conspirator's to promote his desired outcome? Am I simply being paranoid? Clearly we cannot do without him, but I should be careful as it is seldom pleasant to be another's puppet
    .....

     
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  9. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Sounds good, go on!
     
  10. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    ....The first meeting of the Imperial Council begins! I am not sure what I was expecting, but this is not it. We are all over the place discussing everything at once, holding two or more matters open at the same time! To call it a Chinese fire drill would be most unkind to Chinese firemen (if they have such things!).

    To be fair we are all out of our depth at the start, and soo much needs to be evaluated before we proceed too far.

    I take the reins and propose an agenda. China first, then the Southern Resource Area, America, The British Empire, our military production, our civilian merchant production, protection of our sea lanes and then the disposition of what sips we currently have under construction.

    This seems elegant and straight forward to me. Eveveryone seems to agree, then promptly ignore's it.

    Surely this must be easier for Herr Hitler....
     
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  11. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    This is very good. I'm not a gamer, so the original thread is too arcane for me. This "diary" is a succinct summation of that thread. Thanks for the interesting interpretation.
     
  12. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I am glad you went ahead with your idea for the journal. I think it adds soooo much depth and color to the entire project. You're a pretty darned good spinner of yarns also. Good writing, good story!!!
     
  13. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Gentlemen, thank you. I will strive to both entertain and offer a concise, if perhaps biased, history of our little project. now back to the story....

    .....The Admiral's take charge! They bring three subjects dear to them to the fore, and since we are finally focusing upon something I will swallow my wounded pride and allow things to develop.

    First is the future of the Southern Resource Area (SRA). One brave voice offered the option of finding a peacefull way to appease the west and end the embargo, but the idea was quickly laid aside. We all accept that previous council's have marched us too far down the road of war to allow us a reasonable diplomatic path to securing what we need short of capitulation.

    Even if we were to try a peaceful path, at best we on the council would find ourselves sitting in the jails next to those we just stopped, or worst case, find our Empire mired in a civil war. The sad truth is our position is still too tenuous to lead the nation in a direction it doesn't wish to go.

    For better or worse, we must use force to protect our future.

    The SRA has all we need, and the west has left it too weakly defended to pass on this opportunity. It is good that in the end we all agree to make this move. We adopt a formal resolution to proceed, Imperial Council Resolution 001 (ICR-001). A rather tedious exercise as it took several drafts until each was satisfied with the language.

    The next question, America.....

     
  14. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    ....There is no threat that the Dutch can stop us, nor could they ever force us to surrender what we take in a thousand years. They are an empire on it's death bed, a relic of a long lost other age. The English also cannot hinder us from securing what we need. We cannot, however, defeat them totally as they are too expansive to swallow whole. The reverse is true for us. Too large, too far away to defeat us, and they must first subdue the German's and her European allies first before they turn their full power upon us.

    If the European war is as costly for the English as the Great War was, then without help they must seek a negotiated peace with us.

    They of course count on the American's to tip the balance in their favor as they did a generation ago. Certainly the American's are growing ever closer to the point when they will likely join the English. Col. Bobimoto's intelligence on the American military expansion is chilling. In 4 years they could send to sea a fleet twice the size ours is now. Yes we will continue to add to our fleet, but we cannot match them build for build and sooner or later they could overwhealm us with the aid of the Royal Navy.

    Col. Bobimoto says there is a way to give us a chance to meet the English and American's on nearly even terms for a period of time. Perhaps long enough to erect a defensive perimeter that would make their victory over us too costly for them. I hope he is right or this will be a lost cause....
     
  15. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    ....Well I must say even I find the Colonel's gambit nothing less than revolutionary. In effect he proposes we simply ignore America militarily. No attack's upon their colonial possession's, no attack's on their Pacific Fleet or even her Asiatic Fleet. We are to move around, but not though them. This to be coupled with a robust deception, propaganda and diplomatic assault designed to reach beyond their war like President and befuddle and confuse their press, congress and their people themselves.

    Bobimoto is passionate in his conviction that, while Roosevelt is moving America to a war stance, he cannot get a declaration of war from his congress unless we attack America directly.He proclaims to be confident that, without a cause belli from us, we could see America stay on the sidelines for at least 9 months to a year and perhaps as long as 18 months!

    This answer's the Admiral's second subject of contention. For the most part they are enthused and seem confident that a period of 6 to 8 months would be most usefull to us. The hold out is Admiral Takao who is skeptical that America will remain neutral for longer than a few weeks to a couple of month's. He does, however feel it is worth the risk so long as we keep an adequate reserve to strike at the western outposts and military bases of America.

    My opinion?

    I know and trust Admiral Takao, but this idea intrigues me so I will hold out hope that we get a grace period of 3 to 6 months before a US declaration of war.

    While no expert, I think 6 months will allow us to secure our primary objectives. A year would see us acquire most, if not all, of objectives and begin laying down defenses. !8 months could allow us to deploy a interlinking defensive [SIZE=3]perimeter that might [SIZE=3]give us the time and space we need.

    Could it be this easy?....[/SIZE][/SIZE]

     
  16. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    ....The Colonel's next words places a cap upon the council's good cheer. "We can not fight the west as we have the Chinese and hope to sway American public opinion".

    He is of course referring to our modern interpretation of the concept of Bushido.We have soldiers who will endure any burden to achieve victory, soldiers who would readily fall than offer themselves up as captives. This makes for superb soldiers that I would match against those of any nation in confidence that against equal odds would always prevail.

    This comes at a price however.

    Men who cannot conceive of the concept placing their lives above their duty to the Empire, can have little but contempt for those who do.This has led our troops to treat prisoners of war harshly, and this is compounded by the fact that neither the government or military has ever given much thought or effort to remedy this situation. Sadly civilian's we gain control of fare no better and sometimes worse.

    This is the dark side of our warrior ethos.

    A side of us the west can never fully understand.

    It does us little good to point to the way the westerner's have treated their subject peoples. The French in Indochina, the American's to their natives, the English and their empire built on a mountain of native bones
    . They will turn a deaf ear and call us savages, uncivilized beasts of destruction.

    Someone wiser than me has said that in war, the truth is first to fall in battle.

    For the Navy this is not so great an issue. They are rarely in a position to take prisoner's or interact much with civilians, but the Army can not but do so. The room goes silent as I turn my gaze to General Nishio. He has a curious, distant look on his face. He begins to speak, then stops himself and takes a sip of water. Then he simply says "I agree".
    I look at him, prompting him to continue, but he simply shakes his head slightly and begins to absently worry the papers before him.

    I have heard rumors about the war in Russia and I wonder if perhaps the General saw something
    during his liaison tour with the Germans, but I have no time to pursue this further and continue our meeting....
     
  17. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    I see a style of writing developing here. great stuff.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    ....Somehow I doubt such a subject has ever been discussed within this room before, but we have little choice. There is quick agreement to allow enemy non-combatants to be repatriated as quickly as possible, ideally through a neutral America for maximum propaganda value. Once America goes to war with us we would have to work with another country, perhaps in Central or South America.

    Enemy PoW's are a more difficult question. Some argue to follow a similar course as with non-combatant's, while others argue that these men could be a source of cheap labor. I have mixed feelings, as any we keep, we must feed, house and guard. Nor is there any guarantee that once released they will honor any parole not to take up arms against us again.

    I am willing to live with a compromise. Release common soldiers, sailors and any too gravely injured to serve again, but retain senior NCO's, officer's, technical specialists.
    These being the heart and mind of their military. This could also create a 'class' struggle within the enemy if the common soldiers come to believe that they can get out of battle simply by surrendering to us and in surrendering, have a good chance of eventually going home or to internment in a neutral country.

    The problem is getting a neutral to agree to accept them. If not we will have to warehouse them in the traditional manner, and there has never been a pleasant prisoner of war camp....

     
  19. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    This is getting interesting and quite entertaining too
     
  20. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    ....With the disagreeable matter of PoW's and non-combatant's out of the way, at least for now, we look at our war production in general terms to come up with a basic plan. We must decide what to continue, what to end, what new technology to pursue.

    We agree that we must increase aircraft production. Col. Bobimoto states that we can get some increase by rationalizing our production. We simply have too many type's in service, too many in production and too many under development. Compounding our troubles is the Army and Navy are producing different aircraft to function in the same manner. It could be worse I suppose, we could have a separate Air Force demanding aircraft to their specification.

    I proposed that we settle upon one fighter, the A62M for both services. It is supposed to be an excellent design, and having only one type in production, until its replacement, would greatly ease fleet wide maintenance. We would also be able to shift aircraft between service's as needed.

    One would think I had proposed a heresy by the reaction of the uniformed members of the council! They quickly made their objection's and I had to let the matter to drop. We will get a reduction of production types, but not as drastic as I wished....

     

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