The RDNA-verse: A Strange, Worldbuilding TL

Which entry would you like to see done first?

  • Kingdom of South Italy

    Votes: 4 28.6%
  • Sub Saharan Africa (eventual focus on the United African States and Southern Africa)

    Votes: 4 28.6%
  • Central Plains Collective (eventual focus on the rest of the Collectivist Internationale)

    Votes: 6 42.9%

  • Total voters
    14
Well looking at it, the world seems to be at equilibrium. Unless there is a massive collapse the Collectivists aren't going anywhere and the other states will nuke them if things go bad as a final fuck you. I don't see anything changing any time soon unless there is an OCP that comes about.
 
Well looking at it, the world seems to be at equilibrium. Unless there is a massive collapse the Collectivists aren't going anywhere and the other states will nuke them if things go bad as a final fuck you. I don't see anything changing any time soon unless there is an OCP that comes about.
Yeah. Though the consequences of a prolonged Cold War mean that the equilibrium couldn't really last indefinitely. Part of the geopolitical tension is on who "snaps" first.
 
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ED: "The Changes a Decade can Bring: The Evolution of the RDNA-verse" (2010-2019)
With the year and decade soon drawing to a close, here's something of a little Christmas present: a snapshot of how my art has evolved over the decade, through the evolution of the RDNA-verse. The full-sized version can be found on DeviantArt.

In this case, showing the "old" versions of certain maps made in 2010 compared to their distant descendants made in 2019, as follows:
  1. South America: RDNA-verse vs. South America c.2022: RDNA-verse
  2. Australia 2014: RDNA-verse vs. Reactionary Australia: RDNA-verse
  3. North America: RDNA-verse vs. North America c.2022: RDNA-verse
Even after all this time, it's astonishing how much can change in the course of nearly 10 years. While also, how much some things remain constant.

Hope you enjoy this little contribution to the decade of art meme!

 
The Free Nations of East Asia (c.2022)
The Free Nations of the Far Orient: General Introduction

Encompassing nearly 12,000,000 square km., the vast expanse of East Asia has historically been among the most significant regions of the world. Indeed, many of the Oriental peoples who reside here go back thousands of years into Antiquity, most notably the Chinese. Such cultural and political legacy endures still among the surviving Free Nations, for good or ill, in spite of being at the very fringes of the Collectivist Internationale.

The history of this corner of the globe, varied as it is, is at once distinct yet tied with its most prominent cultures. Over the course of a few centuries, the ancient lands of China saw the fall of the Ming Dynasty in 1640, the subsequent ascension of the Manchu or Ch'ing Dynasty, and an uprising in 1754 that brought about the native Fanrong Dynasty. This latter period, in turn, saw a gradual consolidation of power and by the mid-19th Century, a push for modernization that made the so-called Middle Kingdom on par with the Great Powers by 1910. In the islands of Japan, meanwhile, an age of civil war (known locally as the Sengoku Jidai) led to the rise of the Edo Shogunate in 1606 and a period of relative isolationism. This state of affairs was shattered in the 1850s amidst both growing pressure from Western powers and Fanrong reforms, resulting in the old Chrysanthemum Throne being properly restored in 1863 and a similar if even more ambitious drive towards modernizing itself. Then, there's the Kingdom of Joseon, which though nominally a "tributary" to the giant realm across the Yalu River and Yellow Sea, managed to preserve its integrity and Korean culture. This firm desire to hold itself from being at the mercy from either its neighbors or the Europeans approaching their ports would make it a neutral mediator and trading hub, which served the ruling House of Yi well.

While the Terror's impact in East Asia was not as dramatically immediate as in Europe, it would nonetheless leave lasting scars on the region's remaining Free Nations. The crumbling of old Russia, combined with the breakdown of economic trade, prompted the Chinese Empire to enact increasingly stringent measures to clamp down on dissent, which were made more complicated by both secessionists and growing political discord. With the assassination of the Yongli Emperor in 1928, however, a Provisional Regency was hastily established in Nanking, which proved incapable of holding the fraying country together. As more provinces succumbed to disloyal governors and militant groups backed by the Internationale, the Regency was forced to move further south to loyalist-held territories in Fukien, Formosa (also known as Taiwan), Canton and Hainan. Allying with the Japanese and American Federation, these "Free Chinese" soon established a network of fortifications to fend off the slowly encroaching Collectivists. Yet by the 1930s, any hopes of liberating the mainland in its entirety within a decade dissipated. Combined with a growing perception that the Mandate of Heaven was lost forever, this contributed to the Enlightened Revolution of 1937, with republican elements within the Regency (known as the T'ung-meng Hui or "United League") abolishing millennia of Imperial rule. It wouldn't be until the Min-ch'uan Reforms of 1958, however, that proper democracy would be embraced and the Sovereign State of Free China truly began reasserting themselves as a major power in their own right, warts and all.

The Empire of Japan fared somewhat better by comparison. Although Imperial Japanese forces failed to stop the Collectivists' march through the shattered remains of the Russian Empire, and were themselves forced out of what was Karafuto Province in 1929 (though not before heavily fortifying the Kuriles), their efforts were said to be instrumental in slowing the enemy's expansion and allowing many more Russians to escape, including the somewhat assimilated Roshiajin in the island of Hokkaido. Through its alliance with the Free Chinese, a defence pact with Joseon (until 2003) and the support of the Royalist "Three Crowns," the realm also became (and remains to this day) a crucial military, naval and atomic vanguard against the Internationale in the region. The Japanese are also known for more than their martial prowess, however, or for the samurai clans that have since joined the aristocracy. Despite the constant threats, these have failed to stifle the gradual democratic reforms that had been enacted since the Restoration of 1863. Though barely noticeably at first, this eventually brought about the emancipation of natives like the Ainu, greater liberties for all citizens and the establishment of a firm civil counterbalance against any internal threats, among others. That this aided in its rise as an economic and technological power on par with the New World, as well as its emergence as a hegemon strong enough to influence Free China in a manner that mirrors somewhat the predicament of the Legitimate Union of Brazil, could not be discounted, either.

The Kingdom of Joseon likewise fared admirably, at least initially. Despite sporadic attempts by rogue Chinese generals and later Collectivist forces to invade the peninsula from 1929 to 1950, the Koreans proved themselves to be stubbornly defiant, winning a series of valiant if costly battles before permanently securing the Yalu River from further incursions. As time went on, however, growing fears of subversive elements within Joseon's government and alleged interventions by the Japanese in local affairs began breeding militant groups and secret societies, many of which became enamored by the examples set by Australia, Colombia and other Reactionary states. Codifying a form of Reactionarism promoting the supremacy of the Korean race, a firebrand military commander named Chang Myon-seon secretly brought the disparate factions under one banner (known in English as the "United Front") in 1988, while gradually building up support for his cause among the Royal Armed Forces. Eventually, this boiled over with the 2003 Summer Coup, ostesibly in response to a supposed ceding of sovereignty to Japan. Though superficially retaining elements of the Royalist government, to the point of paying homage to the Phoenix Throne, in practice the new regime almost immediately proceeded to remake Joseon in its image, with King Yeong said to be in power only as a puppet. Severing ties with its neighbors, it joined the League of Neutral Defiance in 2007 and has since been extolling the return of Joseon to its rightful place in the world. Although there remain dissidents, backed by exiled opposition officials, the armed strongholds along the borders, now bolstered with Australian arms, have remained firm. At least for the moment.

Even in such a reduced form, the remaining Free Nations of the Far Orient still offer much for enterprising visitors and foreign powers alike. Few would deny that they have not earned their place in the Free World, or done their part in keeping the flames of freedom against the darkness and its obliteration of the self in the name of its Will.

- "The World Almanac of Nations." American Federation. 2023 Edition.

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For added trivia, the Romanization for the Chinese terms and placenames used is derived from the archaic Wade-Giles system, which in real life was eventually replaced by Hanyu Pinyin (though variations persist in modern Taiwan). Amoy, for instance, is the older rendering of Xiamen, while Fukien is that for Fujian. Similarly, the Korean used is based on the McCune-Reischauer system, which in real life was used in South Korea until 2002 and remains utilized in altered form by North Korea.

The Free Chinese flag is based off of the Five Races Under One Union flag (itself derived from the Five Elements in Chinese symbology), meant to represent the five major ethnic groups of Imperial and later Republican China (the Han, Manchus, Mongols, Muslim "Hui" and the Tibetans). The emblem is that of the Twelve Symbols (also based on traditional Chinese symbolism).

The ruling T'ung-meng Hui is a reference to the real life Tongmenghui secret society/underground resistance, which eventually became the Kuomintang/KMT. Coincidentally, the Min-ch'uan Reforms are a nod to Minquan, one of the Three Principles of the People in Sun Yat Sen's republican philosophy, which translates to "democracy." While the last Fanrong sovereign is named posthumously (if ironically) after the last monarch of the Ming Dynasty, the Yongli (or "Perpetual calendar") Emperor.

In addition to the Japanese flag incorporating a stylized version of the Imperial Seal (based on the Emperor's own Imperial Standard), the country's evolution is based on both Taisho Democracy and to a degree, Post-War Japan.

The Kingdom of Joseon's flag and emblem are a combination of the real life ones used by Joseon until the 19th Century and those of the short-lived Korean Empire (which lasted until 1910). The rise of Reactionarism among the Koreans in the timeline, however, is a combination of the militarist takeover of Japan in the 1930s and the rise of Fascist Italy (complete with the retention of a powerless monarchy).

The map, in addition to being a distant descendant of this 2010 entry, serves as a significant retcon/rework for both the Sovereign State of Free China and the Empire of Japan, which both haven't really seen any development since 2011. It's also an opportunity to much more properly begin fleshing out the lore for both powers, as well as the Kingdom of Joseon, and their significance in the wider setting. It's at once familiar yet rather difference, to say the least. I also made a point to incorporate various elements of each nation's respective histories in a way that would make sense in-universe.

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The Nation-Personification of New Austria (c.2021)
It's been hinted and mentioned a few times...but now, and in time for the holidays, it's time.

--o--

Introduction to the Existence of Nation-Personifications

Among the myriad peoples that make up humanity are beings that from the outside resemble us. At the same time, however, they embody within their very essence whole cultures, polities and countries to such a degree that they are them. From all the names given to them, it is for the sake of convenience that this document refers to these beings as "Nation-Personifications," or "Nations" for short. Although by no means exclusive to this timeline, it is wise not to neglect this element.

While it appears impossible to determine when the first Nation appeared, over the millennia they have left their mark in and out of historical records. Predating philosophical, academic and political discourses into "nationalism," it is not out of the imagination that ancient civilizations may have placed their avatars as spirits and gods. This is not to ignore various pieces of folklore, art and legend, based however loosely on their involvement with certain historical events. Indeed, it's believed that various current religions around the world (whether the Shinto worshipers of Japan, the Jews or the Vatican-in-Exile) still quietly acknowledge their existence as proof of the ethereal.

Despite the mystery surrounding these embodiments and their apparent defiance to known scientific laws, there are myriad observations that could be arrived at with a fair amount of certainty. Their "birth" roughly coincides with the founding of a new country, or an otherwise sufficiently formed polity. Likewise, the manner in which they grow based on their domains' size, strength and age; as such they appear to maintain the same physical age for several generations. They could sense most if not everything that in their domains, though nonetheless appear to be sentient and can act independently of their citizens and governments. Nonetheless, their general behavior, physical appearance and personalities, seem to be based at least in part on the predominant culture, along with various diplomatic and political factors. Furthermore, they possess some degree of supernatural abilities beyond immortality, such as unnatural strength, being able to shrug off conventional weaponry and revive with each successive "death." Terminal death, on the other hand, is theorized to occur whenever their peoples no longer associate themselves or have been sufficiently decimated, if accounts of the Fall of Rome are to be believed.

Needless to say, they possess unto themselves the power to serve, coexist with or potentially subjugate (if not outright destroy) humanity. This partially explains official policy across the Free World, including Reactionary governments, to keep their true identities hidden or at least "discreet." It is also known, however, that there exist on the Nations' part unspoken pledges or "gentlemen's agreements." Developed over countless generations, their commonalities can be boiled down to mutual respect for privacy, some degree of secrecy, self-preservation and a clear desire to strive for the good of both themselves and their respective citizens. While these have not stopped them from interacting with their peoples to a significant degree, serving as inspiration (unintentional or otherwise) for various works over the generations, or attract the attention of those who believe in their very existence, this state of affairs has proven to be remarkably stable. That most academics and political experts tend to dismiss them as superstition or irrational has also proven to be boon to keeping the status quo going.

Beyond all that has been said, and of which would be further expounded in detail, one enters the realm of speculation. Potentially, such beings hold keys into the very nature of societies, politics and possibly more. By that same token, however, these are suspected as influencing the Collectivists' secret clause on their extermination.

Although concealed through esoteric allegories in official Collectivist Internationale dogma, the Nations are still referred to in ColStandard as "abominations" against the Will of the Workers and the very nature of Man. The Party's claims of having found the means to systematically kill these beings by its own hands were first confirmed with the Terror. Classified documents have since designated those having perished to the enemy "Lost Nations," a term that has somehow filtered into public consciousness without the underlying meaning. Fragmented and possibly unverifiable reports over the past century, however, seem to suggest other factors may be at work, though this would require further research.

At any rate, those aware of the existence of these personifications must take great care. Lest any significant break from the status quo risk sparking a crisis of global proportions...

- Recovered fragment from "An Introductory Primer to Other Worlds." Unknown. 2022 Edition.

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For added trivia, the text above is a heavily updated version of an old drabble, Classified Intro: RDNA-verse F. As with that text, this is meant to both introduce the notion of personified entities in the setting and explain why they're not exactly out in the open.

Die nationale Frage is German for "The National Question." In-universe, it's treated with the same (lack of) respect as something like Ancient Aliens or the old Leonard Nimoy In Search Of... documentaries.

The "lost edition" mentioned in the Contents is a subtle reference to an early story made back in 2011 as a fanfic: The Personal Records of a Doctor. Coincidentally, the book's title is the German version of the fic's name.

An Axis Powers Hetalia-influenced element carried over from the earliest days of the TL, the idea of "Nations" proved to be both interesting enough to keep building on and broad enough that it could stand independently of that particular work. Though admittedly, it seems like every other month, someone reinvents or rediscovers Hetalia since one can only go so far with Polandballs, though I digress.

More to the point, the Wikibox and accompanying lore also highlight how something like the existence of personified polities wouldn't be public knowledge in-universe, given how such talk would be dismissed in polite society or officially denied. Though on some level, there is still some acknowledgement, however downplayed.

Also, special credit to shardanic on DeviantArt for the commissioned art used for Francesca. I'd recommend his work!

(EDIT: Belated edit)

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ED: "The Many Faces of New Austria: Various Portrayals of Francesca" (2010-2019)
Just in time for Christmas and as one last little present before the end of 2019, here's a compilation of the myriad faces of New Austria/Francesca herself over the decade of the RDNA-verse's evolution. The full version can be found on DeviantArt.

This one, though, is the result of various art collaborations, requests and commissions. Of which three have remained, and which stand out:
  • The "first" picture by Laliet (an artist no longer active on DeviantArt; current whereabouts unknown).
  • The Other Me by (inactive on DeviantArt since 2015).
  • The commissioned piece by .
Granted, I'm not much into Polandballs as an alternative. Yet what's rather surprising, all things considered, is how New Austria/Francesca's general appearance and personality remain somehow consistent, some elements of her even dating back to when she was just an OC. Even with all the changes, retcons and developments, some things have held up rather well.

So, kudos to those fine artists, whereever they are. And I hope you enjoy this little look through the decade as I have.

Happy Holidays and see you in 2020!

 
The Long Cold War - The Free World (c.2022)
A Basic Introduction to the Free World:

The geopolitical landscape has long since settled into a long Cold War that has lasted for almost a century. On one side are the expansive domains of the Collectivist Internationale, the so-called "Red Menace" spawned from the Terror. On the opposing camp is a motley collection of various countries loosely referred to as either the "Free Nations" or the Free World. The latter term, however, is something of a misnomer due to its connotations.

Strictly speaking, the Free World refers to the myriad Royalist and Republican countries which endured through the chaos of the Terror. These in turn have various blocs, alliances and pacts amongst themselves. Among the Royalists, for instance, are the "Three Crowns" of the New World (particularly the Royal Dominion of New Austria and Loyalist Dominion of Canada) and the wider "Engelnstadt Concord" (which includes the powerful Empire of Japan). This is to say nothing of the "Twin Republics" of Gran Patagonia and the American Federation, or the Free Pacific Pact (including the Sovereign Republic of Free China), among others. Of course, there still remain much in the way of rivalries, fierce competition and outright disputes, most notably involving of Legitimate Union of Brazil and alleged manipulations by Republicans. Nonethless, for all their issues, they all stand fairly united in preserving their way of life and holding back the Collectivists.

Then, there are the states that comprise the loosely-tied League of Neutral Defiance. An indirect consequence of the Terror, these countries adhere to an umbrella group of ideologies known as Reactionarism (such as the Kingdom of Joseon's "United Front" and Colombia's "Bolivaristas"), with the "Anglo-Mosleyites" of the Free Republic of Australia seen as the leading variant. Although similarly opposed to the Collectivist Internationale, the League's "members" also make a point of standing apart from the other Free Nations. In addition to their comparative isolationism, they are also defined, albeit in myriad forms, by their emphasis on "purity" and racial, cultural or ideological supremacy by means seen as excessive by others, which would be comparable to several authoritarian and fascistic regimes. While these have also led to disputes amongst themselves, such bouts have failed to shaken their resolve against the Reds and even the "degenerate" Free World that they barely tolerate more of.

Every non-Collectivist polity is at least nominally part of the Assembly of the Free World, founded in 1960 as a formal replacement to the ineffectual International Concert. Though largely seen as more of a proverbial "gathering hole" for the various blocs and still dominated by the major powers that backed its founding (such as the Americans and New Austrians), the alliance's ranks have since grown to truly encompass the globe. This also means the inclusion of Reactionary states as observers, in an effort to both foster reform and exert diplomatic pressure. In spite of such developments, however, the odds of those regimes becoming actual members remains a far-off prospect.

Barring any significant developments or overt acts of aggression by either side, this state of affairs may well go on indefinitely, at least on paper. Just as concerning as an endless standoff, however, especially as this long Cold War drags on, are the cracks and tensions that had been accumulating with each passing generation. Despite its nigh-paranoid preparations and armaments, while the Free Nations (whether Republican, Royalist or Reactionary) remain defiant, some are wondering at just how far they would have to go in order to stop the madness. Which is not to ignore the activity going on behind the Red Curtain.

Increasingly, it seems, it is becoming less a matter of if, but when then Free World flinches.

- Recovered fragment from "An Introductory Primer to Other Worlds." Unknown. 2022 Edition.

----​

On top of the various references mentioned previously, the additional portraits are based on various historical figures corresponding to their respective countries and comparable ideologies. King Giacomo III of South Italy, for instance, is based on Prince Amadeo, Duke of Aosta, who in real life was Viceroy of Italian East Africa during World War II, while Hisahito of Japan is based on Takahito, Prince Mikasa (Emperor Hirohito's brother). Free China's President Sun, coincidentally, is based on Sun Fo, the son of Sun Yat-sen and an influential figure in Republican China even after the rise of the People's Republic.

For the Reactionary figures, Australia's President Wellington-Mosley is partially based on A.K. Chesterton (the second cousin of Catholic writer G.K. Chesterton), who in real life was an active member of various groups, including the British Union of Fascists alongside Mosley himself. Colombia, meanwhile, has President Valencia, based on Laureano Gomez, who was suspected of having sympathies for various dictatorships and Francisco Franco especially. While Joseon's puppet monarch, Yeong, is based on Yi Kang, Prince Imperial Uihwa and to a degree Chinese Emperor Puyi.

The flag used for the Assembly of the Free World is a heavily updated version of this old work from 2010. While that for the League is a combination of the Sonnenkreuz and the globe from the early United Nations flag (c.1945), while also utilizing colors based on Oswald Mosley's "Flash and Circle" emblem.

The map itself was inspired in part by the sleek interfaces and customized stylings seen in the Thousand Week Reich and The New Order mods for Hearts of Iron IV. Surprisingly, the general aesthetic works rather well with this form of map. Though whether it's from (and intended for) the people behind An Examination of Extra-Universal Systems of Government or the Agency mentioned in other maps...I'll leave it for you to decide.


As an added touch, the map also features a taste of things to come, and it's not just the additional details on the various figures shown. But also in giving a preview of the flags for the Assembly of the Free World and League of Neutral Defiance, the latter for the very first time.

With all that said, hope you all have a Happy New Year and see you in 2020!

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(Unfiltered version)
 
Art: The Armies of North America (c.2022)
Here's one last surprise to end the year: commissioned artwork done by the talented , whose work (particularly on Warhammer content) is pretty exceptional.

Heavily inspired by the faction art done by Hussardcore for Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg, this set is the first of hopefully more such visuals set in the timeline. And all things considered, they really do drive home the decidedly "Dieselpunk transitioning to Fallout", Cold War and Orwellian motifs in the setting.

All that said, hope you all enjoy and have a Happy New Year!

--o--

Loyalist Dominion of Canada




American Federation




Royal Dominion of New Austria


 
The Long Cold War - Britannia (c.2022)
The Contemporary Situation of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom of Great Britain is still regarded, at least on paper, as one of the Free World's leading monarchies. To this day, it is the symbolic heart of the British Imperial Commonwealth. In reality, Britannia's place in the sun has been eclipsed by its Loyalist Canadian benefactors. The realm's cultural and strategic value (especially for being at the forefront against the Collectivist Internationale) remain undoubtedly significant, if not vital. Nonetheless, one couldn't ignore the sentiment of how all is not as it ought to be.

The successful Liberation of Britain in 1944 proved to be a Pyrrhic victory. Years of conflict had left the country's infrastructure, economy and industry in tatters, while the danger posed from the across the English Channel forced the royal family to relocate across the Atlantic. It was in such dire conditions that the 1945 Canada Accord was signed, in which the U.K. was placed under the "indefinite" protection of the Loyalist Dominion of Canada. While the latter took it upon itself to supervise rehabilitation efforts, the results remain at best, a work in progress.

Within a few years from "V-B Day," a system of jointly administered "Provisional Centres" and so-called "Special Regions" (defined by significant Loyalist Canadian influence) was firmly established, with the intent of fostering reconstruction. By the early 21st Century, many such areas have become extraterritorial enclaves in all but name, with the original incentives having morphed to be more akin to preferential treatment given to Canadian citizens and those with connections to the authorities. While these locales have generally benefited and have seen some semblance of order and prosperity, their spread elsewhere has been far from consistent despite both government and private efforts. Crumbling ruins from the failed invasion still dot parts of the countryside, with more isolated communities hard pressed to deal with brigands. Even in London, though rightfully seen as proverbial phoenix risen from the ashes, certain parts of the capital remain almost as destitute as generations past.

For all the failures and mixed results, one could not really blame Loyalist Canada for ineptitude. In any other context, the policies and initiatives enacted over the decades (such as the passing of the 1987 Public Enterprise Act and 2004 Industrial Service Act) would have been more successful. The successes that do exist are not inconsequential, either, given the rising standards of living and the continued patronage of the royal family (the complete refurbishment of Windsor Castle in 2011 overseen by Queen Victoria III herself). Nor can Britannia's benefactors be accused of negligence. As one of the last Free Nations of Europe and a vital component in the so-called Red Curtain, the realm hosts various military installations, a substantial garrison (both local and from across the Commonwealth) and atomic platforms as deterrence against any overt enemy designs. The country's moniker as an island fortress, or in more derisive sentiment, a "glorified airstrip," are not to be downplayed.

It is clear, however, that the extensive damage done, whether by the Collectivists and their lackeys or New Austrian scorched earth activity during the Liberation, was not simply material. The conflict had also left scars on the social fabric that continue to haunt the national consciousness. Contemporary culture across the British Isles retains a deep undertone of uncertainty if not despair. Be it the tendency among those with the means to seek greener pastures, a sense of nihilism in some among the younger generations, or paranoid fears of the enemy once more in their midst, one gets the impression of being always at war.

It is not for nothing, then, that there's a tinge of self-loathing and even resentment, to a degree, at their Canadian allies for their predicament, further exasperated by constant rumors of alleged Collectivist hotspots. Or why New Austrians are still reviled for the sins of their forefathers, despite efforts to make amends. Yet, amidst such bleak sentiments, the U.K. continues to persevere. Although only a handful are left alive who remember the former glory of Britannia, many remain firm in their defiance against the Internationale and still take pride in retaining direct sovereignty over the three Crown Territories (including the heavily militarized Gibraltar-Andalusia). Whether Englishmen, Welsh, Irishmen and Scotsmen whose families had called the Isles home for generations, or those descended from the French, Slavic and even Indian refugees who sought shelter from the Terror's madness, many are commitment to one day reclaiming their birthright.

Whether they can succeed, or else succumb to their malaise, remains an open question. Albeit, one that may have to be answered soon.

- "The World Almanac of Nations." American Federation. 2023 Edition.

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The flags used for the "Crown Territories" are based, in some shape or form, on the actual ones corresponding to their respective territories. In the case of Gibraltar-Andalusia, it's a combination of the old 1875-1921 ensign and the colors of the Spanish Andalusian flag.

Many of the "Special Regions" correspond to the historic counties of England, Wales and so on rather than their modern equivalents' borders in real life.

Serving as a distant remake of The British Isles: RDNA-verse from 2011, this entry gives a closer look at the nominal heart of the British Imperial Commonwealth. Given the various hints made previously on the situation in the UK, this hopefully should drive some of the Orwellian and Fallout-esque elements home, without being too on-the-nose. Then again, the allusions to 1984 for Britain aren't entirely unfounded.

All while, as with the previous map to bear the "Long Cold War" title, incorporating some of the sleek interfaces and customized stylings seen in the Thousand Week Reich and The New Order mods for Hearts of Iron IV. These work remarkably well in conveying an in-universe "vidscreen" aesthetic. Though whether it's from (and intended for) the people behind An Examination of Extra-Universal Systems of Government or the Agency mentioned in other maps, to say nothing of the "N-P Identity" reference which may or may not be shorthand for "Nation-Personification"...I'll leave that up for the viewer.

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Probable Outcomes on the Long Cold War's End: New Austria
On Contemporary New Austrians

...At the same time, the turmoil wrought by the Terror has since left a lasting mark on New Austrians, long after chaos the forged the Collectivist Internationale subsided. A sizable number are descended from refugees escaping the Crownlands in the 1920s as the Danube crumbled, Most of the “Non-New Austrians” among the population meanwhile include the Spanish groups in Kuba and Swiss communities across the Crown Provinces. In fact, the countryside still bears preserved traces of the Upheaval that ensured, which threatened to destroy the realm at its darkest hour. Combined with the clout Revivalist organizations have in government and society as well as the constant threat from the Internationale, there is little wonder as to why the monarchy to this day is still referred to as the Throne-in-Exile. Or why, despite unpopular objections from some politicians and fringe republicans, the R.D.N.A. considers itself as such rather than the independent “Archduchy” that it would be in practice.

As certain foreign journalists claim, the desire to reclaim the former Crownlands continues to haunt the national zeitgeist. But against tremendous odds, New Austria continues to persevere. Both as a memorial to a lost world and a beacon for carrying Mitteleuropa’s legacy into a better future. Perhaps in the hopes in outlasting those who have torched the Old World in the flames of Revolution....

...Despite such chaotic episodes, the R.D.N.A. refused to give in to self-destruction. Soon it rose back into prominence, eventually rejoining the other Free Nations as a great power in its own right even while keeping vigil over the Collectivist territories in what was once Panama. A distinguished and honourable position that the realm has maintained throughout the 20th Century and to this day.

- Snippet from “Atlas Sans Frontieres: The Gaspereau-Thomson Guide to the New World.” Loyalist Canada. 2023.

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For some added trivia, on top of Viribus Unitis being a motto traditionally associated with the Habsburgs, the German operation names are partially based on World War II standards.

Der Letzter Ausweg is German for "The Last Resort." With the last "events" of the tree a reference to both the infamous Final Solution (if applied to the world at large) and the "Bad End" scenario from The New Order.

Presented as an in-universe work (complete with "vidscreen" effects), this is meant to show a projected scenario on what would happen should The Long Cold War that's lasted for about a century finally go hot. While it's only one set of possibilities out of many, it nonetheless gives an idea of just how severe the predicament of New Austria (and the world at large) really is. Though whether it's from (and intended for) the people behind An Examination of Extra-Universal Systems of Government or the Agency mentioned in other maps, to say nothing of the "N-P Identity" reference which may or may not be shorthand for "Nation-Personification"...I'll leave that up for you to decide.

As for the "National Question"...well, I can neither confirm nor deny what the answer is.
;)


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Well, that's technically a projection of the future, but I wouldn't hold it past New Austria to opt for the Throne-in-Exile option or going for a more concerted push against the Internationale. But while something like "The Atomic Solution" might be mulled as an absolute last resort...well, it's just one projection. ;)

And speaking of HoI style posts, you're in luck!
 
Probable Outcomes on the Long Cold War - The National Question: New Austria
On the Existence of Nation-Personifications

Among the myriad peoples that make up humanity are beings that from the outside resemble us. At the same time, however, they embody within their very essence whole cultures, polities and countries to such a degree that they are them. From all the names given to them, it is for the sake of convenience that this document refers to these beings as "Nation-Personifications," or "Nations" for short. Although by no means exclusive to this timeline, it is wise not to neglect this element....

...Needless to say, they possess unto themselves the power to serve, coexist with or potentially subjugate (if not outright destroy) humanity. This partially explains official policy across the Free World, including Reactionary governments, to keep their true identities hidden or at least "discreet." It is also known, however, that there exist on the Nations' part unspoken pledges or "gentlemen's agreements." Developed over countless generations, their commonalities can be boiled down to mutual respect for privacy, some degree of secrecy, self-preservation and a clear desire to strive for the good of both themselves and their respective citizens. While these have not stopped them from interacting with their peoples to a significant degree, serving as inspiration (unintentional or otherwise) for various works over the generations, or attract the attention of those who believe in their very existence, this state of affairs has proven to be remarkably stable. That most academics and political experts tend to dismiss them as superstition or irrational has also proven to be boon to keeping the status quo going....

...At any rate, those aware of the existence of these personifications must take great care. Lest any significant break from the status quo risk sparking a crisis of global proportions...

- Recovered fragment from "An Introductory Primer to Other Worlds." Unknown. 2022 Edition.

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For added trivia, the images used for Francesca/New Austria are the ones done by :iconchaneljay: in 2011 and by :iconshardanic: in 2018.

The format is heavily based on the "events" mechanic of Hearts of Iron IV, which add a considerable degree of role-playing to the game, combined with the stylings of both the Thousand Week Reich and The New Order mods.

Framed as an in-universe work (complete with "vidscreen" effects), this is meant to show a projected scenario for the setting's future. In this case, the prospects of what answering the "National Question" hinted in the Nation of New Austria (AD 2021): RDNA-verse wikibox entry would entail.

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Just a head's up, I haven't abandoned the TL. A combination of work, time, commitments and other stuff have slowed things down a bit. But that being said, please be patient! There's more down the line, though here's a little teaser for the next entry: Reactionary Levant.

Without spoiling too much: Imagine an unholy blend of Nasserism, the Ba'ath Party and Zionism with the backstory of Fascist Italy's rise.

Levant RDNA-verse Flag.png
 
The Hashemite Kingdom of the Levant/Reactionary Levant (c.2022)
Reactionary Levant: General Introduction

Situated at what had been the crossroads of the Old World, the Hashemite Kingdom of the Levant, more commonly known as Reactionary Levant, holds sway over the last territories of the Fertile Crescent not under Collectivist control. Although not as powerful or large as the likes of Reactionary Australia, this country has long since emerged from the chaos of the Terror to live up to being the last true bastion of the Middle East. While much of what's known publicly about it is often tinged with propaganda, whether through the machinations of the ruling Alnahdists and its supporters or their erstwhile allies in the so-called "League of Neutral Defiance," there remains enough in the way of facts to discern truth from falsehood.

Nominally, the Levant is under the reign of King Hassan II of the House of Hashim (or Hashemites), whose lineage could be traced back to the Prophet Mohammed himself. In practice, however, the realm has been under the "Alnahdist" form of Reactionarism since 1939, the term itself being derived from an Arabic word meaning "Rebirth." It is formally divided into two Constituent Territories (Palestine and Transjordan), three Autonomous Territories, the National Capital District around Jerusalem, and the heavily fortified Levantine Canal Zone, with claims over the former Hejaz (including the lost Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah). Compared to other Reactionary regimes, there are some superficial trappings of a constitutional democracy, complete with the right to assembly (thus the existence of political parties). Religious liberties are also highly valued, with Jewish, Muslim and Christian clerics having a voice in the Royal Parliament through the Abrahamic Covenant. Although much like its peers, the ruling Alnahdist Party (through Prime Minister Mustafa al-Rasheed) wields nigh-absolute authority, with even the National Reformist Alliance serving more as a kind of controlled opposition. Its ideology permeates most aspects of everyday life, where the average citizen is encouraged to follow the great heroes of yesteryear, such as the legendary Saladin, for the good their hard-forged society. For they would allow themselves ot succumb to either imperialist designs or the degeneracy that, in the regime's view, allowed the Terror to nearly consume everything.

Of the 25.6 million people who inhabit the nation, at least according to official records, 93% are considered Levantine citizens. Religious affiliation and, to a degree, intermixing, are not strictly noted, but it's clear that the majority is wholly (or largely) either "Arab" or of "Jewish" lineage, their bonds forged through both fire and ideology. Although English is widely understood, a leftover from the days of British influence that's pragmatically carried over due to its utility, Arabic and Hebrew are given precedence in common use. Even after generations of technological and cultural change resulting in a peculiar Western-Islamic blend, where citizens could raise their lot regardless of faith or gender, they still hold fast to their traditions and customs with a zeal surpassing nationalist fervor. Those considered "Non-Citizens," meanwhile, are considered a caste apart, yet integral to the social order. Comprised largely of those descended from European and even Turkish refugees, as well as "unperson" defectors from the Internationale deemed too "corrupted" to join their erstwhile compatriots, they are often seen as perpetually indebted to the regime, if not indentured servants in all but name. On the other hand, they are nonetheless given many of the same benefits and rights as any citizen of similar stature. In exchange, they're also expected to an even greater degree to prove their worth, even in death through service in the Royal Levantine Army (Al-Quwat Al-Jaysh Al-Shaamia/צבא לבנטין המלכותי).

Despite being practically surrounded by Collectivists, Reactionary Levant has done to much maximize its political situation. The realm's control over the Levantine Canal Zone (formerly the Ismailia Canal Territory) have given it considerable economic leverage, as the regime could potentially hinder crucial shipping lanes around the Mediterranean Sea if it deems it necessary. Said Canal has likewise allowed the Levant to exercise its hegemony over the remnants of the Arab League, further keeping the Internationale's Middle East designs at bay through its backing of the United Arab Republics. It has also benefited from its membership in the League of Neutral Defiance, with Australian arms having played a crucial role in helping bolster the nation's already potent military capabilities. Thus, it is not without reason that, as much as the rest of the Free World may be reluctant to admit, the Alnahdists serve as an impromptu yet vital component to the so-called Red Curtain.

Compared to the relative isolationism of most regimes of its kind, however, the nation feigns a degree of guarded openness. The ancient city of Jerusalem in particular, serving as both the realm's secular and religious heart due to its hosting relics from all Abrahamic faiths, is a major destination for travelers and pilgrims alike. Though past the landmarks and resorts, access to the rest of nation is much more restricted to outsiders. Though a foreigner enterprising or fortunate enough to see past the propaganda and security checkpoints would find a landscape heavily transformed in the name of self-sufficiency and survival. Be it the largely state-owned industrial facilities of Transjordan, the vast agricultural settlements of Palestine, the ever-busy shipping lanes that traverse the Canal or the similarly sleepless patrols around the fortified borders, Reactionary Levant is anything but unprepared.

In the face of enemies in every corner, Collectivist or not, the Alnahdists see their actions as out of necessity. For there could never be peace against those who wronged them.

Basic History of Reactionary Levant

The lands of the Levant have been contested since Antiquity. Be it the Hittites, Assyians, Egyptians, Romans, Arabs or Crusaders, much blood has been spilled over this corner of the world. Eventually, the feuding fiefdoms and clans were brought under the Ottoman Empire, ushering in lasting peace for the first time in centuries, oppressive as it was. In 1883, a wave of reforms, intended in part to stabilize the Sultan's vast domains, had led to the granting of greater freedoms and rights to many of its remaining Arab-predominant "vilayets" in Northern Africa and the Middle East. While the so-called "Arab League" that emerged was largely theoretical at first, this provided an crucial opportunity for the Hashemites in the Hejaz to assert themselves after centuries of Turkish rule. Abiding by a form of Sunni Islam more open to change, they also represented an unbroken line of continuity over Makkah. Combined with a blend of diplomacy and British aid with modernization, these helped give the ancient royal house growing hegemony over its neighbors.

By the turn of the 20th Century, it had all but incorporated the former vilayets of what had been called Syria (reorganized into Palestine and Transjordan), including unquestioned control over the Holy City of Jerusalem itself. It comes as little surprise, then, that the Hashemite territories were seen as the leading power behind the bloc. It came as little surprise, then, that they were given greater autonomy from Constantinople in 1903, with Sharif Ali of Mecca appointed as Emir of the Levant. Believing that gradual yet continuous progress was needed to survive in the face of the great powers, the leadership wasted little time in further developing their nascent nation. A blend of Islamic and Western influences was encouraged, with the emergence of joint companies, European-style institutions and provisions for a parliament. To the surprise of other Muslims, there were even efforts to welcome advocates for a Jewish homeland, both out of financial pragmatism and a growing notion that it was about time to overcome old grievances with the Jews. While not without controversy or tension, the first tentative steps were made on a path that, given enough time, would have made the fledging state a beacon of civilization in the Middle East, for others in the region to emulate.

The Terror, however, changed its destiny forever. Declaring itself free from the terminally weakened Sublime Porte in 1926, the self-proclaimed Hashemite Kingdom of the Levant found itself in a trial by fire. Much of the Middle East was caught off-guard, many regions unable to cope with escalating breakdown of the established order. Even as King Ali I (as the monarch came to be known) tried to rally what remained of the Arab League, as well as welcomed the growing influx of Jewish and European refugees, it became rapidly clear that there would no going back to the way things were. Under the auspice of ensuring the safety of the nation, Levantine forces seized the territories now known as Mount Lebanon and Assyria from Turkish officers-turned-warlords, while the Sinai and Ismailia Canal Territory (renamed the Levantine Canal Zone in 1945) were claimed from the growing anarchy in Egypt. As Crown Prince (later King) Hassan I proclaimed in 1928 along the fortified frontiers, the realm would not yield to either barbarism or Collectivism. What should have been a grand rallying cry, however, turned into a curse. A series of crushing defeats to militias affiliated to the nascent Collectivist Internationale in the Hejaz forced both the monarchy and clerics in the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah to do the unthinkable: the evacuation of as much of Islam's most sacred relics as was possible, including the contents of the Kaaba. This almost Herculean feat was accomplished by the slimmest of margins, the "Black Stone" only managing to reach sanctuary in Jerusalem as the Hejaz burned in 1931.

Despite the crushing blow to morale brought about by that loss, the heroic if costly efforts in stopping the enemy from breaching the remaining defenses allowed the monarchy to survive. Yet while some semblance of stability persisted, it was clear to all that this state of affairs could not last indefinitely. Into this conundrum rose an academic-turned-politician named Gamal Ibrahim al-Bitar. Seeing the mounting discord in Levantine society, whether it was disgruntled soldiers, mounting clashes between Jews and Muslims or a system seen increasingly as detached from reality, he and many others realized that the realm had to be reborn. Together with peers and political firebrands, notably including Jewish delegates such as Yisrael Livni and even political dissidents from the Internationale like Salah Umran al-Rasheed, he founded the Alnahdist Party in 1933. While his movement grew in influence, it wouldn't until 1939, following the ascension of Hassan I to the throne that he and his supporters marched into Jerusalem itself in what came to be called the Alnahdist Renaissance. Within months, any remaining foreign assets were seized and a new constitution was drafted, which while still preserving the Hashemites as sovereign monarchs, all but granted al-Bitar a blank slate with which to remake the Levant.

To an even greater degree than their predecessors, the new government wasted little time in pushing its plans forward. Reframing society around a sense of mutual cause among Muslims, Jews and Christians on the one hand (laying the groundwork for the Abrahamic Covenant), and a secular interpretation of Arab consciousness on the other, the Alnahdists redefined what it meant to be "free" and part of the Levant. This also meant, however, that anyone who didn't meet those standards, whether they were Europeans or even those so-called "unpersons" who fled Collectivist rule that were deemed "corrupted" by the system could not have citizenship. To further unify the populace, Prime Minister al-Bitar bestowed greater powers to the Royal Arab Legion (predecessor of the Royal Levantine Army), the upper echelons of which being among the initial supporters during the takeover, to do whatever was deemed necessary for defending the realm. On top of turning the military into a loyal extension of the regime, this also led to various intermittent skirmishes throughout the 1940s-50s with the enemy militias across the frontiers. While the Internationale eventually sent in reinforcements and more organized forces to deter future attacks, these not only allowed the Levantines to claim additional territory, however small. For these also bought them enough time, echoing Saladin's efforts against the Crusaders, to raze and mine the frontlines to such an extent that any further advance would be at best costly. It's for this reason that the "No Man's Land" surrounding the nation is, to this day, even more desolate than those around Southern Italy or British Gibraltar-Andalusia.

Such exploits attracted the remaining free emirates along the Gulf (which had coalesced around the Sultanate of Oman), leading to an Alnahdist uprising in 1962 and the subsequent founding of the United Arab Republics. More than giving al-Bitar's successors an opportunity to recreate the Arab League in their image, it also caught the attention of other Reactionary regimes, notably the Australian and Afrikaner heirs of Sir Oswald Mosley's dream. While there were initially some misgivings, with fears that this might be an European imperialist ploy, many nonetheless saw mutual benefit and enough commonalities that the Levant's membership into the League of Neutral Defiance in 1968 was all but assured. Although this inevitably caused even more friction with the rest of the Free World, which has not truly dissipated with the passing of time, these haven't stopped diplomatic pushes for more democratic reforms. The realm's stability, along with it control over the Levantine Canal and Jerusalem itself, have nonetheless ensured that the Alnahdists would not meet any serious reprisal from without. While widespread loyalty, the ever-present Collectivist threat and effective co-opting of the storied Hashemite legacy have made it indispensable.

- "The World Almanac of Nations." American Federation. 2023 Edition.

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The dA version can be found here.

For some added context, the Middle East has never really been explored before in the setting. Admittedly the early versions of the TL only gave a cursory, almost nonexistent mention of the region as being either under the House of Osman or a vague "Arab League." Not anymore. While much more recent material has given tantalizing hints, now the country itself is explored in full: shaped both by historical constants and the madness surrounding it. Adhering to a peculiar, if not unholy blend of various ideologies (including Zionism, Nasserism and Ba'athism), this should hopefully shed light on what became of the Arab World before and after the Terror. With more than a hint of Fascist and Orwellian undertones, to boot, while showing what could have been.

The Levantine flag is an amalgamation of the Jordanian, United Arab Republic, Egyptian and Palestinian flags, with the predominant colors based on the Pan-Arab colors used by various Middle Eastern countries in real life. While the coat of arms are derived from the Eagle of Saladin, with elements of the initial post-independence Egyptian CoA.

The Hashemites/House of Hashim, in real life, are the current sovereign dynasty of Jordan and had historically ruled over Mecca (Makkah) and Medina (Madinah) for several generations, losing the entirety of the Hejaz to the House of Saud and its Wahhabi followers in 1925. Given that their lineage goes back to the Prophet Muhammed, they're also one of the oldest royal houses still in existence. Their reputation as moderates and reformers is also based on historical records, as well.

The events the brought about the Alnahdist Rennaisance and the subsequent aftermath are based on both the rise of Fascist Italy, the emergence of Nasserism, Zionism and Ba'athism. As a consequence, the Alnahdists themselves are an unholy blend of these influences, be it in their worldview being more secular than religious, a sense of nationalism derived from both Pan-Arab and Zionist sentiment, or its rather socialist bent compared to other Reactionary regimes. Coincidentally, many of the names used are references to various figures in those real life movements, with the first head of Alnahdist Party being a reference to both Nasser himself and Salah al-Din al-Bitar, one of the founders of the original Ba'ath Party.

The Levantine/Ismailia Canal is the in-universe version of the Suez Canal, albeit built with British rather than French aid. While the "original" name for said Canal is nod to Ismail Pasha.

And just to be on the safe side, this is a work of fiction. This is not a political or ideological screed. The politically incorrect details in the map and text as deliberately meant to be in-universe. In addition, depiction is not endorsement.

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(EDIT: Last-minute corrections)​
 
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Just another head's up: after having some other commitments and work done, I'm currently trying to work out which entry to get done first.

At the moment, I'm toying with either:
  • The Kingdom of South Italy
  • Sub Saharan Africa (eventual focus on the United African States and Southern Africa)
  • The Central Plains Collective (eventual focus on more and more of the Collectivist Internationale)
Thanks for being patient!
 
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The Long Cold War - Italia(c.2022) New
South Italy: General Introduction

The Kingdom of South Italy holds the claim of being not only one of the last Free Nations of Europe, but also the last surviving monarchy on the Continent itself. While but a shadow of its former glory, its people are by no means weak or resigned to oblivion. The country's sheer stubbornness and nigh zealous fortress mentality, even in the face of the Collectivist Internationale, is such that it remains a royalist power in its own right.

Encompassing a defensible stretch of the Mediterranean centered around the so-called Mezzogiorno, the realm is a constitutional monarchy under the reign of King Giacomo III, the latest sovereign of the Savoia-Siracusa line. Though still claiming the pre-Terror borders from the early 20th Century, it is formally comprised of seven Crown Provinces, two Autonomous Territories and the "Special Protectorate" of Malta, all of which are represented in the Parliamento Italiano. In practice, however, these have been supplemented by a system of "fortress-settlements" that emerged following the Napoli Reforms of 1930, with the even more fortified Cittadella ("Citadels") having considerable leverage. Over time, the lines between the nobility, civil politicians and military have also blurred, to the point that regional commanders are almost akin to the feudal lords of old. While seen by some observers as an inevitable outcome to the country's generations-long fortress mentality, civil liberties remain firmly entrenched as have many social institutions. That being said, while the swan song of Reactionarism never truly took hold, the peculiar form of "democracy" as perceived here is militantly tinged. Service, especially in the Regio Forze Armate Italiano (or "Royal Italian Armed Forces") grants greater rights to citizens out of the view that freedoms are earned, though equality under the law remains and no formal discrimination exists for those who choose not to for whatever reason.

The 38.8 million-strong populace themselves more than live up to their stringent standards. Officially, around 71% is Italian (many of at least partial Sicilian, Neapolitan or Sardinian lineage), with 22% being "Arabs" (catch-all for pure Arabs and those of Arab and Berber origin) and the remainder comprised of Greeks, Maltese and the unassimilated descendants of refugees from the Continent, notably the French. While relations between the two predominant groups especially had historically been terse, mutual hardship, common cause have over generations fostered a kind of camaraderie transcending differences, even while conserving said distinctions. Whether its the prevalence of Italian languages and Italo-Arabic (a creole blend derived from Tunisian Arabic), the growing trend of mixed-race relationships, these have also done much to further integrate the citizenry to an even greater extent than formal government policies. There are still some exceptions, particularly among some of the more old-fashioned Greeks, but such sentiments are nonetheless encapsulated in the phrase Fratelli attraverso l'inferno ("Brothers through Hell"). In the face of the surrounding enemy, as a recurring anecdote puts it, all have their part to play.

Despite its difficult predicament, South Italy is neither alone nor insignificant. The expansive "No Man's Lands" that surround its borders (a grim legacy of Case Rubicon) are filled with mines, forts and hidden emplacements that have allowed the Italians to sustain nigh-constant skirmishes. The RFAI itself, which most citizens are part of one way or another, has over time gained a reputation for excelling at defense and being fearless even in the face of death, which has allowed the country to be an active component in maintaining the "Red Curtain." It's also more willing, however, to partake in more underhanded means to maintain an advantage, whether to fend off enemy scouting patrols or root out "traitors," false "refugees" and covert cells funded by the Internationale. This is not to ignore the significant aid provided by its ties with the "Three Crowns" of the New World, whether it be Royal Navy patrols helping keep the Mediterranean open or New Austrian military shipments and joint operations. To speak nothing of the realm's special protectorate: the Sovereign Knights of Malta. While unpredictable, showing more fealty to the Vatican-in-Exile than its actual benefactors, and notorious for a militant zeal even by the realm's standards, the last so-called "Crusader Kingdom" has nonetheless shown its commitment in blood multiple times.

Combined with a still-functional economy (with the wineries of Sicily and Calabria seen as among the best in the world), natalist policies and a substantial industrial base formed out of necessity, the country continues to succeed in holding the line against the Collectivists. That it has deterred them from fully conquering the Continent at all, however bloody the costs may be, speaks volumes of how its stubbornness is not unfounded. Nonetheless, its people know better than to be complacent. The enemy's efforts to isolate the realm and subvert it from within are known to have escalated in more recent years. Meanwhile, concerns have arisen over the growing social and mental costs of keeping up the fight with seemingly little hope for real respite.

Regardless, Italians are a resilient people. Everyone does their duty, be it for God, King or Fatherland. Or die trying.

Basic History of South Italy

The Italian Peninsula has seen much over the millennia. Here was where the glory that was Rome first emerged, as had its successors. It was here, as well, that the Renaissance took root, reviving the knowledge of Antiquity to enlighten a changing globe. The modern history of what would become South Italy, coincidentally, began around that time. For generations, and for a while after, there were various city-states, republics, duchies and kingdoms, most at the mercy of foreign powers in some form or another. Nonetheless, as Niccolò Machiavelli expressed in the 1530s, a sense of nationalism mirroring Ancient Greece had spread. This didn't happen overnight, however, as each state had their own ideas for what being "Italian" meant, whether in divided regions like Tuscany or the more united lands south of the Papal States under the Crowns of Naples and Sicily (colloquially known as the Mezzogiorno) and being more "patriotic" towards themselves than anything else.

A series of events over the next few centuries, from encroaching Habsburg influence in Venice to the wave of reforms that accompanied the so-called Enlightenment, gradually laid down the groundwork for bringing all of Italy together. The ascendant House of Savoia (which by the 17th Century had encompassed its namesake lands, as well as what had been Piedmont, Aosta, Genoa and Nissa) was involved in intermittent conflicts with the Spanish over their hegemony in the Mezzogiorno. This eventually led to Duke Vittorio Amedeo II, breaking away from French attempts to influence his realm, successfully establishing himself as King of Naples and Sicily in 1705. While this proved fleeting, as he was forced to relinquish the titles by his erstwhile Habsburg allies "to preserve order" in exchange for Corsica and Sardinia in 1723, the promise of genuine change compared to the stifling grip of the preceding feudal order laid the groundwork for not only widespread resentment, but growing support (as was increasingly elsewhere) for a more unified land.

It wasn't until the 1810s, however, that such trends would culminate in uprisings throughout much of the Peninsula. Figures like Giuseppe Mazzini and Daniele Manin came into prominence, espousing Italian patriotism and unity over division. Such people, who would be remembered in time as heroes, gained the attention of the Savoias through the reformist Duke Ferdinand (later King Ferdinand I). Seeing both a chance to elevate his dynasty's fortunes and to bring long-needed change to a fractured land, he and other nationalists embarked on what has since been known as the Grande Risorgimento ("Great Resurgence"). Defined by both peaceful compromise and military force in the north, among the most notable successes was the "Mezzogiorno Revolution" in 1851, in which a Savoia-backed resistance force led by Vincenzo Fardella di Torrearsa and Giuseppe Garibaldi deposed the unpopular Bourbons who had assumed control. The 1854 Unification that followed formally proclaimed the Kingdom of the Two Italies. Although it wouldn't be until 1863 that the Papal States (and with it Rome) formally joined as the autonomous Vatican State, the Peninsula was effectively under one banner, to be ruled by and for Italians.


The latter parts of the 19th Century saw the realm struggling to both consolidate itself and bolster its prestige on the world stage. At first, this seemed almost Herculean, whether it was debates over Standard Italian, the introduction of republican-influenced constitutionalism or developing the more "backward" Mezzogiorno with greater financial and industrial incentives. Such hardships also contributed to the initial wave of Italians migrating to the New World to seek better fortunes (such as the American Federation), and may also have led to Ferdinand I marrying into Sicilian nobility (forging the House of Savoia-Siracusa). Nonetheless, with the help of both its Habsburg allies (through the Austro-Hungarian Crownlands) and the British Empire, it came to not only stand up on its own but expand beyond the Peninsula. By 1900, it had already established colonies in the former Ottoman territories of Tunisia and Tripolitania, as well as its "Special Protectorate" over the Sovereign Knights of Malta. It also gained considerable influence in the then-newly independent countries of Greece and Albania. Before long, the country was increasingly seen as a regional power in its own right.

Then, came the Terror. While stirrings of unrest were already occurring in parts of the country, for a time the Collectivists seemed far away. Nonetheless, Giacomo II ordered for various contingencies and plans to be drawn out should the worst come to pass. As the sheer extent and horror of the threat became all too evident, such efforts were soon put into action as the Continent crumbled, including the ironically named Case Elysium (aiding the retreat from the collapsing mainland that eventually led to the integration of Italian Greece in 1944). The most infamous of these, however, was Case Rubicon: a withdrawal done on a massive scale, through a combination of defensive lines and widespread scorched earth tactics. Callous as this was, and approved only with great reluctance by the monarch and upper ranks of the RFAI, this was seen as the most viable option to preserve the realm in any functional capacity, while leaving the enemy nothing to use against it. Thus, from the moment it was enacted in 1926, thousands of Italian soldiers and militia, along with several Knights, knowingly went to their deaths to deny the enemy their "victory" and seek vengeance for what was lost. Their sacrifices, however, not only gave the Papacy a chance to evacuate Rome before the Red tide consumed it, but also allowed the last major wave of refugees (whether from the fallen north or other so-called "Lost Nations" like France) to escape and bought the strained realm time to establish the final defensive perimeter from the provisional capital of Naples.

The Napoli Reforms signed in 1930 did more than simply rename the realm into the Kingdom of South Italy and sought to go beyond temporary measures in response to the new reality. Among the changes brought about were the codification of the fortress-settlement system, a policy of widespread conscription into the RFAI regardless of background, plans for a plebiscite for the Tunisian colonies and a commitment to stopping the enemy from closing the curtain on the Continent forever. In practice, all these largely formalized what was already occurring since the Terror, while the continuing threats posed by the enemy meant that the Reforms had to keep up with a volatile situation that could change at any moment. Indeed, Case Rubicon itself only came to its climactic if bloody end with the brutal Defense of Naples in 1937, when Collectivist forces launched a surprise attack on the Proto-Citadel. This would go down as the worst point in Italian history after the loss of Rome, as it led to the city itself being abandoned and destroyed "as Vesuvius brought ruin upon Pompeii," with the Savoia-Siracusas seeing no choice but to retreat to Palermo, where they rule to this day. It also marked the last time, however, that the defenses were breached to any significant degree. And while the skirmishes never truly ceased from then on, a sense of order was restored.

Subsequent years saw the Italians' fortress mentality further entrench itself into the national consciousness, with the notion of fratelli attraverso l'inferno transcending ethnic, religious and even gender lines. As most readily volunteered themselves into either the military or civil work, by 1953 the policy of conscription morphed into offering greater rights to citizens through service. So it was, that even as a new feudal-style "aristocracy" emerged from the the bastions (with some commanders hailing from the old nobility), so too did new opportunities arise for even the lowliest commoner to become part of that elite. Yet regardless of where one is in society, as New Austrian and Loyalist Canadian observers noted during a joint exercise off Corsica in 1994, all are doing their part. That view, for all its grim ramifications, had proven itself as sturdy and in its own way, admirable as the people themselves.

They must be. For while emigration never ceased being open for those seeking a better life elsewhere, the loss of the Continent wholesale would not only risk shutting the Mediterranean off forever, but would also render the sacrifices of their forefathers to be all for nothing. The past century has proven them true, but for how long, who could truly say.

- "The World Almanac of Nations." American Federation. 2023 Edition.

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For some added trivia, many of the "fortress-settlements" correspond to actual towns and cities across Italy, Tunisia and Greece. Meanwhile , placenames like "Candia" are the Italian forms of what would be in real life, cities like "Heraklion."

The use of the term Mezzogiorno (Italian for "Midday") in reference to Southern Italy is derived from how sunshine in that region is particularly strong around that time of day. While it's not clear when the word itself was first used for that part of the country, it's said to have gained popularity in real life after the 1860s, when it (then under the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies) became part of Italy.

The Grande Risorgimento that led to the 1854 Unification is a direct nod to the real life Risorgimento ("Resurgence") that eventually unified Italy by 1871. Coincidentally, Mazzini, Manin and Garibaldi still played major roles in RDNA-verse version of events, though there's a more pronounced influence from the figures who, in our timeline, led the Sicilian Revolution of 1848, such as Vincenzo Fardella di Torrearsa.

In real life, Southern Italy/Mezzogiorno never saw proper industrialization or development compared to the rest of the country after unification, which contributed to the notorious "North-South Divide" and the proliferation of the Mafia. In the timeline, however, a combination of closer patronage from the House of Savoy (resulting eventually in the House of Savoia-Siracusa) and a more concerted effort to bring the region up to speed would go far in avoiding the malaise, while also laying the foundations for the country's transformation after the Terror.

The star icon used is the Stella d'Italia ("Star of Italy"), which has been in use in various forms in the Italian Peninsula since Antiquity. While the one used to represent the "Citadels" are based on the Italian Army's coat of arms.

The peculiarly militarized state of Italian society is a combination of various influences, from the feudalism that marked the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies to pre-Fascist Italian constitutionalism and of all things, Starship Troopers (the latter especially with the "service guarantees citizenship" undertones). The in-universe circumstances faced by the country have brought these about, as well as a sense of social camaraderie, largely out of necessity and the acceptance of having to fight on indefinitely. As the "perceived" alternative is destruction.

Case Rubicon is also a nod to the phrase "Crossing the Rubicon." Originally a reference to Julius Caesar making his fateful choice to march into Rome, it notion of committing to a plan, to which there's no turning back.

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