Soviets in the Sun: A Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Comisario, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. Comisario Shadow Minister for Sound

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    Welcome to the "Soviets in the Sun" timeline. This idea's been in my head for months now, but I've never been able to think of a good POD... until now. It's my first timeline, so I hope you will all enjoy it and leave your comments.

    ***

    Prologue

    The Second Spanish Republic had been close to disaster ever since its proclamation in 1931, following the republican parties' landslide victory in the Spanish municipal elections and King Alfonso XIII's subsequent exile. The new constitution extended suffrage to women, gave new political freedoms, legalised divorce and stripped the nobility of all privileges. The Republic was also able to extend control over Church authorities, influenced by the anti-clericalism that would later lead to a violent suppression of the Church during the Spanish Civil War and in the following years [1].


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    An allegorical representation of the Second Spanish Republic.

    These liberal reforms would be suspended following the elections of 1933. A coalition of right-wing and centrist parties including the Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right and the Radical Republican Party was victorious over the socialist PSOE, leading to anarchist and communist uprisings across the state. They were common occurrences due to the new government's crackdown on left-wings activity. In 1934 in Asturias, the workers' uprising was crushed by Francisco Franco, who would later become Spain's first "Caudillo" [2]. These small-scale revolts would cripple the Lerroux government until the 1936 elections. Behind the scenes, prominent generals of the Republic began to plot in anticipation of a left-wing victory in the upcoming elections. Masterminded by General José Sanjurjo, whose failed military coup in 1932 forced him into exile, this coup was supported by many generals. They included Francisco Franco, Emilio Mola and Manuel Goded Llopis.

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    The conspirators of July 17th.
    Top row (left to right): Generals José Sanjurjo, Francisco Franco and Emilio Mola
    Bottom row (left to right): General Manuel Goded Llopis, General Queipo de Llano and Colonel Juan Yagüe

    The elections took place on the 16th February, 1936. Over 9,870,000 people participated in the fragile democracy’s general election. 4,654,116 people voted for the Popular Front, whereas the National Front obtained 4,503,505 and the centre parties got 526,615. The Popular Front gave amnesty to all left-wing leaders in prison, introduced radical agrarian reform, outlawed the Spanish Falange and placed potentially dangerous military officers outside of mainland Spain. These measures created an economic crisis and forced General Sanjurjo’s hand. On the 17th July, the republic was thrown into chaos with the proclamation of the coup.

    [​IMG]
    The flag of the Popular Front elected in 1936.

    General Franco flew to Morocco to take command of the Army of Africa and launch an invasion of the mainland from the Spanish protectorate. On the 20th July, Sanjurjo died in a plane crash whilst flying to Morocco to meet with other rebel generals. Franco assumed leadership as news reached the insurgency’s leaders of their failures in capturing Madrid, Barcelona and many other major cities. Much of the north and small pockets of the south fell to the rebels. Italy and Germany gave their full support to the Nationalist rebels, airlifting troops across the Straits of Gibraltar and supplying Franco with arms and “volunteers” on his march to Madrid. The Popular Front failed to gain support from the British and French due to their commitment to non-interventionism. President Manuel Azaña gave his new prime minister, Diego Martinez Barrio, the unenviable task of negotiating with the rebels. The prime minister failed and was replaced by José Giral. Prime Minister Giral began distributing arms to anarchist and socialist revolutionary militias to counter the insurgency’s advance.

    [​IMG]
    Soldiers from the Army of Africa, under the command of General Franco.

    President Azaña dismissed José Giral and appointed Francisco Largo Caballero, the self-ascribed “Spanish Lenin”, as prime minister. Largo Caballero assigned many anarchists and socialists to his cabinet and relinquished two ministries to the Communist Party to guarantee their cooperation. Anxious to capture Madrid quickly, Franco ordered for bombings and assaults on the city as soon as Andalusia was cleared of Republican loyalists and General Queipo de Llano took charge of Seville. The Republican government abandoned Madrid in the face of the Nationalist siege. Madrid did not fall as expected, enraging Franco and his international allies. Stalemate fell over the front around Madrid. Tensions rose in the Republican rear, being constantly exacerbated by rhetoric from both anarchists and communists. These tensions were brought to a head following many failed Republican offensives over late 1936 and early 1937, in Barcelona. The Barcelona May Days created an atmosphere of open suspicion and accusation between the Communist Party and the Catalonian anarchists. Failure to deal with this turmoil, coupled with Largo Caballero’s unwillingness to uphold the coalition with the communists, forced Azaña to appoint the former finance minister, Juan Negrín, as prime minister.

    [​IMG]
    Juan Negrín: the Second Spanish Republic's last prime minister [3].

    The Republic needed a victory to bring its many restless factions together. Premier Negrín began cooperating more closely with the Communist Party due to their military discipline and influence with the Soviet Union, who were the only nation to provide arms to the Republic (aside from the limited shipments and support from Mexico). With the International Brigades battle-hardened and fully under the control of the Partido Comunista de España, a grand offensive at Brunete was planned in the hope that it would stop Madrid’s encirclement and halt the Nationalist campaign in the Basque Country [4].

    ***

    [1] A little hint of what's to come...
    [2] Franco will be the first, but he will not be the last.
    [3] But only of the "Second" Spanish Republic.
    [4] So much rested on this offensive. We will see how it works out in the next update!

    This update is basically OTL (aside from the small annotated hints for later), so there's very little alternate history. It's also a very brief overview so it wouldn't be too boring. I can always bore you all in later updates, however...

    Read, comment and do what you will!
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2013
  2. Edward_Elric Only works in theory

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    You have my attention.
     
  3. Comisario Shadow Minister for Sound

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    Good, I'm glad. The next update is ready but I need to make sure there's enough interest for me to go ahead with this timeline.

    I also thank you for being the first to comment :)
     
  4. omnimercurial Well-Known Member

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    my interest is piqued! :)

    Please continue.
     
  5. PoeFacedKilla Is Best Poe

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    i think i may know where your going with this, at least I hope so.
    anyway good way to start, cause ill be reading this
     
  6. Rich Rostrom Well-Known Member

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    The heights of glory, the depths of despair
    Please continue.
     
  7. Comisario Shadow Minister for Sound

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    Book I- The Spanish War of Liberation

    Chapter 1

    The Guns of Brunete

    On the 7th July 1937, Valentin "El Campesino" Gonzalez's 46th Division, springing upon the Falangist battalion defending Quijorna, forced the town's fascists to surrender on the first day [1]. El Campesino, encouraged by this victory, joined up with Enrique Líster's 11th Division following Líster's capture of Brunete. Whilst Gonzalez and Líster were grouping together for the attack on Sevilla la Nueva, General Gal's 15th Division was fighting fierce Nationalist resistance at Villanueva de la Cañada. The battle had raged since the day before, but came to an end by 7am that morning. To allow General Gal to continue onwards to Boadilla del Monte, General Enciso of the 10th Division assaulted Asensio's 12th along the Mocha Ridge. Asensio retreated back to the hills near Boadilla. Together, Líster and El Campesino were able to take Sevilla la Nueva after some fierce fighting over the night. Then, in the morning of the 8th of July, they took the lightly defended town of Navalcarnero [2]. Following his orders from Colonel Modesto, General Walter's 35th Division caught up with Líster and Gonzalez on their advance south so as to bring the entire 5th Corps together. The 15th Division crossed the Guadarrama River and found Asensio's 12th Division waiting for them. Gal's 15th Division achieved little and were quickly thrown back.

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    The 15th International Brigade under the command of General Gal.

    By the 9th July, José Varela was growing tired of the 5th Corps's advance at his expense, and, with the late arrivals of the Navarrese 4th and 5th Divisions alongside Saénz de Buruaga's 150th Division, wanted to attack the 5th Corps at Navalcarnero [3]. Yagüe agreed to this plan, hoping to draw attention away from the Republicans' left flank advancing for Boadilla. The 4th, 5th, 11th and 150th Divisions advanced on Navalcarnero. By noon, they were engaged in a firefight with the entire 5th Corps, who had prepared for a Nationalist counteroffensive. The town's outskirts were occupied by the Nationalists at first, but artillery and air support managed to flush them out and force them to assault the town directly. The 4th Division broke through Líster's defences but was quickly driven out of the town by artillery shells and rifle bullets. Inside the town, Republican soldiers in the tower of the Church of Immaculate Conception were being strafed by the Condor Legion but did not find their position compromised until the bombing started in coordination with the 5th Division. But Colonel Vega's 5th Division only briefly took control of the northern road to Brunete with support from the Condor Legion, and found that this victory meant little, shortly after. It seemed that the 4th, 11th and 150th had already began a retreat. The 5th Division followed soon after. The Republic seized another victory.

    [​IMG]
    Colonel Juan Yagüe Blanco. In the "Junta Nacional de España", he would go on to become the Caudillo's right-hand man [4].

    With news of the defeat, Colonel Yagüe abandoned Varela and put his men on standby for retreat. Varela was outraged, calling Yagüe a "traitorous red" and a "God-forsaken coward". At the latter remark, Yagüe was said to have quipped as he departed, "General, it is you that God has forsaken". On the morning of the 10th July, Major Enciso's 10th Division was close to surrounding the garrison at Villafranca del Castillo alongside General Kléber's 45th Division. Colonel Jurado's planned assault began just before he was taken ill and was replaced by Colonel Segismundo Casado [5]. Casado was unsure about the assault but felt he had to commit to it once it had begun.. The garrison was trapped and, with the Nationalists still in retreat from Navalcarnero, there was no sign of it being relieved [6]. On the morning of the 11th July, the 18th Corps, made up of the 10th, 15th and 34th Divisions, was now joined by General Kléber of the 45th Division and Gustavo Duran of the 69th Division. They all regrouped across the Guadarrama River and stormed on towards Boadilla del Monte. Asensio's 12th was already in retreat when the 18th Corps attacked, which only hurried them away. Varela's own units abandoned him, preferring to leave with Yagüe or surrender with some dignity [7]. By late afternoon, Villaviciosa de Odón was surrounded and the old battleground of Brunete had been swept clean of fascist resistance. In the Nationalist headquarters in Villaviciosa, Varela was found alone, in prayer. He was armed with a rifle and took a few shots at his Republican captors before proceeding to shoot himself in the stomach. He was spared death as he was quickly treated by Republican medics and sent to Madrid for hospitalisation.

    Madrid had been saved; the Republic breathed a sigh of relief.

    [​IMG]

    ***

    [1] This is the POD. In OTL, it took the fascists three days to surrender. Enrique Líster was unwilling to advance until Gonzalez had secured Quijorna. The road was clear and there was no resistance for Líster's troops all the way to Navalcarnero.
    [2] Navalcarnero was the goal of this offensive. Without the delay in Quijorna, General Varela will not have time to capture the two Republican reconnaissance soldiers who informed him of this fact in OTL. The town had no garrison or defences, save for a handful of Civil Guardsmen and some supply detachments.
    [3] In OTL, these divisions would face no resistance during their journey from the north. Thus, they appeared on time to meet a patiently waiting Varela.
    [4] The second "Caudillo" will be a man with few Spanish allies. Yagüe will be invaluable.
    [5] As in OTL.
    [6] In OTL, the garrison was relieved by the Navarrese troops that are otherwise advancing on Navalcarnero ITTL.
    [7] Yagüe had the numerical advantage, commanding three divisions. It makes sense for most of Varela's troops to take their chances with him or for a small group to surrender to the Republicans.

    The next few updates will be further apart due to a little summer job I've got and revision for my exams. Funnily enough, some of that revision is for Spanish and covers a lot of the Spanish Civil War! So I should have even more to write about, haha.
     
  8. Libertad Inter-galactic Liberator

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    Have to see this one. :D

    EDIT: I don't know if you already know of the Reds timelines or maybe you're a lurker for quite some time before joining here. You should check that out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013
  9. MatthewFirth Well-Known Member

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    This looks very good.
    I'm looking forward to seeing how Spain overcomes this battle.
     
  10. Libertad Inter-galactic Liberator

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    I'm sensing a divided Spain, a Fascist Spain and a libertarian socialist/anarchist Spain. Probably like the Iberian Libertarian Federation in the Reds timeline?

    Or probably just a Soviet Union aligned Spain? Hahaha. I don't know. But most likely a civil war ending with a tie.
     
  11. Comisario Shadow Minister for Sound

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    I've been a lurker for quite some years now, so I'm aware of "Reds". Sadly, I never got into it. Timelines dealing specifically with America have never really interested me, but I might try and get into it.

    :) Thanks for the suggestion and the enthusiasm.
     
  12. Comisario Shadow Minister for Sound

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    You're slightly closer with the second guess, haha. But, I don't want to make Spain's fate seem too obvious. However, I can't overstate how important Brunete was for both the Communist Party, and for the more "traditional" parties of the Republic.

    Also, don't expect half-measures, compromises or ties in this civil war. ;)
     
  13. Libertad Inter-galactic Liberator

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    Well, at least this is not your classic America timelines here. This is a Soviet America carrying international communism towards that nearly inevitable world revolution victory as of TTL 2013.

    How about the People's Flag timeline concerning a syndicalist Britain? With a prospective syndicalist wank with reunited America and India but syndicalist based on the hints? You might know of it too.

    Anyways, I'm a sucker of Red timelines especially seeing the Spanish Revolution of 1936 with a happy ending. :) So you have my attention.
     
  14. Libertad Inter-galactic Liberator

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    I'm kinda confused of Franco ending up as a caudillo but not even the last one. So I guess, there's that temporary Fascist victory that would be turned around? Or at least a victory where the Falange cover a big part of the country but then was finally defeated? Anyways, you don't want to throw out a lot of hints so all I can say is that... give us more! more!
     
  15. Comisario Shadow Minister for Sound

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    I remember the "People's Flag". I remember it because I was beginning a communist Britain timeline with the same title, so I checked if one already existed... I was as disappointed as I was excited by finding it, haha :)

    That "Spanish Revolution" does not have a happy ending.
     
  16. Libertad Inter-galactic Liberator

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    You mean what Spanish Revolution? :eek: This one you are making?

    Anyway, it's kinda sad that the People's Flag, Wir Sind Spartakus and War of the Classes timelines are stalling right now. :(
     
  17. Comisario Shadow Minister for Sound

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    I'm writing the next update now, don't worry. To your comment about these "Caudillos"- read what I have said about Franco's "successor" very carefully, and also look at who his allies might be ;)
     
  18. LeX Well-Known Member

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    USA
    I like this. It's an idea that should be obvious but never gets done. Do continue.
     
  19. Comisario Shadow Minister for Sound

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    The death of Spanish democracy will be painless; the death of Spanish anarchism will be anything but...
     
  20. Comisario Shadow Minister for Sound

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    Next update will be tonight or early tomorrow morning, camaradas!