But Japan has only begun to fight. . . .
In 1945, history has reached a turning point. A terrible new weapon has been unleashed. Japan has no choice but to surrender. But instead, the unthinkable occurs. With their nation burned and shattered, Japanese fanatics set in motion a horrifying endgame–their aim: to take America down with them.
In Robert Conroy’s brilliantly imagined epic tale of World War II, Emperor Hirohito’s capitulation is hijacked by extremists and a weary United States is forced to invade Japan as a last step in a war that has already cost so many lives. As the Japanese lash out with tactics that no one has ever faced before–from POWs used as human shields to a rain of kamikaze attacks that take out the highest-value target in the Pacific command–the invasion’s success is suddenly in doubt. As America’s streets erupt in rioting, history will turn on the acts of a few key players from the fiery front lines to the halls of Washington to the shadowy realm of espionage, while a mortally wounded enemy becomes the greatest danger of all.
Praise for Robert Conroy’s 1901
“Likely to please both military history and alternative history buffs . . . The writing . . . keeps us turning the pages.”
“Fascinating . . . skillfully crafted.”
“Packed with action.”
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||1 MB|
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The muffled sounds of the nearby explosions cut through his sleep-fog and Lt. Paul Morrell leaped from his cot. A surge of fear ruined his warm and pleasant dream about his girlfriend, Debbie Winston. He grabbed his carbine and ran outside the tent and looked for the source, all the while trying to ignore the nausea and splitting headache that assailed him.
Another explosion came from behind the low hill just to the rear of the camp.
Morrell looked about for help as he ran up the hill. No one was around. They were probably still out celebrating the end of the war, although it sounded as if someone didn’t believe it. Could they be under attack from some Nazi fanatics? It sure as hell sounded like it.
Another blast jarred him. He breasted the hill on the run and looked down below him. Then he started swearing softly. Two of his soldiers, Sgt. Cecil Wiles and Cpl. Tommy Nevins, were standing by the stream that ran through the gentle valley. Wiles, staggering ever so slightly, pulled the pin on a grenade and lofted it into the center of a wider section of the stream that formed a nice little pond.
Water geysered up from the pond and so did a number of dead fish. Wiles and Nevins whooped loudly at the sight.
“What the hell are you men doing?” Morrell snapped as he approached. He was furious at their stupidity and enormously relieved that he was not again at war. The two NCOs looked at him dumbly, then Wiles made a waving motion with his arm that might have been a drunken attempt at a salute.
“Fishing,” Wiles said, then after a long pause, “sir. We are fucking fishing.” Nevins giggled at the witticism and almost fell into the water.
Morrell looked about. The banks of the stream were littered with dead fish. Some had been blown to pieces by the grenades, while others had had their lives snuffed out by the concussion.
“All right,” Morrell snarled, “this is enough.” His anger was growing. Not only had they scared the crap out of him, but they were endangering themselves along with anyone else in the vicinity. They were destroying government equipment as well as blowing up someone’s private property. Worse, his headache was throbbing and he felt as if he would heave.
It wasn’t the first time the duo of Nevins and Wiles had gotten into trouble, usually alcohol-related. Even when sober they were only marginally efficient. He wondered just how they had gotten their stripes.
“Why is it enough, Lieutenant?” Wiles asked with mock innocence.
Morrell iterated the reasons and added a last one. “Because I’m ordering you to, that’s why.”
Nevins hiccuped. “Lieutenant, why don’t you fuck off.”
Morrell was stunned and took a deep breath to calm himself. “Tell you what. You’re both drunk, and so’s probably half the army. Now I’m gonna be a real nice guy and pretend I didn’t hear that. You two get back to camp right now.”
Nevins’s face flushed in anger and he looked as if he might take a swing at Morrell. However, he quickly thought better of it. Along with being an officer and someone you just didn’t hit, Morrell was sober and fit-looking. At five-eleven, he weighed a compact 180, and despite his curly blond hair and innocent-looking blue eyes, Morrell looked as if he could take care of himself, especially in a fight with two staggering drunks.
“No,” said Sergeant Wiles. “Let’s not forget about it. What the hell’s the matter with you, Lieutenant? You know you got a reputation around here as being the choirboy officer. You’re a pain in the ass, Lieutenant. Look, the war’s over and we got a right to celebrate, and if you don’t like it, why don’t you get the fuck back to your tent and stay there.”
Morrell was livid with anger. He’d been with the outfit only a short time in comparison with many others, and he knew he wasn’t getting respect from many of the men. Second lieutenants were the lowest of the officer ranks and all too often the butt of jokes by others with more experience. A joke, or even a veiled insult, he could deal with, but this was outright insubordination.
He turned to Wiles. “I think you and your little pal have gone too far. I regret this, but I am going to see Captain Maxwell.”
Wiles and Nevins looked at each other, then burst out laughing. “Sure,” said Wiles, “you go see the captain. You just do that.”
Morrell turned and, in a rage, his headache and hangover forgotten, almost ran the half mile to where Captain Maxwell had set up shop.
Captain Maxwell had commandeered an old two-story farmhouse that had escaped the ravages of both the German retreat and the American advance. Like so many places in Germany outside the major cities, the area in which they were camped looked as if nothing had changed in it for a hundred years. Whenever he saw Maxwell’s ornate headquarters, Morrell was reminded of the story of Hansel and Gretel.
Maxwell’s clerk looked uncomfortable at Morrell’s request, but told him the captain would be downstairs in a minute. Morrell nodded and went into the living room, which served as the captain’s office. Maxwell, a stocky National Guard officer about thirty years old, arrived and waved him to a chair. Morrell briefly explained the situation regarding the grenade-tossing and the two NCOs’ drunken insubordination. The captain lit a cigarette and stared at the ceiling.
“Dammit,” Maxwell finally said.
“Lieutenant, how long you been with us?”
“About three months. Just before the Nazis finally surrendered.”
Maxwell leaned forward. “That’s right, just before the war ended. That means you came in on the ass end of a lot of fighting those boys had been going through for more than a year. You even replaced an officer who, while not particularly smart, was fairly well liked. So, how much combat did you see?”
Morrell flushed. “Not much at all, Captain.” Only a few minutes, and he’d been scared to death and scarcely able to function. It was nothing in comparison with what the others had gone through, even the two assholes, Nevins and Wiles.
“That’s right, and what were you doing a year ago?”
“I had just finished college and been called up.”
“That’s right, Lieutenant, you finished college. Then you did your basic training in the good ol’ US of A, became an officer, and then got your butt shipped over here to us just in time to see the curtain go down. Do you know what we were doing a year ago? We had just arrived in France and had begun shooting our way across Europe. Know what I was doing four years ago?”
“I was managing a grocery store with my father. Then I got called up, and while I was gone, my dad died and they had to sell the store. All that while you were starting college and maybe reading War and Peace. When you go back, you’ll have a degree and a future, but for people like me and a lot of others out there, there’ll be nothing but shit for a future.”
“Captain, are you saying I should have let them keep doing what they were doing?”
“Why not? They were just a couple of hillbilly assholes blowing up some grenades we don’t need anymore and killing some kraut fish. Think, Lieutenant, what should you have really done?”
Morrell took a chair and sat down. His anger ebbed. “You’re right. I should have taken any remaining grenades off them and left them there to do whatever they wished. If they had protested, I should have gone back for you or someone else to help me.”
Maxwell relaxed after his tirade. “Paul, it gets worse. You want me to discipline those guys and I’ll do it, only it’ll just be an ass-chewing and nothing more. They know they deserve to lose their stripes, but it’ll be their word against yours as to what they said, and you know they’ll both lie like rugs. When I’m through chewing on them, they’ll go back to their ugly friends and laugh at you because they got away with fucking with you.”
Maxwell stood and paced the little room. “Look, I dislike those two clowns as much as the next guy, but they’re veterans, NCOs, and heroes with Bronze Stars, even though they’ll steal anything that ain’t nailed down.”
Maxwell told him that the two men had been ambushed by some Germans and had to shoot their way out, thus getting their medals. In his opinion, they had been looting a farmhouse when the Germans caught them, which made their fighting their way out something less than heroic.
Damn, thought Paul. He had really screwed up.
“It gets worse, Paul. They’ve got more than enough points to be discharged. So, in a couple of months, maybe sooner, they’ll be home screwing their women and their sheep, and newcomers like you’ll be here trying to run an occupation army. Who knows, maybe I’ll be away from here too.”
Morrell seized on the comment. “And that’s the point, Captain, we are still an army, not a mob. Those guys are destroying what we came here to liberate.”
Maxwell laughed harshly. “Liberate? Let me tell you something, Lieutenant; we liberated Belgium and France, but not Germany. This fucking country we conquered with a lot of our friends getting killed or wounded in the process, and there’s a helluva lot of difference.”
“To the victor belong the spoils?”
“But what about our orders to maintain discipline and protect the people?”
The question amused Maxwell. “Things don’t always work out like they were intended, now do they? Take Ike’s nonfraternization order, for instance. Did anyone really think they could keep a couple of million horny GIs away from German pussy when the kraut chicks will give you anything you want for some cigarettes, or chocolate, or even a meal? Hell, the Russians are raping them wholesale and we’re willing to pay for it. That makes us the good guys.”
Grudgingly Paul agreed. That particular order truly was nonsense.
“And, Lieutenant, I am also supposed to employ Germans to run this area and get their local economy going again. Only orders say I can’t use anyone who was a Nazi. Now tell me, just who the hell does that leave in a country where even the little krauts became Nazis before they could walk and wore swastikas on their diapers? Communists, that’s who, and the brass’d kill me if I used commies to run the joint. At any rate, there aren’t too many commies left after Herr Hitler got through with them, so I work with what I got, and that’s what you’re going to do as well.”