And what did it really matter to the enslaved millions that their masters were “communist”--they still had no freedom, though it had been forcibly taken from them in the name of a new ideology. Let communism’s apologists in the West put a human face on it, to the enslaved it was the most brutal, ruthless regime they had ever known, and they had known many a hard master in centuries past!
The Soviet Caesar (Czar), Djugashvilli, had himself an empire, the largest in the world, stretching from the Elbe to Japanese-held Manchuria.
It would appear that Ian’s little group of prayer warriors had labored in vain, removing one Hydra head only to see ten more crop up in its place. Unlike political monsters, Ian Dahl and Willy Second Horse’s Bible College produced no visible successors.
Unknown to the world, completely missed by the powers that arranged the map into Free World and Communist World, Winter’s Grace’s passing went publicly unmarked and unmourned when the school closed its doors, the property going into receivership when Ian’s relatives failed to claim it on notification of his death in 1947.
Thirty five years tumultuous years had passed since the advent of the Red Star, and its convergence with the White Star. By then the world had witnessed great upheavals to equal those suffered with the crushing of Shickelgruber’s empire and the setting up of Djugashvilli’s in Eastern Europe. These upheavals, political and climatic, not only humbled the American giant but crippled the Russian bear.
Despite disclaimers, the Romanovs mattered very much to Djugashvilli. Though Georgian from the Caucasus, not even a Russian (and the same thing occurred with Shickelgruber, who was Austrian ruling Germany in the guise of being her true, native son!), he sat on their former royal seat in the Great Russian Republic--GRR--and had been a fixture in the Kremlin so long he identified with the stinging slap in Czar Nickolas’s face the Japanese fleet had administered him in defeating his Far Eastern Navy in 1907. Now was his chance to restore Russian prestige by entering the war against Japan and taking what he wanted, after showing that Russian fighting forces were superior to the Imperial Japanese Army’s.
To that end he couldn’t rush his armies into battle fast enough. The Trans-Siberian Railway thundered round the clock with train after train carrying troops and war materials. He was in a big hurry, for he knew the Americans had their Operation Downfall all ready to launch against Japan on October 27, just after the firebombing of Japan’s major cities and the end of the typhoon season.
But here the serpentine baton of world destiny was passed, not to him, nor to the Americans, but to the Imperial Japanese, who, unwittingly, would drag down two empires with them in the flames of their destruction.
What was the means by which they would render victory over them so Pyrrhic, so costly in lives and effort their two major foes (for Britain was too exhausted by the struggle in Europe to furnish anything but a few divisions for the Pacific theater) would have balked at the hideous cost they would be forced to pay for invading the Japanese home islands? It was something the West would never be able to understand.
Sufic dervishes might know a similar ecstasy, but would they slay themselves for it?
Probably not. Militant Sikhs might fight for their mother Golden Temple of Amritsar with swords until there remained only one believer to hold the gate against the infidel or the Afghani raider, but would they fight just as hard for the whole of the subcontinent? Hardly, for only the part the Golden Temple occupied was considered sacred and inviolate to their religion. No, only the Far East knew what the Japanese meant, when they called it “Divine Wind,” or Kamikaze.
And, swept by Divine Wind, every man, woman, and child was prepared to defend to the death every inch of the home islands and their ruler, Hirohito, Japan’s divine emperor. Japan, its very soil, had become for them a most sacred altar on which they rushed to sacrifice their lives.
But would the Japanese fight on against America’s superior armed might? After all, America also had allies, Russia and the exhausted but still formidable lion of Britain.
Were the admirals and generals of Tojo’s regime that stupid or fanatical? The civilian and military planners in Washington, discounting Divine Wind, calculated a million American casualties, twice that of the Europe Theater’s, and General Willoughby, Chief Intelligence Officer for General MacArthur, agreed with that figure, saying there would be that many by fall of 1946.
A million was considered regrettable, but the war needed to be concluded, and a million it would have to be, now that a nuclear bomb was ruled out for the foreseeable future. Yet MacArthur’s own staff differed with General Willoughby and thought the estimate too conservative. They thought casualties might total as much as two to four million, an unacceptably high figure.
Which would it be? Again, discounting Divine Wind, the U.S. command held to the lower estimate.
Couldn’t a blockade starve the Japanese into surrender without expending so many lives? And wouldn’t bombing also help to achieve that end?
General MacArthur concurred that blockade and bombing would be useful, but the Japanese would not surrender, and an invasion was needed. The rest of the U.S. command agreed unanimously that a naval blockade might throttle the economy, but it couldn’t kill the war machine, just as the bombing would level the cities but leave whole armies intact. Leaving a hostile, half-defeated Japan armed and dangerous in East Asia was unthinkable, especially since Japan still held Korea and a large portion of Manchuria, thus threatening America’s ally, China. Left alone, there was every chance Japan would regain its strength and launch new attacks on its neighbors.
There seemed no other proper course to terminating the conflict. The Potsdam Declaration, issued July 26, demanded Japan’s unconditional surrender or face total destruction. Two days later Japan’s government news agency announced there would be no surrender.
Obliged to bring the Japanese to their knees with conventional arms, President Truman had already signed the Operation Downfall battle plans three days before the Declaration. Meanwhile the firebombing of the main targeted cities continued, driving the survivors into the countryside to hide in caves and underground facilities. U.S. ships and planes attacked and took Okinawa, subduing it
Troopships, destroyers, carriers with fighter planes and bombers--whole fleets representing America’s naval and air and army might steamed toward Kyushu, the southern island in the Japanese archipelago that was chosen to take the first invasion forces codenamed Operation Olympic, the first of a two-pronged invasion called Operation Downfall. Olympic would seize southern ports, while the second prong, Coronet, would attack the main island of Honshu and drive toward Tokyo on the Tokyo Plain. By then, secretly, Truman hoped to have his superweapon deployed that would knock out the last major centers of enemy resistence.
The best plans can go awry. Just as Shickelgruber’s Operation Barbarossa had been defeated mostly by winter weather, and secondly by Russian armies, America’s downfall came with an early blizzard. It wouldn’t have happened except that the typhoon season lasted longer than forecasted. Before Olympic could be halted, the typhoon struck, sweeping up along Kyushu and Honshu’s southern and eastern coasts, where it collided with a cold front sweeping down. Suddenly, everything y turned blinding and bitterly cold, with a gale factor that snapped weather instruments off and froze the fingers that tried to take readings before the instruments were destroyed.
Just as storms had destroyed vast Mongol fleets invading Japan in the 13th Century, the early blizzards caught Operation Downfall and the superweapon failed to gain any advantage whatsoever. Fully launched and committed, the most horrible campaign in the bloody annals of warfare was now beyond recall as Operation Downfall, without the knock-out punch of a superweapon, locked horn to horn with Japan’s self-defense grand strategy, Ketau-Go.
Planes with Divine Wind pilots aboard took off from twenty take-off strips on Kyushu, where they had rolled out from underground hangars. Thirty five camouflaged airfields and nine seaplane bases also sent up their planes. Already, fifty Japanese seaplane bombers, one hundred former carrier aircraft, and fifty army planes were attacking the American fleet carrying Operation Olympic. To continue the onslaught, fifty eight airfields on Korea, western Honshu, and Snikokv, sent fresh armadas into the air against Olympic. Just as in the battle for Okinawa, in which Japanese Kamikaze aircraft sank thirty-two allied ships and damaged more than four hundred others, Olympic suffered--suffered badly.
Washington, and MacArthur’s headquarters aboard the flagship of Operation Olympic, were stunned. Where had the enemy hid all these planes? They numbered in the thousands, with the tally rising as high as ten or twelve thousand.
MacArthur’s carrier was hit repeatedly by Kamikaze and nearly sunk in the first attack waves. There was a pause, then more Kamikaze! Ship after ship went down. “They’re cutting us to pieces!” MacArthur radioed the President. “Olympic in extreme jeopardy. Please advise.”
This, of course, was not a message any commander-in-chief ever wanted to hear from his supreme commander. And it was the last thing that commander, who had planned on this campaign as his crowning achievement of a long and glorious military career, wished to convey to his superior.
It was, of course, too late to turn Olympic back and not acknowledge utter defeat for America before the whole, watching world. Truman hoped that Coronet, still to be launched, might save the day for America, even if Olympic foundered. What other hope did he have anyway? The Russians? Radio contact was lost with Djugashvilli’s commanders in the far northern isles. Djugashvilli had attacked Manchuria, Korea, and also launched his navy with invasion forces at the Kuriles and Hokkaido--then this big storm had struck unexpectedly, and not a word more from them!
The British Ultra code-breaking experts at Bletchley Park did a little better, intercepting Soviet distress radio calls to Moscow from the Soviet’s Northern Japanese War Theater, called Operation Nicholas. Conveyed to Truman via Churchill, the news was grim. Whole armies lost in the blizzards, cut off from supplying ships, which were in many cases driven onto the rocks and reefs. Nothing was getting through to the units that had landed, and, unexpectedly, there was stiff fighting from the local inhabitants, who had been organized apparently into a home guard, the “National Volunteer Combat Force, all garbed in white and carrying rifles, lunge mines, satchel charges, Molotov cocktails, and one-shot black powder mortars. They came out of the whiteness against Russian positions like pure white ghosts and killed, then vanished back into the white curtain. Operation Nickolas was in shambles! Just like Olympic from the Kamikaze planes, midget subs, human torpedoes, exploding motorboats, and what have you!
Also a surprise, Oaks rocket-propelled bombs, flown by suicide pilots, took out ship after ship in the Olympic invasion fleet, which had started with eight hundred ships but was being rapidly decimated. Forty submarines, armed with Long Lance torpedoes with a range of twenty miles, struck the fleet even while it was over a hundred miles from any Japanese island.
Closer in the fleet was hit simultaneously by the Kamikaze air fleet, then twenty three destroyers of the Imperial Navy, and two cruisers in a counterattack. Overwhelmed in the air, the naval forces were breached, and battle plans were cut to shreds. Those American Olympic units that ran the gauntlet successfully and reached the Japanese beaches ran into beached Japanese cruisers used as artillery platforms, arrays of mines, and, on the beach and higher ground, fourteen Japanese divisions, seven independent mixed brigades, and thousands of naval troops--a three to two odds in favor of the enemy with 790,000 hard-core army and navy against the 550,.000 Americans--though, of course, only a fraction of that half million reached the beaches.
The thousands of Helldivers, Dauntless divebombers, Avengers, Corsairs, and Hellcats from the original strike force of sixty-six carriers? Most never saw action. They went down with their ships.
The weather made things impossible for the invasion, on top of it all, but the Japanese, accustomed to it, were little impeded. After moping up Olympic forces on land, sending the Olympic fleet in retreat to island bases far of with four hundred thousand casualties, a figure that included the dismissal and recall of MacArthur himself, they turned to deal with Coronet.
Here again the foul weather proved their chief ally. Waves twenty, thirty, even forty feet high, pummeled the fleet.
Blinding snow made landmarks invisible. Radar helped, but nobody really knew the Japanese archipelago like the natives did. Despite good maps, many American ships ran aground on reefs and small islands off Honshu’s coasts.
Then as the survivors approached Honshu thousands of scuba divers swam out to meet them invisibly in the dark waters, all Kamikaze-driven human torpedoes.
Ketau-Go troops, well-fed from stockpiles, well-equipped, absolutely familiar with home terrain, with invisible, underground supply systems and bunkers, stood ready, shoulder to shoulder with millions of enraged, fanatical Japanese peasants for making night-time suicide charges,, stood ready on the ground. Unfortunately, the weather broke, and the air fleet broke on the Coronet forces at the same time with thousands more of bombers, Kamikaze planes, and Oaks rocket-propelled bombs.
Olympic’s dismal record was repeated by Coronet. The reserve force of the 81st and the 98th Infantry Divisions and the 11th Airborne Division tried to land near Kaimondake, near the southernmost tip of Kigoshima Bay at beaches designated Locomobile, Lincoln, LaSalle, Hupmobile, Moon, Maxwell, Overland, Oldsmobile, Packard, and Plymouth. Offshore mines and suicide scuba divers attacked the landing craft, planted mines hit them on the beaches, and the Kamikaze planes added to the unspeakable chaos and destruction of the American effort.
All along the coast east of Tokyo the American 1st Army was supposed to land the 5th, 7th, 27th, 44th, 86th, and 96th Infantry Divisions, supported by the lst, 4th, and 6th Marine Divisions.
Samgami Bay south of Tokyo was the target for the entire 8th and 10th Armies, which would strike north and east to clear the western Tokyo bayshore and attempt to capture Yokohama as well.
Other assault troops would land south of Tokyo. Following this initial assault, eight more divisions would land, and if additional help was needed, divisions from Europe would be redeployed. With the Japanese heartland of Kyushu and Honshu captured, the big push would be over, and the Russians could mop up the relatively unimportant northern Japanese islands.
The war would be over, it had been planned and hoped, achieved by Coronet, the second horn, the second main column of the “Allied” invasion.
It would never happen that way.
Every inch of sacred Japanese soil was paid for twice over by both Japanese and Americans. When the battle was over, Japan lay smoldering from one end to the other beneath a blanket of snow.
Its cities were firebombed, its people driven into caves, its shrines obliterated, but its armies still fighting in the mountains, and also over in Korea and Manchuria. Japanese aircraft, by the thousands, continued to be produced in home shops, caves, mines, railroad tunnels, and basements.
By early 1947 the Emperor had left his family in Kyoto, and was last seen in Korea, and then he vanished, giving word to his people that they were to struggle on as obedient servants to Divine Wind, to which he was giving his throne for the duration of the war, and when victory was achieved, only then would he return.
Thus, the Japanese never really surrendered (though some minor functionaries of government signed “unconditional surrender” papers aboard a U.S. destroyer in Tokyo Bay, so that the occupying forces of the victors were forced to maintain large, costly armies to keep what they had fought so hard to capture.
The Russians and Americans, after sustaining millions of casualties thanks to “Divine Wind” and the polar weather, divided the ruins into north and south sectors, the Americans taking the south, which held Honshu and Kyushu, and the Kuriles and Hokkaido went to Russia.
But there was no victory celebrated in Washington or Moscow, the price had been too great and too bitter.
Exhausted, the two giants, the Eagle and the Bear, licked their near-mortal wounds, and never fully recovered. Truman failed to be re-elected, his daughter Margaret’s career in music as a soloist never really took off despite his hiring Carnegie Hall for her debut, and nobody cared much who took his place, since the “Victory in Japan” proved so unpopular a topic, even though supposedly America’s freedom had been preserved.
Meanwhile, over in Somersetshire’s pleasant Orangery, the Pentocrats met and congratulated themselves, and the baton passed from one to yet another in the group, as they formulated their efforts to “puff” the rather aged but still ravenous lion of Britain.