Germany and Italy are protected by a diplomatic shield. No-one can attack them, until they themselves have attacked. So, it was time to use some of those PPs on diplomatic expansions.
In this version of the game (version 0.94), Czechoslovakia and Denmark can be annexed by Germany, outright. So, I had really two ways to go, i think. I could either annex Denmark and Austria, or annex Czechoslovakia. Annexing Czechoslovakia is nice, because it gives me access to a major coal source, which would provide me with enough fuel for a long time, as well as supplies. However, if I donīt Annex Denmark, it may be coupīed by Great Britain, who then gains access to the baltic sea, through there. And Also France is able to coup Austria, which with it's German population really produces alot... So my choice fell on Denmark and Austria. With any hope the gamble would pay off and I would get Czechoslovakia next turn. France and Britain both have the option of bringing Czechoslovakia to their alliance.
The coup in Cuba. Well, it only costs 10 PP, and it might be a good submarine base. Cuba is also the only country that USA can bring under her protection, without making a coup... So, to annoy, I chose to try and get a coup in Cuba. Seeing that it only succeeds 25% of the time, and 10% of that time there is a counter coup giving it to the USA, it was a chance to take. It paid off, luckily.
Italy also had some needs. Among others to be able to fight on a single front. The best way to do this was to ensure that countries around it, are not annexed or join the opposing forces. However, Italy also has some nice options. For instance taking Spain would open up the Med so forces from the Axis could meet up. Also one might choose a coup in Turkey. In the end i decided that my flank was more worth it than these two other options. So the Italian leadership (Mousolini), chose to exhert some pressure on the Yugoslav and Albanian governments. Both succumbed and joined Italy.
Japan also has a sort of diplomatic screen. They can not be attacked by any other power than the Soviet Union, unless they decide to go to war with a western power (however small). Also they start off embroyled in a war with China. I was assuming that the chinese would not sue for peace, so I had to fight here.
I decide to make some small skirmishes, while moving my units in better position for assaults on important locations. I also send my airforce after the Chinese airforce, to try and engage and destroy as much of it as possible. Mixed results on that part. As bombur reported a 1:1 ratio. Not good, but neccessary. China cannot replace its air losses, at least not in the foreseeable future. I can. I bring some of the Japanese fleet to bear on Tsingtao, bombarding it, and preparing it for assault sooner or later. I also send out submarines from Taipei to blockade Hainan. Hangchow is bombarded, and the position in and near Shanghai is held.
USSR i was not really sure what to do with, yet. I have this vague plan of them somehow being able to contribute to the Axis war-effort against the capitalists. I try some coupīs. One in Finland, One in Romania and perhaps one more, I canīt remember exactly. Only one of the coupīs succeed. That in Rumania. But that is ok. Russia will have plenty of time to conquer Finland, without interference by anybody. As for the three Baltic countries: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania... they can be taken over by annexation in this version of the game. However, no need to hasten this. The only other country able to in any way get a hold of them is Germany... and we are friends with Germany.
That was my thought process in turn 1.