MotF 253: Tail Wagging the Dog II

MotF 253: Tail Wagging the Dog II

Thanks to all who voted on the contest theme! This theme was a very narrow winner with three first choice and three second choice votes, just beating out the runner up.

Please continue to submit your suggestions for future contests here and vote for the theme for 254 here.

The Challenge
Make a map showing a previously subordinate country that has overshadowed its former dominant power. OTL examples might be the US and the UK, Germany and Austria, or Brazil and Portugal.

The Rules
No special rules.

If you're not sure whether your idea meets the criteria of this challenge, please comment in the main thread.

Entries will end for this round when the voting thread is posted on Monday, April 25.

Discussion must take place in the main thread. If you post anything other than a map entry (or a description accompanying a map entry) in this thread, you will be asked to delete the post and deported to the former metropole.​
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Kirghizstan - the Kingmaker of Eurasia


The Russian Civil War was the bloodiest war of the twentieth century, claiming millions of lives across a brutal nine years of fighting. It dealt the death blow to the largest land empire in history, and completely remade the balance of power in Eurasia.

The Kirghiz Republic started modestly, as a bid for local autonomy within the Russian Republic. After the November coup, however, their aims turned to independence. In May 1918, an accident of history provided the fledgling Kyrgyz government with the most powerful armed force in the country when infighting between White factions in Irkutsk blocked the retreat of the Czechoslovak Legion, leading its commander to embark on a new plan to return to its homeland south through Turkestan and British India. En route, the Czechoslovaks crushed both Red and White forces in Central Asia and helped train a professional Kirghiz National Army.

As the war in Russia devolved into a proxy conflict between Germany and the Entente powers, Kirghizstan solidified its independence by playing the powers off each other, accepting arms from the British while simultaneously coordinating with the Germans to back a Tatar rising in the Volga. When the war finally ended in stalemate, the fledgling Kirghiz Republic found itself in a critical middle position between German-aligned European Russia and the Japanese-controlled Siberia.

In the mid 20th century, its command of the upper Volga and its rich energy and mineral resources turned the country of steppe nomads into a wealthy and strong regional power. By the early 1980s, with the collapse of the German security architecture in Eastern Europe, Kirghizstan was positioning itself as the center of a new international order in Eurasia, influencing or fully controlling the politics of Turkestan, Siberia, the Cossack Republic, and Azerbaijan, and fighting and winning an active proxy war against the revanchist Moscow regime in the Volga Republic.
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The Arctic Belongs to Norway!
(or Quisling “succeeds”)

7 June 1941:

Attack or be attacked.

On some level, Stalin knew he would have to make this decision since the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany signed an Armistice last July. Despite German insistence that troop deployments in Poland were simply in support of “anti-partisan operations” – nobody was fooled about Hitler’s true intentions. Three million soldiers were not needed to hold down a minor Polish insurgency. And there was no “Polish insurgency” in Romania and Finland, but German soldiers had been deployed there too.

Still, Stalin clung to the hope that invasion could be avoided – or at the very least pushed back another year. Long enough that the Soviet Union could more readily resist the German hordes. Hitler’s Germany still relied heavily on Soviet raw good imports and the ceasefire established between the British and Germans could break at any moment. However, when German Panzers began moving into positions near the Soviet frontier at the start of June, Stalin knew that Germany intended to attack, and attack soon. He had to make up his mind.

There had been fierce debate among the Soviet High Command about how to respond to a German invasion. Some advocated for a pre-emptive spoiling attack, which would seek disrupt the anticipated German offensive before it could be launched. Others advocated for letting the Germans attack before throwing the invaders back with a counteroffensive. Every conceivable scenario was war gamed, then war gamed again. Each course carried considerable risks. It fell upon Stalin to decide.

The usually resolute Man of Steel was wracked with indecision. He knew his own survival, the survival of the Soviet state, and perhaps even the survival of the Communist ideology depended on his decision. Stalin spent days vacillating between options, but by the 7th of June it was clear a decision had to be made immediately. Soviet reconnaissance planes had spotted German infantry formations moving to jumping off points along the German-Soviet border. The Soviet intelligence sources were reporting that the invasion would be launched in less than a month, and possibly within the fortnight. The Rasputitsa was over, and the spring thaw no longer supplied the great rivers of Eastern Europe. Red Army echelons in the Western Military districts were still deployed in an awkward intermediate disposition in anticipation of Stalin’s order to either move to an offensive or defensive posture. If the Germans attacked the Soviet Military in its current state, it would be a complete disaster. There was no more time for indecision.

As Stalin prepared to sign orders, he thought back to the speech he gave on 5 May 1941 to graduating military cadets. “A good defense signifies the need to attack. Attack is the best form of defense.” Those words replayed in Stalin’s mind. With a heavy sigh, Stalin approved a variant of the spoiling attack plan drafted by Marshal Zhukov. To defend itself, the Soviet Union would launch a preemptive attack on 21 June.

Within minutes, the code word “STAR” was transmitted to Soviet formations in the Western Military Districts. Unbeknownst to the Red Army, German codebreakers were also listening in. A few hours later, at LVI Panzer Corps HQ in East Prussia, German General Erich von Manstein read the latest dispatch from OKW with a visible smirk, before turning to an attendant: “The Bolsheviks have no idea what they are walking into”


Mere hours after invading Norway on 9 April 1940, Nazi Germany attempted to install a pliant, Pro-German, civilian government in Norway by supporting Vidkun Quisling’s (leader of the Nasjonal Samling party) coup attempt. Early that day, Quisling had announced on the radio that he had assumed the position of prime minister because the Norwegian government had the fled country. In reality, the Norwegian government had relocated inland to avoid capture by the invading German forces. Nevertheless, in an attempt to legalize the coup, German Führer Adolph Hitler demanded that Norwegian King Haakon VII appoint Quisling as Prime Minister. For his part, King Haakon refused – stating he would rather abdicate than appoint a government headed by Quisling. Support for Quisling’s coup collapsed, and Germany soon set aside Quisling and tried to build up an alternative government known as “the Administrative Council” in a bid to gain greater popular acceptance for a collaborationist government. Less than a month after invading Norway, Germany would successfully invade and occupy France and the Low Countries – as well as capturing the bulk of the United Kingdom’s expeditionary force. Now the masters of continental Europe, Germany sought to cement their control over the continent.

Norway’s government-in-exile, obliged to leave the United Kingdom under the terms of the latter’s armistice agreement with Germany, initially attempted to negotiate with Hitler to reach some sort of agreement that would allow for the return of Norway’s pre-war civilian government. The Norwegians agreed to a number of concessions demanded by Germany (such as coopting most of the “Administrative Council”) but refused to give Nasjonal Samling an outsized role in government to the degree that Hitler wanted and also refused the perpetual stationing of German soldiers in certain strategic points in the country. Hitler desired to invade the Soviet Union the following year and did not want to risk Norway joining the war against Germany (or being invaded by the United Kingdom, who Hitler did not completely trust to maintain the armistice agreement). As such, he refused to give ground to the Norwegian position, and negotiations collapsed.

Now concluding that King Haakon would never be won over, Hitler decided to drop all pretenses of working out a negotiated settlement with Norway’s government-in-exile. After a meeting with Quisling in on 16 August in Berlin, Hitler provided his full backing to Quisling and Nasjonal Samling. The German civilian administration in Norway was gradually phased out, and Quisling’s government was formally inaugurated on 30 January 1941. Soon after, a treaty was duly concluded between Nazi Germany and the newly installed Nasjonal Samling government of Norway. German military presence in Norway was legalized and Norway joined the Anti-Comintern pact. On the domestic front, Quisling quickly moved to “suspend” the Monarchy, outlaw political opposition, reconstitute the Norwegian military (under firm NS control), and inaugurate an anti-pluralist and pro-eugenicist regime.

With a weak base of domestic support (Nasjonal Samling only had slightly more than 40,000 members by 30 April 1941), Quisling made every effort to ingratiate himself with his German benefactors. This included promises to support Germany in any military confrontation with the Soviet Union. As the eve of war neared, German military planners began directly coordinating with Quisling’s government. The Nasjonal Samling agreed to make forces available to assist Operation Arctic Fox and Operation Silver Fox (the planned attack on Murmansk and the Kola peninsula) and promised to eventually raise a further three divisions to assist the Germans elsewhere against the Soviets.

On 21 June 1941, the Soviet Union launched “Operation Star” – a spoiling attack on German positions designed to disrupt the planned German offensive. Operation Star might have produced dividends for the Soviets had Germans not successfully anticipated the strike (due to breaking Soviet codes and with intelligence assistance from the Baltic states resistance). Germany received the Soviet attack on prepared positions – and after tying down Soviet forces with their infantry, unleashed Panzer spearheads to encircle the attacking Soviet forces in vast cauldrons. Soviet casualties were immense – with entire armies being destroyed or captured – the spoiling attack completely failed (for his part in drafting the plan, Soviet Marshall Zhukov was shot). To make matters worse for the Soviet Union, Stalin suffered a debilitating stroke less than a week into the war, which threw the upper echelons of leadership into complete chaos.

Even with these setbacks, the Soviet Union fought harder than anyone in Germany anticipated. It would take nearly seven years for German soldiers to reach the Ural Mountains – where they would unilaterally halt at the end of extremely overstretched supply lines. The war proved much more costly for Quisling’s Norway than anticipated. Norway would lose nearly 12,000 men in the conflict, with about twice as many wounded. Many of these casualties were rather needlessly self-inflicted due to Norwegian actions in the early stages of the war. The Quisling regime coveted many Soviet territories as part of its conception of the “Norgesveldet.” These included the Kola Peninsula, northern Arkhangelsk Oblast (referred to by the NS regime as “Bjarmeland”) and Novaya Zemlya, as well as the disputed territories of Svalbard and Franz Josef Land (the latter of which Quisling had renamed as “Fridtjof Nansen Land” in honor of the Norwegian polar explorer who had been a close friend of Quisling). Under the direction of the NS regime, the Norwegian military made many foolish and costly attacks in attempt to be the ones to secure possession of these territories, fearful that their allies would refuse to grant Norway its territorial claims unless they secured the land for themselves. In the end, Führer Göring (who succeeded Hitler in 1947 after the latter succumbed to complications from Parkinson’s) ratified the Norwegian conquests, but only after Quisling agreed to give the Germans substantial economic rights in Kola (mainly related to mining Nickel)

As the Cold War between Nazi Germany and the United States began to heat up, Norway became an invaluable part of Germany’s strategic posture. With Norwegian acquiescence, Germany built many military installations in Norway – from the great submarine pen “Nordstern” in the Trondheim fjord to the Luftwaffe Base “Nordlicht” in Fridtjof Nansen Land – Germany’s northernmost military outpost. Norwegian military bases would prove invaluable for Germany during the Swedish Crisis of 1956. Führer Göring, who had personal sympathies for Sweden, had allowed the country to maintain a greater degree of independence than most other continental European nations. This had allowed Sweden to be a relatively safe haven for Jews and other persons deemed “undesirables” by the Nazi Government. Upon Göring’s passing in 1953, the new Führer, Baldur von Schirach, began to increasingly intrude on Sweden’s domestic politics. This meddling came to a head in at the start of 1956. Nazi Germany put immense pressure on Sweden to expatriate a group of 193 refugees who had fled Nazi persecution. The Swedish government reluctantly acceded to German demands but was met with popular backlash. The Swedish government was toppled, and fresh elections in March inaugurated a government less willing to cooperate with Germany.

Führer von Schirach viewed this development as unacceptable, and immediately ordered the Wehrmacht to invade Sweden and force a regime change. While raising tensions between the superpowers to unprecedented heights (and almost leading to the outbreak of nuclear war), this task was accomplished in less than a week: Sweden came under German military occupation and the Nazis began the search for a pliable puppet to head Sweden’s new government. Seeking to make an example out of Sweden in order to discourage other European countries from breaking free of Berlin’s grasp, Von Schirach offered Swedish territory to the neighboring Scandinavian countries. Denmark declined Germany’s offer of Scania. While Finland seriously considered annexing the Torne valley, they too declined to annex parts of Sweden (as the Finnish populace was broadly sympathetic to the Swedes). In contrast, Norway’s ruling Nasjonal Samling party eagerly accepted the German proposal as a means to realize their desire of “Greater Norway.” On 29 July 1956, Norway formally annexed Jemtland, Herjedalen, and Båhuslen. Norway would see no further territorial expansion after this point, though the Nasjonal Samling government continues to make claims on Greenland (which became a US protectorate after the German occupation of Denmark in 1940).

Today, Norway under Nasjonal Samling is the leading state in Scandinavia, overshadowing its former masters of Denmark and Sweden. Oil and gas reserves (both in the North Sea and Arctic) have made Norway a key energy exporter to the German Reich, as well as providing Norway with the highest GDP per capita on the European continent. Furthermore, Norway’s strategic position, already important, is expected to increase in significance as climate change opens up new Arctic shipping lanes. While still a nation of fewer than seven million, Norway enjoys exceptionally strong diplomatic relations with their “racial kinfolk” in the German Reich – which views Norway as the “model ally”.