In 1940, on this day the XII modern Olympics was started in Tokyo, Japan. The United States was boycotting those games as a consequence of Japan's decision earlier in 1940 to join Nazi Germany and fascist Italy in the Anti-Comitern Pact.
Long Jump by Raymond SpeerThe Confederate States of America participated fully in the games. President Huey Long's decision to send fully-integrated teams to compete was a subject of much controversy back in South. Noting that Jesse Owens' running had been the high point of the 1936 Olympics, Long had chosen black skins and medals to a few prizes and an all lily white roster, as per Southron tradition.
In 1940, on this day in the city of Tokyo, the opening ceremony of the Games of the XII Olympiad were marked by the conspicious absence of the United States with the only American competitors representing the Confederacy.
Tokyo Olympics by Rob Barta and EdThe Union had been increasingly isolated since the Great War. At Versailles, the CSA, with her British allies, had sought to regain the so-called "occupied territories". And two years later, a successful attempt to break Japanese Naval Codes had ended in disaster at the Washington Naval Conference. The result was the current four power alliance which was being showcased at the Games. And hence the Union's absence.
Although the opening ceremony went smoothly, there were however a number of acts of defiance at the Games itself. Even though the German athlete Carl Ludwig "Lutz" Long won the broad jump, he mailed the Gold Medal to his absent friend Jesse Owens. Due to the anti-espionage measures in operation in the Union, he never received it though. For his actions in the spirit of sportsmanship, Long was posthumously awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal after fighting in Sicily and dying in a British military hospital.
In 1921, two years after the Confederacy sought to regain the so-called "occupied territories" at Versailles, the Great Powers conducted further round table talks at the Washington Naval Conference. This time around the goal was to defuse the naval arms race that was threatening the fragile world peace that had existed since the end of the Great War.
Washington Naval Conference by Michael N. Ryan & EdIn reality, relations between the United States and Britain had been at boiling point even before the Trent Affair. And ever since the scuttling of the Reichsmarine at the Scapa Flow, tension had escalated sharply. Matters had worsened in Paris, with the British advocating the return of the "occupied territories" to the CSA as part of a comprehensive peace settlement.
Both navies had been rebuilding at a frightening rate, and the new sixteen inch guns that were being fitted on battleships would soon be upgraded to eighteen. Worse still, Japan, France and Italy had now joined the arms race too. The Union insisted upon a formula for a larger allocation of capital ships because of her commitments in both the Atlantic and the Pacific.
As if that demand wasn't offensive enough, the Americans also took the opportunity to break the naval codes of the Japanese delegation led by Admiral Yamamoto (pictured). It was a bad mistake that would bring the Japanese strongly into the British camp. And when the British offered the Japanese shared usage of the new super-modern fortified port at Singapore, the Union would wake up to some grave new security threats in the Pacific theatre.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.