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History Prior to The Undead War
The roots of France as an organized nation go back to the Holy Roman Empire. It had a largely uneventful history up until late 1789, during which the French Revolution occurred and the old monarchial system was overthrown and replaced by a republic under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1809, France's forces invaded Belgium, and began the Eleven Year War. Germany, Britain and Austria immediately sided with Belgium, while Spain, Portugal and Italy sided with France. The end result was France and her allies being defeated, and depopulated as well. Napoleon was shot along with most of his cabinet, and a puppet government was put in place, and many were British/German officials. It is theorized that a mystery advisor of his manipulated him to invade Belgium, similar to Rasputin in Russia. France muddled along for decades when in 1862, the puppet government was finally removed and the French regained political control of their country. There was much bitterness against the British and Germans, but it was soon focused at the Spanish when they annexed France's southern territories because there was nothing their military could do. France's economy soon made a comeback in the 1880's, and it stayed that way until 1940.
In April 1940, the Spanish invaded France after 11 months of preparation. The invasion was rather costly, with almost 21,000 Spanish soldiers dying and more being wounded. however, it was a success, and by July, Paris was under Spanish control. It was September before the French finally surrendered. Even then, the Resistance carried out reprisals against Spanish forces, and many were killed in these attacks. Spanish reprisals against French civilians made the Resistance carry out further attacks. By February 1941, the citizens of France were in open revolution. the tide turned against the Spanish in March 1941, when the rebels took over Paris and killed many high level Spanish commanders. The end result was a rebel victory in April 1941, when the last major Spanish stronghold in Brest was overrun by a massive rebel attack. Three Spanish commanders died in this battle: Jaun Yague, beaten to death after he was found in his office, Emilio Mola, shot four times in the chest as he ran away, and Jose Sanjurjo, cut down by multiple machine gunners as he was covering a squad of soldiers that were retreating. as the Spanish retreated, they were caught in a trap by two rebel divisions, and another two Spanish commanders were killed, both of their vehicles hit by shells. General Gonzalo Quiepo de Llano: he was not badly hurt by the actual blast, but shrapnel caught him in the chest and pierced his lung. Brigadier General Hugo Sperrle, who was a native German but had moved to Spain when he was fifteen; his car was destroyed in the blast, and he was caught under the wreckage until he bled out due to the severe wound on his arm. this victory not only devastated chances of another Spanish invasion of France, but it also effectively put an end to the idea of a Spanish victory in the war. They then surrendered to the British and French under terms of unconditional surrender.
Many French soldiers were hailed as war heroes, including Charles de Gaulle, a low level rebel soldier, as he was the one who shot General Mola. France suffered heavy losses in the revolution, as least 275,000 people died. the economy suffered as well. Many factories and small business were destroyed in either Resistance bombings, the revolution or they became abandoned when their owners or workers were killed in Spanish reprisals. There were many displaced people as well, due to their homes being destroyed. but the country would recover, it was just a matter of when. then, in June 1941, the US, Italy, Spain, Britain, Ireland, and many other countries sent relief packages. by September, the country was recovering quite well, because in addition to the relief packages, there were many labourers from the US, because unemployment was at a record high of 19% in the United States, and many families emigrated to Europe for a fresh start. these new workers, who were skilled laborers before the Great Depression, were very enthusiastic about working again, and many more emigrated in the following months, as the unemployment rose to 25%. in December, the winter hit the French population hard, because the Spanish Army had a "Scorched Earth" policy as the war went on, and they had destroyed the coal mines as they retreated. Hundreds died of hypothermia in the winter months. When 1942 came, over 2,000 had died from hypothermia. In February, news spread that an uprising had begun in Poland, and had been crushed, and that the Soviet Union had been invaded by Germany during December. The French did consider a counter-invasion of Spain, but it was decided that the Spanish Army's border force was still too powerful, as Spain had a border force of well over 140,000 strong in 1942, compared to the French's 80,000. the French also still had some problems to take care of in their country, such as the country's many displaced residents, that and the fact that there were still some areas that were heavily damaged, like Bordeaux and Paris. they also knew that the Spanish had a massive natural barrier in the Pyrenees. so, the counter-invasion was abandoned. in March 1942, there was word that the German invasion of the USSR had begun to slow down. In March, the wounds caused by the revolution began to heal slightly. there was less unemployment, there were more factories and business opening. By July, things were truly looking up. The unemployment rate was extremely low, the economy was booming, and that showed no signs of changing. The French actually sent aid packages to the US to help them with their economy, which were also hugely successful. Soon, the French and the US were strong allies for the French's help.
However, there was a growing concern about the German-Soviet War to the east. It was growing hugely ferocious, and if one were to win, then they would almost certainly march west, rich with the spoils of their conquest. Poland, annexed by Germany via economic embargo in September 1939, if the Soviets managed to overtake Germans, would suffer terribly. The French began to keep a very close eye on the conflict, as it would have major ramifications if the Soviets won, even perhaps stretching to a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. After the Battle of Odessa ended in early December, the Germans overtook Odessa, after over two months of heavy fighting. Stalingrad, however, as the French had witnessed, was well in the Soviets' favour, but this was where human history changed forever...
French reaction to the Undead War
In January 1943, as reports of cannibalistic creatures roaming the Soviet Union leaked into Western Europe, they were initially dismissed as rumours. However as radio messages, official army documents and photographs leaked, by March the rest of the European powers were committed to the war against the undead. The first major battle against them took place along the German/Polish border, and it was disastrous. Germany was in complete disarray, and the French public were extremely anxious that the Germans would soon fall, and that the Maginot Line would not hold. When Germany inevitably fell, the Maginot Line did hold for quite some time, but it did fall as supplies ran low and the men in the Line were killed. When it finally fell, France had very little else in the way of defenses against the undead.