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In 1938 Japan launched an attack on the USSR. The Japanese then lost to the Soviets at the Battle of Lake Khasan. The Japanese launched another invasion but were defeated by the Soviet Army again. What if the Japanese had won the Battle of Lake Khasan, allowing it to keep Soviet claimed territory in Manchuria and an earlier World War 2 starts?
The Battle of Lake Khasan
Before the Battle of Lake Khasan Japan and the USSR disputed the Changkufeng Heights, which was high ground near Lake Khasan, the city of Najin, and strategic railway systems connecting Manchuria with Korea. On July 6, Soviet soldiers were sent to occupy the heights, which were unoccupied at the time. On July 15, Japan demanded Soviet troops be withdrawn from the heights. The Soviet Union rejected the demand. On July 29, Japan sent soldiers to take the Changkufeng Heights. They were repelled but on July 31 Japan succeeded and Soviet soldiers were forced to retreat from the heights. On August 2 Soviet soldiers were ordered to reclaim the heights. In OTL the Soviets forced Japan out of the heights ending the Battle of Lake Khasan and the first border war between Japan and the USSR. But in ATL Japan manages to repulse Soviet soldiers ordered to take the heights.
The Soviet Union, not wanting to give up the heights, ordered another attack on the heights. Once again the Soviet soldiers were repulsed. Japanese forces under Colonel Kotoku Sato were ordered to counterattack against Soviet soldiers at Bezymyannaya Hills, which was near the Soviet-Korean border. The Soviets repulsed the attack as reinforcements came to them because Vladivostok was not far from the Hills. The Japanese launched another attack but were repulsed again. By now war between the Soviet Union and Japan was likely. On September 2, the Soviet Navy at Vladivostok bombarded Korean coastal cities. Japan considered that an act of war and on September 4 Japan and the Soviet Union declared war on each other. Because Japan was a member of the Anti-Comintern Pact Germany and Italy declared war on the Soviet Union as well.
The Soviet-Japanese War was the name given to war. However, more sides were involved.
The War Begins
After initial declarations of war the Japanese Navy under the command of Isoroku Yamamoto and the Soviet Union engaged in naval clashes near Vladivostok. Japan hoped to gain superiority in the sea so it could launch an amphibious assault on Vladivostok. The Japanese Army Air Force, specifically the Second Air Army began bombing Vladivostok and attempted to gain air superiority over Soviet airplanes in the area. While that was happening the Japanese 75th Infantry Division and the 19th Division under Sato launched a third attack on Bezymyannaya. Japan managed to gain the hills this time and launched an attack on Mount Kholodlilnik, which overlooked all of Vladivostok. The battle there was bloody and Japan was repulsed at the end. After that Sato had his divisions regroup to the south of the mountain.
In the Baltic Germany launched an attack on the Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in March 1939. German paratroopers led by Kurt Meyer stormed the countryside while the Luftwaffe bombed important cities. The attack on these countries was led by Gunther von Kluge. These countries fell by April. Germany then launched an attack on Finland. Finland managed to hold off German attacks but its southern half was overtaken by June. The southern half of Finland was turned into the German satellite state of the Finland Socialist Republic. The northern half remained in Finnish hands, however. The Soviet Union also attack into the FSR in an attempt to take the land for itself.
Britain at first did not do anything as it did not want war with Germany. Britain was also under Neville Chamberlain at the time. However, Germany sank a British ship heading to Finland as Germany believed it was giving Finland supplies. As Britain wanted war with Germany Chamberlain resigned as he believed in order to win the war a government supported by all parties was essential, and Winston Churchill took office.
The War Continues
The war was still going on by 1940. Kotoku Sato was given the 23rd Division along with the 75th Division and the 19th Division he already commanded and was ordered to take Mount Kholodlilnik at all costs. Sato ordered the 64th Regiment under Colonel Takemitsu Yamagata of the 23rd Division to launch a diversionary attack on the western side of the mountain while the rest of the 23rd Division and the 75th and 19th assaulted the mountain on the southern side. The attack worked and the Japanese made there way up the mountain. The Soviet defenders there led by Ivan Konev dug bunkers and trenches so the Japanese had to dig them out one by one. In order to help in the attack the Second Air Army was ordered to bombard the mountain. The planes used poison gasses such as mustard in order to make the Russians get out of their bunkers and trenches. After the bombing a handful of Russian soldiers were dead and Sato continued his attack. Reinforcements arrived for the Russians; the 39th Rifle Corps under Grigori Shtern. After 20 days of fighting the Russian reinforcements forced Sato off the hill. Russian soldiers then fought Sato's units near the hill.
In Europe, Germany continues its advances in the Baltic. Germany also invades Czechoslovakia because it does not need to worry about Britain entering the war as it already has. The invasion brings France into the war because France and Czechoslovakia had an alliance. With France entering the war the Finland Offensive is temporarily stopped so divisions from there can aid in the invasion of France and the Low Countries. On May 20, 1940 the invasion commenced with Germany's Army Group A under Gerd von Rundstedt, Army Group B under Fedor von Bock, and Army Group C under Wilhelm von Leeb and Italy's Army Group West under H.R.H. Umberto di Savoia invading France and the Low Countries. More British soldiers were in France however as Britain had been at war since a year ago. British-French forces had to retreat to Paris however they stalled Germany at cities along the way. Thus the German attack on Paris occurred on July 1. It took Germany three weeks to take the city, so immense casualties were placed on Germany. Because of these casualties German soldiers in Finland, without reinforcements were pushed back. Northern France was occupied by Germany while southern France was turned into the German satellite state of Vichy France.
Back to Asia, the mainland campaign against Mount Kholodlilnik ends as Japanese bloodshed was too much. Sato is ordered to retreat to the Heights in case of a Soviet counter-attack. Meanwhile in Mongolia Michitaro Komatsubara and the Japanese 6th Army were in a campaign against the Soviet Union near the Soviet-Mongolia border. The Japanese 6th Army was attempting to cross the Khalkhin Gol River, and Soviet 57th Corps on the other side under Yakov Smushkevich were attempting to stop the Sixth Army. On July 5 the Japanese a heavy bombardment of Nomonham, a village where the 57th Corps had set up the headquarters. On the same day Japanese soldiers attempted to cross. Many Japanese soldiers died and the few hew made it to the other side were either executed or became POWs. The Soviets were at a cost, too, with many of their soldiers dead. Smushkevich was given reinforcements which would arrive on the 10th. After Japanese spies learned that reinforcements were coming for the 57th Corps the 6th Army was reinforced with Yasuoka Detachment under Masaomi Yasuoka, an armored task force of the Kwangtung Army. On July 7th the Japanese crossed again and were successful. On the 8th they managed to take Nomonham, and attempted to go further but were checked when the Soviet reinforcements arrived. The Soviets managed to push the 6th Army back to Nomonham but were defeated there.
After Vichy France was created it ceded Indochina to Japan. Japan needed Indochina. However, it could not spare the soldiers to occupy. So a deal was struck where the Vichy would deliver the oil to Japan. Because Japan did not occupy Indochina the US did not order an embargo against it; instead it continued its isolationist policy. Japan then continued its relentless assault against the USSR, China and Mongolia.
Back in Europe the first new German soldiers arrive in Finland in October 1940. Because of the defeat at France Britain had its soldiers diverted its soldiers in Finland. Knowing that the Germans would soon launch another offensive in Finland the British, Finnish, and the Soviets launched an offensive hoping to occupy the Finland Socialist Republic. Rommel however had set up the Jakobstad Line, near Jakobstad. The line would attempt to hold back the offensive. In September when the offensive began the Line managed to hold back the attackers with ease. Casualties were enormous for the Soviet Coalition. After the attack on the Jakobstad line failed the Germans, along with their new reinforcements attacks Coalition positions near Jakobstad. After defeating the surrounding positions units under Rommel stormed Jakobstad. The Coalition was bloodily repulsed, and the city of Jakobstad was in German hands. Following this loss the Soviet Union and Britain attempted cut off German Baltic Sea units by getting the Baltic Sea under their control. German U-Boats however managed to keep that from happening. In response to the attempted blockade of German units the Kriegsmarine, or the German Navy under Karl Dönitz was ordered to attack British convoys heading to Finland. This was catastrophic to the British and British units in Finland under Bernard Montgomery were cut off from Britain.
Advances and Defeats
In Asia Japan and the USSR were still locked in battle near in the sea near Vladivostok. Even though Japan had not really made many advances near Vladivostok it had successes in Mongolia and Siberia. The Japanese 6th Army was reinforced with the 1st and 2nd Armies under Lieutenant General Yoshia Shinozuka and Yoshio Kozuki, respectively. The 6th, 1st, and 2nd Armies then starting an advance at Irkutsk, an important Soviet city in Siberia. The Soviet defenders there launched an attack on the advancing army groups near Ulan-Ude, which had to be taken in order to cross Lake Baikal and get to Irkustsk. In order to take Ulan-Ude the Japanese needed to cross the Selenge River. Crossings began in March 1941. The Soviets after a week lost the city but inflicted heavy losses against the Japanese while gaining few of their own. The casualties stopped the Japanese advance for some time, and allowed the Soviet soldiers to prepare their defenses near Baikal Lake and Itkustsk.
The Japanese also continued there campaign against Vladivostok. In June 1941 Japan began an invasion of the Sahkalin, which the Soviet Union occupied since th beginning of the war, and hoped to cut of Vladivostok from needed supplies. The Russian soldiers there under the command of Vasily Chuikov made there stand at Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. The Japanese began bombarding the city on June 12. After Soviet soldiers refused to surrender there the Japanese attacked the suburbs of the city. Sporadic engagements took place as the Soviet mainly concentrated in the center of the city. On June 19 Japanese soldiers, while having minor casualties, entered the city itself. By the end of June the Japanese had most of the city. The same day Japan claimed the city taken. However small pockets of resistance existed and consistently gave Japan casualties. In August Soviet soldiers in the southeastern part of the city managed to defeat Japanese lines near there and advanced inward. With Japanese soldiers deployed there other Soviet soldiers advanced out of there pockets and advanced toward Japanese occupied lines. Following this severe street fighting broke out between both sides. In December the Soviets launched Operation Neptune, which surrounded the city and prevented any Japanese soldiers from getting out of the city. The Japanese soldiers began to lose ground as no new supplies came in. By February Japan had lost the suburbs and only had the GUM department store left in there hands. The Soviet Union attacked the building on February 6. On the 12th all Japanese soldiers in the store surrendered and the Battle of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk was over.
In Europe, Germany invaded Poland, which once conquered Germany would strike the Soviet Union through Poland and the Baltic countries. Seeing this, the Soviet Union and Poland signed the Russo-Polish Agreement, which allowed Russian soldiers enter Poland if another country attacks Poland. Thus Soviet troops were in Poland before the Germans could take Warsaw. The Germans could not break through Soviet and Polish lines so Hitler ordered Rommel to strike the Soviet Union and advance to Leningrad. Rommel, and his SovietKorps invaded the Soviet Union on July 16, 1941. The Soviet Union had to pull some soldiers out of Poland and Finland to protect Leningrad, so Germany did make some advances. By the end of July Rommel was at Leningrad. Rommel had his soldiers then entered the city. The German soldiers enjoyed success until being stopped at the River Neva. British soldiers under Claude Auchinleck then attacked the German soldiers from behind, attempting to trap them in the city between British and Soviet lines. Rommel ordered his soldiers to retreat from Leningrad to regroup for another attack. The attack came in August. Rommel had his artillery bomb Soviet positions at the river. The artillery was inaccurate and the Soviets prevented a crossing. The Soviets and British then advanced from Leningrad, forcing Rommel back from the city. By the end of September Rommel was pushed back to Finland. Because of Rommel's defeat the Germans could not break past Soviet lines in Poland or Finland.
The War Becomes Global
In August 1941, Japan still did not occupy Indochina. Oil was still coming from it. But in August, British soldiers from India managed to defeat Vichy French soldiers at the border, allowing them to cross into Indochina. The goal of the British was to get to the oil fields so oil would stop coming from Indochina. Because of this, Japan ordered some of its units in southern China go into Indochina and stop the British advance. Japan also invaded British Pacific colonies so no soldiers could come from there either. The Japanese military managed to conquer most of British islands but it became over stretch. Australia and New Zealand remained in British hands, and their navies from their blockaded the coast of Indochina. This dealt a great blow to the Japanese as most of their oil could not be sent by ships to the home islands. The Japanese Navy was too stretched to stop the blockade so Japan had two choices: Get the oil from Siberia, or get the oil from Alaska. In Siberia Japanese offensives had stopped and were slowly being pushed back. So that left Alaska. On September 12, 1941 Japanese airplanes attacked Alaska, Hawaii and other US Pacific possessions. Because most of the Pacific islands were in Japanese hands the US Pacific Fleet was at Hawaii and was destroyed. Japan then landed soldiers in Alaska, aiming to capture the oil fields there. September 12, 1941 is now known as "A date which will live in infamy."
In Alaska, the Japanese took over the islands of Attu and Kiska by October. The Japanese then launched another assault on the mainland of Alaska. This Japanese attack was designed to take Anchorage, the biggest city in Alaska. The Japanese quickly defeated the minor US defenses there and took the city. The Japanese began extracting the oil there. The Japanese then continued northward to get the oil. By then end of the year Japan had most of Alaska in its hands. In January 1942 Japan began an offensive into British Columbia. The Japanese believed if they conquered it, we can threaten the United States. It was in Canada, so the Japanese had to defeat the Canadians first. The Canadians, as supplies came easier for them, defeated the Japanese in several battles and pushed them back from British Columbia. The United States also landed soldiers in Attu in an attempt to liberate the country. By April the Canadians pushed the Japanese in Alaska and Attu and Kiska were in American hands. In a last ditch assault Japanese forces landed soldiers in Seattle. As the United States thought an attack on its mainland was impossible Seattle fell in a few months. By then, American soldiers were there and pushing the Japanese out of Seattle. By July of 1942 Japan was out of North America.
In Europe, winter had set in. The German soldiers in Finland were not equipped with winter uniforms, and neither were the British. The Soviets were the only ones really properly dressed for the cold and that proved to be a great advantage for them. The Soviets launched an offensive into the FSR, catching the Germans off guard, as they didn't think an offensive in this type of weather was possible. The Soviets began pushing the Germans back. In December the Soviets broke through the Jakobstad Line, which made the Germans retreat even more. The Soviet Union kept advancing in Finland. The British advanced as well, capitalizing on Soviet success. The Finnish Resistance, believing they would finally be free of German hands, rose up in Helsinki. Resistance members rose all across the FSR. Germany, seeing that Finland would eventually fall, ordered Rommel to bring his soldiers to reinforce Gunther von Kluge's men, who were fighting to keep Lithuania as Estonia and Latvia had already fallen. The Soviet success was however limited to Finland, as Poland remained a stalemate. German tried to break the stalemate by having armies from Lithuania advance south and attack the Soviets from the north. The attacks forced the Soviets to retreat from northern Poland, but Warsaw was in Soviet possession still. Italy then attempted to help the Germans by invading neutral Turkey and getting soldiers into the Middle East and landing soldiers in southern Ukraine. The Italian attack, however only gave the Allies one more member.
German Successes, Japanese Defeats
Following Japan's defeat in North America the tide quickly turned against it. In September 1942 the Americans landed at the Solomon Islands. As most of the men were veterans who fought in the Battle of Seattle and or the Battle of Alaska the Solomon Islands were liberated from Japan in January 1943. The Americans, with Australian and New Zealand support, slowly moved northward in the Pacific, fighting at different islands. Meanwhile the Soviet Union was slowly pushing Japan back from there lands. In mid-1943 the Soviet Union was at the border of Mongolia. The Japanese did not lose each bit of land without a fight, and each battle the Soviet Coalition suffered more casualties. The Soviets then came then entered Mongolia. The Japanese soldiers there were ordered to fight to the death. The Japanese had built well-craft fortifications and had stiff resistance. The Soviet commander predicted Mongolia would fall in 10 days; instead, it was 3 months. The Battle of Mongolia involved many different places of fighting including, The Ulan Bator Point and Bloody Nose Peak. The Battle of Mongolia had one of the highest casualties in the war, with 6,500 dead and 18,000 wounded. The Japanese loss of life was surprisingly higher, with 10,000 dead and unknown wounded. The Battle of Mongolia was nothing compared to the Battle of Manchuria.
While the Japanese were being defeated, the Germans were enjoying some success. Hitler was furious about not taking Poland by now, and ordered that 2.5 million men be amassed in Poland and strike through Soviet lines. In July 1942 the deed was done and 2.5 soldiers under the command of Franz Halder were amassed in Poland. On July 22, 1942 the massive German army of 2.5 million men attacked Poland in Operation Barbarossa. The first Tiger I Tanks were deployed in the operation, as well as a lot of Panzer III and Panzer IV. The Panzer IV proved to be a match for the Soviet T-34s. Many T-34s were destroyed in the opening stages of Barbarossa. By the middle of August the Germans had Warsaw in their possession. The Germans continued onward, and conquered Poland by the end of August. The Germans then invaded Ukraine. In September Kiev was taken. The Germans then took all of Ukraine. The Germans then made incursions in the Soviet Union. By November the Germans launched Operation Edelweiss, an attack on the Caucasus Region and take its oil. In December German troops occupied the Region. But as 1944 rolled in the initial shocks of an invasion of that force was over and the Soviets were gearing up for a counter-offensive.
The End of the War
In 1944 the United States had most of the Pacific in their hands. It also occupied Taiwan, Okinawa and Iwo Jima. In the summer of 1944 the Soviets crossed the border into Manchuria. Manchuria, which was the last major Japanese holding in Asia, was important to the Japanese and fought with ferocity and stiff resistance. The invasion of Manchuria was code-named Operation Glacier, and Glacier began in the summer of 1944. Ten Soviet divisions were sent in, which was about 200,000 men, compared the Japanese 120,000 men. The Soviets also landed soldiers in Manchuria while the assault on Manchuria by mainland happened. The Japanese kamikazed Soviet ships, which failed to damage or destroy any landing ships it did damage a few aircraft carriers. The Soviets also deployed massive amounts of tanks and armored vehicles, which earned the battle the Typhoon of Steel. Heavy fighting was in Manchuria, as the Japanese had dug well-made fortifications, bunkers, and trenches. Soviet soldiers often were bombarded with mortars and grenades. Flamethrowers and flame tanks were common on the Soviet side, and they cleared many Japanese defenses. The Soviets could not breakthrough Japanese lines, and the battle continued into May. By then monsoon season set in, which made the ground muddy and filled with decaying corpses. This did not hamper any side, and the battle continued. At last in the middle of June Japanese soldiers were pushed off Manchuria. The casualties of the battle were enormous: the Soviet suffered 18,000 casualties while the Japanese suffered over 100,000 thousand.
Japan had now nothing but the Home Islands, and the United States, the Soviet Union, and Britain drew up plans for Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan. However, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, resulting in Japanese surrender. In Europe, Germany, however unlikely, managed to sign peace treaties with the Soviet Coalition (minus France) and World War 2 was over. Germany managed to keep the countries it occupied, but Ukraine and the Caucasus were back in Soviet hand as in the final days of the war they pushed the Germans back from there.
The New World
After World War II the world was changed beyond recognition. In Europe Germany had occupied most of it, and countries that weren't were allied with it. The leader of the countries that resisted Germany's power was the United Kingdom. Finland was split in half by the Germans in the south and the Russians and British in the north. In Asia Britain and the US had liberated most of the Pacific, and were occupying Japan. The communists won the civil war in China, which brought tensions. Korea, entirely occupied by the Soviet Union, slowly fell under its influence. Africa was split between American, British, German, and Soviet influence. The three main powers of the world, America, Germany, and the Soviet Union, each had different ideas and goals, which set up for conflict.
The German Civil War
In 1948 Adolf Hitler, dictator of Germany, died with no clear successor. The SS and Gestapo, which supported Heinrich Himmler, seized control of Berlin and surrounding areas. Himmler then declared himself the new Führer. Despite controlling these areas, much of the military is not loyal to him. The Luftwaffe was loyal to Hermann Goring, and the soldiers in the east were loyal to Erwin Rommel. In France the military was loyal to Gerd von Rundstedt, who Hitler appointed to rule the occupied zone in France. Himmler knew he needed to eliminate them.
Himmler decides to strike at Rommel first. Himmler ordered SS units in Poland to assassinate Rommel, who was currently in Warsaw. The SS agents were disguised as Polish resistance members. On July 21, 1948 the SS started shooting at Rommel's convoy. Despite the death of 12 officers, Rommel managed to escape unharmed. With Rommel still alive, Himmler ordered an attack on Warsaw, hoping to kill Rommel, the Wehrmacht, and the Poles inside. The attackers surrounded Warsaw while they attacked, preventing anyone from coming in or out. This led to Rommel forging an alliance with the Polish resistance.
The SS then tried to keep news of the attack from being heard. Word still reached Hermann Goring. Hermann Goring feared that Himmler would target him next after Rommel. Goring proposed an alliance with Rommel against Himmler. Rommel agreed, and the Luftwaffe bombed SS positions outside of the city. This opened up a hole where Rommel and the Resistance escaped. They then went to the city of Olsztyn, where the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe set up there headquarters. For the next few days SS and Wehrmacht clashed all over Germany. The German Civil War had official begun.
Himmler ordered an attack be made on Olsztyn. Wehrmacht troops overpowered the attackers and forced them to retreat. Resistance also flared up all over Poland. Himmler ordered additional soldiers be sent. SS members were assembled from all across Germany. On August 15 a combined Wehrmacht-Polish force attacked Warsaw. SS soldiers there stood there ground, but will slowly overwhelmed by the combined force's numbers. With Warsaw nearly lost, Himmler ordered the SS to retreat from Warsaw and regroup at Lodz.
The Wehrmacht, with northern Poland in their possession, begin marching south toward Lodz. The Luftwaffe also begin bombing SS strongholds in southern Poland. The numerically superior Wehrmacht overpower the SS strongholds, before being stopped at Lodz on September 20. At Lodz, the city was torn apart between the two warring sides. Polish resistance struck at SS positions across the city. Himmler ordered the execution of all Polish citizens there because they might have been part of the resistance. On November 12 the SS soldiers were forced to retreat from Lodz. Both sides had taken heavy casualties. With the Wehrmacht posed to take all over Poland, Himmler ordered the destruction of the Auschwitz concentration camp, so the horrors of the Final Solution would not be discovered.