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The Great Lakes Confederation is a confederation surrounding the Great Lakes, consisting of Michigan and Illinois. At present, the Great Lakes Confederation is experiencing great political upheaval and instability.
During the years after the Final Civil War leading up the North American War, while the Great Lake Confederation possessed the outward appearance of a democracy, ruling party and opposition alike had their leadership bought and paid for by the commercial trusts. Consequently the governments' policies and legislation mirrored the wishes of the region's great industrial concerns. This was unpopular amongst the Great Lake Confederation’s lower classes but opposition leaders were intimidated, socialised, and the industrial concerns kept order through their control of the military as well as the Pinkerton guard, a private paramilitary army. While there had been internal revolts and rebellions in the past, they were generally ruthlessly suppressed.
The final straw occurred as a side effect of the global recession of the 1980s; exports fell and chaos in the Rocky Mountain Confederation disrupted vitally needed shipments of food and raw materials. The Great Lakes Confederation fell into a great depression as factories went idle and more and more workers were left without a job or a safety net. General strikes began throughout Michigan and Illinois and resulted. The Central government resorted to a declaration of martial law. However, soldiers refused to fire upon their fellow citizens and lead to a general military revolt. Detroit was the first city to formally declare independence under the leadership of its workers collective. Soon the rebellion had spread to the other cities and states. Michigan was independent within a month and Ohio had been taken over by the newly named “red” army by the start of winter. Faced with these intense early defeats the Pinkerton Guard and the remaining loyalist military forces fell back to Wisconsin and Illinois. Michigan force entered northern Wisconsin, capturing Green Bay.
This had negative consequences for New York, which had traditionally relied upon the Great Lakes federation as both an ally against New England and an important supplier of military hardware. In order to help their erstwhile ally, Canada as well as some British auxiliary forces, began to mobilize an expeditionary force to stabilize the region and end the civil war. The Loyalist government in the GLC enacted conscription in its remaining territory in a desperate move to stem and communist tide and prepared for its last stand in Chicago. Gary, Ohio became the first casualty of the Battle of Chicago as both sides' artillery and air power rabidly reduced the industrial metropolis to rubble. Four months of extensive street fighting followed before the “Red” flag of Michigan was hosted over the ruins of it’s city hall. Chicago proved more difficult to conquer; a steady stream of reinforcements came from both southern Illinois and Wisconsin, its defenders had enough time to stockpile supplies and the city itself had been prepared for the eventualities of a long siege. As artillery bombarded the city, infantry and armored vehicles attacked the city's strong points as they advanced towards the city’s north side.
However, Canadian expeditionary force was finally ready for combat. A three week long air war ended with the destruction of most of the Communist air force and landings were being soon being conducted in the UP and northern Michigan. It was during this time period that one of the combatants released a potent bio-weapon into the environs of Chicago, killing anywhere from a third to a half of its population and ravaging both the defenders and invading forces. This was followed up by extensive bio/chemical weapons use in southern Illinois by the rapidly crumbling Michigan commune. Soon after, a series of targeted Canadian air strikes gutted much of Michigan’s military and political leadership. Michigan was defeated but the Great Lakes Confederation was heavily destabilised. a few people lost their lives and billions of pounds (trillions of rubles) worth of property was destroyed, with massive reconstruction being needed throughout Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. At the same time, Wisconsin, which had never been terribly friendly to the GLC's central government declared independence. The New Republic of Wisconsin immediately seized as much territory from the shell of the GLC and the Iowa Free State, whose Minnesota province had always held closer ties to the Great Lakes than the Great Plains.