The war started over the board's long-term dispute about which colour to use on AH maps.
Thande started a poll thread about deciding whether to colour Russia green or gold. Factions soon emerged, and the great colour scheme standoff was born.
Yeah. Blame Thande !
Greensheviks - preferred to colour Russia green. Split soon into several subfactions, most notably the ACS Radicals, Girondins and an amorphous group of sympathisers.
Goldilocks - preferred to colour Russia gold. Didn't have that many subfactions of note.
Eventually, things were decided by literally one vote. Thankfully, due to these favourable results, the potential war got narrowly averted thanks to diplomatic goodwill.
The Colour Scheme War has been likened to the Trent Affair, the Phony War and (especially) the Russian Civil War. Partly because of uncanny similarities and parallels and partly because all three of these OTL conflicts being done to death in mainstream AH and in timelines on this board.
Despite its brevity, the cultural impact of the Colour Scheme War remains fairly tangible in AH.com culture. One of the causes of this is that many AH.commers at the time were affraid of the CSW potentially escalating into the most destructive conflict the board has ever seen. (Back then. Nobody expected The Pony Wars, indeed…)
There were originally plans to create an AH.com comedy series based on this incident. Ideas for an AH.com The Series-like work chronicling the bitter paintshed of the war were drawn. The main proposal was pitched by Augustus Montes. Obviously enough, the CSW would be presented in-series as an AH.com-themed spoof of the Russian Civil War (in the style of old Soviet westerns) and of all sorts of other civil wars from throughout history. Due to relatively low interest and due to the war itself never really getting off the ground, this project idea was soon dropped indefinitely.