The Provisional Republic of East Tennessee is a nation of an estimated 511,000 people located in the eastern portion of the former U.S. state of Tennessee.
Its capital, and largest city, is Morristown, northeast of Knoxville and north of the former Great Smoky Mountains National Park. East Tennessee's government and constitution is modeled primarily on the former United States and secondarily on the state of Tennessee. Its head of state is a governor, with a bicameral congress consisting of a House and Senate.
The current governor is Phil Roe, a Conservative Party member from Johnson City.
Its borders extend west past Knoxville and northeast into Johnson City and Kingsport, and south to Cleveland; its eastern border with the Provisional Blue Ridge Republic mirrors that of former Tennessee's border with former North Carolina.
Morristown is also home to the reconstituted University of Tennessee, which is located in a number of former office buildings downtown and has many items salvaged from the UT campus in Knoxville. Other important towns include Knoxville - which is in the process of being rebuilt and is centered around the former UT campus - Johnson City, Bristol, Gatlinburg and Cleveland.
East Tennessee has been allies with Blue Ridge since 1985. The two nations have cooperated together numerous times, including in conflicts with rebel militia based out of Johnson City and white supremacist guerrillas who briefly formed a breakaway nation-state in the Smoky Mountains in 1994. It was discovered by League of Nations scouts in the late 2000s; since then, the LoN has established relations with Morristown. Though no official announcement has ever been made, Morristown has increasingly referred to itself in official documents as "East Tennessee" or the "Republic of East Tennessee" (the LoN designates the nation as the Provisional Republic of East Tennessee).
News of the surprise nuclear attack on America by the Soviet Union came via television and radio stations. An initial state of shock in the region led to mass panic, especially for people in the Knoxville area within 30 miles of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Everyone in the area expected some type of hit either on downtown Knoxville or Oak Ridge, if not both, and braced themselves for impact.
At 8:18 p.m. local time, a low-yield nuclear weapon detonated over Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The town of Oak Ridge was severely damaged by the subsequent winds and fire from the blast, which could be seen as far as the Smoky Mountains. It turned out to be the only missile that exploded in the region, but it was more than enough to cause mass chaos. The combined forces of the Knoxville police and the National Guard barely kept order in the city itself.
Knoxville mayor Randall Tyree and the city council were escored out of town by city police who had hotwired their cars to operate without the computers that were rendered inert by the EMP blast right before the hit on Oak Ridge. Tyree met with the city council in a 8:48 a.m. meeting Monday, September 26, in a secured location near Lake City, northwest of Knoxville off Interstate 75; together they declared martial law for the foreseeable future. Tyree insisted on returning to Knoxville, and over the next eight days, Tyree met with city government, police and fire department officials and leaders of the area National Guard units to ensure public safety, provide food for residents and defend the city against "invaders".
The resources of the University of Tennessee were utilized to find ways to monitor and protect the public and food and water supplies from the fallout from the Oak Ridge blast; hard, around-the-clock work of various scientists from UT is credited in part for helping the city find workable ways to get through the crisis from the fallout. Their efforts were greatly aided by the relatively low yield of the blast (which was just enough to destroy the complex) and the airburst nature of the explosion; both put the threat from radiation and fallout to Knoxville and surrounding areas to a minimum.
The blast area was quarantined, and a 10-mile area around it evacuated.
The next major question was food; with winter approaching, food would be at a short supply until farming could resume in the spring. Tyree instituted mandatory rationing until the area's food supply could be replenished by area farms and state-mandated gardens. The rationing extended to fuel, which was granted only for government, National Guard and police use initially, as well as public transportation for workers.
Winter brought a relief from the predicted minus-10 to minus-20 below temperatures predicted by local meterologists; still, the relatively cold winter of 1983-84 is credited as playing a role in the nearly 20,000 deaths that occurred between Doomsday and spring of 1984. Those who didn't die in the Oak Ridge blast nor from the subsequent fallout were often elderly or infirm.
Spring led to Knoxville making agreements with local farmers to provide produce, and the city council passing a measure mandating gardens to be planted in private residences, with a portion going to the family at the residence and the rest going to be sold on the open market.
Summer 1984 was the hottest on record in the region; some 900 residents died of heat-related causes. Local residents rejoiced when the Knoxville Utilities Board restored full power to the area in July.
Debate turned to finding out what had happened to the rest of the country. Tyree approved exploration of areas north, south, east and west; the first explorers returned in December 1984 from middle Tennessee, reporting the destruction of Nashville and survivors living in communities east of the city.
Other explorers brought back news that the towns of Cleveland (south of Knoxville, near the state border), Johnson City and Kingsport (both north of the city, near the Virginia border) and Sieverville and Gatlinburg (east of Knoxville) were still operating.
Leaders from all six towns met at UT in November 1984 to discuss the future of the region. They came away with a formalized economic agreement amongst their towns, and a commitment to discuss not only relocating the state government in Knoxville, but independence from the United States.
The November 1984 meeting led to Tyree and the other town mayors calling a special election for March 1985 to choose independence or maintaining the status quo of statehood (with the capital being established in Knoxville) in either case. With no contact coming from the federal government in Washington nor the state government in Nashville since Doomsday, town leaders advocated for independence with a provision to revert to statehood should it become confirmed that the federal government was still in operation.
In March, 89 percent of registered voters throughout the region voted in the special election, with 68 percent choosing independence. All votes were tallied by April 7, and he newly declared State of Tennessee declared its "provisional" independence from the United States on April 24.
Tyree was voted governor by the delegates during the Tennessee constitutional convention in Knoxville on May 9. The constitution of the former state of Tennessee was largely adopted as is. Tyree was one of four candidates for formally run for governor in the fall, but won the November election with 71 percent of the vote.
The only dissenters to the Tennessee independence movement were a small group of survivalists who declared their intention to assert their "self-given authority over the state of Tennessee by any means necessery (sic)." They made known their views throughout the spring and summer of 1985 via pamphlets left throughout the region and in letters left at Tyree's office, various police substations in Knoxville and at the offices of the recently merged Knoxville News-Sentinel & Journal.
First contact with other communities
Over the next several months, between contacts made by policemen and civilians from area towns and excursions by Tennessee representatives out into the state, contact was made with communities in other states along the Tennessee border. The most famous of those contacts came on March 21, 1986, as Tennessee state patrolmen on horseback made contact with explorers from Asheville, North Carolina, 12 miles west of the Tennessee-North Carolina border.
Survivalists who had been a concern to Knoxville authorities attempted an attack on the town of Sieverville on March 29. Divisions of the National Guard and Tennessee State Patrol made what was called a "successful" raid on their camp at a former shopping center on the outskirts of town. What was not known at the time was that the leaders of the National Guardsmen and State Patrolmen were working on the behalf of Congressmen and business leaders who wanted control of the state. While the media - and Tyree - was told that the survivalists were all dead, in fact the story had been made up; the survivalists went underground to train for a mission that would topple the Tennessee state government and throw the entire region into near chaos.
The coup of 1986
Rogue elements within the National Guard and Knoxville Police Department joined up with politicians and businessmen antagonistic to Tyree to effectively produce a coup d'etat of the fledgling state government in Knoxville.
On May 5, 1986, these elements emptied the Knox County Jail and armed the inmates, ordering them to ambush Governor Tyree, the state legislature and anyone else associated with law enforcement or the provisional government. By the end of the day, over 200 people were dead, and a rogue criminal government effectively ruled at least downtown Knoxville.
Over the next seven days, the rogue government attempted to enforce its will over all of Knox County; survivors of the May 5 attack spread out around the city, via horseback and a few still-operating police and emergency vehicles, to let residents know what had happened. Word-of-mouth about the attack spread quickly and residents - in dozens of different groups - began to resist the new authorities.
The Airport Battle of June 19 led to a decisive victory by the rogue government over the fledgling resistance forces; knowing a unified force was necessary to stand up to the rogues and defeat them, the resistance groups rallied in Morristown. On June 24, with heavy security from Tennessee State Police and National Guardsmen loyal to the former Knoxville government, the various groups merged into one, with the aim of destroying the rogues and restoring democracy to the region.
The Smoky Mountains War of 1987
The new Knoxville "regime" informally signed a mutual offense/defense treaty with allies who had taken over the government of nearby Johnson City. Over the months of July and August 1986, the regime sent fighters to assist Johnson City in its war against the towns of Kingsport, Tennessee and Bristol, Virginia.
The Knoxville/Johnson City forces got the upper hand on their opponents after launching an overnight attack on Kingsport on September 17, 1986, followed by a series of attacks in that city and in Bristol. Those sympathetic to the regime helped the Johnson City forces take control of Bristol on October 19; the resistance forces, and surviving Bristol residents, fell back to Kingsport.
With their power base as stable as possible, the Johnson City/Kingsport/Knoxville forces looked to go on the offensive to survive. Perceiving a threat from the more democratic, and stable, government based out of Asheville, on November 6 1986 the rogue governments declared war on Asheville. It was decided to begin the war in the spring.
Spies for the resistance took note of the plans and reported back to resistance headquarters in Morristown; resistance forces were able to go through the Smoky Mountains and reach Asheville with the news of the regime's plans by December 9.
In February, the regime began to plan for war; spies were able to learn enough to help the resistance/Asheville alliance form a response. On March 11, the regime forces were ambushed in the Smokies by resistance forces coming from nearby Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg from the west, and by Asheville forces from the east. Both sides fought to a standstill in the mountains for three months; the last battle of the war saw regime forces routed from the outskirts of Pigeon Forge in July. The regime forces, their numbers depleted during the Smoky Mountain War, retreated to Knoxville. The resistance decided to take advantage and plan for a counterattack on Knoxville itself.
The battle of Knoxville
Military advisors from Asheville helped the resistance forge a strategy to attack and defeat the rogue government forces.
Battles raged across the area through summer of 1988, with the two biggest battles at the University of Tennessee and downtown Knoxville. Two decisions, by the rogues and the resistance, would prove fatal to Knoxville's future.
The government-in-exile in Morristown made the decision on October 19, 1988 to order the evacuation as many residents out of Knoxville as possible. A total of 25,000 people were able to flee the Knoxville area over the next several days, always guarded by resistance forces and sometimes fleeing under enemy fire.
While fighting raged in Knoxville proper, resistance forces fortified Wooddale, Seiverville, Pigeon Forge and Jefferson City. Resistance forces out of Cleveland fortified Interstate 75 and state roads 2, 307 and 411 going north towards Knoxville.
The resistance, aided by a growing force of male and female volunteers and a steady stream of defectors from the rogue-controlled territory, begin winning battle after battle through the fall and into December. As winter settled in, resistance forces began planning for a final push into Knoxville to finish off the rogues once and for all.
They didn't have long to wait.
Rogue forces attacked resistance military positions outside Alcoa and Wooddale in December losing those battles and taking heavy losses. However, the rogues continued to attack resistance positions around Knoxville - as if they were gearing up for some kind of final attack.
Intelligence agents relayed news of a planned invasion of Morristown from Knoxville and Johnson City around Christmas; the provisional government decided to take the fight to the rogues.
The "battle of Knoxville" began in earnest on December 14, with resistance forces circling the city and getting as far as the University of Tennessee and the Interstate 40/Interstate 640 corridor. The rogues had rigged the corridor with booby traps, grenades and dynamite - and snipers. Troops crossing the corridor at East Magnolia Avenue were ripped to shreds by dynamite; other troops were killed by snipers at Middlebrook Pike, Beverly and Asheville Highway.
While information was gathered on the rogues' scorched-earth strategy in defending Knoxville, the resistance moved to decisively take control of UT. They found more snipers, booby traps, and buildings set ablaze and remotely detonated. By December 28, the resistance had control over UT, but much of the campus destroyed by arson or by explosions...giving them a taste of what was to come in the city.
The resistance moved through the corridor on January 1 and saw more of the same from UT: hidden grenades, booby traps, snipers, buildings set afire or imploded.
The first break for resistance leaders is when they realized the number of grenades and traps was much larger than the number of snipers - a sign that the rogues' numbers were smaller than the resistance's, and dwindling. It also became more and more apparent that if the rogues could not win the war - they would destroy the city.
Still, the resistance did not anticipate a final attack on them by the rogues in the center of the 40/640 corridor.
On February 13, hundreds of resistance troops were attacked while zeroing in on a rumored rogue position set up along West 5th Avenue, Copper Street and Richards Street. Thirty-three resistance troops were killed, starting a two-week battle in a region that turned out to be the last remaining rogue position in the area.
On February 28, troops heard dozens of shots coming from inside a former scrap building along Richards Street; they were from rogue leaders and soldiers, who had killed their women and children, then themselves.
The Johnson City War
With the rogue government having been conquered in February, its allies in Johnson City decided to try to fight off the resistance the best it could.
It did not count on the resistance's own resolve to fight and win.
By March 1989 the resistance had gained the upper hand in the mostly devastated city; with enough forces to occupy Knoxville, the resistance was able to bolster its forces in the Morristown area.
Johnson City militia leaders had hoped not only to maintain Johnson City but also to make a push into the Morristown area to take the fight to the resistance.
The resistance took the fight to Johnson City, with troops four times as large as Johnson City's.
The Johnson City War, lasting from May 11 through June 6, began with an invastion from the south and threatened to turn into a house-by-house battle. Residents, already mindful of the enormous losses to their way of life from Doomsday and not wanting to lose what they still had, turned against the Johnson City government en masse, forcing the rebels to hunker down in the center of the city. With resistance forces picking off the rebels from outside and resistance forces within Johnson City picking them off from inside the city, the rebels finally backed down on June 6 and sued for peace.
Treaty of Morristown
The resistance, now calling itself the Provisional Government of the State of Tennessee, agreed to a treaty with the rebel forces in Morristown proper. On July 29th, both sides signed a treaty of peace, with terms severely favorable to the Morristown government. All territory, arms, goods and revenue earned or taken by the rebels would revert to Morristown; some rebel individuals were given pardons, to work in civilian life, the clergy, or the military; others were sentenced to hard labor, helping to rebuild Morristown, Johnson City, Seiverville and Pigeon Forge.
1989-2001: Growth and alliances
The new government continued to formally call itself the State of Tennessee into the 2000s, but was informally referred to as East Tennessee by nearly everyone, even government officials.
East Tennessee became the preferred popular designation after it was learned that a string of towns in south central Tennessee, and Jackson in western Tennessee, had survived. The south-central group of towns were part of the Confederate States of America, and approached Morristown in 1991 about unifying into one state.
Unlike the CSA Tennessee, however, East Tennessee leaders and residents alike had concerns about joining any revival of the Confederate States. There were rumors of neo-Confederates causing trouble in north Georgia, and East Tennesseans in general were leery of any kind of association with a Confederacy. The African-American minority made its concerns known to the government in Morristown. Another point was that East Tennesseans in general were still loyal to the United States and hopeful that the U.S. would eventually be re-established. Those factors led Morristown to formally reject an invitation to join the CSA, though it attempted to continue trade with the Waynesboro-based state of Tennessee and the Rome-based state of Georgia.
East Tennessee continued to trade with Georgia (which did not press Morristown to join the CSA). However, trade with Waynesboro and Jackson was hampered by roaming bandits who had no headquarters, but roamed freely in an area stretching from southern Kentucky into northern Alabama and Mississippi. They caused endless troubles for the CSA government and its respective states, and hampered trade between Waynesboro and Morristown.
The Tri-Cities area of Johnson City and Bristol formally joined East Tennessee in 1991.
In 1999, East Tennessee signed an agreement with the leaders of Asheville, North Carolina and the Piedmont Republic in former South Carolina to promote trade among the three nation-states. The Piedmont Dollar was recognized as the official currency, and provisions were put into place for all three countries to formally rejoin the United States if its government was ever legitimately reinstated.
East Tennessee also sent troops to help Georgia fight off bands of neo-Confederates from Toccoa causing trouble. It was discovered that several members associated with the rogue regime that controlled Knoxville from 1986-1989 and who had escaped during the battles for Knoxville and Johnson City had relocated to Toccoa and were actively aiding the regime there. East Tennessee's knowledge of the rogues was valuable to law enforcement and military officials in both Georgia and Piedmont.
Scouts from western Tennessee formally made contact with citizens near Cleveland in 1995, leading to talks between Governor Gary Davis and Jackson representatives about further relations, and renewed talk among some of the populace of some sort of reunification of the entire state by 2000. But given the continued existence of the bandits in central Tennessee, and the lack of materials to rebuild trains and railroad tracks to link east and west for serious trade and travel, such talk was written off as overoptimistic.
A "hard decision"
In 2001, Edward Sorrell, a Knoxville policeman on Doomsday and a Vietnam War veteran, made his way back to Knoxville. Sorrell had volunteered back in 1985 to travel into Virginia to find potential survivor communities; the last time he had been seen was by Tennessee State Policemen as he left the town of Harrogate, headed towards Cumberland Gap National Park.
Sorrell was spotted traveling by foot down old Dixie Highway into Morristown. He flagged down civliians, telling his story to them. They found Morristown police officers who, after interviewing him for two hours, ran his story by veteran officers; it checked out. Subsequent contact with Sorrell's surviving relatives confirmed that he was who he claimed to be - his story was given greater legitimacy, as one officer put it, "because you'd have to be a damned good actor to pull off a fakery, and there aren't a lot of us left anymore."
Sorrell said he had been lost after running into survivalists in former VIrginia north of the Tennessee border; Sorrell decided to finish his "mission" no matter how long it took. He said he had survived over the years due to skills he learned during his tour in the U.S. Army; his subsequent post-Vietnam career as a farm hand, then as a policeman; and from his hunting and fishing hobbies. He also told officials his story of survival - several periods of months without seeing other humans, wandering from town to town in parts of Virginia, joining and going AWOL from a group called the Virginian Republic, and ultimately making his way to Washington, D.C. to see for himself what had happened.
Sorrell confirmed what everyone had long assumed, that Washington no longer existed. He described it as "ruins and a sea of glass". Sorrell said he spoke with local survivalists who somehow had been able to stay alive outside the ruins of the D.C. area, seeing photographs taken by long-dead people who had gone into the ruins for any number of reasons to take pictures. Sorrell said he got as close as former Fairfax, outside D.C., in northern Virginia; he didn't dare get closer, even with equipment the survivalists claimed to offer protection from radiation.
After leaving the region, Sorrell decided to get back to Knoxville as best he could. He eventually ran into Virginia military, who had been looking for him since he went AWOL, in Lynchburg. After a lengthy interrogation, in which Sorrell offered up what he knew about the Knoxville provisional government and his experiences outside D.C., Sorrell said he was released into the custody of a colonel in Lynchburg, and held at an installation on the former campus of Liberty University. Sorrell said with help from locals, he was able to escape, and made his way out of Virginian territory, eventually finding his way into Tennessee, into Knoxville and eventually into Morristown.
With no reason not to believe Sorrell, and having heard nothing from the U.S. government or military since Doomsday, Morristown leaders decided on July 4, 2001 to formally declare the region's independence from the United States. Leaders said it was "a hard decision" despite how much sense it made; the people, and their leaders, still considered themselves Americans first and foremost. The now-formally-independent regional government conducted its business under the Morristown banner, although residents informally referred to themselves as Tennesseeans or East Tennesseeans.
Morristown continued to build political and economic ties with Blue Ridge and the Piedmont Republic over the first decade of the 21st century, as well as with the survivor state of Georgia located in Rome and with other survivor towns along the borders of former Alabama and Tennessee.
After the death of over 4,000 in the destruction of an arena in Greenville, RoP, on January 1, 2001, East Tennessee was faced with a move by far-right conservatives to close its borders and suspend civil liberties. Legislators responded by passing laws that kept open the borders and upheld the civil rights of both residents and the handful of refugees from Toccoa and elsewhere, while granting law enforcement and government the necessary power to track and prosecute known and suspected criminals.
Formal ties were established with the Virginian Republic in 2002, although distance and deteriorating conditions of pre-Doomsday roads between the two countries hampered formal trade.
In 2005, Morristown approved the rebuilding of Knoxville, to be done in small stages (due to limited funds and resources) and centered around the University of Tennessee campus. As of June 2010, the city is home to 17,000 people and hosts the annual Blue Ridge/East Tennessee high school football all-star game every other year at the rebuilt Neyland Stadium.
As the Dixie Alliance became more prominent in the region, politicians in East Tennessee, Blue Ridge and Piedmont debated amongst themselves whether to form their own political/military alliance in response or request to join the Dixie Alliance. Both Morristown and Blue Ridge rejected Dixie Alliance membership when offered in 2009. Conservative leaders in both nations made it clear they wanted to leave open the possibility of joining the alliance in the future. After the alliance changed its name to the East American Alliance, East Tennessee leaders began warming up to joining the group.
The Alliance of Appalachian States, proposed in Piedmont in the early 1990s, finally went beyond the talk stage after leaders of the three states agreed to discuss the union at a summit meeting in Rome, Georgia in August 2010. The leaders also agreed to strengthen relations with the Dixie Alliance states. Some critics saw it as a response to a growing movement throughout the former southeastern United States to resurrect the Confederate States of America entity that began in the region after Doomsday and failed by the late 1990s.
A new Tennessee
Over the decades, sentiment to reunify the state of Tennessee had always been present. Through the first decade of the 21st century, it remained a sentimental idea, with many areas of the state depopulated and travel between the populated areas hampered by severely deteriorated roadways and railways and ever present threats from bandits.
After the East Kentucky Alliance liberated the city state of Jackson in the west, East Tennessee leaders quietly began discussing reunification with leaders in Waynesboro, Portland, the new EAA-backed Jackson government and other surviving towns in west and central Tennessee.
In early August 2011, the East American Alliance agreed to help in restoring railways and roadways connecting the largest towns throughout Tennessee, and sending in Army and Marine groups to provide security. The reunification of Tennessee was formally announced on September 8, with the new state capital to be in the rebuilt town of Murfreesboro in central Tennessee. Murfreesboro is a short distance from the old state capital of Nashville - which, once the city is cleared and is authorized for resettlement, may be where the state government eventually returns to, once the region is declared to be safe.
The process to select representatives from each surviving town and city will begin in October, for a constitutional convention to be held at the University of Tennessee in April 2012. Elections for governor and the new General Assembly are scheduled for November 2012, and the state to formally become an entity on January 1, 2013.
East Tennessee's economy is dominated by agriculture, although manufacturing of various goods and services has taken on a prominent role they never had pre-Doomsday.
Coal mining is a vital industry in the region; coal provides a significant portion of the region's energy, though that has decreased in recent years thanks to the Tennessee Valley Authority's work on restoring electric plants and hydroelectrical dams in the region.
East Tennessee Steel Company operates the nation's largest steel mill in Rockwood, supplying steel to customers in East Tennessee, Blue RIdge and Piedmont.
The University of Tennessee, with its campuses in Knoxville and Morristown, is one of the nation's largest employers.
The travel industry, centered in Gatlinburg, is a small industry but is anticipated to grow over the next ten years thanks to the area's recent exposure to the rest of North America.
The dollar is the official form of currency in East Tennessee.
A 2008 estimate numbered the national population at 500,000. Estimates place 80 percent of the population as Caucasian; 12 percent as African-American; five percent as Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, African, Native American or "other"; and three percent as "mixed" (primarily Caucasian and African-American).
A formal census, funded in part by the League of Nations, is slated to take place in 2011.
East Tennessee is predominantly culturally conservative; religion plays an important part in cultural life, with an estimated 90 percent of people professing to hold to some form of the Christian faith. Seven percent are agnostic or atheistic; an estimated 1-1 1/2 percent are Jewish, with the remainder holding to other religions such as Buddhism and Islam.
Christianity and a form of agnosticism are the only observed religions in East Tennessee.
Alcohol use was banned for a time in the early 1990s, but widespread use of moonshine led to a lifting of the ban in 1997.
The Smoky Mountains (including the portions in Blue Ridge and the Virginian Republic) have been nominated by Mexico as a League of Nations World Heritage Site, one of several such sites in North America.
The University of Tennessee competes in several sports, including American football (at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville), men's and women's basketball (in Knoxville) and baseball (in Knoxville and Morristown).
The Tennessee Smokies are one of six baseball teams competing in the Southern League, an independent baseball league that began in April of 2011. The Smokies split their schedule between a high school field in Morristown and UT's baseball stadium in Knoxville.
East Tennessee was granted observer status in the League of Nations in January 2010.