The Century Plan was a Fascist Roman military and geopolitical strategy from 1891 aimed at establishing Roman dominance over Western Europe within a hundred years, hence the name. The plan, while supported by some elements of Roman society, was never put into action. As a military plan, it was classified by the Imperial government upon its inception, known only to high level military and party members. The plan was declassified in 1967, when a Roman conquest of Europe was no longer feasible or popular.
Spread of Communism
By 1890, the geopolitical situation in Europe had changed significantly. The Kingdom of France, one of the Roman Empire's closest supporters, had fallen to Communist Revolution in 1884. Communists had also gained power in Russia and were gaining power in Poland and Croatia. Fears that the Communists would spread was met with Roman military intervention in French Africa, which was then placed under martial law.
Roman fears of Communist expansion would soon be confirmed when France invaded Brittany in 1890, supposedly because of Breton involvment in the 1890 Paris Bombing, although no culprit was determined. The war confirmed fears of Communist expansion but also revealed the weakness of the new Communist state, as the Bretons would hold the French off for years. Such expansion convinced the Romans that other states like Croatia, Poland, Spain, and Lombardy might also fall to Communist rule.
In 1891, Fascist leader Andrew Tsakalotos drew up the Century Plan, supposedly to stop the threat of Communist expansion in Europe yet also to extend Roman power over Western Europe. The Fascist Party adopted the plan later that year, and while members of other parties subscribed to it or its ideals, no other party endorsed it.
United Caliphate vs. Divided Europe
To the Empire's east was the mighty Hashemite Caliphate, which had quickly upset the established order of the Middle East and soon rivalled the Empire in power. While the Fascists would have prefered to take on the Caliphate, it was thought that the Caliphate, backed by the power and numerical strength of the Indian Empire, would be a much more dangerous opponent. As such, it would be better to pursue expansion against a divided Europe, which could then be utilized against the foes of the east.
The basic premise of the plan is as follows:
- Croatia - Ten Years
- Lombardy - Five Years
- Morocco - Ten Years
- Spain - Fifteen Years
- France - Twenty-Five Years
- Germany - Twenty-Five Years
- Netherlands - Five Years
- Portugal - Three Years
- Switzerland - Two Years
The basic assumption by the Fascists would be that conquest of the states would be relatively quick, while the rest of the time would be dedicated to quashing revolt and insurrection while also establishing Roman provincial governments and preparing them for annexation.
The Fascists also considered the possibility of temporary alliances with Britannia and Scandinavia in order to provide naval bases for the Roman surface and submarine fleets to help strangle France and Germany into submission.
Croatia had traditionally been a friendly ally to the Roman Empire, however its position as the head of the Slavic League and the growth of pro-Communist elements within the League identified Croatia as a potential threat to the Empire. The emergence of the Transitional Communists didn't remove Fascist concerns, and the Fascists also wanted to avenge the Roman defeat in the Serbian War of Independence, which was won by Croatia.
The Fascist plans drawn up suggest a lightning quick assault on Croatia, with forces sweeping in from Albania and Bulgaria while also crossing the Adriatic from Italy and attacking major cities like Pula, Zadar, and Split. The Adriatic Sea was to be closed off by the Roman Navy. The vanguard forces were to advance quickly across the country, seizing Zagreb and then rushing to the northern border to preempt any Slavic League counter-attack while rearguard forces would deal with any remaining opposition. The plan also called for the involvement of Transylvania, promising them the return of the Hungarian homeland.
Croatia is the only country where there are detailed plans regarding the post-war reconstruction. Croatia was to be divided into two sections, Serbia in the south and Croatia in the north. Both were to be annexed into the Empire at a later date. It is not known what royal families the Fascists had in mind for leading the new states, as they were unsure whether the Croatian nobility feared Communism or external enemies more. It is believed that after a period of time the states would be merged together as one, known as Illyria or Slavonia. It is not known whether Hungary would be surrendered to Transylvania or whether that was just a ploy to gain external aid. Some letters suggest Hungary would be annexed as a third region or be used as a bargaining chip for annexation negotiations with Transylvania.
Lombardy was not expected to put up much resistance. Roman forces would advance in three fronts, one heading towards Verona, one towards Milan, and one towards Genoa. Unlike Croatia, the plan did not expect any other nation to intervene in order to protect Lombardy.
It is not entirely known what the plan had in mind for Lombardy. The official position of the Imperial government was that Lombards and Italians are different ethnic groups in order to dissuade nationalist revolt, even though much of the world and most of the Empire saw no real difference. As a result it is not known whether Lombardy would be annexed to Italy or be constituted as its own province, although it is known that the Martini dynasty would be removed from the throne in either case.
Morocco, at the time an independent state, was considered to be a relatively easy conquest, but Fascist planners believed that pacification of the province would take time because of the vast Atlas mountains and Morocco's distance from any major administrative center. Morocco was also coveted by Spain at this time, and any conquest of Morocco would have deeply soured relations with Spain. Given that Spain was the next target, the Fascist planners evidently had little concern with such ramifications.
At the time of the Plan's drafting, the Roman Empire was still engaged in conquering what had been the French Kingdom of Africa and its provisional republican government. The planners assumed that such conquest would be successful and be the core province of the Empire's new Berber province, with Carthage as its major Imperial center. The Fascists envisioned a massive Berber state stretching from Morocco to Libya divided into six subdivisions. This vision was partially fulfilled by the Imperial government, which expanded the Principality of Barbaria into the Kingdom of Barbaria, divided into five provinces.
Many politicians and military officials, both contemporary and modern, have expressed disdain for the plan, citing its thinly veiled imperialism and questionable odds of success. Many officers at the time believed that the plan did little to nothing to combat the main epicenters of Communism other than France, namely Poland and Russia. Others expressed doubt whether the Roman military could hold such territory or if the Roman economy could sustain such military endeavors. One prominent line of criticism was that the plan relied upon Russia or the Caliphate, both rising states of dubious relation to the Empire, not acting against Roman interests for the entire length of the plan, something that was considered unlikely and ultimately disproven with the Communist War in 1908.