|Part of World War II|
Operation: Downfall was the overall Allied plan for the invasion of Japan near the end of World War II. The operation was cancelled when Japan surrendered following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Soviet Union's declaration of war against Japan. The operation had two parts: Operation: Olympic and Operation: Coronet. Set to begin in October 1945, Operation Olympic was intended to capture the southern third of the southernmost main Japanese island, Kyūshū, with the recently captured island of Okinawa to be used as a staging area. Later, in spring 1946, Operation Coronet was the planned invasion of the Kantō Plain, near Tokyo, on the Japanese island of Honshū. Airbases on Kyūshū captured in Operation Olympic would allow land-based air support for Operation Coronet. If Downfall had taken place, it would have been the largest amphibious operation in history.
Japan's geography made this invasion plan quite obvious to the Japanese as well; they were able to predict the Allied invasion plans accurately and thus adjust their defensive plan, Operation Ketsugō, accordingly. The Japanese planned an all-out defense of Kyūshū, with little left in reserve for any subsequent defense operations. Casualty predictions varied widely but were extremely high. Depending on the degree to which Japanese civilians resisted the invasion, estimates ran into the millions for Allied casualties.
Operation: Downfall in Joe Steele
Operation: Downfall was the codename given to the United States invasion of the Empire of Japan Home Islands in the Fall of 1945. Operation: Olympic saw the successful capture of the island of Kyushu. It had been hoped that this would lead to the surrender of Japan but they fought on leading to Operation: Coronet, the invasion of the Home Islands of Honshu and Shikoku in early 1946. Concurrent with the American attack from the south, the Soviet Red Army would invade Honshu from the north. After hundreds of thousands of American and Russian and millions of Japanese deaths, the death of Emperor Hirohito led to the Japanese surrender and total victory for President Joe Steele and Premier Leon Trotsky. The conquered lands became the U.S. controlled the Constitutional Monarchy of Japan to the south and the Soviet controlled the Japanese People's Republic to the north with the demarcation being the Agano River.
In the short story, Steele acted independently of Trotsky who only invaded Hokkaido when American victory seemed assured in order to gain more territory. In the novel, the joint U.S. and Soviet operation had been prearranged in 1943 at the Basra Conference.
Operation: Downfall in "Ready for the Fatherland"
With Germany and the Soviet Union concluding a separate peace in 1943, ending the Eastern Front of World War II, the United States and the United Kingdom were unable to liberate Europe from German rule. Thus, the USA turned all of its attention to the Asian Theater, and the total defeat of Japan. Nonetheless, the USSR was able to conquer Hokkaido, the northernmost part of Japan, for itself.
The name Operation: Downfall is not mentioned in the story but is used here for convenience.