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Thread: Hakko Ichiu! - or - All Eight Corners of the World under One Roof

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    Post Hakko Ichiu! - or - All Eight Corners of the World under One Roof

    Hakko Ichiu!
    Or
    All Eight Corners of the World under One Roof
    (1936-1948)


    In AD 660, the Emperor Jimmu decreed that he would:

    …extend the line of Imperial descendants and foster rightmindedness. Thereafter, the Capital may be extended so as to embrace all of the six cardinal points and the eight cords may be covered so as to form a roof.

    This was the beginning of Japanese government and social organization. Since that time, the kingdom of Japan has suffered neither military defeat nor foreign occupation, making it the oldest government of its kind. Japan’s rulers believe that it is their destiny to rule Asia and perhaps the world. As an example of this premise a shogun councilor, Masayoshi Hatta, made the following memorial in 1858:

    In establishing relations with foreign countries, the object should always be kept in view of laying the foundation for securing hegemony over all nations. The national resources should be developed in military preparations vigorously carried out. When our power and national standing have come to be recognized we should take the lead…declare our protection over harmless but powerful nations…Our national prestige and position thus ensured, the nations of the world will come to look up to our Emperor as the Great Ruler of all the nations, and they will come to follow our policy and submit to our judgment…

    These ideas of foreign policy would result in the subjugation of the Ryukyu Islands (1874), Formosa (1894), Korea (1894), the German pacific colonies (1918), and Manchuria (1932). The Manchurian incidents however have stained the reputation of Japan on the international stage and created the image of Japan as the ‘bad boy’ of world society. However, the China issue has not been settled in the mind of the army, nor has Japan’s “power and national standing come to be recognized.” The following AAR will be the story of the settlement of Japan’s national prestige and position in the eyes of the world.

  2. #2
    Old Person GeneralHannibal's Avatar
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    Good luck, but if I were you I'd try doing a HOI2 AAR as the HOI1 forum is almost dead. Good luck though!
    "How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct." - Benjamin Disraeli


    "Morality may consist solely in the courage of making a choice." - Leon Blum

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    Thoughts...Comments...Thank yous

    General Hannibal:
    Thanks for the comments! Unfortunately, I do not own HoI 2 yet. I've also had this story itching around in the back of my head for a while and need to get it down before it gets bothersome.

    All readers:
    Thanks for reading! As this is my first AAR, any help, criticism, pointed questions, etc. are welcome. Please help me make this a great story.

    Update coming up...

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    There is No Medicine to Cure a Fool


    Since the 1920s, the army had been divided into to political groups; the kodo ha (action group) and the tosei ha (control group). It was the action group which had pressed for military action in Manchuria to alleviate the economic depression suffered in the 1920s. Young members of the kodo ha, with the approval of senior general members of the action group, were the ones who manufactured the “incidents” which precipitated the Japanese occupation and subsequent set up of the puppet state Manchukuo. The control group in the army was dedicated to central control of the army and the furtherance of Japan’s strategic aims through orthodox and evolutionary change. Increasingly, the tosei ha would attempt to try to keep the army from attempting any more adventures, thus their name.

    In the January 1936, the Seiyukai party (a backer of action group policy) forced the dissolution of parliament. In the new elections, the party disastrously lost power along with all the ultranationalist groups. The Minseito party (backer of control group policy) became the strongest party in Japan. Sensing that this loss of power and prestige in the eyes of common Japanese had the potential to be permanent, some members of the action group decided that they must stage a coup d’etat or lose any potential power. On February 15, the following message appeared in the personals column of the newspaper Asashi Shimbun:

    Current Issues Stabilized: There has been a crystallization of the correct judgment of you who are wise and can see into the meaning of things. Let us make every effort – all of us unitedly – to strengthen our national power and to make progress for the Empire by leaps and bounds.
    Leader of the Orient, Marunouchi
    Art Club, Half-Piercing Solid Star.

    This was the action signal for the coup to start in the early morning of February 26. The plan called for the assassination of the prime minister (Okada), the Grand Chamberlain (Admiral Kantaro Suzuki), the Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal (Viscount Makoto Saito), General Watanabe, Count Makino, and the Finance Minister (Korekiyo Takahashi). Then the First Infantry Regiment, the Third Regiment, the Third Imperial Guard Regiment, and the Seventh Artillery Regiment were to seize the War office, the Diet building, and various communication centers in Tokyo. Admiral Saito and General Watanabe were killed. Admiral Suzuki and Finance Minister Takahashi were wounded in botched attempts, while Count Makino was warned in time to escape. The group assigned to assassinate the Prime Minister bungled and burst into the wrong room, killing Okada’s brother-in-law Colonel Matsuo. After the killing, the assassins occupied the house. Okada’s secretaries, meanwhile, asked to see the body and discovered that it was not that of the Prime Minister. Wordlessly, they left and eventually found Okada hiding in a closet. They were able to spirit him out of the house on the second day of the crisis by negotiating with the officers in charge of the house to allow some family and friends to mourn over the corpse. The friends brought an extra mourning coat, a face mask, and a pair of horn-rimmed glasses and used these to conceal the Prime Minister on his way out of the house. All elements of the plot had been completed by 4:30 AM.

    Nearly all of the army general’s sympathized with the action group’s yearning for increased army power. So, hours after learning of the events, they met with the rebels in the war office and recorded their manifesto. At nine-o’clock, War Minister Kawashima met with the Emperor and attempted to justify the tragedy as a result of a weak cabinet and began reading the manifesto. “We have been compelled to annihilate those elder statesmen, military leaders, bureaucrats, political party leaders and other criminals who have been shamelessly hindering the Heavenly prerogative of the Supreme being from materializing the Divine Showa Restoration…” The Emperor did not allow him to finish: “You don’t need to tell us that. Isn’t it rather your duty to determine by what means this rebellion will be quelled?” Kawashima was stunned; he had expected the Emperor to allow the army to quiet the matter down and proceed as if nothing had happened.

    The top army officials met all day on the 26th to plan what they ought to do. During the day they met with the rebels and told them of the extent of the Emperor’s anger and his insistence that the traitors be punished. A state of emergency was declared and the First Division was directed to surround the rebels in their buildings. At 1:00 AM on the 27th, the whole cabinet resigned. The emperor declared marshal law and directed Lieutenant General Kohei Kashii to disarm the rebels by force if necessary. No timing was set forth in this directive, so he stalled. General Honjo, whose son-in-law was a member of the rebellion, then met with the rebels and guaranteed that if they would give themselves up, the army would discipline them rather than the government. The rebels, faced with the choice of certain death at the hands of the government, or potential lenient treatment by the army, acquiesced. They surrendered en masse, and by the afternoon of the 27th, traffic was moving normally in Tokyo.

    The newspapers lamented the assassinations, but also argued that the assassins had reasons to act. Emboldened by this reaction from the press, soon the generals were making statements in public for the assassins: “When I consider why these naïve youths acted as they did, I cannot hold back my tears…what they did they did in the genuine belief that it would be good for the Empire.” The army held the court martials of the officers and men behind closed doors and gave out not a single death sentence. The prison terms were for the most part commuted or served in local geisha houses. The failure of the Emperor to force the army to properly discipline the rebels was noted by the army and thus the generals continued to scheme ways of achieving power within the political government. The appointment of the next cabinet would offer just such an opportunity.

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    A Small Matter Can Become a Great One


    Immediately after the young officers’ rebellion, the militarists set out to gain further control of the government by meddling in the appointment of the next cabinet. An amendment to Japan’s constitution (the Meiji Constitution) stated that the ministers of the army and the navy had to be active duty officers. This amendment was meant to protect the government from amateurs meddling in military affairs. However, it would be used by the army to seize power by veto. In the aftermath of the 2-26 incident, the post of prime minister was the most dangerous and least desired post in Japan. The action group had already displayed its willingness to violently remove any prime minister who opposed them, and the lack of disciplinary consequences meant that next time they would be less deterred from such action. In the end, the emperor selected Koki Hirota as the next prime minister. He was a nationalist civilian and thus, it was hoped, be acceptable to both the control and action groups. The emperor gave him four missions: govern Japan constitutionally, exercise restraint in foreign affairs, avoid upsetting the business world, and preserve the nobility.

    Hirota asked his old friend General Sugiyama who would be a good choice for war minister. Acting on that advice, he chose General Hisaichi Terauchi. This choice pleased the army because Sugiyama was one of the key members of the control group, which was in power among the army in mainland Japan immediately following the 2-26 incident. Hirota then drew up his cabinet and showed the list to Terauchi. Terauchi then produced a list of candidates that the army considered unacceptable, five of whom were on Hirota’s potential cabinet. Terauchi told the press that Hirota’s cabinet was “…characterized by the same old liberalistic approach as ever and devoted to compromise and retrogression.” On this basis, Terauchi said he could not join the government. Since no other active duty general would join the cabinet, Terauchi’s refusal in effect was a veto by blackmail. If Hirota did not agree to the army’s demands, Terauchi (and any other general for that matter) would refuse the office of war minister and no government could be formed. The emperor asked questions of the situation through his military aid, General Honjo. The army denied interference while General Tomoyuki Yamashita and Major Akira Muto were with the prime minister dictating to Hirota which candidates he could or could not add to his cabinet. Hirota finally came up with a second cabinet and gave the list to Terauchi. Terauchi refused the position on the basis that the new cabinet had two members of the Minseito and Seiyukai party each. The army stated that it would accept only one man from each party. At this point, Hirota sent word to the emperor that he had decided to give up trying to form a cabinet because the army was dictating his choices and was going to call the newspapers with that statement. The position facing the army was the following: If Hirota announced a failure to form a cabinet, and the emperor criticized the army, all the senior leadership of the army (at this time the control group) would have to resign and their cause would be lost. So the army backed down and announced that it would not accept a cabinet without two men from the Minseito and Seiyukai parties each. So the cabinet was formed, and the public would never know that the army had made a grab for power and failed.

    However, the power and prestige of the army was not really damaged. The cabinet was well aware that if it strayed too much from the militarists’ wishes, the army would resign and force the fall of the government. As long as the army could cause the fall of the government by withdrawing the war minister from the cabinet, there was no way to develop a government powerful enough to control the army. This weakness would allow the army to continue its adventurous foreign policy with predictable results.
    The Last Mission A Love Story

    There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

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    The Road of a Thousand Miles Still Begins with a Single Step

    The Road of a Thousand Miles Still Begins with a Single Step


    Following the London Naval Conference of 1930, when the west refused to change significantly the naval ratios allocated the US, Britain, and Japan; the split between proponents of a large navy and those who favored a more diplomatically responsible course had become defined. The “fleet faction” favored a large navy, one capable of defeating both the British and US Pacific fleets. This navy would enable Japan to negotiate from a position of strength. The “treaty faction” favored adhering to the naval treaties of the day and negotiating from a trustworthy nation position. The winter of 1936 saw a new naval conference in London on the international agenda. Japan appointed Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, a “treaty” man, to be the chief military delegate because of his enormous prestige within the navy. However, he was under strict orders to secure equal rights to arms in terms of total naval tonnage, or Japan would withdraw from the treaties and build the navy she needed. The naval talks lasted all throughout the winter, but Japan was unable to secure the treaty she desired. Without an agreement, the delegation left London. Yamamoto suggested that the talks be kept open, but the general sentiment of the navy was that the closing of the talks enabled the fleet expansion most admirals sought.

    The withdrawal from the naval treaty brought a new navy argument to the fore. “How can Japan’s naval power be used most effectively?” The only fleets in the Pacific capable of challenging the imperial Japanese navy (IJN) were the British and American fleets. The old strategy envisioned an IJN smaller than its enemies. The IJN surface fleet would stay in the waters around the island of Japan and await the arrival of the foreign fleet in a similar fashion to the 1904 war with Russia. Submarines would whittle away at enemy strength as he sailed steadily closer. When the opportune moment presented itself the IJN would offer battle where its own close supply bases offered it a strategic and tactical advantage. The Armageddon of the seas would then begin. Somehow, at the end a Japanese victory would emerge. This strategy was at odds with the idea of a Japan devoted to the principles of hakko ichiu. Also, the growing potential of naval aviation presented the opportunity to exercise a very different concept of naval strategy than that afforded by a battleship navy. In order to win the Armageddon, battleships would be necessary to survive the shear firepower being slung about. However, with a large fleet, Japan could afford to take the offensive. Yamamoto and others within the navy envisioned a different type of navy, one where carrier task forces made up of fast cruisers and carriers stalked enemy fleets and won victories from afar. They pointed out that the basis of the victory at Tsushima had been the improved speed and maneuverability of the Japanese ships with respect to the Russians, not the disparity in firepower. Also important was the idea that Japan would now no longer need to take the risk of allowing foreign fleets into its own waters. Yamamoto summarized his feelings in such a situation:

    If such a large fleet is organized, I will not be content to withdraw to the Inland Sea and such places and wait for an opportunity to strike out. This is even in the event that war should break out and Tokyo should be in flames by the action of the United States Air Forces. If hue fires break out in Tokyo and Tokyo is completely destroyed by fire three of four times; and if I must witness it while waiting for a strategically opportune time, I cannot remain still.

    This argument was settled, it was thought, by the navy simply increasing its budget proposal to include the construction of new battleships and carriers. However, the civilian members of cabinet balked at such a huge increase in naval spending at just the same time that the army was increasing its own budget to prepare to deal with the threats posed by Russia and China. The dispute came to a head when the neither navy nor army minister refused to budge on their budgets. Prime Minister Koki made it clear that the government could not afford to lay out the sums required and the navy and army ministers resigned. No other general or admiral would join the cabinet, and the Koki government fell. The emperor appointed Hiranuma Kiichiro as the new prime minister and mandated that the army and navy would be allowed an expanded budget, but not all that they were asking for. In response to the emperors demand, the navy agreed to cut the battleship portion of its budget, while the army agreed to reduce the planned expansion of the army.

    In the spring of 1937 the head of the military police (the kempitai) for the China Garrison Army, Major General Tojo, sent a situation report to Tokyo. In it he postulated that the Chinese were growing stronger and threatening Mnchukuo’s position. The aim of Chiang Kai-Shek was to unite all of China, and with the support of Britain and the US, he might attempt to return Manchukuo to China. Tojo advocated a preemptive strike against Nanking, to knock China out quickly. The foreign office was against such a plan, but many generals supported this view. To protect the significant Japanese population in northern China, all new divisions formed had been sent to the Kwangtung Army guarding the approaches to Manchukuo. By the summer of 1937, only twelve of Japan’s forty-eight infantry divisions were stationed in the home islands, the rest were stationed in Korea, China, or Formosa. The new junior officers and non-coms mistreated Chinese citizens regularly, taking their cues from the actions of the old hands who had perpetrated the incidents in Mukden only a few short years before. Any time Chinese and Japanese soldiers came near each other, an incident threatened. On the night of July 7, a company of the Japanese garrison army was conducting maneuvers along the Peking-Hankow railway. The soldiers approach the Lukouchiao across the Ho River, known as the Marco Polo Bridge. While crossing the bridge they encountered a Chinese company and someone fired a shot. That shot led to a volley, then a pitched battle. A local cease fire was arranged the next day and the Japanese garrison army sent for reinforcements. For two days, only sporadic firing occurred as Chiang Kai-Shek had given orders to avoid creating an incident which might lead to war with Japan. Meanwhile in Tokyo, the generals were clamoring to go to war. The general mood was that the Chinese had been murdering Japanese citizens for many months (which was true), and that the Japanese troops would continue to cause incidents unless the Chinese army were dealt a resounding defeat. Thousands of civilian demonstrators came out and supported a military action in China. War minister General Sugiyama went before the emperor and promised that it would take less than a month to subdue Chiang’s armies and create peace in China. He proposed the mobilization of four divisions in Japan, and the use of the Kwangtung Army to carry out the pacification. With Japanese mobilization, Chiang saw that there was no way of avoiding war. He told the Chinese people:

    Six years have passed since the loss of Manchuria, and now the battle is drawing near Peking. Should Peking become a second Mukden, our capital Nanking may well follow. The very fate of our nation depends upon how the Marco Polo Bridge incident is resolved. Should we be pushed to the point where no further concessions were possible, then sacrifice and resistance would be our only choice. Though our nation is weak, we must protect the lives of our people and sustain the burden of history passed down to us by our ancestors.

    On the afternoon of July 10, the reinforcements from the garrison army arrived and the Japanese opened fire again. The Chinese fought, held, and called for reinforcements. On July 11, Kiichiro, with the blessing of the emperor, authorized the dispatch of Kwangtung Army units, Korea army troops, and a division from the homeland to north China. Chiang Kai-shek reacted by enacting general mobilization of the Chinese armies. The Japanese military, united in purpose at last, now approached the China incident with the belief that they were ready now to fulfill Japan’s destiny to become the leader of Asia.
    The Last Mission A Love Story

    There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

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    The Cornered Mouse Will Fight the Cat All the Harder

    The Cornered Mouse Will Fight the Cat All the Harder


    War came easily to the nation of Japan in 1937. For years, the nation had indulged in the ideas that Manchuria belonged to them and that north China and Mongolia were spheres of influence which must be protected. Once the incident began and reinforcements were called for, the army turned its back on peace and forged ahead. Each day, the chances of preventing the action from becoming total war grew slimmer. One such chance was the Miyazaki affair. General Ishihara warned Prime Minister Kiichiro that the army was pushing Japan into a long and expensive war. He suggested Kiichiro go to China and attempt to meet Chiang Kai-shek to resolve the matter through negotiations. Ishihara proposed that the Chinese recognize Manchukuo and Japanese freedom to exploit Mongolia. Kiichiro was afraid that if he left for the purposes of negotiation, the army would attempt another coup like the 2-26 incident and seize total power. So Kiichiro chose Ryusake Miyazaki, whose father had been close to former Chinese President Sun Yat-sen, and who also knew Chiang Kai-shek, to go to China instead. The cabinet agreed and Miyazaki set out for a steamer leaving for Shanghai. He was arrested by the kempitai on the pier and prevented by the army from going to China.

    For the month after the Marco Polo Bridge incident, the situation in the Peking area seemed possible to resolve without nation scale hostilities. The armies in the area had not yet been sufficiently reinforced to constitute the fighting as a war. But by late July, the Korean army divisions had moved up to the line and Japan’s assaults began in earnest. The first large battle was for control of Peking. Three divisions under General Hata were eventually successful in subduing the defenses under the command of General Yuan-tsuan. The fighting was particularly intense at the Fengtai railroad station. The station changed hands four times during the battle. Each day, the Chinese would attack, carry the station, and then retreat during the night. By these guerilla-like tactics, the Chinese bled the Japanese divisions and, while eventually leaving Peking to the Japanese, effectively delayed General Hata from moving south for another 10 days following the battle. On August 2, Peking fell. On August 5, Tientisin. Looting and burning by the advancing armies destroyed much of the cities. Once again, junior officers were disobeying the Japanese high command and doing whatever they wished in their theatres. Once these major cities were captured, the army did not stop the “punitive” action; instead, the divisions fanned out and began pushing south and west. The outside world watched all this, but did nothing to stop the fighting. Aside from a statement issued by the League of Nations condemning the Japanese attacks, no nation was willing to take any action that might mean a change of focus from their own internal problems.

    On August 7, the Chinese National Defense Council decided that the “incident” should be regarded as the opening of a general war, and adopted a sustained strategy of attrition for its army. Statistically, the Chinese army’s size was impressive. Chiang could bring 65 divisions to bear against Japan’s 48. However, 37 of those “divisions” were poorly equipped militia or warlord armies and could not be counted on to stop the well equipped and trained Japanese troops. However, despite this disadvantage in training and equipment, the nearly limitless manpower of China would allow Chiang to effectively replace his losses faster than they were incurred.

    Contrary to War Minister Sugiyama’s prediction that a single great defeat would end the Chinese resistance, the Chinese kept fighting. Even units that had suffered greater than 50% casualties in the initial fighting at Peking had reformed and were taking part in the defense. The Chinese were proceeding as though they were willing to fight this war to the end. By the second week of August, the emperor had had enough. He spoke to Kiichiro: “The time has come now for a settlement of this matter by diplomatic negotiation.” Foreign Minister Hirota expressed his hopes for a settlement. Even the hawks at the war ministry were growing uneasy with the continued resistance of the Chinese. The provisions for the cease fire would establish a demilitarized zone and the Japanese would voluntarily reduce their forces in China. This proposal offered hope of a compromise as Japan’s position was conciliatory and expressed a wish to undo the incident and forget the past.

    On August 7, Hirota received permission from the War and Navy Minstries to send the papers to Shanghai. Preliminary discussions were held in Nanking on August 10. However, on the night of August 9, a Chinese fleet of nine cruisers and assorted destroyers had set sail from Shanghai in an attempt to break out past the blockading IJN and reach ports in south China. The fleet was spotted during the night by the light cruiser Oi and shadowed. At dawn, carrier planes from the Hosho and Junyo attacked the Chinese ships and heavily damaged two of the cruisers. Inadvertently, the Chinese fleet had bumbled into Admiral Takasu’s Scouting fleet approaching Shanghai from Taipei. His fleet consisted of the two carriers, five cruisers, and a number of destroyers. Admiral Takasu engaged the Chinese ships in a long range gun battle during the day of August 10, a storm having blown up in the afternoon that kept the carrier planes grounded. During the late afternoon, with sea conditions worsening, the Chinese determined that they would not be able to break out to open sea undetected and attempted to return to Shanghai covered by a smoke screen. They successfully laid smoke and disappeared from Admiral Takasu’s force. East of Shanghai, Admiral Yamamoto had heard of the battle and brought the Combined Fleet, consisting of the battleships Nagato, Mutsu, Ise, Hyuga, Fuso, and Yamashiro to Takasu’s relief. Hearing that Takasu had lost the cruisers, he determined that they must be attempting to return to port. In a brilliantly executed night engagement, the Japanese battleship fleet surprised the cruisers and sank all but one, along with most of the accompanying destroyers. This naval disaster was the last straw in China’s diplomatic back. Communications between the Japanese section of Shanghai and Nanking were cut off and the foreign ministry began the process of evacuating the Japanese embassy staff from Nanking. Four days later the Japanese cabinet stopped talking specifically about north China. They could not bring themselves to admit they had precipitated a war.
    The Last Mission A Love Story

    There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

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    nice start, always good to see a JapanAAr

    Under the spreading chestnut tree,
    I sold you and you sold me..
    There lie they, and here lie we..
    Under the spreading chestnut tree..

  9. #9
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    Yes, excellent start! Good luck!
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  10. #10
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    Comments, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by General di tuti
    nice start, always good to see a JapanAAr
    Thank you, Thank you, it is a rare breed....

    Quote Originally Posted by CatKnight
    Yes, excellent start! Good luck!
    Thank you as well...I shall need the luck.

    And now, on with the show!
    The Last Mission A Love Story

    There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

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    The Wise Man Does Not Court Danger

    The Wise Man Does Not Court Danger


    The “one month” needed to resolve the incident passed. August became September and the army and navy of Japan had moved farther into China. The hawks continued to insist that one clear-cut victory would force Chiang to seek peace with Japan. The newspapers were aglow daily with news of Japanese victories. Headlines such as: “Full Annihilation Said in Sight for Chinese 29th Army” and “Japanese Warships Shell Canton” spelled out in black and white what was happening in China. On September 16, the newspapers announced the appointment of a new Resource Planning Bureau to complete the mobilization of Japan for war. War? General Sugiyama had only discussed sending a few divisions to north China. What the Japanese newspapers did not tell were the stories of Chinese soldiers marching into hopeless battle after hopeless battle and dying like flies, but still fighting. They did not show the photograph of a little child sitting amid the bodies and the rubble of the Fengtai railroad station, but newspapers from all over the world did. For the western world, this photograph seemed to symbolize the Japanese assault on the China’s society. What seemed to be happening in China was a new low in man’s inhumanity to man, and sympathy for Japan began to erode in the rest of the world. Few in Japan cared. Headlines of victory after victory seemed to be erasing past misery. The mobilization of the nation created more factories which meant more jobs. A good rice crop was predicted for 1937. Soon, China would be a market for Japanese goods. The Japan Times stated:

    The intense and fearful crisis of the China Incident seems to have passed upon the arrival of Japanese troops sweeping before them the stubborn resistance of the Chinese forces with a hundred percent efficiency and almost superhuman courage…the time will come when the world will thank Japan for this undeclared war, warfare all but in name.

    In an interview for the American CBS, Foreign Undersecretary Horinouchi explained Japanese policy for Americans:

    Why have we had to resort to arms? We must emphasize first, that the expeditionary forces of Japan now in China have been sent there for no aggressive purposes and secondly that we have no territorial designs. Our forces are in China to safeguard our legitimate interests and protect our rights, and to secure the safety of our nationals. These forces will be withdrawn the very moment that their presence is no longer required…

    No territorial ambitions, a phrase repeated over and over. Yet newspaper articles were describing “the beginning of autonomous rule” in Chara province. Japanese at home may have been fooled, but the world was not. Japan was the “aggressor” said President Franklin Roosevelt, but the US did not stop sending scrap iron. Winston Churchill praised the president’s speech, but British interests in Tokyo did not leave. No nation took any steps to curtail or even threaten trade interests in Japan.

    In late September, Prime Minister Kiichiro resigned because of his declining health and was replaced by Prince Fumimaro Konoye. Konoye had been the President of the House of Peers for the last four years, and was instated as a last ditch choice short of full army takeover. Konoye established a “super-cabinet” made up by the war, navy, finance, and foreign ministers. This cabinet, given its special war-time powers, effectively ignored the Diet and ruled Japan. The nation had ceased to be governed constitutionally and was now an oligarchy dominated by the military.

    In north China, the Japanese advanced steadily, reaching the Hwang Ho river line in October, and successfully crossing it by November. The fighting dragged on. New victories were reported daily. The rail towns of the north had all fallen by December. Four Chinese divisions were surrounded and annihilated in Tsinan. Still, Chiang Kai-Shek did not sue for peace. General Ishihara pointed out that “as long as China holds sovereignty over a single acre, Chiang’s government will find popular support for protracted resistance.” By January, the army began preparing for the great battle that would bring Chiang Kai-shek to his knees. It was going to be fought at Nanking. After the army had captured Nanking, the Chinese capital, everything would be all right. Chiang would sue for peace. The generals knew it.
    The Last Mission A Love Story

    There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheExecuter
    By January, the army began preparing for the great battle that would bring Chiang Kai-shek to his knees. It was going to be fought at Nanking. After the army had captured Nanking, the Chinese capital, everything would be all right. Chiang would sue for peace. The generals knew it.

    A telling statement. This and the entire post reminds me of Europe at the beginning of World War I: That the fighting would be over by Christmas.

    I'm a little surprised the generals aren't getting the hint: That China seems prepared to fight to the end. I can see the public being fooled by their media, but I'd expect the generals to be getting a clearer picture by now.
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  13. #13
    Lt. General TheExecuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CatKnight
    A telling statement. This and the entire post reminds me of Europe at the beginning of World War I: That the fighting would be over by Christmas.

    I'm a little surprised the generals aren't getting the hint: That China seems prepared to fight to the end. I can see the public being fooled by their media, but I'd expect the generals to be getting a clearer picture by now.
    All of their previous recent experience against China (1895), Russia (1904), and Germany (1914) has indicated that a few decisive victories and key points held will compel their enemies to seek peace favorable to the empire. The army of Japan did not have to fight a long protracted war of endurance against the Central Powers and could not believe that the Kuomintag could compel China to fight one.

    Also, the issue of face intervenes here. The generals promised the emperor that the war would be a short one in order to get his blessing. Now that they are being proved "wrong" they are looking for reasons to declare victory rather than attain it. Remember that to admit personal fault may require professional resignation or suicide. This type of pressure forces a blindness that makes the person see only what they want to see and ignore evidence to the contrary.


    Sorry about the delay in updating, I should have the next installment ready tomorrow...
    The Last Mission A Love Story

    There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

  14. #14
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    Troubles Increase Geometrically

    Troubles Increase Geometrically


    In late January, four new divisions of troops under General Matsui were landed at Hangchow Bay and outflanked the defenders of Shanghai. Matsui’s objective was Nanking. In response to the new threat to the capital, Chiang-Kai-shek moved out of Nanking and back to Hankow, and thence to Chungking. From February on, Matsui’s forces drove the Chinese steadily back along the Yangtze River. The Chinese gave ground slowly, as they could not match the Japanese planes, tanks, and guns. By April 1, the army had nearly encircled the city on three sides and was threatening to close the only escape route north across the Yangtze. Army and navy planes had been plastering the city with bombs daily for the entire month of March. The carnage inside the city amongst the civilian population was terrible. The remaining Chinese forces, six army corps in total, defended the city stubbornly and Matsui’s divisions began to take heavy casualties. On April 3, the Chinese general Tang Sheng-chih ordered his troops to try to break out of the city and withdraw. Only the 66th corps was able to do so, fighting its way out to the east of the city. The vast majority of his troops were caught in the resulting envelopment. With the surrender of this army, Japanese units, bloody and excited, faced perhaps fifty thousand of their enemy, some armed, most not. In the blood lust most of these Chinese soldiers were killed. One soldier wrote in his diary:

    The Chinese were too many for the platoon to kill with our rifles, so we borrowed two heavy machine guns and six light machine guns from the army company…we then killed some five hundred in front of the city wall because they were in civilian clothes and might be soldiers.

    Members of one Japanese regiment alone reported killing thirteen thousand prisoners in the next few days. The civilians suffered as well. The city had been virtually destroyed by a month of army and navy bombings and then by the field guns of the armies. What remained was declared by army officers to be open game to the troops who had fought so valiantly for the emperor. So Nanking was looted, and women and children were raped, shot, or bayoneted if they annoyed the soldiers. The disciplined army became a horde reminiscent of the Mongols. General Matsui had achieved the great victory. It would only be a little while until all China would be pacified. Hakko Ichiu!

    Once more the Japanese offered peace. The peace agreement, however, was the following:
    1. China would recognize the Inner Mongolian Republic as a state.
    2. Japan would be free to enlarge her garrison zones of troops in north China.
    3. No anti-Japanese would be appointed to administrative posts in north China.
    4. The demilitarized zone of Shanghai would be enlarged (more Japanese territory in Shanghai)
    5. Anti-Japanese policies would be eliminated by the Chinese government.
    6. China would take steps to improve tariff relationships (China was to cut tariffs on Japanese goods)
    7. China must respect foreign countries’ rights and interests in her territory.

    Chiang Kai-shek issued a communiqué on April 17 entitled “A Message to the People Upon Our Withdrawal from Nanking” in which he vowed to fight to the end. And the great victory for Japan? She now controlled northern China and the lower Yangtze River valley. China’s new capital was far inland at Chungking, so far up the Yangtze that the roads and rail lines and navy would be of no help to the Japanese army now. For the moment, the Chinese government was beyond Japanese reach. The militarists were beginning to learn what Chiang meant when he had spoken of a war of attrition.

    The news of the fall of Nanking was rushed to Tokyo on April 3, the day that the victorious Japanese troops swarmed atop the Nanking city wall to have their pictures taken. Spurred by the extra editions emblazoned with photographs of the victorious army, nearly half a million jubilant citizens staged a massive lantern parade in Tokyo that night. Almost unnoticed in the jubilation was a small column in the papers:

    On the evening of April 2, a naval air unit that had set out to bomb steamboats of the Chinese army reportedly escaping from Nanking and sailing upstream mistakenly bombed three steamboats of the Standard Oil Company, sinking the vessels in question together with an American warship that happened to be in the vicinity. This unfortunate incident, involving as it does the American navy, is extremely regrettable, and Commander in Chief Hasegawa promptly began studying appropriate ways of making full amends.

    In the excitement of the final attack on Nanking, the carrier pilots had gone out with blanket approval to sink anything that floated on the river. They sank the US gunboat Panay and the three aforementioned tankers. Two sailors were killed and seventy-four wounded, many by repeated strafing by the pilots who flew so low the Americans claimed to have seen their faces. The Panay had been flying a huge American flag, and the crewmen were certain no “error” had been involved. The British gunboats Bee, Cricket, and Scarab were also damaged by bombs, while the HMS Ladybird was damaged by Japanese army artillery. The Japanese naval headquarters ordered a naval vessel up to rescue survivors. Foreign Minister Hirota made a personal apology to US ambassador Joseph Grew. By that time news of American reactions were coming in, and they were bad. American newspapers were demanding the United States to break off relations. Ambassador Grew began packing up, not at all sure that diplomatic relations would not be broken off in light of the unprovoked and apparently repeated attack. The Japanese ambassador to the US made apologies in Washington and to Americans in general. Admiral Yamamoto forced the Japanese officials in China to be in touch with local US officials and express regrets. The commander of the naval air forces in question, Rear Admiral Akashika was recalled to Tokyo and fired out of hand. Yamamoto also made it clear that in investigating the facts there would be no attempts to evade the truth, but that blame would be admitted and proper amends made, and compensation. Finally the Americans calmed down. Admiral Yamamoto issued a statement expressing gratitude to the American public for accepting Japan’s good faith. Thus, by a very narrow margin, the Foreign Ministry and Navy managed to quiet the troubled waters and prevent the Panay incident from becoming something much more serious.

    But the army did not respond in kind, because an even larger problem had risen. International press reports and photographs of the rape of Nanking were helping convince the world that Japan was a nation of beasts gone mad. The army practice of requiring junior officers to only follow the strategic intent of the senior officers meant that when the generals dictated that only picked units subject to the strictest discipline enter the city, the junior officers refused and did whatever the “needs of the situation required.” In the case of Nanking, the situation required revenge for the strength of Chinese resistance. Prince Asaka, brother of the emperor and one of the commanding generals involved in the battle for the city, was disgusted when one of his regimental commanders confided that the best bayonet training in the world was to let the troops work on people. He wrote of his feelings in a letter to the emperor and enclosed press clippings and photographs of actions in the city as proof. The emperor was horrified. He summoned General Kotohito and demanded an explanation. The chief of staff suggested “perhaps the soldiers had not paid attention to their superiors’ orders.” The emperor retorted, “The trouble seems to be that the superiors were to blame.” At this point, the continuing stream of reports abroad began to make the local newspapers. Account after account of murders, mass killings, rapes, arson, and looting were all reported to an incredulous and increasingly outraged Japan. General Kotohito gave lame excuses and temporized potential solutions. Finally, the emperor appointed General Masaharu Homma to go to Nanking and recall the officers his investigation deemed to be responsible. All told some eighty officers were returned to Japan and summarily retired. Several of the officers, including General Kotohito opted to commit suicide rather than live with the shame of having failed the emperor.

    How many people were killed in the Rape of Nanking? No one will ever know for sure. General Homma’s investigation put the figure at 100,000. Asashi Shimbun assigned a reporter to spend months doing research on the incident, and in a series of articles concluded that the emperor’s investigation was substantially correct. Nanking was to go down as one of the cruelest victories ever wreaked by any army.

    During the last days of April and into May, the Japanese waited for the Chinese reply to their peace proposal. They never received a direct answer, only a call from Chiang for “further clarification.” By mid-May, it had begun to sink in among the military in Tokyo that they were badly mired in China. Instead of trying to get out gracefully, the army leaders urged that the war be pressed because victory must be just around the corner. Prime Minister Konoye issued a statement to the effect that Japan would no longer deal with the Nationalist government in China. The government recalled its ambassador to China and broke diplomatic relations. Whatever the Japanese had called the invasion of China before, now they had to call it war.
    The Last Mission A Love Story

    There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

  15. #15
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    To Straighten the Horns He Kills the Cow

    To Straighten the Horns He Kills the Cow


    After the fall of Nanking, the German government, under pressure from the Japanese, finally formally recognized Manchukuo as an independent nation and withdrew its military mission from China. Some of the generals recognized this move as an oblique gesture of support from the German government and began moving to add the Soviet Maritime Provinces to the empire. Now, with the drastic decision to fight Chiang Kai-shek to the finish, the army and navy recognized that the army must not be allowed to bog down in China and spend resources in a hopeless attempt to police the enormous territory. It was time for a new administration. In June 1938, Prince Konoye reorganized his cabinet. General Itagaki was brought in as war minister. General Ugaki became foreign minister. Admiral Yonai continued as navy minister and was the most moderate voice on the cabinet. The education minister was General Araki, while the finance minister was an official of the Mitsui zaibatsu and thus a fierce supporter of the military-industrial complex which had much to gain from further military adventures.

    General Itagaki, committed personally to attack Soviet Russia at the earliest opportunity, appointed General Tojo to be his assistant. General Tojo was a believer in General Itagaki’s theory that “Communist Russia must be destroyed.” Under Tojo’s command of the Kwantung Army forces, an incident with the Soviets had already occurred. It had come in the summer of 1937. With the establishment of the puppet state in Manchukuo Japan had taken an interest in the borders between Manchukuo, Outer Mongolia, and the Soviet Union. As Japan supported Manchukuo, the Soviets supported the Outer Mongolian Republic. Worried by the Japanese moves in Asia, the Soviets had built up substantial forces in the Far East. When the Japanese built railroads through Manchuria to carry troops to the northern borders, the Russians countered by building railroads in Siberia and double-tracking the Trans-Siberian Railway. In this atmosphere of tension, a border dispute came up. Generally, the Amur River delineated the line between Siberia and Manchuria. The exact line was not clear or very important during the days of China’s empire. However, with Manchukuo now a Japanese dependency, the situation had changed. The Japanese claimed that the boundary lay on the north side of the sandbar island of Kanchas. The Soviets claimed that it lay on the south bank. A soviet army unit landed on the island on June 19, and General Tojo rushed a motorized brigade to the Amur River. The incident was settled after a minor clash by negotiation between the two governments and the Soviets removed their troops. The incident was never really resolved; it was just that both nations had other matters in mind just then. The lack of resolution was infuriating to the army, but most units were at the time occupied in the events surrounding the Marco Polo bridge incident and the Soviet question was set aside.

    Back in June 1938, the Japanese army mounted two new offensives against China, one to drive on Chungking, the other to begin capturing the major cities of the south. The army had been increased in size, but these attacks used up any divisions that might have been used to attack the Soviet Union. The planned attack north had to be delayed. By July, General Yamashita had captured Chungking and a large Chinese force in central China was nearly surrounded, but managed to fight its way out to the south. The Japanese were continually winning great victories, but the Chinese continued to fight on. In July, the army pressed the foreign office to obtain the disputed territories along the Manchukuo border. Ambassador Shigemitsu presented a demand for transfer of the disputed territories. The Russians immediately instructed the forces in Siberia to occupy the lands to which the USSR laid claim. Russian border troops took up positions on Changkufeng hill. The Korean army sped to the scene but did not attack. The Soviets then withdrew from the hill. General Itagaki asked the cabinet to approve an offensive against the Soviets in the poorly defended region of Lake Khasan with the idea to push in with the military and force the Soviets to give up the territory in the resulted negotiations. The cabinet agreed to “reinforce” the northern border, but suggested they go slowly seeing as the great summer offensives were still taking place in southern China.

    Two divisions along with armor and planes were sent north and reached the disputed border on July 27. The Soviet forces were occupying two hills north of Changkufeng. On July 29, while Shigemitsu was talking to the Russian foreign minister in Moscow about the territory, the Japanese attacked. The initial assault was successful in capturing the two hills and the Russian forces withdrew with some casualties. The troops had orders from Imperial General Headquarters to halt on the border and go no farther. But, the commanders on the ground were heady with victory. Certain in the knowledge that War Minister Itagaki and Vice Minister Tojo supported a more aggressive policy they began to move in the direction of the Posyet area in order to threaten the naval base at Vladivostok. The Soviets called up three divisions and tanks and on August 6 launched an offensive that drove the Japanese completely out of Soviet territory. Ambassador Shigemitsu asked for a cease fire and mutual withdrawal; and the Soviets, worried about Europe, were eager to agree. Here was a classic illustration of Japanese military policy. Make the attack; if it succeeds, proceed; if it fails, withdraw and pretend it was all a mistake of overenthusiastic subordinates. This policy had worked at Port Arthur (1904), failed in the assassination of Chang Tso-lin (1928), worked in the Manchurian Incident (1931) and the invasion of China (1937), and failed now in southern Siberia. When the emperor heard of the expedition, he was furious with Itagaki and personally reprimanded him for misleading the throne and calling the army’s recent conduct “abominable.”

    Having burned the diplomatic bridge that had connected Japan to the Nationalist government in China, the Japanese began to work in the fall of 1938 to organize a new Chinese government with its capital at Nanking. They negotiated secretly with Wang Ching-wei, a former leader in President Sun Yat-sen’s Republic of China. Wang had grown restless with the increasing cooperation between Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Communists. In December, Wang left Chungking and traveled to Hanoi. From there he sent a cable to Chiang asking him to end the war with Japan immediately and fight the Communists instead. Chiang instantly branded Wang a traitor and put a price on his head. Wang then went up to Shanghai and then to Tokyo for talks. There the government leaders explained that they planned to build a new Asia around the combination of Japan, Manchuria and a New China. The alliance would be called the New Order of East Asia.

    By March of 1939, Prince Konoye was so discouraged with the prospects of finding a route to peace in China, and so tired of fending off the army’s constant demands for money and power, that he resigned, as he had been threatening to do for months. He was replaced by Baron Kiichiro Hiranuma who returned to the office of Prime Minister after successfully recovering from the pneumonia that had sidelined him earlier. By this point, the Japanese had occupied Canton, Guangzhou, and Hainan Island, and were preparing for a push into the southern mountains in an effort to destroy the last major strongholds of the Kuomintang. The generals had to ask for more troops and still more troops in order to police the now enormous area of China occupied. This meant that General Itagaki had to abandon his policy of fighting the Soviet Union.

    The Kwantung army, however, was still secretly committed to an attack on the Soviets. The new regulations brought down as a result of the Changkufeng incident called for an evenhanded approach; “never to invade and never to be invaded.” If the Soviets were to cross the border they were to be “annihilated.” Where the borders were not precisely known, the area defense commander had the final decision as to what action would be taken. In June the Kwantung army launched a probe into Outer Mongolia to see what would happen. The place chosen was the Kalkha River area, which separated Outer Mongolia from Manchukuo in the Homonhon region. The Japanese said that the line ran along the Kalkha, which flows into Lake Buir Noir. The Outer Mongolans said that the border lay thirty kilometers to the east of Homonhon. A small Mongolian cavalry unit crossed the river and was attacked and driven back. When the Mongols built a bridge across the river to establish their rights, the Kwantung army appeared and crossed over into Mongolia. A large Mongol force supported with Russian tanks attacked the regiment and nearly wiped it out. At this point the Kwantung army decided to launch a major blow at the Mongols and to go into Siberia to punish the Soviets. Forgotten were the border dispute regulations. The Russians would be taught a lesson and, if all went well…

    The Kwantung army sent fifteen thousand men up to the border and across. The Japanese at first advanced quickly with its modern aircraft providing effective close air support. But on June 22, the Soviets brought up a force of 150 planes and hit the Japanese hard. In retaliation the Japanese attacked the Soviet airbases and destroyed more than 100 planes on the ground. This was real escalation of the war, into Siberia, and it was done without the knowledge of Imperial General Headquarters. When IGHQ learned of the assault, the emperor was informed and the Kwantung Army was accused of usurping the imperial prerogatives. The emperor issued a personal reprimand to the army. On July 1, the Japanese launched a major attack by one of its divisions. The Soviets were prepared for this assault, having brought up their most modern tanks and planes. The Japanese found their antitank weapons too small and were soon launching suicide squads with satchel charges to throw themselves under the enemy tanks and blow them up. The Soviets had produced far more armor than the Japanese could assemble, and the armor did the job. The Japanese failed to penetrate farther than a few miles into Mongol territory. In order to break the stalemate the Kwantung army asked for a great air armada to decimate the Russian troops, but Imperial Headquarters called their attention to the regulations on border disputes, pointed out that the army was on the wrong side of the border, and said no.

    The conflict continued for six weeks before the Russians launched their great counter-offensive. They attacked frontally and brought equally large forces of armor around both flanks. The Japanese 23rd division was virtually destroyed. Two regimental commanders burned their flags and committed suicide. The Japanese retreated and prepared to launch a new offensive utilizing the major elements of the army in northern China. IGHQ stepped in to save the Kwantung army from itself as the Soviets were bringing in even more troops, armor, and planes. Tokyo was not prepared to wage a war against such strength. This became particularly evident when casualty reports began coming in. The Kwantung army had suffered seventy-three percent casualties in the two months of combat. The army broke off contact and retreated back to Manchukuo. In Moscow, Ambassador Shigemetsu approached the Soviet foreign office for a cease fire and was treated very gently. Both sides retreated behind their borders and gave guarantees not to come out again. Generals Ueda and Isogai were retired for their roles in the debacle. IGHQ ordered that no troops would counterattack or attack without a specific order from the commanding general on pain of court martial. For the first time, the army would be controlled by rules.

    The opinion the Japanese generals offered the rest of the government was that the Soviets had maneuvered to prevent the Japanese from disposing of the China incident. Perhaps that tortured reasoning made it easier to live with the monster they had created. In the summer of 1939, two years after General Sugiyama had promised the emperor that he could end the China incident in a month, the involvement had tied up most of Japan’s military resources and there was no end in sight. As for Siberia, the generals had another great shock on the heels of the border cease-fire. The USSR and Germany signed a non-aggression pact. The tacit support of Germany, which the generals had hoped would assist their designs on the Soviet maritime provinces, had been nullified. Two years earlier it had all seemed so easy: first China to be brought to heel and then Russia to be defeated once again. But at the end of August 1939, the world of the militarists had turned upside down.
    The Last Mission A Love Story

    There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

  16. #16
    Captain Chesterton's Avatar
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    I don't read many in-depth historical AARs but I just read this and I must say it's a finely written and very excellent AAR. I hope you continue with this. I'm sure you'd be getting a much greater response had this been in the HoI2 AAR forum, but it's a great job nonetheless!

    Out of curiousity, it seems like things are moving pretty historically. Is this AAR based on a game of yours or more of a historical-based narrative?
    Last edited by Chesterton; 27-12-2006 at 02:08.
    Ett Svenskt Lejon- A HoI2 DD Sweden AAR

    Secrets of the Inconsequential War
    -An EU3 Japan AAR

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  17. #17
    Lt. General TheExecuter's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    Quote Originally Posted by Chesterton
    I don't read many in-depth historical AARs but I just read this and I must say it's a finely written and very excellent AAR. I hope you continue with this. I'm sure you'd be getting a much greater response had this been in the HoI2 AAR forum, but it's a great job nonetheless!

    Out of curiousity, it seems like things are moving pretty historically. Is this AAR based on a game of yours or more of a historical-based narrative?

    Thanks for the praise!

    Yes, things are moving pretty historically...

    The AAR is based on a game of mine, but I had wanted the storyline to move less historically than it has gone. (This is a testament to my lack of playing skill!) I've played up to January 1942 so far, so there is plenty of room for the story to get a-historical yet.

    I have taken a short break while I ponder how to move forward. Now that the holidays are over I might have time to get an update or two done before school starts again; especially now that I have been encouraged!
    The Last Mission A Love Story

    There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

  18. #18
    Captain Chesterton's Avatar
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    It's good to hear that you may get an update in soon.
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  19. #19
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    In the Month of Storms, Flowers Appear

    In the Month of Storms, Flowers Appear


    The summer of 1939 changed the world. In September Germany marched into Poland, and the European war began. The implications to Japan were enormous: those who wanted to expand the empire in Southeast Asia saw their chance coming, particularly after Britain withdrew her gunboats from the Yangtze River and her troops from Peking and Tientsin. The Japanese militarists saw more weakness here, something on which they could capitalize; but they were held back by the last of the moderates. Hiranuma’s government declared that Japan would not become involved in that conflict.

    The words sounded good, as though Japan was going to settle down, but the crosscurrents in Tokyo told an entirely different story. A note sent to the moderate Yamamoto indicates the tenor of the young officers and other super-nationalists:

    The next war will be a holy war…between Japan and England…You, as leader of the pro-British forces, and in league with Navy Minister Yonai, constantly obstruct the carrying through of policies based on the national polity headed by the emperor, and are putting the glorious imperial navy in danger of becoming a private force of senior statesmen and big business.

    During the spring Japanese troops had conquered Chunking and crushed the last organized armies of the Kuomintag. The remains of Chiang’s armies either retreated into the southern mountains or north to the communist stronghold around Xian. At the end of July, frustrated with the failure of the Kuomintag to surrender, and faced with the need to provide civic government to the vast areas of China now occupied; the government inaugurated a puppet government at Nanking under the command of Wang Ching-wei. His government was entrusted with civic and judicial control of those areas of China under Japanese military control. However, his government would not be allowed to become a government of national Chinese unity. The army insisted on Wang’s immediate recognition of the “independence” of Manchukuo, a sure tip-off to the world that Japan was pulling the strings. In addition, the nation was expected to pay for its “protection” from communist forces in materials contracts to Japanese companies. For the moment, Japan’s coal and steel resource needs had been fulfilled. The formation of this government did not mean the end of fighting in China, as the communists and Sinkiang warlords continued to resist. However, one by one the warlords began to fall. By May the communist forces in the central mountains were finally defeated and the mobile forces of the Japanese army moved west to complete the conquest.

    Late in the spring of 1940 the “phony war” came to an end with the blitzkrieg through Belgium and France and what appeared to be the imminence of a German invasion of England. Mussolini hastened to join the war on Germany’s side. The pressure from the Japanese militarists to join the “winner” became almost unbearable. The army agitated that Japan must join Germany and Italy before their world victory. Only thus could the Japanese expect to share in the spoils. Yet still, the government delayed. With victory over China beginning to seem probable in the near future, a war with the west seemed too much to risk while the battle still raged. Yet with France and the Netherlands now German colonies, the glitter of Indochina and the Dutch East Indies attracted attention. Here were European colonies ready for the taking.

    The first step began in August, as Britain staggered under the blows of the Nazi attempt to knock out the Royal Air Force, and then invade England by sea. Japanese representatives at Vichy, France, announced that the French must grant the Japanese the use of Indochina to protect the population against communist influences from China. There was virtually nothing the Petain government could do. Germans badgered them at Vichy, and in Hanoi the Japanese threatened the colonial governor that if he did not agree they would come in anyhow, and with far less courtesy to the French inhabitants. So, in September 1940, the Japanese army prepared to move into Indochina. It was another overt act in the establishment of “The New Order” in Asia.

    The program of expansion in the south was outlined at an imperial conference on September 19, 1940 during a discussion of the proposed Tri-partite Pact. In the course of the discussion, Naoki Hoshino, director of the planning board, spoke of the difficulties the navy would have in securing an oil supply if the United States cut off exports to Japan, which might come about, since the pact was so clearly aimed at the United States. Foreign Minister Matsuoka tended to discount that possibility:

    To be sure, the United States may adopt a stern attitude for a while; but I think that she will dispassionately take her interests into consideration and arrive at a reasonable attitude. As to whether she will stiffen her attitude and bring about a critical situation, or will levelheadedly reconsider, I would say the odds are fifty-fifty.

    The War Minister set out the army’s plan for the future:

    The army, like the navy, considers oil important. I think this question, in the end, comes down to the matter of the Netherlands East Indies. The matter was decided by the Liaison Conference between the Government and Imperial Headquarters held shortly after the formation of the present cabinet, when the policy statement “Outline of Policy on the Settlement of the Situation” was adopted. It was agreed that we should settle the China incident quickly and then cope with the Southern Question, taking advantage of favorable opportunities. As for the Netherlands East Indies, it was decided that we would try to obtain vital materials by diplomatic means, and that we might use force, depending on the circumstances. We are most certainly not moving forward without a policy.

    On September 22, Japanese troops landed in Hanoi. Reaction from London and Washington was swift. The western nations announced an embargo on iron and steel scrap exports except to nations of the Western Hemisphere and Britain. Japan would get no more.

    The Japanese press made no secret of their desire to see Japan linked with the Axis. Mainichi Shimbun editorialized:

    The time has at last arrived when Nippon’s aspiration and efforts to establish East Asia for East Asiatics, free from the Anglo-Saxon yoke, coincides exactly with the German-Italian aspiration to build a New Order in Europe and to seek a future appropriate to their strength by liberating themselves from the Anglo-Saxon clutches.

    As an inducement to join the Axis pact, the Germans invited Japanese representatives to make a survey of the most modern methods of land warfare. The experiences at Homonhon in 1939 had shown that the army could not afford to be under-equipped before it would be prepared to conquer its half of the world. So, a party of generals, admirals, and technicians set out on the Trans-Siberian Railway for Moscow, and then Berlin. Japan was not losing a moment in taking advantage of the new commitment to conquest.
    The Last Mission A Love Story

    There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

  20. #20
    Captain Chesterton's Avatar
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    A very nice read. I'm interested to see how Japan will fare in the coming war with China out of the way, as it seems like all remaining resistance on the mainland will soon collapse.
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