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What if Japan hadn't surrendered in 1945?

Discussion in 'Fiction' started by The Red, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. The Red

    The Red New Member

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    Japan was finished as a warmaking nation, in spite of its four million men still under arms. But...Japan was not going to quit. Despite the fact that she was militarily finished, Japan's leaders were going to fight right on. To not lose "face" was more important than hundreds and hundreds of thousands of lives. And the people concurred, in silence, without protest. To continue was no longer a question of Japanese military thinking, it was an aspect of Japanese culture and psychology.

    ~ James Jones


    We can no longer direct the war with any hope of success. The only course left is for Japan's one hundred million people to sacrifice their lives by charging the enemy to make them lose the will to fight

    ~ Imperial War Journal, July 1945


    By the late Summer of 1945, the once mighty Japanese empire was facing oblivion. An unbroken string of defeats for two years had left Japan surrounded by more numerous and more advanced allies. The United States of America and the British Commonwealth blockaded Japan with impunity, depriving Japan of the strategic materials that they had went to war to secure, and the food that its population of over 70 million relied upon. As the Imperial Japanese Navy ceased to be an effective fighting force, American and British ships had little else to do but unload their guns onto the cities and towns of the Japanese coast.

    Swarms of American bombers torched Japanese cities with little resistance due to the scarcity of fuel and ammunition, killing and wounding hundreds of thousands of civilians, and rendering millions of others homeless and wrecking the Japanese economy. Only one hope remained for the Supreme Council for the Direction of the War, the small cabal of men now in charge of directing Japanese policy, that they could hold on until American casualties took their toll on American and British public opinion, forcing the leaders of the Allied nations to accept a negotiated peace contrary to their 1942 demand for unconditional surrender. The Allies had captured Okinawa in the first half of 1945 where they now prepared for an invasion of the Japanese Home Islands, it was hoped that a final decisive victory could be won on Japanese soil to offset the last two years of humiliation, the dawn that would follow their darkest hour.

    It would only get darker. On August 6th the Americans destroyed the city of Hiroshima with an Atomic Bomb, a bomb the Japanese themselves had attempted to create but had concluded it to be too difficult. Two days later the Soviet Union, who the Japanese had hoped might mediate a peace with the west or even join them in their fight, broke their neutrality pact with the Japanese and declared war, launching invasions of Manchuria, Sakhalin, and the Kuril Islands.

    As the terrible shock of both these events took hold, it became clear to a majority of the Supreme Council, in conjunction with the Emperor’s wishes, that the situation was now so hopeless that unconditional surrender had become the only acceptable way to proceed. In the early hours of August 14th the Foreign ministry transmitted orders to its embassies in Switzerland and Sweden to accept the Allied terms of surrender. Later that day, the embassies would receive a contradictory message, for despite a brief few hours of hope, the Second World War was not over, Japan had begun her final fight.


    Like many other coup d'état’s in Japanese history, the roots of the Gigun regime can be found in the agitations and patriotic delusions of young officers, brought up to revere the Emperor and trained in the knowledge that only they could crush his enemies, the concepts of democracy and civilian government were contemptuous at the best of times, when those same institutions announced their plans to accept defeat and surrender for the first time in Japanese history, some sort of incident had become all but a certainty, though with the Emperor’s personal intervention in favour of the surrender, any hope of success seemed a bleak.

    It would be the personal intervention of General Korechika Anami , the Japanese War Minister and de facto head of the Armed Forces, that would prove pivotal in transforming what might have been an isolated incident into the final subjugation of the last pretences of Japanese civilian government. Whilst it was no secret to anyone that Anami continued to believe that Japanese independence could be largely preserved in the wake of a decisive battle on Japanese soil, however his reverence to the Emperor seemed to indicate that he would acquiesce to the sovereign’s decision to back unconditional surrender. What made him discard this sworn duty to obey the Emperor is subject of some dispute. A minority argue that Anami himself at this time had been overcome with delusions of grandeur and wished to execute the Royal Family and re-establish the Shogunate, using the legitimacy of a crushing victory against the Americans to do so. Other have ascribed it to one of the coups lead perpetrators, Kenji Hatanaka, a man known for his silver tongue and literary talent, the story goes that he made such a rousing case in favour of ignoring the Emperor’s wishes and strengthening his own belief in the decisive battle by regaling him with poetry of the glorious victories of the Russo-Japanese War.

    However, the general consensus is that Anami’s actions can be attributed to a fatal misreading of the Allied ‘Potsdam Declaration’ of July 26th. Whilst post-war sources have shown that the Allies had little enthusiasm for putting Emperor Hirohito on trial, their failure to mention this, and their stated aim of "eliminating for all time the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest" led Anami to conclude that the Allies planned to entirely restructure Japanese society, much like they were already doing in Germany, and that the Emperor had been misled about this fact by the ‘cowards’ in the Peace faction of the Supreme Council, individuals that he would now move against.

    On the Morning of August 15th, with Japan’s intent to surrender already broadcast to the Allies through the Swiss and Swedish embassies, the Japanese people heard a different announcement. Prime Minister Suzuki Kantarō had launched a coup in the early hours of the morning in conjunction with secret negotiations with the Allies for him to replace the Emperor as sovereign and rule an occupied Japan as their puppet, however the vigilance of the Japanese Armed Forces, and the conviction of the Japanese people had stood in his way, the Emperor was now safe, and Suzuki was under arrest awaiting trial with his fellow co-conspirators, the new Government under Prime Minister Anami would now oversee the war to its victorious conclusion.

    To the Allies the message was brief, reiterating the former Japanese peace terms, including the retention of the Emperor, no occupation of the Home Islands, and that only the Japanese would be responsible for disarmament and war crimes trials. With the Emperor under what was in essence house arrest, and the peace faction in the process of being purged from the highest echelons of Japanese society, the hope of peace which had seemed so assured the previous day now appeared to be a pipe dream.

    In America, the unenviable task of telling the American public that the war was in fact not over fell to a dismayed President Truman who made his best efforts to relay to his own sadness to the American people but also his resolve to see the war through to a conclusive end. On the streets the sorrow quickly turned to anger, Japanese-Americans who had only been allowed to return to their homes a few months beforehand, along with people of East Asian appearance, now found themselves vulnerable to a wave of hate attacks by American servicemen and civilians who were often still drunk from their celebrations of ‘victory’. From outside the White House people gathered, many of whom having been there the previous day to cheer the President, now demanded blood. As the new Anami regime appeared silent to any appeal to reason, it appeared they would get their wish.


    Though Truman had had to express an image of calm conviction in the hope that the American people would follow his lead, he was privately seething at the fact that the Japanese had left him to look like a fool. Shortly after hearing the news of the aborted peace he darkly ordered the next bomb to be used as quickly as possible on Tokyo, to wipe out the new Government and leave the survivors with no illusions as to the scope of American power. Before this order could be carried out however he was quickly brought his senses by George C. Marshall, his Secretary of State, who pointed out that bombing Tokyo would likely destroy the Imperial Palace, and potentially take the Emperor with it, inspiring the remnants of the Japanese government to resist all the more fanatically. However it was agreed that a third bombing would take place, both to bolster American morale after it’s plummet in the wake of the news that the war was not over, and to create the impression in the Japanese mindset that the Americans had a limitless supply of bombs that they would continue to drop until the Japanese surrendered. The target would also take on a strategic role, striking the Japanese preparations for defence of the Home Islands should the Americans need to invade.

    Captain William “Deak” Parsons, the man in overall charge of the transportation and handling of the bombs had planned and organized the assembly facilities on Tinian islands to handle a steady stream of bombs in the wake of the Hiroshima attack . However, despite the plutonium production facilities at Hanford continuing to work at full capacity, only one bomb was readily available on August 15th, the essential materials of which were already on their way. The B-29 Silverplate’s Spook and Jabbet were on route to the United States to transport the core of the third bomb (unceremoniously dubbed ‘Fat Man #2’) along with the other necessary workings from San Francisco to Tinian. There the bomb would await preparations for its final destination, over northern Kyushu

    Unlike most Japanese cities in 1945, the war had not actually reached Kokura. Isolated air raids had taken place in some areas, more for psychological reasons than anything else. Yawata, a sister city of Kokura, and an industrial giant of 250,000 people had been victimized by such an attack only two months previous. However, little damage had been done, either materially or psychologically, and business went on as usual. Kokura, with the islands largest arsenals, railroad shops, and ordnance works, had been the target of the original Fat Man on August 9th but heavy cloud cover had spared the city in favour of the bombs secondary target, the port of Nagasaki. Had the war ended on August 14th the towns absurd luck of surviving an Atomic attack due to bad weather might have been celebrated by later generations, but the successful coup had only ensured a delay for the city on the targeting schedule. On August 21st, luck, and time, ran out.

    The hundreds of American and Dutch prisoners of war who had been made to labour in the towns ordnance works, unaware of the fate of Hiroshima, had been confused on August 9th when their guards had fled to the nearest shelters at the site of only two B-29’s, now they ran again, some of them bizarrely weeping as The Great Artiste, flew by Captain Frederick Bock, cast its payload over Kokura’s railway station. For a few brief moments of searing pain their confusion was ended, before their world was ripped apart. Whilst the original Fat Man’s power had been somewhat shielded by the mountains surround Nagasaki, its brother would send a shockwave equivalent of twenty three thousand tons of TNT unhindered across the Kitakyushu. As before the initial fireball simply vaporised those in the vicinity of the railway station, and left many others in the surrounding area to stagger around blinded and in flames, their skin melting in the intense heat as their wretched screams added to the screech of the blast, the thunderous noise of a door closing in heaven, before their bodies were torn to pieces along with the buildings around them, tens of thousands more would join them as the blast spread destruction across the land at the speed of sound. By the time the infamous mushroom cloud had formed to tower above the skyline, over half of the area’s population of 178,000 were either dead or seriously injured.

    Whilst the news of the third bombing and the images of the Kokura inferno did indeed boost the morale of the American home front, the Anami government did not flinch, even at the perception of an unending supply of American bombs that they did not believe to be possible. Moves, however where taken to disperse as much industry and personnel from potential targets as possible along with the beginning of the relocation of the government from Tokyo to the Matsushiro Underground Imperial Headquarters outside of Nagano, designed to be able to survive heavy bombing, it was hoped that the complex could also protect the Emperor and the Supreme Council from an Atomic attack. A couple of days after the bombings, a communique was relayed to Truman, that hundreds of Americans had died in the Kokura attack, and that from now on the 30,000 western allied prisoners in Japanese captivity would be moved to the centres of Japan’s main cities, becoming human shields. It was hoped that this would demonstrate Japanese resolve to the Americans and turn American public opinion against the bombs. Of course the public would never know, but as the core for the next bomb would take several weeks, Anami might have been led to believe that his ploy had worked. In reality he was no longer thinking about the bombs coming from the west, at all his attention had been turned north.

    For in Rumoi a scattered and confused garrison scrambled around in terror as odd looking planes let loose a torrent of bombs, diving down on their targets and obliterating them, as they had done to so many of Japan’s former allies. From the foggy coast, the shapes of a flotilla of ships emerged.

    And they flew the Red Flag...

    ---

    End of Part 1
     
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  2. The Red

    The Red New Member

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    ”It should be clearly made known to Russia that she owes her victory over Germany to Japan, since we remained neutral, and that it would be to the advantage of the Soviets to help Japan maintain her international position, since they have the United States as an enemy in the future.”

    ~Suzuki Kantarō



    ”Imperialism can only be stopped by sacrifice, and bloodshed.”

    ~ Sanzo Nosaka


    On August 25th the invasion of the Japanese Home Islands began.

    To the shock of the Japanese Supreme Council now huddled under the mountains of Nagano, it did not arrive in the area of the ‘Decisive Battle’, where the Japanese had planned and prepared so meticulously, nor was the force carried by the armada the Americans had amassed. Instead, it would be 6 assault craft escorted by the modest 4 destroyers and 6 torpedo boats of the Red Banner Pacific Fleet, carrying the first echelon of the 87th Rifle Corps, as they charged into the port of Rumoi on western Hokkaido. Hours earlier Soviet airborne forces had dropped just outside the area, securing the airfield that would facilitate the hastily planned Soviet conquest .

    In the two hours it had taken to land the remainder of the lead rifle division, the small port had already been secured. Of the two Japanese responsible for the defence of the island the first was focused west, preparing for the unlikely prospect of an American invasion. The other was based around the coastal fortress of Wakkani on the islands northernmost point, in the belief that the Soviets would only have the capacity to transport a force directly across the La Perouse strait that lay between Hokkaido and Sakhalin, blissfully unaware that since the early Spring the the greatest naval transfer in history was taking place between the Americans and the Soviets in the name of greatly increasing the Soviets naval capacity before their planned entry into the war.

    This fatal ignorance had left the Rumoi region with only a single coastal defence site, based twenty miles away, and now mercilessly trampled by swarms of Pe-2’s and Il-2’s that had brought their European allies such sorrow. The four Soviet submarines tasked with alerting their comrades to any Japanese naval response were satisfactorily bored as they continuously reported that they saw nothing amiss. Whilst even a year beforehand the Japanese navy would have made any such landing a suicide mission for a Soviet flotilla, the once mighty fleet had been so relentlessly battered by the navies of the Soviets Anglo-American allies, that they remaining ships had all been pulled south, awaiting the expected American invasion, the same went for the Japanese air force, whose few units in the area could offer little resistance to wave after wave of Soviet dive bombers and fighters.Thus the Soviets quickly linked up with their airborne forces.

    All that was now left in defence of the port and region was the militias of the Civilian ‘Volunteer’ Corps, woefully unequipped and inexperienced old men and young boys who had been press ganged to make-up for the deficit in real troops. Most chose to hide at the sight of the battle hardened veterans of the European conflict , others chose to resist with their collection of muskets, shotguns and bamboo spears, and met a predictable fate. On the first day the Soviets had secured the region and continued to land further troops from an array of craft. The first allied beachhead had been secured in a decisive battle, but with a whimper of resistance.

    From the Fifth Area Army headquarters in Sapporo there was no whimpering, only panic. The Soviets had overestimated the strength of the Japanese, but the Japanese commanders now thrust into combat were aware of exactly how measly their forces were. As the Soviets consolidated their position, frantic calls to Nagano went out, when could reinforcements be sent?

    Their pleas went largely unanswered, the Supreme Council had not expected a Soviet invasion, or at least that it would come so quickly with their supposedly tiny naval forces, now that it had arrived there was little that could be done. Since early August the Americans had been heavily mining the Tsushima strait between Honshu and Hokkaido, whilst also hammering the transport links which connected Northern Honshu from the more populous south, and destroying most large Japanese ships in the area. Whilst this had been done in the name of separating the South of Japan from the majority of their domestic food production, it had also rendered any meaningful reinforcement of Hokkaido impossible.

    To the dismay of Sapporo, the eventual reply from the Supreme Council only reiterating these facts. “There can be no meaningful reinforcement of your position until the situation in the South has been resolved.”

    Although Hokkaido had been effectively left abandoned, the fight for the island was not yet over.
    Whilst striking south to capture the poorly defended Sapporo seemed attractive to Soviet planners it was viewed as momentarily unrealistic. The landing in Rumoi had taken place at the very limits of Soviet air cover, if they struck south before squadrons could be established on the island, they would have to go without that critical advantage, supply also raised concerns, unhindered the Soviets would eventually be able to reliably supply three divisions from Rumoi but if the forces already on the island where to advance south to quickly, supply would become dangerously unreliable making the front vulnerable to even a weak Japanese counter-attack. To secure the island as quickly as possible the decision had been made to move North and West, to secure an air presence on the island and improve the supply capability, the strategy that was necessary, but would also put the advance right into the path of the waiting Japanese forces.

    In the north the troops of the Japanese 42nd division were little more experienced or better equipped than the civilian militia’s, however their greater knowledge of the land and the time they had to prepare allowed them to delay the Soviet advance until they were eventually broken by the Soviet air force, nonetheless the Wakkanai fortress held out bitterly for several days after resistance in the rest of the island had ceased, and only capitulated after being stormed by Soviet troops in late September. In the west the battle hardened forces of the 7th Division made the fight in the mountains around Toshio and Tomuraushi as nightmarish as they had for the US Marine Corps in the jungles of Guadalcanal, but as they inflicted heavy casualties on the Soviets further forces were landed, whilst they had no means to supplant their own losses, by September 16th they had also buckled. Now there was little else to oppose the Soviets on the island, and they quickly set about occupying the remainder. As they advanced south the defensive position of Sapporo was little better, leaving the Fifth Area Army’s Headquarters to either flee or commit suicide in the face of their collapse. By the end of September effective resistance had ceased.

    The Soviets had conquered Japan’s northernmost island, the Soviets had no means yet of landing on northern Honshu, but the shock echoed from Nagano to Washington, as both were now forced to look at the board to see a completely changed game.

    Despite the Japanese inferiority in both numbers and equipment, the battle for Hokkaido had been a bitterly fought affair at many points, particularly in the mountain passes and coastal fortresses, where the Soviets had had to rely on mass air bombardment after receiving heavy casualties. By early October the island had been largely secured, with the only resistance left hidden in the mountains, diminished to little more than a guerrilla force, representing the most fanatical elements Fifth Area Army. However the forces who had defeated in Hokkaido had largely been inexperienced, young soldiers, many of whom had fought bravely but lacked the same resolve to die for the Emperor, especially against hopeless odds. It was largely for this reasons that the Soviets now found in their possession several thousand prisoners of war.

    Held for over a week in barns and cattle sheds with little fuel or foodstuffs, conditions for the Prisoners were painfully grim, worsened only by a prospect of imminent death, or worse, the Gulag. It was thus to the great puzzlement of individual groups of dozens scattered around Hokkaido, when Soviet troops arrived at their holding areas bearing not only much need food and fuel but also cigarettes, vodka, and often an accordion. Unlike most of their stone faced guards, these Russians seemed far more adept in the Japanese language, and together the captors and the captured warmed themselves around fires, ate, drank, and even sang. Drinking even further, laughter and stories broke out, and in some cases even dancing. In the morning the merriment continued, breakfast was served not just to the guards but to the prisoners as well, and again many ate together. The prisoners were encouraged to join in games of Football, and in one occasion, the Red Army even managed to scrounge together a crude baseball side. Meals became more regular, as did activities, all flowing into a skyrocketing rise in morale, and a vastly improved rapport with their captors.

    Around this time the speakers would come, sometimes civilians, though usually Japanese soldiers in odd uniforms proclaiming themselves to be officers of a new league. They would condemn the Imperial system that had oppressed them, lied to them, starved them, then sent them off to die against a more numerous and better equipped foe for their own feudal delusions. They condemned the American and British imperialists, who treated the Japanese as sub-human, who had unleashed weapons of nightmarish quantities against women and children, and who now planned a war of extermination against the Kanto Plain before indenting the survivors into the bourgeoisie system. They extolled the virtues of the Soviet Union, of the Red Army, and the sickle that they had swept across Asia, bringing a final end to the imperial system that had kept so many Japanese down, of the downfall of the Meiji, of the Rising Sun that would glow over all of Japan, the risen sun of Socialism.

    After these lectures a choice was presented, prisoners could renounce their allegiance to the Emperor and join the ‘Japanese People’s Emancipation League’, be moved to more comfortable lodgings, and receive three meals a day. Or they could endorse their current ‘Imperialist’ status, and be left behind in conditions similar to the squalor they had had to endure before meeting their newfound friends. The first order of business for the overwhelming number who had chosen the first option was usually to beat those who had chosen the second, often to death, before more Vodka was poured. And the party continued.

    In his new Sapporo office Sanzo Nosaka admired these reports with glee. His time in China had paid off well, and the green recruits had been even more receptive to his indoctrination campaigns than those whom he had first used them upon when he had been sent to work for Mao. Now the League was advancing beyond just a few shaky units and propaganda stunts, soon it would be the basis of a fighting force that would descend upon the remnants of the Imperial society that had hunted, tortured, and killed so many of his comrades. Rising like the phoenix from the ashes of infighting and oppression, he and his colleagues would soon follow, to make the nightmares of so many in the Anami regime a reality.

    ---

    End of Part 2
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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  4. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The OP did not move Operation Olympic ahead in time.

    He is talking about the "proposed" Soviet Invasion of Hokkaido that was to have taken place in late August, 1945.
     
  5. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    My apologies. I have just skimmed it todate. Need to take the time to sit down and read it carefully.
     

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