Axis Mastery and Allied Comeback, 1941-1944
In 1942 the gambling that passed for Realpolitik in Berlin, Tokyo, and Rome offered hopes for big winnings. Months would pass after December 7, 1941, before the Allied forces would taste victory in a pivotal battle; almost four years would go by before Japan felt total defeat. From 1941 until 1944 the Axis powers exploited their early successes while the Allies stubbornly fought, forged weapons, and designed strategy to wrest the initiative. The spectacle of Axis exploitation of captive nations constantly reminded the Allied peoples of what was at stake. Disagreeing about what they fought for, the Allies knew what they were fighting against; and that was sufficient to hold them together.
The war morale of Japan was intensely stimulated by the early victories of 1941-1942. At the height of war fever, one Japanese writer optimistically viewed the future for his fellow citizens: "We will plant the Rising Sun flag, dyed with our life blood, on the farthest corners of the earth. . . . We will drag the very crocodiles from the Ganges. . . . The paper carp shall flutter high above the city of London. . . . Tomorrow Moscow and Snowy Siberia shall be in our hands. Our grandchildren shall raise a monument to us in a Chicago purged of gangsters."