Man-Made Hell: The History of the Great War and Beyond

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Chapter One: All Because of Two Bullets
  • Chapter I: All Because of Two Bullets


    “Millions died, generations were lost, empires collapsed, and several kilometers of land, once entire urban centers, were reduced to lifeless wastelands, perhaps condemned to never recover. And all for what? All because of two bullets.”


    -US President Earl Long in a state of the union address, circa 1950





    The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne.


    The Great War was the largest waste of life the human race has ever enacted upon itself, with the death toll exceeding ninety million. No other conflict on Earth, including the recent civil wars in Europe, have come even close to wasting as many lives as the three-decade timespan when the great powers of Europe went for each other’s throats with any weapon they could put together. Children whose fathers had died in Great War would die in the exact same conflict and all the bloodshed carved a new era in human history, the Cold War.


    For such a hideous waste of life the Great War had relatively pathetic origins. On the day June 28th, 1914 the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, Sophie, were on a tour of the city Sarajevo, which was within territory annexed by Austria-Hungary a few years earlier and, just like much of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, suffered from ethnic unrest. This was what ultimately killed the Archduke and his wife, the Duchess of Hohenburg, and set Europe on fire.


    There had actually been several attempts to take the Archduke’s life that grim and fateful day, all of which were planned by the Pan-South Slavic Black Hand, however, only one was successful, the gunshots of Gavrilo Princip. The Archduke’s car took one wrong turn and, as fate would have it, had stopped right next to the food shop Princip had retreated to following the failed assassination attempts. Gavrilo Princip did not hesitate to stand up and pierce Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie with two bullets from his pistol. The Archduke’s last words were, “Sophie! Sophie! Don’t die! Live for our children!” Of course, neither Franz Ferdinand or his wife would live, for their deaths would trigger the largest war mankind has ever entrenched itself within.




    New York Times headline announcing the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and Sophie, Duchess of Hohenburg.



    Can You Hear the Drums of War?


    “Let us hope nothing does happen.”


    -Austro-Hungarian Finance Minister Bilinski commenting on the assassination of the Archduke and his wife, circa 1914



    Following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the Duchess of Hohenburg the Great War was just around the corner. The shock of the assassination quickly spread to all the royal families of Europe even if their people were mostly indifferent to those infamous bullets fired in Sarajevo. Within two days of the Archduke’s murder Austria-Hungary and the German Empire advised the Serbian government to open an investigation into the assassination, however, the crisis in Bosnia did not concern Serbia. Following the conduction of an investigation and the assurance of German support if war must be resorted to, the Austro-Hungarian government issued a formal letter to their counterparts in Belgrade, reminding Serbia of its duty to respect the Great Powers’ decision regarding Bosnia, as well as its duty to maintain good relations with the Austro-Hungarians for the sake of peace in the Balkans.


    Said letter, now referred to as the July Ultimatum, also outlined ten demands the Serbian government must fulfill within 48 hours or else the Austro-Hungarian ambassador to Serbia would be recalled, surely a step towards war. These demands were:


    1) The suppression of anti-Austro-Hungarian publications.


    2) The dissolution of nationalist organizations in Serbia.


    3) The elimination of all anti-Austro-Hungarian propaganda in schoolbooks and public documents.


    4) The removal of any officers or functionaries named by the Austro-Hungarian government from the Serbian military.


    5) The acceptance of Austro-Hungarian representatives in the Serbian government.


    6) The trial of all involved in the Archduke’s assassination and the involvement of Austro-Hungarian law enforcement officials in the investigations.


    7) The arrest of Vojislav Tankosic and Milan Ciganovic, both of whom were deemed participants in the assassination plot.


    8) The end of the involvement of Serbian authorities in weapon trafficking to Austria-Hungary.


    9) The distribution of explanations to the Austro-Hungarian government of Serbian officials had expressed hostility towards the Austro-Hungarian Empire.


    10) The immediate notification of the Austro-Hungarian government of the execution any of the nine aforementioned demands.


    Regardless of what was at stake the Kingdom of Serbia could not accept the demands outlined in the July Ultimatum. Many of the demands were in fact accepted by the Serbian government, however, other demands would simply give up too much of Serbia’s sovereignty to the Austro-Hungarians. Once the Russian Empire had assured the Serbian government of its support via telegram, the Serbians mobilized their military and sent a reply to the Austro-Hungarians. The response of Austria-Hungary? No less than the end of Austro-Serbian diplomatic relations, as outlined by the July Ultimatum. Following a skirmish between Serbian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers along the Danube River the Austro-Hungarian Empire mobilized and declared war on the Kingdom of Serbia on July 28th, 1914, one month after the assassination of the Archduke in Sarajevo.


    The Great War had begun.


    And all the trauma to come was because one man drove down the wrong road at the wrong time.



    The Titans Enter the Arena


    “Then I must mobilize too.”


    -Kaiser Wilhelm II in response to the mobilization of the Russian Empire, circa 1914



    Within the next few days Europe left behind the peace (an uneasy peace, however, peace no less) that had existed between the Great Powers ever since Napoleon Bonaparte’s defeat at Waterloo almost a century earlier and hopped right into the inferno of the Great War itself. Europe was to be stuck in this inferno for over thirty long years and the course of mankind was permanently altered, and yet no one saw that Hell was coming to Earth.


    All that could be seen were false promises.


    Austria-Hungary aside, the first of the Great Powers to enter the War was the Russian Empire, the autocratic and backwater and yet rapidly industrializing and growing power of the east. Tsar Nicholas II, who had guaranteed Russian support of Serbia when the July Ultimatum was sent just days earlier, had a promise to keep and on July 30th informed his cousin Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany that he had ordered a partial mobilization against the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Wilhelm wrote back that if Russia was to mobilize “then I must mobilize too” and the German ambassador to St Petersburg would later inform the Tsar that Germany would mobilize if the Russian Empire did not cease all military preparations. But this did not deter the Tsar, for the French had promised to maintain their alliance with Russia in the case of war. Therefore Tsar Nicholas II took the fateful step of reluctantly ordering a general mobilization against Austria-Hungary on July 31st, 1914.




    Tsar Nicholas II of the Russian Empire.


    Now it was the German Empire’s turn to enter the bloodbath.


    A day prior the Germans and Turks had signed an alliance in the shadows in preparation of the looming possibility of war with Russia. Upon hearing of his cousin’s order for general mobilization against Austria-Hungary Kaiser Wilhelm II did the same for the Reich. The German Army also made preparations to invade Belgium and Luxembourg in accordance to the Schlieffen Plan, a strategy conceived by Alfred von Schlieffen about a decade prior where the Germans would invade through Belgium to reach Paris and force the quick capitulation of France in the case of war against both the French and Russians, now a seemingly inevitable future. Following Kaiser Wilhelm’s ordered mobilization Germany declared war on the Russian Empire on August 1st, 1914 and on the same day declared war on the tiny Luxembourg.


    The mighty German eagle had awoken yet again, for the Kaiserreich had entered the Great War.


    France was the next to join the Great War on August 3rd after the German Empire declared war on the French, however, this was not before Kaiser Wilhelm II demanded that Belgium give Germany military access a day prior via ultimatum. Belgium refused, and a day after declaring war on the French Third Republic Germany went to war with Belgium in order to utilize the Schlieffen Plan. This completely violated Belgian neutrality, which betrayed an agreement signed by Germany, France, and, most importantly, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.


    As the Kaiserreich’s men brought the Weltkrieg to Belgium the British lion watched with pure rage from its throne across the English Channel. Therefore it was no surprise when Great Britain declared war on the Reich just mere hours after the news of the invasion of Belgium had reached London. The Germans tried to prevent the United Kingdom, the global superpower of the 19th Century, from entering the Great War, however, it was just impossible to tame the great British lion.


    It would take Mosely to do that.


    "To think that George and Nicky should have played me false! If my grandmother had been alive, she would never have allowed it."


    -Kaiser Wilhelm II, circa 1914



    Just an Adventure


    “The guns win in the end and they always will. Not us, not the Germans-the guns.”


    -Excerpt from Simon Tolkien’s War in the Morning, published circa 2016





    British propaganda poster from Phase I of the Great War.


    Within little more than a week not only had the Great War had begun but all of the Great Powers of the European continent excluding the Kingdom of Italy and the Ottoman Empire had joined the war on their respective sides. Within the Triple Entente was Great Britain, France, and Russia and within the so-called Central Powers (originally the alliance had been called the Triple Alliance, however, Italy was the third member and had not yet joined the Great War so the name didn’t really work anymore) was the German Empire and Austria-Hungary.


    In those early days of the Great War no one foresaw the conflict spanning three decades, instead a short war akin to the Franco-Prussian War fought over forty years earlier was anticipated. The British were counting on it and were confident that the war would be over by Christmas 1914. Obviously this was not to be, however, the people of the British Empire bought this false pretense and hordes of men signed up to fight over in the western fields of France and Belgium against the Kaiserreich, anticipating an exciting adventure that deviated from the mundane industrialized lifestyle of the 20th Century and nothing more.


    Little did these men realize that many of their children would be fighting in the exact same war they thought would end in time for Christmas.




    British soldiers walking off to the frontlines of Phase I of the Great War.


    In Serbia, where the Great War had first started, the tiny Kingdom of Serbia was doing unexpectedly well against the Austro-Hungarian onslaught. The Serbians did in fact suffer heavy casualties, however, so did their Austro-Hungarian counterparts and following the fall of Belgrade on December 2nd, 1914 Serbian Marshal Radomir Putnik noticed how dangerously overstretched the Austrians truly were. Putnik would order a counteroffensive against the Austrians, who were overwhelmed and retreated back into Austria-Hungary. Belgrade was liberated on December 15th and, for now at least, the people of Serbia could sleep easy knowing that they had beaten the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire.


    On the western front things were less than cheerful for the Entente, to say the least. The claws of the German eagle crushed poor Belgium like an insect and the German Army captured Brussels on August 20th, 1914, less than a month after Germany had declared war on the Belgians. The French initially attempted an invasion of Alsace-Lorraine, which they had ceded to the Reich decades earlier following the Franco-Prussian War, and were at first successful, however, German reserves made sure that France’s victory would not last and following the Battle of Mulhouse on August 7th the French were retreating to the west.


    The Germans brutally swept across Belgium by executing civilians and razing villages in what became known as the “Rape of Belgium.” After wiping Belgium off the map Germany was poised to invade northern France, hopefully bringing an end to the Great War, at least on the western front. Battle after battle the Kaiserreich emerged triumphant over the French General Joseph Joffre and his British counterpart John French and the Germans were eventually just 70 kilometers away from Paris, the capital of France itself.


    And then all hope for a victory was swiftly and brutally crushed.


    From the 6th to the 12th of September 1914 the British, French, and Germans faced off at the Marne River where the Entente managed to exploit a gap in the German forces. The German winning streak was finished and the German Army retreated north where they dug into the ground and the decades-long stalemate that the Great War is so infamous for began.




    German soldiers in a trench during Phase I of the Great War.



    In the east a different situation was playing out. Advances were not slowing down as men dug into the dirt. At first it was the Russians who were winning, initial progress struck into East Prussia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire failed to defend Galicia. However, the Kaiserreich saw the failure on the Eastern Front and in 1915 German attention was shifted away from France to Russia.


    In order to better command the Eastern Front the Austro-Hungarian and German armies began to operate as though they were a single unified entity against Russia and following the Second Battle of the Masurian Lakes in the February of 1915 the Central Powers’ offensive against the Russian Empire became a general advance and the tides completely turned. The Russians were no match in the fight against the mighty German and Austro-Hungarian Empires, for the Russians were lacking in equipment and competent commanders. Therefore, it was no surprise when Germany had completely expelled Russia out of Congress Poland in mid-1915. All fears of a Russian invasion in Germany had dissipated in the crowds of Berlin, instead it was the people of Saint Petersburg who slept uneasy at night, dreading the arrival of the German eagle.


    To make matters worse the Ottoman Empire, whose rivalry with Russia (and for that matter, Europe) spanned centuries, joined the Great War on behalf of the Central Powers on October 29th, 1914 following an attack on the Russian naval presence in the Black Sea by the Ottoman naval commander Cemal Pasha (doing so without the permission of the Turkish high command) as well as a growth in relations between the Ottomans and Germans in the days leading up to and months after the beginning of the Great War. Turkey was no threat to the Tsar, if anything it was the exact opposite, however, there was a new enemy force in the Black Sea and British colonial Egypt found itself next to a hostile foreign power, and a large one at that.


    Of course, the entrance of the Ottoman Empire into the Great War on behalf of the Central Powers also meant that an invasion of the Sick Man of Europe by the Entente was required. Starting in the February of 1915 the British conducted an offensive with the goal of capturing Constantinople, however, the Gallipoli Campaign proved to be a gruesome failure for the British Empire. Casualties were horrifically large on both sides, and were especially traumatizing for the British dominions of Australia and New Zealand. The Gallipoli Campaign came to an end about a year later in the January of 1916 following increasing complications (such as Bulgaria joining the Central Powers on October 14th, 1915) and an Allied evacuation.


    In the Great War not even a war against the Sick Man of Europe would be swift.



    The Sleeping Giants


    “There is such thing as a man being too proud to fight. There is such a thing as a nation that is so right that it does not need to convince others by force that it is right.”


    -US President Woodrow Wilson commenting on the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, circa 1915



    In the early years of the Great War two Great Powers were notably absent - Italy and the United States, the latter of which would never join the War. Italy, on the other hand, would join the Great War around the beginning of Phase II only for the Japanese to leave the conflict in its place after years of combat in the Pacific Ocean. US neutrality earned America the nickname “Sleeping Giant” amongst the belligerents across the Atlantic Ocean, a nickname used by the Europeans throughout the Great War.


    The Empire of Japan joined the Great War on August 23rd, 1914 on behalf of her British allies in accordance to the Anglo-Japanese Alliance after an ultimatum sent to Germany went unanswered. The Empire of the Rising Sun quickly became a valuable member of the Entente due to its proximity to German Pacific colonies such as Tsingtao, a German port in China and the largest overseas naval base the Kaiserreich possessed. In fact, Tsingtao itself was surrounded by the Japanese as early as September 2nd, 1914, although the port itself would not capitulate to Japan until November after a week-long siege as well months of blockading the Germans.


    The Imperial Japanese Navy would also invade German colonies in the southern Pacific as early as October 1914, virtually independent of the civil government throughout the entire fiasco. The IJN barely experienced any resistance whilst seizing the Kaiser’s Pacific territories and in the war against German possessions in China Japan became the first nation on Earth to ever conduct a naval-based air raid against the German Navy, a great feat for the Japanese and a taste of the great power an innovation of the Co-Prosperity Sphere in the decades to come.


    As the War in Asia progressed Japan pressured its neighbor China, under the leadership of the warlord Yuan Shikai, to recognize the integration of German colonies into the Empire of Japan, colonies scattered all across China. Initially the demands drafted up by the Japanese prime minister and foreign minister were brutally harsh and if accepted could have potentially reduced China to a Japanese puppet state. However, as Japan’s European allies learned of the extreme contents of the proposed ultimatum the Japanese government revised the document to not be a brutal swat at Chinese sovereignty. Instead, in the February of 1915 the Japanese negotiated the cession of German colonies in China to Japan and, for the time being, left it at that. This wasn’t the end of Japanese expansion into China and within 1915 alone Tokyo would increase its authority in Manchuria, however, it was the beginning of slow and peaceful expansion into China that pleased the Europeans and kept Yuan Shikai from lashing out.


    The Empire of the Rising Sun was becoming all the more merciful to those who basked in its rays of red.


    As for the United States, the Sleeping Giant itself, entrance into the Great War was never really an option on President Woodrow Wilson’s table. Sure, there was Anglophile sentiment amongst much of the American populous due to the origins of the US as a former British colony and the American public was horrified by the Rape of Belgium, however, the general public opinion was support for neutrality, especially amongst minorities such as German-Americans, Irish-Americans, and Scandinavian-Americans. And President Wilson himself had no intent to declare war on Germany either, instead being keen on keeping the US as far away from the mess in Europe as possible.


    Even so, there was one event in Phase I that nearly pushed the US out of its corner of neutrality, the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, on May 7th, 1915. The Lusitania was not a war vessel, but was rather a passenger ship heading from New York City to Liverpool (although the Lusitania was also delivering ammunition on her final voyage), with American citizens on board. However, that did not mean that it was safe from the German war machine. Germany, in an attempt to have an advantage in the Atlantic Ocean, declared the waters surrounding the British Isles a war zone subject to unrestricted submarine warfare where any Allied ship would have to be wary of the dangerous U-boats. And this included the Royal Mail Ship Lusitania.




    The sinking of the RMS Lusitania.


    The Lusitania set sail in the early days of the Great War, in a time when tactics to evade the U-boats had not yet been properly implemented, thus making the RMS Lusitania an easy target. The majority of the Lusitania’s 1,959 were condemned to Davy Jones’ Locker, an act that outraged the American public. And yet, despite British insistence that the US declare war on the Kaiserreich President Woodrow Wilson chose not to overreact and instead continued to maintain American neutrality. Wilson was still made sure, however, that the Germans would back down from killing more innocent Americans and on September 9th, 1915 Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered that all passenger ships would be left alone to make sure that the Sleeping Giant would not be awoken yet again.


    Back in Europe the Kingdom of Italy was in an awkward situation. Italy had in fact been a member of the Central Powers since the declaration of the Triple Alliance in 1882, however, the Italians had always been the odd man out next to the sister nations of Germany and Austria-Hungary. Simply put, Italy had aligned with Berlin and Vienna because it feared the Entente and in a world where it seemed as though France could potentially lose the Great War, or at the very least, by occupied for the foreseeable future, what was the point of sending young Italian men to an early grave?


    Worse yet for the Central Powers, Italy strongly desired territory within the Austro-Hungarian Empire, territory that Austria-Hungary stubbornly held onto and the growing Italian Empire enviously eyed land in Anatolia, land under the control of Germany’s ally, the Ottoman Empire. And yet despite all this, the Kingdom of Italy stayed away from the trenches possibly because of one man. This man? None other than Italian Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti, a staunch neutralist in the face of calls to betray the Triple Alliance, some calls that were echoed within Giolitti’s very own cabinet.




    Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti of the Kingdom of Italy.


    Through stalling and outright avoidance of interventionists Prime Minister Giolitti managed to avert any entrance into the Great War, a war that Giolitti argued Italy was not yet ready for. However, there was only so much that stalling alone could do to avoid combat and the popularity of Giolitti was gradually declining while the voices of the right-wing in the Liberal Union Party, voices of intervention, grew. However, Prime Minister Giolitti did find a way to satisfy the interventionists by coming to the negotiation table with Austria-Hungary over disputed land between the empires.


    Similar agreements between Italy and Austria-Hungary that had been made in the past were typically not honored by the Austro-Hungarians so to trust Emperor Franz Joseph would be naive on the Italians’ part, however, what was different at the Treaty of Vienna was that the Germans oversaw negotiations as well. The entry of Italy into the Great War on behalf of the Entente could have had disastrous consequences for the Central Powers’ war effort and thus the Kaiserreich was keen on keeping Italy out, regardless of whether or not the Austrians would have to make some concessions. According to the Treaty of Vienna, which was signed on June 17th, 1915, Austria-Hungary would have to cede the area around Trieste and recognize Italian ambitions in Albania by 1920, and the German Empire agreed to make sure Vienna actually went through with the cessions to Italy in five years. There was much heated debate over the fate of South Tyrol, an Austro-Hungarian territory extremely desired by Italy, however, no agreement could be reached so it was decided that in 1920 a final solution was to be found in a second round of negotiations.


    While Giovanni Giolitti had averted entrance into the Great War for the foreseeable future he could not avoid his declining popularity within his own administration and was pressured to resign on January 8th, 1916. In his place was another member of the former Giolitti administration and, thankfully a neutralist, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando.




    Prime Minister Vittorio Emanuele Orlando of the Kingdom of Italy.



    Death is Closer in Reach


    “Gas shock was as frequent as shell shock.”


    -Excerpt from H Allen’s Towards the Flame, published circa 1934



    On the Western Front the combatants of the Great War made one step closer to Hell when the Germans released chemical gases, weapons which were prohibited to be utilized in warfare in accordance to the Hague Conventions, upon the Entente forces during the Second Battle of the Ypres in the April of 1915. As a yellow-green cloud pushed the British, French, and Belgians back in a mass panic the Germans were unprepared for such a success that they were unprepared to even seize the opportunity right in front of them. However, the Battle had proven the capability of chemical weapons and both the Central Powers and Entente disregarded the Hague Conventions by building up their stockpile of chemical arms.




    A British soldier equipped with a gas mask.


    Not even the sky was safe from the combat of the Great War. Aircraft were a new invention in 1915 and had basically been exclusive for scouting missions, however, in April 1915 the French pilot Roland Garros found a way to create a machine gun within his airplane that could shoot between the propellers thanks to the reinforcement of the blades to deflect bullets. Garros’ invention worked excellently, however, just a few weeks after his breakthrough Roland Garros crashed behind enemy frontlines and his technology fell into the hands of the Kaiserreich. Anthony Fokker, an engineer working on behalf of the Germans, actually improved upon Garros’ original design and the Fokker E.I was eventually shipped out to the frontlines.


    In France the Fokkers dominated the skies. Any Allied aircraft was driven from the battlefield during the Entente’s 1915 spring offensive, although the German strategy of staying on the defensive diminished the air superiority of the Reich. Still, the Entente was not winning the Great War. Throughout Summer 1915 the Western Front was stagnant and General John French’s attempted offensive in the fall was a failure, resulting with his replacement with General Douglas Haig as commander of British forces in western Europe.


    As 1915 passed into 1916 the situation in France hadn’t changed much. The German Empire seemed to be so very close to victory, however, trench warfare and flawed strategies prevented the Kaiserreich from marching soldiers through Paris. Worse yet for the German war effort, the French were starting to produce their own superior air fighters and the Western Front became a battle between France and Germany for air superiority. Even so, the French weren’t doing well themselves, the Battle of the Somme was a total bloodbath as was the Battle of Verdun, which was just barely a French victory. And in retaliation to Verdun and the Somme (the latter of which was an indecisive battle) the Germans introduced new commanders to the Western Front, such as Paul von Hindenburg, who created a fortification, thus making the situation seemingly even more hopeless of the French.




    French soldiers at the Battle of Verdun.


    The Eastern Front was even more hopeless for the Entente. Serbia was overrun by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1915 and even with the entrance of Greece into the war on the side of the Entente there was no stopping the sheer might of the Central Powers. With the Balkans in the iron grip of Vienna and Berlin attention shifted to taming the Russian Bear, which by this point was little more than a paper tiger in the eyes of the Central Powers.


    All attempts by the Russians to invade the Austro-Hungarian Empire failed miserably, especially after the victory in the Balkans allowed thousands of soldiers and resources to be relocated to the frontlines against Russia. And forget about an invasion of the German Empire, that was simply off the table, for the Germans had taken Poland with ease, halting a Russian offensive would be even easier. Russia was losing the war, and the people were suffering. The people were suffering because of a war that they did not want, but rather a war that their Tsar had wanted. In the streets of Saint Petersburg discontent with Tsar Nicholas II amongst the Russian people grew and they turned to new radical ideas, never before seen in Russia.


    The Russian Revolution had arrived.


    1916-Manmade Hell.png


    Map of the World circa December 1916.

     
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    Chapter Two: Peace For Our Time?
  • Chapter II: Peace For Our Time?


    “One cannot make a revolution in white gloves.”


    -Vladimir Lenin





    Tsar Nicholas II and his family.


    Upon going to war with Germany the Russian Empire was living on borrowed time. Regardless of its vast size, Russia was a backwater state in comparison to the might German Empire, the rising star of Europe. Even though the population of Russia dramatically exceeded that of Germany the armed forces of the Kaiserreich managed to be slightly larger than that of the Russians and the German Empire managed to fight a two-front war against the European pantheon and was so very close to absolute victory while the Russian Empire barely managed to secure a single front.


    And Russia was not just fighting the Germans, mind you, but Germany’s fellow empires within the Central Powers bloc as well. The Austro-Hungarian Empire had stabilized its frontline against the Russians thanks to immense German aid and after the Treaty of Vienna the Kingdom of Italy would surely not be a problem anytime in the near future, so therefore there was no need to station units out west in defense against the neutral Italians when said units could be fighting the Russian Empire. In the Caucasus region Russia had to face yet another mighty foe when the Ottoman Empire entered the Great War near the very beginning of the conflict on behalf of the Kaiserreich.


    By 1915 the Russian military was already in steady retreat against the Central Powers and the Russian populous had lost any hope that victory was in reach. Tsar Nicholas II’s plot to regain the prestige Russia had lost in the Russo-Japanese War failed spectacularly and the Tsar was to blame for this mess. The Great War crushed whatever little ounces of support Tsar Nicholas II had from the days of Rasputin and growing liberalism within Russia and a revolution appeared inevitable.


    As discontent burned throughout the streets of the dying Russian Empire the days of Nicholas became numbered, for revolution was on the horizon.


    As the Russian populous rioted back behind the trenches the military commanders fending off the brutality of the Central Powers became frustrated with the incompetent autocrat they called their ruler as well. Among these disgruntled commanders was General Aleksei Brusilov, who oversaw Russian regiments on the southwestern front in the face of Austro-Hungarian Empire. General Brusilov was a staunch critic of the Tsar’s incompetence and advocated for his abdication in favor of the coronation of Grand Duke Mikhail under the supervision of a council of regents.


    Throughout 1916 Brusilov never achieved the great offensive into Galicia that he had dreamed of, however, became a highly respected commander within the Russian military nonetheless. After all, Aleksei Brusilov was in fact holding out against the Austro-Hungarians and successfully defending Russia, while other generals had already lost Poland to the Germans. Therefore, Brusilov was respected enough to actually potentially force the Tsar’s abdication and managed to gain powerful allies. Lavr Kornilov, a fellow combatant against Austria-Hungary, quickly became an especially good friend of Brusilov and agreed that the Tsar was too incompetent and must be disposed if the Russian Empire were to be preserved. Other commanders, such as Nikolai Dukhonin, became allies of Aleksei Brusilov as well, however, arguably Brusilov’s greatest alliance was with Grand Duke Mikhail himself, the very man who Brusilov envisioned as Nicholas II’s replacement. Mikhail had become disgruntled with his brother’s incompetence throughout the Great War and had a distaste in the aristocratic culture of Saint Petersburg, and therefore happily joined General Brusilov’s conspiracy to depose Tsar Nicholas II.


    Aleksei Brusilov was always cautious and unsure about whether or not he would in fact stage a coup on the Russian Empire, however, finally concluded that he must overthrow Nicholas when at long last riots in Saint Petersburg reached a boiling point on International Women’s Day on March 8th, 1917 when a collection of feminist rallies quickly evolved into a political gathering of the angry peasants of Russia. Soon workers’ strikes began and soon enough Saint Petersburg, the capital of the Russian Empire, was subject to riots in the name of deposing the Tsar. Nicholas II ordered local soldiers to quell the uprisings, but with most soldiers out fighting on the frontlines of the Great War the only guardians of the Emperor and Autocrat of All Russias was a handful of injured and untrained footsoldiers.


    When Aleksei Brusilov heard of the crisis in Saint Petersburg he was well aware that the Tsar could not hold back the power of the masses and therefore concluded that if the Russian Empire was to survive a coup must be staged immediately. Brusilov knew that the Tsar would simply not let him leave his post and head to Saint Petersburg under the guise of containing revolts, however, perhaps Mikhail (who was also commanding units fighting the Central Powers), the Tsar’s very own brother could. And so, on March 11th, 1917 Grand Duke Mikhail left the war against the Germans with a handful of his most trusted men and arrived in Saint Petersburg, only to arrest Tsar Nicholas II and force the crown to be surrendered to Mikhail. Nicholas, whose own life was on the line, regretfully abdicated to his own brother and on the morning of March 12th it was announced in front of the people of Saint Petersburg that they were no longer dictated by Nicholas, but by Tsar Michael II.




    Tsar Michael II of the Russian Empire.


    General Aleksei Brusilov left for Saint Petersburg to consolidate power alongside the new Tsar a day after the abdication of Nicholas and arrived with several regiments to suppress the revolutionaries throughout the city while Lavr Kornilov was put in command of Brusilov’s remaining forces. Within a few days all of Saint Petersburg had successfully fallen under the iron fist of the Russian Empire and the world watched as the new and far more capable leaders of Russia consolidated power. Aleksei Brusilov became the new chairman of the State Duma, as well as the commander of the entire Russian military. As chairman Brusilov gave himself plenty of powers never before granted to anyone but the Tsar. Brusilov had the ability to replace any member of the Duma whenever he pleased and could order an election at any time. In order to keep such an ambitious man under check, Tsar Michael II made sure that the State Duma could not pass any laws without his own permission, however, with Aleksei Brusilov as the leader of the Russian armed forces the Tsar was little more than a rubber stamp and it was apparent to the world was the true head of Russia.




    Chairman Aleksei Brusilov of the Russian Empire.



    Revolution


    “Revolutions are always verbose.”


    -Leon Trotsky



    Within the Russian Empire itself the highest ranking officials of the military did not question the new regime in Saint Petersburg. Even if the coup against the Tsar was simply shocking, Nicholas II had never been a well-liked man within his own military and the new administration was viewed as far more competent at waging war against the Central Powers. Besides, the war effort was the priority of many commanders and if swearing loyalty to Tsar Michael II and Chairman Aleksei Brusilov was what was necessary to win the Great War then so be it.


    The masses of Russia had a different opinion of their new leaders. While Tsar Michael II was substantially more popular and liberal than his brother, who had fallen under house arrest, the Russian people were not stupid and knew very well who their true leader was. And Chairman Brusilov was viewed not as a liberal bringing upon the democratization of Russia, but rather a reactionary who had suppressed the workers of Saint Petersburg upon defeating Nicholas II and would stop at nothing to preserve the Russian Empire and ensure victory over the Central Powers. Left-wing organizations were suppressed across the Russian Empire by Aleksei Brusilov’s military junta and both Russian Social Democratic Labour Parties (the communist Bolsheviks and less radical Mensheviks), as well as the Socialist Revolutionary Party, were forced out Saint Petersburg.


    The communist Bolsheviks would reorganize to the south of Saint Petersburg and fell under the leadership of Nikolai Krylenko, a draft dodger who ensured that the reactionary bourgeois imperialists governing the Russian Empire would not oppress the proletariat. But Aleksei Brusilov did not fear Krylenko and his cabal of Marxists, and outlawed the Bolshevik RSDLP on March 15th, 1917. Of course, this would not wipe out the Russian communists and the Bolshevik movement remained united under Krylenko, however, the RSDLP was technically illegal, therefore making its very existence an act of treason against the Russian Empire. Aleksei Brusilov would order the military of Russia to arrest those who still pledged their loyalty to Bolsheviks and an army under the leadership of Anton Denikin was dispatched to capture Nikolai Krylenko and permanently dissolve the Bolshevik movement.


    Krylenko would most certainly not sit idly by while the proletariat was under siege by the bourgeoisie. A militia was rapidly built up to defend Moscow with Krylenko himself as its commander and on March 16th the Bolsheviks seized control of Moscow via their militia, establishing the Moskva Soviet. Denikin would hop on board a train to Moscow the very day the Bolshevik RSDLP was outlawed, however, upon approaching his destination an army of Soviets blockaded the railroad and with the engine of Denikin’s train seized car after car fell under Bolshevik occupation. Anton Denikin set up a quick defense against the Bolsheviks, however, his units were disorganized and were forced to retreat within minutes as their communist opponents took control of their ride to Moscow and headed back to the Moskva Soviet.


    Anton Denikin relocated in Zelenograd, but would soon be forced to evacuate as the Bolshevik military invaded the city on March 17th, 1917 and through merciless guerrilla tactics (as well as noticeable support from locals) kicked the Russian imperial forces out of yet another city. The seemingly weak Moskva Soviet was emerging victorious over the seemingly mighty Russian Empire and the revolution of the proletariat was practically guaranteed to spread. To rise up in northern Russia, which was strictly within the grip of the Imperial regime, was impossible as socialists were rooted out by the increasingly authoritarian Chairman Brusilov, however, in southern Russia the situation was drastically different. Brusilov had yet to cement authority there and it was therefore up to the people of Russia’s south to decide where their loyalties resided. And in a region where workers’ councils were becoming increasingly common and socialist revolutionaries forced out of Saint Petersburg found a new following it was obvious that southern Russia would rise up against Imperialist oppression and join their comrades in Moscow.




    Bolshevik militia patrolling Kaluga circa March 1917.


    Within a matter of days central Russia was dominated by communist revolutionaries, who administered their respective cities through workers’ councils (called soviets) or some other form of local governance, with communes and republics also existing as well. In the southernmost regions of Russia the red tide of communist revolution, while entirely possible due to northern riots preventing the Brusilov administration from deploying any soldiers there, had yet to arrive. Socialism and republicanism were popular in these regions and despised by Aleksei Brusilov, but these groups were substantially more moderate than the radical Bolsheviks and didn’t necessarily associate with Krylenko’s league of communists. Instead, the Socialist Revolutionary Party and their associates, such as the Menshevik faction of the former RSDLP, dominated Russia’s south and anxiously observed the revolution to their north from Saratov.


    Eventually, however, the call for revolution could not be resisted by these moderates, who admitted that a socialist republic alongside the Bolsheviks was preferable to subjugation under Brusilov and on March 29th, 1917 the Socialist Revolutionary Party seized control of Saratov and the surrounding area, only for the Mensheviks and countless other republican movements to do the same in the following days. At long last, all of Russia west of the Urals was embroiled in grandest revolution the 20th Century had ever seen and it was hoped that soon peace would come to all Russians and the Tsardom would finally be disposed.


    It was apparent to the world that the Russian Civil War had begun.


    From his home in the neutral Switzerland one of Russia’s greatest communist revolutionaries, Vladimir Lenin, learned of the collapse of the Russian Empire and the uprising of Bolsheviks throughout the Russian interior. Lenin was excited that the revolution he had dreamed of achieving for years and finally come to fruition and celebrated the victory of the proletariat with fellow communist dissidents in Switzerland. But Vladimir Lenin was well aware of the extreme decentralization of the Bolsheviks, were were more or less an alliance of revolutionaries under the de facto command of Nikolai Krylenko and could potentially fall apart at any movement. Lenin was a strong advocate for the centralization of any Marxist state under a dictatorship of the proletariat, which forms the basis for the ideology of Marxist-Leninism, so the loose nature of Krylenko’s Bolshevik movement was simply unviable in the eyes of Lenin.


    And so, Vladimir Lenin and his fellow exiled revolutionaries entered negotiations with the German government to return to Russia and fuel the flames of revolution in a nation that the Kaiserreich continued to fight, even when it was on the brink of collapse. Lenin would travel to Moscow on a sealed train across the German Empire and over the eastern front lines of the Great War before arriving in Moscow, the heart of the Bolshevik revolution, on April 8th 1917 and was met with a thunderous applause as the champion of the Russian worker had returned to finish what he had started all those years ago.




    Vladimir Lenin speaking to a crowd of Bolsheviks upon returning from his exile in Switzerland, circa 1917.


    Upon meeting Nikolai Krylenko the ambitious Vladimir Lenin made it clear that he seeked to seize control of the movement he had begun back before the world had fallen into the most brutal war ever inflicted. Krylenko was initially hesitant to hand over the revolution he had more or less started to Lenin, however, upon being assured that the founder of the Moskva Soviet would continue to be a prominent and powerful Bolshevik Nikolai Krylenko accepted Lenin’s proposal and on April 10th, 1917 Vladimir Lenin was proclaimed leader of the Moskva Soviet and Bolshevik RSDLP.


    Lenin would order the governments of the numerous Bolshevik rebellions across Russia to come to Moscow and organize a unified government. Notably absent from the 7th Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, which pledged to unite the Russian communist movement, were the more moderate organizations, such as the Socialist Revolutionary Party and the Mensheviks. These groups did not consider themselves to be communist, however, were major affiliates of the Bolsheviks nonetheless and had anticipated that the communists would invite them to any unified Russian republican government. Lenin, however, knew that these organizations were substantially more popular than the Bolsheviks and therefore excluded them from the formation of his ideal communist state. On April 12th, 1917 a decision was reached and a new nation was declared. All Bolshevik organizations across Russia were to unite under a single regime led by Vladimir Lenin, a Marxist-Leninist state controlled by the RSDLP (renamed to the Russian Communist Party) that would bring the proletariat’s revolution to Saint Petersburg itself, and this nation was named the Russian Soviet Republic.




    Flag of the Russian Soviet Republic, which was officially adopted in the August of 1917.


    Leading the unified Soviet military, called the Red Guard (or more commonly, the Red Army), was none other than Nikolai Krylenko, who was tasked by Lenin to trek north against the army of Anton Denikin (called the White Army) and conquer Saint Petersburg. But soon enough other threats to the Russian Soviet Republic would emerge. Vladimir Lenin viewed the moderate socialists that did not align with communism as opponents to the Soviet Republic and therefore ordered the invasion of cities aligned with the Socialist Revolutionary Party and Mensheviks within Soviet-occupied territory shortly after the 7th Congress of the Bolsheviks and establishment of the RSR. The attack was completely unexpected by the moderates, who were under the impression that the Bolsheviks were their allies, and it took very little effort to seize the northernmost holdings of the moderates.


    The south, however, was a different story. This territory was strictly within the jurisdiction of the moderates and it was here that the communists found themselves outnumbered. Upon hearing of Lenin’s invasion of their comrades to the north the Socialist Revolutionary Party, Mensheviks, and their allies were outraged by what was seen as an epic betrayal and immediately mobilized militias against the Soviet Republic. At Putyatino the Red Army lost its first battle against the moderates and were repelled on April 19th, 1917. The republicans had made their stand against their communist foe, but knew that if they were to win a war against Lenin’s horde of communists then they too would need to forge a unified government. And so, the moderates convened in Saratov to create a new government, one that would fight for democracy named the Russian Democratic Federative Republic, which was officially established on April 24th, 1917.




    Flag of the Russian Democratic Federative Republic.


    The RDFR was a parliamentary federal republic that seeked to not only represent the oblasts under its administration but to also establish autonomous oblasts for regional minorities, such as the Jews and Volga Germans. All elections for the All-Russian Congress, as well as local legislative branches, occurred on April 27th and the Socialist Revolutionary Party secured the majority of seats in Congress. The Constitutional Democratic Party, otherwise known as the Kadets, secured second place as the conservative party of the RDFR (although this was relative; the Kadets were very much a liberal organization) and the Mensheviks, who had renamed from the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party to the Menshevik Party to differentiate from the Bolsheviks, came in third place. Therefore, the leader of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, Viktor Chernov, was appointed as the first chairman of the Russian Democratic Federative Republic on April 27th, 1917 and quickly settled into his position as the Bolshevik onslaught crept ever closer.




    President Viktor Chernov of the Russian Democratic Federative Republic.


    Chernov immediately assembled a coalition of the Socialist Revolutionaries, Kadets, and Mensheviks in the All-Russian Congress nicknamed the Triumvirate to ensure that his government would not be divided in the war effort to defeat both the Soviets and Imperialists. The military, named the Federal Armed Forces (referred to as the Green Army by most outside forces in the same sense that their opponents were the Red Army and the White Army), was also put together under the command of Mikhail Alekseyev, who was supposed to push for Moscow and defeat Lenin’s Russian Soviet Republic before heading for Brusilov afterwards.


    Therefore, the Russian Civil War had truly started. All three major belligerents were tasked with defeating the other two and the White, Red, and Green armies marched off to fight against their own fellow Russians that shocking spring.


    But how did the rest of the world react?



    What is to be Done?


    ““In the relations of a weak Government and a rebellious people there comes a time when every act of the authorities exasperates the masses, and every refusal to act excites their contempt.”


    -Excerpt from John “Jack” Reed’s “The Revolution That Shook the World,” a firsthand account of Reed’s (at the time an American journalist) experience of the Russian Civil War whilst in the Soviet Republic.



    The Russian Civil War shocked the world, especially the belligerents of the Great War. For the Entente, a crisis had struck. One of their strongest allies that has fended of the eastern German onslaught by itself, the Russian Empire, had descended into miserable warlordism and would inevitably lose the war against Germany. For the Central Powers, however, the collapse of Russia was tremendous news. Soon enough, the eastern front would fall silent and the Central Powers would emerge victorious. And the Russians would be in no position to negotiate terms with the Germans, so a merciless unconditional surrender could very well be enforced.


    As Russian Imperial soldiers were called back from the frontlines of the Great War to fight on behalf of the White Army in the Russian Civil War the Central Powers exploited numerous openings. Lavr Kornilov continued to command the southwestern front against the Austro-Hungarian Empire, however, it was obvious that he was fighting a war that could not be won. Aleksey Brusilov, while still very much concerned about the war against the Central Powers, was more worried about the Red and Green armies, and therefore diverted more resources to the war effort within Russia itself. By the time the June of 1917 had begun very little resources were being delivered to the frontlines against the Central Powers and even less reinforcements were being sent. And the majority of these resources and spare regiments were sent to the war effort against Germany, not Austria-Hungary, and thus it was only a few days after June had set in when it was announced that no fresh manpower would be sent to the southwestern front.


    It was clear to General Kornilov that his campaign had become ignored by Chairman Brusilov, the very man who had previously held his position before heading off to Saint Petersburg. Kornilov was a skilled commander and was capable of defending Russia from the Austro-Hungarians, however, it was apparent that he was slowly being pushed back by the Central Powers. Every single battle depleted Kornilov of more and more resources, resources that could not be recovered, while the Austrians replenished their units with supplies and extra regiments from both Austria-Hungary and Germany alike. On June 21st, 1917 Austrians under the leadership of Franz Conrad von Hotzendorf paraded through Ternopil after an awkward retreat led by Kornilov disorganized his men and left them vulnerable to an attack, and this proved that the war against Austria-Hungary was a lost cause.


    After defenses at Ternopil collapsed Lavr Kornilov would write a handful of letters to Aleksei Brusilov that argued in favor of a peace treaty with the Central Powers. “It is obvious that the war in Galicia is, at least for the time being, a lost cause,” wrote Kornilov. “The continued war against Germany and Austria are little more than a waste of men and resources alike that could be used in the far more important crusade against the socialists within Russia’s own borders.” Chairman Brusilov did not heed to Kornilov’s advice and instead believed that any peace treaty with the Central Powers would cripple the Russian war effort, however, he did send relieve Kornilov of his duties on the southwestern front and sent him off to Bologoye to fight against the Soviets in accordance to a request from Kornilov himself. Lavr Kornilov’s position as the commander of the southwestern front was filled by Nikolay Dukhonin, who would prove to be less competent than Kornilov and was infamous amongst the White Army for his common retreats.




    General Nikolay Dukhonin of the Russian Empire.


    While Nikolay Dukhonin quickly proved to be amongst the most incompetent within the White Army Lavr Kornilov wasn’t having substantially better luck either. Once an ambitious commander known for reckless offenses, the Great War had turned Kornilov into a far more cautious leader, as opposed to Anton Denikin, who became famous for his merciless charges into Soviet-occupied territory. The two commanders regarded the other as incompetent and quickly formed a rivalry within the White Army’s high command as Denikin and Kornilov jockeyed for Chairman Brusilov’s endorsement. But Aleksei Brusilov regarded both men as valuable assets to the war effort and could not afford to lose either. Therefore, the two stayed around and more or less split the White Army in half.


    For the Russian Soviet Republic, this was absolutely a blessing. Nikolai Krylenko’s centralized military easily swept through northern Russia and the Soviet industrial centers would pump out plenty of supplies. As the months flew by the Soviet Republic crept ever closer to Saint Petersburg while the combined offensive of the Central Powers in the west accelerated as defenses began to deteriorate. In the November of 1916 the German Empire concluded that its first puppet state must be carved out of Russia and representatives of the Kaiserreich would sit down with Polish nationalists in Warsaw to establish a new nation. The Central Powers primarily negotiated with nationalists under the leadership of Jozef Pilsudski, who was anticipated to become the first head of state of an independent Poland since 1795. On November 5th, 1916 an agreement was signed with Pilsudski that promised that an independent Polish state would be created and within the upcoming months the new government for Poland was outlined. Exactly one year later, under increasing pressure from Pilsudski, the Kingdom of Poland was declared an independent nation, although in reality it was little more than a German puppet regime.




    Flag of the Kingdom of Poland.


    At first Poland had no monarch, and would continue to not have a monarch for much of its initial history, however, a few days after Poland declared its independence the Polish parliament (called the Council of State) elected Jozef Pilsudski, as their first prime minister, who was independent of all political parties and temporarily seized many of the roles of the monarchy and claimed that the war effort against Russia was the priority of the Polish people for the time being. In many occasions, Pilsudski would resist German imperialism within Poland and was keen on keeping the Kaiser on his good side, however, made sure that the Kingdom of Poland was not completely reliant on Germany via the militarization of Poland and the establishment of an independent Polish economy.




    Prime Minister Jozef Pilsudski of the Kingdom of Poland.


    Following the declaration of Polish independence Russian separatist groups would flock to the Central Powers. It seemed as though Ukraine would be the next region to leave Russia due to demands for autonomy amongst local Ukrainian nationalist groups, as well as incursions into Ukraine by local communist militias that prevented the Ukrainians from allying with the Soviet Republic. It was within Chairman Brusilov’s best interest to keep the Russian Empire united and made it clear that any attempts to secede would result with an invasion by the White Army, however, Brusilov was also well aware that he had enough enemies as it was and was essentially powerless if any region in Russia did dare to leave the Empire.


    Worse yet for Aleksei Brusilov, it was becoming increasingly apparent that the war against the Soviets was coming to an end and he would not win. After Poland became independent for the first time in over one hundred years General Krylenko captured Veliky Novgorod on November 27th, 1917 in a tremendous victory against Lavr Kornilov. On December 8th, 1917 Tsar Michael II abdicated, with the liberal monarch citing the authoritarianism of Aleksei Brusilov, such as purges within the Duma, as his motivation for leaving the Russian throne empty. However, while it was obvious that Michael II had always despised Brusilov’s iron first and had wanted the Russian Empire to democratize, Chairman Brusilov was under the impression that the Tsar had abdicated to protect himself from the oncoming Soviet onslaught and surely enough Michael and his family left Russia and celebrated the Christmas of 1917 in the countryside of New York. Within the December of 1917 Nicholas Romanov, the former Tsar of Russia, managed to negotiate the freedom of his family and immediately left for Great Britain where he lived under the protection of his brother, King George V of the United Kingdom.


    Of course, with Tsar Michael II out of the way Chairman Aleksei Brusilov was the absolute head of state and government of the Russian Empire. No one stood in his way, but this would not last. The Soviet advance through December was long and deadly, however, Krylenko was inching ever so closer to Saint Petersburg. On January 19th, 1918 the siege of Saint Petersburg began. Day after day the capital of the once-mighty Russian Empire was bombarded and the city was transformed into rubble. On February 5th, 1918 the Soviets finally emerged victorious and the hammer and sickle waved over Brusilov’s fortress. Chairman Brusilov was discovered in the Winter Palace and would be executed by a firing squad a few minutes after meeting face to face with Nikolai Krylenko. With Aleksei Brusilov dead, the Russian Empire was no more. Yes, guerrillas continued to fight, however, they found themselves sandwiched between the Soviet Republic and Central Powers.


    The Winter Palace was empty.


    Days later, ambassadors of Moscow, Berlin, and Vienna all met in Brest-Litovsk to negotiate a peace treaty that would bring an end to hostilities on the eastern front of the Great War. The Russian Democratic Federative Republic was obviously absent from Brest-Litovsk, however, the Green Army did not occupy any territory that bordered the proposed German sphere of influence and therefore did not need to be present at the negotiation table. And President Chernov made it clear that he planned on recognizing any new states carved out of eastern Russia; to question the Kaiserreich was simply ignorant.


    Obviously, Ukraine would become an independent nation. Representatives of Ukrainian Central Council were even present in Brest-Litovsk, and once the Central Powers agreed to the establishment of an independent Ukrainian state nationalistic militias allied with the Ukrainian Central Council were ordered to rise up and secure the territory Brest-Litovsk would cede to Ukraine. The declaration of Ukrainian secession was more or less met with little to no resistance. The Red and Green armies agreed to remove their presence from Ukraine and what remained of the White Army was disorganized and easily overshadowed by Ukrainian nationalists, who had been the true law of the land since the Battle of Saint Petersburg. The constitution of Ukraine was written up, and went by fairly quickly thanks to drafts already existing, and a parliamentary state named the Ukrainian Republic was declared an independent nation on February 13th, 1918.




    Flag of the Ukrainian Republic.


    Unlike Poland, which was easily under German control, the Ukrainian Republic was far more independent. The German Empire had never occupied Ukraine during the Great War, and therefore had no military presence there. Instead, the local Ukrainian militias that preceded the armed forces of Ukraine pushed the White Army out while Germany stood idly by, and assisted Ukraine following the completion of Brest-Litovsk. Therefore, Ukraine could not become a German puppet regime like Poland. Such enforcement could possibly be met with a war against the Ukrainians, or at the very least massive resistance from locals, and the last thing the Kaiser wanted was a continued war in the east when victory was so close in sight. Instead, the Ukrainian Republic was more or less entirely independent of the German Empire, and merely joined the German sphere of influence. Socialist sympathies in Ukraine would keep the young republic from becoming monarchist like the Germans had hoped, and the first president of the Ukrainian Republic was Mykhailo Hrushevsky, a socialist who went on to form the Ukrainian Party of Socialist Republicans (UPSR).


    Of course, the Germans desired to carve other nations out of the Russian Empire’s corpse, however, without local nationalist regimes like the Central Council in Ukraine, said nations would have to be German puppets. On February 14th, 1918 it was agreed that the Baltics would be integrated into the German sphere of influence and within days the entire Baltic region had fallen under the military occupation of the Kaiserreich as the Red Army evacuated east. The declaration of an independent Lithuania was an obvious choice due to much Lithuanian territory being under German military occupation, and therefore in the same situation as Poland. At the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk a constitution for the Kingdom of Lithuania was conceived, and the Lithuanian king, Prince Friedrich Christian of Saxony, was also selected. The Lithuanian Parliament held a handful of powers, however, was incredibly weak compared to its Polish counterpart and King Friedrich Christian I was the absolute executive force of Lithuania.




    King Friedrich Christian I of the Kingdom of Lithuania.


    To Lithuania’s north the rest of the Baltic region was partitioned into German puppet states as well. The previously Russian Governorate of Estonia, which was in the northernmost reaches of the Baltic region, became the Principality of Estonia, whose constitution more or less mimicked that of Lithuania. The man selected to become the Prince of Estonia was Duke William of Urach, whose position was predetermined at Brest-Litovsk in the exact same fashion of his counterpart in Lithuania.


    Out of what remained of the Baltics, a third nation was carved. The regions of Livonia and Courland both contained sizeable concentrations of German nobility and had similar cultures, so a unification of the two seemed reasonable. In collaboration with Livonian and Curonian nationalist movements, as well as the Latvian Provisional National Council, the constitution of the United Baltic Duchy was drafted in Brest-Litovsk and Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Schwerin was selected as its first Grand Duke. The United Baltic Duchy would be a federation of cantons, each of which would have their own local administrations overseen by minor German nobles.




    Flag of the United Baltic Duchy.


    While the Soviet Republic was accepting of most cessions of territory, one proposals the Soviets contended was the establishment of a Belarusian state. Not only was Belarus culturally similar to Russia, or at the very least more so than its neighbors, but communist revolutionaries were common throughout eastern Belarus. Simply put, Vladimir Lenin and the rest of the Soviet high command viewed Belarus as rightful Russian territory, not some region with a substantially separate identity to that of its eastern neighbors. The German Empire, on the other hand, occupied a significant quantity of western Belarusian territory and had been negotiating the establishment of an independent Principality of Belarus. Neither the Germans or the Soviets were willing to cede Belarus to the other, and so a compromise had to be reached instead.


    It was concluded that the Belarusian region would not be entirely ceded over to either the German or Soviet sphere of influence, but would be partitioned into an eastern and western Belarus instead. The Russian Soviet Republic would annex eastern Belarus, which was deemed Byelorussia in order to differentiate itself from its western counterpart. Meanwhile, the western half of Belarus under German military occupation was organized into the Principality of Belarus, with its capital in Minsk. Just like Lithuania and the United Baltic Duchy, the Prince of Belarus would hold absolute authority of his realm and was a German aristocrat; Prince Franz of Bavaria. That being said, Belarus was a predominantly Orthodox state and Franz was a Catholic, and therefore the local Belarusian people were not as willing to hand over as much of their government to their new monarch as the Baltic states were. A substantial amount of state affairs were mandated by the legislative body of Belarus (called the Rada), and all cabinet officials were selected by the Belarusian democratic government, not the Prince of Belarus.


    And finally, there was Finland. For decades, Finland had been an autonomous region of the Russian Empire that was tied to Saint Petersburg via a personal union with Russia itself. Aleksei Brusilov had been tolerant of the Grand Duchy of Finland’s autonomy and mostly let the Finnish govern themselves in order to not gain yet another enemy, and Tsar Michael II’s liberalism gave the Finnish hope that sticking with the Russians would pay off. Once Tsar Michael II abdicated, however, the major political tie Finland had to Russia was demolished, as was Finland’s incentive to align with Brusilov’s increasingly authoritarian regime that would inevitably collapse. Therefore, on February 5th, 1918, the exact same day the Russian Empire fell to the Red Army, the Grand Duchy of Finland officially seceded from Russia and became an independent nation. In the days that followed Finland reformed itself into a parliamentary democracy, named the Republic of Finland, which was predominantly led by the Social Democratic Party. Therefore, Finland would not fall under the German umbrella; not only was it large and already self-sufficient, but the dominant Finnish ideology fundamentally opposed that of the Kaiserreich. The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk did, however, ensure that the Republic of Finland’s independence would be recognized by the Central Powers and Russian Soviet Republic, and following the completion of Brest-Litovsk the majority of the world also recognized Finland as its own independent nation.




    Flag of the Republic of Finland.


    The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was finalized and put into effect on February 27th, 1918. With one document, eastern Europe was completely altered. The Russian Empire was no more, an in its place Germany reigned supreme through its league of puppet states. At long last, the Eastern Front of the Great War was over, at least for the time being. But for Russia, the bloodshed was far from over.



    Into Siberia


    “If our worst fears are made manifest and the Red Army subdues all of the Motherland, the vast territory of Siberia will be the saviour of Russian democracy. That is where the proud guardians of liberty will escape Soviet tyranny.”


    -Dmitry Verderevsky, circa March 1918



    When the Russian Empire collapsed the Russian Civil War became a fight of life or death between the Red Army of Vladimir Lenin and the Green Army of Viktor Chernov. The Russian Soviet Republic controlled the grand urban and population centers of western Russia, and the Red Army was ready to pursue an offensive for Saratov. The Russian Democratic Federative Republic, on the other hand, was reserved to the southeastern cities in regards to urban centers west of the Urals, however, reigned supreme over Siberia. When Nikolai Krylenko was marching to Saint Petersburg the Green Army had set its sights on Siberia and seized the Trans-Siberian Railway as quickly as possible. When the Russian Civil War began Siberia was under the de jure control of the Russian Empire, however, few regiments guarded the vast swath of land that was Siberia, and therefore the RDFR managed to conquer all major Siberian cities with ease. Many locals even voluntarily joined the Russian Democratic Federative Republic, which guaranteed locals their own oblasts within the federation.


    The Green Army also consolidated their grip on the Caucasus region, which was primarily in Federalist hands anyway. All that was needed were spare regiments to crush any remaining Imperialist holdouts. The bigger fish to fry was Turkestan, a region that had been invaded by Russia and forcefully integrated into the Russian Empire. President Chernov decided not to repeat the mistakes of his Imperialist predecessors, and with local leaders negotiated the establishment of a titanic autonomous oblast named the Alash Autonomous Oblast in the October of 1917. Alash would spend the majority of its resources on battling communist and secessionist militias throughout Turkestan is credited for bringing Central Asia under the control of the Federalists. And the Alash Autonomous Oblast was not the only settlement made with Central Asian locals. The Emirate of Bukhara declared its allegiance to the Russian Democratic Federative Republic and became a highly autonomous protectorate of the Federalists, as did the Khanate of Khiva. Once the Russian Empire deceased, all of Turkestan was under the control of the Federalists and was fighting for the Green Army.


    In the early stages of the Russian Civil War combat between the Soviet Republic and the Federation had been very limited when compared to the conflict between the Red and White armies. The Soviets prioritized the war against Brusilov over the war to their south and placed the war against the Federalists under the command of Jukums Vacietis, who was clearly a skilled and competent commander, however, was unable to break the RDFR’s defenses (led by Alexander Kerensky), and before too long the southern front of the Russian Civil War resembled the trench warfare that had become all too familiar to Europe. Vacietis was admired by Lenin, but would not remain the commanding officer in the south for long.


    Just like Vladimir Lenin, another great communist revolutionary of Russia had been watching the ensuing chaos of the February Coup from a distance. Leon Trotsky had been a prominent member of the Bolshevik movement, however, had been forced to escape the Russian Empire in 1907 and had hopped from nation to nation since the Great War began in 1914 was residing in the neutral United States of America when he heard of the February Coup and the subsequent establishment of the Russian Soviet Republic. Trotsky would excitedly attempt to return to home and assist his comrades, however, his ship on the way back to Russia was intercepted by the Royal Navy and Leon Trotsky was detained in a Canadian internment camp for the next few months. Trotsky would manage to escape the internment camp by inciting a riot after a collection of powerful speech and numerous dissidents would also liberate themselves in the July of 1917. Afterwards, Leon Trotsky made his way back to the United States and snuck back to Russia by initially sailing to the neutral Kingdom of Italy and then sneaking behind enemy lines through a sealed train funded, ironically enough, by the German Empire and returned to Russia on July 26th, 1917.


    Upon arriving in Moscow, Vladimir Lenin celebrated the return of his comrade after nearly a decade in exile. Trotsky was appointed as the commander of a regiment on the southern front of the Russian Civil War nearby the city of Shelemishevo, and immediately pursued an aggressive strategy. Colonel Leon Trotsky did not follow the cautious strategy of Jukums Vacietis, and instead led daring charges into enemy territory, with plenty of support from whatever cavalry and artillery he could get his hands on. While at first Vacietis deemed Trotsky to be a reckless military commander better suited for the political cabal in Moscow, he was astonished when Colonel Trotsky stabbed through enemy lines in the August of 1917 and rapidly pushed south and eventually leading infantry through Pervomayskiy on August 19th, 1918.


    From that point on, Leon Trotsky’s ascendance through the ranks of the Red Army was nearly guaranteed. By the end of September Trotsky had been personally selected by Vladimir Lenin to replace Jukums Vacietis and lead the southern front against the Russian Democratic Federative Republic. Under the leadership of General Leon Trotsky, the Red Army of the south would dramatically change. The military was heavily centralized under the leadership of Trotsky and artillery was rapidly produced under the advision of the Soviet Republic’s newest top general. Leon Trotsky also firmly believed in the power of high morale and would master the ability to boost the spirits of his men, while also cooperating with Soviet newspapers to glorify the Soviet cause and encourage voluntary admission into the Red Army.


    To the Russian Democratic Federative Republic, Leon Trotsky was a brutal and powerful man. Cities were ruined by his invasions and countless soldiers and civilians alike had died at the hands of his tactics, therefore earning General Trotsky the nickname “Butcher.” But to the Russian Soviet Republic, Leon Trotsky was viewed as a great hero of the proletariat and even Lenin himself regarded Trotsky as the man who would crush the Green Army. Trotsky was regarded as an invincible general, one who had modernized and perfected the tactics of a past warrior who had once subjected all of Europe. For the Soviets, another nickname was required for one of their greatest commanders, one that would remind the proletariat of how powerful Leon Trotsky truly was.


    For the Russian Soviet Republic, Leon Trotsky was the Red Napoleon.




    A Soviet statue deeming Leon Trotsky the “Red Bonaparte,” created circa 1918.


    Alexander Kerensky and his compatriots within the Green Army were no match to General Trotsky, however, were capable foes nonetheless and Kerensky would even copy Trotsky’s tactics regarding morale, and was popular amongst the soldiers under his command. Throughout the fall of 1917 Leon Trotsky continued to push into Federalist territory and managed to produce a handful of tanks that copied British designs, such as the Mark I. On October 2nd, 1917 General Trotsky conquered Tambov, and was well on his way to Saratov. Viktor Chernov attempted to appeal to the both the Central Powers and Entente for support, however, the Central Powers wanted to maintain good relations with the Soviet Republic and the Russian Empire was still considered a member of the Entente. The Green Army just had to carry on by itself and fight an increasingly superior enemy.


    When the Russian Empire was annihilated in the February of 1918 the Red Napoleon had just conquered Balashov and was making his way towards Kalininsk. Kerensky tried his best to boost morale amongst his men, but the soldiers of the Green Army knew that they were fighting a losing battle. To make matters worse, Nikolai Krylenko, the man who had vanquished the Russian Empire, was coming south to fight alongside General Leon Trotsky. As the supreme commander of the Red Army, Krylenko was technically Trotsky’s superior, however, Vladimir Lenin advised General Krylenko to not keep a tight leash on Leon Trotsky. And surely enough, it was General Leon Trotsky who would invade and capture Saratov after a long and vicious battle on March 29th, 1918, thus forcing the Federalist government out east.


    Impressed by the work of Leon Trotsky, Nikolai Krylenko made the Red Napoleon the absolute commander of the Soviet invasion of Siberia while the rest of the Red Army would finish of what remained of the Russian Democratic Federative Republic in southern Russia. This region was cut of from the rest of the Federalist regime, which had relocated itself in Omsk, and quickly fell to the Soviet onslaught. Yes, this region contained plenty of urban centers, however, compared to the Soviet Republic their ability to wage war was underwhelming and this particular branch of the Green Army was decentralized and disorganized. The industrialized Soviet military easily swept into the Caucasus and it was anticipated that soon enough the Russian Soviet Republic would extend from Saint Petersburg to Yerevan.


    But the people of the Caucasus would not submit to the communists. Instead, the autonomous oblasts of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan all seceded from the Russian Democratic Federative Republic on April 20th, 1918 and formed the Transcaucasian Federated Republic, with its capital in Tiflis. The new republic modeled its institutions off of the RDFR in many regards, with universal suffrage for all men above the age of twenty-on being guaranteed by the Transcaucasian constitution. Transcaucasus also strongly protected the rights of labor unions, which also derived inspiration from the progressive and socialist policies of the Russian Democratic Federative Republic, however, was a presidential republic where the head of state (called the Sejm) would serve a two-year long term and govern free of the legislative branch (called the Ozakom), as a way to keep the central government of the TFR strong and unified.




    Flag of the Transcaucasian Federated Republic.


    While it was anticipated that a Georgian would be elected to the position of Transcaucasia’s first sejm, one candidate named Mammad Hasan Hajinski, an Azerbaijani, strongly advocated for the centralization of the TFR into a strong and stable federation, while still respecting the sovereignty of each of the provinces within Transcaucasia. Therefore, on April 27th, 1918 the Transcaucasian provisional government dissolved and Mammad Hasan Hajinski led the young republic instead as its democratically elected sejm.


    As the first sejm of Transcaucasia, Hajinski (who chose to remain independent of political parties and build up a coalition of allies in the Ozakom instead) was tasked with not only keeping the TFR together, but also maintaining peace with the Ottoman Empire to the south. Prior to the Russian Civil War, the Caucasus region had been a frontline between Russia and Turkey, however, when the Russian Democratic Federative Republic seized the Caucasus in 1917 a temporary ceasefire was negotiated. With Transcaucasia independent, however, these treaties no longer applied to Hajinski’s regime and any Ottoman invasion of the Caucasus was completely permitted and justified. And so, the government of the Transcaucasian Federated Republic sat down for negotiations to secure a new peace with the Federalists of Russia out of the way. A peace treaty was secured in which the Ottomans would annex a chunk of Transcaucasian territory and in return form a non-aggression pact with Transcaucasia, which was internally building up its own military just in case the Turks broke their promise or for when the Soviets entered the Caucasus.


    As Nikolai Krylenko moved south into the Caucasus and wiped out the local faction of the Green Army, many autonomous oblasts in the south saw joining the TFR as a preferable option to annexation within the Russian Soviet Republic, and throughout late April and early May the Kuban, Terek, and Dagestan autonomous oblasts seceded from the RDFR, only to join the Transcaucasian Federated Republic. When General Krylenko did reach the border of Transcaucasia, he did not invade the new republic, but instead decided to concentrate efforts on defeat of the Russian Democratic Federative Republic, which Vladimir Lenin and the rest of the Soviet high command viewed as the top priority of the Red Army. Therefore, the TFR was safe for the time being, and the Soviet Republic reluctantly recognized its independence on May 18th, 1918. Transcaucasia was still wary of the revolutionary state to its north, but for the moment its people could sleep easy knowing that the Red Army would not invade tonight.


    On the other hand, Siberia faced the entire onslaught of the Russian Soviet Republic as the Green Army was annihilated by the increasingly unstoppable Red Army. Yes, what remained of the Russian Civil War was a long battle, but it was easily one-sided and as the rest of the world was embroiled in the fire of the Great War the people of Earth were well aware of which side would emerge victorious in Russia. Soon enough, the nations of the world would have to coexist with a communist republic, spanning from Moscow to Kamchatka. The Red Napoleon charged east and brutally killed any Federalist officials he came across on the way in an atrocity known as the Red Terror, and all the while the forces and resources of the RDFR were constantly depleted.


    On September 29th, 1918 Omsk was evacuated as Leon Trotsky invaded the city and Viktor Chernov and his allies fled even further east to the city of Irkutsk. As the Federalists prepared for the inevitable, a plan was hatched within the Federalist high command to ensure the survival of Russian democracy beyond the Soviet Republic’s victory in the Russian Civil War. In the Russian Far East, the government of the Russian Democratic Federative Republic could go into exile and secure its independence through negotiations with the Japanese. It pained President Chernov to abandon the war effort against the Russian Soviet Republic, however, he very well knew that if the war against the Soviets continued the RDFR would surely perish and the flame of Russian democracy would be extinguished for who knows how long. If a deal was struck with the Empire of Japan, an increasingly democratic state, perhaps the dream of a democratic Russia could live on to fight another day, while the Federalists would rebuild up their forces in Siberia and prepare for the day Russia would be liberated from communist oppression.


    The Empire of Japan happily supported the plot to secure the independence of the Russian Democratic Federative Republic. Not only would the Japanese earn a buffer state against potential Soviet aggression, but the sphere of influence of the Japan would also expand. The RDFR would be reliant on the Japanese in more ways than one, and Viktor Chernov also guaranteed that the Russian sphere of influence in Manchuria would be ceded to Japan, as would northern Sakhalin. On January 10th, 1919 the Treaty of Chita was signed, which guaranteed that the RDFR’s independence would be secured by the Empire of Japan, which deployed soldiers throughout southeastern Siberia in the following days while the Green Army evacuated to this Japanese occupation zone. As the Green Army retreated the advance of the Red Army accelerated, however, General Leon Trotsky would not capitulate the Russian Democratic Federative Republic. Instead, the Japanese declared that an invasion of the Japanese occupation zone in Siberia would be an act of war on the Empire of Japan, as well as the Entente. Therefore, The Russian Soviet Republic signed the Treaty of Irkutsk on January 20th, 1919 which recognized that the RDFR was within the Japanese sphere of influence of Japan and any attack on the Federalist regime would be an attack on Japan itself.


    Finally, hostilities within Russia had ended. Vladimir Lenin had brought the revolution of the proletariat to the previously reactionary Russian Empire, and the Soviet regime only faced resistance in Central Asia, where nationalists, autonomous oblasts, and protectorates fought on. Leon Trotsky returned to Moscow as a hero of the Russian Soviet Republic, and became Lenin’s second-in-command, eventually replacing Krylenko as the leader of the Red Army a few months after the end of the Russian Civil War. Uncertain times were ahead for Russia, which was alone in the world as the only nation adhering to communism, but the working class in Europe was becoming especially discontent with the seemingly endless war between aristocrats.


    The Russian Civil War was over, however, the revolution of the proletariat had just begun.



    Is This the End?


    “Japan and Germany are at peace. The war in Asia is over.”


    -New York Times headline announcing the armistice between the Japanese and German empires, circa 1919



    When Russia exited the Great War in early 1918 the naive world thought that the war was coming to an end. For the Central Powers, the victory in the east was worthy of celebration. Not only had the bloodshed that had consumed so much of eastern Europe concluded, but plenty of German soldiers were heading west, hoping to march into Paris and finish of the French within the upcoming year. The Entente was understandably nervous, and on top of low morale in France the bloody nightmare that was trench warfare in the Great War was about to get worse.


    For the time being, however, the French continued to fight on. In the middle of the April of 1917 a Franco-British offensive led by the French officer Robert Nivelle, hence why the name of the offensive was the “Nivelle Offensive,” began and proved to be mostly successful. Nivelle was cautious to not oversell his offensive as a strategy that would turn the tide of the Great War, however, his men pushed surprisingly deep into German-occupied France, inflicting plenty of casualties on the German military while the French received relatively few casualties themselves.


    The Second Battle of Aisne was especially successful. Starting on April 16th, 1917 the French and British began an invasion of territory held between Soissons and Reims, and through cautious planning, as well as British aid, a decisive French victory was secured within two days and the Germans were sent on the run up north.


    By the start of June 1917 Nivelle was approaching the Belgian border and the military of France had turned its attention towards funding the Nivelle Offensive. Of course, the offensive would eventually slow down as the Germans amassed reinforcements and by the end of the June of 1917 the Nivelle Offensive had come to an end, however, by this point the German Empire had been kicked out of northern France and it was Germany who was on the defensive in the west. Robert Nivelle’s offensive had boosted morale not just amongst the men under his command, but throughout the entire French military. For the first time since the Great War began, there was a chance, however slim, that France could win the war against the Germans.




    French soldiers under the command of Robert Nivelle during the Second Battle of Aisne.


    In Asia, the Great War officially came to an end shortly after the Treaty of Chita and establishment of the Russian Federalist government-in-exile. After Japan had seized all of Germany’s Pacific territory (excluding the colony of Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, which was conquered by the British dominion of Australia) the war out east had more or less concluded, aside from a few naval skirmishes in the Pacific Ocean. The Kaiserreich had attempted to negotiate peace with the Empire of Japan in 1916, however, the pro-war government of the time refused. The situation in Japan changed following the 1917 Japanese elections. In 1915 the Kokuminto Party, which advocated for the transformation of Japan into a more democratic constitutional monarchy and increased naval funding, saw a significant gain in seats in the National Diet of Japan. When the 1919 election came around, it was clear that the Kokuminto would be a major contestant for leadership over the democratic Japanese government.


    In 1918 the Kokuminto, Doshikai, Chuseikai, and the Koyu Club all agreed to merge into a single liberal Japanese political party, named the Kenpo Club, which managed to secure a plurality of seats in the National Diet upon its inception. On March 15th, 1919 a general election occurred and the Kenpo nominated Inukai Tsuyoshi to run against the incumbent Prime Minister Terauchi Masatake, an independent. The militant Masatake was a supporter of keeping Japan in the Great War, and argued that the Japanese must uphold the Anglo-Japanese Alliance and stand by their British allies. Tsuyoshi, however, argued that Japanese involvement in the Great War was no longer necessary with the German presence in the Pacific Ocean nearly nonexistent and also pointed out that the Anglo-Japanese Alliance had not been renewed in 1916 due to opposition from numerous parties in the National Diet, and therefore Japan had no obligation to stand by the British. Instead, Inukai Tsuyoshi advocated for an alliance with China instead, regarding a Sino-Japanese alliance as the cornerstone to Asia’s potential position of power in the upcoming decades of the 20th Century. Surely enough, the Kenpo Club’s democratic and Pan-Asian ideals won over a majority of Japanese voters, and on March 15th, 1919 the Kenpo secured a majority of seats in the National Diet and Inukai Tsuyoshi would become the prime minister of the Empire of Japan in the upcoming days.




    Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi of the Empire of Japan.


    Surely enough, Prime Minister Tsuyoshi would enter peace talks with the German Empire in the April of 1919 and the Treaty of Fukuoka was signed between the two belligerents on April 30th, 1919. In exchange for the Japanese exit of the Great War, nearly all German Pacific colonies would be handed over to the Empire of Japan, therefore kicking Germany out of the Pacific Ocean in many regards and increasingly Japanese authority throughout the Pacific. The British government was flustered by the end of Japan’s involvement in the Great War, however, the people of Great Britain had never really paid little mind to the Asian front of the Great War and quickly forgot about the Treaty of Fukuoka.


    When Japan left the Great War, the Japanese not only removed themselves from European affairs to focus exclusively on the Pacific Ocean, but for the Central Powers it implied that the Great War was coming to its end. Within the span of a little more than a year two key members of the Entente had left the Great War and the Eastern Front had completely concluded. The French may have approached victory in 1917, but Germany only had one target now, and the Kaiser anticipated that the Great War would be over well before the end of 1920.


    As German soldiers headed west the world asked one question.


    Could there truly be peace for our time?


    1918-Manmade Hell.png


    Map of the World circa April 1919.
     
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    Interlude One: The Silent Continent
  • Interlude I: The Silent Continent


    “Your map of Africa is really quite nice. But my map of Africa lies in Europe. Here is Russia, and here... is France, and we're in the middle — that's my map of Africa.”


    -Otto von Bismarck





    A regiment of soldiers from German Kamerun being inspected.


    When the Great European powers plunged into the deadliest war mankind has ever condemned itself to, their colonial empires in Africa were surprisingly quiet. Throughout the entire Great War combat in Africa was primarily secluded to northern Africa, which was just south of the combat in Europe. While the epic chaos of Phase Two of the Great War obviously resulted in the absence of much of Africa from the conflict in Europe, the origins of African neutrality throughout Phase One is far more obscure and and not justified by the events of Phase Two.


    For much of Europe, colonial empires were the backbone of their strength. The British alone had risen to power by subjugating one fourth of the planet and nearly every European state with colonies in Africa had ambitions to expand the extent of their colonial capabilities. Even so, when war broke out in 1914 the European colonies were poorly defended, especially when it came to the German Empire. Whatever military forces that were stationed in Africa were there not to fight rival empires but to rather maintain order and oppress natives. The Europeans who resided in the colonies were not enthusiastic about participating in the Great War, and one newspaper editorial even argued that the European colonists of Africa should not fight, but rather cooperate in the oppression of local cultures.


    And so, from the very beginning Africa was in an awkward situation when the Great War began and consequently shocked the entire world. But the British were preparing for war against German holdings throughout the African continent, and the Committee of Imperial Defence planned to attack a German wireless station in the city of Dar Es-Salaam in German East Africa. However, the British prioritized the war against Germany in Europe over capturing any overseas colonial holdings and therefore Great Britain would have to rely on local colonial settlers to invade the German Empire’s territory in Africa.


    The leading force in such an operation would be the Union of South Africa, a British dominion that inhabited the southernmost region of Africa and bordered German Southwest Africa. Since 1910 the leader of South Africa had been Prime Minister Louis Botha, who had fought in the name of the South African Republic, a nation inhabited by the Dutch-descended Boers of South Africa, against the British Empire. When the Great War broke out in Europe, however, Prime Minister Botha’s administration was seeking out further cooperation with Great Britain and Botha ensured the British that the Union of South Africa would participate in the Great War against Germany.




    Prime Minister Louis Botha of the Union of South Africa.


    While the government of South Africa was supportive of an invasion of German South West Africa, many Boers despised the very idea of fighting for the British imperialists who had forced them to swear allegiance to the Union Jack. To make matters worse, the German Empire had actually supported the Boer states in the Second Boer War and all of a sudden the conquerors of the Boers were ordering them to fight their former allies. As the South African military mobilized against Germany, anti-war sentiment amongst the Boers would grow as an awkward peace between South Africa and Germany occurred during a time of mobilization in Africa while the first invasions in Europe began. No fighting between the belligerents of the Great War happened in Africa throughout the August of 1914 and in this time period Boer opposition to the war effort increased and meetings between Boer secessionist movements occurred under the nose of the South African government.


    By the time the September of 1914 began Louis Botha was still preparing for the invasion of German South West Africa, however, under advision from military commanders and Boers in the South African House of Assembly and Senate, hold off from going to war for the time being. On September 15th, 1914 two Boer generals, Christiaan Frederick Beyers and Koos de la Rey agreed to meet with Jan Kemp, another former Boer veteran of the Second Boer War who had amassed a force of two thousand trained men, in Potchefstroom.


    To this day, it is not known what the true purpose of this meeting was. According to the government of South Africa, it was believed that the three military leaders were plotting to instigate a Boer rebellion while General Beyers claimed that the purpose was to encourage the resignation of Boer commanders from the South African military in protest of the upcoming war against the German Empire. On the way to the meeting, however, disaster struck. The car of Koos de la Rey was fired upon by a policeman and as a consequence De la Rey was killed. At the general’s funeral, rumors arose that the assassination was a plot of the government of South Africa, which further fueled the flames of the anti-war fire. If Louis Botha took no action, an open rebellion in South Africa could very well be just around the corner.


    As September continued so did the uneasy peace between the Union of South Africa and German South West Africa. If South Africa went to war at this particular moment, the Boers would surely rise up in revolt. Regardless of the internal unrest within South Africa, Louis Botha assured the British that the Union of South Africa would aid Great Britain in the Great War and that an invasion of German South West Africa was still planned. Prime Minister Botha would promote going to war against Germany throughout the September of 1914 and pro-war propaganda sprouted up throughout South Africa. However, activities did not raise much support for the Great War and the Boers were only increasingly frustrated by the increasingly militant Botha.


    Tensions between the Boers and Botha administration would reach a boiling point on September 29th, 1918 when Louis Botha was giving a speech in support of the Great War in Johannesburg. While the speech primarily attracted pro-war sympathizers a sizeable amount of protesters also resides in the crowd, one of which hated Louis Botha enough to bring a pistol and aim it at the prime minister’s head. Just a few minutes into Prime Minister Botha’s speech, two gunshots rang through the crowd in Johannesburg while Louis Botha laid dying on the ground while excessively bleeding. The man who had assassinated Botha was immediately arrested, but he had carried out his task. Louis Botha was never rushed to a hospital, for the wounds that had been inflicted upon him were so fatal that within just a few minutes the first prime minister of the Union of South Africa was declared dead.


    After the assassination and consequential death of Louis Botha, a successor had to be found. While Jan Smuts was a popular choice, he was a supporter of the Great War like Botha and would likely only further infuriate the Boers. Instead, the South African Party selected Barry Hertzog as the successor of Louis Botha. Hertzog was critical of South African intervention in the Great War and ever since the end of the Second Boer War pursued a political career in fending off British imperialism towards the Boers, and was therefore very popular amongst the South African anti-war movement. Of course, Barry Hertzog wasn’t as popular amongst supporters of the Great War, including those within the South African Party, however, with a potential civil war looming over South Africa it was agreed that a man like Hertzog was needed and on September 30th, 1914 Barry Hertzog became the prime minister of the Union of South Africa.




    Prime Minister Barry Hertzog of the Union of South Africa.


    Prime Minister Hertzog quickly made it clear that he intended to continue cooperation with Great Britain, however, announced that the Union of South Africa would not go to war with the German Empire, at least against its African colonies, citing the immense unpopularity of the Great War amongst Boers. The British were infuriated that one of their dominions dared to not fight during one of the British Empire’s darkest hours, however, there wasn't really anything the United Kingdom could do to force South Africa to fight the Germans, or for that matter even punish Hertzog for refusing to go to war.


    Prime Minister Hertzog would, however, ensure that the Great War would stay out of Sub-Saharan Africa. Hertzog would propose a meeting between representatives of the Entente and Germany to negotiate an agreement over the fate of warfare on the African continent. On October 7th, 1914 ambassadors of Great Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, and their respective African colonies arrived in Bloemfontein to reach an agreement that would maintain peace in Africa when Europe was plunged into death and destruction. While the Entente was insistent that it was the duty of their colonies to carry out the war effort in Africa, colonial representatives argued that it was within the interests of all colonies to maintain peace for the sake of suppressing native uprisings and the German Empire, which was geographically encased in enemy powers on all sides in Africa, supported colonial interests.


    Days would pass in Bloemfontein with no formal agreement being reached. However, the Belgian delegation, which represented the exiled Belgian government in the Belgian Congo, concluded that suppressing local uprisings was a greater priority than continuing to carry out the Great War in Africa. Eventually, Britain and France would give into the demands of other delegates and on October 11th, 1914 the Treaty of Bloemfontein was signed, which proclaimed that no belligerents of the Great War would conduct direct warfare against their opponents in Africa unless a colony openly announced an end to its own neutrality in the Great War. However, all colonies would still be exploited for resources during the Great War and African soldiers could still be sent off to fight in Europe. For most in Africa, the Treaty of Bloemfontein was a victory. The German colonial empire would live on to see another day while the Boers of the Union of South Africa had finally achieved the neutrality that they desired. The majority of Europeans residing in Africa at the time were supportive of the Treaty of Bloemfontein and were happy that the bloodshed of Europe would be kept as far away from them as possible, while throughout European communities in Africa Prime Minister Barry Hertzog was declared a bringer of peace.


    Of course, the Great War was not completely kept out of Africa. When the Ottoman Empire declared war on the Entente later in the October of 1914, the Sultan promised Germany that the Treaty of Bloemfontein would be respected, however, on October 30th, 1914 the Kingdom of Egypt, a British colony, declared war on the Ottomans after intense pressure from London as well as a massive Ottoman military buildup on the Egyptian-Ottoman border. From this point forward, Egypt and later Anglo-Egyptian Sudan would fight the Turks, with the Sinai Peninsula being used by the British as a place to deploy soldiers and fight the Ottomans.




    British soldiers in front of the Sphinx and Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, circa 1916.


    The rest of Africa would also experience at least some combat in the Great War, albeit no direct confrontations with major belligerents. Instead, nationalists seized the opportunity to break the chains of imperialist oppression when the occupiers of their homelands were distracted by the affairs in Europe. Throughout all of the Great War northern French colonies were plagued by Berber revolts that were usually suppressed by local armed forces. The Zaian Confederation in Morocco was actually funded by the Central Powers, mostly through intel and even a bit of leftover supplies, especially after Germany and Austria-Hungary were relieved of the war against Russia in 1918. Through vicious guerrilla tactics, as well as indirect aid from the Central Powers (which was technically permitted under the Treaty of Bloemfontein) the Zaian Confederation held on throughout all of Phase One and by the time chaos and revolution gripped revolution following the dawn of Phase Two the Zaian people were ready to intensify the fight for their liberation.


    Throughout much of Africa, especially the French colonial empire, uprisings were small, yet common throughout the Great War and would often receive a bit of funding from the Central Powers. By 1919 a handful of guerrillas were persistently holding out and if Paris was captured the French feared that their colonial empire would explode into revolution and secession once the head was cut off the snake of imperialism. The British Empire, which could spare more men and resources, was considerably more stable, and Barry Hertzog even offered to deploy South African volunteer militias throughout Africa to suppress revolts, however, a few revolutions still held out. For example, throughout much of 1916 the Sultanate of Darfur, a British protectorate, would go to war with Great Britain following a dispute between the Sultan and the British, however, within a few months after the rebellion began in March the Sultanate of Darfur was defeated in the November of 1916 and was absorbed into Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.




    An Anglo-Egyptian camel soldier of the Anglo-Egyptian Darfur Expedition.


    Phase One of the Great War was a surprisingly quiet time in Africa, but was also influential as well. It was anticipated that whichever side came out on top in Europe would also triumph over Africa in any peace treaty that would redraw the African borders yet again. Of course, this dramatic peace treaty would not come. The Great War lasted entire decades longer than anyone expected and Europe would be plunged into chaos and warfare the likes of which the world had never before seen. Colonial dictates would quickly become useless and soon enough African nationalists would take another shot at freedom.


    The sun was setting on the European empires and the sun of liberation was rising in its place.




    The King’s African Rifles battalion of British East Africa, circa 1916.
     
    Interlude Two: Glimpse Into the Future One
  • Interlude II: Glimpse Into the Future I


    In order to update the timeline (considering there won't be another chapter for quite a bit) I decided to post a "glimpse into the future," which is a concept that I use in my other timeline, Dreams of Liberty, in which I post a few images from the future of the timeline. That does mean that there will be spoilers in this update, so if you do not to be aware of what is coming next, do not look at anything within the "spoiler" button.


    IMG_0871.JPG


    A group of French communists celebrating the declaration of French Commune.


    IMG_0874.JPG


    Native African soldiers of the exiled German Empire (otherwise referred to as Mittelafrika) invading the Belgian Congo.


    IMG_0875.JPG


    Soviet soldiers posing next to a tank in the invasion of Poland.


    IMG_0873.JPG


    Governor Huey P Long of Louisiana announces that "under absolutely no circumstances" would he let the state of Louisiana join William Dudley Pelley's Holy Realm of America.


    IMG_0872.JPG


    Soldiers of the East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere in California heading east to engage against the soldiers of Henry Blood's Western States of America.
     
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    Interlude Three: Christmas 1942
  • Interlude III

    Paris-December 25th, 1942




    "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
    Just like the ones I used to know
    Where the treetops glisten and children listen
    To hear sleigh bells in the snow

    I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
    Just like the ones I used to know
    Where the treetops glisten and children listen
    To hear sleigh bells in the snow

    I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
    With every Christmas card I write
    May your days be merry and bright
    And may all your Christmases be white

    I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,
    Just like the ones I used to know
    May your days be merry and bright
    And may all your Christmases be white

    I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,
    With every Christmas card I write
    May your days be merry and bright
    And may all your Christmases be white
    May your days be merry and bright
    And may all your Christmases be white"


    "Merry Christmas, Paris! Your American comrades wish you the best of luck in the trenches this new year! Go and hit Kaiser Auggie's boys where it hurts!"

    -Bing Crosby
     
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    Chapter Three: The Sleeping Giants
  • Chapter III: The Sleeping Giants


    “At long last, Japan has become capable of promoting a greater future for all of Asia. May the dawn of peace with Germany be the prelude to a greater peace on the Asian continent.”


    -Japanese Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi addressing a crowd in Tokyo following the Treaty of Fukuoka





    Japanese soldiers in Vladivostok moving south to Korea, circa 1919.


    When one focuses on the history of the early 20th Century, nearly all attention is ceded to the Great War. After all, the Great War was by far the bloodiest conflict ever fought in human history. With that being said, however, the history of the powers that maintained neutrality throughout the duration of the Great War is also incredibly important, especially when seeking out the origins of the post-war geopolitical climate. Therefore, it is necessary to delve into the history of the “sleeping giants” of the Great War; the United States, Italy, China, and Japan in order to completely understand what the politics of the world were like during the Great War.


    After the Empire of Japan negotiated its removal from the wrath of the Great War with Germany, the Japanese government immediately shifted its attention to its western neighbor, China. As of recently, China had been the victim of plenty of violence despite not being involved in the Great War. In the December of 1915, President Yuan Shikai of the Republic of China was declared the emperor of the Empire of China in an attempt to bring stability to the rapidly deteriorating Chinese government. Yuan’s coronation, however, was met with retaliation from those who still supported democracy and put up resistance to the Hongxian Emperor (the new title for Yuan Shikai) as southern Chinese provinces seceded and forged the National Protection Army to fight against the Empire of China and restore the destroyed republic.




    Yuan Shikai, the Hongxian Emperor of the Empire of China.


    While the Empire of China initially appeared to have an advantage over the secessionist republican provinces in the south, the unpopularity of the Hongxian Emperor would severely harm the war effort. The independent provinces loyal to the National Protection Army somehow overcame their shortcomings due to the vast array of discontent within the high command of the Beiyang Army. As pressure to abandon the Empire of China grew, Yuan Shikai abdicated from his position as the monarch of China in the March of 1916, and on July 14th, 1916 the National Protection War ended with a victory for the southern republicans following Yuan Shikai’s death in the prior June. In the aftermath of the collapse of the Empire of China, numerous members of the Hongxian Emperor’s Beiyang Army became warlords, and China fell apart.


    The National Protection War was merely background noise as the Great War raged on, however, the Japanese were especially concerned with the crisis to their west. The fates of Japan and China were intertwined, and cooperation between the two became increasingly precious once Japanese imperialism entered the Asian mainland. By the time the Empire of Japan left the increasingly destructive and chaotic Great War, National Protection War had concluded and China’s stability was rapidly deteriorating. While the Republic of China was restored, warlordism was increasingly rampant and the internal politics of the Chinese democracy were becoming more and more polarized. Under the leadership of Sun Yat-Sen, the nationalist Kuomintang rose to become the opponent of President Li Yuanhong and Premier Duan Qirui. It was apparent to all in China that the government of the re-established republic was on the brink of internal collapse, and all it would take was one spark.


    Unfortunately for the Republic of China, that spark did come. General Zhang Xun, a staunch monarchist who was previously loyal to the Hongxian Emperor, would invade Beijing in the June of 1917 and forced President Li to dissolve the Chinese parliament, and restored the young Puyi of the fallen Qing Dynasty as the emperor of China on July 1st, 1917. Li Yuanhong and his supporters would evacuate north to Manchuria, where Duan Qirui was tasked with protecting the rapidly deteriorating Republic of China after defeating an attempt to restore the Chinese Qing monarchy in Manchuria. Due to bad experiences with the institution in the past, Duan Qirui would dissolve the Chinese parliament, which caused Sun Yat-Sen and his allies in southern China to establish a rival republican government in the hands of the Kuomintang.


    And thus, the Chinese Civil War had begun.


    Less than a year after Yuan Shikai’s Empire of China was defeated, China was engulfed in an internal war yet again as the Republic of China shattered apart into factions of warlords. The Kuomintang-led Guangzhou Government of the southern provinces and the so-called Tianjin Government (named after the city of Tianjin, where Li Yuanhong’s government consolidated power following the chaos in Beijing) found themselves opposed in a war for control of one of the largest and most ancient nations to ever exist. The two governments immediately set out to consolidate their power, with Duan Qirui installing relatives into positions of power within the Tianjin Government, while the Guangzhou Government consolidated power by becoming a one-party military junta led by Sun Yat-Sen.


    Premier Duan’s tendency to put his relatives in powerful positions would only harm the stability of the government he was supposed to keep together. In the shadows of the Tianjin Government, enemies of Duan Qirui rose up and would push for taking power away from the ambitious man. Li Yuanhong would retire from the presidency early in the August of 1917 and was succeeded by his vice president, Feng Guozhang, who intervened in the crisis involving his premier by pressuring Duan Qirui to resign, although there was much discontent produced by Duan’s underlings in retaliation that could have very well led to the return of Duan Qirui had not he personally insulted President Feng following his forced resignation.


    When the Chinese Civil War broke out in the summer of 1917, the world ignored the crisis in the east. After all, the conflict was nothing compared to the international catastrophe that was the Great War and therefore was of little concern to European, or for that matter, western affairs. The Japanese, however, continued to keep an eye on China as Tianjin and Guangzhou clashed, and many Japanese political officials were fearful that the civil war could potentially risk their dreams of Pan-Asian collaboration. In fact, the Chinese Civil War was one of the many factors that contributed to the Japanese and Germans sitting down for peace talks in Fukuoka, due to many in Japan desiring to intervene in the Chinese Civil War rather than waste lives and resources on the seemingly pointless and increasingly deadly Great War.


    Upon leaving the Great War, Prime Minister Inukai Tsuyoshi shifted attention to China, and as the Russian Democratic Federative Republic stabilized Japanese soldiers were called south in preparation for any potential intervention in China. If Japan were to enter the Chinese Civil War, it was obvious which faction they would support. The hostile and nationalist Guangzhou Government would never become an ally of the Empire of Japan, and was anticipated to become a rival of the Japanese should Sun Yat-Sen and his Kuomintang emerge victorious over all of China. Furthermore, there were many pro-Japanese elements within the Tianjin Government, which would guarantee that diplomacy between the two regimes was not only possible, but would most likely go over well for the increasingly desperate Feng Administration.


    In the November of 1919, the new premier of the Tianjin Government, Wang Daxie, briefly visited Japan and would speak in front of the Imperial Diet, imploring its members to support the Tianjin in its war against the Kuomintang. Wang’s diplomatic mission proved to be a success, and on December 2nd, 1919 the Japanese government, which had already been loaning resources to the Tianjin Government for awhile, agreed to deploy soldiers in China in order to fight the Guangzhou Government to the south. Within the next few days, history would accelerate as the RDFR would join its ally, Japan, in the Chinese Civil War and, soon enough, experienced Russian officers who had fought on behalf of the Green Army were fighting in China alongside the Japanese and Chinese. In order to consolidate an alliance, the three nations would meet in Tonghua to officially establish an official alliance. The Tonghua Pact, a mutual defense and free trade coalition, was formed on December 22nd, 1919, and ensured the cooperation of all three regimes (as well as the Japanese military occupation of the RDFR and Tianjin Government for the foreseeable future), while also becoming the first step towards the upcoming East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.


    Step by step, Asia was moving closer and closer to a unified government.



    Bloodshed in the Yangtze


    “I remember the Yangtze River well. When I was a young man, fighting on behalf of Chinese democracy in the Tianjin Army, it was at the banks of the Yangtze where I saw the worst horrors of war firsthand and gazed into the eyes of death itself.”


    -Premier Mao Zedong addressing the East Asian Diet, circa 1941.





    Emblem of the Kuomintang, the supreme political party in the Guangzhou Government and its successor, the National Republic of China.


    Once the Tianjin Government assembled a coalition of regional powers, the preparation for the long push south commenced. Of course, in order for the Tianjin Government to win the Chinese Civil War, internal stability would need to be accomplished first. Feng Guozhong would exit the presidency of China in the October of 1918, and was succeeded by Cao Kun following an election, while the Communication while the bureaucratic and labor unionist Communications Clique secured a majority of seats in the Tianjin Government’s parliament. It was uncovered that Duan Qirui had attempted to rig the 1918 Chinese elections in favor of his Anfu Club, however, such attempts were uncovered and Duan’s already collapsing political career shattered. With public support of Duan nearly annihilated, the disgruntled military officer would consolidate his remaining power in the provinces of Anhui, Shaanxi, Suiyuan, and Chahar and declare war on the Tianjin Government on January 8th, 1919.




    Duan Qirui, the leader of the Anhui Clique.


    Duan Qirui’s new Anhui Clique would not choose to realign with Sun Yat-Sen’s Guangzhou Government, therefore meaning that it would have to simultaneously defend against both Tianjin and Guangzhou. Japanese intervention in the Chinese Civil War was still nearly a year away, however, the severely weakened Anhui Clique could not take on both sides at once and is two rival factions were far more populated and better equipped. The province of Anhui was partitioned in half by the dawn of the April of 1919, while Tianjin Government turned its attention to what remained of Duan’s regime. The Anhui Clique was definitely a threat to President Kun (especially once a handful of pro-Duan military commanders defected), however, the Clique was no match to the Tianjin Government and would rapidly lose territory within months. Thus, on June 29th, 1919 the Anhui Clique would completely collapse and was reintegrated into the Tianjin Government, while Duan Qirui and a few of his most loyal officers would evacuate west, living out the rest of their lives in retirement in Xinjiang.


    Therefore, when the Empire of Japan arrived in northern China, the Tianjin Government was a stable and moderately powerful member of the Tonghua Pact and was ready to progress south against the Guangzhou Government. Sun Yat-Sen had taken advantage of the distraction that was the Anhui Clique, and progressed both west and north. By the time the Japanese had declared war on the Guangzhou Government, the Kuomintang’s National Revolutionary Army (NRA) had nearly pushed the Tianjin Government completely out of the Anhui province, and if it wasn’t for General Sun Chuanfang, Jiangsu would have fallen into the hands of Sun Yat-Sen months ago and the Kuomintang would be invading Sandong.


    Even though it had the strongest nation in Asia on its side, the Tianjin Government would be in a fight for its very existence throughout 1920.


    Under the command of Hideki Tojo, the Imperial Japanese Army pushed for the Yangtze, hoping to contain the Guangzhou Government in the southern provinces. Thousands of veterans of the Great War, both Japanese and Russian alike, would progress deep into the Guangzhou Government, and by the start of the March of 1920, China was divided along the Yangtze River, where the two factions of the Chinese Civil War exchanged gunfire over Asia’s largest river. Not even Lu Rongting, the individual who had presided over the NRA’s invasion of Jiangsu, could cross over into the north and the same situation applied to his counterparts, who returned gunfire to him every single passing day.


    As the Chinese Civil War shifted into a war of attrition, the two factions began to endorse a peaceful end to the bloody conflict. The leaders of the Tianjin Government had actually supported negotiations for awhile, and Sun Yat-Sen’s aggression had been the only thing preventing a ceasefire being applied. However, as the situation for a breakthrough by the NRA became increasingly more implausible (not only that, but the Tonghua Pact was investing more and more resources and if things stayed the same, Cao Kun would eventually be able to call himself the unifier of China) Sun Yat-Sen entertained the idea of a diplomatic end to hostilities. Increasing pressure from Lu Rongting and likeminded officers commanding along the southern banks of the Yangtze would be the straw that broke the camel’s back and on October 11th, 1920 representatives from both Tianjin and Guangzhou, as well as their respective allies, would arrive in Hangzhou to come to a peaceful agreement.


    After half a decade of bloodshed, China was at peace yet again.


    After days of negotiations, the two factions finally managed to come to an agreement. China would be partitioned roughly down the Yangtze River between two governments. In the south, the Kuomintang would be free to assert its authority and centralize whatever provinces it occupied, while the Tianjin Government would control the northern provinces, with the exception of Xinjiang, which had asserted its independence under the monarchist Yeng Zengxin, the very last remnant of the Empire of China. The two Chinas did, however, have to agree to give up the official name “Republic of China,” in order to avert disputes over which state was the true successor to the unified Chinese democracy.


    In the south, President Sun Yat-Sen declared the National Republic of China (NRC), a one-party military junta clenched within the iron fist of the Kuomintang. The NRC was immediately quickly centralized, and Sun Yat-Sen was declared the South Chinese president for life. Once all political parties, excluding the Kuomintang, were banned in South China, political dissidents and rivals of Sun who refused to conform to his dictatorship, were forced into exile or would face imprisonment or even execution. The nationalist junta of President Sun would quickly begin its industrialization in the upcoming years, and upon the death of Sun Yat-Sen in 1925, his cronies would begin to clash over who would become the next president of the National Republic of China.




    Flag of the National Republic of China.


    In the north, the Tianjin Government would rename to the Provisional Government of China in accordance to the Treaty of Hangzhou, however, this term was short-lived. By the end of the October of 1920, a new constitution for the Provisional Government was approved and on October 29th, 1920 the Chinese Federation was declared, with its capital in Beijing. Just like the name implies, North China was a federal democracy, a move conducted in part to satisfy the numerous autonomous warlords and governors who had presided over their respective provinces throughout the duration of the Chinese Civil War. Cao Kun would lead the Chinese Federation as its first president until 1927, when he lost an election to the dominant Youchuanbu Party, which had governed the legislative assembly of North China since the election of 1918 back in the Tianjin Government. The Chinese Federation would adopt the flag of the Republic of China as its banner, which had been adorned by the Tianjin Government beforehand.




    Flag of the Chinese Federation.


    After the Chinese Civil War concluded and the ink dried on the Treaty of Hangzhou, the Chinese Federation and its allies would preserve the Tonghua Pact, which became the dominant peacekeeping force on the Asian government, especially whilst the great powers of Europe were distracted by their nightmarish inferno of a war. In the November of 1920, the Bogd Khanate of Mongolia became the fourth member state of the Tonghua Pact due to fears of a potential Soviet incursion, especially after Tannu Tuva fell to communism, becoming the Tuvan People’s Republic, a Soviet puppet state, near the conclusion of the Russian Civil War. Throughout the 1920s, the Empire of Japan would reduce its military presence in both North China and RDFR, therefore securing the autonomy of the two nations, however, Japanese military bases would always exist within the two states, especially along the increasingly militarized Yangtze River.


    The history of Asia and Europe in the 20th Century were, in many ways, parallel to each other. One continent would enter the new century as the masters of the world, while the other entered as the servants of the other. One was plunged into an era of unimaginable horror and bloodshed, while the other moved towards a greater peace that would end previous chaos. And of course, one continent’s global domination would be absorbed by the other. As one sun set, another would rise.



    Decision 1920


    “Stronger than a Bull Moose”


    -Popular 1920 presidential campaign slogan for Hiram Johnson





    United States Capitol building, circa 1910.


    The United States of America is notorious for staying completely neutral throughout all of the Great War. Aside from condemnation of controversial wartime activities, such as the sinking of the Lusitania or the Wehrstaat Declaration, and the selling of supplies primarily to the Entente, the United States would stay completely out of the mess that war the Great War. Of course, this was by no means unprecedented. Despite being considered a great power that rivaled even the greatest empires across the Atlantic Ocean, the United States had a history of not only staying out of foreign affairs, but also keeping other powers out of their own affairs in accordance with the Monroe Doctrine, which had been put in place for nearly a century when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated one day in the June of 1914.


    President Woodrow Wilson, the first Democrat to reside within the White House since the presidency of Grover Cleveland, had actually campaigned (and won) in 1916 with the slogan “he kept us out of war” and intended to continue to preserve American neutrality. Instead, President Wilson focused on domestic concerns throughout the duration of his second term, and his actions would often infuriate northern progressives, Republican and Democrat alike. Despite serving as a the governor of New Jersey prior to being elected president in 1912, Woodrow Wilson was actually born in Virginia and was absolutely a southern Democrat. It was Wilson who would institute segregation upon federal offices, and discriminatory hiring practices were only increased by the Wilson administration.




    President Woodrow Wilson of the United States of America.


    Economically, Woodrow Wilson was rather populist, however, it was his socially conservative ideology that would get him more attention. The racism of the Wilson administration would continue throughout his entire second term, however, his suppression of labor strikes, many of which were put down violently, became especially prominent as the 1920 presidential election neared. Feminism would also grow throughout his second term, however, Wilson and like-minded Democrats were keen on ensuring that the rights of women would be not determined by the federal government, but rather by local governments within the forty-eight states of the United States. This, coupled with the outbreak of a vicious disease, named the Kansas Flu, in 1918 would diminish the support of the Wilson administration.


    By the time Woodrow Wilson’s second was nearing completion, the president was increasingly unpopular and there was no way the Democratic Party would nominate President Wilson for a second term. Not that Woodrow Wilson would run in 1920 anyway, his physical health was declining every day, especially after President Wilson fell ill with the Kansas Flu himself. Therefore, the Democratic Party would have to find a new candidate for the presidency, and plenty of men took up the challenge to win the support of one of the largest political organizations within the United States. While William Gibbs McAdoo, Wilson’s son-in-law, appeared to become the Democratic candidate, Woodrow Wilson suddenly took a gamble at being nominated for a third term by preventing McAdoo from winning the nomination. All this did, however, was doom McAdoo’s chance to become the next president and the Democratic National Convention selected Governor Carter Glass of Virginia instead, and Alexander Mitchell Palmer was chosen to be his running mate.




    Carter Glass.


    The Republican Party, the opponents of the Democrats, would retaliate to the socially conservative Glass by pushing for a progressive from former President Theodore Roosevelt’s sect of the party in order to win the support of progressives across the United States and paint the Democrats as a reactionary party that had stubbornly held back social progress for nearly a decade (which was not completely false, if it weren’t for the faction of progressive Democrats within the party’s ranks). Of course, more conservative members of the Republican Party were still present within the 1920 presidential primaries, most notably Governor Frank Orren Lowden of Illinois, however, the conservative policies of the Wilson administration pushed the progressives to the top and, following the death of Theodore Roosevelt in 1919, the former president’s personal choice, Senator Hiram Johnson won the support of the Republican National Convention, and Senator Irvine Lenroot of Wisconsin became his running mate.


    The race for the White House had begun.


    As the clock ticked down to the day Americans would select their next president, the complete contrast between Johnson and Glass became extremely obvious. While both men were opposed to American entry into the Great War, their similarities ended there. Economically, Hiram Johnson endorsed the anti-trust policies of the late Theodore Roosevelt and supported collective bargaining between labor unions and corporate leaders in accordance to his advocacy for direct democracy. Carter Glass used such policies as an excuse to label Senator Johnson as a socialist, a claim that was popular amongst the conservative sect of the Democratic Party, but seemed a bit more ridiculous amongst Republicans and moderate Democrats.


    Socially, the two men were also opposites. Glass’ support of states’ rights would cause him to declare that he would leave the issue of female suffrage to local governments (like his predecessor), while Hiram Johnson eagerly endorsed gender equality as a way to win over plenty of American progressives with ease. Another major issue that the two candidates battled over was segregation. In order to not destroy all support he had in the southern states, Johnson never straight out endorsed pushing towards racial equality, however, he did announce his support of ending Woodrow Wilson’s policies of segregation in federal offices. Glass, on the other hand, was one of the strongest proponents of Jim Crow laws within the United States, perhaps even stronger than Woodrow Wilson himself. This support of segregation would lead Carter Glass to propose the implementation of nationwide poll taxes as a way to keep poor African-Americans from voting, although he painted such a proposal as a way to keep communists from potentially winning any elections, at a debate with Senator Johnson. To this, Carter’s rival would say, “I see, you seek to forcefully suppress the communists? Why don’t you ask Mr Brusilov how that worked out for him?”


    Carter Glass’ controversial support of nationwide poll taxes to keep poorer Americans away from ballots was arguably one of the most harmful blows to his bid for the White House. Many moderate and liberal Democrats were deeply disturbed by such a proposal, which would cause a divide within the party. One prominent Democrat who condemned Carter Glass was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy in Woodrow Wilson’s cabinet, and prominent progressive Democrat. After Glass’ announcement of supporting nationwide poll taxes was in the headlines of national newspapers, Franklin D Roosevelt announced that he would not vote for Carter Glass, deeming him a man who “would rather see democracy die than lose power.”


    Roosevelt’s bold statement would turn him into a new symbol for progressive Democrats and an enemy of the conservative faction of the Democratic Party. In order to guarantee that his administration was still supportive of Carter Glass, Woodrow Wilson would fire Franklin Delano Roosevelt late in the September of 1920, which only further infuriated Roosevelt and his sympathizers. After losing his job, Roosevelt concluded that the Democratic Party was little more than a corrupt cabal of southern conservatives, and would invite several moderate and progressive Democrats to New York City. It was here that these like-minded politicians left the Democratic Party to forge their own new organization, named the Liberal Party, on October 10th, 1920. The founder of the Liberals, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, easily managed to become his new party’s first chairman, which automatically won him national fame.




    Chairman Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the Liberal Party.


    Due to having numerous policies that resembled the larger Republican Party, as well as choosing to endorse Senator Hiram Johnson rather than run their own presidential candidate in 1920, the Liberal Party quickly earned the nickname “Little Republicans.” That is not to say, however, that the Liberal Party did not have its own unique platform. The Liberals endorsed national female suffrage and Chairman Roosevelt in particular pushed for social welfare programs to help benefit the less fortunate of the United States, and the Liberals were especially opposed to poll taxes, one of the primary reasons why the Liberal Party had left the Democrats to begin with. While the Liberal Party did not openly consider itself an opponent of segregation, arguing that dividing black and white Americans in society was an affair of the states, opposition to poll taxes would turn the Liberals into opponents of restricting the African-American vote. Overall, the Liberal Party could be considered an adherent to the ideology of social liberalism, which more or less accurately describes the views of nearly all members of prominence.



    The 1920 presidential election was held across the United States on November 2nd. Voter turnout was substantially large, especially due to fears that a national poll tax under a Glass administration would potentially prohibit plenty of Americans from ever voting again. If one were to look at an electoral college map, it would resemble numerous elections dating back to 1880. The northern states were solid Republican territory, while the southern states belonged to the Democratic Party. The west coast, the region Hiram Johnson originated from, easily went to the Republican Party, although anything within the Mississippi River and the Pacific Coast was a bit more contentious. In the end, however, this region was primarily won over by the ticket of Johnson and Lenroot, and by the midnight of November 2nd, 1920, it was obvious to the United States who would succeed President Woodrow Wilson.


    After eight years, a Republican would be back in the White House.




    Electoral college map of the 1920 United States presidential election.


    While a victory for Hiram Johnson had been typically anticipated, especially when Franklin D Roosevelt formed the Liberal Party, the most devastating losses for the Democratic Party was in Congress. It was here where the Republicans not only secured a majority in both the House of Representatives and Senate, but the Liberal Party won numerous previously Democratic seats, especially in the northeastern states. As the days until Johnson’s inauguration in March began to pass by, the president-elect would start to endorse cabinet positions. Democrats were almost completely excluded from the upcoming cabinet of the Johnson administration, however, Liberals and a diverse array of Republicans would find positions in the executive branch.


    Leonard Wood, a military officer from New Hampshire and progressive Republican, was almost immediately chosen to be the next secretary of war while Elihu Root returned to the position of secretary of state, which he had held during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency. Rumors of the nomination of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the Johnson administration’s secretary of the navy would circulate, however, in the end Roosevelt chose to remain the chairman of the Liberal Party and the Liberal Admiral Joseph Strauss was chosen for the position instead. The moderate Republican Calvin Coolidge was chosen to be the attorney general under Hiram Johnson, however, the other cabinet positions were filled with mostly progressive Republicans, such as Senator Robert Marion La Follette of Wisconsin.


    When Hiram Johnson was inaugurated to become the twenty-eighth president of the United States of America on March 4th, 1921, the United States Capitol building was surrounded by a vast crowd eager to witness the inauguration of Johnson firsthand. For it was obvious to the whole nation that a new era had come upon the United States, one of progressivism, welfare, and social progress. Women were almost guaranteed that they would have the right to vote by the end of the year, and surely enough the Nineteenth Amendment was approved less than a month into the Johnson administration, only to be succeeded by the more radical Equal Rights Act and Twentieth Amendment a year later. The masses of the American workplace celebrated as the advancement of their rights from the days of the Roosevelt administration had been promised to return. President Hiram Johnson would bring upon a new age of American progressivism, one that had not been seen for well over a decade.


    The Democratic Party, on the other hand, was doomed to things far worse than anyone could have ever imagined.




    President Hiram Johnson of the United States of America.



    The Eye of the Hurricane


    “Our nation finds itself within the center of a storm. I implore my successor to not succumb to this storm’s brutality, for I fear that this storm could blow down our nation with ease.”


    -Italian Vittorio Emanuele Orlando’s farewell address, circa 1920





    Flag of the Kingdom of Italy.


    When the Great War began, the Kingdom of Italy had just barely managed to stay out of the bloodbath that had overrun the rest of Europe within just a handful of days. Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti and his successor, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, were keen on preserving Italian neutrality throughout the Great War, choosing to focus on the improvement of the Italian military in navy in case the Great War came knocking on the Kingdom of Italy’s door. As a consequence of the military buildup, by 1920 the Italian armed forces rivaled that of the belligerents of the Great War, and the Red Army was the only neutral military force in Europe larger than that of Italy.


    Throughout all of Phase I, a desire for Italian irredentism, and therefore entry into the Great War, would only grow. Multiple Italian politicians, including members of Orlando’s Liberal Union, would encourage joining one side or the other of the Great War, however, as it became increasingly unclear which side would emerge victorious, the Italian people shifted away from purely endorsing the Entente, especially after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed. Besides, as the date for the negotiations guaranteed by the Treaty of Vienna. As the Germans became especially concerned with ending the war on the western front as quickly as possible, perhaps Italy’s opportunity to force whatever Rome wanted out of the Central Powers had arrived.


    Surely enough, Austro-Hungarian and German diplomats would sit down with their Italian counterparts in Budapest on June 17th, 1920 to decide the fate of South Tyrol, Dalmatia, and Albania. The easiest territory for Austria-Hungary to cede to the Kingdom of Italy was Albania, which was technically not Austro-Hungarian territory to begin with. Instead, Albania was a nation that had fallen under total Austro-Hungarian military occupation after choosing the wrong allies in the Great War, and only a few Austro-Hungarian military commanders grumbled about the cession of Albania to the Kingdom of Italy. In accordance to the Treaty of Budapest, the Kingdom of Albania was transferred into the hands of the Italians as a protectorate with a local prime minister who would be overseen by an Italian governor-general, and King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy was crowned the king of Albania.




    Flag of the Kingdom of Albania.


    Other territory subject to debate via the Treaty of Vienna was more contested. Dalmatia was Austro-Hungarian land and had been in the hands of Vienna for quite some time, and it was therefore very embarrassing for Emperor Karl I to give up to the Kingdom of Italy. Still, ceding Dalmatia was nothing compared to the debate over South Tyrol and Trentino, the former of which was dominated by Germans while the latter was a valuable port to the Adriatic Sea for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Neither would be easy to pry from Austria-Hungary, even if the German Empire would in many ways be on the side of the Italians in order to keep the western front as small as possible.


    In the end, the Kingdom of Italy would get to control Trentino, but not the German-majority South Tyrol. The cession of Trieste, Austria-Hungary's most valuable port, was even more unlikely than South Tyrol, however, some territory to the west of Trieste was given to Italy as a compromise. The Kingdom of Italy was also promised Tunisia, Corsica, and a vague chunk of territory in southwestern France if the Central Powers managed to capitulate the French. A five-year-long non-aggression pact between all involved parties was also signed in order to ensure that Italian soldiers would not be pushing for Vienna anytime soon.


    The Treaty of Budapest was by no means ideal for either party involved, however, the Italians mostly viewed it as a victory and backed down on further aggression towards Austria-Hungary. The public opinion of the Central Powers became much more positive in Italy, and Germany and Austria-Hungary began to be depicted as nations that honored their treaties, as well as Italian allies. The Entente, on the other hand, became a target for future Italian irredentism, and France in particular was depicted as a nation occupying rightful Italian territory and a natural opponent of Italy, with the Napoleonic Wars often being cited by Italian nationalists as a justification for revenge on the French. With that being said, it was not like Italy really had a choice over its opinion on France. While the Entente had cared little for the Treaty of Vienna back in 1915, the Treaty of Budapest immediately destroyed any chances the Entente ever had at attempting to align with the Italian government. Instead, Britain and France became critics of Italy, and labeled it as a hostile state that threatened any potential Entente victory in the Great War.


    One particular Italian man would take the nationalism born out of the Treaty of Budapest and take it to a horrific extreme that would permanently scar the entire world. Benito Mussolini had once been a socialist, and had even worked for the newspaper of the Italian Socialist Party, however, his nationalist views and desire to promote nationalist desires over actually benefiting any people would lead him to leave behind socialism and form his own new reactionary ideology. After the Treaty of Vienna, Mussolini became a strong supporter of a declaration of war on the Entente, and his new organization, the Italian Fasci of Combat (FIC), would reflect these views. Mussolini would blame the French Revolution and Marxism for the “mob rule” and shift away from a value on nationalism in Europe, and Mussolini believed that these views were only validated by the egalitarian views of the Russian Soviet Republic.


    Therefore, the FIC quickly completely differentiated from socialism and became a different ideology altogether. Ultranationalism, reactionism, ultra-totalitarianism, militarism, and corporatism were all features of this new so-called “counter-revolutionary” ideology, and liberalism and democracy were quickly completely rejected as a threat to the preservation of a nation. Racial hierarchy was also promoted by Benito Mussolini early on, who believed that the French, and for that matter most Latin nations excluding Italy, had become inferior after succumbing to liberalism, and Mussolini despised the Slavs.


    And thus, a new and sinister ideology was born, one that would plague the minds of millions and would slaughter even more. Our planet was ruined for decades by this one terrible idea, one that was arguably the biggest factor in the extension of the Great War by two decades. In the Italian parliamentary election of 1921, the FIC gained a handful of seats and would begin its climb through the ranks of Italian politics as the countdown to the conclusion of Italian neutrality and democracy started.


    Fascism had been born.




    Symbol of the Italian Fasci of Combat, and later fascism itself.


    1921-Manmade Hell.png


    Map of the World circa March 1921.

     
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    Interlude Four: The Cabinet of Hiram Johnson
  • Interlude IV: Cabinet of President Hiram Johnson circa March 1921
    • President-Hiram Johnson (Republican Party)
    • Vice President-Irvine Lenroot (Republican Party)
    • Secretary of State-Elihu Root (Republican Party)
    • Secretary of the Treasury-Al Smith (Liberal Party)
    • Secretary of War-Leonard Wood (Republican Party)
    • Attorney General-Calvin Coolidge (Republican Party)
    • Postmaster General-Nicholas Murray Butler (Republican Party)
    • Secretary of the Navy-Joseph Strauss (Liberal Party)
    • Secretary of the Interior-Robert Stirling Yard (Liberal Party)
    • Secretary of Agriculture-Henry Cantwell Wallace (Republican Party)
    • Secretary of Commerce-Herbert Hoover (Republican Party)
    • Secretary of Labor-Robert Marion La Follette (Republican Party)
     
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    Chapter Four: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité
  • Chapter IV: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité


    “I am pleased to report that the offensive into Belgium is going well. At our current rate, the liberation of Belgium from German occupation should conclude within a handful of months.”


    -Letter from Robert Nivelle to French President Raymond Poincare, circa July 1917





    Belgian soldier fighting at the First Battle of Brussels.


    Within the first handful of months of the Great War, it had become obvious to the world that fate was not smiling upon France. While the French Republic was undoubtedly a great global power, it was nowhere nearly as militaristically strong as the German Empire, which quickly overrun northern France by conducting the infamous Schlieffen Plan. If it had not been for the Battle of the Marne, Paris would have most likely fallen in 1914, which would have likely ended what became the largest and bloodiest war in history within a few months.


    But fate would be more cruel to France. Rather than end the Great War relatively quickly and painlessly so that the French would escape with millions of lives at the expense of only a bit of land and possibly war reparations, the torture France was put through was extended across three decades of constant pain, destruction, and death. If the French were to lose the Great War after decades of combat, their nation would barely survive, and if the French won it would be at the expense of an entire lost generation and Europe would very likely be unable to ever completely recover from the unrelenting and brutal devastation of the Great War.


    As the primary frontline of the Western Front, the French could never catch a break from the Great War. While the British could view the Great War as a more distant conflict across the English Channel, the French had no such luxury. It was French cities that were bombed by German artillery, it was French villages that became war zones, and it was French valleys that were burned from the surface of the Earth and confined to historical textbooks. The French population would undergo the worst hardships of the Great War, and by 1917 almost one twentieth of the French male population had been killed in combat. The morale of the French military was starting to decrease, and a significant victory was becoming increasingly necessary if France was to win the Great War.


    Fortunately for the Entente, a much-needed victory would in fact occur. In the April of 1917, Robert Nivelle managed to defeat the Germans at the Second Battle of Aisne, and would continue to advance forward until reinforcements stopped the French invasion at the Franco-Belgian border. The Nivelle Offensive was not just celebrated in northern France, which was liberated by the offensive, but was celebrated across all of France. For the very first time in years, the people of France believed that the Great War would not necessarily be a lost cause.


    Eventually, the French war machine would rise yet again. On September 25th, 1917 Nivelle would exploit an opening at the Battle of the Meuse, just south of Givet, and within just three more days, the town of Givet had fallen into French hands and the offensive into Belgium had begun. Robert Nivelle’s plan was to initially push north for the city of Namur, and then turn towards Brussels, the fallen capital of the Kingdom of Belgium. Another regiment in Maubeuge would simultaneously be moving north for Brussels, while the British navy would bombard the coastline of German-occupied Belgium. After the success of the Nivelle Offensive, the United Kingdom was happy to spare supplies and reinforcements to the Meuse Campaign, which was the best plan the Entente had for liberating Belgium after three years of brutal occupation, and the exiled Kingdom of Belgium eagerly sent thousands of soldiers back to Europe to participate in what was supposed to be the liberation of their homeland.


    At first, the Meuse Campaign went just as planned. Robert Nivelle pushed along the Meuse River to Namur, which was liberated by a coalition of French, British, and Belgian soldiers, with combatants coming from across all of their colonial holdings, on March 12th, 1918. The army under the command of Sir John French of the United Kingdom in Maubeuge would also be progressing into Belgium at a good pace and was approaching the outskirts of Waterloo by the time the May of 1918 had begun. After a long campaign, Nivelle arrived at Waterloo alongside French, and together the two armies would defeat the Germans at the Second Battle of Waterloo (named in such a way to differentiate the battle from the much more famous First Battle of Waterloo of the Napoleonic Wars) on May 30th, 1918.


    It was from Waterloo that the Entente arrived upon the entrance of Brussels. Together, two of the most renowned military commanders in not just Europe, but the world, descended upon the German occupation force of Belgium, which was under the leadership of Paul von Hindenburg and Moritz von Bissing. The Battle of Brussels would become a long and deadly conflict, lasting numerous fierce days as Brussels was retaken from German tyranny day by day. Even if the battle lasted many days, it was increasingly obvious that the Entente would win Brussels back, albeit at a deadly cost. After over a week of bloody combat, the German military completely evacuated Brussels on June 13th, 1918, therefore meaning that the Battle of Brussels had ended in an Entente victory.




    French soldiers parading through the recently liberated Brussels, circa June 1918.


    When Brussels was initially liberated, celebration broke out across western Europe. The German Hun had been kicked out of a city that had been occupied since the first days of the Great War, and for many living under the banners of the Entente’s member states this marked a turning point in the conflict. The German occupation of Belgium was on the run, and the exiled government of Belgium was already negotiating their return to Brussels. However, the Kaiser would not be giving up on Belgium so easily. The territory was paramount to any German victory in western Europe, and had to be secured if the Entente were to ever capitulate.


    At first, the Germans attempted to retake Brussels through an offensive under the command of Paul von Hindenburg, however, this plan was a complete failure, and the Germans were vanquished by Robert Nivelle at the Battle of Bierbeek on July 22nd, 1918. The German Empire would attempt a second offensive in Belgium early within the September of 1918 once substantial reinforcements from the Eastern Front and the new German puppet states arrived, however, this second invasion would also fail, and Hindenburg was defeated at the Battle of Leuven on September 14th, 1918. It was become obvious that the defenses that orbited Brussels would not be easy to overcome with mere offensives, so the German military would resort to a new strategy of winning over the support of the local Belgian population. On November 24th, 1918 the Kingdom of Flanders was established from the Flemish region of northern Belgium, with August Borms as the first prime minister of Flanders.




    Flag of the Kingdom of Flanders.


    The Flemish military was put under the command of Moritz von Bissing, the former military of Belgium, who oversaw numerous executive authorities in a similar way to Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff’s control over the German Empire. In order to fuel pro-Dutch sentiments in Flanders, Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernest, a direct descendent of King Wilhelm II of the Netherlands, was coronated onto the throne of the Kingdom of Flanders shortly after the independence of Flanders, thus becoming King Wilhelm Ernest I of Flanders. Initially, Wilhelm Ernest I’s subjects did not support him or the government operating in his honor. The Kingdom of Flanders was, after all, a puppet state governed by a one-party puppet and German military junta under the control of the Frontpartij.


    Over time, however, the Kingdom of Flanders’ population started to support the Frontpartij. Walloons still pledging loyalty to Belgium started to view the Flemish as traitors and a foreign enemy, which would many Flemish to turn to Flanders when Belgium was beginning to reject them. German propaganda was also very effective in fueling Flemish nationalism while also depicting the Walloons as a group that did not belong under the same banner as the Flemish, and France was depicted as a violent and aggressive nation that had threatened peace in western Europe, especially Belgium, for centuries. The Germans would also become seemingly merciful leaders, and would let the Flemish people carry on with their lives as long as they did not dissent against the Frontpartij or Bissing’s junta. The German Empire would even rebuild infrastructure destroyed during the Great War, which won over a sizeable amount of the Flemish population.


    The Kingdom of Flanders was a useful tool on the Western Front, as it eliminated much of the justification of liberating all of Belgium, including Flanders, lost merit. A more organized military force in Belgium operating for the Central Powers was also a good tool that Germany had at their disposal. However, the Kingdom of Flanders alone could not turn around the war in Belgium. Even if the offensive into Flanders began to slow down, much of Wallonia and central Belgium was occupied by French and British regiments, and their occupation zone was only expanding. In the January of 1919 the British navy finally landed upon the Belgian coast, and Ostend fell under the control of the British on the 23rd of January. If Germany were to ever win the Great War, the military would have to carry out their next decision perfectly, or else lose Belgium. The German military command conceived of Operation Steuben, in which a German offensive south of Brussels would cut off the army of Robert Nivelle and John French from France, therefore starving off his occupation.


    Operation Steuben was ambitious and required a large military force, however, the Germans had no other plan and needed to act swiftly, so Hindenburg took a gamble and accepted the leadership of Operation Steuben. In the February of 1919, the invasion began with the Battle of Hoeilaart, which was in fact a decisive German victory. Robert Nivelle sent John French to handle the German offensive, however, the Germans acted quickly enough to prevent any retaliation of significance from being formed by the Entente. French’s army was defeated at the Battle of Alsemberg on February 22nd, 1919, and a large battalion of forces from across the Central Powers would completely encircle Brussels after the Battle of Pepingen on March, 12th, 1919 decisively crushed the defenses of John French, who retreated into Brussels for an ultimate stand against Paul von Hindenburg.


    The Second Battle of Brussels was one of the bloodiest battles in the entire Great War, claiming thousands of lives. What remained of the Entente’s entire invasion force of Belgium condensed around one city as the German Empire began its brutal siege of Brussels. Day after day, combat endured at the expense of the people of Brussels, who were unable to escape the fierce war zone. After the first week of fighting, Brussels had begun to starve and rations were distributed more to soldiers than civilians, which caused the latter to reject the Entente in favor of the Central Powers. The Flemish were especially supportive of the Central Powers, and formed militias to cripple the Entente’s war effort. Nine days into the Second Battle of Brussels, a group of Flemish revolutionaries would uncover the location of Robert Nivelle’s office, and by sneaking in as custodians, the group activated a hand grenade that killed Robert Nivelle in the process.


    After General Nivelle was killed, John French assumed control of forces in Brussels, however, he would not carry on the fight for long. The Second Battle of Brussels was simply not worth the effort, for defeat was inevitable. If French surrendered, he would spare hundreds of lives, possibly including his own, while a continued fight would only prolong the inevitable and carve deeper wounds into Brussels. Therefore, on March 23rd, 1919, a single British soldier approached his German foe, waving a white flag in front of an army poised to murder him at a moment’s notice. After ten days of endless combat, the Second Battle of Brussels had ended, and Belgium was controlled by the German Eagle yet again.


    For the French, the defeat at Brussels was an absolute humiliation. Not only had France lost one of its greatest officers, but the campaign that had cost the French thousands of lives had been destroyed within less than a month, and France was back to the position it had found itself in during the early months of 1917. The French could not stand the waste of lives that was the Great War any longer, but the French soldiers fighting for their lives within the trenches were the most infuriated. They had sacrificed two years of their lives to an apparently futile invasion, and they would simply could not stand the chaos of the trenches any longer. Soon enough, French soldiers began to refuse to fight, turning them against their own officers and towards new radical ideas championed by a new nation across the trenches and German tyranny.


    The Mutinies of 1919 had begun.



    Red Dawn


    “No more deluded by reaction, on tyrants only we'll make war! The soldiers too will take strike action, they'll break ranks and fight no more! And if those cannibals keep trying, to sacrifice us to their pride, they soon shall hear the bullets flying, we'll shoot the generals on our own side.”


    -Excerpt from The Internationale





    Symbol of the French Section of the Workers’ International.


    Since the French Revolution, France had always flirted with radical leftism. Of course, nearly all far-left movements within France had failed, and more conservative ideologies, from social democracy to monarchism, were the driving forces of French politics instead. However, the presence of socialism was always present in the shadows. Ever since the Paris Commune failed in 1871, had been hiding, and many groups had begun to integrate into the French Section of the Workers’ International (SFIO), a political party that participated within the larger and multinational Second International.


    When the Great War began, the SFIO, and for that matter the rest of the Second International, decided to support the war effort against the German Empire as nationalism washed over all of France when the news arrived that the Kaiserreich was to invade France. While this spurred controversy within the SFIO due to a few prominent members advocating in favor of an anti-war stance, the SFIO continued to survive well into Phase One. And then, in 1917, the unimaginable had happened. A communist revolution had arisen, and in Russia no less. Socialist movements around the world were thrown into a frenzy following the October Revolution, and the course of the revolution itself was completely re-evaluated.


    The SFIO was primarily supportive of Vladimir Lenin’s Russian Soviet Republic, especially once news arrived that Leon Trotsky had emerged victorious in Siberia and a Russian communist regime would completely control one of the largest nations on Earth. A handful of opponents of the Bolsheviks and advocates of the old ways of the Second International did protest SFIO support of the Soviet Republic, and would align themselves within the sphere of influence of Leon Blums, while anti-Great War members that supported Lenin’s new state would align with Ludovic-Oscar Frossard. Blum’s opposition to the SFIO’s new leadership, and for that matter the Russian Soviet Republic itself, would not last long, for an assassin would pierce the radical with one bullet on May 8th, 1919. The defeat of Robert Nivelle at the Second Battle of Brussels only further strengthened the anti-Great War faction of the SFIO, and on June 2nd, 1919 the organization voted to join the Third International, otherwise known as the Comintern. A month later, the SFIO renamed to the French Communist Party (PCF), with Ludovic Frossard as its secretary-general.


    The PCF would strongly benefit from the outrage over the failure at Brussels, as well as the increased hatred of the Great War in general. Thousands of new members joined within the June and July alone, and L’Humanite, the official newspaper of the French Communist Party newspaper, started to fly off of shelves. While the PCF grew in popularity in several urban centers across France, especially Paris, the ideals of the French Communist Party would even manage to find its way into trenches. At first, L’Humanite copies were freely distributed into trenches, where soldiers were quick to sympathize with the message of ending the Great War and establishing a French Socialist Republic to abolish the bourgeoisie system that had oppressed the French for nearly all of history and had gotten France stuck in the mess that was the Great War in the first place.


    As L’Humanite grew into one of the most popular newspapers in the trenches of northern France, the French military took action by banning the paper in warzones in the August of 1919, however, by this point it was too late. Thousands of French soldiers claimed to be members of the PCF, with reasons ranging from complicated theories on class oppression to the simple hope that the PCF would end the Great War and get the soldiers out of the trenches. The French foot soldiers found a way around the ban on L’Humanite, with family members smuggling in copies instead in whatever way possible. As French commanders came to this realization, they would only crack down upon L’Humanite even more, with many officers banning the importation of gifts to soldiers and others assigning brutal duties to soldiers found in possession of L’Humanite.


    This correlated well with the start of the Mutinies of 1919. After the Second Battle of Brussels, hundreds of French soldiers started to disobey the orders of their officers in a fashion that resembled the tactics of general strikes within the workforce. By refusing to undertake the commands of their officers, the masses of the French military were able to demand better conditions, more time to visit home, and more liberty. Within the June of 1919, much of France’s defenses against the German invasion, spearheaded by Paul von Hindenburg, was rendered useless due to the Mutinies of 1919, which arguably allowed Germany to capture Laon on June 30th, 1919. Following the defeat at Laon, Ferdinand Foch assumed control of the French military, and quickly repressed the Mutinies of 1919, going as far as to institute death penalties upon any soldier in collaboration with the mutinies.




    Marshal Ferdinand Foch, circa July 1919.


    Foch’s brutal oppression of any dissent within the ranks of his military made him despised by many of his men. As news of execution began to be whispered through trenches, dissent only continued to grow. Mutinies only continued to grow into bursts of violence, with a few officers even being shot by rebellious soldiers. Foch was considered a failure, and was dismissed early in the August of 1919 and was succeeded by Philippe Petain, who ensured the soldiers under his command that he would be more kind than Foch, while still obviously condemning any dissent from his ranks.


    Petain’s strategy of boosting morale seemed to work well. By giving into a few of the demands of his forces, as well as putting the socialist Maurice Sarrail in command of a battalion stationed nearby the city of Arras, the Mutinies of 1919 began to die down. By the September of 1919, the riots had been officially declared over and the French had returned to their typical routine of defending northern France from Hindenburg. The situation wasn’t perfect, for thousands of communists still resided within the ranks of the French military, however, they remained quiet for the time once their more outspoken comrades had been purged by Petain and Foch.


    As 1919 came to an end, the Western Front of the Great War slowed down to a standstill. The German Empire had kicked all Entente forces out of Belgium, but at a deadly cost. Thousands had died in western Belgium and even more had perished in the invasion of northern France. A stalemate akin to the one that had existed years prior in approximately the same location was formed, and neither faction could break through enemy lines, even as the British Empire poured thousands of recruits from every corner of the planet into the trenches.




    French soldiers on the Western Front, circa March 1920.


    It was in this stable environment which rested upon an uncertain past that chaos emerged yet again. In 1920, President Raymond Poincare announced that he would be resigning from the presidency after holding said office for seven years. Poincare had undergone a rollercoaster in regards to popularity since the start of the Great War, however, the Second Battle of Brussels and the Mutinies of 1919 had seen his popularity especially plummet. Therefore, a new leader of the French Third Republic would have to be found, and there were numerous candidates for the French legislative branch to nominate.


    Both Paul Deschanel and Alexandre Millerand had been names thrown around, however, the former’s mental health had been declining as of recently and the latter was deemed to liberal for a time when communists had found their way into the masses of the French military and communism itself was on the rise. Therefore, the French government would have to find a president that was not too liberal, while still managing to appease to the leftist groups of France. At first, Philippe Petain was considered, however, the marshal announced that he would not seek the presidency of France, instead opting to stay on the frontlines in northern France to combat the Germans. The former governor-general of Indochina and conservative Radical Party member, Paul Doumer, was nominated instead. By appeasing to both the conservative Republican Democratic Party and the more liberal Radical Party as a compromise candidate, Doumer managed to become the successor of Poincare and president of France on February 18th, 1920.




    President Paul Doumer of the French Third Republic.


    While Doumer had run as a Radical, his views were more in line with the Republican Democratic Party, and officially became an independent prior to his inauguration to appeal more to conservatives. President Doumer was incredibly critical of the French Communist Party, declaring that the party was sabotaging the French war effort for political gain, and would force Maurice Sarrail to resign in the March of 1920, officially due to his slow progression in comparison to other commanders, although it was apparent that the real motivation was to crack down on socialist authority in the French armed forces. The forced resignation of Sarrail irritated many of his soldiers in northwestern France, however, there was little they could do except complain.


    The resignation of Sarrail caused a sharp drop in morale amongst many of the soldiers within the French military, and even Philippe Petain argued that it was within the best interests of the French armed forces to continue to staff Sarrail. Doumer, however, would not give into these demands and argued that the last thing France needed was an incompetent socialist fighting against the Germans, and Maurice Sarrail was replaced by Sergeant Andre Maginot, who quickly got to work at building up for a potential offensive while also preventing the spread of socialism within much of his ranks.


    It was around this time that President Doumer began to institute another wave of purges, not unlike those of 1919 (albeit a bit more subtle), to stamp out communist dissenters within the ranks of his military. While no executions occurred as a consequence of the Purge of August, there were several court marshals and many soldiers were assigned to harsh activities as a punishment. Of course, the Purge of August could not stay a secret forever, and eventually French soldiers began to find out that Doumer was becoming as oppressive as Ferdinand Foch. This would only encourage the reignition of mutinies throughout the trenches of northern France, and by the end of August a crisis similar to the spring of 1919 had began.


    In order to distract from the growing crisis, Sergeant Maginot would begin his offensive for Lille, named the Maginot Offensive, in the October of 1920. At first, the Offensive was going well. Maginot had been preparing for his invasion for months, and this preparation paid off. The Germans were quickly overrun at the Fourth Battle of Arras on October 8th, 1920 and the Maginot Offensive would continue to be as successful for the remained of August, although following the Battle of Lens the Offensive began to slow down with the arrival of German reinforcements.


    By the February of 1921, Maginot’s battalion had arrived at Lille. After months of deadly combat, Andres Maginot had arrived at his destination and was ready for one last conquest. But the Germans were also prepared, for a coalition led by Otto von Below had been amassed with forces from all of the German Empire’s puppet states. Trench warfare immediately set in, and barracks were constructed along roadways to stop enemy invasions. The Battle of Lile began on February 22nd, 1921, and after the first three days, fighting proved to inconclusive, however, it was becoming apparent to French reconnaissance that the Germans easily outnumbered the forces under the command of Maginot. The sergeant would implore Philippe Petain to cede reinforcements, however, the French had their hands full on other fronts and all Andres Maginot would get were a handful of volunteers from France’s colonies.


    By the fifth day of fighting, it was clear that the Germans were beginning to win. An offensive had pushed the French back a few blocks, and after two more days Maginot had been pushed back to Loos. While he did not officially declare that the Battle of Lille had officially been lost yet, a final offensive a day later that kicked the French to Les Riez proved to be the decisive defeat that Andres Maginot had been so fearful of. With this single defeat on March 2nd, 1921 Maginot’s forces had become outrage. All those casualties, all that combat, for nothing? Andres Maginot’s army would not simply mutiny. No, they would not take commands from the bourgeoisie any longer. By rallying under the leadership of Boris Souvarine, an antimilitarist communist within the ranks of Maginot (and previously Sarrail), the oppressed foot soldier of the French military rose up in Les Riez on March 5th, 1921, and after only a day of fighting Andres Maginot had been executed and the Vanguard of the French Proletariat (LGPF), otherwise known as the French Red Army, had been declared.


    Within the next few days, numerous other officers would be overthrown in communist revolutions declaring loyalty to the LGPF, which drove the Western Front to a standstill. While the collapse within the ranks of the French military, deemed the Second French Revolution by the LGPF, would have been the perfect opportunity for the German Empire to invade France and conquer Paris once and for all, Paul von Hindenburg decided not to push through communist militias, believing that France would potentially capitulate soon to deal with Boris Souvarine’s new army and feared that an attack on a communist revolution would cause the Russian Soviet Republic to declare war on the Central Powers and invade the poorly defended puppet regimes of Germany in eastern Europe. Therefore, the Great War was temporarily only fought in the Balkans, Middle East, and the waters surrounding Europe as combat in France began to be put on hold.


    President Paul Doumer was infuriated by the Second French Revolution, and used the apparent war within France’s own trenches as an excuse to outlaw the French Communist Party for inciting the Second French Revolution, and several members were arrested within just a handful days after the National Security Act was passed on March 12th, 1921. However, the majority of highest ranking members of the PCF would escape the wrath of Doumer and agreed that the time for joining their Russian comrades in revolution had arrived and officially endorsed the Second French Revolution and the Vanguard of the French Proletariat, agreeing to seize French cities in sudden revolutions. One of these cities was Paris, where a general strike of the Workers’ Force trade union (the union that affiliated with the French Communist Party) on March 17th, 1921 turned violent following police suppression. Within a handful of hours, Paul Doumer and his government had fled Paris for Blois, where a provisional government was established.




    French communists celebrating the Storming of Paris, circa March 1921.


    As Doumer and his coalition of conservatives assembled in southern France as revolution infected the largest French cities, the red flag was waved throughout the north. The French Commune had been declared.



    Vive la Commune!


    “The French proletariat, convinced that the forgetfulness and exploitation of the natural rights of man are the sole causes of the misfortunes of the world, have resolved to set forth these sacred and inalienable rights in a solemn declaration, in order that all workers, being able constantly to compare the acts of the government with the aim of every social institution, may never permit themselves to be oppressed and degraded by capitalist tyranny, in order that the proletariat may always have before their eyes the bases of their liberty and their happiness, the magistrate the guide to his duties, the legislator the object of his mission.”


    -Preamble of the constitution of the French Commune, which was heavily inspired by the preamble of the constitution of the French First Republic





    Flag of the French Commune, adopted by the Proletarian Revolutionary Congress shortly after draft of the Communard constitution.


    Following the Storming of Paris, the priority of the LGPF and the PCF was to unite their forces together in order for delegates of the Second French Revolution to come together and form a single government. Under the leadership of Boris Souvarine, the LGPF managed to seize nearly all French territory in between Paris and what had once been Belgium, while the Brittany Soviet was growing on the peninsula of its namesake. By the end of the March of 1921, communist delegates convened in Paris to write up a new constitution for their government. The debate over the constitution of the French Commune more or less orbited around whether not the Commune would become a Marxist-Leninist Dictatorship of the Proletariat akin to the Russian Soviet Republic, or a more libertarian socialist republic of some kind adhering to syndicalist philosophies.


    The “Marxist-Leninists” were not necessarily Marxist-Leninists in the same sense as Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik Party, for the exact ideology of the Soviet Republic did not exactly have a strong following within France. The young Maurice Thorez became the de facto leader of the Marxist-Leninist faction at the Constitutional Committee, and his coalition was nicknamed the Neo-Jacobin Club by his fellow, yet more libertarian, revolutionaries. Thorez’s support for a Communard dictatorship was mostly unpopular, however, it had a sizeable amount of legitimacy nonetheless due to it being the preferred faction of Vladimir Lenin.


    The Neo-Jacobins found a rivalry with the Syndicalist faction, which was led by Boris Souvarine, and advocated for a more decentralized federation of democratic workers’ councils as the basis for the government of the French Commune, while still advocating for a violent revolution to rid society of the bourgeoisie. As the supreme commander of the Vanguard of the French Proletariat, Souvarine’s opinion was very significant, even if he himself was incapable of being at the Constitutional Committee due to him leading the offensive towards Brittany. The Syndicalists found allies within the largest group at the Constitutional Committee, the Popularistes, which was led by Ludovic-Oscar Frossard.


    The Popularistes were the “centrists” of the Constitutional Committee, and advocated for the collectivization of the means of production while also supporting national centralization. The majority of prominent members of the French Communist Party were Popularistes, therefore giving the group an advantage at the Constitutional Committee, however, there were not enough Popularistes to dictate the entire constitution of the French Commune, thus meaning that compromises had to be enacted in order for all three factions to support the new administration.


    After weeks of negotiations, the constitution of the French Commune had been completed. The Commune would become a federation of local administrations, called regions, which would govern local affairs that did not contradict the interests of the national government, with a three-fourths majority of the legislative assembly of the national government being necessary to override any regional laws. Autonomous regions, such as Brittany, would also exist, and were allowed to pass any laws that did not contradict the national government, and their interests could not be overridden by the national government. Autonomous regions would also be permitted to have their own personal militia, which could only operate abroad with consent from the national government.


    The national government was to be governed by a unicameral legislative body, the Central Revolutionary Congress (CRC), which had the purpose of proposing and voting on laws while also electing the members of the executive branch, called the Presidium. The Presidium was led by the president of the French Commune, the Communard head of government, who dictated the policies of the Presidium. The other members of the Presidium were ministers, who oversaw the activities within their respective ministries in accordance to the interests of the president. The ministers would have to obey the orders of their president, with some notable exceptions to prevent the president from potentially becoming too autocratic (for example, the Minister of Justice was not required to arrest an individual if he believed that they were innocent, regardless of the president’s opinion), and every Presidium member was elected by a majority within the Central Revolutionary Congress and could be ousted at any time if a simple majority approved of a vote of no confidence.


    In order to appease the Neo-Jacobin Club, the president held special powers in case of a national emergency. Article Five of the Communard constitution would turn the president into a dictator for an amount of time designated by a three-fourths majority vote within the CRC. If Article Five, or the “Dictatorship of the Proletariat,” was enacted, the president would hold total control over the Presidium and would not require the CRC to pass or propose legislation, therefore turning the president into a temporary dictator. The three things the president could not do as dictator were add amendments to the constitution, extend the time he was permitted to be a dictator, and infringe upon constantly guaranteed rights, such as a fair trial, however, Article Five otherwise gave the president seemingly limitless power.


    Another topic of immense importance was how the Communard workplace would be governed. It was decided that the Syndicalist proposal for trade unions to collectively govern the means of production and distribution would not be utilized, for the Neo-Jacobin Club and Popularistes both agreed that such a system was not centralized enough, however, the Popularist plan for collectivized workplaces to be established with the consent of local governments was satisfactory enough for the Syndicalists to agree to such a system, and would therefore be put into place by Article Six of the constitution of the Commune of France.


    Once the constitution had been completely ratified on April 14th, 1921 and every sect of French society had been revolutionized, with even Paris being renamed to La Ville Lumiere, the time came for the Central Revolutionary Congress to be elected in order for the members of the Presidium to be selected. The French Communist Party obviously won the vast majority of seats, however, Maurice Thorez’s Jacobin Party also secured a decent amount of seats, as did the syndicalist Travailliste Party. With the PCF holding the majority of seats within the CRC, the Presidium was destined to become led by said party, with Ludovic-Oscar Frossard becoming the first president of the French Commune.




    President Ludovic-Oscar Frossard of the French Commune.


    While the vast majority of ministers were members of the French Communist Party, a few were Travaillistes, such as Boris Souvarine, who easily became the Minister of the Vanguard, the Communard equivalent to a Minister of War. The Jacobins were incapable of securing any positions within the Presidium, which especially frustrated Thorez, however, they remained a significant force within the Central Revolutionary Congress nonetheless. Article Five was also enacted almost immediately, with members of all three parties arguing that a centralized Dictatorship of the Proletariat would be necessary for the reactionary French Third Republic to be defeated, and President Ludovic Frossard was authorized to be a dictator for exactly six months.


    The establishment of the French Commune shocked the world. Communism had extended west, fueled by the hatred of the Great War. Doumer’s administration was on the run as northern France was conquered by General Commander Souvarine and the Brittany Soviet was united with its comrades halfway through the April of 1921. The British were terrified, and were quick to pull whatever forces they could out of Communard-occupied zones in order to continue fighting the Germans, as well as apparently the French Commune on whatever possible frontline. The German Empire was especially confused, and a temporary ceasefire fell upon warzones that had become occupied by the French Commune, with both Hindenburg and the Kaiser hoping that an agreement similar to Brest-Litovsk could be reached with President Frossard.


    For many, the declaration of the French Commune appeared as though the Great War had finally come to an end. The Entente was doomed and could simply not continue fighting as long as northern France was occupied by communists, so surely a peace agreement would be reached. However, neither the Great War nor the Revolution would be over anytime soon. As crowds in Moscow and Lumiere waved banners of crimson in celebration of their respective revolutions, the Proletariat of one of the world’s oldest and most powerful empires had begun to grow discontent with the increasingly deadly world of the bourgeoisie that had existed for millennia.


    The Revolution peered across the English Channel, and set its sight upon the British Empire.



    The Lion of Arabia


    “My Dearest Violet,


    I regret to write to you that my health has only barely improved. While my injuries are healing, every single day I waste in this war becomes more and more painful. Even if the War in Mesopotamia is coming to an end, the War in France seems to be increasingly endless and pointless. First the Hun, and now the Bolshies? As much as I hate to admit, the Commune is right about one thing: this godforsaken war is meaningless.


    Best regards,


    Clement”


    -Letter from Captain Clement Attlee of the British Army to Violet Millar, circa March 1921





    British soldiers approaching Mosul, circa 1920.


    As its former allies descended into chaos and revolution, the United Kingdom barely carried on, continuing to carry on the fight against the Central Powers wherever possible. In France, the British Expeditionary Force had been battling with the Germans well into the beginning of the French Civil War. In the Balkans, the British would preserve Greek sovereignty by fending of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. And in the Middle East, British colonial forces pierced deep into Mesopotamia alongside a coalition of Arab freedom fighters who had turned to British aid in order to defeat the Ottoman Empire.


    It was here in the Middle East where the Entente experienced some semblance of sanity, even after the withdrawal of Russia as the Red and Green armies rose up. On every other frontline, the Entente was either falling against the onslaught of the Central Powers or was internally collapsing. But on the Middle Eastern Front, it was the Central Powers who fled battle fields in terror. Upon entering the Great War on behalf of their German allies, the Ottoman Empire had been declining in power for centuries as Europe grew in power from bathing in the resources exploited from their vast colonial empires. Turkish technological and militaristic capabilities simply did not match up to power of Europe’s largest powers. Therefore, a British victory in the Middle East appeared inevitable, even if London was situated across an entire continent away from Constantinople.


    However, even if the Ottoman Empire was doomed to a defeat in the Great War, the British were still presented with a handful of challenges and setbacks. For example, Winston Churchill’s Gallipoli Campaign in western Anatolia was an absolute disaster for the British Empire, which was decisively defeated by the Turks by the beginning of 1916. However, the British carried on, with successful results arriving from Mesopotamia as the British Indian Army moved along the Euphrates River. The British also found success from funding Arab revolts in Hejaz after Great Britain gained in ally in the form of Sherif Hussein of Mecca, who was guaranteed an independent Arabian Hashemite Kingdom if he allied with the Entente, therefore initiating the Arab Revolt with the Battle of Mecca throughout the June and July of 1916, which solidified the independence of the Hashemite Kingdom of Hejaz under the leadership of King Hussein bin Ali.




    Flag of the Hashemite Kingdom of Hejaz.


    With British aid (primarily from Egypt), Hejaz would begin to encompass the surrounding territory, which only further fueled the flames of rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. Hejaz never got the British officer it was promised after said officer, Thomas Edward Lawrence, fell ill and had to stay away from the frontlines until he recovered, however, the Arab Revolt proved to be successful nonetheless. The Hashemites emerged victorious over the city of Medina on January 28th, 1917, however, at the expense of heavy losses. The Hejaz Railway continued to stay in control of the Ottoman Empire, and Turkish reinforcements continued to arrive in Hejaz to defeat the Arab Revolt. But the Hashemite Kingdom of Hejaz continued to fight on, and Prince Faisal bin Hussein led a battalion north and, despite heavy casualties, would slowly move along the coast of the Red Sea against the unrelenting attacks of the Ottomans.


    Back in Mesopotamia, the British continued to push along the Tigris and Euphrates towards Baghdad throughout all of 1917. The end of Russian intervention within the same year, as well as the struggles of the Hashemite Kingdom of Hejaz, would mean that the British moved at a slower pace than anticipated, however, General Frederick Stanley Maude would in fact capture Kut on March 10th, 1917, something that both John Nixon and Percy Lake had failed to accomplish. With Kut under British occupation, General Maude anticipated that he would soon be invading Baghdad, however, no such invasion would be conducted for the time being. As Russia fell to revolution, the Germans increased their presence in western Europe, which diminished the ability for Maude to request reinforcements, and the British high command sent the majority of their reinforcements in the Middle East to the Red Sea, which was closer and promised more success anyway.


    Therefore, General Frederick Maude would not be invading Baghdad anytime soon. Instead, he increased the defenses of Kut, which was subject to usually heavy sieges from time to time, and adopted the strategy of trench warfare to combat the Ottomans. By the end of 1917, Baghdad remained under the control of the Ottoman Empire and Maude had advanced only a few kilometers away from Kut, and it appeared as though this would remain the situation for the upcoming months. The situation in Hejaz, however, was much better. Prince Faisal continued to move north, and would capture Al Wajh on December 30th, 1917. This would cripple the Hejaz Railway, which began to fall apart after the Battle of Al Wajh. With the Hejaz Railway in ruins, a Hashemite victory appeared imminent, especially once the Anglo-Hashemite alliance converged upon the Levant.


    With the Arab Revolt proving to be successful, the Ottomans sought support from their own European allies. Even though the German Empire was much more concerned about the frontlines of the Great War in Europe, the Kaiser had always been willing to cede a handful of reinforcements to the Turks. In 1918, Germany decided that they would send an experienced officer to Hejaz to combat the Arab Revolt, a man who had fought on both the Eastern and Western Front and whose military experience could be traced back to the Boxer Rebellion. In the January of 1918, an army sent from Berlin arrived in Jordan, under the command of General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck.


    The Lion of Arabia had been released upon his prey.




    General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck (nicknamed the “Lion of Arabia”) of the German Empire.


    General Lettow-Vorbeck would quickly prove his competence at the Ma’an on February 2nd, 1918, in which his merciless guerrilla tactics obliterated the Hejazi offensive and, for the first time in well over a year, sent Prince Faisal on the run. For many months, the Lion of Arabia would crush his opponents with brutal tactics that, while undeniably successful, made him infamous around the world. Cities were burned and thousands of civilians died from both warfare and famine as a consequence of the rampage of the Lion. However, both the Turks and Germans permitted the continued utilization of these tactics in Arabia, for they both believed that defeat of Hejaz was paramount to the survival of the Ottoman Empire and therefore the authority of the Central Powers within the Middle East.


    It is very likely that had the Entente not altered its strategy in Hejaz, the Hashemite Kingdom would have been defeated and Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck would be remembered as the man who preserved the dying Ottoman Empire for at least a few more years. After all, General Lettow-Vorbeck managed to undo a year’s worth of Hejazi progress within just a handful of months and the increased necessity for the British to reinforce Hejaz would only weaken the British invasion of Mesopotamia. However, in the British military would retaliate by sending over their own skilled commander. Winston Churchill, the man who had presided over the failed Gallipoli Campaign and had sought to rebuild his reputation by serving as a lieutenant colonel in France ever since, offered to lead a battalion in Hejaz, an offer that the British military cautiously accepted.


    Upon arriving in Hejaz in the April of 1918, Colonel Winston Churchill set out to build up defenses against Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck by overseeing the development of intricate supply lines in collaboration with the Royal Navy. Churchill’s plan would prove to be successful, and is typically credited as the man who served the Lion of Arabia his first defeat at the Battle of Al Rayis on April 18th, 1918. Lettow-Vorbeck’s offensive was shattered, which allowed for Colonel Churchill to invade Yanbu alongside Prince Faisal just a handful of days later. Churchill’s success would see him be promoted from a colonel to a general approximately a month later, and by the July of 1918 Winston Churchill had become the commander of all British land forces in Hejaz. General Winston Churchill proved to be the perfect contrast to Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck by being cold, careful, and calculating while Lettow Vorbeck was notorious for quick and ambitious offensives.


    As the Hashemite Kingdom of Hejaz began to move north against the Ottomans and Germans yet again, General William Marshall, who had become the commander of British forces in Mesopotamia after Frederick Maude succumbed to cholera in the November of 1917, saw an opportunity to quickly push for Baghdad. After many days of combat, the city of Baghdad was conquered by the British Empire on June 27th, 1918, and the Union Jack flew over the rubble of the fallen city.


    And so, this was the situation the British war effort in the Middle East found itself within for the next three years. General Winston Churchill would slowly push back against the Lion of Arabia in the name of Arabian independence, while William Marshall crawled up the Tigris and Euphrates at an even slower rate (harsh weather, especially in the summer, would occasionally stop entire offensives), capturing ancient cities in the process. The Middle Eastern Front would culminate with the Battle of Damascus on April 19th, 1921. It was here that General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck made his last stand against Winston Churchill, before ultimately capitulating as his forces were encircled as the sun set upon both the harsh land of Arabia and Ottoman control of Arabia itself. A few days later, the Ottoman Empire would surrender to the Entente and representatives of the belligerents of the Middle Eastern Front would meet in Aleppo to negotiate a peace treaty.


    The Treaty of Aleppo did not necessarily guarantee the borders that Sherif Hussein had been promised almost five years prior by the British, however, Hashemite hegemony was established nonetheless, with the Hashemite Kingdom of Hejaz annexing nearly all territory south of Damascus, excluding Palestine, which became a British protectorate, and the Hashemite Kingdom extended as far east as the Euphrates River. The Hashemite Kingdom would not yet rename to Arabia, however, a brief collection of conflicts against Jabal Shammar and Nejd in the 1920s would change this. To the north of Hejaz, the kingdoms of Syria, Mesopotamia, and Kurdistan, which would be led by Prince Abdullah, Prince Faisal, Prince Zeid of the House of Hashemite respectively. A Kingdom of Armenia was also carved out of Armenian-populated land of the Ottoman Empire, however, rather than a Hashemite as the king of a Christian Orthodox nation, the cousin of Tsar Nicholas II and former Russian Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich became the king of Armenia instead.


    All five officially recognized nations established at the Treaty of Aleppo, including Hejaz, became de facto British puppet states whose foreign affairs would be handled by the United Kingdom in return for protection and infrastructure projects. While King Hussein bin Ali of Hejaz was initially opposed by such an action, which he feared would compromise his dream of a unified Arabian empire, he admitted that British support was a necessity for his kingdom to survive, and Prime Minister David Lloyd George of the United Kingdom guaranteed Hussein bin Ali that as long as the Hejazi did not harm British interests, their foreign affairs would more or less be left alone.


    As the ink dried on the Treaty of Aleppo, a new era had begun for Arabia. The Ottoman Empire was a mere rump state while a British sphere of influence dominated all Middle Eastern land south of Anatolia. But the British forces who had fought in the Middle East could not rejoice for long, for the war in France continued. Worse yet, a storm was subtly brewing over the British Isles, and was just about to erupt.



    Break the Chains!


    “This bloody war will be the death of me.”


    -King George V privately commenting on the General Strike of 1922





    Prime Minister David Lloyd George of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.


    When Russia and France both fell to communism, Great Britain became the last great power of the Entente. The French Republic still survived, but could barely be regarded a threat when its northern half, which included its capital, was under the control of a communist state. Thus, it became the responsibility of the British to keep the Entente war effort alive by continuing to fight in the mess that was France and by utilizing the Royal Navy to combat the Germans upon whatever water the German eagle soared across.


    The French Civil War made many Britons argue that the Great War was lost and that the time had come for the British government to enter into peace negotiations with the Central Powers. However, Prime Minister David Lloyd George was not yet ready to give up, and believed that a British victory was still possible if the French Commune was quickly defeated by a swift offensive and cited the success of the naval blockade of Germany, although the effects of the blockade were being mitigated as resources from German puppet states poured in following the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The British victory in the Middle East was an especially useful morale boost, as plenty of new resources from Arabia fell into the hands of the British Empire and the Royal Navy introduced a blockade within the Black Sea in accordance to the Treaty of Aleppo, which had given the British the right to freely traverse through the Bosphorus Strait, as yet another way to win the Great War by starving off the German war effort rather than simply killing the German War effort.


    The British Army made sure to permit former soldiers in the Middle Eastern Front to visit their families for a few weeks, which was celebrated by British newspapers, however, it was obvious that this was only temporary. Soon enough, the veterans of Mesopotamia and Hejaz would be fighting in France against the Vanguard of the French Proletariat, and by the June of 1921 all veterans of the Middle Eastern Front of the Great War that could continue fighting were under the command of officers in southern France, with Sir Henry Wilson operating as the highest ranking officer of all of these veterans, holding the position of field marshal.


    In the months since the declaration of the French Commune, the Entente built up for an offensive towards Paris (or Lumiere, if the Communards were to be believed), whilst digging a new line of trenches through the middle of France to hold back the LGPF for the time being. In the July of 1921, David Lloyd George finally approved of the initiation of the Bourges Offensive and thousands of Entente soldiers charged across trenches into No Man’s Land against the forces of communism. Of course, Ludovic Frossard would not allow the revolution that he and his comrades had worked so hard for to simply crumble within a matter of months at the hands of the British imperialists. General Commander Boris Souvarine quickly retaliated by stopping the army of Field Marshal Wilson at the Battle of Orleans on August 14th, 1921, and the Bourges Offensive would begin to grind down into a war of attrition.


    Regardless of the seemingly stagnant pace of the French Civil War, the conflict was still deemed a success by the British nonetheless. After all, by all means the Entente was winning in France, just at a much slower pace than anticipated. The Royal Navy was also proving to be a useful asset in the English Channel, especially due to the Navy of the French Proletariat (MPF) being little more than a militia of ships seized from either the bourgeoisie or the navy of the French Republic. The Second Battle of Orleans on October 7th, 1921 would prove to be a victory for British, and afterwards the British Expeditionary Force would resume its slow push north.


    As it turned out, the largest threat to the British war effort was not in the trenches, but was rather found in the streets of London. It was here that Britons who had become sick of wartime protested the Great War and mourned as reports of casualties arrived day after day. While Prime Minister George’s wartime coalition, which united the Conservative, Liberal, and Labour parties into a single force, was not going to be pulling out of France anytime soon, the people were becoming increasingly angered by the Great War, especially the poor masses, many of whom were not even permitted to vote due to the right to vote being reserved to those who owned property.


    While the Second French Revolution initially harmed the reputation of socialist organizations in Great Britain, their opposition to the Great War would turn many of these otherwise fringe political parties into some of the strongest advocates for the repressed masses of British factories. The Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), an anti-war Marxist party formed from the unification of numerous like-minded organizations in 1920, especially profited from the growing anti-war sentiment, and would also benefit from finding allies in the form of numerous trade unions, and by endorsing the female suffrage movement in Great Britain the CPGB would only continue to grow in power.


    As 1921 came to an end, a new crisis would emerge to harm the British war effort. In order to finance the Great War, the United Kingdom had to lower wages as a solution to increasing the production of cheap wartime resources, especially coal. This infuriated the masses of Great Britain, and starting in the February of 1922 the Trades Union Congress (TUC) ordered a general strike, in which the TUC demanded a higher national minimum wage, the guaranteed right of all British citizens of at least twenty years to vote, and an immediate end to British involvement in the Great War. Of course, David Lloyd George and his wartime coalition could not give into such demands, and the TUC’s general strike was deemed “a revolutionary move which can only succeed by destroying the government and subverting the rights and liberties of the people.” Therefore, the British government would not be negotiating with the Trades Union Congress, but rather attempting to suppress the General Strike of 1922 by any means necessary, including the usage of force.




    A British soldier escorting a bus during the General Strike of 1922.


    At first, it was believed that the trade unions would give in within just a handful of days and the General Strike of 1922 would wither away. This would not, however, be the case. Instead, support for the CPGB and other far-left political parties would grow and British war production would decline. In order to counter the General Strike of 1922, the British government approved of the establishment of a militia named the Organization for Domestic Security (ODS), which was tasked with keeping down any strikes. However, the ODS quickly proved to have unintended consequences as fascists and other far-right sympathizers applied for membership in order to suppress what they saw as yet another socialist rebellion, which would cause the ODS to only become more and more violent.


    This would all culminate on April 3rd, 1922, when a regiment of the ODS under the command of Arnold Leese would open fire upon a strike in London. The workers would only retaliate by arming themselves with whatever they could find as a weapon. Within just a few minutes, much of southern London had become a battlefield as the ODS and their sympathizers (mostly law enforcement) fought the trade unionists and their allies amongst the masses, which primarily consisted of anyone of the lower classes of British society. As the news of the London Riot reached Buckingham Palace and Parliament, King George V and the British government were immediately evacuated to Cambridge and Oxford respectively to wait out the crisis.


    After approximately an hour of combat, the unionists seized one of the ODS’ ammunition stockpiles, therefore meaning that the ODS was no longer just suppressing a violent mob, but rather a group of discontent workers armed with guns. The unionists eventually secured all of southern London, however, were stopped by barracks guarding the bridges over the River Thames. By this point, however, the revolution had already arrived in Great Britain. By April 4th, 1922 the London Riot was still going strong, and all attempts by the ODS to invade southern London had failed, while other regiments of the ODS were conducting acts of violence towards the Trades Union Congress, which they believed had embraced open rebellion against the United Kingdom. Within a day, all of Great Britain had erupted into a battlefield in which the reactionary militias of the British government were poised against the largest trade unions of the United Kingdom and their allies.


    The Second Glorious Revolution had begun.


    As war began in the streets of Britain (especially in Scottish cities and southern England), the TUC and fellow populist organizations, including the CPGB, arrived in Southampton to vote on whether or not open revolution against the United Kingdom would be endorsed. While such an action would have been unimaginable only a week prior, the London Riot permanently changed the fragile relationship between the classes of Great Britain. The more radical trade unionists believed that the ODS, and the British government itself, had begun the suppression of the British Proletariat and argued that if revolution did not begin then the bourgeoisie would reign without mercy across the British Empire for potentially an eternity. The moderates of Southampton did not want to turn to rebellion, however, with the wartime coalition aligning with the ODS, it was obvious that a compromise between the TUC and the British government was impossible, and thus revolution was necessary if the trade unions were to survive. Therefore, with a majority of delegates present at Southampton voting in favor of revolution on April 11th, 1922, the proletariat of Great Britain took up arms against capitalism in the name of a unified provisional government, the Workers’ Commonwealth.




    Flag of the Workers’ Commonwealth, which was adopted from the Chartist movement of the 19th Century.


    While the Workers’ Commonwealth initially began as a self-proclaimed socialist republic, and not a communist regime, this would begin to change as the members of the Commonwealth government became increasingly radical, especially as the Communist Party of Great Britain asserted more and more authority within the provisional government, and Albert Inkpin, the leader of the CPGB, was elected the first Comrade Protector of the Commonwealth, therefore becoming the Workers’ Commonwealths’ first official head of government. From this point on, the Workers’ Commonwealth would become an official communist state, with the ideals of libertarian socialism and Marxism of the Second French Revolution being encouraged by the United People’s Congress (UPC), the de facto legislative assembly of the Commonwealth prior to the Workers’ Commonwealth officially becoming a communist regime upon joining the Third International in the May of 1922.


    As southern England fell into the hands of communist revolutionaries and the banner of the Workers’ Commonwealth flew over London, the wartime coalition of Great Britain carried on fighting both the Central Powers and Comrade Protector. Surely the Second Glorious Revolution would quickly fall, thought the government of the United Kingdom, which hid in Liverpool. Of course, any history textbook that details the 20th Century now says otherwise. The Workers’ Commonwealth would feast off of the corpse of a decaying empire for many years, and by not entering negotiations with the Central Powers, the Entente only doomed Europe to more bloodshed and unintentionally wrote the propaganda of fascist tyranny.


    Soon enough, the world would know what man-made hell really looked like.



    Reaction


    “War in the Alps! Mussolini’s Italy invades France!”


    -Washington Post headline, circa November 1922




    Benito Mussolini and a crowd of Blackshirts shortly after fascist seizure of power in Italy, circa September 1922.


    When the Second French Revolution began and reports of crimson banners flying through the streets of Paris appeared upon the headlines of newspapers around the world, Benito Mussolini and his Italian Fasci of Combat (FIC) immediately took to the streets of Italy to boost their own personal support. Frossard’s revolution was the perfect piece of propaganda for the FIC, which had been claiming that the “inferior French way of life and values of liberalism” would lead to a communist revolution since the inception of fascism. Throughout much of 1921, the Italian Fasci of Combat grew into one of the most influential forces in the Kingdom of Italy and Benito Mussolini became a national celebrity, albeit a hated one for many.


    Ironically enough, the FIC thrived under the leadership of Prime Minister Giovanni Bacci of the Italian Socialist Party, which had just barely managed to win the 1921 general election by branding itself as a modern solution to the growing economic crisis generated by the Great War and forming a coalition with numerous other left-wing political parties in the Kingdom of Italy. While Prime Minister Bacci was initially successful at aiding the Italian economy, the FIC would deem him the beginning of Italian communism and built up support against the prime minister.


    And then, in the May of 1922, the unimaginable happened. Under the leadership of General Emilio De Bono, forty thousand fascists would march upon Naples, demanding the resignation of Giovanni Bacci and the establishment of fascist rule over the Kingdom of Italy. As Benito Mussolini put it, “Our program is simple: we want to rule Italy,” was more or less a summary of the FIC’s goals in the coup. The government panicked, however, King Victor Emmanuel III did not believe that the reactionary Italian Fasci of Combat was a threat to the Italian establishment, and therefore allowed Mussolini and his cabal of fascists to take control of the Italian government on July 18th, 1922. A month later, an election was called upon, however, Benito Mussolini’s utilization of intimidation and voter suppression, including banning the Italian Socialist Party and forcing Giovanni Bacci into exile, meant that the election was more or less artificial and was instead utilized as a tool of the FIC to gain absolute authority over the Italian parliament.


    And so, the fascist demon reigned over Italy, and the claws of its tyranny pierced into democracy.


    As Benito Mussolini consolidated power over the Kingdom of Italy, which became increasingly totalitarian as political opponents of the Italian Fasci of Combat were purged at night, the Italian military began to quickly mobilize, and in the October of 1922, the Italian military began to line up at the border with France. As the fiercest soldiers of the Kingdom of Italy stared into the decaying French Republic, it was obvious to the Entente that they would have to soon fight yet another opponent, and the French and British quickly sent whatever soldiers they could spare from the bloodshed of central France to the Franco-Italian border. Surely enough, war would come to the Alps on November 17th, 1922, when Mussolini announced to a crowd in Rome that the Kingdom of Italy had officially become a member of the Central Powers in accordance to a secret treaty signed in Munich, and was therefore at war with the Entente.


    But Italy was not just at war with the French Republic. Benito Mussolini also made sure to send his reign of terror to war with the French Commune, therefore making the Kingdom of Italy the first member of the Central Powers to officially go to war with a communist regime. With that being said, however, the Kingdom of Italy did not border any French territory occupied by the Communards upon the Italian declaration of war, so the Italian war against the French Commune was reserved to violent purges of any suspected socialists within Italian-occupied land, who would be taken away in swift sweeps by Italian soldiers on nights ripped from tales of horror, never to be heard from again.


    Meanwhile, Italy’s new ally, the German Empire, continued the quiet ceasefire with the French Commune, and for Germany, the Great War war only fought in Elsass-Lothringen and on the seas that encircled Europe. German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg stayed away from a war with the French Commune, in part on the basis that either the French Republic would either surrender or fall to the anti-war Commune, therefore meaning that any invasion of northern France would only waste men and prolong the Great War, and in part due to Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg’s hope to preserve peace with the Russian Soviet Republic to the east by not attacking the Communards. However, Bethmann-Hollweg’s days as chancellor were numbered. While the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk had definitely boosted the support of his administration amongst the German people, the British naval blockade of the German Empire had the opposite effect, and Theobald Bethmann Hollweg was forced to resign in favor of Georg Michaelis, a German bureaucrat who became the next chancellor on December 7th, 1922.




    Chancellor Georg Michaelis of the German Empire.


    Michaelis was a supporter of his predecessor’s policy of waiting for France to beg for negotiations, however, the new chancellor was viewed as a bureaucrat and not a statesman. The Michaelis administration was plagued with messy logistics and a stereotype was generated that the chancellor was more concerned with generating profit for German corporations than winning the war that Germany had been fighting for over eight years. However, what was arguably the worst mistake of Georg Michaelis was not as apparent to the German people. Michaelis became attracted to a reactionary party on the fringes of the German political spectrum, named the German Fatherland Party (DVP). This particular political organization was led by the wealthy Alfred Hugenburg, a staunch ultranationalist and monarchist, who was as wealthy as he was conservative. In 1921, Hugenburg and the DVP had gone as far as to officially become fascist, therefore becoming one of the largest fascist movements in not just Europe, but the world.


    And out of all individuals, Hugenburg was the man Georg Michaelis turned to for assistance in the administration.


    Hoping to gain more support from the far-right of the German Empire, Georg Michaelis offered Alfred Hugenburg the position of Secretary of Treasury following the resignation of Siegfried von Roedern in the March of 1922, a position that Hugenburg eagerly accepted. Surely enough, Hugnburg exploited his position by bringing more attention to the German Fatherland Party and its ambitions, especially the defeat of the French Commune. Such aggressive and bold declarations would win over many Germans, including Erich Ludendorff, who would go as far as to become an official member of the German Fatherland Party. With Ludendorff on Hugenburg’s side, the ascendance of the increasingly powerful reactionary appeared inevitable, and soon enough the demands for the resignation of Georg Michaelis were answered when Alfred Hugenburg became the chancellor of the German Empire on January 3rd, 1923.




    Chancellor Alfred Hugenburg of the German Empire.


    Just four days after assuming de jure leadership of the German government, Alfred Hugenburg would declare war on the French Commune. Within a handful of hours, the Western Front of the Great War had resumed after well over a year of nearly complete peace as Paul von Hindenburg led soldiers across No Man’s Land, which had only just started to regrow vegetation, to fight the unsuspecting Vanguard of the French Proletariat. But this was not the same type of war that Germany had begun all those years ago. It was obvious to the whole world now that the Great War would not be ending anytime soon, especially as the Russian Soviet Republic began to mobilize in retaliation against the invasion of the French Commune. This was a new conflict, defined by an ideological clash of socialism, liberalism, and reactionism.


    On January 7th, 1923, Phase Two of the Great War had begun.



    Man in the High Castle


    “Edelweiss Edelweiss
    Every morning you greet me
    Small and white
    Clean and bright
    You look happy to meet me
    Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow


    Bloom and grow forever


    Edelweiss Edelweiss


    Bless my homeland forever”


    -Edelweiss, by Richard Rogers (published circa 1959)




    Sketch of the Reichstag.


    It was a cold February day. Prince August Wilhelm, the son of Kaiser Wilhelm, sat in a chair, overlooking the streets of Berlin below across a large glass window. On a table next to him was a small glass of Heinrich Reissdorf-brand beer, of which the prince had only taken a few sips from. August’s room was quiet, but the German Empire itself was anything but. Alfred Hugenburg and his German Fatherland Party had only been in power for a little more than a month, and Germany had already seen dramatic change. Putting aside the declaration of war on Ludovic Frossard’s French Commune, the German Empire had become increasingly more militaristic, authoritarian, and reactionary, with the reputation of socialists being destroyed by the propaganda of Hugenburg, while trade unions were almost always suppressed in the name of state security. But August did not mind the reign of Alfred Hugenburg.


    In fact, he quite enjoyed it.


    Prince August Wilhelm was very much a reactionary, and was one of the few Hohenzollerns to openly join the German Fatherland Party, which he believed would not only restore monarchism to its rightful throne on top of the masses of Germany, but would crush socialism into dust. In fact, August had gone as far as to personally befriend the chancellor, and the two frequently wrote letters to one another.


    As the prince reclined in his luxurious chair, the serenity was interrupted by shouts from outside. As August slowly lurched out of his chair to the window ahead, he noticed a crowd below, waving banners of red and shouting the chants of the German left.


    “The people demand peace!”


    “Hugenburg must go!”


    As the crowd of socialists stopped in front of August’s palace, the prince couldn’t help but smirk. And then he laughed, grinning viciously upon the masses below, who dared to demand that the German nobility, whose power was guaranteed by God, must give into their demands. In one swift motion, August barricade his window with a silk curtain, and turned back to his chair to wait for one of his servants to arrive and accomodate his desires. Surely enough, one of August’s butlers quietly walked in just mere seconds later to inform the prince on what he already knew.


    “Your majesty,” announced the butler. “Have you been made aware of the socialist protesters outside?”


    “Do I look blind to you?” sneered August.


    “Of course not,” replied the butler. “I offer my most sincere apologies.”


    For a second, the prince stayed quiet, before declaring, “I want that mob out of my sight. Get the police to disperse those Bolsheviks as forcefully as necessary.”


    “But, your majesty, with all due respect, your father does not condone your recent aggression towards leftist protests.”


    “You are my servant!” growled August. “You will do as I say, and only what I say. Is that clear?”


    “...Of course, your majesty.”


    August remained silent for a while, before approaching his butler and snatching a newspaper (which would have been delivered to August regardless), and examined the headline in such silence that one could hear a needle drop.


    ULTIMATUM FROM MOSCOW: PEACE WITH FROSSARD'S SOCIALIST MOB OR WAR!


    One could not tell what was going through the mind of Prince August Wilhelm at this moment. He was a man poisoned by the evils and lies of fascism, as had become apparent to Germany in recent weeks. After a seemingly eternal minute, the prince uttered two sentences.


    “Ready my automobile. I would like to pay a visit to the chancellor.”


    End of Phase One


    1923-Manmade Hell.png


    Map of the World, circa February 1923.
     
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    Chapter Five: What Madness is This?
  • Chapter V: What Madness is This?


    “The mob of Marxist barbarians to our east known as the Russian Soviet Republic has invaded the Principality of Belarus. We are at war with the Red Army.”


    -Chancellor Alfred Hugenberg of the German Empire announcing the Soviet invasion of Belarus to the Reichstag, circa February 1923.





    Red Army soldiers during training within the Byelorussian Autonomous Soviet Republic, circa February 1923.


    When the German Empire declared war on the French Commune, Alfred Hugenberg had taken a gamble. Hoping to prevent the spread of communism to western Europe by invading France and renewing the German offensive on the Western Front of the Great War, Hugenberg’s invasion of France alone would cost Germany only a handful of men, with the militia that was the Vanguard of French Proletariat was no match against the well-trained and well-supplies forces of the German Empire, let alone the German Empire, her allies, and what remained of the decaying Entente.


    But the French Commune was not alone in its struggle to liberate the proletariat of France. On the other side of the Central Powers, the Commune had one ally, a nation that had become feared by all of the world. This nation was, of course, the Russian Soviet Republic, the only completely sovereign communist state in the world. Under the leadership of Premier Vladimir Lenin, the Soviet Republic had consolidated its power by purging political dissidents, gradually industrializing what had once been the infamously backwater Russian Empire, and growing the Red Army into a force to be reckoned with. By the time Phase Two of the Great War began, the Red Army consisted of approximately nine million standing soldiers, with millions of more meeting the requirements to be conscripted into the Red Army if deemed necessary.


    Simply put, the Russian Soviet Republic was not a threat to be taken lightly by the Central Powers, or any capitalist regime, for that matter. However, when Germany invaded the French Commune in the January of 1923, Alfred Hugenberg did not fear a Soviet declaration of war. The Bolsheviks had detested the Great War long before they had taken over Russia, and after winning the Russian Civil War, the Soviets had decided to keep out of the unpopular Great War in favor of rebuilding Russia into a communist state. And even if Lenin did want to invade Germany and its allies, the Central Powers had a substantially larger combined military and it was anticipated that a second victory on the Eastern Front could be secured.


    But as the invasion of northern France began, the Russian Soviet Republic would almost immediately begin to condemn the renewal of the Western Front, this time in the name of the suppression of the working class. In the January of 1923, the Red Army, which had barely grown since the conclusion of the Russian Civil War in 1919, began to recruit members, while Leon Trotsky managed to implement stronger equipment modernization campaigns. The plan to end war communism, the highly centralized system in which the state owned all property during the Russian Civil War, would also stop being relaxed due to a growing fear within the Soviet high command that war was coming to Russia yet again.


    Nonetheless, the German army was emerging from its trenches, renewing a seemingly dormant war. The LGPF was unprepared for a war against Germany, with Boris Souvarine under the impression that the Great War had ended and prioritizing the defeat of French Third Republic. Therefore, Paul von Hindenburg easily lead an offensive from Loos starting on January 7th, 1923, one which would succeed in breaking initial Communard trench defenses within the first day of combat, thus forcing the Vanguard of the French Proletariat across the Canal d’Aire at the Battle of Estevelles on January 18th, 1923.


    But it was after the Battle of Estevelles that Souvarine, who was fighting the Entente in southern France when Phase Two began, allocated significant reinforcements to the Western Front. Under the command of Field Commander Pierre Monatte, Communard defenses in northern France would substantially grow, and the war effort around the Canal d’Aire grinded to a standstill. Heavy rounds of artillery fire would ensure that neither side could cross a mere canal, and the poison of chemical warfare turned the Canal d’Aire into an inhospitable stream of inhumanity. East of what had once been Belgium, the Germans saw better success in eastern France, where Erich Ludendorff led an offensive from Dabo against the Vanguard of the French Proletariat, although even this offensive slowed down as the days passed, with Ludendorff capturing Luneville on February 1st, 1923.


    All the while, the Russian Soviet Republic watched as the only other socialist force that even came close to resembling a nation was slowly pushed back against the weight of the Central Powers. Vladimir Lenin was obviously openly supporting the French Commune, and for that matter the Workers’ Commonwealth, however, he was personally very cautious about going to war with Germany. The German military had taken on two fronts before, and it could potentially do it again, especially when it had allies in the east this time around. Nonetheless, Premier Lenin would carefully prepare for a potential war with the Central Powers, hoping to eventually spread the revolution west. On January 8th, a partial mobilization of the Red Army was ordered, and as Hindenburg and Ludendorff enclosed upon Lumiere, the Soviet Republic tightened its grip upon the means of production of Russia, ensuring that war communism was not ending anytime soon.


    Within the Red Army, General Leon Trotsky, the most renowned officer within the ranks of the Russian military, who answered only to Nikolai Krylenko and Vladimir Lenin, would do everything in his power to promote war with the Central Powers. A devout internationalist and avid supporter of the French Commune (Trotsky and Boris Souvarine actually often wrote to each other due to sharing similar political beliefs), the Red Napoleon would often advocate for declaring war on the Central Powers, claiming that alongside the fall of the Entente to communism, the Red Army could overrun the German puppet states in eastern Europe, as well as Ukraine, within at most a few months. Lenin personally supported Leon Trotsky’s plan to invade eastern Europe, and in the middle of the January of 1923 would task General Trotsky with designing war plans for a hypothetical offensive into the eastern Central Powers, a top secret plan named Operation Ascania.




    Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky shortly after the latter finished designing Operation Ascania, circa January 1922.


    By the start of the February of 1923, the Red Army guarded the western border of Russia in a long line, preparing for an invasion into Ukraine, Belarus, the United Baltic Duchy, and Estonia. With the Red Army’s ranks containing over eleven thousand men and women (women had been permitted to join the Red Army by 1922) ready to fight in the name of the liberation of the proletariat and modern equipment, including tanks, while a growing Soviet air force was ready to aid ground forces from above. With an offensive strategy already designed, support for war being prominent throughout the Red Army, and opposition to any declaration of war from within the ranks of the Bolshevik Party decreasing, the time was perfect for the Russian Soviet Republic to join the Great War on behalf of their French comrades.


    Therefore, on February 6th, 1923, the Soviet Republic sent an ultimatum to Berlin. This document, deemed the February Ultimatum, demanded one thing from the German Empire; the immediate end of all hostilities with the French Commune. If Germany did not comply or failed to respond in exactly forty-eight hours, the Russian Soviet Republic would declare war on the Central Powers on behalf of the French Commune. Alfred Hugenberg could not comply with the demands of the February Ultimatum, knowing that pulling out of France at this point would be humiliating for him and potentially cost the Fatherland Party control of Germany. Therefore, the German government officially stayed silent about the February Ultimatum, choosing to use the precious forty-eight hours offered to prepare for a renewal of hostilities on the Eastern Front. Meanwhile, Vladimir Lenin ordered the general mobilization of the Red Army, and Leon Trotsky was prepared to begin the invasion of Belarus at any moment.


    Finally, after forty-eight hours had passed, the time had come for the Russian bear, soaked in the crimson of communism, to awaken yet again. With both Russia and Germany ready for war yet again, the time had come for the revolution of the proletariat to advance west, and on February 8th, 1923 the Russian Soviet Republic officially declared war on the Central Powers. Under the command of the Red Napoleon, the Red Army crossed into the Principality of Belarus, therefore resuming the Eastern Front of the Great War after nearly five years of peace.




    Red Army soldiers during the initial invasion of Belarus, circa February 1923.


    Operation Ascania had begun.



    The Red Napoleon


    “Many comrades have compared me to Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte of France. They have called me the Red Napoleon, they have declared me a commander as skilled as Napoleon, but one that will fight in the name of the liberation of the proletariat rather than its suppression by bourgeoise imperialists. This is a false comparison. Napoleon failed to conquer Russia. The Red Napoleon has already succeeded. Where Napoleon Bonaparte failed, our comrades will succeed.”


    -General Leon Trotsky in a speech to the elite of the Bolshevik Party, circa March 1923.





    General Leon Trotsky attending the sixth anniversary of the February Revolution in Moscow, circa March 1923.


    When the February Ultimatum expired, Leon Trotsky began the war that he had planned out for the last month. Trotsky was to oversee the Red Army’s initiation of Operation Ascania, the top secret war plan developed in the previous January that had been approved by Vladimir Lenin himself and was Leon Trotsky’s brainchild. The first part of Operation Ascania was for General Trotsky to lead soldiers in an invasion of the Principality of Belarus, in which Belarusian defenses would be pierced by a heavy offensive by the well-equipped Red Army. All the while, another invasion force, approximately the same size as Trotsky’s, was to quickly overrun Ukraine. Once both Belarus and Ukraine were conquered, the invasion of Poland and Pomerania would begin, which would inevitably lead the Red Army straight to Berlin.


    The offensive into the Principality of Belarus went well. Leon Trotsky had ensured that the Central Powers never discovered the true size of the invasion force of Belarus until it was too late by stationing regiments many miles apart. Once January 8th arrived, all Soviet forces would converge on Smalyavichy, and the considerably smaller Belarusian army was defeated by nightfall by the brutally aggressive tactics of Leon Trotsky. With Smalyavichy conquered, the Red Army was next door to Minsk, the capital of the Principality of Belarus. The faltering military of Belarus simply could not hold off the titanic invasion force of the Soviet Republic, and on the morning of February 9th, 1923 the Red Napoleon would order Soviet dirigibles to commence a bombing campaign on Belarusian regiments outside of Minsk, therefore meaning that the army of Belarus had already scattered and was in disarray by the time the Red Army invaded the city. The Belarusians barely put up a fight, and within only two hours flags of red were flying over Minsk.


    With the capital of the Principality of Belarus in the hands of the Red Napoleon, the defeat of Prince Franz I’s infant realm was apparently inevitable. Within only a few more weeks, the military of Belarus was in tatters and mutinies were common. Presiding over the corpse of principality from Baranovichi, Franz I would abdicate from the Belarusian throne on February 20th, 1923, which became the straw that ultimately broke the Belarusian people’s back. Two days later, the Rada would deliver a message to Moscow announcing that the Principality of Belarus had unconditionally surrendered to the Russian Soviet Republic, and the Treaty of Minsk, which was signed on February 25th, 1923, would end Belarusian independence by annexing the Principality into the Byelorussian Autonomous Soviet Republic and unifying the White Ruthenia region under the banner of Marxist-Leninism.


    As General Trotsky prepared for the upcoming offensive into Poland, the invasion of the Ukrainian Republic was also going well for the Russian Soviet Republic. The invasion of Ukraine was led by none other than Leon Trotsky’s second-in-command since the Russian Civil War, a brutal and unforgiving yet promising lieutenant general. An avid supporter of Leon Trotsky and the invasion of eastern Europe, this vicious officer had been involved in the offensive towards Petrograd, the invasion of Siberia, and the conduction of the Red Terror. This lieutenant general was none other than Ioseb Jughesvili, a Georgian Bolshevik who was better known by the alias Joseph Stalin.




    Lieutenant General Joseph Stalin of the Russian Soviet Republic.


    Once a notoriously reckless commander who had often gained the condemnation of Vladimir Lenin himself, Stalin had fallen under the command of Leon Trotsky during the invasion of Siberia during the Russian Civil War. Trotsky had personally requested that Stalin be put under his command, believing that the rising officer had great potential and would be a great asset for the war into Siberia, however, was aware of Stalin’s tendencies to disobey orders and make poor tactical decisions and hoped that he could keep the ambitious Stalin in line. This tactic worked, and Leon Trotsky’s strict yet charismatic and competent leadership would chip away at Joseph Stalin’s dangerous ego, and by the end of the Russian Civil War, Stalin had become fond of the military strategies of Leon Trotsky, even if he was opposed to Trotsky’s radical internationalist views. Therefore, by the time the Soviet Republic declared war on the Central Powers, Lieutenant General Joseph Stalin had become Trotsky’s right hand man and strong supporter of Operation Ascania, at least from a tactical perspective.


    Joseph Stalin would start his invasion of Ukraine by leading soldiers from Glushkovo via piercing Ukrainian defenses in a way similar to Trotsky’s like-minded strategy to the north against Belarus. The invasion of Ukraine went very well for the Red Army, however, it was devastating for the Ukrainian Republic. With the majority of prominent Ukrainian military commanders fighting on the Western Front, Ukraine was left with mediocre military officers as its defense against Stalin, a commander who would soon become infamous for his brutal tactics. Stalin would resurrect many of his infamous, for lack of better terms, war crimes from the Russian Civil War, torching occupied villages that offered strong resistance to Soviet occupation and ordering aircraft to bomb population centers in order to decimate wartime production and kill soldiers within said population centers.


    Regardless of how deadly and destructive Stalin’s tactics were, they did work. By the end of the February of 1923, the Red Army had reached the Supjy River, where the Soviets captured Zhurivka on February 20th, 1923. It was by this point that Simon Petilura, the leading Ukrainian general against the Red Army, was replaced by General Pavlo Skoropadsky, a general who had led Ukrainian forces alongside Erich Ludendorff in eastern France who held avidly monarchist and conservative political views, becoming a vocal supporter of Alfred Hugenberg. Skoropadsky was an experienced commander, arguably the most competent within the Ukrainian military, therefore winning him an immediately elite position within the leadership of the Ukrainian war effort on the Eastern Front upon returning from France.


    Skoropadasky’s first victory on the Eastern Front would be at the Battle of Voitove on February 27th, 1923, where Joseph Stalin was stopped by intricate trench warfare defenses. By the end of the day, both the Ukrainians and Russians had dug trenches in the ground east of Voitove, where a war of attrition would carry on for awhile. But Pavlo Skoropadsky’s defense of Voitove would not last for long. Consistent aerial bombing campaigns would surpass Ukrainian trench defenses, eventually turning the area General Skoropadsky defended from the Red Army into a desolate pile of rubble. While Pavlo Skoropadsky had hoped that he could continue to fight in Voitove and eventually wear down the Red Army, many Ukrainian military and political officials argued that if Skoropadsky stayed in Voitove, then once the Red Army inevitably did break his defenses Kiev would be open to an invasion.


    Therefore, under mounting pressure from the Central Council of Ukraine, General Skoropadsky would retreat from Voitove on March 2nd, 1923, and would arrive with the majority of his soldiers outside Kiev a few days later. Lieutenant General Stalin immediately took advantage of this large retreat, and every place Skoropadsky left was quickly occupied by Stalin. On March 7th, Stalin would initiate his attack on Kiev, with heavy aerial bombing routines forcing the Ukrainian government to flee the city. However, Pavlo Skoropadsky and his men would remain in the trenches they had dug around the city, firing constant rounds of ammunition at the Red Army. In due time, Skoropadsky’s defenses were eventually worn down. While soldiers hidden in trenches and underground bunkers would not budge in the face of bombardment, supply lines in the west took big hits, and within a few days Ukrainian men were dying from Soviet gunfire, malnutrition, and a lack of medical supplies, which allowed the Red Army to go on a sweeping offensive over Kiev, resulting in a Soviet victory at the First Battle of Kiev on March 12th, 1923.


    In the aftermath of the First Battle of Kiev, Ukraine bended to the will of the Russian Soviet Republic. The Ukrainian government continued to fight on after being relocated to Lviv, however, capitulation to the Soviet Republic seemed to be likely. All the while, Stalin would ensure that all of Ukraine east of the Dnieper River would be under the control of the Red Army, and with the Ukrainian military falling apart, this was a very easy and quick task to accomplish. With approximately half of Ukraine, including the area surrounding Kiev, under Soviet military occupation, Vladimir Lenin decided that the time had come for the forces of communism to finally consolidate themselves within Ukraine. Thus, on March 22nd, 1923 the Treaty of Kremenchuk was signed, which cede substantial Ukrainian land in the east, which was primarily ethnically Russian, to the Soviet Republic, while the rest of Soviet-occupied Ukraine became a Russian puppet regime named the Ukrainian People’s Soviet Republic (UPSR), under the leadership of People’s Commissar Sergei Bakinsky and his Ukrainian Communist Party.




    Flag of the Ukrainian People’s Soviet Republic.


    As news reports of the Eastern Front of the Great War spread throughout the Central Powers, panic set in across Germany. The communist horde of Russia was descending upon Berlin, and the independent nations established at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, nations that were intended to defend Germany from Russian aggression, were falling like dominoes. These defeats would eventually reveal a gaping wound in the German Empire’s government, this wound being the deteriorating relations between Kaiser Wilhelm II and Chancellor Alfred Hugenberg. Disputes over how to address the crisis that was the Eastern Front would only exaggerate this deterioration in relations between the two most powerful men in Germany, and soon enough, this rivalry would finally culminate.



    Heilungscoup


    “The chancellor did what!?”


    -Paul von Lettow Vorbeck commenting on the Heilungscoup, circa March 1923.





    Anti-war demonstration in Berlin, circa August 1923.


    Ever since the German Fatherland Party assumed control of Germany, there was consistently a rivalry between the Kaiser and Chancellor Hugenberg. After the French Civil War began, Kaiser Wilhelm II became a supporter of ending the Great War, which immediately put him at odds with Alfred Hugenberg’s aggressive policy of ending communism in France before subjecting the French to a harsh peace treaty. Furthermore, Wilhelm II, while by no means a liberal, did find himself contesting fascism, which he considered far too harsh and dangerous. In other words, Wilhelm sought to establish German hegemony; Hugenberg sought to establish German imperium.


    As Alfred Hugenberg assumed more and more control over the German Empire, he and the Kaiser found themselves butting heads with each other more and more often. Hugenberg would expand the influence of the chancellor to a degree that threatened monarchist domination in German governance, especially with Erich Ludendorff’s avid endorsement of the German Fatherland Party. Kaiser Wilhelm II was disturbed by Alfred Hugenberg’s constant utilization of authoritarian force to silence political opponents, with political opponents of the DVP facing constant repression from the police and fascist paramilitary forces.


    The initial success of the German Empire against the French Commune had temporarily silenced the rivalry between Kaiser Wilhelm II and Chancellor Hugenberg, with the two reserving their distaste for each other to private critiques and choosing to avoid each other whenever possible. Besides, after the Reichstag called for an election on January 15th, 1923 (a ploy by Hugenberg to further expand the authority of the DVP by getting as many fascists elected as possible when his administration was at peak popularity) and the German Fatherland Party secured a narrow majority of seats, criticism of Alfred Hugenberg would only hurt the Kaiser’s reputation. However, the rapid victories of the Red Army in the February of 1923 would renew the disputes between Wilhelm and Hugenberg, which would lead to the gradual collapse of the stability between the German monarchy and the DVP.


    As the Red Napoleon and his subordinates crushed German allies in eastern Europe in less than a month, Kaiser Wilhelm II and likeminded liberals, socialists, and even a few conservatives, blamed the declaration of war on the French Commune for initiating a war against the Third International. Alfred Hugenberg promised that the tides of the Eastern Front would soon turn in favor of the Central Powers once sufficient German reinforcements could arrive in the east, however, Wilhelm and his allies warned that the Eastern Front was becoming a lost cause, one that would cost Germany dearly.


    Kaiser Wilhelm II’s discontent would ultimately culminate once the Principality of Belarus capitulated to the Russian Soviet Republic on February 25th, 1923. Wilhelm had obviously always been opposed to the war against the Soviet Republic, but had never taken much action outside of criticism, deciding to instead see if Hugenberg could deliver his promised victory. However, the surrender of Belarus made the Kaiser believe that the Eastern Front had already been lost for many, and came to the realization that action had to be taken immediately. Therefore, on February 27th, 1923, Kaiser Wilhelm II would stand in front of the Berlin Palace and a large crowd to deliver a speech in which he called for the resignation of Chancellor Alfred Hugenberg.


    “I implore this nation, in order to ensure our sovereignty and respect of human dignity, to force Chancellor Alfred Hugenberg out of its government and end his reign of terror. Hugenberg and his fascist cronies have brought the German Empire and its allies, after waging over eight years of gruesome warfare in the name of a new and greater Europe, to the brink of a sudden and brutal defeat at the hands of the wrath of Marxist-Leninism. How much further must Leon Trotsky parade west until we realize that this war is only killing everything that Germany has fought for? The Red Army has already defeated Belarus, and Ukraine is on the brink of capitulation, so I ask you what is next? Must Lithuania fall? Must Poland fall? Must Berlin fall?”


    -Excerpt from Kaiser Wilhelm II’s “Call for Resignation” speech, circa February 1923.





    Kaiser Wilhelm II of the German Empire.


    Technically, the German constitution did guarantee the Kaiser the ability to appoint a new chancellor whenever he wished, however, Wilhelm understood that Alfred Hugenberg was incredibly popular, and an immediate removal from office would be met with much resistance, and at worst, a potential coup. Therefore, Kaiser Wilhelm II adopted the policy of gradually wearing down the support of Chancellor Hugenberg and the DVP from within the Reichstag. If popular support for the German Fatherland Party was lost, then resistance against the demands of the Kaiser would inevitably end in defeat for Hugenberg and a potential coup would become suicide.


    But Alfred Hugenberg would soon realize what Wilhelm’s plan was. If Hugenberg and the DVP was to stay in power and implement their plans for a fascist German Empire ruling over all of Europe, Kaiser Wilhelm II would have to be removed from power and he would have to be removed from power quickly before Germany turned on the chancellor. But removing a monarch from powerful, let alone a popular absolute monarch with supreme executive authority, would be incredibly difficult, even for someone as influential and powerful as Alfred Hugenberg. But fortunately for Hugenberg, and unfortunately for the world, the chancellor had a solution to his situation.


    The solution was Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia.


    The fourth eldest son of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s seven children, Prince August had recently stood out within his family due to his avid support of the German Fatherland Party, often appearing at DVP rallies and garnering a personal friendship with Alfred Hugenberg himself upon the assumption of power by the new chancellor. A staunch monarchist himself even if he did not support the monarch that then presided over him, Hugenberg knew very well how the people of Germany would react if the Kaiser were to be overthrown and his rule were to be replaced by a German Fascist Republic. At best, mass riots and rebellion would break out and surely cost Germany any chances of victory in the Great War, and at worse, the German Empire would dissolve into feuding monarchies, revolutionaries, and warlords. Simply put, the German monarchy had to survive the end of Wilhelm’s reign, and Prince August was the key to the monarchy’s survival.


    When the Russian Soviet Republic sent the February Ultimatum to Germany, Prince August had visited Chancellor Hugenberg in a fit of rage, where he had blamed the war with the Soviet Republic on his father’s inability to actively pursue the containment of Lenin and suggested that he abdicate from all aristocratic titles as a way to protest Wilhelm. In the end, Alfred Hugenberg advised against this, arguing that a Hohenzollern who was supportive of the DVP could potentially be helpful for future perdicements, but it became apparent to Hugenberg that Prince August was on the side of the DVP and not his father.


    Therefore, after Kaiser Wilhelm II’s “Call for Resignation” speech, Chancellor Alfred Hugenberg knew which Hohenzollern he could use as an asset. On February 28th, 1923, Hugenberg and August would privately meet without the knowledge of anyone excluding a handful of DVP elite to hatch a plot that would kick Kaiser Wilhelm off of the German throne and assert total fascist control over Germany. The German Fatherland Party and affiliated paramilitary groups were to lead a vicious propaganda campaign in which Wilhelm II would be depicted as a traitor to German culture and aristocratic traditions and a puppet of leftism. In order to ensure that such a campaign would not come off as anti-monarchist, Prince August would become the face of the movement to force his father to abdicate, while Hugenberg would seek out political and military allies to guarantee the success of any overthrowal.


    In the days leading up to the removal of Kaiser Wilhelm II from power, things went well for August and his campaign to paint his father in a negative light. Every single defeat on the Eastern Front, every single socialist riot, and every trade union strike was depicted consequence of an elaborate liberal conspiracy to erode away the authority and strength of the German Empire, a conspiracy that the Kaiser had become a pawn of. Wilhelm II would rarely retaliate against the deterioration of his reputation, for how could he fight the DVP, the party that gripped German society and dictated what went into newspapers? Meanwhile, Chancellor August Hugenberg privately organized meetings with prominent politicians and military officials, who would agree to support the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II, including Erich Ludendorff himself.


    The spark that ultimately set off the pile of gunpowder within the German government would be the First Battle of Kiev, which was used as a casus belli by the German Fatherland Party to call for the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II, who was ordered to cede the throne to Prince August. In an inflamed speech on March 14th, 1923, Prince August declared that Kaiser Wilhelm II and his “liberal masters” had failed to defend Germany and her allies, and demanded the abdication of his father within twenty-four hours. Obviously, Wilhelm refused to abdicate, and would declare that the German Fatherland Party was attempting to stage a coup. After twenty-four hours had passed, the Kaiser’s position had not changed, and Hugenberg altered his cronies to put his plan into effect.


    The Heilungscoup (which literally translates to “Salvation Coup”) began when a regiment of German soldiers loyal to the DVP, a regiment led by Prince August called the Vaterland-Korps (VK), moved towards the Berlin Palace, armed with artillery in preparation for a siege. Police officers loyal to the Kaiser caught word of the Heilungscoup, but knew that resisting Goring’s army was suicide, and many officers would even join the Heilungscoup. Military regiments loyal to the Kaiser, however, were a different story. Armed with artillery of their own, soldiers led by Hans von Seeckt would build makeshift barricades on streets surrounding the Berlin Palace and a secondary defense line of barricades on the bridges that led to Museum Island, the small landmass that led to the palace. Within the next few minutes, the armies of August and Seeckt would engage with each other, and the bloodshed of the Heilungscoup began in the streets of Berlin.




    Vaterland-Korps soldiers engaging with Loyalists during the Heilungscoup, circa March 1923.


    As the heart of Berlin became a battleground for the fate of Germany, Chancellor Alfred Hugenberg, who had called for an emergency assembly of the Reichstag on March 15th, proposed to the representatives of the primarily DVP Reichstag that Prince August Wilhelm be recognized as the kaiser of Germany. This proposal was approved by a majority of MPs, who either aligned ideologically with Alfred Hugenberg and the DVP or knew that going against Hugenberg when his allies were marching towards the Berlin Palace would mean the end of their political careers and possibly their own lives. Those who did vote in opposition of recognizing August as the kaiser (primarily liberals) were remembered, and nearly all of them would succumb to the horrors of the reign of totalitarianism within the subsequent months.


    Meanwhile, the Vaterland-Korps and the Loyalists of Kaiser Wilhelm II continued to fight around Museum Island, while the Kaiser nervously watched over the Heilungscoup from within the Berlin Palace. After an hour of combat, August Wilhelm dispatched a handful of regiments to blockade the arrival of Loyalist reinforcements north of Museum Island in order to ensure that August’s invasion from the south would not be deteriorated by the resupplying of the enemy. This plan proved to be a success, and two hours later Loyalist resistance was crumbling and the VK had quickly seized southern bridges leading onto Museum Island.


    As the first fascist soldiers arrived on Museum Island, Kaiser Wilhelm II realized that if he were to let his dignity and freedom survive, he would have to immediately evacuate the conquered island and make his way out of Berlin. Therefore, with assistance from Loyalist soldiers, Wilhelm snuck to the less-guarded western side of Museum Island and entered a small boat, which would sail along the Spree to Potsdam, where Wilhelm would start his eventually successful journey to exile in the Netherlands.


    After a few more minutes of combat, the Vaterland-Korps defeated the Loyalists and raided the Berlin Palace, only to come to the realization that Kaiser Wilhelm II had fled. This changed plans, for Prince August had hoped that he would be able to force his father to recognize his ascension to the throne. Instead, shortly after the end of the invasion of Museum Island, August Wilhelm would speak in front of a worried crowd at the Reichstag, where he accepted the German government’s recognition of him as the new kaiser, and with DVP authority over Germany nearly uncontested and Kaiser Wilhelm II nowhere to be seen and therefore unable to be recognized as the rightful ruler of the German Empire, the rushed coronation of Kaiser August Wilhelm I went along relatively smoothly on March 23rd, 1923.


    The Heilungscoup had succeeded.




    Kaiser August Wilhelm I of Germany.


    The Heilungscoup sent shockwaves across the world, for fascism suddenly reigned supreme over the German Empire. In a meeting between representatives of the Central Powers in the days after the Heilungscoup, August Wilhelm was recognized as the ruler of Germany by all members of the pact. Benito Mussolini’s Italy was enthusiastic that one of the strongest nations in Europe had become completely fascist, while the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Tsardom of Bulgaria accepted the reign of the German Fatherland Party, knowing that the German Empire’s support was paramount for the accomplishment of their ambitions.


    But Alfred Hugenberg and his cronies did not stop their reign of tyranny with the Heilungscoup. Instead, Hugenberg used the overthrowal of the old German government as a way to reform the German constitution to meet the ambitions of the German Fatherland Party. At a constitutional convention in the April of 1923, a document was written, one that reformed the German Empire in a way that made the entire nation revolve around the DVP. Members of the Reichstag would no longer be elected by the people of Germany, but would rather be selected directly by the chancellor’s successor office, called the fuhrer, and the Reichstag served as little more than an assembly of the upper ranks of the German Fatherland Party, the only legal party, whose membership was required for one to be a German citizen.


    In order to ensure that Hugenberg would never face yet another rivalry with the German monarchy, the constitutional power of the Kaiser was substantially altered. The fuhrer would still be appointed by the German monarch, however the next fuhrer would have to be chosen from MPs of the Reichstag, and in order to prevent disputes over who the German head of government would be, the fuhrership was a lifetime role. Furthermore, all domestic and foreign policies were to be decided by the DVP, and not by the Kaiser, who lost such powers as the ability to declare war. The German monarchy would still hold the power to appoint government officials, however, said officials had to be approved by the fuhrer. The new constitution was ratified by the DVP-controlled Reichstag on April 11th, 1923, thus bringing an end to the German Empire. In its place, reigned a new ultra-totalitarian fascist dictatorship, named the Deutsches Heilsreich (more commonly known as the German Heilsreich or simply the Heilsreich), a terrifying autocracy that had killed all semblance of democracy within Germany.




    Flag of the Deutches Heilsreich.


    Evil had finally conquered Germany.



    Fall From Grace


    “My most loyal and heroic subjects, we do not live in the shadow of our former glory. Instead, we live in the light; the only place our glory still shines.”


    -Kaiser Wilhelm II addressing the government of the exiled German Empire, circa April 1923.





    Photograph of the exiled Kaiser Wilhelm II and Loyalist officers in the Netherlands, circa March 1923.


    The Heilungscoup may have ended Kaiser Wilhelm II’s reign over Germany from Berlin, however, it was far from the end of his days as a monarch. Upon arriving in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Wilhelm met with fellow exiled Loyalists in Amsterdam and organized a plan to travel to the German colony of Kamerum, whose governor, Karl Ebermaier, was still supportive of Wilhelm. From Amsterdam, Wilhelm II sailed to Duala and met with the leaders of Germany’s African colonies, all of whom had never involved themselves in the chaos of the DVP and therefore remained loyal to the Second Reich. On March 27th, 1923, all four German colonies in Africa recognized Wilhelm as the rightful German emperor, thus establishing a German Government-In-Exile, which eventually became last part of the “German Empire” once the Heilsreich was established in the subsequent April.


    The German-Government-In-Exile, which has since been referred to as Loyalist Mittelafrika, recognized the Imperial German constitution of 1871 as the document that formed the basis of its official government, however, without a Germany to control, Mittelafrika was a de facto federation of colonies bound together by the Kaiser, who ruled from Dar es Salaam. Without the Reichstag, Chancellor Max Hoffman held very little power, with his influence reserved to appointing colonial governors if the Kaiser chose not to and being a rubber stamp for decisions reached by the colonies and the Kaiser.





    Chancellor Max Hoffman of the German Government-In-Exile.


    Due to the recognition of the Heilsreich as the legitimate German government by the Central Powers, the German Empire was kicked out of the alliance that it had more or less created and led. Loyalist Mittelafrika was still de jure at war with the Entente and the Third International, however, due to the neutrality of German colonies in Africa that had existed since the start of the Great War, the German Government-In-Exile did not fight the Entente, and did not dare break this neutrality, with Kaiser Wilhelm II knowing very well that war with the Entente at his empire’s darkest hour would spell certain doom for the shards of the German Empire. Instead, Mittelafrika signed a white peace treaty with the Third International on April 14th, 1923, followed by a similar treaty with the Entente on April 22nd. Some Loyalist officials had actually suggested that the German Empire officially join the Entente in order to combat the Heilsreich and take back Germany from the wrath of fascism, however, bad blood between the Entente and Loyalist high command still persisted, and many anticipated that the French Civil War and Second Glorious Revolution meant that the Entente was living on borrowed time. And so, the German Government-In-Exile exited the world stage, becoming forgotten by a world more concerned with the bloodiest war in human history.


    For the time being, the German Empire would stand alone.


    As for the Heilsreich, the aftermath of the establishment of the DVP’s total control over Germany was spent consolidating power and ensuring that the reign of fascism over Germany could never be contested from within. On April 23rd, 1923, the Reichstag and Kaiser August Wilhelm I agreed to commence a quick large-scale purge across Germany that would end in the imprisonment and death of hundreds of political opponents and potential adversaries to the German Fatherland Party. Under the leadership of Kurt von Schleicher, the Feldgendarmerie (FG), the military police force that had become the pawn of Hugenberg following the Heilungscoup, would conduct Operation Horsefly on the night of April 23rd, in which the FG swiftly captured and killed numerous dissidents. The FG did so in such a secretive way that guaranteed that the public would not discover the full extent of Operation Horsefly, which later became known as the Knight of the Long Knives.




    Gruppenfuhrer-FG Kurt von Schleicher, the leader of the FG in the early years of the Deutches Heilsreich and the orchestrator of the Night of the Long Knives.


    On April 24th, 1923, Germans woke up to limited news reports about mysterious deaths in the middle of the night. Of course, all media outlets were controlled by the DVP by this point, and so very few deaths were actually blamed on the FG. For example, the death of Prince Adalbert of Prussia, August Wilhelm’s only sibling who did not escape to Africa with his father, was blamed on an unidentified burglar, an individual who was never identified because he only existed in the false reports of the FG. However, the deaths and imprisonment of socialists and trade unionists were often attributed to the work of Kurt von Schleicher, in order to intimidate anyone remaining who dared to speak out against the DVP and win support from those who supported Hugenberg because he had promised to rid Germany of revolutionary traitors. The FG may have been keen on avoiding affiliating with the deaths of aristocrats and moderates who only passively opposed the tyranny of fascism, but they bragged about imprisoning radicals like Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht, and Clara Zetkin, all of whom would die due to harsh prison conditions in the subsequent days.


    It was also around this time that the Heilsreich began to enact racial policies supported by fascism since its inception a few years prior. Individuals who were not ethnically German were barred from positions of power within the DVP or any organizations operating on behalf of the government, such as the FG and the military, almost immediately after the formation of the Heilsreich. Ethnic groups specifically targeted in DVP propaganda, such as Jews, the French, and Gypsies, were even worse off, with many of their businesses being seized by ethnic Germans due to intimidation from the DVP. The French were especially targeted due to the war against both the French Third Republic and the French Commune, and by the summer of 1923 Franco-Germans, especially in Elsass-Lothringen, were being forcefully “encouraged” by the German government to leave their homes for ghettos scattered across Germany, often constructed far away from the frontlines of the Great War out of paranoia of sabotage.


    For many of these ethnic groups, times were becoming increasingly tough due to discrimination from Hugenberg’s Germany. Many optimistically hoped that the degradation of their standard of living would stop once the Great War would end, or at the very least anticipated that things could not get any worse. Unfortunately, history would soon brutally shatter this shred of optimism.


    But for the time being, the world would ignore the racism of the German police state. President Hiram Johnson of the neutral United States of America would condemn the Heilsreich’s treatment of minorities in a speech in the October of 1923 and both the French Commune and the French Third Republic would make Francophobic discrimination in Germany the subject of wartime propaganda, however, otherwise the outside world was more concerned about the centralization of internal German politics around Alfred Hugenberg and the spread of fascism to German allies and puppet regimes. For example, Germany’s puppet states were encouraged to endorse fascism, with the the monarchies of Lithuania, Estonia, and the United Baltic Duchy pledging their loyalty to the Heilsreich, mostly out of necessity to survive in the face of the onslaught of the Red Army.


    In the Kingdom of Flanders, loyalty to the Heilsreich was ensured via a local purge akin to the Night of the Long Knives. Under the leadership of General Ludwig von Falkenhausen, the Flemish military would conduct what became known as the Flemish Reign of Terror in the April of 1923, in which the Flemish armed forces would quickly eliminate political dissidents, most importantly leftists within the Frontpartij. Socialists had already been slowly pushed out of the Frontpartij in the aftermath of the establishment of German control over Flanders, however, the Flemish Reign of Terror would complete what Moritz von Bissing had started, and took one step further by eliminating liberal influence within the Frontpartij as well, and by the end of the April of 1923 the Frontpartij had become a strictly right wing organization, and the majority of positions held by purged members were filled by fascists and ultranationalists. In fact, the far-right takeover of the Frontpartij was so successful, that on June 28th, 1923 the young fascist Staf de Clercq would become the organization’s leader.


    To the east, even the Ukrainian Republic, a nation that was not even a German puppet state, fell into the claws of reactionism when General Pavlo Skoropadsky, who had grown to be an admirer of the Heilsreich and its relentless campaign to wage a brutal war against communism, turned on the government of Ukraine. After the establishment of the UPSR, the Ukrainian Rada had become increasingly supportive of capitulation, believing that war against the Soviet Republic was a lost cause. Skoropadsky was infuriated by what he saw as the cession of what remained of Ukraine over to communism. Therefore, when an armistice was proposed by the Rada not long after the Heilungscoup, Pavlo Skoropadsky believed that immediate action was required to purge Ukraine of traitors to ensure the survival of Ukrainian independence in the face of the Red Army.


    Therefore, General Skoropadsky would correspond with like-minded military commanders to stage a coup on President Mykhailo Hrushevsky, all without the knowledge of the Rada. Within just a few days, Skoropadsky had won over many of Ukraine’s highest ranking military officers, and on March 25th, 1923 Pavlo Skoropadsky would leave the trenches of central Ukraine and arrive in Lviv with an army of hundreds soldiers. Within only a few hours, President Hrushevsky had fled Lviv alongside fellow members of the Ukrainian government, while Skoropadsky declared the end of the Ukrainian Republic following a mostly bloodless coup. In its place would reign the Ukrainian State, a reactionary military junta with Pavlo Skoropadsky as its head of state, called the hetman.




    Flag of the Ukrainian State.


    Officially, Skoropadsky’s Ukrainian State was not fascist, and technically it did not adhere to all of the features of the Heilsreich and Mussolini’s Italy, however, it was very much an authoritarian and reactionary state that fit right in with the increasingly vile Central Powers. Upon assuming power, the German and Italian governments were quick to recognize Skoropadsky as the legitimate ruler of Ukraine, and the remainder of the Central Powers followed suit. Under the leadership of Hetman Skoropadsky, the Ukrainian military would accelerate its military production as the entire nation was transformed into a machine to power warfare, while military conscription quotas also substantially rose. Pavlo Skoropadsky was committed to never surrendering to the Soviet Republic, and even if the Ukrainian State was to fall to communism, Skoropadsky pledged to never stop fighting for the Ukrainian nation as long as he was alive.


    Simply put, the Ukrainian State would not be capitulating anytime soon.



    A War of Ideology


    “The Great War is a war of ideology, not of glory or ambition. It is a war the likes of the world has never before seen. And it is a war that America, which cares not for revolutionaries nor counterrevolutionaries, will ever involve itself in as long as sane democracy-loving people remain in charge of this nation.”


    -US President Nicholas Murray Butler addressing the Crusader Party of America’s advocacy for declaring war on the Third International, circa 1930.





    German soldiers in Lithuania, circa April 1923.


    Immediately after the Heilungscoup, Alfred Hugenberg’s priorities shifted from has extinct feud with Kaiser Wilhelm II to defending eastern Europe from the Soviet Republic. The Western Front lost Paul von Hindenburg, who had defected to Loyalist Mittelafrika, however, the French Commune’s military was little more than a militia of disgruntled radicalized soldiers, and as long as the Germans had more soldiers and equipment, it was expected that trench warfare would make any Communard offensive impossible. The tactic of simply containing the French Commune whilst focusing the majority of resources on Russia was officially adopted by Hugenberg shortly after the Heilungscoup, with General Walther von Luttwitz commanding the Western Front while Erich Ludendorff led soldiers against the Red Army.


    In collaboration with the Lithuanian government, Ludendorff would dig an extensive line of trenches against Leon Trotsky’s battalion, while resources and manpower were substantially allocated to Ukraine. At first, this tactic worked, and Leon Trotsky experienced his first setback at the First Battle of Vawkavysk on April 27th, 1923, where German trench defenses stopped the invading Red Army. However, the Red Napoleon could not be stopped for long. As a war of attrition began, General Trotsky ensured that this slaughter would not last for long, and Soviet air raids would wear down German defenses to the point that the Second Battle of Vawkavysk on May 4th, 1923 was an easy victory for the Red Army.


    Erich Ludendorff had ensured that his army would be able to quickly stop the Red Army by digging several lines of trenches for many kilometers. The German high command anticipated that this strategy of trying to slow down the Soviets as much as possible would continue for a few more months until stable supply lines could be completed and new military equipment could arrive. Due to the success of the Soviet Air Force, Hugenberg and Ludendorff were keen on heavily investing in Germany’s own aerial forces, and the German aerial branch of the army, named the Luftsreitkrafte (LK), was split off from its parent organization in the May of 1923 and was put under the command of Herman Goering, a skilled pilot with experience from the Western Front and an avid supporter of the DVP. By the July of 1923, the LK had become a force to be reckoned with, contesting the Soviet Air Force for control of the sky whilst assisting the German army as it fought below.


    As the German war industry accelerated in a way that had not been seen since the beginning of the Great War in order to combat the Soviet Republic, new technological innovations would begin to be developed. As airplane rotary engines began to reach the limits of their design, the LK turned to radial engines to improve German aerial defenses. By the fall of 1923, a large portion of the Heilsreich’s airplane force consisted of radial engine planes, which were substantially more energy efficient, therefore allowing for longer flight times as well as an eventually cheaper production cost. As a consequence, the Luftsreitkrafte began to overcome the Soviet Air Force in both fighting capabilities and numbers, and Gruppenfuhrer-LK Goering’s legion of airplanes become famous throughout the Central Powers and feared by nearly every other nation in Europe.


    As the Soviet Air Force was obliterated by the LK, Leon Trotsky scrambled to retaliate against the growing capabilities of the Heilsreich. Soviet airplane production would increase, however, Trotsky was far more experienced in commanding ground forces and would have a stronger command over their activities, which meant that he implored Lenin to invest more in ground equipment that could counter the LK instead of starting an arms race with Germany that Russia was bound to lose. As the Luftsreitkrafte advanced, Soviet anti-aircraft guns would simultaneously improve, with heavy machine guns becoming commonplace within the Soviet ranks, and by the February of 1924 machines were beginning to be introduced to the Red Army that could predict the exact location of aircraft and send this data electrically to repeater dials on anti-aircraft guns.




    A Soviet anti-aircraft machine gun at the Battle of Oshmyantsy, circa November 1923.


    Leon Trotsky, who had become fascinated with tanks during his utilization of them during the invasion of Siberia, also invested heavily in the construction of new Soviet tank models, including substantially faster vehicles and designs with rotating turrets. Upon arriving on the battlefields of Lithuania, these new tanks of the Red Army were substantially superior to anything within the German arsenal, and could even drive into No Man’s Land and withstand a heavy barrage of gunfire. Under the leadership of General Trotsky, the Red Army’s tanks and artillery were on a path towards becoming the amongst the strongest and most advanced weapons of the Great War, rivaled only by the militaristic and technological strength of the German Heilsreich.


    The end of 1923 proved one thing to both Russia and Germany; the two powers were more or less evenly matched. Russian forces could shatter German defenses and morale on the ground, but aerial bombardments destroyed Soviet supply lines while the German army could quickly replenish their numbers. German forces could bombard the Red Army from above and amass a large invasion force, but aircraft could only travel so far before being shot down by Soviet artillery and any German offensive in No Man’s Land could be crushed by Russian tanks. In other words, southern Lithuania became a war of attrition, much like what the Western Front had become infamous for since the beginning of the Great War in 1914.


    But the Eastern Front was different from that forgotten war fought over some Austrian aristocrat. In the nine years since the beginning of the bloodiest war in human history, technology had advanced to a point that stalemates were bound to cost thousands, if not millions, of lives and would devastate the surrounding land for generations. The Eastern Front was a war of ideology, one where millions of men and women were little more than pawns in game for global domination between the two opposites of the political spectrum. It was this war of ideology that would come to dominate the attention of the planet for another twenty years, as revolutionaries and reactionaries clashed across Europe in the name of the societies that they had envisioned in their ideological manifestos. But for one side to emerge victorious, the stalemate of the east would need to be broken.


    And so, along came Poland.


    Under the leadership of Prime Minister Jozef Pilsudski, the Kingdom of Poland had arisen from the ashes of the war between the German Kaiserreich and the Russian Empire, becoming a loyal member of the Central Powers, with Polish soldiers fighting alongside Germans in France and alongside Austro-Hungarians in Greece. And once the Russian Soviet Republic declared war on the Central Powers, Polish sovereignty was threatened yet again by the Russians and thus Pilsudski was quick to commit to fighting the Red Army, and Poland had sent soldiers and resources to Belarus and Ukraine well before Germany. However, Jozef Pilsudski, an avid Polish nationalist, had always tried to limit German authority in Poland, even if it was a puppet state of the Reich. For example, once a Polish monarch, Archduke Charles Stephen of Austria, assumed the throne of the Kingdom of Poland on January 2nd, 1919, Prime Minister Pilsudski would attempt to expand the authority of the Council of State, with the Polish democratic government eventually winning over control of Poland’s economy in the November of 1921.




    King Charles Stephen I of the Kingdom of Poland.


    The Heilungscoup and the consequential establishment of the Deutches Heilsreich would in fact strain relations between Pilsudski and Berlin when the two were already coming at odds every now and then. For years, Jozef Pilsudski had been a socialist (he did not, however, affiliate with Marxism), and was an early critic of fascism and Benito Mussolini. While Pilsudski had remained silent when Alfred Hugenberg initially assumed the chancellorship of the German Empire, believing that Germany’s constitution and liberal groups would keep the DVP in check, he grew anxious when the Vaterland-Korps marched upon the Berlin Palace and turned Hugenberg into the fascist dictator of Germany. Things only got worse when, after the formation of the Heilsreich, the German government would begin to fund the Polish fascist party, called the National Party (SN), an organization led by Roman Dmowski, Jozef Pilsudski’s increasingly powerful rival.


    To Pilsudski, it was apparent that the Heilsreich was trying to kick him out of power and install a more like-minded and obedient fascist government. But Poland was surrounded by the Central Powers on all sides, and German soldiers occupied Warsaw. Simply put, any secession from the German sphere of influence would end in the death of the Kingdom of Poland as Jozef Pilsudski knew it. But the increased German presence on the Eastern Front would take a toll on Polish sovereignty, especially with Erich Ludendorff in command of German forces. The supply lines of the Heilsreich would move directly through Poland and Polish industry fueled the German war effort. Pilsudski would always protest the assertion of German influence upon Poland, however, as long as the Kingdom of Poland was a German puppet state, pushing away the influence of Germany would be impossible.


    Early in the January of 1924, the Heilsreich would apparently cross a line with Poland. In a private meeting with King Charles Stephen I, Kaiser August Wilhelm I (operating on behalf of the fuhrer) ordered that Poland’s entire armed forces fall under the complete control of Germany, therefore integrating the Polish military into that of the Heilsreich. Charles Stephen reluctantly agreed to the demands of August Wilhelm, knowing that any retaliation would be useless. Thus, on January 7th, 1924, King Charles Stephen I would announce to the Council of State that in exactly seventy-two hours the Polish armed forces would be completely ceded to the Deutches Heilsreich.


    Of course, this was despised by the democratic government of Poland, which had been completely unaware of the negotiations between Charles Stephen and August to begin with. Technically, King Charles Stephen I, as the uncontested executive authority of the Polish armed forces, did have the constitutional right to hand over the military of Poland to the Heilsreich, but Jozef Pilsudski would not stand for this transformation of the Kingdom of Poland into a de facto German protectorate. Therefore, in an emergency session of the Council of State on January 8th, Prime Minister Pilsudski called for the abolition of the Polish monarchy and the establishment of the Republic of Poland. Resistance from right-wing groups, such as the SN, who hoped that Polish loyalty to Germany would eventually be rewarded, prevented the declaration of the Republic of Poland from being unanimous, however, a majority of MPs nonetheless voted in favor of the removal of King Charles Stephen I.


    The Republic of Poland was born, with Jozef Pilsudski at its helm, was born.


    Germany was infuriated by the declaration of a Polish democracy, which not only meant that the deal to cede Poland’s military to the Heilsreich was off, but also meant that, at least in the eyes of the DVP, the claws of liberal democracy had sunk deep into Poland. Therefore, in order to subjugate the Republic of Poland, the Deutches Heilsreich and its puppet states would declare war on Pilsudski’s Republic on January 9th, 1924. This would shatter the strength of German forces on the Eastern Front, who suddenly found themselves cut off from supply lines passing through Poland, thus forcing Erich Ludendorff to relocate to Konigsburg while Leon Trotsky overran southern Lithuania, quickly arriving at the eastern border of the Republic of Poland. Knowing that at least one strong ally would be a necessity for the survival of his frail republic, Jozef Pilsudski would soon meet with representatives of the Soviet Republic in Bialystok on January 14th, 1924, where a Polish-Soviet non-aggression pact was signed that would allow the Red Army to send military forces through Poland. As the German invasion of Poland began, with Roman Dmowski being deemed the prime minister of the exiled Kingdom of Poland, it seemed as though the tides of the Great War had turned against Germany yet again. But near the end of January of 1924, news would arrive from Moscow that would alter the fate of the Great War, and for that matter Europe itself, forever.


    On January 21st, 1924, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin had died.


    1924-Manmade Hell.png


    Map of the World, circa January 1924.
     
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    Interlude Five: "Free Our Comrades!"
  • Hey everyone! A few days ago, I posted the latest chapter of my other TL, Dreams of Liberty. That means that work on Chapter Six should begin very soon. In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to make a new map for this timeline, which I submitted for MotF 198: Vae Victis. This map, which I named "Free Our Comrades," is supposed to be Soviet propaganda from the beginning of Phase Two, and is by far the largest and most complicated graphic I have ever made.

    Big thanks to @InfernoMole for feedback on the final product and providing a bit of assistance on translation!

    Whelp, here's my first ever MotF entry, which I named "Free Our Comrades!" This map is supposed to be a piece of Russian propaganda from my timeline Man-Made Hell: A History of the Great War and Beyond, with the map depicting territory lost by the Russian Soviet Republic in an alternate Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.


    The map was apparently too large to upload as a file, so it can instead be found here


    Excerpt from National Geographic Society's "The War of Persuasion: Propaganda of the Great War," published circa 1968

    From its very inception, the Russian Soviet Republic's history was defined by warfare. The discontent that led to the Russian Civil War emerged from Phase One of the Great War, in which the backwater and extremely aristocratic Russian Empire was decisively defeated by the German Empire and her allies within the Central Powers, and the Soviet Republic itself was forged from a nearly three year-long civil war against the monarchist White Army and the social democratic Green Army.

    Therefore, the Russian people were obviously tired of endless warfare by the time the Red Army secured most of Russia west of the Ural Mountains. As Leon Trotsky began his infamous campaign eastward into Siberia, Vladimir Lenin negotiated a peace agreement with the Central Powers in 1918 at Brest-Litovsk that established numerous German puppet states in eastern Europe and recognized the independence of a German-aligned Ukrainian Republic. Handing over some of Russia's most valuable territory to German imperialism was far from popular, however, it was viewed as necessary to end the Eastern Front and pull Russia out of the Great War.

    After the Red Army won the Russian Civil War and Victor Chernov's Russian Democratic Federative Republic was exiled to Siberia, the Russian Soviet Republic began to rapidly industrialize under the leadership of Premier Vladimir Lenin. Even if the Eastern Front had fallen silent, the Great War still raged on in the west. The buildup of the Red Army only further accelerated when the Second French Revolution began following the escalation of mutinies in 1921 into a civil war between the French Third Republic and socialist French Commune, and the Comintern continued to expand into the frontlines of the Great War when a trade union strike in Great Britain turned violent in 1922, leading to the formation of the Workers' Commonwealth.

    Things only got worse as fascism, a reactionary ideology that served as the antithesis to Marxism, rose in the Kingdom of Italy under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. A ceasefire may have been declared on the Western Front by German forces, who were ordered not to interfere in the Second French Revolution, but Soviet-German tensions were continuing to grow, especially as the fascist German Fatherland Party of Alfred Hugenberg rose to prominence in the Reichstag. In the January of 1923, Hugenberg assumed the position of chancellor, promoted intervention in France, and ultimately declared war on the French Commune. This infuriated the Soviets, who had been building up their military force for four years by this point, thus leading to a Soviet declaration war on the German Empire in the February of 1923 and the beginning of Phase Two of the Great War.

    As General Leon Trotsky began his invasion of eastern Europe through the Principality of Belarus, the Soviet war machine was completely mobilized, and propaganda was distributed throughout Russia. This particular propaganda poster (named "Free Our Comrades!") was produced early into Phase Two and depicts German puppet regimes in eastern Europe as oppressive pawns of Berlin, keen on exploiting the East European proletariat, whilst also depicting the Soviet Republic as the liberator of eastern Europe. It is worth noting that the Principality of Belarus is labelled as "West Belarus" to invoke a mindset that Germany split the Belorussian region in two, while Germany is labelled with the more hostile and reactionary name "Imperialist Germany."


    Title translation:

    "Free our Comrades!
    Victims of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty"


    Bottom translation:

    "Years after vile imperialists forced us to give up a huge tract of land in Brest-Litovsk Treaty for peace, thousands of our comrades have since suffered from German imperialism.

    Poland faces a new division between Germany and Austria-Hungary, and further degradation of Polish sovereignty is inevitable ...
    Ukraine, once free from German and tsarist oppression, is now ruled by a fascist tyrant...
    Our Belarusian comrades lost half of their nation to the German puppet regime ...
    The Baltic proletariat is oppressed by the German bourgeoisie ...

    We will free our comrades!
    We will return what was lost in 1918!
    We will always protect the east from imperialism!"
     
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    Chapter Six: Our Mighty Republics
  • Chapter VI: Our Mighty Republics


    “Comrade Leon Trotsky;


    You must leave your post in Lithuania and return to Moscow immediately. I am afraid to report that Comrade Vladimir Lenin has died.”


    -Nikolai Krylenko’s brief letter to General Leon Trotsky following the death of Vladimir Lenin, circa January 1924.





    Premier Vladimir Lenin of the Russian Soviet Republic in a wheelchair, circa September 1923.


    There are few figures as influential in 20th Century history as Vladimir Illyich Lenin. Under his leadership, the Bolshevik Party rose from the dying Russian Empire and became the dominant communist force in Europe’s great backwater. While not initiating the Bolshevik rebellion against Aleksei Brusilov, Lenin led the Red Army to victory over both the White and Green army and formed the Russian Soviet Republic, the world’s first truly sovereign socialist state. And through his teachings, writing, and leadership of the Russian Communist Party, Vladimir Lenin created an ideology that shared his namesake, Marxist-Leninsm, an authoritarian communist ideology that would influence Marxist organizations for decades to come.


    Therefore, when Vladimir Lenin passed away in the January of 1924, shockwaves rippled throughout the world. Lenin, the scourge of fascism and the de facto leader of the Third International, no longer reigned in Moscow, thus leaving a power vacuum atop a nascent great power in his place. Whoever replaced Vladimir Lenin would not only govern over the mighty Soviet Republic, but would oversee the Russian war effort against both the Central Powers and the Entente in the bloodiest war ever known to man. Simply put, whoever succeeded Vladimir Lenin could very well determine the outcome of the Great War.


    Premier Lenin’s preferred successor was none other than the Red Napoleon himself, Leon Trotsky. Once Vladimir Lenin’s right hand man in the early days of the Bolshevik movement, Trotsky continued to remain a close ally of Lenin upon returning from exile in Canada in the midst of the Russian Civil War, and would further gain fame and support amongst the Soviet high command as the top general of the Red Army and the man who drove the Russian Democratic Federative Republic deep into Siberia. Even if Leon Trotsky shared ideological differences with Lenin, with the Red Napoleon being a much stronger supporter of international revolution and workers’ council power than the founder of the Bolsheviks ever was, the longtime Bolshevik Trotsky was nonetheless the heir apparent to a crimson throne.


    That wasn’t to say that Leon Trotsky faced no opposition upon arriving in Moscow. While the vast majority of the Russian Communist Party was supportive of Trotsky’s assumption of power, General Kliment Voroshilov, a hardline Marxist-Leninist and advocate for Soviet centralization, would attempt to quickly accumulate allies within the RCP after the death of Vladimir Lenin was made public and before Leon Trotsky returned from Lithuania. During the Russian Civil War and subsequent years of peace in the Soviet Republic, Voroshilov had come at odds with Trotsky on numerous occasions, and Voroshilov’s consistent criticism of his superior officer would eventually cost him a high ranking position on the Eastern Front, only further building up Kliment Voroshilov’s grudge against Leon Trotsky.




    General Kliment Voroshilov of the Red Army.


    Hoping to overthrow his rival’s position of power within both the Red Army and the Russian Communist Party, Voroshilov would offer to assist Vladimir Lenin after the premier was forced into semi-retirement following a series of strokes in the spring of 1923. In Lenin’s final year, Kliment Voroshilov was one of his primary forms of communication with the RCP, although Vladimir Lenin was sure to not put all of his trust into the obviously power-hungry Voroshilov. By the time Lenin died, Voroshilov had won a decent amount of political power from his awkward relationship with Vladimir Lenin, with Red Army forces and resources in the northern Caucasus being placed under the total command of Kliment Voroshilov, who rose from the rank of colonel to lieutenant general.


    By using his newfound influence, Kliment Voroshilov would promote his own interpretation of Marxist-Leninism later deemed Voroshilovism throughout the Russian Soviet Republic, which, among other things, advocated for the abolition of the Politburo in favor of a monocratic military junta, the end of the Soviet autonomous regions in order to accomplish direct rule from Moscow, and the immediate purge of anyone who even barely opposed Marxist-Leninist authoritarianism. In the words of Harvard Professor Robert McNamara, “If Marxist-Leninism is the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, then that makes Voroshilovism the Imperium of the Proletariat.” Even by Vladimir Lenin’s standards, Voroshilovism was extreme and autocratic, and the ideals of this ideology turned Kliment Voroshilov into a controversial figure at best.


    Needless to say, Leon Trotsky’s arrival in Moscow reignited the Trotsky-Voroshilov rivalry in a way that had not been seen since their time as peers in the Red Army during the Russian Civil War. As Trotsky scrambled to ensure that his rise to the premiership would be approved by the Politburo as quickly and painlessly as possible, Voroshilov attempted to make lawmaking in Moscow a living nightmare by encouraging anti-Trotskyist marches nearly daily and ensuring that his supporters within the RCP would block any attempt to hand over the Russian Soviet Republic to Leon Trotsky. After a handful of days, however, Trotsky and his allies wore down Voroshilovist resistance by threatening to strip Voroshilov’s allies of their positions of power and often carrying through with these threats. In the end, the inevitable occurred on February 11th, 1924. With nearly total Politburo approval, the Red Napoleon finally had an empire to rule.




    Premier Leon Trotsky of the Russian Soviet Republic, circa February 1924.


    As Leon Trotsky slipped into his new position of power, his first action was to eliminate any potential opponents, starting with Kliment Voroshilov and his allies. Voroshilov was almost immediately booted out of the Red Army at the beginning of the Trotskyist Era, and his supporters who had contested Trotsky’s assumption of the premiership in the Politburo would subsequently get kicked out of their elite ranks within the Russian Communist Party. Kliment Voroshilov viciously protested his loss of power by spreading pamphlets criticizing Premier Trotsky, but the Red Napoleon took care of Voroshilov before things got out of hand. On February 25th, 1924, an unidentified assassin broke into Kliment Voroshilov’s house and murdered the former revolutionary with an ice axe. The official story perpetuated by Pravda newspapers deemed Voroshilov’s killer on a disgruntled veteran of the White Army, but Soviet documents released to the public in 1956 revealed what had suspected for decades; Kliment Voroshilov’s assassination had been ordered by Leon Trotsky himself.


    The reign of the Red Napoleon had begun.



    Titanomachy


    “History shows that there are no invincible armies.”


    -General Joseph Stalin, circa March 1924.





    Soldiers of the Polish Army in Warsaw, circa January 1924.


    When Vladimir Lenin died, the German Heilsreich was facing a potential disaster on the Eastern Front. The stalemate that had held back the merciless Red Napoleon had just been broken by the overthrow of the Polish monarchy, and the non-aggression pact between the Republic of Poland and the Russian Soviet Republic meant that Soviet supply lines were suddenly only a handful of kilometers away from Berlin. Erich Ludendorff had been kicked out of southern Lithuania all the way back to Kongisberg and the Ukrainian State’s only connection to supply lines from Germany was through the increasingly unstable Austro-Hungarian Empire.


    But only a few weeks after the declaration of the Republic of Poland on January 8th, 1924, Vladimir Lenin died and the Soviet Republic was left without a head of state. As Leon Trotsky left for Moscow, he ensured that the Red Army was left in good hands by putting the Eastern Front under the command of Joseph Stalin and putting the war in Lithuania specifically under the command of Semyon Budyonny, but even then it would take awhile for the Red Army to adjust to new leadership. General Erich Ludendorff almost immediately took advantage of this instability, and upon hearing of General Trotsky’s departure for Moscow, the Heilsreich led a vicious offensive into Lithuania, and Bialystok fell on February 1st, 1924.


    As Ludendorff dug into Lithuania once more, the German invasion of Poland also began with a smooth start. The Polish Army was a decent fighting force, and Jozef Pilsudski envisioned greatly expanding his nation’s military into a force to truly be reckoned with, but Poland was simply no match to the mighty Heilsreich. The moment Germany declared war on Poland, the Luftsreitkrafte, under the leadership of Herman Goering, launched a merciless bombing campaign above Poland. No major Polish city was safe from the bombs of the LK, and Polish civilians perished alongside military and industrial infrastructure, Goering’s intended target.


    But even as Poland was demolished by LK bombing runs and Roman Dmowski envisioned the day that he reigned over Warsaw, the Republic of Poland continued to fight on as an island of democracy surrounded by an ocean of tyranny. While many Red Army officers were reluctant to hand over Soviet military equipment to the capitalist Poland, Lieutenant General Stalin was keen on ensuring that Poland, a nation situated in a strategically paramount location between Russia and Germany, would never again fall to the Heilsreich and would hand over Soviet anti-aircraft artillery to the Polish Army even when the Soviet Republic was without a premier.


    With the technological and militaristic might of the Soviet Republic on Poland’s size, Pilsudski’s republic had at least bought a bit more time to survive. But even with Soviet artillery, the Republic of Poland was still pummelled by German air raids, for the Heilsreich simply had to increase aircraft production to counter Soviet technology. Furthermore, anti-aircraft guns were not effective against German forces on the ground, and the Red Army was less willing to cede regiments to the outnumbered Polish Army while the Polish government was reluctant to welcome Red Army units into Poland. Under the leadership of Major General Hermann Ehrhardt, the German military would leave from Twardogora at the start of the February of 1924 in what became referred to as the Silesia Offensive, which avoided the majority of the Polish defense by invading from the less guarded southern border of Poland rather than the war-torn and heavily defended border with Pomerania.


    Just as the Heilsreich high command had anticipated, the Silesia Offensive was a great success. Weak Polish defenses to the south of Warsaw were easily annihilated by Ehrhardt’s army, and even once Polish reinforcements arrived to counter the Silesia Offensive, Hermann Ehrhardt had already dug deep into the heart of Poland. After nearly a month of fierce combat, the situation in southern Poland got so bad that when Leon Trotsky became the premier of the Soviet Republic one of his first actions in relation to the military was to deploy substantial Red Army forces in the fight against Ehrhardt. By the end of February alone, thousands of Soviet soldiers under the command of General Jukums Vacietis were fighting alongside their Polish counterparts against the German onslaught. Soviet aid stopped the Silesia Offensive, but it wasn’t enough to push back Ehrhardt’s massive invasion force, which not only consisted of German soldiers, but also contained Austrians, Italians, and units from puppet states of the Heilsreich.


    It was here in southern Poland where a war of attrition began after the Battle of Sieradz ended in a stalemate on March 11th, 1924. The familiar sight of trenches began to cover the Polish landscape, but much like the frontlines of Lithuania, these trenches were not like those of Phase One in western Europe. Technology had advanced to such a point that war was a total and merciless bloodbath, one that made battles like the Marne look like pathetic skirmishes in comparison. Lewisite, one of the most infamous chemical weapons of the Great War that is as synonymous with Phase Two as mustard gas is with Phase One, was first introduced to the battlefield by German forces at the Battle of Kowale on May 3rd, 1924. As German infantry spewed lewisite upon Soviet and Polish units at Kowale, the effects of this chemical siege were not initially felt, but by night time chemical burns had penetrated Soviet and Polish soldiers, who were demobilized due to severe chemical burns. Unprepared for a large scale offensive after a stalemate that had endured many months, the German army failed to advance far after their chemical attack, but it did allow Kowale to fall under total German control by the next day.


    As lewisite was stockpiled and shipped to German infantry across the Eastern Front, the Russian Soviet Republic continued to develop its own wartime technology. Premier Leon Trotsky was determined to ensure that the Soviet Republic would have the most advanced tanks in the world, and in the March of 1924 Soviet engineers developed the first model of the “Lenin Tank” line, which were intended to be fast-moving, albeit lightly armored, machines. By utilizing designs originating from American inventor John Walter Christie, the LT-1 became one of the fastest tank designs produced at the time, and through heavy funding from the Politburo alongside experience on the battlefield, LT tanks developed at a rapid pace, with the highly successful LT-4 model first being introduced to the battlefield in the August of 1924.




    An LT-7 model tank in eastern Poland, circa October 1924.


    As the Russians deployed LT models across the eastern front and even sent spare tanks to the French Commune and the Workers’ Commonwealth, German engineers were consequently developing their own technology. The Heilsreich did produce a handful of tanks, however, it was impossible to outpace Soviet tank production, which had been a top priority of the Red Army since the conclusion of the Russian Civil War. Instead, the bulk of German engineering went towards building new aircraft for the feared and ever-growing Luftsreitkrafte, and Kaiser August Wilhelm I even went as far as to say, “If Britannia rules the waves, then Germania rules the air.” As biplane models became increasingly outdated and impractical as the demands of the Eastern Front grew, the Heilsreich switched over to using monoplanes as their primary form of aircraft by building off of the designs of Hugo Junkers, which had been in service since 1915. These new airplanes were not only more efficient, but were also capable of flying at higher altitudes, which made them ideal for long-range bombing runs.


    And so, the Eastern Front was no longer a clash of men but rather very much a clash of machines. The greatest scientists and engineers at the disposal of any belligerents fighting over Poland were all directed to ensure that their enemy would fall victim to the madness of the Great War and, with funding from their respective governments, were ordered to craft a man-made hell. In the Deutches Heilsreich, scientists, engineers, and for that matter all intellectuals, were not allowed to conduct their work without permission from a DVP official (although in 1927 the distribution of “Intellectual Permits” was placed under the jurisdiction of the German armed forces), which allowed for the German government to more or less manipulate scientific and technological research to their advantage.


    In the Russian Soviet Republic, Leon Trotsky implemented the Three-Year Plan in the April of 1924, which put the industrialization and state control of War Communism on steroids with the goal of turning the Soviet Republic into the world’s largest and most efficient war machine, with wartime factories being constructed from Petrograd to Kamchatka and thousands of Russians being forcefully employed by state-owned industry, often via military conscription. By developing a planned economy, the fulfillment of the Three-Year Plan became the top priority of Soviet bureaucracy, which ensured that all of Russia would be primed towards crushing the Central Powers, whether the Russian people liked it or not.




    Soviet munitions factory in Saratov, circa May 1926.


    Premier Leon Trotsky, who was determined to ensure that Operation Ascania would succeed and set Berlin aflame, would become keen on ensuring the survival of Poland, a nation that was, regardless of its economic philosophy, a paramount Soviet ally due to its strategic importance. While Semyon Budyonny’s war against Erich Ludendorff in Lithuania continued to receive substantial military support, Budyonny had essentially become the guardian of supply lines to the much more crucial war in Poland. In fact, the fight against the Silesia Offensive became such a significant frontline of the Great War that General Joseph Stalin, the commander of Soviet forces on the Eastern Front and prodigee of the Red Napoleon, was ordered by Premier Trotsky himself to relocate from Ukraine to Poland in the June of 1924 in order to preside over the vital Operation Ascania.


    Of course, the shift of Soviet attention to Poland did not go unnoticed by the Heilsreich. While Erich Ludendorff had initially been determined to encircle Poland by retaking southern Lithuania and cutting off the Republic of Poland from Soviet supply lines, the Polish military buildup was becoming increasingly threatening to German interests, and so General Ludendorff left from Lithuania at the beginning of the July of 1924 to conduct a new and unforgiving offensive from Pomerania to Warsaw. With two titanic armies converging upon Poland, the young nation would be captured by the evil and merciless talons of the German eagle and, if things ended as anticipated in Berlin, Germany would pull her prey back under the umbrella of German puppet states.


    As Ludendorff left for Swiecie to begin the Pomerania Offensive and ensured that the German war effort in Lithuania would be left in good hands by ceding regional command to August von Mackensen, the “Last Hussar,” Soviet reconnaissance began to detect a massive military buildup on the northern Polish border. It was apparent that the Heilsreich was planning some sort of invasion, but with Soviet forces in Poland completely focused on fighting Ehrhardt and supply lines being spread too thin to quickly move in substantial reinforcements, all the Red Army could do was hope that Silesia could fall before Pomerania exploded. But as the Russian and Polish armies fighting in southern Poland became even more aggressive, Ludendorff prepared to pounce. LK airplanes conducted extensive air raids the likes of which had never before been seen, all in order to weaken Poland all the bit more before the Pomerania Offensive began. And then, on July 9th, 1924 the fateful day arrived and General Ludendorff ordered his army to leave Swiecie and invade the Republic of Poland.


    The talons had been extended.


    With two large armies pushing into Poland, the capture of Warsaw seemed to be inevitable. Even Joseph Stalin, one of the most skilled commanders of the entire Great War, could not stop the two-pronged German invasion. While the Red Army at first continued to push back against the Silesia Offensive even as Ludendorff continued to dig further into Poland, the increased need for resources in the north meant that Soviet advance against Ehrhardt would inevitably have to retreat starting on July 22nd, 1924. After over a month of brutal combat, Erich Ludendorff reached northern Warsaw on August 12th, 1924, where he directly engaged with his Soviet counterpart, General Joseph Stalin. The First Battle of Warsaw, the first of three clashes over the city in the Great War, would last for many days as Soviet and Polish soldiers gripped onto Paris of the North, but Russo-Polish defeat was inevitable. One of the most beautiful cities in all of eastern Europe was turned to rubble by constant German bombing and whatever Polish government officials remained in Warsaw during the First Battle were almost completely killed by some of the fiercest bloodshed in all of the Great War, including Prime Minister Jozef Pilsudski.


    On August 16th, 1924, the Deutches Heilsreich completely reigned over Warsaw, and the Republic of Poland had been killed alongside its leaders.




    German soldiers in Warsaw, circa September 1924.


    As the authority of the Republic of Poland disintegrated in whatever territory had yet to be occupied by the Heilsreich, Soviet military forces served as a replacement. In negotiation with what remained of Polish law enforcement, the Red Army took control of eastern Poland via Soviet military occupation, albeit one that was much more prone to cooperation with locals than that of Lithuania or Ukraine. In the following weeks the Soviet Republic would further cooperate with what remained of the Polish Council of State by establishing a government-an-exile on September 8th, 1924, albeit an exiled government dominated by communist sympathizers backed by the Politburo, with Maria Koszutska serving as the prime minister of the Republic of Poland-in-Exile.


    Meanwhile, the Deutches Heilsreich would install its authority over Poland yet again, this time ensuring that fascism would reign supreme over the rubble of Warsaw. King Charles Stephen I was returned to the Polish throne of the restored Kingdom of Poland, however, under the rules of a new constitution that was dictated by Berlin and was ratified on September 3rd, 1924, the Polish monarchy was little more than a figurehead. Instead, Roman Dmowski, the new prime minister, was the true ruler of Poland who would reign with an iron fist via a totalitarian fascist police state controlled by Dmowski’s National Party. And above Roman Dmowski was the authority of the Deutches Heilsreich, which completely controlled Poland’s armed forces and heavily presided over Polish foreign affairs, thus turning Poland into little more than a protectorate of the Heilsreich. It was due to the direct orders of Alfred Hugenberg that the Dmowski regime conducted a merciless purge of Poland almost immediately after the restoration of the Kingdom of Poland in order to eliminate any political enemies that the Great War had not already killed, and it was due to the direct orders of Alfred Hugenberg that Roman Dmowski ceded a substantial chunk of Polish territory to Germany via the Treaty of Poznan on September 14th, 1924.


    As trenches were dug in eastern Poland and the stage was set for yet another chapter in the nightmare that was the Eastern Front of the Great War, Premier Leon Trotsky, while frustrated that Poland had been lost, quickly began planning a new plan of attack. The setback in Poland was embarrassing and costly, but in the end it was just that; a setback. The Three-Year Plan had barely begun and soon enough millions of new soldiers would be fighting in the name of the Red Army. The Great War had yet to be lost, Soviet forces continued to push against the Ukrainian State with relative ease, and Berlin was still within reach. And even the tides of the Eastern Front were to turn even more against the Russian Soviet Republic, the Third International was still growing in the west.



    Let Them Eat Cake


    “Comrades, let it be known to the world that the French Commune is no longer just a mere militia. We are a state built to abolish the state, we are government of the proletariat, we are a force for the reactionaries to fear!”


    -President Ludovic-Oscar Frossard addressing the Central Revolutionary Congress at the third annual Address to Congress, circa April 1924.





    Soldiers of the Vanguard of the French Proletariat in a trench on the Western Front, circa March 1923.


    The French Commune was no Russian Soviet Republic. In its early years of existence, the Commune barely qualified as a sovereign nation, let alone a vast and militarized power capable of taking on the Central Powers. Instead, the French Commune began as little more than an alliance of militias, trade unions, and whatever other radical socialist groups existed in France, only unified by a barely active constitution. But nonetheless, after three years of combat in the bloodiest war to ever scourge the Earth, the French Commune had not only survived in the face of a war with both the Central Powers and the Entente, but had continued to grow. Of course, the Commune primarily owed its survival to the fact that the German policy on the Western Front had been to hold off the LGPF ever since the Red Army had stampeded over German puppets in the east, but the years since 1921 had given the French Commune time to actually develop its war infrastructure from a league of militiamen to a fully-fledged weapon of war.


    For example, the Commune would build up its technological stockpile to better wage industrial warfare, which was becoming the normality on every frontline of the Great War, including the Western Front. While a large portion of Communard machinery consisted of copies of Soviet models (by the fall of 1924 LT-7s were just as common on the Western Front as they were on the Eastern Front), the French Commune also constructed its own vehicles of war. After all, the French Third Republic had once been a pioneer in the development of tanks, so the Commune actually started out with some of the best tanks within the Entente’s arsenal. Since the beginning of the Second French Revolution, the LGPF had invested in upgrading the Renault FT model to move faster and have better armor, thus turning upgraded FTs into one of the best armoured vehicles fighting in France and a force for German units to reckon with.


    In collaboration with Soviet tank engineers, the Commune would develop the Renault FT’s successor, the Robespierre R24, throughout the spring and summer of 1924. Like the majority of tanks within the Communard arsenal, the Robespierre R24 was a support tank designed to assist in infantry offensives rather than combat against enemy tanks. It was nonetheless a decent light tank, but the Robespierre R24, and for that matter most other tanks in the Communard arsenal, did not hold their own against their German counterparts. This, of course, would not go unnoticed by Boris Souvarine, who was determined to follow the example of Leon Trotsky and industrialize the LGPF into a fierce fighting force in western Europe. A little more than two months after the completion of the Robespierre R24 late into the June of 1924, a subunit called the Robespierre R242 was introduced to battlefields in Germany starting at the beginning of the September of 1924. Boasting a larger and longer gun than its predecessor, the Robespierre R242, while not initially produced extensively, would soon become the preferred light tank choice of Communard officers on the Western Front to combat the constant German onslaught.




    A Robespierre R242 model tank in northern France, circa November 1924.


    Technological advancements were not the only changes Boris Souvarine made to the LGPF in order to turn his army into one of the best fighting forces for socialism the world has ever known. In the July of 1924, General Commander Souvarine would, with approval from President Frossard, form the Proletarian Tank Corps (CCP) as a section of the LGPF exclusively dedicated to commanding tanks, thus ending the role of Communard tanks as backup for infantry and cavalry. This would subsequently be followed by the formation of yet another corps, the Airborne Vanguard Corps (CDGA), not long after the creation of the CCP, which took over control of all aircraft within the LGPF in order to better counter the infamous Luftsreitkrafte of the Heilsreich. These reforms were successful in combating the numerically and technologically superior forces of Germany, and would truly push the French Commune into the age of industrialized warfare.


    On top of the formation of the CCP and the CDGA, General Commander Souvarine would ensure that his army would expand its manpower in a war where soldiers were becoming an increasingly expensive luxury by conducting an extensive propaganda campaign starting in the February of 1924 that specifically targeted young women capable of joining the Vanguard of the French Proletariat. Much like the Russian Soviet Republic, the French Commune had been an advocate for gender equality early into its inception, and the Communard constitution ensured that men and women had equal rights, including when it came to the armed forces, and women had served in the name of the Second French Revolution in the initial days of the overthrow of Paul Doumer via militias.


    However, soldiers in the LGPF would continue to primarily be men, conscriptions would almost always be skewed towards young males, and the women that did manage to make their way into the ranks of the LGPF were consistently ignored when it came to promotions. But as the male population of the French Commune continued to decline due to heavy casualties, Boris Souvarine concluded that conscripting women would be a necessity, and thus throughout the spring of 1924 thousands of young women would join the LGPF, be it via conscription or via volunteering, and Souvarine made sure that his lower officers would treat female recruits with equality and respect. While this action earned praise for Souvarine amongst feminists, especially socialist feminists, around the world, when later asked in the October of 1924 by an American journalist for the New York Times about why he encouraged women to join the LGPF, Boris Souvarine merely remarked, “I’m no idiot. My army needed more soldiers, and I wasn’t going to let something as trivial as gender get in the way of something as glorious as the liberation of the working class.”


    Nearly all of General Commander Boris Souvarine’s military reforms, be it increased gender equality or the introduction of new corps, proved to be very successful in upgrading the war effort of the French Commune. The Heilsreich continued to be stalled and would continue to lose more and more men, while the pathetic remnant of the once grand French Third Republic continued to be squeezed off of the European continent. After the Soviet Republic first declared war on the Central Powers and German priorities shifted to the east, Boris Souvarine would quickly seize the opportunity presented and went on a rapid offensive against the French Third Republic. As a stalemate initiated on the Western Front, Souvarine resumed his war against the Republicans, which carried along very well throughout 1923, especially once Soviet equipment began to be produced by the Commune.


    The Loire River was crossed on March 29th, 1923, when a hole was punched through Republican forces at the Battle of Blois. Souvarine used the defeat at Blois to his advantage to initiate a large-scale invasion of southern France, one that especially targeted what remained of Republican defenses along the Loire. On April 6th, 1923 Boris Souvarine emerged victorious at the Battle of Cheverny, which is usually credited for finally breaking Republican supply lines in northwestern France and forcing Marshal Philippe Petain to reluctantly order a general retreat of Republican forces near the Loire to form a new defensive line of trenches to the south. With many trenches already dug to the south in preparation for a potential Communard offensive, Petain’s army was quickly able to secure territory south of Chevery, however, Souvarine was able to simultaneously adapt to the new situation and accepted that his offensive would remain stagnant for awhile.


    Nonetheless, month after month, the LGPF advanced closer to the Mediterranean Sea and the French Third Republic, once the center of European democracy and liberalism, sunk deeper into the dustbin of history. The French Civil War moved slower in the Alpine Mountains, where rough terrain made combat difficult for all belligerents, but in the west things were clearly going in favor of the Communards. While the militias behind enemy lines had died down, thus turning the French Civil War into a relatively organized trench war, the French Commune nonetheless advanced at a decent speed, and on November 12th, 1924 the LGPF sieged Bordeaux, and after numerous hours of constant gunfire exchange, General Joseph Joffre ordered the retreat of Republican defenses from the battlefield, thus handing the rubble of one of France’s greatest cities to the Commune.


    By this point, it was obvious that the French Third Republic was doomed. On top of the French Civil War surprisingly going in favor of the Communards, the forces of Benito Mussolini’s Kingdom of Italy were moving further and further east and in the October of 1923 the last soldiers of the British Empire fighting in France were pulled off of the European continent to fight the Workers’ Commonwealth. Paul Doumer, who had become the disgraced leader of a disgraced nation, would resign from the presidency of the French Third Republic on December 1st, 1923 and was succeeded by none other than Ferdinand Foch, the controversial former marshal of France whose aggressively anti-socialist policies were arguably one of the most important factors that led to the Second French Revolution. Nonetheless, with the Republic dying at the hands of a communist revolution, strong military and avidly anti-socialist leadership was needed, and so Philippe Petain ensured that his disgraced predecessor would be leading the Republican government in its darkest hour.


    While President Ferdinand Foch could not realistically save the French mainland, or for that matter any French territory in Europe, he could guarantee that the Republic would fight as efficiently against socialist and fascist alike before being forced into exile in Africa. Almost immediately after seizing power, Foch would declare marshal law on December 5th, 1923, which de facto been in effect in numerous rebellious towns and cities since the beginning of the Second French Revolution. Ferdinand Foch would also implement some of the most extreme conscription rates in French history, hoping to achieve, at least for awhile, a numerical advantage over the Commune. In the end, none of Foch’s actions could save the Republican government from exile to France’s African colonies, as had been anticipated, however, Foch is often credited for stalling both the Commune and Italy, especially in regards to the Italian invasion of Corsica, which was held off until the March of 1924 due to an extensive Republican naval buildup. But in the end, the days of the French Third Republic were numbered, and after Philippe Petain was decisively defeated at the Battle of Montauban on March 26th, 1924, Ferdinand Foch was advised to evacuate Europe and set up a government-in-exile in Algiers.




    Women evacuated from the French mainland in Tunis, circa May 1924.


    Once all Republican forces had fled to Africa and the French Commune officially seized control of mainland France following the Treaty of Toulouse on April 2nd, 1924, Ferdinand Foch truly began the process of forming a colonial provisional regime, one that would be deemed the French Fourth Republic. The old parliamentary system was abolished in favor of a more authoritarian presidential republic in which nearly all executive power was ceded to the president, who was to be directly elected by the people of the Fourth Republic for a six-year term and thus not tied to the new unicameral legislative branch, called the Chamber of Deputies, in any way. Furthermore, with total Chamber approval, the constitution of the French Fourth Republic could be suspended for a predetermined amount of time, thus ceding the presidency total control of the government and turning the position into a temporary autocracy. This clause, deemed the Security Clause, would be immediately enacted for a decade after the constitution of French Fourth Republic was ratified on April 14th, 1924, which would turn Ferdinand Foch into the dictator of the exiled French government until his death in 1929.




    Flag of the French Fourth Republic, which had been proposed by Marshal Philippe Petain and was adopted upon the ratification of the new constitution.


    Even with the mainland lost, the war between the French Commune and the French Republic was far from over. The coastal region of Algeria had actually been fully integrated into the French Third Republic well before the Great War, therefore meaning that the colonial right to neutrality defined by the Treaty of Bloemfontein did not apply to the Fourth Republic. Communard and Republican forces alike would continue to clash in the Mediterranean Sea for many years to come as the two rival governments built up their navies to prepare for an invasion of the other. And as a revolutionary state not concerned with the imperialist treaties of the past, the French Commune couldn’t care less about the Treaty of Bloemfontein if it meant that comrades across the French colonial empire could be liberated.


    Soon, the French Commune would find itself fighting in Indochina.


    The Communard key to the Indochinese colonies was a young man by the name of Nguyen Tat Tanh, a native to Annam who had developed revolutionary and nationalist ideals. When the Great War began, Tanh was residing in New York City where he made ends meet by doing an assortment of menial jobs while also making contact with an assortment of regional nationalists, including a group of Korean nationalists and Marcus Garvey, the controversial African-American nationalist and Pan-Africanist who had gained notoriety in the United States by advocating for the movement of African-Americans to the African continent to avoid the discrimination they had undergone in North America for centuries. Ever since moving to the United States from cosmopolitan France in 1912, Nguyen Tat Tanh would quietly watch the world burn from a distance as Europe descended into a bloody war of imperialism and petty disputes.


    But then the Second French Revolution erupted, first in the trenches of the Western Front and then across all of northern France. Tanh, still moving along from job to job in New York City and hoping to grab an opportunity in the midst of the revolutionary tide, eagerly set out to fight on behalf of the French Commune as soon as possible, becoming a footsoldier of the young Vanguard of the French Proletariat in the May of 1921. By fighting against the dying French Third Republic for three years, Nguyen Tat Tanh managed to rise through the ranks of Boris Souvarine’s army, and by the time he fought at the Battle of Montauban in 1924, Tanh was leading forces to victory as a division commander.


    As the French Commune celebrated the liberation of France from capitalism and turned its attention to the war against the vicious Central Powers, Division Commander Tanh would utilize the relaxed attitude in the Central Revolutionary Congress to his advantage in promoting the ideals of Vietnamese nationalism. In the April of 1924, Nguyen Tat Tanh would submit a proposal directly to General Commander Souvarine that outlined a plan in which Tanh would contact and collaborate with an assortment of Indochinese nationalists to spark a homegrown communist revolution with the help of Communard funding. Souvarine, impressed by Tanh’s thorough plan and admitting that initiating a guerrilla war in Indochina would work to the French Commune’s advantage in the continued war against the French Fourth Republic, would consequently submit what was deemed “Operation Lotus” to President Oscar-Ludovic Frossard, the dictator of the Commune until his mostly free reign expired in the October of 1924. Frossard, trusting his senior military commander’s judgement, would therefore agree to initiate Operation Lotus via approval on April 20th, 1924.


    Soon enough, Indochina would know horrors of the Great War.


    On May 16th, 1924 the first uprising of Operation Lotus broke out when a militia consisting of hundreds of soldiers occupied Hue, the capital of the Annam protectorate, forcing the unsuspecting French colonial government to flee south to Da Nang. This militia was a part of Nguyen Tat Tanh’s Indochinese Independence Front (FII), a coalition of socialist guerrillas spanning from Cambodia to Tonkin that would begin a bloody front of the Great War defined by fierce guerrilla warfare referred to as the First Indochina War. Only a few days after the Hue Revolution, Nguyen Tat Tanh boarded an airplane and arrived in Annam’s former capital city, now swarming with symbols of socialism and anti-colonialism, to officially seize control of the FII and lead the proletariat of Indochina to independence. In order to further mobilize his comrades and implement an apparent end goal for the FII, Tanh would go as far as to publicly read the so-called Hue Declaration on May 23rd, 1924, which declared that the FII was fighting for the independence of the Democratic Union of Indochina, a socialist federal republic modeled after the French Commune, and in order to further outline his goals, Tanh would describe some basics of the planned constitution of Indochina in the Hue Declaration.


    Following his assumption of leadership of the FII, Nguyen Tat Tanh would preside over an offensive to the south in order to link up pockets of Indochinese rebellions. While the unification of rebel pockets would ruin the FII’s ability to wage covert guerrilla warfare in eastern Indochina, urban centers were not as ideal for guerrilla war anyway and conquering the Vietnam region would give the FII plenty of resources to then distribute to guerrilla forces fighting in the interior of Indochina. With the help of Communard aid, the FII’s campaign in the east, called the Thang Sau Offensive, was a massive success in liberating eastern Indochina from the yolk of imperialism, and by the end of June alone the Annam protectorate was no more while Cochinchina was on the brink of collapse, with FII forces capturing Saigon following a bloody siege on June 27th, 1924.


    To the north, whatever previously Annamese land that had not fallen under FII occupation was turned over to Tonkin, a struggling colony that would likely be the next to fall after Cochinchina and was already facing internal socialist insurgencies. A final push by the FII in the July of 1924 would lead to the final collapse of Cochinchina once the Battle of Rach Gia on July 14th, 1924 ended in the total defeat of French Republican forces in the Vietnam region, and Nguyen Tat Tanh would send the majority of forces left over from the Thang Sau Offensive to the north to fight against Tonkin. While undeniably outnumbered, the Protectorate of Tonkin would still hold its own against the FII. With the French Fourth Republic focusing the majority of its naval and aerial power on the much more vital war against the French Commune in the Mediterranean Sea, the FII had a better time at defending occupied coastal towns than expected, but whatever naval power was ceded to colonial Indochina in the Great War orbited around the Gulf of Tonkin, allowing for a steady flow of resources from the Fourth Republic.




    French Republican warships off of the coast of Hai Phong, circa July 1924.


    The Tonkin Offensive lasted for countless months as the two factions clashed for supply lines and valuable patches of land in the jungle. Trench warfare was difficult to conduct in the jungles of Vietnam, and so barricades were only common along roadways and population centers. Instead, chaotic yet planned guerrilla tactics were what the invaders and guardians of Tonkin alike used as their primary form of combat. Both International and Entente forces alike would ship in spare chemical weapons and flamethrowers to their respective allies in Indochina to burn down the jungles of Vietnam and in turn efficiently expose and kill enemy forces.


    The bloodbath that was the Tonkin Offensive carried on to the end of 1924, captivating the attention of Communard and Republican media alike, although the latter would ultimately attempt to censor the failing and brutal war effort in Indochina. But the French Commune, on the other hand, was ecstatic about the story of how Nguyen Tat Tanh, a former officer of the Vanguard of the French Proletariat, went from yet another forgotten victim of colonialism to the liberator of the Indochinese people and became the posterboy for socialist anti-imperialism. Month after month, the FII would slowly yet surely advance north. Thanh Hoa fell in August, Ninh Bimh fell in September, and by the end of October the FII was pounding on the gates of Hanoi, the capital of the Protectorate of Tonkin. Finally, on November 8th, 1924, the city of Tonkin would fall to communism following a two day-long offensive, and Republican forces in Honkin, cut off from ports along the Gulf of Tonkin, were forced to retreat into Laos.


    After four months of vicious guerrilla warfare, the Tonkin Offensive had concluded and Vietnam was completely in the hands of the Indochinese Independence Front. Of course, the First Indochina War was far from over. The French imperialists still held strong in Laos and Cambodia, not to mention nearby British Loyalist colonies to the south and east alongside the increasingly anti-socialist National Republic of China to the north. But the FII had made rapid and extremely large gains in less than a year, and Nguyen Tat Tanh was confident that he would rule over all of Indochina in the near future. In the meantime, Tanh and his comrades would congregate in Hue in the November of 1924 to finally bring the promised Democratic Union of Indochina into the world. The chaotic and unstable nature of the First Indochina War ensured that a fully-fledged Indochinese communist democracy like that of the French Commune could not exist for the foreseeable future, but a provisional government to control Vietnam and preside over bureaucratic and diplomatic affairs would help Nguyen Tat Tanh for the time being. Therefore, on November 21st, 1924 the provisional government of the Democratic Union of Indochina was declared to the people of Hue, the capital of the Union, with Nguyen Tat Tanh being appointed chairman of Indochina.




    Chairman Nguyen Tat Tanh of the Democratic Union of Indochina.


    By the end of 1924, a new age of hope was emerging in the French Commune. With the French Civil War more or less over, the French Communist Party and the Travailliste Party agreed that there was no need to continue the suspension of the Communard constitution following its expiration in the October of 1924, thus leading to the beginning of the world’s first true communist democracy. The PCF continued to secure a majority in the Central Revolutionary Congress and therefore Ludovic-Oscar Frossard would keep the presidency for the time being, however, a substantial amount of constituencies in northern France had been lost to the syndicalist Travailliste Party, which was continuing to become an increasingly influential force in Communard politics.


    Nonetheless, there was much optimism in the French Commune, regardless of which party one adhered to. While the war against the reactionary Central Powers carried on, German priorities continued to focus on the Russian Soviet Republic and Italy more or less skirmished with the LGPF in the Alpine Mountains. Meanwhile, what remained of the French colonial empire was torn at the seams by native revolutionaries fighting in the name of communism as avidly as their comrades back in cosmopolitan France.


    And the colonies of the French were not the only to explode into revolution.



    Solidarity Forever


    “When the union's inspiration through the workers' blood shall run,

    There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun;

    Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,

    But the union makes us strong.”


    -Excerpt from Ralph Chaplin’s “Solidarity Forever,” written circa 1915.





    Comrade Protector Albert Inkpin of the Workers’ Commonwealth and his wife Julia after watching the musical “Julius Caesar the Capitalist,” a comedic parody of William Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar” that was popular in revolutionary England, circa October 1924.


    Upon its formation, the Workers’ Commonwealth was the black sheep of the Third International. Unlike the Russian Soviet Republic and the French Commune, which were born from violent Marxist retaliation and mutiny, the Commonwealth was forged from the retaliation of organized labor, which had never really sought out triggering a British Civil War, and many trade unions had even been supportive of British involvement in the Great War, at least during the beginning of Phase One. Furthermore, the Workers’ Commonwealth, while under strong influence from Marxism and being a member of the primarily Soviet-led Third International, was not inherently communist in the same sense as Moscow and Lumiere. Even if the Commonwealth mimicked its Marxist counterparts more often than not, political scientists of the time, both capitalist and socialist alike, deemed the Workers’ Commonwealth to be a syndicalist-communist fusion of sorts, with trade unions being the organ of Albert Inkpin’s communist revolution.


    As the Second Glorious Revolution spread throughout England and into Wales and Scotland, the libertarian socialist ideology of the Workers’ Commonwealth was reflected in every aspect of society under the flag of chartism, be it military tactics or simply going to the store. Perhaps most noticeably, the Commonwealth, while eventually promoting communist symbolism, was more prone to trade unionist aesthetic. “The Internationale” may have been the national anthem of the Workers’ Commonwealth, but “Solidarity Forever” was a more common sound to be heard in London. Economic management was also collectivized under the control of unions rather than being publicly controlled, as was the case in the Commune and especially in the Soviet Republic. While the United People’s Congress ensured that unions operated to the benefit of the Second Glorious Revolution, worker self-management dominated the Commonwealth’s economy and more often than not exchange value was replaced with inter-union negotiations.


    The Workers’ Commonwealth’s method of waging war was also unique and decentralized compared to its less libertarian allies. While the Soviet Republic and French Commune had more or less developed traditional militaries, just with socialist aesthetic, the Workers’ Commonwealth started out with no unified military as the Second Glorious Revolution swept throughout England, instead making ground against Loyalist forces via coordination between makeshift militias and militarized unions. Even once the United People’s Congress did in fact establish an official military for the Commonwealth on June 9th, 1922, called the Workers’ Model Army (WMA), it was apparent from the beginning that this army would not operate like other militaries. As militias and trade unions joined the WMA, this immediately gave rise to an untraditional grassroot model of military command in which local regiments would often develop tactics and only bring “superior” officers into the fold when large-scale coordination was deemed necessary.


    Of course, this grassroot military model gave rise to unique tactics, for while the Red Army gained a reputation for its meticulously crafted efficiency, the Workers’ Model Army gained a reputation for its unpredictable spontaneity. Rather than adhere to one coherent plan of attack, each local battalion adhered to its own strategy to combat the vanguard of the crumbling British monarchy. Like any military system, this decentralization had both its pros and cons. Spontaneity made the WMA’s difficult to predict and retaliate against, but on the other hand WMA battalions could only take a few strikes at Loyalist forces before having to fall back due to not having enough men to call upon. Throughout much of its early history, the numerous battalions of the Workers’ Model Army were like bullets. A lone bullet is hard to evade, but it definitely isn’t as lethal as a cannonball.


    Over time, the issues of decentralization solved themselves, with divisions eventually taking control of coordinating attacks and often times federating the chain of command to offer unified, yet somewhat decentralized, input as a best of both worlds situation. By the October of 1922, the division-led command structure had become the norm for the WMA and was being promoted by the young Field Marshal Clement Attlee, who more or less served as the leader of the Workers’ Model Army, albeit with limited power. The WMA also started to generate more unified, albeit broad, plans of attack by organizing representatives of divisions every so often which turned the Commonwealth war effort from a fight for the survival of a ragtag revolutionary government in southern England to a force to truly be reckoned with.


    1923 was an excellent year for the Workers’ Commonwealth. The WMA made great strides north and union rebellions across Great Britain made war room maps of the British Civil War look like a plague of red was engulfing the island. Just as socialism had infected Russia and France, the British capitalist was now running from what it saw as the disease of socialism, which British revolutionaries deemed not to be a sickness, but rather a cure for the already present disease of capitalism. By the time the news of Vladimir Lenin reached comrades in Great Britain, the Workers’ Commonwealth spanned from London to the Humber River and Scotland was engulfed in a guerrilla war against communist and syndicalist militias alike. At long last, the spectre of socialism was haunting the beating heart of the 19th status quo of European imperialism, and the once invincible British Empire was on its last legs.


    But the Loyalists, those who still fought for King and Country, were not defeated yet. Northern England, while sprouting with new revolutionaries every waking moment, was nonetheless a hotly contested battleground between the rising star of the Third International and what remained of one of the world’s largest vanguards of imperialist capitalism. And Scotland, while experiencing a handful of dangerous revolutions in urban centers, was mostly in the hands of the Loyalists. But as Wales was conquered by the Workers’ Model Army in the spring of 1924, with the last holdouts in the region being encircled by the South Wales Miners’ Federated Army at the Battle of Deeside on May 10th, 1924, the entirety of the Workers’ Commonwealth was geared towards a total invasion of northern England.


    As the WMA charged into the center of Great Britain, the grave of Northumbria, a handful of individuals would stand out from the crowd of disgruntled revolutionaries, many of whom had never held a gun in their life. One such individual was John Maclean, one of Scotland’s most infamous trade unionists. When the General Strike of 1922 began, Maclean eagerly advocated for the plight of trade unionists, even as violence from local law enforcement and paramilitary groups broke out. But when the Second Glorious Revolution erupted in London, Maclean, despite initially hoping to lead his comrades to victory in Scotland, would eventually find himself at the end of a rifle on June 5th, 1924 when a general strike in support of the Workers’ Commonwealth in Glasgow was fired upon by the Organization for Domestic Security. Maclean survived the Glasgow Massacre, but was imprisoned by law enforcement after local authorities wrestled his custody away from the ODS and had experienced the slaughter of many of his comrades firsthand.


    Facing capital punishment, John Maclean only managed to escape imprisonment when the truck delivering him to a more isolated place to be tried and executed hit rough weather on an already poorly maintained road in the countryside, thus causing the truck to fall over and trapping the drivers. After a few hours, Maclean managed to get out of his mobile prison by knocking over a few boards loosened by the crash and limped his way into the countryside, handcuffs and all. By sneaking through farmland and going under a handful of aliases once a socialist factory worker helped take of Maclean’s shackles, the Celtic communist of Scotland evaded Loyalist authorities and militias, eventually making his way into Commonwealth-friendly territory. Being celebrated as a hero of the British socialist movement, John Maclean’s several day-long trip through the middle of Scotlad and across battlefields after surviving the Glasgow Massacre had changed him. Once a relatively peaceful trade unionist with admittedly positive views towards the militant Soviet Republic, Maclean had since become a hardened pessimist with an aggressive thirst for a violent revolution to avenge his fallen comrades.


    The Crimson Clydesider had been born.


    Upon joining the newly-formed Workers’ Model Army, John Maclean, once underestimated as little more than a revolutionary schoolteacher, would begin to quickly rise through the ranks of the WMA. By the end of the summer of 1922, Maclean was in command of an increasingly notorious battalion, and once the WMA began to centralize into divisions, John Maclean would become the major general of the 19th Workers’ Infantry Division, which would become more commonly known by Maclean’s preferred nickname, the Scottish Liberation Army (SLA). Under the leadership of major General John Maclean, the SLA would campaign throughout southern England, winning nearly every battle it engaged in whilst becoming notorious for brutal guerrilla tactics and raids. By the time the war for northern England was in full gear, the SLA was one of the most renowned fighting forces in all of the Third International and the Crimson Clydesider was ready to wave the banner of the Workers’ Commonwealth over Leeds.




    Soldiers of the Scottish Liberation Army following the Battle of Birmingham, crica May 1924.


    The Summer Offensive into northern England was perfect for the Scottish Liberation Army. The region had been prone to guerrilla conflict for years by this point, which meant that the SLA would by fighting with its preferred form of combat. Throughout the summer of 1924, the Workers’ Commonwealth stampeded across northern England, and more often than not the SLA was credited for these victories, with Commonwealth newspapers further promoting John Maclean’s profile as one of the greatest commanders in the Third International. Perhaps most notable was the SLA’s capabilities at the Battle of Nottingham on June 19th, 1924, in which the SLA mastered traditional guerrilla tactics in order to surround and crush a large presence of Loyalist soldiers commanded by the Viscount Plumer, an experienced general who had left from France almost immediately after the Second Glorious Revolution conquered southern England. As a veteran of the British Civil War, most had presumed that the tactic of guerrilla infiltration could not sneak past his surveillance, however, John Maclean was keen on disproving this notion.


    Starting on June 10th, 1924, more than a week prior to the Battle of Nottingham, Maclean utilized meticulously analyzed information to infiltrate a handful of his soldiers behind enemy lines every so often, all the while attempting to throw Loyalist forces off guard to ensure that Plumer would never be able to pinpoint the enemy army’s location. Meanwhile, the individual SLA soldiers inside Nottingham were tasked with primarily terrorizing military complexes, such as armories, to degrade both defenses and morale, whilst also attempting to subtly boost local opposition to the Loyalist occupation of Nottingham. At first, the Viscount Plumer tried to ignore these mostly minor attacks, but overtime he grew nervous. The effect of the attacks continued to pile up, with resources beginning to be depleted, which caused Plumer to extend his authority to the area surrounding Nottingham on June 19th, 1924, hoping to catch whatever cabal of Commonwealth sympathizers were behind this mess.


    But this would ultimately be exactly what Maclean wanted. As Plumer’s army expanded outwards, they further let their guard down, thus allowing SLA battalions to sneak behind enemy lines and wreak havoc across Loyalist, thus officially beginning the Battle of Nottingham. Upon getting news of this massive incursion, Plumer ordered his forces to fall back upon Nottingham to combat the ever-increasing SLA force fighting within the city, but as the Loyalists fell into Maclean’s trap, the disparity between the two forces became apparent. Plumer, who had risen through the ranks of the British Army during Phase One of the Great War, was undoubtedly a skilled commander when it came to trench warfare, but it was apparent that guerrilla warfare was not his forte. Plumer, who was used to the slow pace of the trenches of France, was sloppy when faced with the quick and convoluted tactics of guerrilla warfare, thus allowing the Scottish Liberation Army to surround what remained of the Viscount Plumer’s depleted and demoralized army, which would surrender after only a few hours.


    Major General John Maclean’s victory at the Battle of Nottingham crushed one of the strongest Loyalist forces in all of northern England, which paved the way for an inevitable Commonwealth victory in the Summer Offensive. The success of Nottingham was often mimicked by other WMA divisions, which would take advantage of their own armies’ decentralization as well as the Loyalists’ lack of experience in guerrilla warfare. Not long after the Battle of Nottingham, the SLA would conquer Sheffield on June 30th, while WMA forces in the west would simultaneously launch an invasion from northern Wales and conquer Manchester on July 1st. As the Summer Offensive continued, Loyalist armies began to pick up on guerrilla warfare tactics and would often encourage the growth of the ODS to serve as a more decentralized and local paramilitary force, which inevitably did slow down WMA advances. On July 25th, 1924, the Battle of Malton ended in yet another victory for the WMA, with only a few other minor advances occurring before the de facto conclusion of the Summer Offensive once August 1924 began, thus marking the end of one of the biggest winning streaks in the entire British Civil War and ensuring that soon enough, all of England would fall to the Workers’ Commonwealth.



    The Crimson Emerald


    “If there is one thing the Irish are good at, it’s being a nuisance for the Empire at the most inconvenient of times.”


    -Excerpt from the journal of then-Organization for Domestic Security Captain Oswald Mosley, written circa July 1924.





    British Army soldiers being inspected in Dublin, circa April 1916.


    As the heart of the greatest empire the world had ever seen was crushed by the increasingly strong first of socialism, other corners of the British Empire would also take up arms against their oppressors, which was already planning its exile to the Dominion of Canada following the evacuation of King George V to Ottawa in the March of 1923. The first colony to join in on the revolutionary bonfire engulfing the dying Entente was one of the United Kingdom’s oldest colonies, and one that was just west of Great Britain. The island of Ireland, which had been the target of English and later British expansion since 1171, was technically not a colony of Great Britain, with Ireland being under a personal union with London for most of its history, and the Irish people actually did have representation in the House of Commons since the 19th Century, however, it was apparent that Ireland was not treated equally in the United Kingdom. Even after the Act of Union in 1801, exploitation of Ireland took form numerous times, most notably the infamous Irish Potato Famine, and the Catholic Irish were often the targets of discrimination from both Britons and Protestant Irishman loyal to the United Kingdom, who primarily lived in Ulster.


    Even as Ireland was integrated into Parliament, the Irish Home Rule movement would accumulate support since the 1870s, and by the time Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot and killed on that fateful day in 1914, Ireland was predominantly represented by an assortment of political parties independent of their counterparts to the east. Following the election of 1910, Ireland was divided between the moderate yet pro-independence Irish Parliamentary Party and the pro-British Irish Unionist Alliance, which was most popular in the Protestant north and affiliated with the wider Conservative Party. As the Great War broke out and mobilized the British Empire against the Central Powers’ takeover of the European continent, Irish politics, which were put on hold alongside British politics in general, began to fall under the influence of a new radical independence party, called Sinn Fein, which had existed since 1905 and advocated for a copy of Hungary’s partially attempt at secession from Austrian tyranny in 1867 in which Irish MPs would boycott London and form their own parliament.


    It was hoped by both Briton and Irishman alike that the Great War would be a short conflict. The German Empire was to be quelled and life would return to normal, with elections ensuring the fulfillment of domestic ambitions. But as the Great War carried on well past the lies of a war that would end by Christmas 1914 and entered the 1920s with no sign of stopping, it became apparent that no parliamentary election would be occurring anytime in the near future. As Phase Two began as revolution swept across the dying Entente, David Lloyd George still remained prime minister and increasingly important affairs, such as universal suffrage, were stalled off in favor of directing all political attention to the Great War. Even before the Second Glorious Revolution, this neglect of domestic affairs, including the fate of Ireland, caused revolutionaries to turn to more extreme means to accomplish their goals. In Great Britain, this would lead to the Second Glorious Revolution. But in Ireland, nationalists would take matters into their own hands on the Easter Week of April 1916. Across Ireland, militias would fight for independence, proclaiming an Irish Republic, only for the Easter Rebellion to be violently crushed by the British in a handful of days.




    Barricade erected in Dublin by secessionist rebels during the Eastern Rebellion, circa April 1916.


    From this point on, Ireland would not be winning independence through diplomacy. The brutal crackdown on Irish nationalists proved that if Ireland were to ever break away from British imperialism, the Irish people would have to take matters into their own hands, regardless of what London thought. Following the Easter Rebellion, the radical Sinn Fein grew to become the most popular party in Ireland, even if the IPP still held the majority of seats in Parliament due to the rejection of wartime elections. In 1918, the IPP and Unionists would join David Lloyd George’s wartime coalition alongside the Liberal, Conservative, and Labour parties to the dismay of the Irish masses. This only added fuel to the flames of Sinn Fein, and as long as British soldiers were off fighting in the War to End All Wars, Irish revolution was inevitable. Of course, the stalling of elections would tamper with Sinn Fein’s plan to simply secede from the United Kingdom, but the Great War offered more militant alternatives. At first, as the French military collapsed in the face of a renewed German offensive, a rebellion funded by the Central Powers seemed to be the most reasonable solution. After all, Germany had tried to provide supplies to Irishmen in the Easter Rebellion, what was to stop them yet again, when the Kaiser and his allies were more powerful than ever and on the apparent brink of victory against France?


    But an Irish rebellion funded by the Central Powers was also far from ideal. After all, Germany, the nation that would obviously be the top funder of such a rebellion, was in a geographically awkward position in which supplies would have to be navigated around the Netherlands and through the English Channel, one of the bloodiest naval warzones on Earth. And especially after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the German foreign policy became more obvious than ever. Germany did nothing on the basis of mutual benefit, but instead made every single international decision based off of personal gain. The Central Powers alliance was not formed to provide protection to allies of the Kaiserreich, but rather ensure German influence through the center of Europe. Any Central Powers-funded rebellion would not be supplied out of the kindness of the Kaiser’s heart, but would instead be fought to give Germany yet another pawn in its global game of chess against its British rival.


    But in due time, a radical alternative to Germany would sprout up just across the Irish Sea.


    Sinn Fein was left-wing, but never began as a socialist organization. But as “solidarity forever!” rang through the streets of London in 1922, ushering in a new age for the crumbling British Empire, pubs filled with Sinn Fein members celebrated the reports of victories in Cornwall and Irish nationalist newspapers enthusiastically detailed the retreat of King George V to Canada. At first, Sinn Fein was not an ally of the Workers’ Commonwealth due to sharing a mutual ideology, but rather due to sharing a mutual enemy. To nearly every subject of British colonialism, the Second Glorious Revolution meant that the head had been cut off of the British Empire, and with Loyalist forces almost solely focusing on crushing Albert Inkpin’s rebellion, the possibility for revolution was more likely now more than ever. For most Sinn Fein members, the Second Glorious Revolution was the go-ahead that they had been waiting for to begin the fight for independence.


    However, while numerous Sinn Fein members were warming up to allying with the Third International, the leadership of the party, including its leader Eamon de Valera, was less willing to endorse rebellion alongside the Workers’ Commonwealth. This caused the organized labor movement to often take control of the push for Irish independence, with the Irish Labour Party leader William X O’Brien, being a strong believer in socialist revolution via democracy, encouraging mass general strikes throughout Ireland in resistance to British rule. Frustrated with the inaction of Sinn Fein, many party members either left for more radical parties or internally drifted towards left-wing ideologies in opposition to Valera. The moment for Ireland to free itself from the British yolk had arrived, and yet no action was taken by otherwise avid nationalists due to a fear of falling into the sphere of influence of socialism. This discontent within Sinn Fein was answered by James Larkin, a prominent trade unionist and former member of the Irish Labour Party who had recently returned from exile only to find that the ILP had new leadership.


    This would cause Larkin, a veteran of the Home Rule who was hungry for revolution, to join the increasingly left-wing Sinn Fein upon returning from exile in the April of 1923 and build up party support by agitating for revolution against the United Kingdom. After branding himself as the most hardline advocate for rebellion against the British Empire, James Larkin was able to successfully challenge Eamon de Valera to the leadership of Sinn Fein, and would become the new leader of the party upon emerging victorious on June 2nd, 1923. Under the leadership of James Larkin and socialist in all but name, the Sinn Fein was finally ready to arm itself, ally with the Third International, and fight to the bitter end for the independence of Ireland. In collaboration with paramilitary groups, trade unions, and left-wing parties, the Sinn Fein would coordinate a rebellion against the United Kingdom on June 30th, 1923 in Dublin, thus resulting in the city being seized by the coalition of socialist forces in a matter of hours. A day later, as Ireland was consumed by the flames of socialism that were already burning strongly in Russia, France, and Great Britain, the coalition occupying Dublin declared the Socialist Republic of Ireland, with James Larkin being declared its “taoiseach.”




    Flag of the Socialist Republic of Ireland.


    As yet another frontline of the Great War opened and the limited British military forces in Ireland attempted to contain an ever-expanding guerrilla war, Larkin tried to get his hands on whatever resources he could to wage a war against the sick titan that was the British Empire. While certainly better allies than the Central Powers in terms of not exploiting Ireland for personal gain, the Third International was much less incapable when it came to the distribution of resources. The Russian Soviet Republic, while filled with valuable supplies, was on the other side of Europe from Ireland, and the Great War turned an already long journey into a dangerous naval trek just north of the rabidly anti-socialist fury of the German Heilsreich. The French Commune and Workers’ Commonwealth were just next door to Ireland, however, both forces were engaged in their own civil wars and thus unable to supply the Socialist Republic of Ireland with much aside from limited spare resources. Without much equipment, the SRI was stuck to a handful of major urban centers in southern Ireland, but otherwise had to fight a vicious guerrilla war against the British Army and the much larger Irish Protection Army (IPA), a paramilitary force founded in the July of 1923 in Ulster.


    While the Socialist Republic of Ireland was in many ways fighting an uphill battle for the first few months of its history, with 1923 being little more than a stagnant war of attrition in the middle of Ireland, James Larkin was not deterred. In his eyes, victory against the British Empire had to be inevitable, for the revolutionary society envisioned by the Taoiseach must succeed and comrades across the Emerald Isle would ensure this. Much like the Workers’ Commonwealth, the Socialist Republic of Ireland adhered parts of syndicalism, in fact more so than its British counterpart, with Larkin openly declaring the SRI to be a syndicalist republic rather than a communist regime. The fight for liberation meant the SRI couldn’t establish a fully operating constitution for awhile, however, this didn’t stop Larkin and his comrades from implementing syndicalism across socialist-occupied Ireland. Workers’ councils replaced local governments in socialist counties and trade unions took control of the majority of workplaces, while those that did not collectivize were often de facto self-managed due to extensive collective bargaining.




    Taoiseach James Larkin of the Socialist Republic of Ireland.


    As the leader of a government born out of both radicalism and nationalism alike, James Larkin was constantly faced with preserving harmony between a convoluted alliance as much as he was faced with overseeing an entire frontline of the Great War that would determine the fate of the Irish people and quite possibly, at least to an extent, the British Empire itself. The taoiseach, while reigning as the head of state of the Socialist Republic of Ireland, was elected by and therefore answerable to the Oireachtas, a unicameral parliamentary legislative assembly supposedly consisting of representatives of Ireland’s constituencies, however, due to elections being difficult to manage during the beginning of the Irish Revolutionary War, the majority of MPs were initially appointed by the strongest founding political parties and trade unions of the SRI.


    With many of these founding parties being more conservative than the predominant socialism of the Irish revolutionary government, the syndicalist ideology of James Larkin and his comrades often clashed with moderates, primarily those within Larkin’s own Sinn Fein. More often than not, this translated into minor to decently substantial appeasement for the “moderates” of the Oireachtas, with compensation ranging from the preservation of traditionally Irish symbols and aesthetic by Larkin’s regime as opposed to the socialist symbolism of the Third International to the tolerance of core capitalist institutions, such as private property, exchange value, and contracts. This would often garner discontent from the SRI’s allies, especially once Leon Trotsky assumed leadership of the Soviet Republic, however, James Larkin would ensure his comrades abroad that a more radical revolution in Ireland was inevitable and it would be stupid for the Third International to turn away a potentially very useful ally because of a slight ideological squabble.


    Nonetheless, as 1923 came and went and the world ushered in the tenth year of the Great War, thus marking the end to the first decade of the bloodiest war that has ever terrorized the face of the Earth, the Socialist Republic of Ireland directed the majority of attention towards the guerrilla war across the Emerald Isle. While the area surrounding Dublin was a secure fortress of socialism, the remaining urban centers in southern Ireland were far less safe from a potential Loyalist invasion (Galway in particular had been facing a relentless siege by the British Army and IPA throughout the March of 1924), and the southern Irish countryside was in a state of anarchy as local militias, municipal authorities, and warlords all fought for their respective side in the Irish Revolutionary War. And as southern Ireland tore itself apart into a chaotic war of attrition, the Loyalist north sat idly by, only occasionally subduing a local uprising.


    In these early months of combat, the SRI’s strategy was to simply hold onto already occupied territory and to accumulate supplies and land whenever possible. Supply lines were forged and armories were raided, but large advancements were more or less impossible, for the heart of Ireland was in the hands of the warlords. But as the industry of the Third International grew, so did the Socialist Republic of Ireland’s chances at pushing the British Empire off of Ireland once and for all. As Soviet machines hissed and factory smokestacks infiltrated the Russian air with smog, new technology was emerging in the east. It was the technology that fought for the survival of Poland that would have to save the Socialist Republic of Ireland. Just as Soviet LT models were sent to the French Commune to be copied by Moscow’s comrades, the same technology would be shipped off to Ireland as soon as production was steady in the summer of 1924.


    Without a large industrial capacity, the SRI’s initial lineup of tanks was lacking, however, soon enough the increasingly industrialized Irish Democratic Army (IDA) conquered more urban land in southern Ireland, which would give the SRI more factories to construct more tanks, and thus there were more tanks in the IDA to conquer more urban land in a circle that would surely turn James Larkin into the taoiseach of all of, at the very least, southern Ireland. By the end of the October of 1924, all territory between Dublin and Limerick was the realm of the trade unions and even though Galway fell to the British Empire on April 3rd, 1924, a rematch was inevitable, for in the November of 1924 a quick IDA offensive into the north brought the Socialist Republic of Ireland right next door to Galway, now a grave to fallen comrades. On November 29th, 1924 the Second Battle of Galway would commence as socialist forces invaded east of the city and ended the battle as quickly as it had begun. In a scene that mirrored the increasingly mechanical and souleless Eastern Front, LT model tanks with clairsachs painted on their side charged into Galway, annihilating any Loyalists forces that dared to stand in their way.


    By the end of 1924, the politics and warfare of Phase One had truly died out. The world that had gone to war over a mere assassination in 1914 had died after a decade. In its place was a new world, where the greatest military forces ever seen were dedicated to an endless war for the fate of mankind. The myth of a war that would be over by a long forgotten Christmas had become an overused and cruel joke, mocking the old world that had shot itself over and over again until a new world defined by ideology took its place. The 1920s were not like previous decades. Colonial empires did not clash for influence and dominance. Instead, a triumvirate of ideologies fought to the death in a continental arena in which the victor would define the fate of the rest of human history. As imperialist, fascist, and socialist slaughtered for their envisioned world and an entire continent was covered with radicalism and reactionism alike in the place of the Realpolitik of the late 19th Century, one thing was for certain.


    The old Europe was dead.


    December 1924-Manmade Hell.png


    Map of the World circa December 1924.
     
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    Countryball Map of Europe Circa December 1924
  • Hello everyone! Today marks the one year anniversary since I first posted Man-Made Hell, which absolutely blows my mind! In order to celebrate, I decided to make a map of MMH's Europe as of December 1924, but to make things more interesting I added countryballs.

    The image was too large, so you can find it here instead

    here’s the base map without countryballs, which I think turned out pretty good color and border-wise, so I may use it again.​


    And this image is also too large, so you can find it here instead


    Anyway, thank you so much for following Man-Made Hell during this last year! The support this TL got astounded me and it's always amazing whenever someone compliments this weird little passion project of mine. Hopefully you're all looking forward to the next few chapters, because here's to another great year for Man-Made Hell! :extremelyhappy:
     
    Chapter Seven: The Setting Sun
  • Chapter VII: The Setting Sun


    “Now they want me - now they want us - to leave Europe. Maybe forever.”


    -King George V in a private conversation with Mary of Teck, circa December 1924.





    King George V of the United Kingdom.


    Halifax, Canada, circa January 5th, 1925:


    As a large ship sailed towards the city, a crowd of civilians, reporters, and even political officials gathered alike awaiting its arrival. As this ship got closer and closer and the Union Jack could be made out in the distance, camera crews got into their positions while reporters scrambled to get as close as possible to where the important passengers of this ship would step foot into Canada. A few more minutes passed, and soon enough the ship had docked into the crowded Halifax harbor. Once a gangplank was set up, out stepped none other than King George V of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the British Dominions, a living symbol of the nation that had ruled the world for over a century. Dressed in a coat suited for the cruel Canadian winter, His Majesty was accompanied by the Queen Consort, Mary of Teck, and was followed by his children, including the eccentric Prince Edward, who was notably the only aristocrat entering Canada who visibly smiled and gave the crowd held back by a crude fence the attention they craved.


    Bearing a sleek top hat, King George V made use of the rim of his head attire by avoiding looking at the crowd his eldest child happily entertained. The people of Halifax cheered for their king, although the clapping was relatively unenthusiastic and was more sympathetic to the attitude all who bowed to the British Empire had been overcome with since the beginning of Phase Two of the Great War. Sure, “God save the King!” could always be heard from the crowd, but its tone was generally less jubilant than usual, and it was accompanied by “the Empire stands with Great Britain!” and “the House of Windsor will never fall!” Anyone at the harbor could feel this somber atmosphere, and a handful of years later King Edward VIII would describe the welcoming crowd in Halifax as “a funeral for a dead nation.”


    Before entering an elegant automobile decorated with the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom, King George V would approach Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden, who went through a traditional and well-rehearsed greeting to the sovereign of what was still, at the end of the day, the largest empire in the world. As the two men exchanged greetings, George V revealed a faint smile to the Prime Minister, all the while understanding that it would be the Canadian government rather than its British counterpart that His Majesty would primarily be working with from now on.




    Prime Minister Robert Borden of Canada.


    After a brief exchange, Sir Borden and the Windsor family would go their separate ways as King George V and his wife stepped into the vehicle waiting in front of them, while their children entered the automobiles lined up behind. Still keen on avoiding making any eye contact with his audience of politicians, press, and civilians alike, George V opted to sit on the left side of the automobile, which for the time was facing away from the public, while Mary of Teck had to deal with the flashing lights of cameras and the slew of questions from reporters from every corner of Canada and even a handful of foreign journalists, especially those visiting from the United States.


    “Where will His Majesty reside while in Canada?”


    “How long is the exile from Europe supposed to last?”


    “Is the elected British government expected to go into exile?”


    “What is His Majesty’s reaction to the recent socialist insurgencies in the Indian Empire?”


    “How will the fall of the United Kingdom affect the sovereignty of Canada?”


    The Queen Consort did not dare to acknowledge the legion of journalists. Without even a hint of emotion, all she did was stare down at her dress, ensuring that not even a subtle gesture could be interpreted as a response to be jotted down for a national headline. But after a few minutes into their drive from the harbor, both George and Mary began to peek out of the windows of their automobiles. Sooner or later, the two would have to become accustomed to these Canadian reporters and heed to their interrogations.


    After all, as long as the House of Windsor was in exile, Canada would be His Majesty’s homeland.



    I Used to Rule the World


    “Let it be known to those who wish to see the British Empire fall, be they communist or fascist, revolutionary or reactionary: You will fail. Our Empire has stood for centuries, and as long as the people of Great Britain continue the fight for King and Country, it will stand for centuries more.”


    -Excerpt from Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s resignation speech, circa May 1924.





    The city of Edinburgh, circa July 1924.


    By suppressing disgruntled trade unionists the United Kingdom had inadvertently created the Workers’ Commonwealth, which posed an existential threat to the British establishment the likes of which had not been faced since the days of Oliver Cromwell and the English Civil War. In every war the English, and later the British, had since engaged in the top enemy had always been external, but with a few poor decisions the United Kingdom had turned its involvement in the Great War from a clash against foreign revolutionaries and the power-hungry Central Powers into a war for the very survival of the heart of the British Empire itself. There could be no white peace with the Workers’ Commonwealth, no colonial cession, and no war reparations. Either the United Kingdom would survive or it would be replaced by the Workers’ Commonwealth.


    While many Loyalists had anticipated a short suppression of the upstart socialist rebels, the guerrilla tactics of the Workers’ Model Army and widespread discontent throughout United Kingdom split the island of Great Britain in half, with the Workers’ Commonwealth getting the more populous and urbanized southern half. While parades in the name of Karl Marx and Daniel De Leon covered the streets of 1920s London, the Union Jack still waved high in Edinburgh, which had become the makeshift home of the British government and crown in the aftermath of the takeover of southern England by socialist rebels. While many Scottish trade unionists had initially supported the Workers’ Commonwealth and had taken up arms against their capitalist oppressors (including the infamous John Maclean), the Loyalists had long since crushed socialist insurgencies in Scotland and had turned the hills of Alba into a fortress for those loyal to His Majesty.


    Of course, presiding over the beginning of a revolution fails to do much good for any leader. As the riots in southern England escalated into a full-blown civil war, much of the blame fell on Prime Minister David Lloyd George. The remaining leftist Loyalists deemed the prime minister a stubborn tyrant while conservatives claimed that David Lloyd George had not gone far enough in the face of what could very well be the beginning of the end of the United Kingdom. Prime Minister Lloyd George did take some action to contain the spread of the Workers’ Commonwealth, such as the redistribution of soldiers deployed on the battlefields of the European mainland to the frontlines of the Second Glorious Revolution (or the British Civil War, as the Loyalists called it) almost immediately after the declaration of the Workers’ Commonwealth as well as the banning of trade unions and organizations affiliated with Inkpin’s revolutionary government, but this ultimately did not weaken, let alone defeat, the Workers’ Model Army.


    As the British Army was defeated time and time again by the militias of the proletariat, the Wartime Coalition government that had existed since David Lloyd George’s assumption of power from Herbert Henry Asquith in 1916 began to turn on the prime minister, who was proving to be incapable of dealing with the crisis at hand. The fall of Wales in the May of 1924 would be the last straw for a disgruntled government, which forced David Lloyd George to resign on May 23rd, 1924. Lloyd George was succeeded by his First Lord of the Admiralty, the Earl of Lytton, who had become renowned within the Wartime Coalition during the British Civil War for his skillful handling of the Royal Navy. A member of the Conservative Party, the Earl of Lytton was one of the voices within Cabinet that had advocated for a stricter wartime government to ensure the defeat of the Workers’ Commonwealth and was keen on implementing these policies as soon as he became the British head of government. Democracy was not to get in the way of the Lytton ministry.




    Prime Minister Victor Bulwer-Lytton, 2nd Earl of Lyton, of the United Kingdom.


    Upon assuming control of what remained of the United Kingdom, the Earl of Lytton immediately got to work asserting his authority upon the Wartime Coalition in an attempt to bring back the British Empire from the brink of destruction. Prime Minister Lytton called upon the leaders of the Wartime Coalition to promise that no vote of no confidence or any other traditional parliamentary activities that would distract from the war effort would occur until the British Civil War was over, and the vast majority of Parliament submitted to Lytton’s demands, although HH Asquith, now the Leader of His Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition, would openly protest the increasing authoritarianism of the Wartime Coalition. In order to further crush any potential opposition to his campaign of warfare, Prime Minister Lytton would use his now-unrivaled reign over the Wartime Coalition and therefore Parliament to pass the Suspension Act on June 25th, 1924, which, simply put, prohibited any parliamentary elections until the end of the British Civil War.


    The Suspension Act obviously garnered controversy, but the supremacy of the Wartime Coalition meant that any opposition to the Earl of Lytton, whose grip on Parliament essentially turned him into the de facto dictator of the United Kingdom, was pointless. Throughout the summer of 1924, every single Briton could feel the effects of the Lytton ministry. Wartime media censorship was substantially increased to the point that no Loyalist could read a single article critical of the British government without fearing the law and fervent nationalism was encouraged in every city. Of course, all Loyalists were aware that the United Kingdom was losing the war, even if vague newspapers paid little attention to the victories of John Maclean. The influx of refugees from northern England alone was enough of an indication of the situation of the British Civil War, and as rumors spread the Summer Offensive became known to every single Briton, be they Loyalist or revolutionary.


    While the Summer Offensive could not be stopped and inevitably was an embarrassment for the Lytton ministry, the fall of 1924 did bring better success. Military reforms would ultimately save Scotland from an invasion for the time being, and the end to the continued retreat of the British Army gave the Loyalists at least a bit more time to recruit more soldiers (many of which were simply sent to Europe via conscription in British dominions) and fill up depleted armories. The officers that had let the revolution sweep across Northumbria were ordered to step down and were replaced with new commanders, most notably General Winston Churchill, who had earned notoriety in Hejaz’s fight for independence as the slayer of the Lion of Arabia. General Churchill became the field marshal of all Loyalist forces in Great Britain in the September of 1924 and would successfully hold back the Workers’ Commonwealth in a war of attrition that lasted well throughout the subsequent fall season.




    General Winston Churchill of the British Army.


    As the former First Lord of the Admiralty, Prime Minister Victor Bulwer-Lytton made sure to use the Royal Navy to the best of his abilities and ensure that, even in her darkest hour, Britannia would still rule the waves. The policy against combatting German ships more or less remained consistent with the naval war of attrition that the Earl of Lytton had presided over during his time in the Lloyd George ministry. With that being said, the naval presence in the stagnant war against Germany did slightly decrease to match the similar naval redistribution conducted by the Kriegsmarine ever since the beginning of Phase Two. After all, both the United Kingdom and the Heilsreich had bigger priorities than each other. Why waste resources in what had by then become a meaningless arms race in the North Sea?


    As the Kriegsmarine shifted its attention to the war in the Baltic Sea against the Soviet blockade in the region, the Royal Navy was deployed around southern England, most notably in the English Channel that was often traversed by the French Commune, in an attempt to starve off the Workers’ Commonwealth. In a cruel reverse of fate, the Royal Navy went from the force defending England from the blockade of the German Empire all those years ago to the force encircling England with a blockade of its own. The vast majority of the Royal Navy had actually remained loyal to the Crown as the rest of Great Britain was torn apart (up until the March of 1924, the Royal Navy had actually remained the largest naval force in the world before being overtaken by the German Kriegsmarine), and so the waters of western Europe were still the domain of the British Empire and the blockade around England was relatively easy to enforce, but the Royal Navy had little effect on the war back on land. The Workers’ Commonwealth was no autarky, but at the end of the day it did ultimately have immediate access to more resources than the rump United Kingdom and aerial missions across the English Channel alleviated some of the pain inflicted by the Loyalist blockade.


    As the frontlines of the British Civil War remained stagnant throughout a bloody fall, the clash between monarchist and revolutionary would, at least for a time, revolve around an arms race for aerial dominance. The United Kingdom already had its own air force in the form of the Royal Air Force (RAF), which had existed since the April of 1918, but the Workers’ Commonwealth had to forge its own fleet of aircraft from the ground up. Under the command of Comrade Protector Albert Inkpin himself, the Workers’ Democratic Air Force (WDAF) was established very early on into the Second Glorious Revolution, and was formed in the May of 1922, therefore predating even the Workers’ Model Army.


    Initially little more than a collection of airplanes captured by trade unionists from the RAF, the WDAF was far more centralized than its counterparts on land and sea. Planes were not as accessible as guns or even ships, so militias never really formed as a predecessor to any Commonwealth air force. Instead, the United People’s Congress voted to seize all aircraft and form the Workers’ Democratic Air Force as the first fully-fledged branch of the Commonwealth armed forces. To appease the calls for a decentralized air force, the WDAF was, as the name implied, democratic, with the premier of the WDAF and a handful of other high-ranking officer positions being elected by air force members either every three months or by a vote of no confidence by a majority of squadrons.


    The WDAF was initially underfunded in comparison to the army and navy of the Workers’ Commonwealth. After all, the Commonwealth’s military strategy revolved almost entirely around spontaneous guerrilla warfare, a tactic the WDAF did not mix well with, not to mention aircraft was relatively expensive to produce and was usually not considered worth the investment by the United People’s Congress. The Royal Air Force, on the other hand, was kept in much better shape than its revolutionary counterpart and would often go on bombing runs in the early years of the British Civil War, although as the infrastructure of the United Kingdom was seized these bombing runs became more and more risky. Nonetheless, the RAF would be a valuable asset of the Loyalists and was able to keep up with the technological progress adopted by the more stable powers of continental Europe, even in a state of civil war. As the Heilsreich began to utilize radial engines for their airplanes, the United Kingdom followed suit, and by the March of 1924 rotary engines had become obsolete.




    A Bristol Bulldog fighter plane of the Royal Air Force, circa August 1924.


    As the British Civil War grinded to a standstill, the war in the sky would become as important as the war on land and sea. The stagnant war of attrition turned bombing raids from above into the only way to competently wipe out large swaths of enemy infrastructure and resources, and soon enough air raid sirens were commonplace throughout all of England. The Workers’ Commonwealth was able to hold back the much larger RAF with the underfunded WDAF and whatever anti-aircraft weapons could be found, but the Commonwealth was clearly behind its monarchist counterpart when it came to the war raging amongst the clouds. In the September of 1924, the UPC heavily increased WDAF funding to invest in a new slew of aircraft. By the October of 1924, the numbers of the WDAF were approximately equal to that of the RAF following a rapid buildup of admittedly outdated airplanes. By the December of 1924, the WDAF’s fleet primarily consisted of radial engine airplanes and Scotland feared air raids as much as England.


    As bombs began to fall around Edinburgh, the makeshift capital of the United Kingdom and temporary residence of the House of Windsor, it became clear that no corner of Great Britain was safe from the scourge of the British Civil War. The government of the United Kingdom was no longer safe from the weapons of war, and while Parliament could afford staying in Great Britain for the time, the death of the royal family at the hands of the bomb of a revolutionary simply could not be risked, especially in such a dark time. Therefore, under pressure from Prime Minister Victor Bulwer-Lytton (and, due to the autocratic nature of the Lytton ministry, by extent Cabinet), King George V was asked to flee Great Britain and head for Canada for an unspecified amount of time. After consulting with his family, His Majesty agreed to leave Great Britain once the new year began, and the House of Windsor would begin its exile in Canada upon arriving in Halifax on January 5th, 1925.


    Just after the Windsors arrived in Canada, the British Civil War would begin to move yet again, and just like in the prior summer, the tides of the war were not in favor of the Loyalists. On January 9th, General Winston Churchill was severely injured by an artillery shell, and while he would ultimately survive, the famed general would have to be away from the British Civil War as he recovered. In the meantime, General William Marshall, a veteran of the British invasion of Mesopotamia, took over control of the Loyalist army in the British Civil War, but this would prove to be a fatal mistake. General Marshall, while once a highly regarded commander back in Phase One, had since become a tired armchair general who had wished to retire in 1923 but would remain in the British Army in the fight against the Workers’ Commonwealth due to pressure from both Cabinet and his fellow officers.


    While William Marshall had been a decent enough commander under the leadership of Churchill and had fared better than most during the Summer Offensive, his success commanding over smaller units of soldiers in a war of attrition did not translate over well to presiding over an entire war. On January 23rd, 1925 the WMA took advantage of an opening at Longtown and in a matter of days would cross over into Scotland. Marshall’s defensive strategy of barely falling back, while manageable on a smaller scale, was ineffective when applied to the entirety of Loyalist forces in the British Civil War, which was gradually pushed back by constant guerrilla tactics. By the beginning of the March of 1924, the Workers’ Model Army had conquered Moffat and Edinburgh would soon inevitably become a battlefield.


    The Loyalist war effort across the Irish Sea was not any better. After a successful December, the Socialist Republic of Ireland was on the brink of waving its emerald banner over Belfast and Loyalists to the north were becoming both undersupplied and demoralized. The Irish Democratic Army would make one last push into Ulster as the winter thawed away and the spring of 1925 was ushered in. British Army defenses in Ulster would disintegrate in the face of LT tanks bearing the Celtic harp, and city after city would fall to the Crimson Emerald. Armagh fell on March 2nd, Lurgan fell on March 14th, and Belfast fell on March 26th. As a banner of green arose from the ashes of the fallen temple of Irish Loyalism, it became apparent that the Irish Revolutionary War was over. A handful of Loyalist pockets still fought for King and Country in the northern reaches of Ireland, but evacuations to Scotland were already underway.


    As the Socialist Republic of Ireland began to rebuild from its war for independence (the Great War was not, however, done for Ireland; not long after the Battle of Belfast the Irish Democratic Army was deployed in France), the WMA was also on the brink of banishing capitalism from Great Britain. Loyalist casualties were stacking up, while the production of equipment and recruitment of soldiers within the Workers’ Commonwealth was accelerating at a rate the remnant of the United Kingdom could not keep up with. John Maclean and the SLA would conquer Glasgow on April 3rd, 1925 and would go onto push into northern Scotland while the majority of WMA regiments set their sights on Edinburgh. As April came to an end, so too would the United Kingdom’s reign in Europe. By the time the WMA approached Edinburgh, the Scottish Highlands were under the control of the Workers’ Commonwealth, and so once the capital of Scotland fell to the proletariat, Parliament would have nowhere to run except Canada. Seeing the writing on the wall, Prime Minister Lytton ordered the evacuation of the British government to Canada on April 20th, and only a few days later the Battle of Edinburgh would commence. Few Loyalist soldiers stayed around to see Edinburgh fall, but the final victory of the Workers’ Commonwealth over the United Kingdom on April 24th, 1925 was a momentous occasion nonetheless.


    Great Britain had, just like Ireland, France, and Russia before it, been consumed by the revolutionary flames of the proletariat.



    Darkest Hour


    “Great Britain falls to the Third International”


    -New York Times headline, circa April 25th, 1925.





    A Canadian warship stops a British ocean liner evacuating Europe for inspection in the Atlantic Ocean, circa March 1925.


    After centuries of being ruled by a monarchy, Great Britain, which had been the ruler of the world only a decade ago, had become the domain of a new revolutionary state. Where the Entente had once stood against the wrath of Germany, the Third International had taken its place. Veterans of the revolutions in Great Britain and Ireland became foot-soldiers in the trenches of France while British privateers clashed with the Heilsreich in the waters of the North Sea. In Europe, only a few strongholds of the Entente still remained, and even then one of these temples, Greece, was almost guaranteed to soon become yet another occupation zone of the Central Powers in the defeated Balkans. Europe was no longer the continent of aristocratic imperialists, it was the continent of revolutionaries and reactionaries, locked in a seemingly endless struggle for all they surveyed.


    But beyond the reaches of Europe, the Entente still fought against both communist and fascist alike. In a cruel twist of fate, the colonies of the empires that had been built up by the titans of Europe over centuries were now hearts of the British and French empires who focused all resources on a conquest of their lost European territory. The French Fourth Republic reigned from Algiers, still barely holding onto its colonies, while the British Empire found itself bowing to Canada, where King George V resided in Rideau Hall and the British Cabinet-in-Exile operated only a few blocks away in Ottawa. It was in Canada where the shards of the United Kingdom were stored whilst the still united and functioning Canadian government did its best to try and assume some form of leadership over the largest empire to ever span the globe.


    Unlike the French government, which simply fled to its colonies when cosmopolitan France completely fell to the Commune, the British government did not flee to one of its countless dependencies, and instead evacuated to Canada. A dominion of the British crown, Canada was not a fully fledged independent nation and had to adhere to a handful of British dictates, especially in regards to foreign policy, but Canada was nonetheless far more sovereign than any colony could ever be and was as autonomous as Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland, and South Africa. When the time came for the British Cabinet to flee Edinburgh, Canada was the most obvious destination. As a dominion, Canada already had its own functioning government that could collaborate with the United Kingdom-in-Exile and would be more stable than any oppressed colony. With the exception of Newfoundland, Canada also happened to be the closest British dominion to Europe, which meant that preparations for a return to Great Britain could be relatively easily conducted from Ottawa.


    The relationship between Lytton’s exiled regime and the government of Canada did produce an interesting dynamic between the two organizations. The balance between these forces was completely thrown off by the exile of the Lytton ministry, with the first example of this shift in power being the cession of all Loyalist aerial forces to Canada on May 9th, 1925, therefore handing over the entirety of the Royal Air Force to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). While neither the British Army nor Royal Navy were completely dissolved by Canada, numerous regiments and ships were handed over to their Canadian counterparts in order to ensure that the primary fighting force against the Third International and the Central Powers would be under the control of an actual nation. The remnants of the British armed forces primarily operated in domestic colonial affairs, and with the exception of forces in Egypt, the military of the United Kingdom-in-Exile would never really engage with rival belligerents in the Great War. Even the United Kingdom-in-Exile’s grip over its own colonies, the last truly dependent holdings under the Union Jack, would begin to loosen when Canada was given control over all British colonial armed forces and foreign in the New World via the Treaty of Toronto, which was signed on May 24th, 1925.


    This Canadian ascendance within the inner machine of the British Empire was the brainchild of none other than Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden himself. By the time of the Battle of Edinburgh, the Borden ministry was approaching his fourteenth anniversary within a few months, having begun in the pre-war October of 1911. Elected in a time when Pax Britannica still ruled the globe, Robert Borden’s administration was defined by British Imperial involvement in the Great War, the scourge of the 20th Century. However, while the Great War may have been a curse for the United Kingdom and the world in general, it was arguably very well a blessing in disguise for Canada. Most notably, it would be during the Great War that a Canadian army independent of its British counterpart was forged.


    If the Great War had ended prior to the beginning of the Second Glorious Revolution, it is likely that Canada would have emerged on the other side of this alternate and weaker inferno only slightly less dependent on the British. But the Great War, of course, did not end in this forgotten time and the inferno would instead continue to burn for many decades, and the inferno would burn the United Kingdom alive. As the head of the British Empire was sliced off by the hammer and sickle, the pieces of the shattered realm of Windsor were picked up and stitched together into a Frankenstein’s Monster, this time with two heads. One of these heads was the exiled Lytton ministry, which hung onto its authority by a thread via the colonies, while the other head was Canada. And under the rule of Robert Borden, where there had once been two heads there would soon be one.


    Insistent that the British Empire must recentralize under one leader rather than two squabbling governments, Prime Minister Borden would lead efforts to shift power away from Lytton, which was especially easy thanks to the monopoly of authority he held over the Canadian parliament via the Unionist Party. It would be Borden who had promoted the redistribution of British military forces and the Treaty of Toronto had been approved due to Borden’s encouragement of turning all corners of the New World that bowed to the Union Jack into a united war machine fighting against all shades of the crimson of the Third International. But Robert Borden’s gambit for Imperial domination was far from over, and public support was turning in his favor. As the British Empire took commands from two heads, management of what was still the largest empire in the world became increasingly inefficient and the Canadian people grew tired of taking orders from the United Kingdom-in-Exile. Canadian public support for the plight of the British Empire and the Crown were higher than ever before, but support for the exiled Lytton ministry was plummeting by the day.


    As the Great War raged on in the Atlantic Ocean and spring turned into summer, Robert Borden prepared for the rise of a new British Empire that would be ruled in his own government’s name. By the beginning of June, Victor Bulwer-Lytton could barely stroll through Ottawa without attracting jeers from disgruntled Canadians, for the downfall of his reign was all but guaranteed by this point. The Borden ministry would make its ultimate push for power in the fateful June of 1925, but like the ascendancy of Canada since the Battle of Edinburgh, this push was gradual. First, Robert Borden butted heads with Lytton when he called for the end of the Lytton dictatorship via a general election within parliament of the United Kingdom-in-Exile, with the hope being that John Simon’s Liberal Party would win a majority of seats and pursue a policy of protection under Ottawa.


    With an endorsement from both the Unionist Party and Liberal Party of Canada, the Liberal Party would form the new exiled British government after all eligible to vote (Britons residing in Canada were permitted to vote for what remained of the House of Commons) and would assume power on June 11th, 1925. John Simon would succeed the 2nd Earl of Lytton as the prime minister of the United Kingdom-in-Exile, and as a supporter of the re-centralization of the British Empire (in part due to personal ideological positions, such as strongly valuing the economic and colonial stability of the Empire, and in part due to the influence of the Unionist Party), John Simon would be much more open to ceding power to Canada. On June 18th, 1925 the Simon ministry would oversee the ratification of the Treaty of Halifax, which would cede all British colonies in the New World, which had already been under de facto Canadian protectorate status since the Treaty of Ottawa, to Canada as territories.




    Prime Minister John Simon of the United Kingdom-in-Exile.


    As Canada transitioned into its newfound position as the uncontested guardian of the British Empire in the Americas, the armed forces of what remained of the United Kingdom continued to be redistributed to their Canadian counterparts, which would in turn lead to increased Canadian authority over the entirety of the British Empire. At least in the case of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, the ships defending the holdings of the House of Windsor no longer bore the Union Jack. Instead, these colonies would watch from the shore as ships waved banners in which the symbol of the United Kingdom was reserved to canton of the Red Ensign of Canada. All the while, the negotiations that would ultimately assert Canada atop the throne of the British Empire would take place throughout Ottawa, ultimately culminating in the passage of the Imperial Protection Act on June 30th, 1925. With the simple stroke of the pen of John Simon, the Imperial Protection Act was put into effect, thus turning the United Kingdom-in-Exile into a protectorate of Canada (renamed to the Kingdom of Canada a handful of days later). Under the mandate of the Imperial Protection Act, the United Kingdom-in-Exile would cede control over its militaristic, economic, and foreign policies to Ottawa, and all policies towards British dominions would also be handed over to the Canadian government.


    The Empire of the House of Windsor was reborn, but not back in its European homeland. Instead, the roles of ruler and subject had been swapped and what had once been the British Empire kneeled before the Kingdom of Canada.


    Under the reign of what was often nicknamed the Canadian Empire, the Loyalist war effort would accelerate as warships attempted to crawl back to Great Britain. The war for the Atlantic would become more and more of a challenge as the Workers’ Commonwealth built up its own naval power, thus turning Great Britain into the guardian of socialism at the sea, but wartime production would accelerate throughout the Canadian Empire and conscription in every corner of the Windsors’ realms still fighting in the Great War would ensure a steady flow of soldiers and factory-workers alike. The Saint Lawrence River would become a shipyard, where what had once been the mightiest navy to ever sail the seas carried on.


    The Canadian Empire was, however, short-lived, not because it was defeated, but rather because it was succeeded by an even greater heir to the British Empire. West of Quebec was the Dominion of Newfoundland, once a sparsely populated dependency of the United Kingdom that had been established in 1907 and, just like all other British dominions, would answer to Canada following the passage of the Imperial Protection Act. With an economy dependent on the exportation of fish, paper, and minerals, Newfoundland would fare decently during the Great War and would be able to sell its main exports to the increasingly hungry United Kingdom once the British Civil War began. Resources would flow from Newfoundland and the riches of the United Kingdom would flow back in return in a steady cycle.


    Of course, this cycle of exchange between Newfoundland and Great Britain could not last forever. In the April of 1925 the last Loyalist holdout upon the British Isles would fall to the Workers’ Model Army, and it would not be long the economy of Newfoundland felt the effects of losing its dominant market. The entirety of the British Empire felt a slight economic downturn in the aftermath of the Battle of Edinburgh, but it was Newfoundland, which had almost entirely structured its wartime economy around the needs of Great Britain that was hit the hardest. The Newfoundland Recession of 1925, on top of a government still recovering from instability generated by the corruption of Prime Minister Richard Squires, spelled disaster for the Warren ministry of Newfoundland.


    The Recession of 1925 would provide an opportunity to the Borden ministry, one that could kill two birds with one stone. In its moment of great instability, Newfoundland could easily be annexed into Canada peacefully, thus asserting even greater Canadian authority in the New World. While the annexation of Newfoundland could simply be just that, the annexation of the Dominion into Canada as yet another province, the unification of the two nations into a new state altogether would be far more beneficial for the Kingdom of Canada. If Canada and Newfoundland were to unite into one, an opportunity could be opened to invite the governments of recently-formed directly Canadian colonies in the Americas, which were still uneasy about their new rulers in Ottawa, to participate in the formation of a new state that could represent colonial interests, or at least appease them.


    And so, in the July of 1925 the representatives of the governments of Canada, Newfoundland, and the former’s colonies all arrived in Halifax to forge a new nation to succeed the British Empire, a nation that would come to be known as the Empire of America. While the Empire of America’s political structure was ultimately not that much different from that of Canada, the Empire would be separated into a collection of kingdoms, with these kingdoms being Canada, Newfoundland, the Bahamas, the West Indies, Guyana, and, interestingly enough, Quebec. While the constituent kingdoms of the Empire of America were more or less powerless and had little political distinction from the Imperial government with the exception of a few minor political benefits (the Kingdom of Quebec, for example, was the only region of the Empire of America that recognized French as an official language alongside English), it did offer some recognition of regional differences within the vast Empire.


    Flag of the Empire of America MMH.png


    Flag of the Empire of America.


    But the far more important feature of the constitution of the Empire of America was the establishment of new constituencies and provinces within every kingdom. Constituencies representing voters would span from British Columbia to Guyana, thus ensuring the total assimilation of the Caribbean into the Empire. Furthermore, the autonomy of the provinces of the Empire of America was increased from that of the provinces of the Kingdom of Canada, with agricultural, fishing, and pension laws being handed over completely over to provincial governments in accordance to the constitution of the Empire of America. Provinces also had the right to implement poll taxes, an addition promoted by representatives of the ruling class of the West Indies, who were remnants of the powerful colonial elite of the days of Pax Britannica and were keen on preserving their grip on power. Poll taxes would be used by the majority of Imperial provinces to disenfranchise the lower class, not only to secure power, but to suppress any movement by the working class to push Imperial politics to the left, which, at least in the eyes of the Imperial bourgeoisie, could potentially sabotage the war effort against the Third International.


    After the constitution of the Empire of America was ratified on August 1st, 1925 the first elections of the Empire would occur only two weeks later on August 15th. Nearly all participating parties were previously national organizations-turned local, none of which really had any time to expand their outreach to the greater regions of the Empire of America. The exception to this rule was the Unionist Party of Robert Borden, which would use its authority across all land loyal to the Kingdom of Canada to promote a new slew of Unionist politicians in the West Indies and Newfoundland. After winning a landslide victory in the Imperial Parliament, the Unionist Party would form the first government of the Empire of America on August 19th, 1925 and Robert Borden would officially become the Imperial prime minister. The originally Canadian Liberal Party would form the Official Opposition with an assortment of center-left political parties and would strengthen itself by merging with the Liberal Party of Newfoundland a handful of days later, but even after the unification of the twin Liberial Parties the Unionist Party remained the unstoppable ruler of the Empire of America.


    And so the Canadian Empire’s short-lived reign came to an end and was succeeded by the reign of the mighty Empire of America. By ruling over the new beating heart of the Windsor realms in the New World, Robert Borden sat atop all lower powers of the Entente, at least for the time, and would be tasked with leading the return to Europe. In the name of the seemingly eternal Great War, the Atlantic burned as the ships of both the Imperial American Navy and the Workers’ Federated Navy waged war upon an aquatic battlefield. Both sides were prepared for to clash in a war of attrition upon the waves for who knew how many years and neither the Entente nor the Third International would rest until their enemy was vanquished. But as the Third International fought at both land and sea, the Entente would be forced to turn its attention to the corners of its imperium that had been conquered decades before the Great War began.


    After all, history has proven that regimes built upon the suffering of their subjects rarely last for long when the elite is incapacitated.



    The Headless Snake


    "All civilization", said Lord Curzon, quoting Renan, "all civilization has been the work of aristocracies". ... It would be much more true to say "The upkeep of aristocracies has been the hard work of all civilizations".


    -Winston Churchill, circa 1909




    Indian soldiers and a Gurkha during the Gallipoli Campaign, circa April 1915.


    Just like all the great powers of its time, the United Kingdom’s dominance on the world stage had been built upon the backs of those forced into bondage by imperialism. At its peak, the British Empire controlled territory on every single continent on Earth except Antarctica and one fourth of the global population would be subject to the decree of Britannia. It could be said that the sun never set on the British Empire, for the extent of the United Kingdom’s colonial empire was so vast that it wrapped around the entire planet and at no point would the sun not shine on land that waved the Union Jack.


    Of course, the wretched system of colonialism that formed the base of the United Kingdom’s superpower status was inherently brutal. The vast majority of subjects of the British Empire held no power in the government that ruled over them, and would instead be victims of the exploitative, and often brutal tactics of the British imperialists to profit at the expense of a quarter of the global population. And out of all of the colonies of the British Empire, it could be argued that no colony had it worse off than the British Raj, a large collection of provinces, presidencies, and princely states that spanned the entirety of the Indian Subcontinent. It was policies deliberately implemented by colonial authorities that killed twenty-nine million Indians in the late 19th Century and it was policies deliberately implemented by colonial authorities that reinforced the oppressive caste system as a way to control the lower classes of the British Raj.


    But the stronger they are the harder they fall. Indian soldiers may have fought on behalf of their colonial oppressors during Phase One of the Great War, but as soon as the British Civil War began it was only a matter of time until the Indian masses would rise up in revolution. As the Workers’ Commonwealth proved its strength on the battlefields of southern England, more and more Loyalist soldiers were pulled back from Europe and colonies alike to fight against Inkpin’s revolutionaries. Even as the British Civil War raged on, there were relatively more soldiers remaining in the British Raj than in other British colonies, if only due to the great size and importance of India.


    Nonetheless, as the Workers’ Model Army and the British Army clashed in England, India became a powder-keg waiting to explode. Many Indian nationalist movements disavowed violence, which arguably prolonged any revolution in India, but these nationalist organizations would nonetheless expand as the British grip over the Subcontinent weakened more and more. Nonetheless, as demands for revolution grew, a new militant organization would emerge from the pacifist Indian National Congress (INC) of Mahatma Gandhi. Forged in retaliation to Gandhi’s call for an end to all civil resistance by the INC following the Chauri Chaura tragedy of the February of 1922, this new organization would be called the Swaraj Party and would be formed in the January of 1923 under the leadership of Chittaranjan Das.


    The Swaraj Party would grow throughout 1923 at a surprisingly rapid rate, often at the expense of the Indian National Congress, and this growth was fueled by Swarajist victories in elections within colonial puppet bodies. Swaraj Party would go as far as to even win control over the Central Legislative Assembly, a legislative body that was ultimately de facto powerless but nonetheless spanned all of the British Raj. By the beginning of 1924, the Swaraj Party was starting to overcome the INC in influence and had easily surpassed the Ghadar Party. Eager to capitalize off of the growing thirst for revolution in India, which was fueled by a mentality that the time for liberation was now when the British Empire was at its weakest point, the Swarajists would remobilize the faltering Non-Cooperation Movement and often encourage more aggressive tactics. Large protests filling up entire cities were encouraged across India by the Swarajists and many Swarajist officials, especially the leaders of local factions, would often promote stockpiling ammunition in case a violent revolution would arrive.


    And arrive, a violent revolution did.


    Due to the influence of the socialist revolutions of Europe on the Indian nationalist movement, which often saw the Third International as a comrade in the fight against imperialism, socialism found itself an audience within the Swaraj Party. Prominent Swarajists such as Subhas Chandra Bose would adopt varying forms of socialism and the Third International’s policy of supporting anti-colonialist movements, a policy that had been in place since the early 1920s, would mean that collaboration with socialists was a beneficial policy for the Swaraj Party. The Swarajists would even go as far as to form a coalition with the socialist-leaning Ghadar Party and the relatively weak and disorganized Communist Party of India in the February of 1924, thus forming a united Indian socialist movement called the Indian Liberation Union (ILU). As the British Civil War raged on, the British imperialists began to crack down any left-wing movements at an unprecedented rate, with colonial authorities hoping to prevent the Third International from opening up yet another frontline of the Great War. Not long after the beginning of the Second French Revolution, the British had banned all communist activity in the British Raj, which had never encompassed left-leaning organizations such as the Swarajists, however, the formation of the ILU suddenly gave the British the casus belli they needed to suppress the rise of the Swaraj Party.


    Not long after the formation of the Indian Liberation Union, all participating organizations would face severe, and oftentimes violent, backlash from British authorities. Chittaranjan Das was arrested on March 2nd, 1924 and he would soon be followed by his fellow Swarajists. The British knew that completely banning the Swaraj Party from elected positions would likely result with a widespread uprising, and so Viceroy Rufus Isaacs, 1st Marquess of Reading would pursue a policy of crushing local Swarajist authority one by one. Viceroy Reading was often more passive and progressive than his predecessors when it came to the British Raj, or at least he tried to be, and it was primarily Prime Minister Lytton who had encouraged a violent crackdown on leftism in India, which explained Reading’s slower approach to combating the Swaraj Party, but when Reading had to use force he would not hesitate.


    At first, Reading’s suppression of the Swaraj Party and its allies was actually somewhat successful. Acts of civil disobedience by Indian nationalists increased as Swarajist power was toppled and the Ghadar Party was more sympathetic to the handful of violent riots than its larger ally, but Reading was nonetheless keen on containing purges and insured that such actions would not escalate into violent conflicts by relying more on arrests of elected officials instead of utilizing quick yet messy military force. The acting leader of the Swaraj Party, Motilal Nehru, would ensure that the Swarajists keep up civil disobedience and other forms of protesting as much as possible, but Nehru would not resort to advocating violent revolution, in part due to personal objections and in part due to fears of a revolution being crushed by British military forces.


    But when Motilal Nehru was arrested on October 22nd, 1924 and forcefully dragged out of the United Provinces Legislative Council by colonial authorities in an act that captivated Indian public attention (regardless of attempted censorship by the British), the Swaraj Party was infuriated as Nehru, a champion of civil disobedience, was thrown into prison. It was this anger with the apparent failure of peaceful protesting that catapulted the militant Subhas Chandra Bose, the mayor of Calcutta and an admirer of the tactics of European dictators, to the top of the Swaraj Party. Bose would first pursue a policy of centralization within the Indian Liberation Union and ensured that both the Communist Party of India and the Ghadar Party would be organized into effective proxies for Indian independence.


    Seeing the threat that Bose’s rise to power posed, Reading would soon order his immediate arrest, hoping to stop Bose before it was too late. But little did Reading know, it already was too late, for when the Indian Imperial Police stormed the residence of Calcutta’s mayor on November 14th, 1924 and attempted to capture Subhas Candra Bose, paramilitary guards protected the revolutionary as he made his escape to the neighboring Howrah, where local Swarajists were organized before Bose. It would be here where Bose would call upon the Swaraj Party to take up arms and begin a war for Indian independence. As word spread of Bose’s speech, revolutionaries would take up arms, and by the end of the day the area surrounding Calcutta had become a warzone.


    As Swarajist control over Calcutta was solidified, Subhas Candra Bose would call upon the leadership of the Indian Liberation Union to meet in the heart of the city to officially forge an independent India. It would be in Calcutta that the constitution for the Indian Union was written, thus establishing a centralized government in which the majority of legislative affairs were to be controlled by the national government rather than provincial regimes. Due to the influence of socialists at the Indian constitutional convention, the Indian Union would be a socialist republic in which key industries, such as agriculture and energy production, would be nationalized and all other forms of the means of production would be owned by communities, a system heavily copied from that of the French Commune. Interestingly enough, however, the Indian Union did not adhere to a parliamentary system like many of the socialist governments of the time and was instead a presidential republic in which the president of the Indian Union would be elected every five years.


    Upon the ratification of the constitution of the Indian Union on November 26th, 1924 the only territory controlled by rebel government was a handful of pockets of uprising in eastern India that orbited around the de facto capital of Calcutta, which even then was threatened by a growing British military force sent in to suppress the Indian War of Independence (or as Indian revolutionaries and their comrades in the Third International referred to it, the War of Resistance). To the outside world, these bands of rebels were not a sovereign state at all, and the only nations that recognized the independence of the Indian Union early on were the members of the Third International, many of which also happened to suffer from a lack of recognition of legitimacy on the world stage.


    Nonetheless, after the rump congress of appointed members was formed, it would elected Subhas Chandra Bose to the presidency of the Indian Union, who was keen on treating his new regime like a legitimate nation and paid at least some respect to its constitution. The constitution of the Indian Union was popular amongst the ILU and would make the Union resemble a legitimate nation, both to the people of the British Raj and to the potential foreign allies. Bose would, however, initiate authoritarian measures to ensure that he could effectively wage a war of independence against the British without the All-Indian Congress getting in his way. Under the mandate of Subhas Chandra Bose and the pressure of the Swaraj Party, the freedom of the press would be censored within the territory of the Indian Union, political parties were required to join the increasingly hierarchical ILU in order to be permitted to participate within the government of the Indian Union, and the Indian presidency was given more authority over the armed forces fighting on behalf at the expense of the authority of the All-Indian Congress.




    President Subhas Chandra Bose of the Indian Union.


    Regardless of his autocratic tendencies, Subhas Chandra Bose would become a decently popular leader amongst his fellow Indian revolutionaries and would effectively lead the war effort against British imperialism despite arguably fighting an uphill battle. Advancements were slow, but the Indian Union would gradually consolidate its power in Bengal (militaristic progress would especially pick up once the All-Indian Liberation Army (AILA) was formed on December 11th, 1925) and a guerrilla war by pockets of Indian nationalists across the rest of the British Raj would weaken Great Britain’s grip over what was becoming yet another warzone. As the January of 1925 came to an end, the last British holdouts in Assam were vanquished and the British Army would retreat east into colonial Burma. All the while, the Lytton ministry was focusing its attention on the British Civil War as more and more military forces were sent to the battlefields of northern England, thus depleting the British Raj of manpower as the Indian War of Independence raged on.


    All the while, the Russian Soviet Republic watched the Indian War of Independence carry out from a distance as Red Army forces left over from the Eastern Front of the Great War were amassed on the Soviet-Afghan border, for Leon Trotsky was waiting for the Indian Union to prove its worth as an ally of the Third International before he made the Himalayas burn in a crimson hue. Ever since the expedition of Soviet Fyodor Scherbatskoy to India in 1919, the Red Army had been contributing to a top secret war plan labeled Operation Kalmyk, in which the Soviet Republic was to invade India by first conquering the Himalayan buffer states that laid between Soviet Turkestan and the British Raj and fund revolutionaries in the region to both bring the Himalayas onto the side of Marxist-Leninism whilst also funneling resources to comrades in India.


    Of course, Premier Vladimir Lenin never dared to break Soviet neutrality during Phase One and use what was originally intended to be a defensive strategy against a potential British invasion from Afghanistan, which was subdued by the British around the same time when a coup by Prince Amanullah of Afghanistan was thwarted. In the six years since the end of the Russian Civil War, the Russian Soviet Republic had of course joined the Great War and was an adversary of the British, however, Afghanistan never declared war on the Third International due to the Treaty of Kabul (signed on July 6th, 1919), which ensured that, in return for the continued loyalty of the Afghanistan monarchy to the British Empire, the Emirate of Afghanistan would be protected by the British from a Soviet invasion and would not have to go to war alongside its allies in the Entente against the entirety of the Third International.


    But as the Indian War of Independence raged on in Afghanistan’s backyard, Victor Bulwer-Lytton urged his puppet regime in Kabul to declare war on the Indian Union on behalf of the British Empire. Time and time again, the Afghanistan monarchy would refuse to turn its attention away from its increasingly militarized border with the increasingly militaristic Russian Soviet Republic, but on February 18th, 1925 the situation in India would change when British forces were decisively defeated at the Battle of Kharagpur. After four days of heavy sieging, the AILA would quickly overrun Kharagpur and inflicted massive casualties in the process, which not only sent the British into a westward retreat but also punched a gaping hole into British defenses against the Indian Union, which was able to go on a quick offensive. Prime Minister Lytton knew that he could not afford to send any more armed forces off to fight in India without costing the war effort in Great Britain, and so he would instead force Afghanistan to declare war on the Indian Union by threatening to repeal the Treaty of Kabul if the Emirate did not declare war on Bose’s growing insurgency by February 25th, 1925. Knowing that the death of the Treaty of Kabul could very well be the death of Afghanistan, the Emir would accept Lytton’s ultimatum and declared war on the Indian Union on February 22nd, 1925.


    But little did the Emir know that, ironically enough, cooperation with the British would spell doom for Afghanistan. As the majority of mobilized forces within the Afghanistan armed forces were sent into the British Raj, holes began to emerge in defenses against the Soviet Republic, which the strategic Leon Trotsky saw as the perfect moment to pierce into India and liberate his comrades for the personal gain of the Third International. After a quick last-minute buildup in Turkestan, the Red Army was ready to open up yet another frontline against the Entente in the ever-growing Great War and only had to wait for orders to come down from Moscow in order to initiate Operation Kalmyk. And these orders would finally come down from Premier Trotsky on March 21st, 1925. Within minutes, LT tanks had entered Afghanistan and had thrown the Emirate of Afghanistan into the middle of the bloodiest war in human history.


    The Himalayan Front of the Great War presented a new challenge for the Red Army, which was more accustomed to the plains of eastern Europe than it was to the mountains of southern Asia, but it was a challenge that General Mikhail Tukhachevsky would accept. A veteran of both the Russian Civil War and the invasion of Ukraine, Tukhachevsky was as experienced as he was aggressive (Tukhachevsky’s brutality in Ukraine had earned him much notoriety within the Ukrainian State, even if his actions were often lumped together with those of General Joseph Stalin), and it would be this experience in brutality that put Mikhail Tukhachevsky in command of the invasion of one of the most populous regions in the world.




    General Mikhail Tukhachevsky of the Russian Soviet Republic upon arriving in Termez, circa March 1925.


    As Tukhachevsky began the invasion of northern Afghanistan, the general would employ his staunchly offensive tactics of quick and heavily armed pushes that would exhaust the enemy. Years later, these tactics would become the basis for the deep operation tactics of Phase Three and Phase Four, but for the time being Tukhachevsky’s strategy was merely a relatively simple offensive that took advantage of the Soviet Republic’s industry and population, and it was a successful offensive at that. Even as British and Afghan forces were alleviated from the war in the British Raj to fight against the forces of communism, Operation Kalmyk dug deep into Afghanistan in the spring of 1925 alone. The mountainous terrain of northern Afghanistan proved to be annoying for the Red Army to pass through and made for an excellent hideout for guerrilla forces, however, tanks were capable of leading soldiers through the rough terrain while Soviet airplanes bombed Afghan positions from above without facing much retaliation due to lackluster Afghan air defense.


    On June 12th, 1925 Kabul, the capital of the Emirate of Afghanistan, would fall to the Red Army, which not only meant that the fall of the Emirate would soon arrive but also left the Afghan-Indian border more or less exposed to a potential Soviet invasion. As the summer of 1925 began, Tukhachevsky would focus on ensuring that what remained of the Emirate would be crushed by the might of the working class, and southern Afghanistan would become yet another corner of hell, a product of the Great War, although the South Asian Front became a much more bloody fight for the Red Army as Loyalist veterans of the British Civil War were deployed in Asia with a score to settle with the Third International. As the war against the Workers’ Commonwealth turned into a primarily naval conflict, thousands of soldiers of the British Army were no longer required in the reconquest of Europe, at least for the time being, and would instead become much-needed reinforcements in the frontlines of the southern Asia.


    Nonetheless, even as the South Asian Front slowed down, the Red Army would ultimately emerge victorious in the battlefields of Afghanistan. The size and technological strength of General Tukhachevsky’s military invasion would ultimately overwhelm joint defenses by both the Emirate of Afghanistan and the British Empire, and as the fall of 1925 began the last holdout of Entente forces in Afghanistan would fall after a Red Army victory at the Battle of Rudbar on September 14th, 1925. As the defeated Anglo-Afghan defenses moved south from Rudbar, Emir Habibullah Khan recognized that what was now the Empire of America could not save Afghanistan from the Soviet Republic, and at least capitulation could achieve exile for Habibullah and his family. Therefore, on September 16th, 1925 the Emirate of Afghanistan would capitulate to the Russian Soviet Republic, and like Ukraine, a Marxist-Leninist puppet regime called the Democratic Federation of Afghanistan was established with Premier Abdul Majid Zabuli instated as the leader of both Afghanistan and the ruling United Democratic Workers’ Party (UDWP).


    With Afghanistan yet another pawn of the Third International within the Great War, the Soviet invasion of the British Raj could truly begin. In the September of 1925, Red Army soldiers and LT tanks would race for the Indus River while the Indian Union pushed towards New Delhi in the name of the liberation of all of India from the grip of the Empire of America. By the time October had begun, rebellions were sprouting up all across India. On September 28th, 1925 Advocate-General Seshadri Srinivasa Iyengar of the Madras Presidency called on the Madras Province Swarajya Party (MPSP), which had held a majority of seats within the Madras legislative council since a snap election in June, to declare the Madras Presidency an independent socialist republic. After the MPSP, in collaboration with a handful of members of the declining Justice Party, overthrew British control in Madras, the People’s Republic of Madras was declared following the ratification of a constitution on October 8th, 1925, and a decentralized federation of communes was born along the coastline of India.


    And so, as rebellion spilled throughout India in the east and the Red Army conquered what had once been the greatest colony of the British Empire from the west, it appeared as though the sun would only continue to set on the legacy of the British Empire. The German Heilsreich had long since beaten the Empire of America when it came to naval power, the fight for the reconquest of Great Britain had bogged down into a naval war of attrition, imperialists and nationalists alike were beginning to eye Imperial colonies in Africa, and soon the British Raj would be no more, replaced by a league of revolutionary states. But even as the Entente was all but defeated on the European continent and was just barely holding onto its remaining colonies, its fight in the Great War was far from over. Robert Borden had mobilized his new empire into a force for King and Country that would fight until the bitter end and the French Fourth Republic was holding on in Algiers. But nonetheless, new support would be necessary if the Entente had any chance of surviving to 1930.


    And this new support would soon arrive in the form of a new ally.


    The reign of Brazil over the New Western Civilization was on the horizon.


    November 1925-Manmade Hell.png


    Map of the World circa November 1925.
     
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    Chapter Eight: The Tendrils of War
  • Chapter VIII: The Tendrils of War

    “As communist revolution plagues Russia and horrors of brutally modern conflict continue to ravage the European continent, it is more important than ever before for Brazil to preserve its declaration of neutrality in the Great War. But let it be known to the great powers of Europe: Brazilian neutrality does not equate to passive nature. If any force dares to attack the Brazilian nation, such an aggressive force would make a grave mistake.”

    -President Venceslau Bras of the First Brazilian Republic, circa April 1917.



    Flag of the First Brazilian Republic.

    Unlike the United States, Italy, or Japan, all of which were powerful states that would be neutral during the Great War around at least some point or another, Brazil was not regarded as a sleeping giant. When the Great War broke out, what was then called the Republic of the United States of Brazil (now often referred to as the First Brazilian Republic) was a large state with an undeniably vast access to natural resources as a consequence and therefore absolutely had the potential to become a major power, however, due to the agrarian and aristocratic economic structure of the Empire of Brazil, which had fallen in 1889, the new Brazilian oligarchic democracy was barely industrialized and had little authority on the world stage.

    As a South American nation whose only connection to European affairs was selling agricultural products, Brazil had no need or interest in sending soldiers across the Atlantic Ocean to the fight in the battlefields of the Great War. Instead, a policy of neutrality was pursued by presidents Hermes da Fonseca and Venceslau Bras as the Brazilian government carried on as it had since the fall of the Empire and prioritized domestic interests over foreign entanglements. As the European titans fought a war between nations, Brazil fought a war against its own people, with the Bras administration completing the Contestado War against rebels in southern Brazil in 1916.

    There were still advocates for Brazilian entry into the Great War, many of which argued that entry into the war would be a good way to spur patriotism, however, these voices were nonetheless unable to win over the Brazilian government. While the entry of Brazil into the Great War looked more likely after the RMS Lusitania was sunk in May 1915 by a German submarine, thus temporarily spurring anti-German sentiment within the United States, the most influential power in the New World, however, efforts by the German Empire to not awaken the sleeping giant that was the United States of America succeeded and the potential for a naval attack to inadvertently pull in any American nations or their allies dissipated.

    As blood spilled on the fields of France and the crimson flags of revolution were flown through the streets of Russia, the First Brazilian Republic would remain an agrarian oligarchy under the reign of Venceslau Bras, with the labor union movement in Brazil being brutally suppressed. As a consequence, the interests of the ruling agrarian elite were kept in place, and the Brazilian working class was choked by a boot of conservatism. These brutalities would, however, keep down the social change that threatened Brazil’s oligarchy and were therefore supported by those who ruled over the First Brazilian Republic. Bras’ successor, Delfim Moreira, who assumed power in 1918 and left the presidency in 1919 would continue the legacy of his predecessor by forcing anarchists into exile, and Moreira’s successor, Epitacio Pessoa, would continue the legacy of his predecessor by imprisoning numerous leftists.


    President Epitacio Pessoa of the First Brazilian Republic.

    The Pessoa administration would continue to enforce Brazilian neutrality on the international stage as Phase Two began over in Europe, however, the thirst for a crimson revolution would make its way across the Atlantic to Brazil as the already suppressed Brazilian socialist and labor movements were bolstered by the uprisings in the rotting corpses of the Entente. For the first time in years, general strikes became common throughout Brazil despite the best attempts of Pessoa and his cronies to retaliate. The revolutions in France and Great Britain were especially mobilizing for Brazilian leftists due to the democratic and pro-labor union elements of these movements, elements that were absent from the revolution of Vladimir Lenin.

    By the fall of 1922, the General Strike of 1922 that had swept the United Kingdom prior to the Second Glorious Revolution had been mimicked in Brazil as leaders of labor and socialism alike coordinated worker resistance to the oppressive plutocracy that reigned over the so-called Brazilian Republic. As streets were flooded with workers swept up in the rushing currents of international revolution, the Brazilian Strike of 1922 grew to be so large that law enforcement alone could not suppress the masses, and so military forces were called on to drive back what Epitacio Pessoa saw as an attempt to spread Bolshevism to Brazil.

    Acts of violence against the proletariat only fueled the flames of revolution in Brazil, and to many it appeared as though the fledgling First Brazilian Republic would soon succumb to the same revolutions that had infected Russia, France, and the United Kingdom. Even as military forces occupied the streets of Brazilian cities, many soldiers, who were often as disgruntled by Pessoa’s oligarchy as the protesters they were supposed to suppress, would either refuse to carry out any oppressive orders or would straight out cross picket lines to join strikes. For many Brazilian conservatives and authoritarians, especially military officers, the growth of radicalism amongst the Brazilian people was due to the failure of Brazilian republicanism. In the eyes of these autocratic strongmen, Brazil needed to be led by a centralized regime that could efficiently root out traitors to the state in a way respect for human rights simply did not permit.

    Convinced that it was their duty to seize control of the Brazilian apparatus of state, a league of military authorities, monarchists, and conservatives convened in Manaus, a city tucked away in the Amazon Rainforest outside of the eye of national authorities, in November 1922 to discuss the overthrow of the First Brazilian Republic and the establishment of a Brazilian autocracy in its place. Prominent figures present at this convention included the military officer and former President Hermes da Fonseca, aviation pioneer and monarchist Alberto Santos-Dumont, and famous lawyer Borges de Medeiros, not to mention much of the leadership of the Militar Club. After numerous meetings spanning throughout a week, what became known as the Manaus Convention not only conceived of a plot to overthrow Epitacio Pessoa but also laid down the framework of their replacement state.

    After much debate, it was decided that Brazilian republicanism could not persist. The monarchists present at the Manaus Convention insisted that, while a military junta could serve as the ruling government, the return of a Brazilian monarch to the throne would be able to garner public support by serving as a unifying figurehead in a time of great instability while also generating nostalgia for the days of the Empire of Brazil and therefore a rejection of the government of the First Brazilian Republic. Despite the monarchists at the Manaus Convention being a minority, they were undoubtedly a vocal minority and ultimately a persuasive one, with military autocrat wannabes agreeing that a constitutional monarch would make for a good propaganda stunt. In the end, hardline opponents to the re-establishment of the Brazilian monarchy were overshadowed and it was agreed that the Manaus Convention would overthrow the First Brazilian Republic in the name of the House of Orleans-Braganza.

    The December Putsch was a quick and mostly painless coup. The majority of high-ranking Brazilian military officers supported the putschists, led by Hermes da Fonseca, which left President Epitacio Pessoa essentially powerless to stop his own government’s destruction. On December 11th, 1922 the streets of Rio de Janeiro were occupied by military forces proclaiming their loyalty to General Fonseca and Prince Pedro Henrique, with soldiers waving flags covered with the old symbols of the Empire of Brazil. Within a little over an hour, Rio de Janeiro was blockaded by putschist forces, and as Fonseca and his army convened upon the location of Epitacio Pessoa and the Brazilian legislative assembly, the clocked ticked down until the end of the First Brazilian Republic. Within a handful of hours, the entirety of the Brazilian government had been arrested and Hermes da Fonseca would address a crowd of startled citizens by declaring the restoration of the Brazilian monarchy and the destruction of the incompetent republican government in favor of a “military state that shall uphold and defend the crown of Brazil.”

    The Second Empire of Brazil had been born.

    Flag of the Second Empire of Brazil MMH.png

    Flag of the Second Empire of Brazil.


    The Empire of the West

    “The placid shores of the Ipiranga heard
    the resounding shout of a heroic folk
    And the sun of Liberty in shining beams
    shone in the homeland's sky at that instant

    If the pledge of this equality
    we managed to conquer with strong arm
    In thy bosom, O Freedom,
    our chest defies death itself!

    O beloved,
    idolized homeland,
    Hail, hail!

    -Beginning of the Brazilian National Anthem.



    Prime Minister Hermes da Fonseca of the Second Empire of Brazil.

    Much of Brazil’s modern history is that of a tragedy. Upon the downfall of the First Empire of Brazil and the establishment of the First Republic, the fledgling state slid from obsolete monarchism into the hands of an oligarchy ruling under the pretext of being a democracy. This oligarchy, the First Brazilian Republic, was plagued by instability throughout its entire history. Of course, this instability would spell the end of the First Brazilian Republic, but rather than resulting in the overthrow of the Brazilian oligarchy in favor of a democratic system, the December Putsch overthrew the First Brazilian Republic’s ruling class and simply replaced it with a new one that fused both the aristocratic and military leadership of Brazil.

    The government of the Second Empire of Brazil was an odd conglomerate of Brazilian autocrats and conservatives. Officially, the head of state was Prince Pedro Henrique, who was crowned Emperor Pedro III shortly after the December Putsch, however, the Manaus Convention made it clear that the Brazilian monarchy was to be a symbolic one that stepped aside from controlling the apparatus of state in favor of the military junta and reserved its authority to only a handful of tasks. And for the time being, Pedro had no political responsibilities anyway, for upon the declaration of the Second Empire of Brazil, the new emperor was merely thirteen years old and relinquished any duties to his regent, the aviation pioneer and avid monarchist Alberto Santos-Dumont.

    Santos-Dumont was appointed by and answered to the true leader of the Second Empire of Brazil, Prime Minister Hermes da Fonseca. The leader of the December Putsch and former president of the First Brazilian Republic, Hermes da Fonseca was an odd choice for the leader of the restored Brazilian monarchy, considering that he had not only been the leader of the preceding republic but was also the nephew of the founder of said republic, Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca, and had supported his uncle’s revolution back in 1889. Fonseca was therefore a supporter of republicanism and, despite being present at the Manaus Convention, had advocated for the temporary establishment of a military junta within the framework of the First Brazilian Republic and had fought strongly against calls for the restoration of the Brazilian monarchy, only conceding when his opponents ultimately won out.

    It was, ironically enough, Hermes da Fonseca’s history of supporting Brazilian republicanism that resulted in him being chosen as the leader of a monarchist coup. The individuals present at the Manaus Convention had numerous reasons for why they supported the creation of the Second Empire of Brazil. Some were simply avid monarchists, some believed that a constitutional monarchy could be manipulated into an effective propaganda tool, and some couldn’t care less about monarchism and just wanted to win support from monarchists for the sake of gaining power. But this reasoning was obviously not shared with the majority of Brazil’s population. The total recreation of the old Brazilian monarchy with solely monarchists at the helm would not have the public backing necessary to survive. But a Brazilian monarchy governed by a hero of the Republic, who was supporting the restoration of the House of Orleans-Braganza because, even to such a hardline republican, the failure of the First Brazilian Republic was apparent and called for a return to the days of Brazilian might? That was certainly effective propaganda.

    In the end, installing a republican as the leader of the Second Empire of Brazil paid off. Not all Brazilians, obviously, would ever support either a military junta or a return to the days of the Empire, however, in general the public would either wind up supporting Fonseca’s regime or would simply shut up and carry on with their lives as an age of authoritarianism began. To the workers fighting for liberation in the Brazilian Strike of 1922, the call for an end to capitalist exploitation continued to ring into the age of the Second Empire of Brazil, however, Hermes da Fonseca would not respond kindly to these strikes. The strikers were deemed traitors to the Empire and the military was to treat them as such, with the general strike being violently suppressed with tactics that belonged on battlefields. This, in turn, led to a violent retaliation by strikers in numerous occasions, however, the working class of Brazil was no match to Fonseca’s tyranny, and by the end of January 1923 the Brazilian Strike of 1922 had come to an end only due to soldiers spilling the blood of the innocent in the streets.

    With the Brazilian Strike of 1922 over, Hermes da Fonseca turned to new priorities. Any other opposition to his iron first would be crushed by local military and police forces carrying out his bidding, so Fonseca directed attention towards the industrialization of the Second Empire of Brazil, a nation that began its existence with less than ten percent of the total national capital directed towards industry. Reasoning for Brazilian industrialization varied, with a handful of monarchists simply wanting to return to the days of surging Brazilian industrialization during the very end of the First Empire, but the primary motivation was economic. Historically, Brazil’s economic relations with foreign markets had been built off of trading agricultural commodities with markets abroad whereas any Brazilian industrial interests were satisfied by imports.

    But by the 1920s, this economic system was no longer sustainable. Even for neutral nations, the entire global economy revolved around the Great War. This was most prominent within the United States of America, where Wall Street tycoons invested heavily in the stocks of the booming military industrial complex both domestically and abroad, but such orbit around the Great War was an international economic trend that no state was safe from. In Brazil, the effect of the Great War was not the opening of new markets but rather the closing of historical ones. Longstanding trading partners closed their doors to exporting industrial equipment when every single resource had to be diverted to the war effort, and while the United States continued to trade with Brazil, by the 1920s American corporations had come to the realization that European markets were willing to buy much less for much more than Brazil was willing to offer.

    Therefore, if the Second Empire of Brazil was to economically survive the clash of the titans, industrialization was a necessity. On February 3rd, 1923 Hermes da Fonseca and his junta’s oligarchs approved of the Great Leap Forward, a national industrialization effort that was, ironically enough, more or less a copy of the Three Year Plan of the Russian Soviet Republic, a nation despised by the Second Empire of Brazil. For the next three years, the Brazilian people would be forced to build up national industry, with thousands of civilians being forced into what has since been condemned as slavery under the guise of military conscription, only for said civilians to be sent off to work in the development of factories.


    A Brazilian child factory worker, circa March 1923.

    Unlike its Marxist-Leninist counterpart, however, the Great Leap Forward did not build up nationalized infrastructure, for the Second Empire of Brazil was avidly committed to capitalism and shunned nationalization, and instead industrialized Brazil via a web of corporatist kleptocracy. The top corporate leadership of Brazilian industry were assigned sums of workers to utilize to meet industrialization quotas, all of which were determined between the military junta and wealthy industrialists behind closed doors in Rio de Janiero.

    The Great Leap Forward was undeniably brutal. In only three years, nearly one million Brazilian workers had perished at the hands of grotesque working conditions and millions more continued to languish away in the emerging factories of Brazil. With only slightly less casualties than the Three Year Plan of the Russian Soviet Republic, the Great Leap Forward truly was a sick parody of its crimson counterpart. In the East, the people were wiped out by the brutal cold of the Russian winter; in the West, the people were wiped out by the brutal heat of the Brazilian summer. In the East, factories built off of the backs of authoritarianism emerged from the desolate warzones of the Great War; in the West, factories built off of the backs of authoritarianism emerged from lush jungles that, for the time being, were as disconnected from the Great War as possible.

    To the military junta of the Second Empire of Brazil, the wretchedness of the Great Leap Forward was irrelevant. All that mattered in the eyes of Brazil’s new oppressors was that the Empire had been successfully industrialized. By 1926, Brazil was the new industrial center of Latin America and, despite still not being at the same level as many European nations or the United States, the Second Empire of Brazil had achieved breaking away from reliance on an economic system killed by the Great War. Ironically enough, however, Hermes da Fonseca did not live to see the end of the Great Leap Forward and died in September 1923. His position as both prime minister and field marshal of the Second Empire of Brazil was filled by Minister of War Pedro Aurelio de Gois Monteiro, a thirty-three year-old military officer who had fought in the December Putsch under the command of Fonseca.


    Prime Minister Pedro Aurelio de Gois Monteiro of the Second Empire of Brazil.

    Gois Monteiro was a young man who had never anticipated that he would become the leader of a military junta. His strengthening relationship with Hermes da Fonseca before, during, and after the December Putsch simply turned him into an automatic minister within the Fonseca regime, not to mention his appeal to younger soldiers was an appreciated resource for the fledgling junta. Upon becoming the Brazilian minister of war, Gois Monteiro was well aware that he would succeed Hermes da Fonseca in accordance to the constitution of the Second Empire of Brazil, however, it was anticipated that if Gois Monteiro were to ever become prime minister, it would be years down the line. But this was not the case, and in less than a year after the establishment of the Second Empire of Brazil the young Gois Monteiro had become its new head of government.

    Pedro de Gois Monteiro was apathetic to the Brazilian monarchy and had dedicated himself to the ideals of the December Putsch due to his belief that military autocracy was the only way to successfully govern a powerful Brazilian state. Therefore, his rule saw little change policy-wise from that of his predecessor, with the priority of Gois Monteiro being the continuation of the Great Leap Forward. It would be Gois Monteiro who would preside over and enforce the worst horrors of the Great Leap Forward, not the program’s instigator.

    But Pedro de Gois Monteiro’s reign over the Second Empire of Brazil would not be defined by the Great Leap Forward and would instead be defined by his role in the war raging on across the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout the fall of the First Brazilian Republic and the rise of the Second Empire of Brazil, European policy regarding Latin America had more or less remained the same. Focus on the task at hand instead of wasting resources and potentially risk war with neutral states by scouting the southern Atlantic. But Brazilian policy, however, would change with the new regime.

    The Second Empire had been forged via a counter-revolution against what Brazilian conservatives had misinterpreted as a communist rebellion and Gois Monteiro was especially open to the idea of resisting the Third International abroad, which translated into the state-sponsored lease of Brazilian agricultural products to the Entente starting in August 1925. In the eyes of the Gois Monteiro ministry, the Entente was the ideal alliance for Brazil to back in the war against the Red Menace due to the shared 19th Century-esque conservatism of the Entente and Brazil. Private investment in the Central Powers was tolerated in this time period, however, it became increasingly discouraged despite the ideological similarities of the Brazilian military junta and fascism.

    Brazilian leasing to the British Empire and later the Empire of America was due to both nations being on the same side of the Atlantic, however, the distribution of resources to the Entente’s lesser member states, such as Portugal and Greece, was a different story. Brazilian ships would have to traverse the waters of war, where the naval forces Entente, Third International, and Central Powers set the sea aflame throughout the vicious Atlantic Front. Of course, no faction dared to risk war with Brazil, especially as the nation industrialized, and Germany especially made sure to uphold its 1915 commitment to avoiding U-boat attacks on the vessels of neutral states. But as American merchants had already learned years ago, such attacks were inevitable. At first, no one paid much attention to Brazilian leasing, however, soon enough the Third International and Central Powers both wanted Brazilian ships out of their sight, and this ultimately resulted in a ship carrying the banner of the Second Empire of Brazil being caught in the crossfire of a clash between Italian and Portuguese forces off the coast of the Iberian Peninsula.

    On March 13th, 1926 the Rio Branco was sunk by the Kingdom of Italy.


    The sinking of the Rio Branco, circa March 1926.

    Unlike the Lusitania, whose sinking had caused in outburst in anti-German sentiment across the United States over a decade prior, the Rio Branco was not a passenger ship simply trying to make its way across a warzone. It was a mercantile ship delivering resources to one of the belligerents in the Great War, and would therefore seem to be inherently subject to an attack. But to the militant and nationalist government of Brazil, especially to Gois Monteiro and his lackeys, the sinking of the Rio Branco could only be interpreted as an act of war by the Central Powers. Thus, on March 18th, 1926 the Second Empire of Brazil would declared war on the Kingdom of Italy and her allies and Prime Minister Pedro de Gois Monteiro announced his support for the Entente cause, resulting in a declaration of war on the Third International two days later.

    Brazil had entered the arena of the Great War.


    Over There

    “The West is united against Radicals!”

    -Subtext from an Imperial propaganda poster, circa April 1926.



    Brazilian soldiers from Phase Two of the Great War.

    When the Second Empire of Brazil entered the Great War on behalf of the Entente, the full involvement of Brazilian military forces abroad was still months away. The casus belli to go to war had been unexpected by even those who declared it, so the initial weeks of Brazilian involvement in the Great War was characterized more by the mobilization of Brazil’s armed forces than it was by actual combat. Furthermore, even if there were military forces ready for deployment, it would take time for Brazilian naval infrastructure to effectively transport soldiers across the Atlantic Ocean.

    Nonetheless, the Brazilian declaration of war was a great morale booster for the Entente. Out of the three factions of the Great War, the Entente was the one that had suffered by far the most since the beginning of Phase Two, at least from a militaristic perspective. The Russian Empire was a distant memory, hiding in the shadow of the mighty Russian Soviet Republic, whilst the Entente’s two other strongest member states, the French Third Republic and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, had been kicked off of the European continent and were fighting a war of reclamation. Only Greece and Portugal still held out on the European mainland, with the former just barely surviving against the Austro-Hungarian onslaught.

    For an industrialized state across the Atlantic Ocean to not only lease resources to the Entente but to also join the Great War on the pact’s behalf at its weakest moment was a cause for celebration across the Entente. For many, it symbolized that the Entente was not yet dead and its cause was still worth fighting for. To the military high command of the Entente, it meant that the tides of many battles could maybe, just maybe, be turned in their favor and a glimmer of hope for a victory once thought to be long gone emerged.

    By the beginning of May 1926, the first convoys of Brazilian warships began to arrive in Canada to prepare for the brutality of the Atlantic Front. These forces were not those of the old agrarian Brazil that had fought in numerous local and chaotic conflicts throughout the 19th Century, but rather the forces that represented the ascendant industrial power of the south. The Brazilian cruisers docked in Canadian harbors alongside the ships of the once-invincible Royal Navy were fearsome metal monuments to the regime that had constructed them; atop each ship was a legion of Brazilian flags waving in the name of the Second Empire and any individual educated enough in foreign affairs who walked by these vessels could feel the discomfort creeping up from knowing that the majority of the ships were likely constructed at the expense of labor of the Great Leap Forward.

    Soon enough, the harbors of Canada became populated by a constant flow of Brazilian warships stopping in preparation for the war that was being waged beyond the horizon before leaving to clash within the Atlantic arena. Out on the bitter waves of the northern Atlantic, the Imperial Brazilian Navy became a critical fighting force in what had been a war of attrition for over a year. The vastness of the Atlantic Ocean made specific advancements difficult to calculate, however, in a matter of months Entente forces had progressed substantially further east and decimated much of the naval capabilities of the Workers’ Commonwealth. Across the Commonwealth, newspapers awkwardly shrugged off these defeats upon the waves, but in the Empire of America propaganda and newspapers alike vocally touted the victories as the beginning of the end of Inkpin’s revolutionary state.

    Of course, the Workers’ Commonwealth would not sit idly by as the Loyalists crept back across the Atlantic Ocean. As the summer of 1926 set in, the priority of the United People’s Congress had become how to retaliate on the Atlantic Front, with a slew of bills being passed increasing warship production. These bills would help increase the size of the Commonwealth’s naval force, however, the UPC would ultimately have to work with a decentralized league of privateers rather than a legitimate navy, with the “navy” of the Commonwealth being a confederation of shipbuilding unions and soldiers’ councils deemed the Workers’ Naval Federation (WNF). This was not unlike the decentralized systems previously utilized for the military and aerial forces of the Workers’ Commonwealth prior to centralization via UPC intervention.

    Throughout the Second Glorious Revolution, the WNF had actually been a decent fighting force that punched quick and small holes into the Royal Navy’s blockade and served as a defense of the Commonwealth whenever necessary. But this was back during a civil war waged on land, where naval forces simply served as assistance to land forces. For the WNF, this meant that councils would often negotiate tactics with their land counterparts and then carry out actions that ensured that the plight of the Workers’ Model Army would not be disrupted in any way by the Royal Navy. In 1926, the clash between the Commonwealth and the Loyalists had shifted from land to water and it was no longer the WMA, which had made its way across the English Channel to France to fight on the Western Front, that was the bulk of this clash but rather the WNF.

    And of course, as all of Europe sooner or later learned, war is inherently authoritarian. To wage war means that basic ethics and rights are to be forfeited, and in the Workers’ Commonwealth this meant that the cherished workplace democracy that had been established in the Second Glorious Revolution would not apply to the armed forces that spearheaded the rebellion of the working class. In July 1926, the Naval Reorganization Act was introduced to the United People’s Congress, with the bill’s sole purpose being to replace the Workers’ Naval Federation with a centralized navy called the Workers’ Revolutionary Navy (WRN). Despite being strongly opposed by a handful of libertarian socialists and being fiercely debated both within the Commonwealth government and amongst its people, the Naval Reorganization Act was ultimately endorsed by Comrade Protector Albert Inkpin and the Communist Party of Great Britain, thus causing the bill to pass with ease on August 7th, 1926.

    The establishment of the Workers’ Revolutionary Navy was controversial, but by the end of August the new fighting force had proven its success. The broad coordinated attacks of the WRN had slowed down the Entente’s push east and a war of attrition between the Third Internationale and the Entente had resumed as the status quo of the Atlantic Front. Alongside the WRN, the Workers’ Democratic Air Force would fight in the Atlantic Front from the air, with planes being utilized as both scouts and bombers that aided the war effort of the WRN down below. The command structure of the WDAF was more or less identical to that of the WRN, and therefore the two bodies meshed very well together and were truly a force to be reckoned with on the Atlantic Front. The remnants of the RAF, once the dominant aerial force in the Second Glorious Revolution, was now no match for the might of the air force of the proletariat, which demolished numerous Entente warships and planes alike.


    A WDAF Bristol Bulldog fighter plane flying by the crew of the WCS Indefatigable, circa September 1926.

    The Great War constantly demanded the production of new equipment and the WRN would satisfy this demand by creating the first original warship designs of the Workers’ Commonwealth. During the days of the PNF, all Commonwealth battleships had either been the property of revolutionary privateers or had been seized from the Loyalists one way or another. This was understandable, considering that the Commonwealth did not have the infrastructure, incentive, or time necessary to build its own ships during the Second Glorious Revolution, however, as the Atlantic Front raged on the Workers’ Commonwealth was not only in a position where it was able to construct new vessels but was in a position where it had to. Simply put, wartime technology was always advancing and the Workers’ Commonwealth could not afford to be outpaced in a field as critical as naval infrastructure.

    Due to the heavy role of the WDAF within the arsenal of the Commonwealth on the Atlantic Front, new designs would often focus on complimenting aircraft. One of the first original Commonwealth designs for a warship was an aircraft carrier converted from the two Courageous-class battlecruisers captured in the Second Glorious Revolution. This type of aircraft carrier, called the Marx-class aircraft carrier, finished conversion in June 1927 and subsequently saw action immediately afterwards. Marx-class battleships proved to be valued of the WRN, for they were as effective in combating the Entente as they were effective as a symbol of the ingenuity and innovation of the Workers’ Commonwealth. After the completion of the first two Marx-class aircraft carriers, the WDS Engels and the WDS Cromwell, the UPC would vote for the production of more Marx-class ships as they proved their success, bringing the total fury of the WDAF to the heart of the Atlantic Front.


    The WDS Engels and the WDS Cromwell, circa July 1927.

    As the conversion of Courageous-class ships to Marx-class aircraft carriers concluded, the Workers’ Commonwealth continued production on new models for ships, but despite the Great War incentivizing rapid shipbuilding, it would take at least many months for conversions to be completed and it would take years for the first completely original models of the WRN to be introduced to the fury of the Atlantic Front. For now, the Commonwealth’s arms race with the Empire of America and the Second Empire of Brazil was more or less restricted to the conversion and modification of already existing warship models, a strategy also employed by the Empire of America.

    As a war of both air and water raged on across the Atlantic Ocean, the Second Empire of Brazil was not exclusively focused on the plight of the fallen ruins of the British Empire in the northern waters, even if it was a priority of Gois Monteiro. Brazil would prove itself to be a vanguard for the entirety of the Entente and would fight on behalf of the Empire of America on other fronts. In India, the Imperial Brazilian Army would deploy thousands of ground force in both the war against the Indian Union and her allies in the east and the Russian Soviet Republic and her puppet regimes in the west. The Indian frontlines of the Great War were unlike anything the armed forces of Brazil had ever faced before, with the clash with the All-Indian Liberation Army being the first time the vast majority of Brazilian soldiers had ever experienced the brutalities of guerrilla war, let alone a guerrilla war in the name of the horrors of colonialism.

    Nonetheless, under the leadership of General Augusto Tasso Fragoso, an avid supporter of the military junta and former participant in the Manaus Convention, the Imperial Brazilian Army served as a primary fighting force in Indian. Personally appointed by Gois Monteiro to head off to the subcontinent shortly after the Brazilian entry into the Entente, Fragoso broadly presided over all Brazilian military forces within the British Raj and therefore oversaw a war effort on two fronts.The general would reside on the Himalayan Front against the Red Army and therefore focused most of his direct tactics on the war against the Soviet Republic, however, he would nonetheless play a heavy hand in Brazilian involvement in the Indian War of Independence.

    Many had deemed the preservation of the British Raj an impossible task. The region was simply a powder keg waiting to explode, one that the British Empire would have had a difficult time containing even before the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Nonetheless, the Entente would effectively make its best attempts to fight an uphill battle. And the Entente’s ability to hold out for as long as it did was in no small part thanks to the involvement of Brazil in India. General Tukhachevsky’s push for the Indus River had long before the sinking of the Rio Branco, however, the next major Soviet target, the city of Lahore, would not be so easily reached. As the summer of 1926 set in and the first Brazilian regiments arrived in the British Raj, Mikhail Tukhachevsky had recently emerged victorious at the First Battle of Sargodha on May 22nd, 1926, a hard-fought win for the Red Army. Tukhachevsky anticipated his offensive towards Chenab Nagar in the south to have similar results, but as the flag of the Second Empire of Brazil began to wave along the Chenab River, this seemed to not be the case.

    It was at the Battle of Chenab Negar that Augusto Tasso Fragoso got his first taste of combat in the Great War. The relentless bombing of Chenab Negar began on May 26th, 1926, which was accompanied by a rapid and large offensive by the Red Army in the tactics of Tukhachevsky that had become infamous across western Asia. Fragoso was not necessarily an extremely skilled tactician, especially when compared to Tukhachevsky, and had never fought in a conflict even close to the scale of anything the Great War had to offer, but the numbers of his forces and the equipment imported from Brazil would ultimately save Chenab Negar from the fate of Sargodha. The Battle of Chenab Negar was a decisive victory for the Entente and as the Red Army retreated back to the northwest, it would be immediately followed by a counter-offensive of both Brazilian and Imperial forces alike led by Fragoso towards Sargodha. This resulted in the Second Battle of Sargodha, starting just hours after the Battle of Chenab Negar, in which Fragoso commanded a quick and brutal attack on Red Army positions in Sargodha. Eventually, however, the Soviets wore down the Entente attack, which turned the Second Battle of Sargodha into a war of attrition that the Entente eventually retreated from on May 30th, 1926.

    Augusto Tasso Fragoso could not stop Mikhail Tukhachevsky. His army was, of course, a welcome addition to the Himalayan Front for the Entente, however, the Red Army was simply too large, too well-equipped, and too well-commanded to be defeated on this frontline. When the push towards Chenab Negar failed, Tukhachevsky simply turned his attention northwards and attacked Gujrat, where the Soviets managed to cross the Chenab River on June 11th, 1926. The unexpected Soviet offensive to the north of Chenab Negar forced a general retreat in which the Entente focused on the defense of Gujranwala and Faisalabad from the artillery fire of the Red Army.

    In the end, the banner of the Russian Soviet Republic waved over both of these cities, and it would also eventually be raised above Lahore. With that being said, the Red Army’s capture of these cities took much longer than anticipated because of the increasingly large presence of the Imperial Brazilian Army on the Himalayan Front. Fragoso would utilize large quantities of machine guns and armored vehicles to clash against Tukhachevsky in the greatest fight the Soviets ever really faced in India. The fall of Gujranwala on June 29th, 1926 required almost a month of brutal combat, as did the fall of Faisalabad on July 8th, 1926. The push for Lahore, in which the Red Army took on the combined defenses of what remained of Brazilian and British forces on the Himalayan Front lasted even longer, with the Battle of Lahore coming to an end on August 3rd, 1926 after weeks of mechanical and industrialized trench warfare ripped from the nightmares of the Western Front.

    The Himalayan Front after the Battle of Lahore was a very different conflict. Gone were the days of a ceaseless Soviet advance, unstoppable by the forces of the Entente. The Military and resources of the Second Empire of Brazil had turned the front into a slow and grueling clash of titans reminiscent of the frontlines of Europe. Battles lasted days and securing even a few meters of land was considered a victory. Trenches were dug into the desert of the western reaches of the Subcontinent while the relentless warfare scorched entire regions of human settlement. And of course, much like on both the Western and Eastern fronts, the Himalayan Front demanded the constant upgrade of weapons from both belligerents.

    With the already lacking infrastructure of the Empire of America being almost completely dedicated to the Atlantic Front and the British Raj being in a simultaneous state of revolution and conquest that made it increasingly difficult to be exploited by the Empire, the arms race on the Himalayan Front was predominantly Brazil’s responsibility. Ammunition, guns, and armored vehicles were all produced by Brazilian industrialists to be exported to India while the industries of the Empire of America would negotiate agreements with the kleptocracy of the Second Empire of Brazil to pay Brazilian corporations to construct the weapons of the Loyalists. With the exiled governments of the Entente financing the buildup of Brazilian wartime industry, the Second Empire of Brazil became regarded as the “Factory of the Entente,” and in only a handful of years approximately three fourths of all Entente weapons, regardless of the nations utilizing this equipment, would be produced by Brazilian sweatshops.

    The Factory of the Entente would make sure that Mikhail Tukhachevsky would have to fight a slow and brutal war if he were to ever paint all of India crimson, however, the Indian War of Independence was a different story. The Indian Union was waging a fierce guerrilla war that cut deeper and deeper into the British Raj while the People’s Republic of Madras solidified the revolution in southern India. Thanks to the forces of Madras, the Kingdom of Travancore was brought into the fold of socialism following its defeat at the Battle of Trivandrum on January 23rd, 1926 and the People’s Republic of Travancore was subsequently established as a puppet regime of Madras. All the while, the All-Indian Liberation Army made the slow push towards New Delhi whilst integrating much of northern India into Subhas Chandra Bose’s republic.

    By the time the Imperial Brazilian Army arrived in the British Raj, the AILA had made its way its way as far as Lukcnow, which fell on May 19th, 1926. Augusto Tasso Fragoso, who focused primarily on the Himalayan Front, could not stop the advance of the Indian Union, however, he could throw a handful of Brazilian regiments out east to slow down the Indian War of Independence. Furthermore, on top of attempts to grind down the Indian War of Independence into a war of attrition, it would be Fragoso who, in collaboration with Imperial colonial and military forces, would order the first ever aerial bombing campaign against the Indian Union in the October of 1926.


    Warplanes of the Imperial Brazilian Air Force preparing for takeoff nearby Farrukhabad. circa October 1926.

    In the end, the bombing campaign against the Indian Union, which Fragoso had deemed Operation Ddraig, failed to turn the tides of a war clearly not in the Entente’s favor, however, it certainly gave Bose a hard fight to win. Neither the Indian Union nor the People’s Republic of Madras had any sort of airforce and instead had to rely on anti-aircraft equipment, which was often imported from the Soviet Republic. For the first time since the beginning of the Indian War of Independence, many regions liberated by the AILA faced the horrors of war as constant bombing raids made the Bay of Bengal burn and the supply lines of the Indian Union were often devastated, which substantially disrupted its war effort.

    Nonetheless, the Indian Union would persist against the machines churned out by the Factory of the Entente. The oppressed masses of the Indian Subcontinent gradually turned on their colonial tyrants and the flames of revolution could not be put out by the bombs of the twin empires of America and Brazil. The push towards New Delhi would be long, but it was ultimately a push that succeeded, even if the push carried on for many years. The liberation of northern India was a fierce war of attrition between oppressors and the oppressed, one that was not only fought on battlefields but in the streets of the British Raj as guerrilla movements behind enemy lines waved the flag of the Indian Union across much of the burning Subcontinent.

    As the Workers’ Commonwealth introduced some of its mightiest ships to the Atlantic Front and the summer of 1927 began, the War of Indian Independence was still raging on and New Delhi was still a British colony. But the war in India was coming to an end, for the Battle of Aligarh ended in a victory for the AILA on June 1st, 1927. As guerrilla warfare raged on, the regiments of the AILA could just barely see the outskirts of New Delhi on the horizon. Soon, the day would come when the beating heart of the British Raj would be in the hands of the Indian proletariat and banners of crimson would wave across all of the Subcontinent. But for now, the struggle of the Indian worker would carry on in a fight for independence against the hydra that was the forces of the British and Brazilian empires.

    One day, New Delhi would be painted red.


    Nostalgia

    “I had always hoped that I would never have to see the godforsaken battlefields of France again, but if that is to be my fate, then I am proud that this time I have arrived bearing the uniform of our most glorious revolution.”

    -Field Marshal Clement Attlee of the Workers’ Model Army in a speech to the United People’s Congress, circa January 1926.



    Soldiers of the Workers’ Model Army marching through Lumiere, circa February 1926.

    The socialist revolutions that had swept across Europe during the Great War were ironic in that despite often being spurred by opposition to the war, the revolutionary men and women who had lost so much the fires of Phase One found themselves fighting on the frontlines of Phase Two. The primary members of the Third International, the Russian Soviet Republic, the French Commune, and the Workers’ Commonwealth, were among the predominant belligerents of Phase Two of the Great War and the soldiers of their armies were often veterans of the earlier years of the Great War who had taken up arms against oppressive wartime policies, only to return to the Great War under a crimson flag.

    This irony was not lost on the people of the Entente, many of whom maintained staunchly anti-war stances even as the Third International beat the drums of war. While such anti-war stances were not very profound in the Soviet Republic, for the Eastern Front was going very well for the Red Army and Leon Trotsky could simply purge prominent dissenters, these views were much stronger within the Workers’ Commonwealth. As the United People’s Congress approved of the redistribution of the WMA to the Western Front following the conclusion of the Second Glorious Revolution, the British pacifist movement made itself heard, especially once the UPC voted to end centralize the Commonwealth’s military institutions, such as its navy.

    British pacifism ultimately culminated in the formation of the Socialist-Pacifist Party (SPP) in August 1925. Led by Arthur MacManus, a former member of the De Leonist Socialist Labour Party (SLP) and opponent of British involvement in the Great War (so much so that MacManus had been arrested in 1915 for speaking out against conscription), the SPP obviously focused on its opposition to warfare of any kind, arguing that war was inherently contradictory to the democratic and egalitarian views of libertarian socialism. With that being said, however, the SPP did have positions on other issues, such as branding itself as a strongly anti-centralization party by claiming that warfare inevitably led to increased hierarchy and authoritarianism within governing bodies and branding itself as anarcho-syndicalist by promoting a revolutionary unionist approach to achieving libertarian socialism non-violently.

    The rise of the SPP conveniently aligned with the call for the first ever general election within the Workers’ Commonwealth. Following the Battle of Edinburgh, the Inkpin ministry sought to stabilize Great Britain in order for an election to be held that would allow for MPs representing recently liberated regions, primarily Scotland, to be within the United People’s Congress. The 1925 Workers’ Commonwealth general election was held on October 2nd, 1925 and after two months of campaigning the new British legislative branch came to power on October 20th, 1925. The CPGB of Albert Inkpin controlled a plurality of seats in the UPC and formed a coalition with numerous other parties, such as the SLP and the Labour Party of the Workers’ Commonwealth (LPWC), called the British Workers’ Coalition of Communism, Syndicalism, and Labour (BWC-CSL) that formed a strong majority in the UPC.

    While the pro-Great War BWC-CSL controlled the Commonwealth government, the People’s Opposition would be led by the Socialist-Pacifist Party, with Arthur MacManus becoming the People’s Opposition Leader. To contrast the BWC-CSL, MacManus formed the Democratic Workers’ Committee (DWC) coalition, which consisted of the SPP, Workers’ Socialist Federation, the recently-formed Home Rule Party of Scotland, alongside a handful of minor parties, independents, and even some CPGB and LPWC MPs. In vocal opposition to the staunchly interventionist and pro-Great War policy of the BWC-CSL, the DWC advocated for calling for an immediate end to all hostilities of the Great War while also often promoting social progressivism, decentralization, revolutionary unionism, and libertarian socialism, all of which were usually better received by the BWC-CSL-dominated UPC.


    Founder of the Socialist-Pacifist Party and People’s Opposition Leader Arthur MacManus.

    Regardless of the vocality of the SPP, opposition to British involvement in the Great War was overall a position not supported by the majority of the Workers’ Commonwealth’s population. Considering that it had been the Central Powers that had attacked the Third International first rather than the other way around many saw the Commonwealth as a victim of warfare that had no other option other than to stand with its allies against the tyranny of fascism. Furthermore, numerous British revolutionaries saw it as their moral duty to defend their comrades abroad and kill the twin fascist demons that terrorized Europe from Berlin and Rome. Therefore, Albert Inkpin had no trouble with mobilizing the Workers’ Model Army to return to the battlefields of France in yet another clash between Great Britain and Germany.

    In the French Commune, there was barely a trace of any anti-war movement similar to the Socialist-Pacifist Party of the Workers’ Commonwealth. The people of France were sick and tired of a war that had ravaged their homes for over a decade and of course wanted the man-made hell to end, however, for the French Commune, peace was not an option. The moment Alfred Hugenburg had ordered an offensive into the territory of the Commune all those years ago and had condemned Europe to another decade of the bloodiest war in human history made it obvious to the whole world that the Heilsreich would not accept peace until socialism was crushed in France. Thus, the French Commune could not escape the Great War. For there to be peace in France, either Lumiere or Berlin would have to fall.

    Fortunately for the LGPF, the Western Front had been spared the worst of Phase Two. The might of the Red Army meant that Germany had bigger concerns than what was, at least at the beginning of Phase Two, little more than a glorified mutiny and adopted a strategy of holding off the French Commune until the Russian Soviet Republic no longer posed as much of a threat. As the German Empire and its vile successor, the Heilsreich, waged war against the Red Napoleon, the LGPF merely faced a line of German trenches left over from the war against the French Third Republic whose soldiers were ordered to deter, not to invade. This German strategy would ultimately fail, for as the puppet regimes forged at Brest-Litovsk fell to the Soviet onslaught, the French Commune emerged victorious over the Republic and built itself into a fully fledged nation that could hold an admittedly dim candle to the Heilsreich.

    In the immediate aftermath of the Second French Revolution, Boris Souvarine, who was dealing with the fighting force of a state that had already lost over a third of its male population many years ago, sought to preserve the deterrence between the French Commune and the German Heilsreich on the Western Front, instead urging the Communard presidium to focus offensive action on the French Fourth Republic as the Commune rebuilt military infrastructure in the north. But the success of the revolutions in Great Britain and Ireland meant that the frail Commune would not stand alone against tyranny. Field Marshal Clement Attlee of the Workers’ Model Army himself arrived in France to command the Workers’ Expeditionary Force and the Crimson Clydesider made sure that he would be leading the proletariat to victory against the fascist imperialists.

    By the spring of 1926, the Western Front was a parody of itself from a decade prior. The same states from Phase One were still present, however, the war of imperialism had been replaced by a war of ideology. Trenches once thought to be long forgotten from a war in the past were refilled with regiments from across Europe, and soon enough British, French, and Irish military commanders were meeting behind closed doors to design plans for an offensive against German forces. The first of these plans to be put into effect was Operation Lockhart, an offensive planned to retake Dunkirk and the surrounding French coast from German military occupation. Starting on March 27th, 1926, Operation Lockhart caught German military forces in the region, who were still fighting under the assumption that offensives on the Western Front were being deterred, completely off guard. The Anglo-French-Irish coalition of Third International forces led by John Maclean quickly overran German trenches, and in a handful of weeks the Third International had reached Dunkirk.

    The First Battle of Dunkirk would begin on April 22nd, 1926 as Third International forces pierced the city from the south. As German regiments guarding the outskirts of the city were sieged by the army of the revolution, nearby British and Irish aerial forces in the English Channel were given the go-ahead to start an extensive bombing run over Dunkirk in order to annihilate German military infrastructure in the city and distract regiments throughout the interior of Dunkirk. This strategy was surprisingly effective and within a matter of hours General Maclean had emerged victorious at the First Battle of Dunkirk and the remaining German forces under the command of General Walther von Luttwitz evacuated across the border into the Kingdom of Flanders.

    Operation Lockhart was a great success for the Third International, but it marked the end of the period of deterrence that had existed since the Soviet declaration of war on the German Empire. Suddenly, the Heilsreich would have to mobilize forces on the Western Front to a rate that had not been seen in years and new offensive strategies would have to be developed. This was difficult, given that the German Heilsreich would suddenly have to partition strong military forces between the Western and Eastern frontlines, however, by accelerating military technology infrastructure within the Rhineland the German military sought to overwhelm the enemy with technology that had previously only been used against the Red Army.

    In retaliation against Operation Lockhart, General Luttwitz would lead an offensive from Reims in which the Heilsreich would attack with a slew of tanks, aircraft, and chemical weapons that had proven to be successful on the Eastern Front but had never before been used on the Western Front. The initial result was a fast push towards Lumiere that made many German soldiers naively assume that victory over the Commune was within reach, however, the Third International would swiftly retaliate against Luttwitz’s offensive and would unleash a barrage of military forces and aerial attacks upon the German army. Luttwitz was flanked and defeated yet again at the Battle of Beuvardes on May 12th, 1926 and was forced to retreat back to Reims and prepare for trench warfare as the Third International introduced new weapons to the frontlines, such as upgraded Robespierre R24 tanks.

    Due to both the Third International and Central Powers being low on manpower on the Western Front, the belligerents of the frontlines turned to new tactics revolving around technology rather than heavy manpower to win the decade-old war. The French Commune would focus on the stockpiling of Robespierre R242 model tanks within its arsenal while the production of Soviet model LT tanks was an effort conducted in all Third International states, especially the Socialist Republic of Ireland, which did not have to worry about any homeland or secondary frontline like France and Great Britain and was therefore able to focus wartime efforts on buildup for the war effort on the Western Front. Just as they had been in the Second French Revolution, Robespierre R242 tanks were a useful tool for the LGPF, as were the numerous LT model tanks, however, General Commander Souvarine was keen on continuing the advancement of Communard tank technology, believing that armored vehicles would make for a very effective backbone for the French war effort.

    By working with designs that had been tossed around by Communard military officers since the beginning of the Second French Revolution, General Commander Souvarine would begin the development of a new line of light tanks, the first of which was ultimately completed near the very end of 1926. This new type of light tank was designed to primarily fight against infantry rather than armored targets and was initially less advanced than Soviet models, however, it was nonetheless an upgrade from Robespierre R24s and was a welcome addition to the Proletarian Tank Corps. First introduced to the Western Front nearby the still German-occupied Reims, this new type of light tank would eventually become the predominant armored vehicle in the entire LGPF and was named the Armure series, which is literally French for “armor.”


    An Armure I model tank in northern France, circa January 1927.

    Just as Boris Souvarine had expected, the Armure tanks would prove to be effective against German infantry and their utilization on the Western Front would, alongside LT-7s and Robespierre R242s, lead to the liberation of Reims on January 12th, 1927 and the subsequent pushback of German forces from the surrounding region after years of German occupation over the city. From Reims, Souvarine would lead his mechanized revolutionary army to victory at Caurel, Warmeriville, and Tagnon, all by the end of the February of 1927. To the shock of the entire world, the Great War was not yet lost for France, and despite still suffering from a critical depletion of manpower that was just barely being bandaged by the conscription of women into the LGPF and the arrival of military forces from Great Britain and Ireland, the Commune was not only holding its own against the Heilsreich but was, in many ways, winning.

    As more and more tanks were produced by the Third International and the CCP grew into one of the largest sects of the entire Communard armed forces, Boris Souvarine began to experiment with an original warfare tactic that took advantage of the French Commune’s increasingly extensive arsenal of armored infantry in order to compensate for low manpower. This new strategy would revolve around the idea of annihilating enemy defenses by spearheading an offensive with a quick and surprising attack led by armored infantry and followed by soldiers to clean up what remained of the severely weakened enemy. Souvarine was fascinated by the idea, which he estimated would efficiently and rapidly overrun German defenses while also ensuring that substantial manpower would not be wasted, and would test his new tactic on the Western Front as soon as it had been finalized and approved by his fellow commanders.

    Foudreguerre had been born.

    Souvarine’s new tactic of foudreguerre was indeed a massive success and resulted in much of the German military on the Western Front being rapidly overrun. The tactic was first utilized against the bulk of Luttwitz’s forces at the Battle of Rethel on March 3rd, 1927, and would send the Heilsreich on the run up north towards Flanders. Thanks to punching severe wounds into German defenses via foudreguerre, the French Commune managed to approach the border of Wallonia by the end of March 1927, a task that many would have considered impossible only a year ago. Foudreguerre tactics were adopted by WMA Field Marshal Clement Attlee, who had been assigned to leading Third International forces in an offensive to liberate the territory surrounding Alsace-Lorraine, and continued to be extremely effective at defeating the Germans and liberating France.

    Due to being closer to the German border than the occupied territory to the west that was south of Belgium, the region of France between the Meuse River and Alsace-Lorraine was more heavily defended than other parts of the Western Front. Nonetheless, Field Marshal Attlee would push through one of the most well-defended regions in Europe thanks to foudreguerre completely catching the German forces in the territory off guard, forcing the Heilsreich to retreat back against an army of what had only a few years ago been little more than a coalition of disgruntled British union workers. Throughout the beginning of 1927, Clement Attlee would dig deeper and deeper into territory that had not known freedom from Germany in many years.

    As the WMA liberated Nancy, Luneville, and Flin from the wrath of the Heilsreich, it became increasingly possible in the eyes of the German high command that the Central Powers could lose the Great War, not because the war of attrition on the Eastern Front would overrun the Heilsreich into oblivion but because the German military had underestimated the capabilities of the Third International on the Western Front and had underprepared for what was clearly becoming a brutal war waged with strategies the likes of which had never before been seen. General Walther von Luttwitz, who was frantically presiding over the Western Front from southern Wallonia, clearly was not winning the Great War for Germany and was therefore relieved from his duties on May 1st, 1927 by Alfred Hugenberg himself and was replaced by Walther von Brauchitsch as the head German officer on the Western Front.

    Eventually, the advance instigated by foudreguerre was slowed down by the increased introduction of armored infantry to the Western Front by General Brauchitsch and a massive buildup of German aerial attacks on France, however, at this point the damage had been done. The last year had been catastrophic for the Heilsreich and fantastic for the Third International. In Germany, fear of losing a war that had for so long apparently been in favor of the Central Powers began to creep up amongst the elite of Berlin whereas in Lumiere, the people rejoiced, for the glimmer of hope that had been put out by the cruel cynicism of Phase One had been reignited, this time burning brightly in the name of the proletariat. Regardless of whose side you were on, by the summer of 1927, one thing was certain.

    The war on the Western Front was not over. It had only just begun.


    The Powder Keg of Europe

    “It is the duty of the Empire of America, all domains loyal to His Majesty, and our allies in the Entente to save Greece, the birthplace of Western Civilization, from destruction at the hands of the Central Powers.”

    -General Winston Churchill in a speech to the House of Commons of the Empire of America, circa February 1926.



    Soldiers of the Kingdom of Greece during Phase One of the Great War, circa 1917.

    When one thinks of the Great War, the war in the Balkans is usually not what first comes to mind, and for good reason. In a clash between giants, who would choose to focus on the fight between the dwarves on the sides of these giants? But anyone who has researched the origins of the War to End All Wars would realize that the horrors of the Great War did not begin because of a great international crisis in Germany, Great Britain, Russia, or France, but instead began all because of two bullets. These two bullets were fired in Sarajevo, then little more than a de facto colony of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, by a Serbian nationalist all in fierce opposition to the reign of Vienna over Bosnia. It had been said for many decades prior that the Balkans were the powder keg of Europe, and this prophecy would be fulfilled with the Austro-Hungarian declaration of war on Serbia that ignited the flames of war that would burn for the next three decades.

    But the war in the Balkans went by fast. While Serbia held its own for awhile against Austria-Hungary, no nation in the region was a great power, and one of the strongest Balkan states, Bulgaria, happened to align with the Central Powers, thus accelerating the fall of Serbia and her allies. Even if the Austro-Hungarian Empire was often an incompetent mess on the Eastern Front against Russia, it successfully crushed the Kingdom of Serbia and the Serbian Campaign came to an end in the December of 1915, a little over a year following the start of the Great War, with a decisive Central Powers victory. Serbia and Montenegro were subsequently partitioned between military occupation by Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria, with the latter annexing its territory in southern Serbia in early 1919.

    However, as the rest of the Balkan states were overrun by the combined might of Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria, one member of the Entente continued to hold off the onslaught. This nation was none other than the Kingdom of Greece, a nation that sat at the bottom of the Balkan region. Greece credited is survival in the Great War to a handful of factors, such as the nation’s relatively late entry into Phase One. While the Greek prime minister had been supportive of the Entente, King Constantine of Greece was a supporter of neutrality in the Great War, thus perpetuating a period called the National Schism in which the Kingdom of Greece awkwardly maintained neutrality as war raged on in the north. It would not be until the Bulgarian invasion of Macedonia in 1917 that Greece officially joined the Great War on behalf of Entente war effort.

    Even after the Kingdom of Greece officially entered the inferno of the Great War, it still has not crushed like a pulp in a manner copying the defeat of Serbia and Montenegro two years prior. As the Hellenic Army went to war, revolution broke out across the Russian Empire, which spread strong anti-war sentiments throughout Greece’s primary opponent, the Tsardom of Bulgaria. Opposition to the Great War became so severe that Prime Minister Vasil Radoslavov was pressured into resignation and anti-Great War sentiment evolved into anti-monarchist sentiment. Greece was therefore confronting an unenthusiastic state whose army was plagued with consistent mutinies, which meant that Greece could hold its own with ease during its first few years participating in the Great War, even occasionally managing to advance into Bulgarian territory.

    By the beginning of Phase Two, the Hellenic Army had conquered Prilep while the Bulgarian government was still going through a period of instability. Furthermore, the two Central Powers states that could pose a threat to the Greek war effort on the Macedonian Front, Italy and Austria-Hungary, were more concerned with other frontlines, with the former pushing through the Alpine Mountains into France while the former’s military was being directed by Germany to fight the Red Army. But even as the Macedonian Front was going relatively smoothly for Greece, after five years of persistent warfare cracks were beginning to form. Opposition to the Great War was subtly emerging, even if the government of Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos’ pro-Great War government sustained popularity, and the remnants of the movement for neutrality from the National Schism began to make calls for signing a white peace agreement with the Central Powers.

    Regardless of these calls, Venizelos carried on leading Greece into the meat grinder. Greek propaganda made strong work of depicting the Entente as the guardians of Western Civilization in the face of revolutionaries and reactionaries and even as the Second Glorious Revolution broke out, the British Empire ensured its commitment to provide Greece with aid on the Macedonian Front, primarily by sending naval and military forces from Egypt and British puppet regimes across the Middle East across the Mediterranean Sea. Assistance from the Royal Navy was especially useful in the face of attempts by the Kingdom of Italy to establish a blockade around Greece and assert authority in the Aegean Sea, with Mussolini concluding for the time being that establishing a foothold on Greece was more trouble than it was worth.

    But as the Entente’s remaining great powers were deteriorated by revolutions inspired by their Russian comrades, Greece found itself increasingly isolated in a time period when the Central Powers were becoming ascendant. Just as the Royal Navy began to gradually pull back from the Mediterranean to defend Great Britain, the Tsardom of Bulgaria underwent a harsh change in government that spelled a subsequent restructuring in military policy. Prime Minister Vasil Radoslavov continued to hold onto power in the Bulgarian government as Phase Two began due to strong support from the pro-war elite, the Bulgarian monarchy, and the other Central Powers, however, this didn’t stop growing anti-war support, led by the liberal Aleksandar Malinov. The declaration of war by the Soviet Republic on the Central Powers on February 8th, 1923 ultimately ignited the flames of the anti-war movement of Bulgaria, thus triggering an election only a few days later that resulted in Aleksandar Malinov and the Democratic Party forming the new Bulgarian government.

    To the conservative allies of the Central Powers, Malinov’s victory was infuriating. To General Ivan Valkov, it was treason. The Tsardom of Bulgaria would not succumb to a pacifist regime that would surely sign a peace treaty with the Kingdom of Greece, one in which Greece would hold the upper hand in negotiations. As Aleksandar Malinov began to assemble his cabinet, Valkov would assemble a collection of Bulgarian military and conservative elite to plot a coup. Soon enough, General Valkov would lead a militia alongside his fellow military officers on February 25th, 1923 into Sofia and forced the Malinov government to resign. In Malinov’s place, a military junta led by Ivan Valkov as both the prime minister and minister of war of Bulgaria would reign, with the fellow instigators of the coup forming the Military Union as a coalition of oligarchs managing the government of Bulgaria in the name of Tsar Ferdinand I.


    Prime Minister Ivan Valkov of the Tsardom of Bulgaria.

    The reign of Valkov was that of great repression, with the Democratic Party, leftist organizations, and any other accused traitors to the Bulgarian war effort being swiftly purged by the pawns of the Military Union. But, at least when it came to the Great War, it was also an effective reign. Mutinies were quickly suppressed, incompetent officers were ousted, and national resources were directed towards the war effort at an unprecedented rate. As the Valkov ministry settled in and Bulgaria reaffirmed its loyalties to the Central Powers, the Bulgarian military began to see its first victories in ages against Greece. The Skopje Offensive, which started in 1923, would retake Bulgarian Macedonia from Greece, with Notia falling to the Tsardom on April 18th, 1923. Meanwhile, the forces of Bulgaria would begin to lead successful offensives into southern Macedonia within Greece, however, Greek trenches prevented the Bulgarians from getting too far.

    To the people of Greece, this was obviously demoralizing. To go from grasping victory to facing the bulk of the Bulgarian onslaught that had consumed Serbia many years prior was understandably shocking to the Greek population and a new logistic nightmare for Entente officers. Nonetheless, the Hellenic war effort was not deterred. The Macedonian Front was far from lost and the policy of the other Central Powers, which were nations that could really spell defeat for Greece, was to focus on other, more urgent frontlines, such as the Eastern Front and the Alpine Front. The Kingdom of Greece simply carried on, serving as a beacon for an alliance that was thought to soon be extinguished from the European continent.

    But sooner or later, destruction would ravage Greece. Two years after the beginning of Phase Two in 1923, the Kingdom of Greece was still holding out against the rage of Ivan Valkov’s Bulgaria, however, it was at this point that the misery of a seemingly endless war had infected the Greek populous. Thousands of Hellenic lives, both of soldiers and the innocent, had been lost to the flames of the Great War and it had become apparent that what was supposed to be a relatively quick and painless victory for Greece could very well result in the nation’s conquest by far-right militarist juntas. But even as morale began to dissipate, the Greek government remained committed to the war effort against Bulgaria by reinforcing trench defenses while Greek diplomats operated backchannels to British colonies and puppet regimes in the Middle East to ensure naval support in the western Mediterranean, even if a major commitment of forces was less plausible following the fall of Great Britain.

    However, as the Kingdom of Greece continued to hold out against the torrents of the Great War’s horrors versus Bulgaria, the Kingdom of Italy began to divert forces towards the eastern Mediterranean to fight against the Greeks. Ever since the intervention of Italy in the Great War and the subsequent beginning of Phase Two, the primary focus of Italy had been the conquest of southern France in accordance to both the strategic policies of the Central Powers and Benito Mussolini’s own personal ambitions. Alongside Austria-Hungary, the Italian navy maintained a presence in the Adriatic Sea and the neighboring bodies of water, but the larger navy of the French Third Republic, which more or less remained in tact alongside France’s southern coastline regardless of the seizure of many naval forces in the north by the French Commune, meant that the Regia Marina ultimately dedicated the majority of its resources to the naval clashes of the Western Front.

    Once the war on the French mainland came to an end in late 1923 and the French Third Republic fled to northern Africa, Italian naval authority in the western Mediterranean became less and less necessary. After all, the Second French Revolution had transitioned into a clash upon the waters between two already weakened naval forces and the Marine Nationale was obviously far more concerned about the war against the makeshift Communard navy than it was about the war against the Italian navy. The Italian armed forces still maintained a presence on the French mainland, however, these forces were trapped in the Alpine Mountains. In the peaks of these mountains, a relentless war of attrition raged on between the forces of Italy and the Commune. Despite their superior size of the Italian military, the chaotic terrain of the Alps erased any logistical inequalities between the combatants of these peaks as a complex guerrilla war was fought within the mountain ranges, with regiments of both the Commune and Italy sneaking around and alluding their enemy and laying critical blows upon rival forces.

    As the bulk of the Italian navy and much of its military was withdrawn from the western Mediterranean Sea, these forces were allocated to the war against Greece in the east. Starting in October 1924, an Italian naval blockade began to encapsulate the Kingdom of Greece in an attempt to isolate and starve off the Hellenic state from the external aid of what remained of the Entente. British naval forces from the Middle East would fight tooth and nail to resist this attempt to forge a blockade, but in the end the forces of the tyrannical Mussolini prevailed and by April 1925 no ship could enter or escape the reaches of Greece without first witnessing the wrath of the Regia Marina.


    Warships of the Regia Marina during the Blockade of Greece, circa May 1925.

    As Greece was gradually cut off from its only allies, a coalition of Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces would begin to assert their authority upon the Adriatic Sea and the surrounding territory by crushing whatever remained of the Entente in a region that had been dominated by the Central Powers for years while regiments were pushed through the Balkans towards the Macedonian Front. The Kingdom of Italy in particular would send a large quantity of military forces to the Kingdom of Albania, which had been more or less spared the horrors of warfare as Greece focused on Bulgaria and Italy focused on France. Now, however, as Italy became more and more keen on ensuring the fall of Greece, the fragile Italian protectorate was soon to be condemned to the same fate of the rest of the Balkans; relentless, cruel, and vicious warfare in in the name oppressive powers seeking to dominate the region in an increasingly meaningless and old game of imperialist expansion of influence.

    Throughout 1925, Greece would continue to just barely hold out against the Central Powers. Trench warfare would keep both the Italian and Bulgarian invasions at bay while Entente aircraft patrolling the sky above the Mediterranean would keep Greece on life support with supplies that bypassed the blockade below. Nonetheless, Greece was beginning to obviously fall to the Central Powers. Initial incompetent logisitcal and offensive tactics on behalf of the Italians was ended when Ugo Cavallero was put in charge of Italian military forces on the Macedonian Front in November 1925. The war for the Balkans was no longer a war of attrition but instead began to move much quicker. In only a matter of weeks, General Cavallero had pushed the Italian army from near the Greco-Albanian border into the city of Ioannina, which fell to Italy on December 21st, 1925.

    This successful offensive by the Central Powers would carry on throughout the subsequent winter as city after city fell to the Italo-Bulgarian onslaught. All the while, Entente aerial forces within the region were gradually defeated as the Regia Marina was equipped with better anti-aircraft weapons. The German Heilsreich was extremely reluctant to cede any portion of its infamous air force to any frontline besides the Eastern Front, but German aircraft production plutocrats were always eager to increase their wealth and happily signed contracts with the Italian government to construct airplane models for the Italian armed forces for utilization in the war against Greece. By January 1926, the last bastion of the Entente in the Balkans was slowly being cut off from its allies and was to be condemned to the fate that had haunted Serbia, Montenegro, and Belgium before it.

    To the people of Greece, the beginning of 1926 marked the beginning of the end for their independence from the tyranny of fascism. The Blockade of Greece began to close in and tighten its grip upon the Hellenic kingdom, and a series of naval attacks in January and February 1926 led to the conquest of the Ionian Islands by the Kingdom of Italy. From here, the Italians utilized their new foothold just adjacent to the Greek mainland to launch relentless attacks upon the Greek coastline. In two instances, these attacks gave way to securing beacheads in southern Greece, with Italian forces launched from the Ionian Islands securing Nikolaos and Vigklafia on February 23rd and February 27th, 1926 respectively.

    These pushes into southern Greece from the sea were accompanied by Ugo Cavallero’s continued offensive from Albania towards Athens and the Tsardom of Bulgaria’s push through southern Macedonia. As February came to a close, Cavallero linked up with Italian forces invading from Nikolaos at the Battle of Prousos on March 5th, 1926 while whatever Greek defenses existed upon the Peloponnese disintegrated against the much more well-equipped and numerous forces of Italy, with Sparta falling to the wrath of Italy on March 13th, 1926. As the Greek armed forces were annihilated and the remaining forces of the fledgling Entente, once committed to the defense of the birthplace of Western Civilization, evacuated to more critical frontlines that could still be won, it became apparent to the people of Greece and the Hellenic government that defeat was inevitable. Therefore, two days after General Cavallero’s decisive victory at the Battle of Ano Chora, the Kingdom of Greece would unconditionally surrender to the Central Powers.

    Shortly after the capitulation of Greece, the belligerents of the Macedonian Front would meet in Patras to sign a peace treaty that would redraw the conquered nation to suit the ambitions of the Central Powers. In regards to direct territorial annexations, the Kingdom of Italy acquired the Ionian Islands and Crete, the Tsardom of Bulgaria acquired the entirety of the region of Macedonia, thus annexing the majority of land first annexed by Greece from the dying Ottoman Empire in the Balkan War of 1913, and the Greek islands of the Aegean Sea were partitioned between Italy and Bulgaria. Furthermore, the region of Epirus was to be given independence as the Republic of Epirus, however, the small state was to become a protectorate of Italy akin to Albania, which meant that Epirus was de facto just another addition to the growing collection of parts of the Mediterranean oppressed by Benito Mussolini.

    As for what remained of the rump Kingdom of Greece, it was agreed upon that the nation would continue to exist, however, it was to suffer the same fate as that of Albania by becoming an Italian protectorate. King George II of Greece was to abdicate the throne of his kingdom to King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, while the old democratic government of the Kingdom of Greece was replaced by a one-party totalitarian fascist dictatorship led by the former military officer, Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas. Little more than a pawn of the autocracy of Rome, Metaxas would also have to work alongside a governor-general appointed directly by the Italian government, with none other than General Ugo Cavallero being selected by Mussolini to rule over Greece. Cavallero, who was fascinated by the challenge of rebuilding the Kingdom of Greece into a fascist proxy and utilizing its resources to wage war against what remained of the Entente in the Mediterranean Sea, eagerly accepted the demands of the prime minister of Italy.


    Governor-General Ugo Cavallero of the Kingdom of Greece.

    With the ratification of the Treaty of Patras on March 30th, 1926 an era of horror and oppression overcame Greece. Now little more than a colony of the Kingdom of Italy, Greece witnessed the worst of fascism firsthand as Governor-General Cavallero waged vicious purges of political opponents in the middle of the night and instituted a cruel racial and religious hierarchy more or less copied from that of Italy. As the banner of the Kingdom of Italy was raised above Athens, Entente airplanes no longer flew over Greece bearing gifts for the Hellenic people, and would instead retreat back to northern Africa and the Middle East as the Regia Marina turned its guns towards the southern Mediterranean. After over a decade of combat, the Entente had been expelled from the Balkans and the Central Powers had emerged victorious in the region.

    Despite the best efforts of the British, French, Portuguese, and even the Brazilians, the cradle of Western Civilization had fallen into the hands of fascism.

    But the rule of the Central Powers over the Balkan Peninsula was not set in stone. It would never return to the Entente, but it must be remembered that the Entente was not the only opponent of the Central Powers in the Great War. As reports of the victories of the Red Army from the east and stories of the liberation of the masses from imperialistic tyranny from the west arrived in Central Europe, a yearning for revolution began to grow in territory that was once thought to be firmly within the hands of the Central Powers. And sooner or later, this yearning would turn into action by the people.

    Soon, the crimson banner would be hoisted above Budapest and the powder keg of Europe would explode yet again.

    May 1927-Manmade Hell.png

    Map of the World circa May 1927.
     
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