The Age of War refers to the period of time between 1873 and 1940 in which the major European powers fought for control of the world and its resources.
At the end of the Napoleonic wars all of Europe (except the Ottoman Empire) was allied against Napoleon. However this soon ended as Russia and the Union faced off over Asia, the USA and the Union over North America and the Atlantic as well as Prussia and Austria over the control of Germany. Therefore, by the end of the Age of Revolution new alliances had formed. In 1873 Germany had formed and all semblance of a unified alliance ended, now two alliances dominated the scene. The Anglo-Dutch - German alliance and the French-Russian-Austrian alliance. Outside Europe Japan was allied with the Union against Russia and the USA was still neutral.
As the last major war between European powers before WWI the Russo-Turkish war is especially important as in all previous wars the Union had sided with Russia but this time the Union supplied men and material to the Ottoman Empire and although the Ottomans eventually lost. The supply of aid from the Union had placed them on the side of the Union in all future conflicts.
In 1900 the Union, Germany, Japan, USA, Serbia and the Ottoman Empire signed the Imperial Alliance. Although one of the members was a Republic all of them were dedicated to preserving the status quo and the continuation of Imperialism. In response to this however, France, Russia, Austria, Italy, Spain and Mexico formed an alliance of their own called the Defensive Alliance, so named as its purpose was to defend themselves from the Imperials.
World War I
1st Phase 1904-1905
The 1st phase of WWI lasted from 1904 to 1905, in general it was defined by mixed results on both sides with Russia doing well in the East but Germany and the Union making gains in the west. In the Americas though the war went well for the Imperials with the USA capturing Mexico within a year of the war starting. Elsewhere the Anglo-Dutch and Germans used aircraft for the first time to provide reconnaissance and bombing while the Japanese attacked Vladivostok in the east.
2nd Phase 1906-1908
The 2nd phase of the war lasted from 1906 to 1908 and was defined by large gains by the Imperial Alliance in some areas but determined counterattacks from the Defensive alliance (mainly Russia) in others. At the beginning of 1906 the Anglo-Dutch and Germans used Armored cars in a combined offensive alongside cavalry, mounted infantry and artillery to capture Paris in less than a month.
However, the Russian armies managed to counter-attack into Prussian Poland while in Asia they completely destroyed the Japanese armies in Vladivostok. It wasn't enough, though, and France fell after the Emperor returned in late 1907 and France's monarchy was restored. This freed up Anglo-Dutch and German forces in the west and allowed them to attack and destroy Russian forces in Poland. This made it possible for Japanese forces to attack in the east as well and this combined assault meant that Russia collapsed in 1908.
3rd Phase 1909-1910
The 3rd phase of the war lasted from 1909 to 1910, it was defined by the attempts by the remaining two defensive alliance members (Austria-Hungary and Spain) to bring the Union to its knees. The Austrians managed to recapture Belgrade from the Serbs and secured their homelands. Spain although attempted to destroy the moral of the Unions population with massive shore bombardments from its powerful navy. This plan was utterly defeated however when the Spanish fleet was destroyed by the Royal Navy and Austria-Hungary agreed to sign a peace treaty alongside Spain that dismantled their respective empires. This ended the first world war but the peace treaties imposed on France and Russia crippled the respective countries and the resulting hatred would be one of the causes of the second world war.
Russian Civil War
At the end of WWI Russia had no functioning government, in the revolution of 1908 a coalition of constitutional monarchists (Decembrists), republicans (Kadet party), socialists (Mensheviks), Communists (Bolsheviks) and Fascists (National Socialist party). This coalition managed to rule the country for two years with varying decrees of success, however the reparations forced on Russia by Germany and the Union caused tensions in the coalition government and in 1910 the Decembrists installed Cyril Vladimirovich as Tsar under a Decembrist dominated Duma. Although the Kadet and Menshevik parties attempted to hold the coalition together their attempts failed and by 1912 each of the five parties had set up an army and had areas of the country under their control. The Decembrists set up their power base in the south west of the country where much of the land was under the control of rich land owners who had the most to lose should the Tsar fall. The National Socialist's had a strong power base in Belorussia and Ukraine where nationalism was strong and in the north where the middle classes feared the Communists. The Kadets had their power base in the center of Russia where most people were uninterested in extreme politics and preferred to live a simple life demanding only moderate reforms. The Communists had two separate power bases, one in the Agrarian south where farmers demanded extreme measures and in the far east where some of its intellectuals had been imprisoned by the Tsar. The Menshevik power base was the smallest of them all though as it only controlled the Pacific ports and some areas where its intellectuals had been imprisoned.
The Fascists and Communists were the first powers to collapse as the Decembrists conquered their areas with the Imperial Army in the west and the enclaves in the east came to an agreement with the Mensheviks to join with them. The Mensheviks joined forces with the Kadets in 1915 and this granted their coalition control over most of the country with its capital in Vladivostok. This allowed the Kadet party to capture Moscow and the Duma building in 1917, this established them as the legitimate government of Russia in the eyes of the Imperial Alliance which supplied them with weapons and equipment in exchange for them paying the reparations after ten years.
However the legitimate support amongst the Russian populace was for the Decembrists and by 1919 the Decembrists had regained control over much of the country although they were still unable to capture Moscow. The impending defeat of the Kadet's led the Anglo-Dutch Union to send forces to Siberia to intervene on the side of the Kadet's. With the help of the Union the Kadet's secured control over most of eastern Russia but it wasn't enough as the Union withdrew in 1920 when the Decembrists finally recaptured Moscow and put an end to the ten year long civil war.
In WWI Russia had been forced to sign away its to largest pacific ports and most of its Asian holdings to Japan. In 1920 however Japan transferred those territories to China in exchange for the loss of Chinese influence in Korea. Seeing this to be its chance at recovering those territories the Russian army invaded China through Manchuria and began the Sino-Russian war.
The Russian army and navy were far superior to their Chinese equivalents who were barely up to pre-WWI standards. Within six months the Russian army had recaptured Port Arthur from the Chinese and Russian tank divisions were at the gates of Beijing. However, all was not yet lost for the Chinese as the Japanese and Germans both decided that they couldn't allow Russia to return to its pre-war strength. Germany dispatched four armoured divisions, five mechanised and six infantry alongside the Battleship KMS Terpitz and its escorts as the Fernost Kräfte (Far East Forces) while Japan sent advisors to re-organise the Chinese military.
With the help of Japanese and German forces the Chinese republic was at last able to push back the Russians. It succeeded in defeating them in the battle of Beijing and the Terpitz was able to destroy Russian shore emplacements at Port Arthur allowing the Chinese army to recapture it. The Chinese were on the border of pushing into Russia itself when the Japanese made it clear they would not stand this and imposed a peace treaty on the two parties.
Chinese Civil War
The defeat of Russia in the Sino-Russian war brought a great deal of respite to the still young Chinese Republic. It allowed them to unite the remaining waring factions under the banner of Chinese unity and prevent a civil war from breaking out. However the divisions that had led to the impeding civil war had not truly been dealt with but had instead simply become overcome by their patriotism during the war. Without the war to hold them together the Chinese factions began to drift apart and by 1926 most people believed that war was inevitable. Unfortunately it was, although the Communists and Royalist put aside their differences to form the so called Moderate front.
The Fascist on the other hand were less willing to compromise on their beliefs and in 1927 40% of China declared its independence as the Fascist Republic of China. The Chinese army did outnumber the rebels but it was still badly trained and required Japanese advisors in most of its high ranking positions. Despite this the Fascists were still badly outnumbered and also lacked any skilled military personnel. All this changed when the Action Française seized power in France and sent a military task force to support the Fascists. This changed the dynamic of the war for good as Japan and Germany began to ship equipment to the Moderate's, unemployed Anglo-Dutch soldiers also joined volunteer units that supported the Moderates. Eventually though, the Fascists were victorious and the Moderates were evicted from China.
The United States and Japan had been in fierce competition for control of the Pacific trade routes since the late 1800's, despite their formal alliance through the Anglo-Dutch Union the two had been at odds over control of the Pacific for decades. The Union had played a moderating role for the decade after the first world war the global depression had caused the competition between the two to spiral to unparalleled levels. In 1923 with Japan's attention drawn eastwards by the crisis in China and Russia the United States attempted to seize control of the Pacific Islands and gain a foothold against Japan. The resulting war saw Japan seize the Philippines in a short conflict that demonstrated the superiority of Japan's carrier and submarine based fleet. Three years latter the United States, irritated with Japan's total domination of the Pacific struck back with its new long range aircraft and carriers, Three years of war raged across the Pacific saw Japan annex Hawaii and leave most of the American fleet rusting at the bottom of the ocean as well as leaving several western cities bombed out and destroyed. Although the USA and Japan officially remained allies during WWII the few occasions where the two sides fought alongside one another were fraught with conflict.
Second World War
1st Phase 1932-1934
In the first phase of the Second World War the Imperials were forced on the defensive as the French made great gains against Germany and the Netherlands. The French succeeded in driving the Anglo-Dutch out of Calais in the first few months of the war and the Netherlands. The Germans succeeded in holding out against the French and Russians for the first year of the war but the French tanks were far better than the German ones and even the genius of Erwin Rommel and Erich Raeder was unable to stop them making great gains into Germany. 1934 ended with French flags flying in Berlin and many in the Union believed that with the loss of their main European ally and their mainland territories that they should consider surrender.
2nd Phase 1934-1936
The second phase of WW2 began with the continued expansion of the Allies into southern Europe and the expulsion of all loyalist German forces from Adolph Hitlers puppet state. However this was tempting fate and the Ottoman Empire decided that it would place its lot into the ring with the Imperials in line with the pre-existing alliance between the Ottomans and Serbia. The Ottomans did this in a spectacular way, launching from so called "Black Sea Carriers" (Essentially airstrips on rafts and towed by tugs) the Ottoman Air Force destroyed the entire Russian Black Sea fleet and devastated the city of Sevastopol with air raids and bombardment from the sea.
This forced the Russians and Austrians to continue their campaign through the Balkans and to launch an attack against European Turkey. The French then decided to invade Spain because General Franco had been supporting the German loyalists in Africa, While the French army swept past the Spanish defensive positions at the border they were forced to slow down by more difficult terrain within a couple of weeks. This allowed the Spanish to build up a series of mighty fortifications and fortress's at what became known as the Montaña línea (Mountain line). It also caused the French to withdraw some of their advisors and troops from helping their Chinese allies and the Japanese succeeded in forcing them to surrender after the capture of Beijing.
Determined to win the war quickly the Allies launched a major offensive on both the Balkan and Spanish fronts as they knew that the longer they delayed the more time the Union would have to build up a force with which they could strike at France and the other Allies. However while they succeeded in capturing European Turkey in the Balkans they were met by massive resistance in Spain, the Spanish Montaña línea wasn't limited to simple forts and artillery batteries it was also guarded by the Spanish armies most elite divisions and when the French Armée du Suid arrived it was utterly annihilated in a battle that last barely a week, destroying most of Frances heavy weaponry in the process and opening up France to Imperial counterattacks on an unparalled scale.
3rd Phase 1936-1940
The third phase of WW2 took the promise of counterattacks given by the defeat of the Armée du Suid and turned them into a reality. The USA and the Union, long involved with a guerrella war in the Russian colony of Alaska launched a huge offensive against the Russians in North America and within a week specially modified tanks and transports were preparing to cross the Bering Straits and invade Siberia. This was halted, however, by the recall of Union ships to the British Isles in preparation for what would go down in history as the largest naval battle of all time.
Since the beginning fo the war France and Russia had been able to capitalise on the Unions Empire by using diversionary attacks to draw away the Royal Navy and grant their respective navies control of the North Sea and the English Channel. But with the Russian fleet being called upon to deal with the Turks and the Spanish harassing French shipping in the Atlantic the Union had a golden opportunity to restore naval power to its rightful owners. The Union fleet assembled at Rosyth was the largest in the world at the time and consisted of:
- 6 Carriers (Ark Royal,Frisia,Walonia,Derry,London,Antwerp,Rosyth)
- 12 Light Carriers
- 15 Battle ships
- 10 Battle cruisers
- 30 Cruisers
- 135 Destroyers and Destroyer Escorts
The Union's fleet left Rosyth on the 1st October 1936 and headed towards the canal at full speed. Launching attack waves from its Carriers the Union fleet sank five French capital ships before the main fleet sighted them and after destroying the French Navies four carriers was able to wipe out the rest of the fleet with little trouble therefore returning control of the channel to the Union. The return of Union control to the North Sea and the Atlantic prompted the two Scandanavian countries to enter the war as their coastlines could be protected by the Royal Navy.
In mid 1937 the Imperial's launched a major counter offensive on all fronts, In Spain the Spanish Army wiped out the remnants of the Armée du Suid and went on to launch a major attack against the city of Toulouse in the south of France. The Japanese, USA and the Union launched a major amphibious assault against the Russian city of Vladivostok. At the same time the Scandinavians linked up with the finish rebels to make an assault against the capital St Petersburg. Finally the Ottomans launched a massive attack up through the Caucuses to link up with the other three forces to make an attack against Moscow. This was to much for the Russians and with revolution on the horizon the Russian government surrendered.
The Collapse of the Russian's allowed the Imperials to launch Deutsch Befreiung (German freedom), Launched from Imperial held Russian territory the attack also involved Nordic forces attacking through Denmark. The Operation involved two attacks from the north and the east and caught a large number of the Austrian and French forces off guard, The 1st Army under Field Marshal Rommel drove through the Austrian lines in the south and swung north to cut off the Austrians from the French allowing Rommel to capture Berlin by the end of 1938.
This granted the Ottomans a reprieve from the assaults from the Austro-Hungarians and allowed them to counter attack them allowing them to recapture European Turkey and attack the Austro-Hungarians. The Ottoman attack was not a great success but drew further French troops away from the eastern front and created openings for the Anglo-Dutch and Germans to continue attacking the French and recapture Strasbourg and Amsterdam. When the Anglo-Dutch recaptured Amsterdam there was a huge ceremony and it was viewed as being safe enough for the Queen to return.
The Spanish also took advantage of this to finally break out of their defensive position in the far south of France and attack Nice. Unfortunately, while the Anglo-Dutch and Germans had faced little opposition in their offensives the French were still willing to defend their own homeland. The Spanish lacked the advanced technology and tanks of the French army but had a numerical advantage and used human wave tactics to overwhelm the French tanks. While they lost a lot of troops the Spanish succeeded in defeating the French defense of the city and gained an air base that allowed them to strike at Paris itself.
All this led up to the end of the war in 1940. The capture of Nice drew French troops south and opened up the north to Anglo-Dutch forces allowing them to push forwards and attack Paris itself, with the help of Spanish bombers and an attack from Nice the French could not hold the city for long and surrendered. Although Paris and the French republic had collapsed, the Austrians remained a threat, hidden behind the mountains to invade Austria itself would require a large depletion of manpower and the deaths of thousands of Imperial troops. It was for this reason that the Anglo-Dutch decided to unleash their atomic weapons. Having been tested in the Arctic wastes in 1938 they equipped a Fokker XVII with a nuclear device and used it to detonate an atomic bomb on Budapest, ending the war and forcing the Austrians to surrender.