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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

der Kriegsherr

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Imperial_Japanese_Army.png


昭和天皇の物語
(Tale of the Shōwa Tennō)

Author's note: By popular demand, I decided to take up Japan while my German Empire AAR is still in progress (a project coming along nicely by the way).

While I decided to move away from the purely dialogue-based style of my MacArthur junta USA AAR, it is character-based to a degree:

It's the story of the Japanese Empire as well as its Tennō (one of my personal favorite figures of the 20th century) and his attempts to negotiate the European noose around his country's neck, keep red France and her Asian allies from spreading their poison, carve out a Japanese place in the sun (pun kind of intended), and even keep courtly intrigue from derailing the whole project! You'll notice that His Majesty takes a considerably more forceful line with his military than in OTL, but it is althistory after all.


So, without further ado....

Known today as an economic, cultural, and military superpower, as well as the leader of the Co-Prosperity Sphere, the Empire of Japan was not always in such a powerful position, Indeed, there were times where its existence as a great power was in serious doubt.

Sn_M_1.png


As of the first of January 1936, the Empire of Japan was bouncing back nicely from its disastrous participation in the Weltkrieg and ensuing recession.

Sn_M_2.png


Administered on Tokyo's behalf by the warlord Zhang Zuolin and his Fengtien Republic, Manchuria was firmly under Japanese control, an essential source of raw materials.

Sn_M_3.png


While somewhat less reliable, the breakaway Russian state of Transamur under the White Admiral Alexander Kolchak was the third member of the Japanese bloc, providing a vital potential striking point in the event of a war with Russia.

However, in spite of the rising Japanese fortunes, there were still a number of dangerous potential enemies: One wrong move with any of these states could render all of the sweat and blood shed for naught:

Sn_M_4.png


Her old antagonist from the Weltkrieg, Germany and its influence in Asia and the Pacific was a perpetual thorn in the side of the planners at Daihon'ei (Imperial High Command). Factions in the military ranged from advocating total war to expel the Germans from Asia to coexistence with Berlin. Fortunately, the Germans seemed, at least for the time being, more focused on the threat to the fatherland by the resurgent Commune of France than potential far off incursions into their Asian possessions.

Sn_M_5.png


While weakened significantly both by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and the civil war with the Bolsheviks, the Russian Republic, with its massive infantry corps, was still a significant threat to Manchuria and Korea.

Sn_M_7.png


Japan's former Entente partner of the British government, while exiled in Canada, still possessed a great number of vessels taken from the Royal Navy during the revolution. This made this former ally a viable threat to the Imperial Navy and Home Islands as a whole.

Sn_M_6.png


But perhaps the most dangerous potential enemy of all was across the Pacific in Washington DC: With a massive industrial capacity and potential manpower pool, the United States of America was quite possibly the greatest threat to the empire on land, sea, and air. However rumors told of a great instability in the country: One which could potentially present opportunities.
 
Last edited:

unmerged(429674)

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Looks awesome! Will you join the Entente?
 

der Kriegsherr

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However, the year 1936 quickly turned sour for the Empire of the Sun:

Sn_M_8.png


Sn_M_9.png


The Australasian Confederation, one of High Command's seriously-considered targets was in the throes of Syndicalist revolution, abandoning its former Entente allies and joining forces with the Syndicalist Internationale. Until the inevitable war between Germany and France (and the envisioned Franco-British collapse), plans against Australasia would have to be put off for the time being.

Sn_M_10.png


Furthermore a local labor dispute in Niigata Prefecture erupted into a spate of civil disobedience led by local trade unions. Naturally, the police presence was enhanced greatly in the area.


Sn_M_11.png


Chinese agitation among the Taiwanese population notwithstanding, Tokyo made the the decision that it was finally time for Formosa to be integrated into the empire proper. Similarly to Niigata, the Imperial Japanese Army troops on the island were put on a heightened state of alert.


Sn_M_12.png


In Russia, the tensions between Marshall Denkin's junta and the Bolsheviks once thought vanquished erupted once again into civil war. His Majesty, having almost lost his life in his younger years due to an assassination attempt by an anarchist radical, had no love for revolutionary leftism in general, ordering Japanese advisers and supplies to aid the beleaguered state.

Sn_M_13.png


On the home front, labor organizations throughout the large cities of the Home Islands had, in addition to spreading the demonstrations throughout the country, had begun to circulate rumors of a nationwide general strike. Recognizing the grave threat this posed to the stability of the empire as a whole, the Emperor ordered an expansion of the Tokkō as well as to begin infiltrating the organizations involved in the strikes. It would later be confirmed by letters and telegraphs that a large number of these organizations were in contact with Paris.
 
Last edited:

Wombats O' War

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Good start so far!

Australasia joining the Syndies? I've never seen that chain of events pan out like that. Kaiserreich always surprises me.

I've only played Japan once, and I went with full martial law with a military dictatorship takeover. I'm not sure how that differs from your choice of simply increasing police forces, but it should be interesting. I seem to remember getting incredibly lucky in my game- Feingtien stayed loyal, Siberia joined me as a puppet, Kolchak rebelled way before Korea and Taiwan, so I put him down easily, and then I mopped up the Korea/Taiwan a bit later.

Best of luck! I'll be following.
 

Davisx3m

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Sugoi! *subscribes*
 

der Kriegsherr

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Sn_M_14.png


On the 6th of August 1936, a letter from H.I.M, the Shōwa Emperor was received by the exiled British king Edward VIII: In the letter, His Majesty stated thanked the British for their long history of cooperation with the Japanese Empire, however stating that the less-than-stellar outcome of the Weltkrieg required that Tokyo find its own path in the arena of foreign policy.


Sn_M_15.png


On the home front that very same day, the leaders of the opposition sent a list of their demands to the office of Prime Minister Tsuyoshi Inukai. A coalition of socialists, republicans, trade unionists and syndicalists demanded an increased democratization of Japanese politics, higher wages across the board, and the removal of the restrictions on socialist parties. As this would lead to a long-term destabilization of the Japanese political establishment as well as the economy, the demands were of course, rejected. It was even said that the prime minister took the letter and lit it on fire.


Sn_M_16.png


A little less than two weeks later, a lone syndicalist broke into the Diet during a heated debate and assassinated Prime Minister Inukai. After being immediately subdued, 23 year-old Osamu Fukui confessed stated that his goal was "to further the revolution" during his interrogation by the Tokkō. Some claim that the prime minister was only a secondary target and that the Emperor was the intended target.
Whatever the case may have been, His Majesty had had enough: He ordered the diet dissolved and a council of military figures was appointed to lead the government, almost immediately cracking down on leftist movements.
 

Davisx3m

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What path will Japan choose?!
 

Milites

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Apparently the path of militarists...
 

Davisx3m

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der Kriegsherr

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Sn_M_17.png


As of the late 1930s, Kolachak had become increasingly grandiose regarding his proclamations, claiming himself "President of the Second Russian Republic"
Ever since the war between the Bolsheviks and Denkin's regime began, Kolchak had been pressing Tokyo for permission to go after the breakaway state of Siberia.
Unwilling to fight a war (yet) against both Siberia and the future victor of the Second Russian Civil War, the Emperor had expressly forbidden Vladivostok to make any sort of advance on the sovereignty of Siberia.


Sn_M_18.png


However there was some good news for the Japanese Empire in the sphere of foreign policy: What was perhaps Tokyo's most dangerous potential enemy, the United States of America had plunged into a three-sided civil war as well. Although all was not well with the foreign arena:


Sn_M_19.png


The Korean government in exile had formally announced its plan and intention to seek aid from other foreign powers in their bid for independence. The problems this could present were immense: If any breakaway Korean state successfully secured an alliance with one of the great powers (especially the Germans or Americans), a local uprising could essentially turn into a second Weltkrieg. The troops and officers of the Chōsen Gun were immediately put on a heightened state of alert.


Sn_M_20.png


With a second American Civil War raging, there were also opportunities to be taken: A joint Army-Navy taskforce was deployed to seize the nearby US possession of Guam, the few troops garrisoning the island surrendering without a fight. Although the seizure of Guam had another aspect to it: High Command was well aware of the fact that the Combined Syndicates of America then possessed the lion's share of the American industrial capacity and support from the Internationale, giving them a very real prospect of winning the war. Unwilling to give a red United States a base at which to strike at the empire, His Majesty ordered the island to be bought under imperial control as soon as possible.


Sn_M_21.png


In addition, in order to further weaken a potentially hostile regime in Washington, High Command organized a corps of trained Japanese volunteers and a good deal of supplies to the rouge Pacific States of America.
 
Last edited:

der Kriegsherr

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Sn_M_22.png


The victory of the Mad Baron, Roman Ungern von Sternberg over the Muslim Ma clique led directly to the proclamation of the Mongolian Empire. Taking the regnal name Genghis Khan II, Sternbeg began to be regarded by much of the Mongolian Buddhist clergy as a reincarnation of said infamous conqueror. Naturally, this came to alarm the international community. The Foreign Office in Tokyo was no exception to this trend. However, the Emperor saw much potential in the new regime as another northern neighbor of the Chinese, and ordered immediately that Ulaanbaatar be diplomatically courted.


Sn_M_23.png


Japan's immediate sphere of influence however, was in a state of emerging chaos: The Korean independence movement long active in the Russian Far East, Tokyo ordered a crackdown on the illegal organizations. However, this crackdown would soon prove too little, too late:


Sn_M_24.png


At midnight on December 12th, 1936, the Korean peninsula erupted in a storm of violence. Aided by sympathetic elements of the local populace, the rebels began a systematic campaign against Imperial Troops in the area, scoring several initial victories. The scattered troops of the Korean Army were ordered back to the northern mountains to prepare for a counterattack and await reinforcements from the Kantōgun.


Sn_M_25.png


Sn_M_27.png


To complicate matters even further, Kolachak's government stated, in no uncertain terms, that his government would not crack down on the Korean nationalist bases of operation in his territory.
Enraged by this act of defiance, the Kwantung Army brass deployed a detachment of troops to Vladivostok in order to complete the job. The admiral however, instructed his troops to resist the incursion, even declaring IJA troops legitimate targets. While Imperial forces fought off easily the attacks from the poorly-trained, outdated Transamur army, the damage was done: Kolchak formally revoked military access for the empire, stating his eventual intention to break away and proclaim officially the Second Russian Republic.


Sn_M_26.png


On Taiwan, the news was not much better: The Taiwanese Cultural Association delivered a formal petition to Tokyo for the release of Taiwan as a sovereign state: Immediately, the troops were placed on the highest state of alert and joint Kempeitai -Tokkō taskforces were deployed throughout the island, arresting prominent members of the Cultural Association and other assorted nationalist agitators.
 

Davisx3m

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Whoa :eek:
 

son of liberty

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KR Japan is always fun. Good luck. Puppet the world in the Emperor's name.
 

der Kriegsherr

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Very early in the morning of December 14th, 1936, His Majesty was awakened abruptly by one of his aides:

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Mere months after the formation of a military cabinet, the two competing factions, the more cautious, defensively-minded Tōseiha and the militaristic Kōdōha, were openly at each others' throats.
There were even whispers of some Kōdōha members plotting violence to get their way.

Recognizing the existential threat to the war effort and the empire itself, the Emperor, while irritated and groggy, orchestrated a compromise: The prime minister would be a Kōdōha representative, while the remainder of the cabinet were to be appointed by His Majesty. While both sides recognized the stakes and did not want to appear unpatriotic, several hours of arguing were required before a final settlement was reached.


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On the Korean peninsula, the situation had improved somewhat: The Imperial Army had successfully pushed the rebels into the southern mountains, however at the expense of Busan and Gwangju
Cognizant of the extreme difficulty of expelling the rebels from the southern mountains, the Emperor ordered General Hata to begin extensive bombardment of the southern half of the peninsula, in addition to continuing the blockade.


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Eventually, this strategy of attrition paid off: On April 6th, 1937, the last organized Korean units were destroyed. Upon the news reaching Tokyo and other large cities, celebrations broke out across the Home Islands. In order to facilitate a sense of reconciliation (as well as to solidify Japanese control over the peninsula) between the two peoples, the Imperial family saw to integrating the Korean royal family into the imperial system, a number of Korean princesses and noblewomen becoming betrothed to members of House Yamato.
 

Davisx3m

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That should tell the Koreans not to act like that!
 

redcomrade1994

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Expand the Empire to Hawaii and intervene in the USA Civil War helping the PSA, when you finish your problems with Taiwan and Transamur
 

der Kriegsherr

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The strikes and subsequent war had a disastrous effect on the Japanese raw material supply and industrial capacity as a whole. With the Home Islands poor in natural resources (apart from young, able-bodied men who seemed almost too plentiful at times), by April, it was clear to every soul in Daihon'ei that the Empire of the Sun had only one course of action:

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However, almost immediately after this course of action was decided on, the old Tōseiha-Kōdōha feud started anew as to the direction which Japanese foreign policy should take: The Kōdōha by and large, favored a total war to drive the Europeans (especially Germany) from Asia altogether, while the Tōseiha favored realpolitik, taking opportunities against the German sphere of influence where the opportunity presented itself. Unwilling to fight a total war against what was arguably the world's only superpower on pragmatic grounds chiefly, the Emperor had, despite lingering animosities over the Weltkrieg, a certain respect and fondness for the Germans, even going so far as to call them "the Yamato (Japanese) of Europe."


Once again, His Majesty negotiated a compromise between the feuding factions:

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The official Japanese policy would be to subjugate the German-aligned, fragmented states of China (a long-term goal of Tokyo's), while leaving the areas under direct German control unmolested. Granted, it was still a risky policy, but it was to make the best of a bad geopolitical situation. While some Kōdōha members groused and complained about the relatively passive approach of the policy, the officers complied with their emperor's commands.


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In preparation for war with the Qing Empire and the semi-autonomous lands of the Chinese south, the Foreign Office sought to court the Siamese, Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka allegedly offering Bangkok German territories in Indochina in exchange for the alliance.


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But the Siamese, whether to avoid provoking the Germans any further or maintain their neutrality (probably both), expressly declined the Japanese offer. Slightly dismayed about lacking a land access point to southern China, High Command nonetheless continued to plan for the inevitable conflict.


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However, the very first order of business on the foreign front was to punish Kolchak's rebellious regime. Concerned with the eventual victor of the Second Russian Civil War swallowing up a vital land holding, High Command began preparations for Transamur's direct incorporation into the empire. Kolchak, by ordering his soldiers to fire upon imperial troops, had technically committed an act of war. Such a slight against imperial honor could not be tolerated...
 
Last edited:

der Kriegsherr

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Sn_M_41.png


Despite all of Kolchak's bluster, the under-equipped, underfunded Transamur Army was no match for the might of the Imperial Japanese Army. In concert with bombardment by the navy and air service, the rebellious state lasted only a couple of weeks before the last of its soldiers either surrendered to imperial troops or simply deserted. The advance of the Japanese caused a panic among Transamur's largely ethnic Russian population: Trains to Siberia were packed to the brim and people flooding onto boats bound for German colonies in Asia and the Pacific or Canada became commonplace. At these reports, the Emperor made a decree in order to quell anxieties and keep instability from spreading even further:

Anyone who decided to flee would be allowed safe passage by imperial forces and those who felt inclined to stay would swear an oath of allegiance to the Japanese Empire and its Tennō.


Sn_M_42.png


However, while the chaos from the Transamur incident was still in progress, the situation between Qing Empire and Shangqing, after years of tension and mutual threats, had finally broken into open conflict. There were three schools thought in Daihon'ei regarding the conflict: The first advocated staying out of it entirely, arguing it a waste of resources. The second argued that the Qing should be supported, if for no other reason than to curry favor with the Germans and get some firsthand intelligence about the Qing capabilities. The third and final school (advocated largely by the Kōdōha interestingly enough) lobbied to support the Shangqing in order to destabilize and exhaust the Qing in preparation for the future conflict with them. Eager to gain a foothold in China while the various states were still weak, His Majesty gave his approval to the third plan, ordering diplomats to Yan'an by way of Mongolia.


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The ending of the Second American Civil War was something of a mixed bag for Tokyo: While High Command breathed a collective sigh of relief that the prospect of fighting a red United States was gone, many still felt that the American commitment to the abstract ideals of "freedom" and "democracy" would eventually bring the two powers into open conflict: While His Majesty had initially hoped for a rapprochement with the MacArthur administration, he did sign off on the Kōdōha contingency plans on the condition that the Americans were to remain entirely unmolested without his explicit approval.


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With the Qing victory over the Shangqing in early 1938, the Qing emperor Pu-Yi was becoming increasingly arrogant and belligerent, too much so for Berlin in any case. However, their failed coup attempt lead to the expulsion of German diplomats and industry from the Qing realms. The Germans, already in fierce competition with the French over their eventual war, were unwilling to risk a war halfway around the world, much to the delight of the Foreign Office.


Sn_M_46.png


However, the news out of South Asia was somewhat disconcerting, but not cause for immediate alarm. However, it was clear to all that if red India insisted on attempting to spread syndicalist revolution, that it would have to be dealt with sooner or later.