In 1935, the esteemed American archaeologist Dr. Henry Jones, Jr. was gunned down by Chinese gangsters in Shanghai, China. Dr. Jones, or "Indiana" as he was known to his friends, was mourned throughout the American archaeological community. Little did anyone know that his death would have major consequences beyond academia.
In 1935, what is the first well-documented “supernatural” war began. The Thuggee cult, led by the enigmatic and ruthless high priest Mola Ram, led a revolt against the British. Using the powers of the five Sankara Stones, the Thuggee struck down British and loyal Indian soldiers with pillars of fire. Convinced that the will of Shiva was with the Thuggee, many Indians joined the rebellion. The British mobilized for a long, bloody war to preserve the crown jewel of the British Empire. The Japanese, sensing an opportunity to “liberate” Asia and take it for themselves, sent covert aid to the Thuggee rebels. Meanwhile, Mohandas Gandhi and Subhas Chandra Bose worked with the British to stop the Thuggees, desiring to see an independent India that was not dominated by violent cultists.
Meanwhile, in Egypt, a German expedition led by French archaeologist René Belloq, recovered the long-lost Ark of the Covenant. Wishing to demonstrate Aryan mastery over the Jewish god, Hitler ordered the Ark opened and presented before the international community during the 1936 Berlin Olympics. After the torch lighting ceremony, Hitler announced to the world that German archaeology has solved one of history’s greatest mysteries. Before a massive crowd from all nations, the Ark was presented and opened. Unfortunately for everyone present in Olympic Stadium that day, the Ark unleashed God’s wrath upon everyone present. Hitler, the top echelons of the Nazi Party, and thousands of guests from all over the world perished. In a few moments, Germany was effectively without a government. A quick fight for control saw the Wehrmacht take control, with any Nazi officials unwilling to cooperate placed under arrest or executed.
The events of the Berlin Olympics definitively proved what the war in India had demonstrated for a year: the supernatural exists. Even the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was forced to repudiate the total falsehood of religion. The world’s intelligence agencies scrambled over one another to find supernatural artefacts, but the few that were recovered were of little use militarily. Rumors that the Italians found the Holy Grail were popular but ultimately amounted to nothing.
With the fall of the Third Reich, the power structure of Europe was drastically altered. Germany, which was on the rise, was literally struck down by the wrath of God. The Wehrmacht leadership busied itself with making amends to the Jews in an effort to avoid more divine punishment, and abandoned ideas of war with neighboring European countries. Meanwhile, Mussolini saw an opening. Forming an alliance with Austria and Hungary and cozying up to the Catholic Church, Mussolini claimed that the modern world has done wrong by abandoning the wisdom of the past. This modernism was embodied in the Soviet Union, which Mussolini claimed would inevitably march west and destroy Western civilization. To counter this threat, Mussolini formed the Pact of Steel, an alliance which in practice challenged France’s Little Entente as much as it did the Soviets. During the Spanish Civil War, the Pact of Steel would back Franco’s Nationalists, but it would be the Soviet-backed factions of the Republican side that would triumph in that conflict.
Meanwhile, in Asia, the war in India slowly merged with Japan’s war in China. The Japanese became more and more aggressive, accusing the British, French and Americans of “illegally” supporting China and subjugating Asia’s peoples. In truth, the Japanese coveted the resource-rich European colonies. In October of 1940, tensions finally broke out into open war as Japan launched several simultaneous attacks against British, French and Dutch colonies throughout Asia. Believing that the Europeans were too busy quarreling with Italy and the Soviet Union, and that the British were too exhausted with their war in India, the Japanese expected a quick knockout victory that would force the Europeans to the negotiating table. Instead, the Japanese brought the wrath of the West upon them, joined by the United States after American ships coming from the Philippines were attacked indiscriminately by the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Japanese fought the Europeans fiercely, at one point using a dragon recovered in China, but by 1944 their Asian colonial empire was completely shattered. The Anglo-Americans invaded in early 1945 and were met with fanatical resistance, and the war only ended with the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.
The war in Asia exhausted the European colonial empires, and by the 1950s it was no longer profitable to support them. The war in India ended in 1946, and the British granted the Indians independence under the Indian National Congress as they promised in exchange for its support against the Thuggees. To Britain’s chagrin, the Indians turned towards the Soviets for support. Nationalist revolts, supported by Italy and the Soviet Union, pressured the Europeans into leaving, even though wars between pro-fascist, pro-communist and pro-Western factions normally broke out as soon as the last colonial troops boarded the boat. The rest of the twentieth century will see conflicts between the Anglo-American-French bloc, the Pact of Steel and the communist bloc. The proliferation of nuclear weapons makes war between any two of the blocs too dangerous to contemplate, and it is rumored that even worse weapons are being developed.