History update. Walltext incoming!
8.The London Naval Treaty (1930-1931)
At the turn of the decade, a new conference for naval arms limitation was called. From January 21st to April 22nd all signatories of the Washington Naval Treaty, with the addition of the newcomer Thiara, met in London to resolve the unfilled issues left after the 1927 Geneva conference and to extend WNT regulations.
In a state of general financial instability after the market crash of 1929, -which had hit hard most of the nations involved, with the sole exception of Thiaria being marginally affected- the general feeling was that most nations aimed at putting a limit to any possible building spree that could have beens tarted by one of the signatories, this particularly feared for the Thiarian Navy, and to a lesser extent, for Koko no Kaigun.
For the first time, distinction was made between cruisers armed with guns up to 6.1-inch (155mm) and those sporting guns up to 8-inch (203mm). The former being designated Light Cruisers and the latter Heavy Cruisers. The treaty also extended the tonnage cap on the newly re-designated Cruisers, Destroyers and also Submarines. Some older capital ships were also set to be decommissioned or converted to training duties.
Ratio for battleships was retained, with Thiaria granted a fifth of USN and British tonnage at 122.000T, Capital ship building holiday was extended and aircraft carrier quotas were also retained. Thiaria, again, gained 40.600T in Aircraft Carrier construction and 41.600T in Heavy Cruisers. Heavy cruiser tonnage was set at 182.880T for the US Navy (for a total number of 18 units), 149.149T for the Royal Navy (for a total of 15 ships) and 110.134 for the IJN (for 12 ships), Thiaria could exploit it's tonnage with a maximum of 5 ships. Light cruisers were also limited in tonnage but not in numbers 145.796T for the USN, 195.275T for the RN, 102.057T for the IJN and 39.905T for Thiaria. Destroyer tonnage was capped at 152.400T for both the USN and RN, 107.188T for the IJN and 38.100T for thiaria. Maximum destroyer standard tonnage was set at 1.850T, with no more than 16% of the allotted tonnage to be exploited by vessels above 1.500T. Submarine tonnage numbers were 53.543T for the USN, RN and IJN, Thiaria got 13.385T. France and Italy ultimately decided no to sign.
The United States Navy allowed to retire B-32 Wyoming and convert her for training duties, while the Royal Navy would have scrapped the old Battlecruiser Tiger and demilitarized the Battleship Iron Duke. Japan was to scrap Settsu and demilitarize or convert into a training ship the Battlecruiser Hiei.
Koko Tonnage ratios were the result of more complex negotiations that just a simple fulfillment of treaty ratios. In the years after the WNT Koko no Kaigun had built an enormous number of Cruisers, matching Japan in Light units, and had started to build heavy cruisers too. A large number of Destroyers had entered service or was being built, and a sizable Submarine program had been started recently. On top of that, duing the conference wors started to spread that the two battleships built by Koko under the WNT agreement were possibly up as 4.000T over their declared 30.000T standard displacement.
Both the US and GB delegations worked in order to limit KnK at the lowest achievable level as to avoid where possible that the combined force of the Japanese and Koko fleets reached superiority. After a constant clash with Koko's delegation which was unwilling to give up on their claims, a last-minute agreement was finally reached.
Initial cruiser tonnage proposal was made by the British delegation as 45.720T for CAs and 48.818T for Cls, but koko was highly unwilling to scrap seven light cruisers built between 1920 and 1923 Heavy cruiser tonnage was capped at 14.200T, expendable on just two ships (the already commissioned Saimei and the under construction Nanto), with the remaining 77.338T allotted to the Light cruisers, for a total Cruiser allowance of 91.538T, roughly a quarter of the British total and not enough to reach parity with the US fleet even if added to the IJN's tally. Submarines were limited to just 12.605T enough to allow completion for the units already under construction, no new build were allowed. Battleship Yagumo was to be removed from active service and converted into a training ship.
A point of high divergence was that concerning Destroyer tonnage. Both the American and British initially proposed a 38.100T limit, which was bluntly rejected by Koko's delegation as it would have forced to scrap 30 Destroyers, two thirds of them less than 7 years old, other than another six under construction and four more already funded and about to be laid down, and thus deemed unacceptable. A compromise was reached by raising the cap tonnage at 72.806 and cutting the planned units from four to three, and Koko agreed to scrap the ten oldest Destroyers in the fleet. Still this apparently generous concession came with a counterbalance: 34.000 extra tons in Destroyers coupled with the overweight problems of the Kii class Battleships let both the US and British delegations to negate any Aircraft Carrier tonnage to Koko for the second time, despite some protests coming even from the Japanese delegation. Thiarians did not interfered with the matter, as they felt that the concessions they had managed to obtain were highly satisfactory and preferred to avoid any other matter. Koko's representatives strongly protested and tried again to obtain at least some 20.000T for Aircraft carriers, but when the British demanded that separate tonnage from Commonwealth members should have been added in that case Koko finally gave up any claim and accepted the limitations.
The London Naval treaty was thus officially signed on April 22nd 1930, and ultimately ratified on October 27, 1930.
LNT (London Naval Treaty):
United States of America, United kingdom, Empire of Japan, Thiarian High Republic, Republic of Koko.
French Republic, Kingdom of Italy partecipated but did not signed.
Ships to be demilitarized or scrapped:
United States of America:
BB-32 Wyoming to be scrapped or converted to training duties.
BC Tiger to be scrapped.
BB Iron duke to be demilitarized
Empire of Japan:
BB Settsu to be scrapped.
BC Hiei to be demilitarized and converted to training duties.
Republic of koko:
BB Yagumo to be demilitarized and converted to training duties.
Generic tonnage allowances:
(open spoilers to show scrapped warships and tonnage limitations)
9.Breaking Treaties (1931-1934)
A few years before the London Naval Conference, in 1928, Koko's elections were won by a coalition led by Kusako Morimoto, which became Koko's new prime minister. Kusako, despite being a member of the Morimoto family, which had ruled Koko for centuries under their shogunate until forced out their positions during the Meiji restoration, had always been an outcast within his family. Unlike many of his relatives -which choose to retire to private life after beign overthrown from power during the late 1860s- Kusako had always been a fervent supporter of the Imperial rule and a militarist. He was firmly convinced that Koko's fortunes would have been grater the more Koko would have followed and supported Japanese policies. During his term, Morimoto took the advantage to put trustworthy officers within Koko no Kaigun and Koko no Rikugun, also tightening his connections with IJA's higher ups during his frequent trips to Tokyo, having served himself with the KnR - under Imperial Japanese Army command in China- during WWI, leaving service because of injuries he suffered during the siege of Tsingtao.
After the ratification of the LNT Morimoto used the limitations imposed upon Koko no Kaigun as a mean to spread anti-western propaganda to appeal right-wing nationalists, his government also passed a bill, later jointly ratified with Japan, that allowed an IJA division to be permanently stationed on Koko's territory. Officially this was for joint exercises, drills and training with Koko no Rikugun troops, in reality their purpose was to keep an eye on those groups inside KnR which were openly critical of the Government course of action.
Another bill was passed to fund the new Koko no Kaigun naval construction plan, centered around treaty-skirting Destroyers like the Shizuha class, the Suiraiteis and the Hayabusa Seaplane Tenders, which were actually Seaplane Cuisers in anything but name.
When the Mukden incident occurred, on September 18th 1931, Morimoto openly supported the Japanese claims, although he ultimately did not send Rikugun troops to support the IJA as he originally planned. His governemnt also recognized the puppet state of Manchuko when it was later established. The cabinet course of actions actually backfired after the subsequent international backlash towards Japan and Koko, leading Morimoto to lose the 1932 elections, although he still managed to held grips onto the political scene thanks to the trusted men he had placed were needed, ultimately succeeding of being appointed as the Minister fo the Interior in the new cabinet..
In March 1933 Japan withdrew from the League of Nations after it refused to acknowledge Machucko as an independent nation, Koko momentarily remained a member of it, as the new government struggled on it's internal factions about deciding what the most suited course of action would have been: Leaving the League of Nations or start to withdraw from their alliance with Japan. Later, on August 11th 1933, geological surveys on the island of Nintoku led to the discovery of a sizable oil field below the northwestern shores of the island. Morimoto immediately proposed to exploit the fields and to supply Japan with any extra storage the oil fields would have produced, this generated protests within those faction within the Government and Koko no Rikugun which opposed to further alliance with Japan in order to not to be caught in the crossfire of the recently building tensions between Japan and Western powers.
On November 8th 1933, a dissatisfied group of Rikugun soldiers tried to storm Kusako Morimoto house with the intent of preventing him to interfere anymore with the State affairs, being it by arrest or killing him if needed, Other men were supposed to secure the government buildings from external interference in order to protect politicians which were favorable of cutting ties with Japan from right-wing retaliation. The plan was foiled thanks to Morimoto links within the Rikugun, with the IJA garrisons also taking part in suppressing the rebels. Within two days the attempted coup was vanquished, with Morimoto exploiting the situation to place all the blame on the left wing and, supposedly, pacifist factions which were used as scapegoats for his benefit. Committing his loyal men and the IJA troops he actually reversed the coup while claiming that he was acting to restore order and stability to the country. By December 2nd 1933, all opposition factions were largely purged, and Morimoto was appointed to form a new government. As one of the first actions of the new cabinet, Morimoto renewed Koko's alliance with Japan, then, on February 5th, 1934, Koko officially withdrew from the League of Nations.
10.Towards WWII (1934-1941)
Within days of his reinstatement as a Prime Minister, Morimoto passed a rearmament bill that actually restarted Naval constructions despite the limitations of the London Naval Treaty. Submarines production was restarted in 1933, with two units being laid down under the pretext that they were going to replace the two oldest units within the fleet. Full-size destroyer production restarted by late 1934, immediately followed by heavy cruisers, although at first planned to be light cruisers, claimed to be replacing the older Kashino class. Thus, when Japan and koko jointly announced their denunciation of the Washington Naval Treaty on December 29th 1934, Koko was actually ignoring it since a year.
In December 1935, both Koko and Japan deserted the Second London Naval Conference, clearly revealing that both governments were inclined to let the treaty provision to expire at the end of the year. Then, on November 25th 1936, both nations ratified the Anti-Comintern pact along with Germany. Despite Morimoto pushed as usual in his immovable resolve to follow Japan, the pact was well accepted by most of the population,, as the Soviets had been perceived as a great threat since the years following WWI, with the distrust of Kokoans towards them being even stronger than that against the United States. In light of the newborn alliances and the imminent collapse of the Washington Naval Treaty Morimoto's government passed another rearmament bill: Light cruiser construction restarted in late 1936, with the first new battleship being laid down by December of the same year, with a second class of heavy cruisers following. For the first time in it's history, in 1937, Fleet carriers were laid down for Koko no Kaigun, with the establishment of the naval aviation branch for the Navy, two Seaplane tenders under construction were to be converted into Light Carriers.
When the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out after the Marco Polo bridge incident in August 1937, a few Koko no Rikugun garrisons joined the IJA during the first stages of the conflict, but no sizable reinforcements were made until 1939, so that, by chance, no Rikugun soldier was involved in the Nanjing Massacre.
By 1938, Morimoto had manged to extend his influence within the Rikugun higher-ups and the IJA troops stationed in Koko so much that this, combined with his ties with Tokoyo's government, almost placed his own country under direct Japanese control. Under this conditions, despite concern among civilian population about the current course of actions started to arise again, Morimoto's party had it's leadership confirmed. By September 1940 Koko and Japan had joined Germany, Italy and Thiaria in the Axis powers, subsequently, Koko and Japan signed the Neutrality Pact with the Soviet Union in April 1941. After the fall of France, in 1940, Japanese troops occupied the French Indochina, causing great backlash from the United States, which began an embargo on goods such as petroleum and scrap iron products. Such embargo was quickly extended to Koko as well.
When On July 25, 1941, all Japanese and Kokoan assets in the US were frozen, the situation deteriorated to a point of no-return. Despite being rich of raw materials deposits, Koko's resources were not enough to support both both countries military strength. While Iron and Copper mines production proved to be almost enough to supply the rearmament programs, the mobility of the IJN and Koko no Kaigun was dependent on now dwindling oil reserves, as Koko oil fields were could not support prolonged naval operation unless extra sources could be exploited. This had the effect of increasing Japan's dependence on and need for new acquisitions. When the attempted negotiations between Japan, Koko and the United States failed Most military leaders in Japan and Koko, including Kusasko Morimoto himself, believed that a war against the United states and the Western powers was now inevitable.
On the night between November 29th and November 30th 1941, under the cover of darkness, the IJN Kido Butai crossed Kyofu Kaikyo, en route to attack Pearl Harbor. Then on December 4th 1941, the bulk of Koko no Kaigun carrier force left Toumachi Bay bound for Midway Island, with another naval formation leaving Taniguchi on the same day and steaming for Attu, Aleutians.
The pacific war was about to start.
For those who might notice some inconsitencies regarding some Thiarian facts quoted here, that's a deliberate choice. Garlic mentioned Koko a few times in his Thiaria AU, as a sort of "homage" to my AU. I'm very flattered by that, so, because I do particularly like his AU I've thought about returning his mentions. Yet it is quite reasonably understandable that it would be quite hard (if not impossible) to have the two AUs match perfectly, so take is as as two possible storylines happening in two different 'tmelines', indeed. This allows for both of us to freely take our AUs were were most plase to