Resuming my World War II game: 1944 opened with the world at peace and the pressing question to my head, how should the Election of 1944 turn out? The game's programming, unfortunately, automatically makes the 1944 Presidential Election be between Roosevelt/Truman and Dewey/Footnote, unless Roosevelt is defeated in 1936 or 1940. While a reasonable assumption if there's a war on in 1944, I couldn't make myself accept that with the world at peace and an incredible triumph over the Axis that Roosevelt would stand for an unprecedented fourth term. In reality, despite the don't-change-horses-in-midstream effect and the war being very clearly near victory Dewey gave Roosevelt a tough run, losing by about three out of 50 million votes; what would it be here, even assuming that Roosevelt's heath would presumably be much better with Germany beaten faster than the Spanish were in 1898? I was ready to accept Dewey, even though I'd think the election would really go to whatever Democratic candidate took Roosevelt's place.
Anyway, come the 1st of November I formally released Portugal as a new and nominally independent nation (albeit one that knows it's a puppet to the United States), putting much of Europe back in the shape it was before the war. Italy isn't straightened out yet --- France has the northern half, the United states the south, and the vicinity of Kiel in Germany is United States occupied territory. Nevertheless, I could celebrate the creation of the new liberal-democratic Portugal despite keeping the various overseas colonies as bases for potential action against Japan.
24 hours after the liberation of Portugal, Japan launched a series of surprise attacks against the United States, United Kingdom, United Provinces, and France, striking in a move for southeast Asian territory. The Allies were in the new, Pacific, War against the Co-Prosperity Sphere made of Japan, which had occupied all China, and Manchukuo and Mengkukuo. Air units across the Pacific, but particularly in Macao and Hong Kong, swung into action and before the ink was dry on the Netherlands' joining of the Allies the first Chinese territory, of Guangzhou, was liberated by a not strictly necessary demonstration of paratrooper attacks. Saipan soon fell to the same sort of assault, launched from Guam.
The unquestioned loser in this surprise assault was Dewey; regardless whether I'd think Roosevelt would run again, I cannot see the electorate turning out the incumbent one week after the declaration of war, particularly when that first week had seen several stirring victories in the air, sea, and land. So he received a fourth term, although it would be extremely unlikely for the game's engine to allow him to live to the end of it.
By the end of the year despite frustrating setbacks in island-hopping, sweeping forces out from Macao had proven pleasantly successful: slower than the similar operation in Europe but the technique of heavy air cover and strong support from large units under the command of leaders like Patton and MacArthur worked. An appreciable portion of the Guangdong area of southeast China was under United States control, while as expected Britain and France worked their way up through Burma and Indochina.
The Japanese ``Fleet-In-Being'' strategy would challenge the Navy, with on the 14th of December a catastrophic sinking of the battleships USS Arkansas and USS Texas, as well as six submarines and another half-dozen small craft in the Linayen Gulf. However, the several fleets of multiple aircraft carriers and support vessels were able to stalemate at least the main Japanese aircraft carrier fleets, and the supply convoys were reliably getting through. Barring a naval catastrophe the coming year should leave options for continuing the invasion of mainland China and for island-hopping closer to Japan.
One sad note: on the 20th of November 1944 the Soviet Union annexed that favorite of philatelists everywhere, Tannu Tuva, reducing the Comintern to a mere two nations. Also, Cordell Hull resigned, and Frank Knox and Wendell Wilkie died.
Trivia: The day after the Japanese attack on the United States and the Allies in 1941, the Japanese embassy in Washington ordered from the Woodward and Lothrop department store some 26 mattresses, 72 cartons of Ivory soap, 101 pillow cases, and 47 pillows; from other stores they ordered Scotch whiskey, beer, oysters, French bread, and 500 aspirin tablets. On arrival the bills specified payment must be in cash; no checks accepted. Source: Washington Goes To War, David Brinkley.
Currently Reading: The World At War, Mark Arnold-Foster.