This is the latest installment in the Drowned Baby Timeline, an alternate history where Adolf Hitler drowned at birth and where World War II never took place. With the election of Robert Taft as President of the United States in 1940, American oil continues to flow to the Japanese Empire, and diplomatic relations between the two nations remain, if not cordial, then at least correct. However, the Japanese go to war with the Soviet Union in December 1944, and the war goes badly . . .
16 September 1950
Marshal Peter Voronov stood silently amid the ruins of the Imperial Palace. Around him, Red Army soldiers were directing Japanese conscripts in the task of clearing away the rubble. His attention was focused on a winch which was slowly raising a bundle from within a pit.
Indistinct at first within the shadows of the pit, as the bundle rose up into the slanting afternoon sun it resolved itself into a human body. It was a man wearing a bemedalled uniform, the jacket and trousers stained brown with dried blood, intestines spilling out from a gaping wound in the abdomen. The bespectacled face with its thin mustache was composed. Even in death, Voronov
could recognize the face that, in demonized form, had graced millions of patriotic posters across the length of the Soviet Union: Hirohito, the late Emperor of Japan.
For nearly six years, the USSR had been locked in mortal combat with the Japanese Empire. The Red Army had driven the Japanese from Manchuria, then from China, then from Korea. The Red Air Force had then slowly, at great cost, driven the Imperial Japanese Navy from the Sea of Japan. A vast armada of troop transports and escort vessels had been built up at Port Arthur. Battling attacking Japanese aircraft all the way, the invasion fleet had sailed from Port Arthur in April 1949, paused at Kwangju to take on board three divisions of Red Army troops, then steamed across the Korea Strait to land at the southwestern tip of Honshu. Constantly reinforced, preceded by an unending rain of artillery shells and rocket bombs and by Red Air Force jets dropping load after load of incendiaries, the valiant soldiers of the Red Army had forced their way along the island to the broad plains surrounding the Japanese capital.
Many was the time Voronov had wished he had atomic weapons at his disposal, to clear the way for his troops and level every building on the island. But the League of Nations jealously guarded its atomic monopoly, as the Americans had learned the year before. The Red Army had had to subdue Japan the old-fashioned way, city by city, block by block, house by house.
Marshal Voronov watched as the body was loaded into the back of a General Motors truck (GM had sold trucks to the Soviets; Ford had sold them to the Japanese) and driven off. Then he turned away, and looked up into the clear sky that was reflected in the blue waters of Tokyo Bay. The Japanese Empire had been destroyed. Now it was time to begin building the Japanese Soviet Socialist Republic.
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