Chapter III: Consolidation, Cold War and Succession, 1945-1960.
The war had been won with Hitler triumphant in Europe and Japan in Asia, but now a new phase commenced. It was a phase of chilled relations and proxy conflicts between the major power blocks, the Anglophone world, Imperial Japan and Nazi dominated Europe. The latter two also still struggled against the rump Soviet Union under Stalin and Chiang’s China respectively. Yet at this time, the world wide struggle for dominance had hardly been decided with Hitler’s Nazi regime still firmly in control of the reins of power in Germany and the European continent, and Japan dominating Asia. The British Empire on the other hand seemed to be falling apart with the independence of India and the loss of its Asian colonies, and the United States not willing to intervene to save the Empire. It was compensated by the rise of America and its monopoly on nuclear weapons after their 1946 Trinity test which the Americans soon made known. Hitler threatened retaliation with nerve gas equipped long range missiles should atomic bombs ever be employed against German cities, and Japan also possessed stockpiles of nerve gas, not to mention bacteriological weapons. The Cold War power balance seemed hardly unambiguous at the time.
Part 1: Developments in Europe.
At the time of the end of the war, Germany and the Nazi regime had reached the pinnacle of their power. The Reichstag Fire Decree and the Enabling Act of 1933, the foundations for Hitler’s dictatorship, remained in effect even if the regime somewhat softened its image post-war. For example, concentration camps also still existed for political dissidents, but now there were staged inspections by the International Red Cross. Nonetheless, there was, however, some dissent rising from the generation that had reached adulthood after the war, something which, however, wouldn’t become apparent until after Hitler’s death in 1954 and his succession by Himmler. The latter would try to squash it which would decrease his popularity heavily, leading to his ultimate downfall from power. Despite these cracks, however, the inherent flaws of the regime were hardly apparent to most people at the end of the 40s and early 1950s.
German society was affluent thanks to the cheap products from the east and because there was no more need for physical labour since that was what Ukrainian, Russian and Czech slaves were for. Economically, the Greater German Reich or “Germania”, was on the rise which was signified by the achievements of the regime exalted in state propaganda and a high GDP per capita which significantly surpassed the pre-war level which seemed to prove Hitler’s point that the eastern lands brought Germany wealth. Among the Third Reich’s achievements were the detonation of an atomic bomb in 1950, the launch of a satellite into Earth orbit in 1953 from Peenemünde by the team led by Wernher von Braun which gave Germany the lead in the space race, the creation of a vast network of ten lane autobahns, the creation of Hitler’s dreamed-of vast network of broad gauge railways with massive trains, and the construction of the world capital Germania.
Culturally, in the 40s and 50s, Hitler’s crabbed, banal tastes became the norm which led to a boringly repetitive German cultural atmosphere dominated by neoclassical art, baroque art and Wagnerian opera, and also the Nazis still used subversives as scapegoats. With the Jews removed almost completely from Europe except neutral countries like Switzerland, these were communism, interracial relations mainly between Aryans and Slavs, and also the “disease” (as Hitler called it) known as homosexuality that kept returning despite attempts to wipe it out. Homosexuality and violations of “racial hygiene” were heavily punished by the regime with approval of the Nazi party and the “Institute of Racial Hygiene” which combined Germany’s leading eugenicists.
America functioned as a convenient foreign scapegoat in the Cold War that ensued after the end of World War II. The latter was increasingly being blamed for Nazi Germany’s problems with propaganda depicting it as a country of corruption, poverty, racial degeneration and on the verge of societal collapse and civil war due to racial tensions between the general Aryan populace, the “shrewd Jewish capitalist plutocratic elites” and the “black movement” which was seen as an extension of the sway the Jews were said to have over US politics. Said Jews, according to state propaganda, were bent on undermining German power by supporting their “Soviet puppets”.
Hitler, after the war, focused first on his mega construction mania by building his world capital Germania, though he was quickly disappointed with the fact that Berlin’s soil could not support his pet building project. He reluctantly ordered for alternative locations to be found, with focus on Nuremberg and Munich which were of great importance in Nazi party history and Nazi symbolism. Nuremberg was chosen for the construction of the grand world capital of Germania as decided by Albert Speer with the following major changes which made the city a construction site for the better part of the post-war decade: the city was to be bisected by a north-south and an east-west avenue, each twice the length of the Champs-Élysées in Paris and flanked by 24 metre tall neoclassical marble columns adorned with Nazi eagles; on the north side of the junction of the two a massive forum for a 350.000 large crowd was to be built; on the north side of said forum would be the massive neoclassical People’s Hall, a domed structure that could house a crowd of 180.000 people, was 250m wide, 200m tall, had 24m tall columns supporting it, had a gold eagle statue in the back, and was adorned with an eagle clutching a globe rather than a swastika to symbolize world domination; Hitler’s vast baroque/neoclassical palace with its 700 metre facade and enormous gardens for Hitler’s German shepherds and Goebbels’ children to play in would be on the west side; the chancellery would be on the south to dwarf the existing one in Berlin; on the east of the forum would be the high command of the military; spanning the width of the north-south avenue would be an Arch of Triumph one hundred metres tall and on the inside would be carved the names of the victims of both World Wars; a massive air port known as the “Hermann Goering Airport” which was the largest in the world, was also built in Nuremberg; lastly, an Olympic Stadium capable of holding 400.000 people was to be built since Hitler was convinced that the Olympic Games would and should forever be held in Germany in the future (they weren’t though, and the Nazis organised their own equivalent, the “Aryan Games”).
Nuremberg was largely evacuated for the construction work with those who needed a new home being offered a free patch of land in Polish or Ukrainian lands that had been cleared of their original inhabitants, or receiving homes that had formerly belonged to Jews. This had to do with practical concerns, but also due to the fact that Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, Jewish and Czech slave workers as well as political dissidents were used as cheap, unskilled labour which the Nazi regime wanted to hide from the general populace and the world. Munich and Linz saw some minor changes with the former being the site of Hitler’s mausoleum and the latter of the mausoleum for Hitler’s parents, both modelled on the Pantheon in Rome.
The Berghof in Berchtesgaden in Bavaria was also expanded and Hitler would spend the last few years of his life there together with his mistress Eva Braun whose life continued the same way it had during and before the war. She was not allowed to take part in political decision making and so when Reich dignitaries came in, she was banished to the confines of her bedroom. She did have a little more freedom than before for her hobbies like nude sunbathing, smoking and photography (of which the former two were deeply disapproved by Hitler), this thanks to Hitler’s increasing reclusiveness from the late 1940s onward. She did, for the first time, appear alongside Hitler in public on the Nuremberg rally in 1946 since the older Hitler wanted to give the populace a new image that as he grew older, he was settling down for a quiet family life instead of the political activism of the 20s and 30s and his activities as a war leader in the mid 40s. She bore Hitler a son named Siegfried in 1947 and a daughter named Frida in 1949. She otherwise led a sheltered life in luxury with her own servants, driver and nannies for the children, far away from the hustle and bustle in Nuremberg and Berlin, in the boring daily routine of the Berghof. She took care of her children, something which gave her some distraction, as did her vacations to the spas and beaches on the Black Sea.
Hitler did not see much of his children as they were under his wife’s care as he believed it should be, and because they were sent off to boarding schools at the age of five to be moulded into ideological copies of their father. This was successful since both Siegfried and Frida Hitler are fanatical supporters of the Nazi cause up until today and have always denied the crimes committed by their father, blaming his underlings and claiming that Hitler had no knowledge of the Holocaust. Otherwise, from what little they know, they remember him as a caring father and husband. They have an honorary position in the NSDAP thanks to their heritage. Braun would care for Hitler during the last two years of his life until 1954. After his death, she inherited the Berghof and lived out her life there. She also inherited Hitler’s wealth, earning a 600 pound-sterling allowance per month. After the fall of the Nazi regime, she consistently denied having any knowledge of Hitler’s crimes as stated in numerous interviews though some historians believe that she at least some superficial idea of what was happening. She died in 1994 at the age of 82.
In the meantime, Hitler’s power was by the late 40s very much absolute in his empire, but the constant annoyance of the guerrilla to the east loomed, especially now that this combined with pure terrorism (though justified considering Nazi state terror). Ethnic German minorities from across Eastern Europe were re-settled in the cities from which the original population was expelled to the countryside or industrial ghettos. The result was a sporadic campaign of car and suicide bombings to complement the guerrilla in the countryside. The control of the Germans didn’t stretch beyond the range of their guns which meant that the countryside was a pretty much lawless region with the SS as only one of the players, though it was the strongest. The Germans mostly only ventured outside the cities to collect the harvest, put down too troublesome resistance groupings, and continue ethnic cleansing, specifically the removal of Jews which was almost complete with most of them expelled to the Soviet rump-state and with Stalin’s news of this being met with disbelief outside his own country due to the tyrannical nature of his own regime. Stalin nonetheless continued to fuel the guerrilla war while the remnants of the Red Army unofficially fought on as well.
But still despite problems in suppressing the rebellious population in the east, Generalplan Ost seemed to be achieved even quicker than anticipated all things considered. For the 1940s and 50s, since rumours of Nazi crimes were mostly dismissed as Soviet propaganda or wilfully ignored by most of the world, the SS could continue pretty much undisturbed on its little playground of horror without any oversight from any higher authority except for an elite group in the Nazi party, and they grew more effective under the ruthless management of SS-Obergruppenführer (SS-general) Reinhard Heydrich who grew in influence. Heydrich, who was appointed as the new “minister for the eastern territories” replacing Rosenberg, started to slowly expand from the cities in an effective “inkblot strategy”, advancing only slowly and consolidating for lengthy periods of time. Thanks to these factors, the SS could work relatively speedy and by 1950 both Poland and Bohemia-Moravia were 75-80% Germanized. It also allowed for the SS to grow steadily in terms of influence because it wasn’t subjected to any higher governing body and because its manpower increased to over 2.5 million men with 1.3 million in the armed branch called the Waffen-SS which was deemed necessary if the SS was to be able to continue carrying out its tasks.
In the process of these practices of genocide, the conquests to the east were also given an official governmental structure. The Baltic States and Belarus became the Reichskommissariat of Ostland, northern Ukraine became Gotenland, southern Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula became Taurida, the territory around Moscow became Muscovy and the lands south of Stalingrad simply became known as Caucasus. Leningrad was renamed St. Petersburg again and Stalingrad became ‘Hitlerstadt’. Further to the west, the Netherlands, Belgium and Norway remained ‘Reichskommissariats’ while Luxembourg was officially annexed as Moselland and Alsace-Lorraine as the Westmark. Austria became the Ostmark, Poland was continued to be called the General-Government, and the Czech territories remained as they were, the protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia though it was de facto annexed into Germany.
The rest of the European continent was organised into the European Community, a military alliance and customs union of the fascist powers. All European countries joined in except for Switzerland which the fascist leaders used as a safe haven for shady financial transactions, and it remained as only one of three democratic powers in Europe, the other two being Sweden and Finland. Even neutral Portugal under the Estado Novo regime joined in to avoid being absorbed by Francoist Spain. In reality, the EC was a way to make Europe a market for cheap German grain and industrial products from the eastern lands, a market shielded from American and British produce by high external tariff barriers. The EC was officially governed by biannual meetings of a council of ministers and heads of state and also a parliament wherein seats were apportioned by population size. De facto though, these governing bodies were powerless with a strong German voice in proceedings which was a de facto veto right, a right that only the Italians had a slight say in since they had some respect from Germany for being allies throughout the war. German influence was strengthened by the fact that the EC’s headquarters was in Berlin and thus subject to scrutiny by German intelligence services. The EC was in reality a ploy for Nazi Germany to exert influence over the fascist puppet governments across Europe.
In the meantime, besides the almost complete jurisdiction over the east and its manpower, the SS and Gestapo jointly controlled the Nazi atomic bomb program. In 1946, the United States had successfully tested a nuclear weapon and Hitler suddenly radically put an emphasis on it. Under joint SS-Gestapo jurisdiction and the overall oversight of Reinhard Heydrich a search began for uranium deposits which were discovered in Bohemia-Moravia and Ukraine. Heydrich managed to “motivate” the scientists, the main ones being Diebner, Heisenberg, Hahn and Weiszäcker, by threatening their families if insufficient progress was made, which resulted in the invention of a new type of centrifuge to separate the uranium isotopes. Their fear for their lives and the lives of their families led them to excel and so Heydrich was once again effective even if his methods were highly questionable. Through espionage more intelligence was gathered and Nazi Germany finally tested a 22 kiloton atomic bomb in the Ukraine in 1950 and a 2.2 megaton (scaled down from 5 megatons for the live test) hydrogen bomb in 1956. The atomic bomb was tested on a Ukrainian village to determine the effects of a nuclear blast and the effects of radioactive radiation and other effects on the human body, but this was of course carefully omitted from the state propaganda campaign regarding success in the nuclear program. Italy was allowed to set up a nuclear research program of its own and received German help, allowing them to test a 12 kiloton device in the Libyan Desert in 1958.
The growth of the SS and its assorted branches such as the SD and Gestapo was symptomatic of a power struggle going on within the Nazi regime itself, behind the scenes of course well hidden from the general populace. Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler didn’t have good health though this was in part due to hypochondria, and also the stress suffered in the war contributed though that factor was now gone which meant a slight improvement. Still, Hitler became ever more reclusive as his health deteriorated and his cronies now started to run the state for him, only coming to him to ask for approval and feeding him mostly false information while he was under increasing medical care. In this way, Himmler managed to persuade Hitler to merge the SS with the Wehrmacht which had been one of Hitler’s goals for a long time now anyway. This gave Himmler a strong powerbase to seize power with once Hitler was dead which was what he had been aiming for all along. The SS was now a true state within a state and the dominant factor in Nazi politics though the combined influence of Goering, Goebbels, Bormann and a few others with their own leeway with Hitler managed to balance them out as long as the latter was still alive. Hitler in the late 40s/early 50s was still alive which prevented open infighting and also ensured a solid foreign policy since Hitler still dictated this from the confines of his palace.
In Hitler’s foreign policy, Germany consistently supported anti-British and anti-American nationalist resistance movements in the Middle East (Hitler didn’t want to support blacks in Africa which he considered inferior, and besides this France and Italy didn’t want examples for their own colonial subjects; as a result, black nationalist movements took on a strongly communist platform, though adapted to their own country’s needs). For example, the regime of the young Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi received help from German trainers and military advisors with generals Guderian and Rommel as military liaisons to Tehran. In 1944, British troops were compelled to withdraw from Iran since they had promised to do so after the war in Europe had ended and thusly German “advisors” returned. Iran after this purchased Messerschmitt Me-262 jetfighters, Stg.44 assault rifles and Panther tanks, forming the core of a modern air force and land army and it was in Iran that the first crisis erupted in this Cold War. When Iran nationalised the oil in 1950 under Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq the first war between the West and Nazi Europe threatened. The firmly anti-British, due to his perceived humiliation in the late 1930s, foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop took a strong pro-Iranian position against the British who steered towards conflict, signing a mutual defence pact with the Shah and Mossadeq while in Tehran. The crisis dragged on with the US and Britain attempting an embargo but the Nazi-founded “European Community” continued to buy Iranian oil, importing it through Turkey, and so it was ineffective. Iran mobilized its armed forces as Britain sent a naval squadron with a battleship and an aircraft carrier. In 1951, German nuclear-armed Luftwaffe bomber squadrons were based in Iran and US President Truman wasn’t willing to start a Trans-Atlantic war over this and so Iran successfully nationalised its oil.
Another example was Palestine where Palestinian anti-British groups received German weapons which eventually led to a reluctant, grudging British withdrawal in 1949 and the foundation of the Republic of Palestine, in the process expelling most of the Zionist Jews, that had become the majority. In Syria, Pétain’s France gave independence under German pressure and an Arab nationalist government was installed with pro-Nazi sympathies.
As an extension of this foreign policy, Hitler also commenced construction of a big navy with an altered “Plan Z”. Eight “super” aircraft carriers of Japanese design based on the Japanese Shinano were laid down between 1945 and 1953 though the design was altered; these carriers of the “Hermann Goering-class” had superior armour to ward off both aerial bombs and torpedo attack. Their full weight increased to 78.000 tonnes when fully loaded and they could carry fifty aircraft. The reason for constructing these, for their time, massive carriers was American numerical superiority which Hitler wanted to compensate by means of these “super carriers” which, through their powerful armour and weaponry, could operate without a “carrier group”, unlike US carriers. Then four H41 class battleships (with 68.800 tonnes displacement and eight 42 cm [16.5 inch] guns), three O-class battlecruisers, 12 P-class cruisers, two further Hipper-class heavy cruisers, six M-class light cruisers and six large destroyers were to be built. For the construction of the aircraft carriers, Japanese expertise was employed. Many middle and lower rank Japanese naval officers (“military liaisons”) were subsequently employed to teach German naval officers and airmen modern naval aviation tactics. With this, the navy became the only force remotely capable of resisting the SS in the upcoming power struggle, but unfortunately it was pretty much an apolitical organ as long as its traditions weren’t touched. And strongly pro-Nazi admiral Dönitz was unlikely to intervene either as he supported radical Nazi ideas as much as the leaders of the SS.
In 1954, Adolf Hitler died at the age of 65 due to the effects of Parkinson’s disease, and also amphetamine and cocaine addiction caused by his quack of a doctor Theo Morell although the officially stated cause of death was a heart attack. Hitler was embalmed, much like Lenin in the Soviet Union, and permanently enshrined in his mausoleum in Munich and a power struggle erupted shortly thereafter, but it was short since there were only two main contenders, namely Himmler and Heydrich and the latter supported the former. Goering, Hitler’s designated successor, had retired to one of his castles in southern Germany to live a luxurious, even decadent life and had died of a stroke induced by his enormous obesity and morphine addiction in 1951 at the age of 58. Goebbels by himself wasn’t at all that powerful and unwilling to challenge Himmler or Heydrich who conspired to gain power while Bormann was discredited as a sycophant to Hitler and lacking in popular standing. He was quickly side-tracked as Reichskommissar of Muscovy, a prestigious position in name, but one that wasn’t very powerful and above all far away from Berlin, the de facto capital of Nuremberg and the party headquarters in Munich. He’d die there in 1967 at age 66 which didn’t receive too much attention (he had been politically sidetracked since the 1950s) other than a brief mention during a televised speech by Heydrich.
Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler seized power with his large sway as leader of the SS and with the nominal support of Heydrich, leader of the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) – under which the Gestapo, SD and Criminal Police resorted – and who technically was his subordinate. Himmler became Führer and Heydrich, the power behind the throne, was promoted to Reichsführer-SS for his loyalty and assumed command over all of Germany’s police forces. The now nearly 54 year old Himmler immediately proved to be a much greater maniac than his former master which would prove to be his undoing.
In the meantime, in Italy, Mussolini died as well a few years later in 1958 at the much higher age of 75 and ironically his death was much more illustrious than Hitler’s. This was pretty much ironic since, though Hitler admired Mussolini, the latter had drifted into the Austrian corporal’s shadow as a marionette to the Nazis, often complaining that there was a “German behind every tree”. But still, he did show up at Hitler’s grand funeral to pay his respects. He died after speaking to a large crowd of Italians gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the “March on Rome”. To the shock of the crowd, Mussolini had collapsed on stage, and after several tense days the news was released of his death due to cerebral haemorrhage. He too left a legacy of genocidal practices, though not nearly at the same scale as those of Hitler, the Japanese junta or even Stalin. After the war, Libya had risen up once again against which Mussolini had responded harshly with aerial bombings, chemical weapons and deportations to concentration camps in the desert which were cesspools of disease and famine, killing nearly 500.000 people or half of the original population. When oil was discovered in 1949, he became even more determined to hold it and many Italians immigrated to Libya and Tunisia over the following years. By the mid 1950s, the Italian populace, coming mainly from poorer southern Italy, had already demographically overwhelmed the indigenous Arab and Bedouin populations who were forcibly Italianized. By the 1950s, Libya had became Mussolini’s dreamed of “Fourth Shore” and the oil wealth made Italy rich beyond even Mussolini’s expectations. The same could not be said for Italian East Africa where an uprising erupted leading to a vicious colonial war and more genocide. These practices continued after his death when Count Galeazo Ciano took over government.
In the meantime, Himmler increased the intensity of actions against the Ukrainian and Russian populations which led to a new level of resistance, something which led to the “Continuation War” between the USSR and Germany since the latter now recognised it was still at war with the aforementioned country now led by the now 76 year-old Joseph Stalin who was Time magazine’s Man of the Year in 1955 for his long struggle as “Father of the People”. This “Continuation War” was a move that was unpopular with the Nazi brass. Himmler also introduced his radical “Cultural Revolution” in which he planned to destroy all elements of the old, Christian culture beginning with tearing down churches and building occult heathen temples to restore “pre-Christian Germanic martial values and racial vitality” which in Himmler’s opinion would strengthen Germany. Himmler also harshly cracked down on voices of dissent; there was increasing criticism on the regime since it was subject to constant terrorist attack despite its repressive nature and the efforts of the SS, SD and Gestapo to make Germany safe. These ruthlessly oppressive policies provoked massive popular unrest as the SD reported, something which the Gestapo suppressed harshly. Himmler was so erratic that any semblance of a coherent government disappeared with most government institutions working next to each other which made the bureaucracy enormously inefficient and slow since a lot of work was done doubly. He still managed to build the H-bomb and launch a manned mission into space in 1957, but this was no compensation for the tens of thousands dead German citizens resulting from the chaos of fanatical SS youths destroying anything that had to do with “post-pagan Germany”.
Heydrich decided to end the chaos and act with the power he had at his disposal as head of the Gestapo, Germany’s police forces and the SD which was an enormous network embedded into all layers of the Nazi state. When Himmler returned from a vacation in the Crimea in the summer of 1957, his plane exploded under mysterious circumstances and rather few asked questions since hardly anybody cared about the death of the unpopular leader. Heydrich seized power, ending the most infamous period in Nazi history. He declared Himmler a traitor to the German people and Hitler to be “Eternal Führer” and assumed the position of President out of respect for Hitler with Goebbels as his Chancellor. He restored collective government by summoning the Reichstag for the first time since 1942 and convening the cabinet for the first time since the mid 1930s to create a joint policy and most of all streamline decision making which included smoothing out structural flaws such as overlap in jurisdiction that had existed and caused rivalries for the past twenty years. He also wanted to end the corruption inherent to both party and state. Heydrich did so with ruthless pragmatism and efficiency which he tried to instil into all of his subordinates. He would lead Nazi Germany into a new era in the Cold War and to its final collapse from within.
Part 2: Developments in Asia and Elsewhere.
Imperial Japan had a much less complicated administrative structure since most of its conquests were governed indirectly through puppet governments, and the ones that weren’t were usually so small that a massive bureaucracy was not needed (Micronesia) or they had long since been integrated into Japan (Korea, Taiwan). Japan’s goals also didn’t include the extermination of a large portion of its subjects, rather their economic exploitation which was led by corporate structures (influenced by the state) with protection from the Japanese army.
Japan’s economy in the late 40s and early 50s grew which seemed to prove the point of the militarists about an autarkic economic system. Indeed, products from all over Asia such as tea, coffee, cacao, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, tobacco, rice and so on were available in large quantities and at low prices for Japanese consumers whose affluence grew during this period. Japanese companies dominated Asia, forming cartels and gaining monopolies on many products that they exported to other countries in the Greater East-Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere at high prices which led to high profit margins. Japanese products such as steel, heavy machinery, coal, oil, spices but also consumer products like cars were also available outside the Sphere and Japan signed a number of commercial agreements. One such agreement was with Nehru’s India which had a leadership that admired Japan’s development into a superpower. Nehru signed an agreement with Japanese Prime Minister Hideki Tojo in which Japan agreed to provide coal, oil, steel, rubber and construction materials at low prices to help develop India’s industry as part of Nehru’s Five Year Plans. In return, Japan was allowed to import Japanese products without tariffs imposed on them and Japanese business conglomerates were allowed to invest what Nehru deemed “non-key industries”. Japan dominated Asia’s economy, but appearances were deceiving as the occupational duties of the Imperial Japanese Army rested ever more heavily on Japan’s finances. Moreover, protectionism was not an incentive for innovation and so stagnation would set in from the 1960s.
The lack of the extermination element led to a weaker resistance, although it definitely existed as shown by terrorist attacks in the occupied territories and within Japan itself against Japanese civilians. The ruling oligarchy handily used this resistance to further increase its very authoritarian regime into a ruthless totalitarian and omnipresent bureaucratic machine. For this purpose, Imperial Japan possessed not one but three police services, namely the Kempeitai (Military Police Corps), the Tokkeitai (Navy Secret Police) and the Tokubetsu Koto Keisatsu (the Special Higher Police) which became dreaded by all opponents of the regime. The tasks of the first agency, the Kempeitai, comprised counter-propaganda, psychological operations, counterintelligence, supply gathering and rationing, and rear area security. It carried out these tasks in all the areas occupied by the Imperial Japanese Army with great diligence, efficiency and ruthlessness; the smaller Tokkeitai carried out similar work for the Imperial Japanese Navy. The last one, colloquially known as the “Tokko”, combined criminal investigation and counterespionage functions much like the Gestapo, and was the largest, most dreaded of the three.
It was a civilian version of the other two and its tentacles permeated all layers of society. The Tokko consisted of six departments: Special Police Work, Foreign Surveillance, Koreans in Japan (renamed to “Foreign Asians in Japan” in 1945), Labour Relations, Censorship and Arbitration. A sub-bureau known as the “Thought Section of the Criminal Affairs Bureau” created in 1927 to “study and suppress subversive ideologies” became the nucleus of the organisation in the 1950s as terrorism became an increasing problem. The Tokko used both uniformed and non-uniformed agents alongside a large network of informants and had units active in every Japanese prefecture, major city, and every overseas location with a significant Japanese population (such as Berlin, London, New Delhi, Jakarta or Shanghai). Informants infiltrated suspicious organisations with “dangerous ideologies” and vastly expanded its operations after the war, using local collaborators which undermined any resistance. The Tokko also monitored external communications and telephone lines inside and outside Japan. The Tokko was immensely powerful and rivalled only perhaps by the Gestapo, leaving behind agencies like MI5 and the FBI. It competed with the Gestapo for the position of largest number of active personnel per capita in the world.
In its foreign affairs, the Empire of Japan was deadlocked in an endless conflict against Chinese guerrillas supported by America and Britain that increasingly drained Japan’s financial strength although Japan maintained the upper hand during the 1950s. This conflict coincided with a Cold War against the United States and its allies which forced Japan to maintain an enormous naval strength that Japan could not realistically afford in the long term. Japan also developed nuclear weapons in 1955 after a nuclear weapons program riddled with difficulties and conflicts over jurisdiction between the army and navy. The Cold War expanded with the ascension of Himmler as Führer in Germany as he viewed the Japanese as racially inferior. Relations between the two former Axis partners would never completely recover.
In its internal politics, Japan saw factional strife similar to Germany’s, but it differed from Germany because none of the factions could gain ultimate power. The two main factions were the Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy with the former supported by the Kempeitai and the latter by the Tokkeitai while the Tokko supported whichever side supported its interests the most at any given time. These factional conflicts decided on the balance in defence policy with the army focusing on suppressing China and the navy having a wider focus, including possible conflict with the United States. Despite these struggles, Hideki Tojo (1884-1960) remained the dominant political figure in the 40s and 50s as Prime Minister from 1941 to 1949, as Home Minister from 1941 to 1942, Foreign Minister in 1944 and again from 1957 to 1960, Chief of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff from 1944 until 1960, and again as Prime Minister from 1957 to 1960. He was the strongman of Japan with the support of the Showa Emperor.
The United States under President John W. Bricker had recognised during the latter’s second term (1945-1949) that isolationism was no longer tenable. On the eastern seaboard the US was faced with Nazi Germany angrily staring across the Atlantic and making America a scapegoat for its problems, and, more importantly, imposing tariffs against American products. On the western seaboard, America opposed militarist Japan, competed with it for influence in the Pacific, and supported resistance against Japanese colonial rule with finances, intelligence and weapons. Both were ideologically anti-democratic and therefore anti-American, both had interests that went against American interests, both blamed America for their problems, and both were enemies of Washington DC’s British allies. Isolationism was increasingly criticized because, contrary to what isolationists said, it harmed American interests more than it helped them and a strong foreign policy did not limit the government’s ability to solve America’s internal problems.
Bricker during his second term, with the pro-interventionist and liberal Republican Thomas E. Dewey as his Vice-President, became full military allies with Great Britain. Washington also supported London financially, enabling the British government to end the post-war financial and economic crisis and start an economic boom. The United States also strengthened ties with South American countries through bilateral agreements of political, military and economic nature. Against rightist totalitarian Japan and Germany, the US supported moderate, reform-minded, socialist oriented leftwing governments across South America. These governments with American assistance managed to modernize their (partially planned) economies and create social welfare. Except for the dictatorial regime in Brazil, Argentina under Juan Person and Paraguay under Alfredo Stroessner who maintained ties with Berlin and Tokyo, and Uruguay which just wanted to remain neutral, all South American, Central American and Caribbean countries (and Britain) joined the Atlantic and Pacific Treaty Organisation (APTO) in 1948. Besides this, America supported independence movements in the colonies of Italy and France, and it supported the colonies that Britain “let go” during the 1950s with only some competition from Japan and its anti-imperialist rhetoric. Nazism and Italian Fascism were totally alien to African independence movements.
This resulted in internal shifts in the American political parties with many conservative, isolationist minded Republicans leaving to join the Democrats and many progressive, pro-interventionist Democrats to defect to the Republicans.
America itself also instituted the draft and Congress approved the “Ten-Five Program for the United States Navy” which outlined the expansion of the navy. More specifically, the plan called for ten aircraft carriers and five battleships (hence the name) to be laid down every year from 1946 to 1951 for a total of 50 carriers and 25 battleships to be finished by 1953. America started an arms race.
"Give me a woman who truly loves beer, and I will conquer the world!"
- Emperor Wilhelm II
"The Superior Man is aware of Righteousness, the inferior man is aware of advantage. The virtuous man is driven by responsibility, the non-virtuous man is driven by profit."
"Rudeness is a weak man's imitation of strength".
Myths About Atheism: http://www.love-shy.com/lsbb/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=16314 For all to see