FANDOM


This article is about the war as depicted in The War That Came Early series. For other versions, see World War II, World War II (Joe Steele), and Second Great War.

The Second World War was a partial amalgamation of several disparate events into a global conflict. The ongoing Spanish Civil War and the Second Sino-Japanese War were eventually tied into a war in Europe that began in 1938 with the German invasion of Czechoslovakia, and quickly brought several countries into conflict across the continent. Discontent with the final outcome of World War I helped feed the conflict, as various countries sought to regain lost territory and prestige. As often is the case in war, alliances proved fluid and temporary.

Pre-War EventsEdit

Italy had invaded Abyssinia in 1935 and successfully annexed it by 1936, without substantive opposition from the rest of the world.

In 1936, the Spanish Civil War broke out when a Nationalist uprising under the command of Marshal José Sanjurjo sought to overthrow the leftist Republican government. Germany and Italy provided aid to Sanjurjo, and the Soviet Union aided the Republicans. Britain and France also provided some nominal support to the Republic, but not to the same extent as the USSR. In addition, various people from all over the world who sympathized with the Republican cause traveled to Spain to fight.

Under Adolf Hitler, Germany had successfully re-militarized with minimal protest from the rest of Europe. In the months before the outbreak of general war, Germany had annexed Austria in March 1938, a violation of the Treaty of Versailles. As Britain and France were determined to avoid war at all cost, they did nothing to stop the annexation. This set the stage for Hitler's next demands: the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.

In July 1937, Japan launched an invasion of China. While it was able to establish the puppet Empire of Manchukuo, Japan found itself heavily opposed by Chinese forces from both the ruling Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party. In July of the following year, Japan and the Soviet Union came to blows over where the border between Manchukuo and Mongolia lay, but the conflict had not yet escalated into full-fledged war between the two.

Munich: The War BeginsEdit

In response to Hitler's demands for the Sudetenland, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and his French counter-part, Edouard Daladier, both determined to avoid war, entered into negotiations at Munich designed to grant Hitler's demands. Hitler was convinced to take part in these negotiations by his ostensible ally, Italian prime minister, Benito Mussolini. The Soviet Union was excluded, and representatives from Czechoslovakia were not allowed to participate. Hitler didn't want peace, but his only reliable supporter was Marshal Sanjurjo. Even his military leaders and close advisers had convinced him to accept the concessions negotiated.[1]

However, the planned treaty fell apart when word came that Konrad Henlein, the leader of the Sudeten German Party had been assassinated.[2] Hitler announced his plan to attack Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain and Daladier, convinced that Hitler had been behind Henlein's death, announced that they would declare war if Germany attacked. Hitler ignored them, and ordered Case Green.[3]

Phase One: October, 1938-Summer, 1940Edit

World War II (The War That Came Early)
Location Worldwide
Result Realignment of Alliance Systems
Belligerents
Nazi Germany FlagGermany

Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svgItaly
JapanJapan (1939-)
RepublicPolandFlagPoland
HungaryflagHungary
SlovakiaSlovakia

*CzechCzechoslovakia

BritainUnited Kingdom
FranceflagFrance
SovietSoviet Union
NetherlandsflagNetherlands (193)
BelgiumBelgium (1939)
LuxembourgLuxembourg (1939)
NorwayNorway (1939-1940)
DenmarkDenmark (1939)

Commanders and leaders
Nazi Germany FlagAdolf Hitler

Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svgBenito Mussolini
JapanHirohito
RepublicPolandFlagEdward Rydz-Smigly
HungaryflagMiklos Horthy
SlovakiaJozef Tiso

BritainKing George VI

BritainNeville Chamberlain
FranceflagEdouard Daladier
SovietJosef Stalin
BelgiumKing Leopold III
DenmarkChristian X

The European War Against HitlerEdit

The German invasion of Czechoslovakia began on 1 October 1938.[4] When news came that Britain and France were declaring war, the Soviet Union joined in.[5] Despite being rather unprepared overall, Germany was able to use its Panzer Is and Panzer IIs and its air power to great affect. The fact that neither Britain nor France were terribly aggressive in their opening moves,[6] and that the USSR did not border Czechoslovakia, and so could only offer air-support,[7] also helped Germany and hurt Czechoslovakia. Further, neighbors of Czechoslovakia which had territorial claims of their own, including Poland and Hungary, launched their own attacks, although not as formal allies of Germany.[8] Finally, Slovak nationalists began an uprising in Czechoslovakia which further wasted valuable resources.[9] Prague fell before the month was out, the rest of the country falling shortly after.[10]

In the west, France briefly and half-heartedly invaded Germany during the Czechoslovakian attack, while the British began to mobilize into France. Both were wholly convinced of Germany's near invincibility as touted by Josef Goebbels's propaganda, did nothing to press their advantage. Had they done so, the truly weak state of the German military might have been revealed, and Germany might have been crushed by two fronts. Instead, Germany subdued Czechoslovakia, then wheeled around, pushing the French back out of Germany while at the same time initiating the Schlieffen Plan, launching an invasion of the Netherlands and Belgium. The Netherlands, completely surprised, fell within a week. Much to the disgust of Britain and France, Belgium's King Leopold III refused to mobilize or allow British and French forces within Belgium, even as it was clear the Germans were coming. When they did arrive, Leopold hastily asked for aid, and some Allied forces made their way into Belgium. However, that front proved short-lived: Leopold pursued a peace with Germany in a matter of weeks, and the British and the French began withdrawing in preparation of the German drive on France.

The Germans advance into France in the closing months of 1938 was very successful, with their Blitzkrieg driving through the north. However, the Eastern Front, which had remained an aerial war after the fall of Czechoslovakia, became a ground war in December, 1938, when Joseph Stalin, after alleging mistreatment of ethnic Byelorussians at the hand of the Smigly-Rydz "regime" of Poland, began an aerial assault on Polish territory.[11] In response, Poland formally aligned itself with Germany, and on New Year's Eve, Germany announced that it would be entering Polish territory.[12]

Germany had no choice but to shift forces in France to Poland, which slowly began to help the Allied cause. Germany sent most of their panzers over to Poland's frontier with the USSR, which had launched an onslaught against the Nazi ally. Trench lines formed in the western front, while the flat plains of Poland made ideal tank country. Concurrently, naval warfare favored the world-beating Royal Navy on the surface, and mainly the Kriegsmarine in submarine warfare. Supply convoys from the Americas to Britain were disrupted, but Britain remained well-fed, with Paris receiving the brunt of German bombing raids. In April 1939, stiff resistance from French, British, colonial, and Czech troops finally halted the German advance at Beauvais. The Schlieffen Plan came closer to working in this war than it had in the last one, but it had still ultimately failed. A summer counteroffensive pushed the Germans back northeast.

Despite these set-backs, Germany did receive indirect aid from a nominal ally, when Japan attacked the Soviet Union in Siberia (see below) Germany used the pretext of the Royal Navy's capability to disrupt sea traffic between Sweden and Germany to justify the invasion of Denmark and Norway in the summer of 1939. Denmark, taken completely by surprise, fell in a matter of hours. Germany described Denmark as "protected", and left the Danish government more or less intact, and Danish life was only lightly disrupted. In the end, the invasion of Denmark was only a stepping stone to Norway, where fighting soon grew fiercer as Britain and France sent troops and weapons to help fight off Germany. That front raged throughout 1939 and into 1940, before Norway too was deemed lost and the Allies withdrew.

Spanish Civil WarEdit

As the Spanish Civil War was already a proxy war, supplies and arms began flowing freely to both sides,[13] just in time for the Republicans, who'd been fairing poorly against Sanjurjo's Nationalists. The Republicans were able to win a short term advantage and eventual victory in the Battle of the Ebro. However, the Nationalists exacted a price from the Allies, when Sanjurjo personally led the siege of Gibraltar, with the aid of German and Italian forces, and oversaw its fall in early 1939.[14]

With this success, Sanjurjo decided to reopen the long-deadlocked Madrid front in an attempt to finally take the city. The Republic deployed the International Brigades to defend Madrid and end any further threat to the Spanish capital. Simultaneously, foreign aid to both sides dried up as Germany and the Allies were focusing all their attention to the fighting in France.

Asia: The Sino-Japanese War and the Soviet-Japanese WarEdit

On the First of April, 1939, the Japanese Empire attacked the Soviet Union on the Manchurian frontier, the culmination of disputes between the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo and Mongolia and Russia (although Mongolia was to the USSR as Manchukuo was to Japan). The initial advance toward the Trans-Siberian Railway was successful, and Vladivostok was besieged from July onwards. Russian radio confirmed "heavy fighting", which meant they were losing.

In China, the Japanese halted southward advances while they invaded Soviet Siberia, but still occupied substantial areas (Shanghai, Peking) and were known to have gone "blue-goose loony" in Nanking.[15] The United States, which remained neutral on all fronts, pulled its Marines out of Peking for fear of Japanese aggression, and moved most of them to Shanghai. Although the Japanese were cocky, they still enjoyed friendly relations US soldiers on the ground.

The Big SwitchEdit

Main Article: Hess Agreement

In the spring and summer of 1940, the British and French entered a long ceasefire with the Germans while their diplomats negotiated with the German Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess, who had parachuted into the UK to propose a peace agreement. At the conclusion of these negotiations, German troops withdrew from France, Britain and France made peace with Germany, and all three countries committed their forces to a general invasion of the USSR. Former Anglo-French allies in Scandinavia and the Low Countries remained occupied, as did Czechoslovakia.

Phase Two: Summer 1940- December, 1941Edit

World War II (The War That Came Early)
Location Worldwide
Result Realignment of Alliance Systems
Belligerents
Nazi Germany FlagGermany

BritainUnited Kingdom (until Spring, 1941)
FranceflagFrance (until Winter, 1941)
RepublicPolandFlagPoland
HungaryflagHungary
SlovakiaSlovakia
RomaniaRomania
(1940-1944)

SovietSoviet Union
Commanders and leaders
Nazi Germany FlagAdolf Hitler

BritainNeville Chamberlain (until Fall, 1940)
BritainHorace Wilson (1940-1941)
FranceflagEdouard Daladier
RepublicPolandFlagEdward Rydz-SmiglyThe War That Came EarlyEdward Rydz-Smigly
HungaryflagMiklos Horthy
SlovakiaJozef Tiso
RomaniaIon Antonescu

SovietJosef Stalin

The European War Against StalinEdit

After the Japanese successfully captured Vladivostok and other strategic points in Siberia, the U.S.S.R made peace with Japan in the face of the pending "big switch". The Soviet tanks and planes gradually improved, putting more and more pressure on the Germans and their allies. The Soviets took some measure of revenge against their former ally, Great Britain, by bombing Scapa Flow. By the end of 1940 the Western powers reached Smolensk. In the meantime Japan prepared its attack on the western nations.

The War Against Japan in the Far EastEdit

World War II (The War That Came Early)
Location Southeast Asia, China, Pacific Rim
Belligerents
JapanJapan USA48starUnited States

BritainUnited Kingdom
AustraliaAustralia
ChinaROCCCPChina (including Communists)
NetherlandsflagNetherlands

Commanders and leaders
JapanHirohito

JapanHideki Tojo

USA48starFranklin D. Roosevelt

BritainKing George VI
BritainHorace Wilson (1940-1941)
FranceflagEdouard Daladier
ChinaROCChiang Kai-Shek
CCPMao Tse-Tung

On January 12, 1941, the Empire of Japan attacked U.S. naval positions in the Philippines and Hawaii, as well as British Malaya and Hong Kong, French Indochina, the Dutch East Indies and a few minor targets. They also attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on January 11, 1941, local time, with limited success as the U.S. military had received news of the attacks in Asia. Even so, the Japanese inflicted serious damage on the U.S. Navy, sinking one aircraft carrier and one destroyer.

The US fleet in the Philippines wasn't so lucky. After a terrific mauling, which also claimed the life of General Douglas MacArthur, the surviving ships were forced to flee and they headed south to Java, making Surabaya their port of operations. Ships from the US and the UK also gathered at the port, creating an allied fleet. By mid-February, the fleet was called into action when Japanese forces landed on eastern Borneo, in order to capture the military bases there.

However, the subsequent Battle of the Java Sea was a terrific defeat for the over-confident and badly coordinated allies. Japan was able to consolidate its hold in Southeast Asia, and began to redouble it attacks on Hawaii.

Determined to regain momentum, the U.S. launched the largest task force the world had ever seen against in an attempt to retake Wake Island. That subsequent battle proved an even greater disaster for the U.S. than Java Sea, with the US losing all of its aircraft carriers. Midway fell shortly after, leaving Hawaii as the USA's most forward defense post.

The Spanish Civil WarEdit

While the Republicans had briefly gained an edge over Nationalists through 1939 and into 1940, the "Big Switch" prompted the British and French to halt all aid to the Republic. The Germans were not in any position to help the Nationalist much more than they had been. Though the Republic's cause looked grim, an unexpected advantage came to the Republic with the arrival of several regiments of Czech soldiers, who continued to fight even after their country had been conquered, and refused to fight alongside the Germans (the people that invaded them) and attack the Soviet Union (the only country that had really tried to help Czechoslovakia when it was invaded).

The Czechs proved crucial in keeping the Republican advance going, albeit at a glacial pace. Moreover, Czech sniper, Vaclav Jezek, who'd honed his craft in France, successfully killed a number of Nationalist leaders throughout 1940 and 1941, culminating in the December, 1941 death of Francisco Franco, one of the Nationalists' most talented generals.

The European War against Stalin endsEdit

The Western allies, alongside Germany and its allies made sizable gains into Soviet territory throughout the remainder of 1940 before the arrival of winter. However, unrest in the British military and political establishment led to a coup d'etat in 1941 against the appeasement minded government of Prime Minister Horace Wilson, and Britain went back to war with Germany. France remained a German ally so the British were restricted only to bombing raids on German territory.

Germany's ally, Italy, announced that it would renew the war in North Africa. In 1941, Italy launched an invasion of Egypt. However the invasion was a failure as the British easily defeated the Italians and pushed them back into Libya in the closing months of 1941.

Before the British could definitively defeat the Italians at Tobruk, the German Afrika Korps intervened. By the beginning of 1942, the British were in retreating back into Egypt.

In the meantime, even as French troops continued to drive into the USSR, France began negotiating an end to the war with the USSR. France also began supplying the Spanish Republicans again and expanded the Maginot Line. In December 1941, France withdrew from the Soviet Union and its alliance with Germany. The Germans were once again fighting a two-front war, and were quickly losing ground in the West where their forces were being defeated in Belgium and in Russia where the German and Polish forces were pushed out of most of the Ukraine.

Final Phase: 1942-1944Edit

After the dissolution of the Hess Agreement, the Second World War continued on as a series of almost isolated conflicts among a relatively stable line-up of belligerents from 1942 to late 1943. Britain, France, and the USSR concentrated on defeating Germany in Europe and in North Africa. Japan battled the Western powers in the Pacific. The Spanish Civil War raged on. While Britain and France were at war with Japan, they could spare few resources for the fight, and the U.S. had to shoulder the burden. Conversely, while the U.S. was able to provide financial aid and supplies to the Allies, no state of war existed between the U.S. and Germany.

The European War Against HitlerEdit

World War II (The War That Came Early)
Location Europe, North Africa
Result Overthrow of Nazi Party in Germany and ceasefire; German annexation of Austria and the Protectorate of Bohemia Moravia recognized; Republic of Slovakia recognized; Soviet annexation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania recognized
Belligerents
Nazi Germany FlagGermany

Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svgItaly
RepublicPolandFlagPoland
HungaryflagHungary
SlovakiaSlovakia
RomaniaRomania

BritainUnited Kingdom

FranceflagFrance
SovietSoviet Union
USA48starUnited States (after March, 1944)

Commanders and leaders
Nazi Germany Flag Adolf Hitler (until April, 1944)†

Germany 1870 Committee for the Salvation of the German Nation (after April, 1944)
Flag of Italy (1861-1946).svg Benito Mussolini
RepublicPolandFlagEdward Ryzdz-Smigly
HungaryflagMiklos Horthy
SlovakiaJozef Tiso
RomaniaIon Atonescu

BritainGeorge VI

BritainInterim Military Government
FranceflagEdouard Daladier
SovietJoseph Stalin
USA48starFranklin D. Roosevelt

With the return of a two-front war, Hitler's popularity at home waned throughout in 1942 and 1943. In the West, the Allies made substantial gains in the Low Countries. In the East, Soviet troops pushed through Ukraine towards Poland. The approaching Allied pincers continued to gradually but steadily close throughout the next year and a half.

Hitler's downfall came after a series of blunders. In the Winter of 1943, Münster, which had been restive for over a year, began an open revolt, prompting marshal law.[16] Further, after months of tension, Hitler decided to initiate war with the United States, ordering U-boats to attack a number of American merchant ships in March 1944.[17] This in turn prompted several military leaders to form the Committee for the Salvation of the German Nation, with General Heinz Guderian as their leader. When Hitler decided to broadcast a speech from Münster in an attempt to regain the country's trust, the group successfully assassinated him with a bomb, despite the heavy security measures the SS put into place.[18]

A civil war broke out almost immediately. Several of Hitler's would-be successors were arrested or killed by the Committee. Ultimately, Guderian and the Committee triumphed, and fighting ceased on all fronts in Europe.[19]

The Spanish Civil WarEdit

With Franco killed, Vaclav Jezek, now a hero, then turned his attention to killing Marshal Sanjurjo himself, but for the longest time, Sanjurjo did not oblige Jezek. But on a rainy day in the Fall of 1943, Sanjurjo visited the front and Jezek shot him in the face. The Nationalists swiftly fell into infighting, allowing the Republicans to rapidly retake the country. Finally, José Millán Astray became the final overall commander of the Nationalist just long enough to surrender and end that phase of the war in March, 1944.

The War in Asia and the PacificEdit

With a secure hold in Southeast Asia and control of Wake Island and Midway, Japan had free reign to bomb Hawaii with relative impunity throughout 1942 and into 1943.[20] In the beginning of 1943, Japanese planes dropped fleas infected with the plague and containers of anthrax over Honolulu,[21] prompting mass inoculations.[22]

However, the US Army Air Force retaliated with bombing raids of its own from Hawaiian airfields. While using only conventional high explosive bombs, the bombing raids did crater runways preventing the Japanese from taking off until they were repaired and destroying the occasional G4M in its revetments. Because Japan was at the extreme end of its supply lines while the US had much shorter ones, they could launch only small raids with one or two aircraft while the Americans could send massive raids with a hundred aircraft.[23]

Unfortunately for the US, the Japanese could absorb the damage and would not be driven off. Therefore in 1944, after a large bombing raid, the US Navy sent a second wave of C-47 transport aircraft and dropped a brigade of Marine paratroopers who succeeded in retaking the island.[24] Unfortunately, these same troops were quarantined on Midway amid concerns that the Japanese had left behind biological weapons as booby-traps.

AftermathEdit

"Peace" in EuropeEdit

The war in Europe officially ended in the summer of 1944.

Germany negotiated a peace treaty with Britain, France and the Soviet Union. (The U.S. also participated in the negotiations, but in a very junior capacity in light of the lack of U.S. troops in Europe.) Germany agreed to withdraw from the Low Countries, Denmark and Norway along with the areas of the USSR it still occupied (mostly Byelorussia and Ukraine).[25] In return, the pre-war annexation of Austria was confirmed and the Sudetenland annexation which was the casus belli was allowed. Czechoslovakia was broken up into the puppet state of Slovakia and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.[26] The Soviet Union gained the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania which became new Soviet Socialist Republics. In addition, the Soviet Union gained Wilno and the surrounding territory from Poland and added it to the Lithuanian SSR.[27]

Domestically, the new German government loosened the more restrictive policies of the Nazis. News broadcasts included uncomplimentary reports about Germany and emphasized the crimes and cruelty of the SS and SD. It also quietly revoked the Reich Citizenship Law of 1935 and effectively restored citizenship to Jews rather than treating them as residents without rights. It also removed the requirement that Jews have the yellow star of David on their clothing in public.[28]

In Spain, the remainder of 1944 saw the Republic reasserting itself throughout the country. Nationalist soldiers who were not executed were sent to re-education camps. Civilians who'd been too friendly with the Nationalists were also subject to acts of vengeance. Various foreign fighters left Spain. Some continued the war against Germany until that ended in April 1944. Others, such as the Czechoslovaks, no longer had a country, and found themselves uncertain as to their futures.

Despite frequent promises of elections, the British military held on to the reins of government even after Germany's capitulation. While Britain still nominally participated in the war against Japan, members of the government privately conceded that the UK was a junior partner to the U.S. in that conflict.[29]

Conversely, Britain's would-be nemesis, Benito Mussolini, was barely hanging onto power in the aftermath of the fall of Hitler.[30]

Several of the annexed countries continued to fight against their new masters. In mid-1944, for example, Ivan Koniev, the Soviet military governor of Lithuania, was assassinated by nationalists, leading to a declaration of martial law.[31] Likewise, while the Czechoslovak government-in-exile languished in Spain, Czech nationalists were soon making plans to fight German rule.[32]

War in AsiaEdit

After taking back Midway, the U.S. turned its attention to Wake Island again.[33] Concurrently, with peace in Europe secured, the Soviet Union also turned its attention to Vladivostok and made plans to restart its own war with Japan.[34]. The two countries began to work much more closely against their now-common foe.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Hitler's War, pgs. 7-10.
  2. Ibid., pgs. 11-12.
  3. Ibid., pg. 13-16.
  4. Ibid., pg. 21
  5. Ibid., pg. 20.
  6. Ibid., pg. 43.
  7. Ibid., pg. 41-42.
  8. Ibid., pg. 73.
  9. Ibid., pg. 43.
  10. Ibid., pg. 70.
  11. Ibid, pgs. 194-197.
  12. Ibid., pg. 200.
  13. Ibid., pg. 20.
  14. Ibid., pgs. 206-209.
  15. West and East, pg. 415, HC.
  16. Last Orders, pgs. 116-119.
  17. Ibid., pgs. 269-70.
  18. Ibid., pg. 300.
  19. Ibid., pg. 382.
  20. Two Fronts., pgs. 166-168.
  21. Ibid, pgs 275-278.
  22. Ibid., pgs. 279-282.
  23. Last Orders, pgs. 51-52, HC.
  24. Ibid., pgs. 191-194.
  25. Ibid, pg. 318.
  26. Ibid, pgs. 341-343.
  27. Ibid, pg. 344.
  28. Ibid, pgs. 382-383.
  29. Ibid., pgs. 371-382.
  30. Ibid. pg. 382.
  31. Ibid., pgs. 373-374.
  32. Ibid., pgs. 342-343.
  33. Ibid., pg. 319.
  34. Ibid., pgs. 345-346.

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.