In this alternate history of World War II, the Japanese follow up their Pearl Harbor attack with the successful occupation of Hawaii. Now America is marshaling its military forces-from East Coast to West-to reclaim the islands from the enemy.
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November 07, 2005
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Excerpt from End of the Beginning by Harry Turtledove
COMMANDER MINORU GENDA WALKED PAST THE FRONT ENTRANCE TO IOLANI PALACE. Fairy terns, almost whiter than white, floated through the blue, blue Hawaiian sky. The flag of the newly restored Kingdom of Hawaii fluttered on five flagpoles above the late-Victorian palace. Seeing that flag made Genda smile. The Hawaiians had gone out of their way to accommodate both Britain and the United States, with the Union Jack in the canton and red, white, and blue horizontal stripes filling the rest of the field.
Much good it did them, the Japanese officer thought. White men economically dominated the Kingdom of Hawaii for years before America overthrew it and brought the islands under U.S. control.
Well, things were different now. The Stars and Stripes no longer flew over Iolani Palace. The building no longer housed the Legislature of the Territory of Hawaii, as it had for decades. King Stanley Owana Laanui ' King by the grace of God and, much more to the point, by that of the Emperor of Japan ' reigned here now, along with his redheaded Queen Cynthia. And, where King Stanley reigned, Major General Tomoyuki Yamashita, who'd commanded the Japanese Army forces that conquered Hawaii, ruled.
Japanese soldiers stood guard at the top of the stairs leading up into the palace. They weren't big men ' few of them had more than a couple of inches on Genda's five-three ' but, with their businesslike Arisaka rifles, they didn't need to be. At the base of the stairs stood a squad of the revived Royal Hawaiian Guard. Putting the tall men at the bottom and the small men at the top 2 minimized the size difference between them. King Stanley's guardsmen wore pith helmets and blue coats with white belts: purely ceremonial uniforms for purely ceremonial soldiers. They carried bayoneted Springfields ' the Japanese had captured them by the thousand from the U.S. Army ' but Genda had heard the rifles' magazines held no cartridges.
The Royal Hawaiian Guards came to an even stiffer brace as Genda strode by them. He nodded back, politely acknowledging the compliment. He turned a corner and then another one, heading for the back of the palace. More guards, both Hawaiian and Japanese, stood there. Another stairway led up into the building. And a shorter, narrower set of steps led down into Iolani Palace. Genda chose that stairway.
In the nineteenth century, the basement had been the servants' quarters. It had also housed the storerooms where the kahili ' the feather-topped royal staffs ' and the palace silver service, the wine, and other necessities were kept. Because at the last minute the architect had added a walled dry moat around the palace, the basement rooms had full-sized windows and weren't nearly so dark and gloomy as they would have been otherwise.
In front of one of the rooms along the wide central corridor stood two Japanese sailors in landing rig: their usual blues modified by black-painted steel helmets; infantrymen's belts, ammunition pouches, and canteens; and white canvas gaiters. Like the sentries outside, they carried Arisakas.
"Yes, sir You wish . . . " one of them asked when Genda stopped and faced them.