When The World Held Its Breath: Japan Strikes North

What if Japan had joined Barbarossa in the summer of 1941?

It’s a question that’s interested many and even puzzled a few ever since before the end of the Second World War.

“It should be clearly made known to Russia that she owes her victory over Germany to Japan, since we remained neutral,” were the words of Kantarō Suzuki, the Japanese prime minister, on May 14, 1945.

This was a belief that arguably stemmed from desperation on the part of the Japanese. It was expressed following the capitulation of what was left of the Third Reich the previous week, where Japanese hopes now lay in the Soviet Union’s willingness to mediate a peace between Japan and her numerous enemies. In the end these attempts came to nothing and as the Soviets joined the war against Japan in August, perhaps some within the Japanese leadership wondered if they’d made the right choice to spare the Soviets in the summer of 1941…

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Fatale, Book 1: Death Chases Me

Fatale, Book 1: Death Chases Me

Fatale is widely regarded as one of the top-ten horror comics available. Surely, this little noir gem by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips is making good on that promise with their almost surreal detective story.

Book 1: Death Chases Me introduces us to the contemporary leads, but the real star of the story is Josephine. A woman looking like the clichéd femme fatale, but with a dark secret. Immortal and forever beautiful, her strange magic affects men and what seems to be a Lovecraftian cult behind her.

That may sound a little much and bizarre, but the way the story unfolds, with flashbacks to the 1950s mixed in with current events, really works.

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When the World Held Its Breath: The “What Ifs” of Operation Barbarossa

“The world will hold its breath!” is the reaction Adolf Hitler promised when planning the most ambitious conquest of the war he had inflicted upon the world: Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union. When it came to pass, the German dictator had been largely justified in making his claim. Barbarossa was the largest invasion of all time and would lead to an existential struggle that, even in the context of the global conflict surrounding it, was incomparably brutal. The fact that the Eastern Front of the Second World War would have been the world’s deadliest conflict on its own is a testament to this fact, and ultimately it would prove to be Hitler’s undoing.

Barbarossa’s aims, strategic, racial, ideological, were designed to be the final culmination of Hitler’s plans for a vast Nazi empire in which there would be ample living space for an expanded German population and sufficient resources to fuel a superpower that would be able to conquer the United Kingdom and eventually go toe-to-toe with the United States. The peoples of the Soviet Union, decreed to be subhuman by Nazi propaganda, were to be deported, enslaved and exterminated to make way for the new master race, with their innate racial inferiority making their lands forfeit to their new Aryan colonists.

The failure of Barbarossa spelled the end of these plans, and made a mockery of the absurdity of Nazi racial doctrine, but also more importantly the supposed invincibility of the German Wehrmacht. The Soviet Red Army was badly mauled but it survived, and from Moscow to Stalingrad to Kursk grew stronger and more resilient until they outmatched their German foe and began to march west in the face of increasingly desperate German resistance, until the red flag was raised above Berlin.

Given the importance of the outcome of Operation Barbarossa in ensuring the demise of the Third Reich, it is only natural that it has been the subject of a great deal of speculation both in questions posed by historical works but also those of alternate history. Given that those of us involved with Sea Lion Press are lovers of both, I thought I would cover five of the most popular “what ifs” that are often discussed about Barbarossa to see whether or not we can draw some conclusions. Or at least generate more discussion about a part of the Second World War that is still poorly represented in popular retellings of the conflict.

So without further ado, let’s jump into the thick of the German invasion and consider a scenario that haunted many in the German High Command as the Red Army was bearing down on Berlin: What if the Germans had pushed onto to Moscow in the summer of 1941?

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What If World War II Never Happened?

After two series in which World War II ended worse than it did — one in which the war never ended and another in which the Axis won — let’s try a more optimistic scenario: a world in which World War II never happened.

Here we’ll take our cues from the Indiana Jones movies, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) and the art of Marcos Ceia and Stefan Prohaczka.

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The Vintage Egyptologist

Colleen Darnell and her husband John have devoted themselves to Egyptology and educating people on the subject — in the vintage styles of, mostly, the 1920s. All the more reason to follow them! Not only do you get a look at exquisite Roaring Twenties fashions; you learn a lot about Egyptian history.

I recommend their Instagram and YouTube channel. (Did you know the Egyptians had cat memes?) They have a dedicated Instagram account where you can learn to read hieroglyphs.

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Photos of the Netherlands in World War II

May 4 is Memorial Day in the Netherlands. One of the activities that was run this year to commemorate the Second World War was a photo competition. People from all twelve provinces plus the Netherlands’ (former) overseas territories could nominate and vote for pictures they felt best represented the war.

You can find the 100 winners on the official website. (It’s in Dutch, but easy to navigate.) Here is a selection:

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