The Second Great War: Opening Engagements (1938-1940)
The Fighting Begins
November 14th, 1938 saw the world come to an end or so many thought. After years of beating around the bush and open threats the newly formed Entente and German-led E.E.C. finally had had enough of each other. Kaiser Fredrich Wilhelm III with approval of the Reichstag and followed shortly after by his fellow head of states declared a state of war on the Entente members. German Imperial Forces would begin preparing to launch pre-emptive attacks on the nation's enemies. As Germany and its allies prepared to attack Russia would attack in a co-ordinated move with Turkey, Italy and Romania the Eastern Bloc from the South and East hitting a surprised but not unprepared E.E.C.army. Meanwhile, France would attempt to strike Western Germany in a move similar to Germany's own 1914 offensive in the previous war aimed at outflanking and taking the German Industrial heartland through Belgium (a member of the new Entente). However, their forces would swiftly bog down as Germany had been preparing to do a similar move and the German forces would prove much better prepared than France and the Entente initially, though. The Imperial Army would begin a heavy defence while sending armored divisions led by Erwin Rommel to try to outflank the French-Belgian initiative. This would have mild success pushing the French back into Belgium. However, farther south the French would prove determined to take the Rhineland at all cost and a stalemate would quickly ensue.
The Eastern Front would prove less successful in holding back the initial Russian onslaught which was able to push Ukrainian royal forces back to past Dnepropetrov and to the outskirts of Kiev while the Baltic States fell almost at once with their armed forces retreating into eastern Prussia and western Poland, Eastern Poland fared little better then its Baltic allies. However, the joint E.E.C: forces would prove capable of holding onto the areas they still controlled by the start of 1939, this was in no small part thanks to the fact that Russia had stopped the charge west due to the start of Winter, and the Germans helping reorganize the allied defences.
Turkey and Greece would begin shooting at each other almost right off the bat with the Turkish invasion of Constantinople were the Turkish populace welcomed them as liberators while the Greek populace resisted with all their might the Turkish incursion, the Greek efforts would be aided a little by Bulgarian troops who came into to try to alleviate the Greek problems. However, they also had to fight a Romanian invasion from the north.
Italy and Russia would pressure Yugoslavia into joining the war by early 1939 when Italy threatened to invade them and Russia promised them a piece of Hungary and Austria for their help, though Italy had its own designs on the region. Italy would itself launch two separate invasions one into Austria which would prove harder then Mussolini had promised and another one this time naval against Greece which held several areas Italy claimed. The Greeks currently defending Thrace from the Turkish forces would be unable to prevent a landing of Italian troops in Epirus, the Ionion Islands and Peloponnese.
Japan which had been fighting China since the year before was bound by a treaty they had signed with Germany to come to Germany's aid in its war with Russia, was contemplating a greater war with the enemies of its European ally, with many in the Diet proposing backing out of the alliance, others in the Diet and the army proposing focusing on China and also invading the Russian far east to secure their northern flank, secure much needed raw material for what they saw as a long war, and to cut off Russian aid to the Chinese nationalists. The navy and more imperialistic/less realistic members of the government proposed an attack similar to OTL Japanese war efforts to take without provocation the rich European colonies in South East Asia to fuel the Japanese war machine, though well received by many in the war department it was greatly resisted by the army and the members of the Diet who felt such a move would alienate their friends in the U.S.A. and possibly provoke negative effects. All the factions would continue fighting over the best course of action when a border skirmish along the Manchurian-Mongolian border occurred, the skirmish was largely fought by Russian and Japanese troops rather then by Manchu and Mongolian soldiers. The skirmish would swiftly brin most of the previously neutral and pro-naval thinkers into backing the northern plan, and on February 19th 1939 Japan declared war on Russia in the defence of both its allies Manchukuo and Germany. However, it didn't declare war on Russia's allies. The declaration of war would be followed by a general mobilization and deployment of more troops from the homeland into Korea, Manchukuo and Japanese Occupied North eastern China to help fight a now broader war, thus bringing Japan and the Second Sino-Japanese war into the Second great War. Japanese troops would begin the invasion of outer Manchuria and The Japanese navy swiftly began operation against the Russian fleet in Vladivostok, the would face heavy resistance from the troops that had assembled there.
Britain was at a loss at what to do, the Chamberlain administration was in chaos with the more pro-war faction loyal to Oswald were pushing for Chamberlain's resignation and for war, with Germany. As the situation continued to deteriorate in Parliament on the streets of London it was fairing little better with extreme conservatives, reactionaries and Fascists pushed for a no-confidence vote, while anti-war supporters tried to lead rallies in support of non-interference and peace. Violence continued to grow until the German fleet was seen in the Channel attempting to cut off the French and protect the sea route between Germany and the African colonies. The presence of the German fleet so close to the British coastline was the last nail in Chamberlain's coffin. On June 4th Edward along with half the Parliament forced Chamberlain to resign, soon after an emergency parliament would be put together at the behest of Edward. Edward would give the position of Prime Minister to Oswald Mosley instead of the popular Winston Churchill who advocated a strong neutral policy wanting neither to support the dictatorial French and Russian led forces or the German side which Churchill - along with many others - considered a threat to the future of British dominance, and instead focus on defending and solidifying the British Empire. Oswald's first Latino was the incarceration of all his political enemies and creating a purely pro-war parliament which would not stop any of his efforts. Among those arrested was the brother of King Edward, Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George, since he was a loud advocate for peace and a personally friend of Kaiser Fredrich Wilhelm III. his family would successfully be evacuated. However, thanks to pre-emptive efforts of Churchill, His family would make it to Amsterdam were they wuold be accepted as guests by the pro-German Netherlands government. The military while weary of what was happening in parliament had swore an oath to the king and to the parliament. So at the behest of both parties involved the royal army was placed in a position to defend order throughout the capital and the nation. On September 8th, Oswald's cabinet voted to declare war on Germany and its allies (except Japan) and the royal navy began engaging the German Imperial Fleet across the Atlantic. Oswald in several impassioned speeches would try to gain popular support from the British people. However, this would not prove entirely successful with many still supporting the imprisoned Churchill and anti-war politicians, several protests would be held throughout Britain and its colonies against the unpopular decision to declare war. However, the army and navy no matter how reluctant remained loyal to the crown and wanting another shot at Germany kept the tides of revolt at bay and the populace loyal. Britain would formally join the Entente along with its Domains. Though South Africa did so with little enthusiasm with at least half the white population being anti-British, and the Quebecois fearful of the rise of Oswald's Anglo-centric policies protested violently Ottawa's decision to join the war, and to put forward conscription of non-English speakers.
Fighting in Africa and the Middle East broke out just as quickly as it did in Europe with French forces invading Germany's African colonies with Togoland falling quickly since it was small and isolated. However, a much better prepared German Central Africa would be ready for the French incursion and fighting in the Jungles of Central Africa would begin at once, and the German colonial authorities doing all they could to protect the transport of raw materials going to the homeland and weapons from the homeland to German Africa. Much like the rebellious French African subjects, much of the German subjects also began causing problems for the German war efforts. However, a few tribes proved loyal to the German colonial authorities and to some extent aided the war efforts. Britain's entry into the war, however, put the German colonies in greater risk and British colonial troops would begin incursions into German East Afrkca and the German Congo while forces in Nigeria fought along the border with troops stationed in Kamerun.
Colonial troops stationed in the protectorate of Syria would face invasions from Turkey bent on retaking the area or at least, creating a loyal puppet state. The minorities in the colony took up arms in support of the German authorities. However, the Sunni Aryan majority declared open revolt and actively aided Turkish forces. Same as Africa the Middle Eastern territories of the British provided a platform for the invasion of German Syria. However, many anti-British factions took advantage of the state of war and began open rebellion against British Rule, namely Iraq, and violent nationalists in the subcontinent, though the majority of the population would prove much more pacifist. Either way, Oswald's government attempted to crush resistance which only added fuel to the flames.
Mexico separated from the European war saw its occupation of Guatemala go unchallenged decided it would attempt another push south moving troops into El Salvador and Honduras, This time the States would not tolerate another annexation despite the strong neutrality tendency of many Americans, the increasingly aggressive stance of Mexico's strong man Jose and the risk his enterprises caused to American businesses put a quick end to Roosevelt's Good Neighbor Policy and a return of the old policy nicknamed Big Brother Policy with some slight adjustments which Roosevelt's government would begin promoting. These would prove quite popular amongst capitalists and the southern states which were growing restless about growing Mexican aggression. At the "request" of Nicaragua and Panama troops would be stationed to protect against Mexican expansion, and a trade embargo on Mexico, followed by Germany who thought it wise to co-operate with the U.S.A. to bring them over to the German field. The Embargo would, however, face major protests from France and Britain who were major trading partners of Mexico. Jose Antonio Urquiza would use this as propaganda to fuel the growing resentment of many Mexicans, though with an embargo on his administration Jose realized that it would hard to do much in terms of acquiring aid from France leaving him with two options of action, attempt to push farther south and fight the Americans in south leaving the northern border open or striking at the oil rich southern U.S.A: in the hopes of taking enough land to bring the Yankees to negotiate with him. Either choice, he decided to sit tight for now and control his recent gains while building up for what he saw as an inevitable conflict with the states. Luckily for Jose, there were ways to avoid the embargo largely thanks to British and French colonies in the Caribbean which eased Mexico's situation a little. But it looked like war would come to the North American continent at some point - despite all the wishes of the American people.
The Fighting Intensifies
The fighting in Western Europe continued to grow bloodier with the French throwing everything they had at the German imperial forces which continued to drive the French out of Western Germany and into Belgium. However, with the British entry into the war British troops began entering Northern France and Belgium with the intentions of driving the German back and taking the lands up to the west bank of the Rhine. However, that wouldn't be enough to knock Germany out of the War, and plans were drawn up by the French and British generals to put greater pressure on the Germans by cutting off their colonies and attacking from Scandinavia and the Lowlands. However, these plans would break the neutrality of Norway, Denmark and Netherlands which were already growing pro-German with each passing day, and on the capability of the Royal Navy to neutralize the German imperial fleet which had grown in size over the past two decades. The plans would be launched in 1940 with the expectations that the eastern front would keep sufficient German forces occupied for the western allies to get the Germans in a weakened state.
The Allied war effort did not keep in calculation the Spanish civil war which still raged on with the Falange forces receiving less and less aid each passing month with the French and Italians pouring all their resources into the war effort, this weakening aid and the growing support for the monarchists and republicans led to a series of Falange defeats in Northern Spain kicking the Falange forces out of the area. However, Franco's Forces still had a strong position in Southern France in Spanish Morocco. German support though slowed did not cease altogether like the French and Italian did. The German ambassador to Spain would meet with the Spanish loyalist and republicans with a plan that greatly interested the monarchist and brought nothing but contempt from the Republicans. Should Spain join the German war effort after dealing with Franco's Rebellion it was promised in the case of a victory over France and its allies, Roussillon lost in the Treaty of the Pyrenees, Gibraltar a region Spain had wanted back for years, French Morocco and Oran. The Republicans after much negotiations agreed to the idea since it would give their side greater support from the population, under the condition that German support continued to both the monarchists and the republican banners and not try to get involved further in Spanish affairs after the war. Anti-Falange forces would continue pushing south with great difficulty, reached Andalucia and Seville by the end of 1939. When Franco realized he was losing the war without further allied support requested further support. France offered only some minor funds since it was focusing East, but did hint that should their be greater success on the German front it would invade and aid the Falange forces. At this point, however, the loyalty of many was wavering and defections began to appear which further weakened Franco's position. Also, the deal with the Germans had already began circulating throughout Spain and the idea of backing the side that proposed restoring lands long lost to France and Britain not to mention the prospect of gaining a colony enticed even the most loyal of Franco's backers.