if Japan Surrendered Earlier?
Both Scott and David have explored Japan lasting
longer in the war, either fighting the Americans to a standstill or being
smashed into the ground. I’m
going to explore the other side of it; what if Japan left the war earlier? As Scott is fond of noting, this timeline only works if you
assume that the Emperor had real power and a good knowledge of the war
After 1944, Japan has nothing to bargain with.
The POD needs to before then, but after Midway, as Japan thought it
was winning the war until then. (Some
Japanese thought that it was winning the war after then as well, which
shows how stupid some people can be.)
So, let’s start just after Midway.
The Emperor calls a strategy conference and outlines the following
The war is lost.
Japan may live for two more years at most. At the moment, however, Japan can bleed the allies badly,
while Germany is pushing the USSR back.
Therefore, Japan can use that as a lever to get a good peace out of
The Japanese send out peace feelers to the allies.
The allies are not sure what to do with them, while Japan leaving
the war would make it easier to crush Germany, it might also mean letting
the Japanese survive the war without a change of government.
However, FDR, concerned about allied lives, orders a careful
As a gesture of good faith, Japan withdraws from
Burma and Indochina, leaving nationalist forces in control. They also quietly tip off Chiang Kai-Shek that they might
leave Hong Kong so he can move a force into position to seize it before
the British can get there. They
do give Chiang a few further notes of warning, but the Japanese want to
try and hold onto Manchuria at the peace conference, so they basically
place a mortiuem on further offensive action.
While China signs no agreement, she does hold off attacking Japan
before the conference.
The peace conference is bitter, but finally comes to
Japan will admit defeat publicly,
Japan will withdraw from all conquests since 1933.
This includes Korea and all of China,
Japan will surrender the entire Imperial Navy (IJN), apart from ten
destroyers and five cruisers,
America will supply Japan with foodstuffs to avert starvation,
Japan will provide technical expertise to China as compensation for
All Japanese named as war criminals will be surrendered to the
allies for trial,
This does not include the emperor, who will remain on the throne,
There will be no occupation of the Japanese Home Islands, apart
from a single American force on one of the Islands.
Japan, under some protest, signs the treaty.
Almost imminently, some disputes break out between the allies, as
China retakes Hong Kong and refuses to return it to Britain, and Australia
takes the East Indies, displacing both the Dutch and the nationalists.
Further, the Indochina nationalists refuse to allow the French to
return and the Chinese Communists have managed to take a large number of
Japanese surrenders and refuse to submit to Chiang’s authority.
Britain receives the surrender of most of the Japanese fleet, as
the fleet command is reluctant to surrender to America.
The relatively lenient peace inspires members of the
German resistance, conspiring against Hitler.
They start preparing to kill their leader. Meanwhile, the allies ship troops to the African field and to
Britain. The plan is for a
direct invasion of France in 1943. With
extra reinforcements, Rommel’s forces are pushed back by the allies and
he is defeated in November 1942. He
is returned to Germany by Hitler just before the final defeat and sent to
France to build defence lines.
Now, here’s one of those that might be difficult to
follow. A quicker German
defeat in North Africa is good for the Germans - and here’s why.
Instead of having two high priority desperate situations, they’ll
only have one to deal with – Stalingrad.
That means that the Germans won’t have to send reinforcements to
Africa, which included planes, tanks and men, all desperately needed at
Stalingrad. Therefore, winter
1942 sees the Germans last longer, manage to break out most of their force
from the trap in the city, and knock the soviets back when they attempt to
follow up their victory. Both
sides claim a victory, and neither side is right.
The allies build up rapidly in Britain, defeating the
U-Boats in early 1943, as they’ve been able to move huge reinforcements
to the Atlantic. The combined
bomber offensive is really beginning to hit the Germans, although they
compensate by improving their defences and moving plants eastwards.
The allies then build up in Africa and invade Sardina as a staging
post, which falls in March.
The allies then issue Vichy France with an
ultimation. If they allow the
allies to land in the south of France unopposed, the allies will allow
France to retain her colonies after the war.
If not, the allies will take France’s colonies and will hand them
over to the natives. They
point to Indochina, now being run by the natives and becoming a British
If he allows the allies to land, Hitler will turn France into a
battleground. But if he
refuses, France’s chances of returning to world power will be destroyed.
He decides to allow the allies to land, which they do in southern
France in April 1943. Hitler
is unsurprised by the landing, although he believes it to be a feint, and
orders several German divisions south to contain the landing and push the
allies back into the sea. The
Vichy forces join the allies and ship most of their forces in Algeria over
to join them.
This gives the allies a problem. They backed the Free French, but now they have forces that
are loyal to Vichy in the battle zone as well.
They solve that problem by telling both sides to co-operate with
each other or else. This
attempt at American domination sours relations with the French, while the
weakening of the troops in Algeria sparks revolution, which the allies
won’t let the French move troops back for as Rommel has started a
powerful counter attack.
May 1943 sees the allies land a powerful force at
Normandy, rapidly breaking out of the landing zone and threatening to cut
Rommel’s forces off from their bases.
Hitler makes matters worse by ordering ‘no retreat’, which
Rommel disobeys, but Germany has lost most of France.
This provokes the resistance in Germany to launch a coup, which
they do in June.
Germany sees the beginnings of a civil war as a bomb
destroys Hitler’s base, with him and Himmler inside. Several SS and army factions attempt to seize power in the
chaos that follows, but finally Rommel emerges as the new furher.
He orders negocations to begin with the west.
Stalin is unhappy and demands a seat at the conference table,
threatening a separate peace of his own.
Rommel is unwilling to deal with Stalin if it can be avoided, and
therefore begins discussions with the polish government in exile.
They sign an agreement with Germany that lets them have their 1939
borders, independence and American troops in Poland to protect them from
any foe, notably Germany or the USSR.
The Germans hand out one final blow at the soviet forces in Russia
and withdraw. Rommel offers Stalin a deal, Germany won’t destroy the land
if Stalin agrees to recognise polish independence and that of the other
The west is offered a similar bargain.
Most of the war criminals have been killed in the fighting in
Germany. Hitler’s cronies
have been purged. With the
withdrawal of German troops from Poland, Rommel can launch a heavy attack
on the allied forces. Therefore,
the allies reluctantly agree to a ceasefire.
Germany will withdraw from France and the Belgium states, while the
allies will agree to defend Poland.
After Stalin reluctantly agrees, the German forces withdraw back to
Germany and their ally states, often handing over their weapons to
nationalists. World War Two
The aftermath of the war continues to rock society.
Japan concentrates on building up her economic strength, while
making trading contacts throughout Asia, including Indian and Indochinese
nationalists. Japan also
propagates revisionist histories that see them as brave fighters who made
a truce to end the bloodshed. Ironically, Japanese troops serve as volunteers in many
nationalist armies, including the force that defeats the French in
Indochina in 1946. A
Japanese-led co-prosperity sphere may not be an impossibility.
India becomes quieter as Britain can send more troops
to stamp on rioting. With the
early end to the war, Britain can lead the Indians towards united
independence, instead of partition. Britain
leaves a peaceful, united, India in 1945.
Germany manages to hide much of the evidence of the
nazi holocaust. Without that
burden, Germany becomes a powerful member of Europe again in 1960, forming
the European union in 1961, with a France weakened by colonial wars and
the rest of Europe following. The
Soviet Union survives until 2000, without the need to garrison Poland, but
they slowly become democratic with the influx of polish goods.
Stalin, however, spends the last years after the war grinding out
the nationalist movements in the subject regions.