Aug 202014
 

20th August 1939

Captured Japanese guns being inspected.

Captured Japanese guns being inspected.

Joseph Stalin’s decision to send in his best commander, Lieutenant General Georgi Zhukov, to stabilise the Soviet defensive positions at Khalkin Gol, Mongolia appears to be paying dividends.  Concerned about the safety of the Trans Siberian Railway, Stalin sent in Zhukov to sort it out in early June.

Zhukov today launched a surprise attack using combined ground and air forces. The battle is the largest seen since the Great War ended 2 decades ago. It will rage for 11 days and claim 45,000 Japanese casualties for the loss of 17,000 Soviets in a decisive blow to Japan.

Skirmishes began on 11th May, with minor clashes between Mongolian Cavalry and Japanese forces when the Mongolians were driven back across the river.  These escalated throughout May and the Japanese intially tried to disengage and prevent further aggravation to the Soviets.  The Soviets however were having none of it and commenced offensive operations against the Japanese. Eventually the Japanese received permission to “throw out the invaders” and launched across the river to destroy the Soviet Forces. Both armies sparred intermittently in between major battles with neither gaining the upper hand.

Two major attacks failed to break the Soviets and a third attack was planned for 24th August. Zhukov however struck first. Thinking that war was imminent in Europe, he attacked on 20th August in an effort to route the Japanese and get back to the West. Aided by two Mongolian Cavalry Regiments and 557 Aircraft, the Soviet force was far superior. In the first ever Soviet Fighter-Bomber attack, with combined artillery and significant tank forces, the opening battle was overwhelming. The weakened and outnumbered Japanese were quickly encircled.

 

 

 

Aug 172014
 

15th August 1939

Bonnet

Georges Bonnet, French Foreign Minister, 1939.

France has made it very clear to Germany that Britain, France and Poland stand together.

At the behest of  Foreign Minister, Georges Bonnet, France’s ambassador in Berlin has met with German officials. Durng this meeting it was made very clear that Britain, Poland and France would go to war “automatically in case of aggression against any one of them.”

Hitler’s aggression againsts Czechoslovakia went completely unacknowledged as far as any military response is concerned.  The weak diplomatic response was brushed off by Berlin as little more than an annoyance.

It remains to be seen whether or not Germany will heed this warning. While not well prepared militarily, there is a strong political will amongst the three countries and a feeling that a line must be drawn.

 

Jul 262014
 

 

 

26th July 1939

Today the US gave notice it was terminating the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation with Japan.

Amid further attacks on US interests in China, the US has decided it no longer wants to trade with Japan. The Japanese Foreign Minister Kichisaburo Nomura accepted the notice, but declined to comment.

Tensions continue over the Japanese treatment of foreign citizens in occupied China. Until fairly recently the Japanese respeccted the foreign quarter in Shanghai, but have had very little respect for any foreigners outside of the trade zone. It remains to be seen how the foreigners zone in Shanghai will be treated now that trade treaties with Japan are being abandoned.

Mar 162014
 

16th March 1939

Germany has completed it’s takeover of Czechoslovakia with a bloodless invasion.

Despite making considerable concessions to Nazi Germany, the Czechoslovak government has been unable to stave off invasion. Emil Hacha, Czechoslovak president and leader yesterday gave Hitler an assurance that Nazi troops would not be opposed if they crossed the border. Moravia and Bohemia were quickly subsumed into The Third Reich. Other parts of Czechoslovakia have been ceded to Hungary and Poland previously and Germany already controlled the Sudetenland under the Munich Agreement.

For all intents and purposes, Czechoslovakia has ceased to exist.czech woman

The Czechoslovak people are understandably upset at this latest event, on top of their abandonment at Munich last year.  The promises of France and Britain to oppose Germany have proven hollow at best and downright treacherous upon closer examination.

 Posted by at 22:32
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