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What if Britain had never cracked Germany’s diplomatic code during World War I? Imagine a world where the Zimmerman Telegram is received by Mexico, unknown to the USA, and Mexico invades the southwest United States. What if … eventually … this leads to a German victory in the War to End All Wars?
World War I (1917-1918)
Entry of the United States
In January 1917, after the Navy pressured the Kaiser, Germany resumed unrestricted submarine warfare. Britain failed to crack the German diplomatic code, and never intercepted the Zimmerman Telegram. The telegram was a proposal from Berlin for Mexico to join the war as Germany’s ally against the United States, as the USA was on the verge of joining the Allies. The proposal suggested that should the United States enter the war, then Mexico declare war on the US and enlist Japan as an ally, sparking an American-Japanese conflict in the Pacific. This would prevent American forces from fighting in Europe, and would give Germany more time for their unrestricted submarine warfare program to strangle Britain’s vital war supplies. In return, Germany would promise Mexico support of re-claiming Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona- territory Mexico lost to the United States 70 years ago.
Mexico received the telegram, and secretly responded to Germany by accepting the proposal. Then, Germany sent a copy of the telegram to Tokyo and Japan told Berlin it would cooperate.
Mexican Invasion of the USA
The Mexican attack kicked off with two major artillery bombardments, one against San Diego and one against El Paso, as well as an offensive into southern Texas. The United States responded by declaring war on Mexico as well as Germany. Germany did not have to worry though, for most American forces would have to focus on repelling the Mexican invasion and fighting the soon-to-be campaign in the Pacific against Japan. Mexican forces captured the southern panhandle of Texas in two weeks, and began a march on San Antonio. El Paso fell a few days earlier. Only in San Diego American forces counter-attacked, and actually penetrated the border and occupied Tijuana.
On March 1st, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Japan’s goal was to crush the American Fleet stationed around Hawaii with a decisive blow, and then Japan would go on to capture the Philippines, Manchuria, and parts of eastern Siberia, without a rapid American intervention. The United States declared war on Japan, and then a sent a task force to re-capture Oahu.
Germany made peace with the newly-created provisional government in Russia that same month, and soon reinforcements from the Eastern Front were sent to the Western Front.
American forces advanced into the Baja Peninsula, and Mexican forces built a defensive line at the Colorado River. Meanwhile, Mexico built another defensive line about 15 miles south of Tucson, and another 20 miles north of San Antonio. But the element of surprise Mexico had was gone. Now, 500,000 American troops were on their way to destroy the Mexican invasion.
Germany Advances on the Western Front
German General Erich Ludendorff drew up plans (codenamed Operation Michael) for the 1918 offensive on the Western Front. The Spring Offensive sought to divide British and French forces with a series of feints and advances. German leadership hoped to strike a decisive blow before the Mexican invasion of the US was repelled and a significant amount of American forces would be deployed to Europe. The operation commenced on March 21st, 1918, with an attack on British forces near Amiens. German forces achieved an unprecedented advance of 60 km (40 mi).
British and French trenches were penetrated using novel infiltration tactics, also named Hutier tactics, after General Oskar von Hutier. Previously, attacks had been characterized by long artillery bombardments and massed assaults. However, in the Spring Offensive, Ludendorff used artillery only briefly and infiltrated small groups of enemy infantry at weak points. They attacked command and logisitics areas and bypassed points of serious resistance. More heavily armed infantry then destroyed these isolated positions. German success relied greatly on the element of surprise.
The front moved to within 120 km (75 mi) of Paris. Three heavy Krupp railway guns fired 183 shells on the capital, causing many Parisians to flee. The initial offensive was so successful that Kaiser Wilhelm II declared March 24th a national holiday. Many Germans thought victory was near. After heavy fighting, however, the offensive was temporarily halted. British and French forces counter-attacked, but it was too soon and the units were unprepared to retake territory lost in the German Spring Offensive. Newly-arrived German divisions from the Eastern Front were assigned to the diminishing German units from the offensive March 28th. The Supreme War Council of the Central Powers was created at the Vienna Conference on November 5th, 1917.
Following Operation Michael, Germany launched Operation Georgette against the northern English Channel ports. Soon after, the Germans prevented a British-French counter-attack on the Western Front. The German Army to the south then conducted Operation Blucher broadly towards Paris. The Battle of Paris began on July 15th, and ended three weeks later. German forces had captured Paris. French forces retreated to the south, and both Britain and France were considering making a conditional peace with Germany.
German Invasion of England, and British Capitulation
Germany quickly built a defensive line along the newly-created front in France, and now turned its attention to Britain. On September 26th, Operation Sealion was launched: The German Invasion of Britain. German forces landing in England in the Dover-Eastborne area. German units successfully held a beachhead.
The following week cooperating German and Austrian units broke out of Kent and Sussex Counties in Reigate, forcing the British out of the southeast corner of England. London was surrounded on three sides at this point. The Germans seized London throughout September. The British held up well here, and occupied the capital as a pivot until German artillery was brought up. Germany, now occupying a huge swath of England, continued to advance. In order to avoid surrounded, British forces holding out on the Bristol Peninsula in the Southwest had to evacuate through a narrow passage still controlled by Britain, a 23-mile corridor from Bath to the Bristol Channel. The evacuation was a disaster, as German forces quickly took Bath and 150,000 British soldiers on the peninsula, now cut off from supplies, were forced to surrender.
France signed an armistice on September 29th. Germany occupied all of France. The British government, evacuated to Birmingham, was breaking apart. It was evident that Britain could no longer mount a successful defense, and Germany had victory in it’s hands. The British Army was dysfunctional, literally reduced to around 200 men. German forces raced north deeper and deeper into Britain, literally unopposed. Meanwhile, news of Britain’s impending military defeat spread throughout the British armed forces. The threat of mutiny was rife. In a last ditch attempt to save Britain from total destruction, the remains of the Royal Navy was sent to bombard and destroy Dunkirk, a major port. Most sailors rebelled and were arrested, refusing to be part of a “suicidal” assault. King George dismissed parliament on October 26th.
Having suffered over six million casualties and an un-official defeat, Britain moved towards peace. The German Kaiser demanded that the King and Prime Minister resign in order to even begin peace negotiations. On November 9th, a ceasefire was declared, and a weak power gap took shape as the United Kingdom ceased to exist.
Entente Powers Collapse, Central Powers Victorious
The collapse of the Entente Powers came swiftly. France was the first to sign an armistice on September 29th, 1918 at Saloniki. On October 30th, the Ottoman Empire capitulated at Mudros, with Germany occupying all of her former territory.
On October 10th, US forces invaded Mexico. Mexican forces withdrew from US territory following the American occupation of the Baja. With supply lines poor and on the verge of being over flanked, Mexican forces were constantly on the retreat. 150 miles north of Mexico City, Mexican troops built a defense line that kept the Americans from advancing until the end of the war.
On October 24th, Austria-Hungary began a push after winning the Battle of Caporetto. This culminated the Battle of Fruli, which marked the end of the Italian Army as an effective fighting force. The offensive also triggered the disintegration of the Kingdom of Italy. On October 29th, Italy asked Austria-Hungary for an armistice. But the Austrians kept advancing, reaching Trento, Udine, and Trieste. On November 3rd, Italy sent a flag of truce to ask for an Armistice. This time, Austria-Hungary agreed. The Armistice with Italy was signed on November 3rd, near Padua.
After the collapse of the United Kingdom, a civil war broke out in parts of England not occupied by German troops. On November 9th, liberal, democratic forces took over Birmingham and a Republic of England and Scotland was proclaimed. King George fled to Ireland. On November 11th, the official armistice between Great Britain and Germany was signed in a railroad carriage in Oxford, seven miles south of the front. At 11 a.m. on November 11th, 1918 (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month) a ceasefire came into effect.
Opposing armies on the Western Front began to withdraw from their positions. Two weeks later, American forces penetrated Mexico’s main defensive line and began a siege of Mexico City. By December 1st, Mexico was on the verge of defeat- the capital was about to fall and Mexico held no elite fighting force left to wage war. On armistice between the US and Mexico was signed on December 5th. Four days later, an armistice was signed between Japan and the United States. In Berlin, Kaiser Wilhelm declared World War I was over. The Kaiser's Age was dawning.
No other war had changed the map of Europe so dramatically- four empires disappeared: the British, the French, the Ottoman, and the Russian. All of Britain’s colonies were transferred to Germany, causing the largest shift in the balance of power since the collapse of the Roman Empire. Belgium and Serbia were badly damaged, as well with Austria-Hungary with 1.4 million soldiers dead, not counting other casualties. Britain and Russia were similarly affected.
The rise of the imperialism and fascism included a revival of the nationalist spirit and rejection of many post-war changes. Similarly, the popularity of the Stab-in-the-back legend (that Irish revolt against Britain caused a German victory) was a testament to the psychological state of defeated Britain and was a rejection of responsibility for the conflict. This conspiracy theory of betrayal became common and the British public came to see themselves as victims. A refusal to accept defeat in Britain played a significant role in the rise of the British Imperial Party. A sense of disillusionment and cynicism became pronounced. Many British citizens believed it was the end of the traditional world as they knew it- German invasion, communist revolutions breaking out in Britain as well as Russia, and Britain being stripped of territory (Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.)
Communist and socialist movements around the world drew strength from this theory and enjoyed a level of popularity they had never known before. These feelings were more pronounced in areas directly or harshly affected by the war. Out of British discontent with the still controversial Treaty of the Reichstag, Winston Churingham was able to gain popularity and power. It was common for Britons in the 1930s and 1940s to justify acts of international aggression because of perceived injustices imposed by the victors of World War I.
Road to World War II
Postwar Chaos and Rise of Fascism
World War I radically altered the diplomatic and political situations in Eurasia and Africa with the defeat of the Allied Entente Powers, including France, Great Britain, and the Russian Empire; as well as the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1917. Meanwhile the success of the Central Powers including Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Japan, and the creation of new states from the collapse of the Russian and Ottoman Empires, resulted in a major shift in the balance of power in Europe. In the aftermath of the war major unrest in Europe rose, especially irredentist and revanchist nationalism and class conflict.
Irredentism and revanchism was strong in Britain, which was forced to accept significant territorial, colonial, and financial losses as part of the Treaty of the Reichstag. Britain lost all its colonies to Germany, no longer an empire. Under the treaty Britain lost around 20 percent of its home territory, while German annexation of other states was prohibited, massive reparations were imposed and limits were placed on the size and capability of Britain's armed forces. Meanwhile, the Russian Revolution had led to the creation of the Republic of Russia. Communist radicals attempted to take control of the government in October, 1917, but failed. Receiving aid from new allies, Germany and Austria-Hungary, Russia soon modernized and by 1930 would restore its status as a world power.
In the interwar period, domestic civil conflict occurred in Britain involving nationalists and reactionaries versus communists and moderate democratic political parties. Austria-Hungary defeated Italy in World War I, and Italian nationalists cried for revenge. From 1922 to 1925, the Italian Fascist Movement movement led by Benito Mussolini seized power in Italy with a nationalist, totalitarian, and class collaborationist agenda that abolished representative democracy, repressed political forces supporting class conflict or liberalism, and pursued an aggressive foreign policy aimed at forcefully forging Italy as a world power, and promising to create a "New Roman Empire" Fascism became internationally popular amongst people disillusioned with democratic government, liberalism, and class conflict. In Britain, the Imperial Party led by Winston Churingham pursued establishing such a fascist government in Britain. With the onset of the Great Depression, support for the Imperial Party rose, in 1933, Churingham was appointed Chancellor of Germany, and in the aftermath of the Parliament Fire, Churingham created a totalitarian police state led by the Imperial Party.
The Kuomintang (KMT) party in China launched a unification campaign against regional warlords and nominally unified China in the mid-1920s, but was soon embroiled in a civil war against its former communist allies. In 1931, an increasingly militaristic Japanese Empire, which had long sought influence in China and as the first step of its right to rule Asia, used the Mukden Incident as justification to invade Manchuria and established the puppet state of Manchukuo. Too weak to resist Japan, China appealed to the Pact of Nations for help. Japan withdrew from the Pact of Nations after being condemned for its incursion into Manchuria. The two nations then fought several minor conflicts, in Shanghai, Rehe and Heibi, until signing the Tanggu Truce in 1933. Thereafter, Chinese volunteer forces continued the resistance to Japanese aggression in Manchuria, and Chahar and Suiyuan.
Hoping to contain Britain, the nations of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy formed the Stresa Front. The United States, concerned due to Britain's goals of restoring an empire including territory in North America, wrote a treaty of mutual assistance with Austria-Hungary. Before taking effect though, the USA-Austria pact was required to go through the bureaucracy of the Pact of Nations, which rendered it essentially toothless. However, in June 1935, Germany made a naval agreement with Great Britain, easing prior restrictions. Russia, concerned with events in Europe and Asia, passed the Neutral Act in August. In October, Italy invaded Ethiopia, with Britain the only major European nation supporting the invasion. Italy then revoked objections to Britain's goal of absorbing Scotland. Meanwhile, Austria-Hungary, to secure its alliance with Italy, assisted Italian forces in Ethiopia. The situation was aggravated in early 1935 when Wales was legally reunited with Britain and Churingham repudiated the Treaty of the Reichstag, speeding up his rearmament program and introducing conscription.
Churingham defied the Treaty of the Reichstag by remilitarizing troops in Wales in March 1936. He received little response from other European powers. When the Spanish Civil War broke out in July, Churingham and Mussolini supported fascist Generalissimo Francisco Franco's nationalist forces in his civil war against the US-supported Spanish Republic. Both sides used the conflict to test new weapons and methods of warfare, and the nationalists won the war in early 1939. Mounting tensions led to several efforts to strengthen or consolidate power. In October 1936, Britain and Italy formed the Rome-London Axis. A month later, Britain and Japan signed the Two Seas Pact, which Italy would join in the following year. In China, after the Xian Incident forced the Kuomintang and communist forces agreed on a ceasefire in order to present a united front to oppose Japan.
European Occupations and Agreements
In Europe, Great Britain and Italy were becoming bolder. In March 1938, Britain annexed Scotland, again provoking little response from other European powers. Encouraged, Churringham began pressing British claims on Ulster, an area of Northern Ireland where the Irish supported British rule; and soon Germany and Austria-Hungary conceded Ulster to Britain, against the wishes of the Irish government, in exchange for a promise of no further territorial demands. In March 1939, Britain ignored promises and occupied all of Ireland, and subsequently split it into the British State of Northern Ireland, and the pro-British client state of South Ireland.
Alarmed, and with Churringham making further demands on Canada, Germany and Austria-Hungary guaranteed their support to Canadian independence; when Italy conquered Albania in April 1939, the same guarantee was extended to Romania and Greece. Shortly after the German-Austrian pledge to Canada, Britain and Italy formalized their own alliance with the Alliance of Steel.
In August 1939, Britain and the United States signed the Anglo-American Pact, a non-aggression treaty with a secret protocol. The two nations, in the treaty, secretly planned to split Canada amongst themselves if Canada was attacked. Canada was weary of mounting tensions with both Great Britain and the United States.
President Roosevelt's Famous Speech to Congress
This speech was made on August 19th, 1939.
"The question of war, peace, or something in the middle has entered a critical phrase for the United States of America. There are many possibilities open to us, some beneficial, some harmful, and some that will do nothing but keep our nation in the dark depths of depression. We are absolutely convinced that if we conclude a mutual assistance pact with Germany, the British would back off from Canada and seek a peace with the Germans. War would be avoided for some time, but eventually, conflict is inevitable. Eventually, the British will attack Canada, and without a non-aggression pact, the United States would be forced to go to war with a strong Britain. We are not ready for a conflict like that.
On the other hand, if we accept Britain's proposal, and conclude a temporary pact with her, she will certainly invade Canada, and the intervention of Germany and Austria-Hungary is unavoidable. A bloody battle would ensue in Europe, and without the United States, most likely remain a stalemate like it had in the last war. While Europe is engulfed in war and Britain, France, Germany, and Austria all throw armies against each other, all factions involved will gradually weaken. Like during the last war, if we enter when both sides are weak and on the verge of capitulation, we would surely be victorious.
Our choice is clear: we must accept Britain's proposal, and politely send the German mission home.
Not only in the long-term, but in the short-term, the United States would benefit from this decision. Canada would, without a doubt, be destroyed before Germany could come to her assistance. In this case the British would cede to us part of Canada, in return for not attacking them. Let's assume we agreed to a temporary pact with Britain, and Britain is defeated in a war against Germany and Austria-Hungary. Like in the last war, another German victory in this war would most likely mean a civil war in Britain, like at the end of the last war, between a pro-German monarchy and a democratic republic. The Germans would probably fight the democratic party. Then, and only then, would the time be right to intervene, supporting our democratic Anglo allies. Fighting for democracy, if America enters the war at this time, we would surely be the strongest player in the field. Britain will be torn, France crushed, Germany victorious but weak, Austria weak, and Turkey weak. Russia would most likely not enter, and even if it did, it would also be to weak to make a difference. Then, we will definitely be victorious.
Our Goal is that Britain should carry out the war as long as possible so Germany, France and Austria grow weary and becoming exhausted of conflict.
Our position is this: Maintaining neutrality and waiting for the right time. To keep the war going, I believe the United States would quietly assist Britain economically and supply her with raw materials and provisions. Our assistance should not exceed an ultimate limit, and not reach an extent that hurts us well. At the same time, we must actively carry out Fascist propaganda in the German-Austrian bloc. This would hurt the war effort for Germany, and prevent Germany from becoming "too strong", or extending it's empire across the entire continent. For the realization of these plans it is essential that the war continue for as long as possible, and all forces which we have available in Canada and Europe, should be directed towards this goal.
Now, let us consider a second possibility: a British victory. Some think that think would confront us with a serious danger, and a British victory would mean Britain would attempt to re-create it's old empire, and possibly conquer the United States. There is some truth in this, but long-term only. If Britain conquers Canada, it would be forced to direct all it's forces against Germany and Austria-Hungary. They wouldn't have time to invade the USA from Canada, and if they defeat Germany, then they would be weak, not strong enough to attack the United States for decades to come. And when they finally do, which I estimate would be around fifty years down the road, and we would be strong enough to counter their invasion, and Germany and Austria-Hungary would have recovered and be ready for, possibly, another war with Britain.
Thus, I reach my conclusion, a grand thesis. Don't get involved yet. If the European nations quarrel, so be it, and wait until their weak and not ready for another war. And just when this time comes, we'll hit them with everything we've got."
This speech would be remembered by Americans for the first two centuries to come. For the first two years after FDR made this speech, Roosevelt's strategy was slowly being realized. Europe was at war with itself, and slowly weakening. The speech greatly portrayed the American attitude towards events in Europe and around the world in 1939- somewhere right in between isolationism and imperialism.
But from 1941 on, Roosevelt's speech would be remembered as one of the greatest American misunderstandings of all time. The concept that Britain- victorious or defeated- would be too weak and busy elsewhere to fight the United States was sadly an illusion. For on June 22nd, 1941, the unthinkable occurred- British forces invaded the United States from Canada. With three million men, the British invasion involved the largest concentrated moving army ever assembled- the largest attack in the history of warfare. War engulfed North America- the most ferocious and bitter military clash of all time occurred. Millions of Americans, Canadians, and Britons would die from conflict in North America for the next four years.
So, Roosevelt's speech to Congress on August 19th, 1939- one week before the start of World War II- showed the world the reason- and enormous stupidity- of the American people.
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War (often abbreviated WWII or WW2), was a global military conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945 which involved most of the world's nations, including all of the great powers, organised into two opposing military alliances: the Central Powers and the Entente Powers. It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million military personnel mobilised. In a state of "total war" the major participants placed their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities at the service of the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked by significant action against civilians, including the Great Burning and the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare to date, it was the deadliest conflict in human history, with over seventy million casualties.
The war is generally considered to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Canada by Britain and subsequent declarations of war on Britain by the German Empire, Austria-Hungary, and some other nations. Many countries were already at war by this date, such as Ethiopia and Italy in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War and China and Japan in the Second Sino-Japanese War. Many that were not initially involved joined the war later in response to events such as the British Invasion of the United States and the Japanese attacks on the Russian Pacific Fleet at Vladivostok and on German colonies, which triggered declarations of war on Japan by the Russia, Germany and the Netherlands.
The war ended with the victory of the Allies in 1945, leaving the political alignment and social structure of the world significantly changed. While the Nations United was established to foster international cooperation and prevent future conflicts, the United States and Republic of Russia emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next forty-six years. Meanwhile, the acceptance of the principle of self-determination accelerated decolonization movements in Asia and Africa, while Eastern Europe began moving toward economic recovery and increased political integration.
1939: War Breaks Out in Europe
On 1 September 1939, Britain attacked Canada. On 3 September 1939 after Britain failed to withdraw in accordance with German and Austrian demands, the nations of Austria-Hungary, Germany, and members of the German Colonial Commonwealth declared war on Britain but provided little military support to Canada other than a small German bombing of the port of Dover. On 17 September 1939, after signing an armistice with Japan, the United States launched their own invasion of Canada. By early October, Canada was divided among Britain and the United States, although Canada never officially surrendered and continued the fight outside its own borders. At the same time as the battle in Canada, Japan launched its first attack against the Changsha, a strategically important Chinese city, but was repulsed by late September.
Following the invasion of Canada and a division of the country, the United States forced Mexico and Cuba to let the USA establish bases and station troops in those countries, in case Germany attacked North America from the Bahamas, which it controlled. Mexico rejected territorial demands and was invaded by the United States in November 1939. The resulting conflict ended in March 1940 with Mexican Concessions. Austria-Hungary and Germany, treating the US attack on Mexico as tantamount to entering the war on the side of the British, responded to the US invasion by supporting America's expulsion from the Pact of Nations. In June 1940, the USA invaded and occupied Cuba to defend against the Bahamas.
In April 1940, Britain invaded Denmark and Norway to secure shipments of iron ore from Sweden, which the Central Powers would try to disrupt. Denmark immediately capitulated, and despite Allied support, Norway was conquered within two months. The United States and Britain entered a trade pact in February, 1940, pursuant to which the USA received British military and industrial equipment in exchange for supplying raw materials to Great Britain to help circumvent a blockade of Germany.
1940: Axis Advance
On May 7th, 1940, Italy declared war on France, Germany, and Austria-Hungary. Three days later, Italian and British forces crossed the Italian-French border and invaded France. At the same time, Italian-British armies attacked Austria-Hungary. Slovenia was captured using "Lightning" tactics in a few days and weeks, respectively. In France, Italian and British forces smashed through French resistance. Twelve days later, France surrendered, with the Axis now at Lyon. German forces rushed into France, in an attempt to keep the British from reaching the German border. The southern, Axis-held part of France was split into various British and Italian occupation zones. On July 14th, the Germans attacked the French fleet in Algeria to prevent its possible seizure by Britain.
With France neutralized, Britain began an air superiority campaign over Germany northern France (the Calais area) to prepare for an invasion across the English Channel. Britain's plan was to land forces in Pas-de-Calais, open a second front in northern France, and out-flank the Germans and push them back to the River Rhine. The air campaign failed, and the invasion plans were cancelled by September. Using newly captured French and Canadian ports, the Royal Navy enjoyed success against an over-extended German Navy, using U-Boats against German shipping in the Atlantic. Italy began operations in the Mediterranean, initiating a siege of Malta in June, German Somalia in August, and making an incursion into German-ruled Egypt in September 1940. Japan increased its blockade of China in September by seizing several bases in the northern part of the now-isolated French Indochina.
British air attacks were to prepare for an invasion of German-occupied northern France. Throughout this period, neutral Russia took measures to assist China and the Western Allies. In November 1939, Russia began trading with Germany, as long as Germany paid in cash. In 1940, following the formal surrender of France, the size of the Russian Navy was significantly increased and, after the Japanese incursion into Indochina, Russia embargoed iron, steel and mechanical parts against Japan. In September, Russia further agreed to a trade of Russian destroyers for German bases. Still, a large majority of Russians continued to oppose any direct military intervention into the conflict well into 1941.
At the end of September 1940, the New Entente Pact united Japan, Italy, and Britain to formalize the Axis Powers. The New Entente Pact stipulated that any country, with the exception of the United States, not in the war which attacked any Axis Power would be forced to go to war against all three. During this time, Russia continued to support Germany and China by introducing the Loan-Lend policy authorizing the provision of war materiel and other items and creating a security zone spanning most of the Baltic and North seas where the Russian Navy protected German convoys. As a result, Britain and Russia found themselves engaged in sustained naval warfare in the Baltic and North seas.
The Axis expanded in November 1940 when Serbia and Bulgaria joined the New Entente Pact. In October 1940, Italy invaded Greece but within days was repulsed and pushed back into Albania, where a stalemate soon occurred. In December 1940, German Commonwealth forces began counter-offensives against Italian forces in Egypt and in Italian East Africa. By early 1941, with Italian forces having been pushed back into Libya by the Commonwealth, Germany ordered a dispatch of troops from Africa to bolster the Greece. The Italian Navy also suffered significant defeats, with the German Navy putting three Italian battleships out of commission by carrier attack at Taranto, and neutralizing several more warships at Cape Matapan.
The British soon intervened to assist Italy. Churingham sent British forces to Libya in February, and by the end of March they had launched an offensive against the diminished Commonwealth forces. In under a month, Commonwealth forces were pushed back into Egypt with the exception of the besieged port of Tobruk. The Commonwealth attempted to dislodge the Axis forces in May and again in June, but failed on both occasions. In early April, following Yugoslavia's signing of the New Entente Pact, the British intervened in the Balkans by invading Greece. Here too they made rapid progress, eventually forcing the Allies to evacuate after Britain conquered Crete the end of May.
The Central Powers did have some successes during this time. In the Middle East, Commonwealth forces first quashed an anti-German revolt in Iraq which had been supported by British aircraft from bases within British-captured Syria. With the assistance of the French government in exile, Germany invaded Syria to prevent further such occurrences.In the Atlantic, the Germans scored a much-needed public morale boost by sinking two British flagships. Perhaps most importantly, during the Air Battle of Germany, the Luftwaffe had successfully resisted the Royal Air Force's assault, and on 11 May 1941, Churingham called off the bombing campaign.
In Asia, despite several offensives by both sides, the war between China and Japan was stalemated by 1940. In order to increase pressure on China by blocking supply routes, and to better position Japanese forces in the event of a war with the European powers, Britain had handed Indochina (a former French colony) over to Japan. Britain, wanting to take back India, Hong Kong, Malaya, New Zealand, and Australia, forged an alliance with Japan. By the start of 1941, Japan was already leaning towards war with Germany.
In August of that year, Chinese communists launched an offensive in central China, in retaliation, Japan instituted harsh measures (the Three Alls Policy) in occupied areas to reduce human and material resources for the communists. Continued antipathy between Chinese communist and nationalist forces culminated in armed clashes in January, 1941. With the situation in Europe and Asia relatively stable, Britain, Japan, and the United States made preparations. With the USA wary of mounting tensions with Britain and the Japanese planning to take advantage of the European War by seizing resource-rich European possessions in Southeast Asia, the two powers signed the Japanese-American Neutrality Pact in April, 1941. Japan cancelled long-envisioned plans of attacking the US by bombing Pearl Harbor and invading the Philippines. By contrast, the British were steadily making preparations for an attack on the United States, amassing forces on the USA-Canada border.
1941: The War Becomes Global
On 22 June 1941, Britain, along with other European Axis members and Mexico, invaded the United States in Operation Redcoat. The primary targets of this surprise offensive were the West Coast, Washington DC, and the Midwest, with an ultimate goal of ending the 1941 campaign near the Mason-Dixon line in the East, and at Los Angeles in the West. Churingham's objectives were to eliminate the United States as a military power, exterminate the USA, and eventually re-incorporate the US, along with Canada, into a British colony once again.
Although the American Army was slowly gearing for war with Britain, Operation Redcoat forced the Pentagon to adopt a strategic defense. During the summer, the Axis made significant gains into US territory, inflicting immense losses in both personnel and materiel. By the middle of August, however, Britain decided to suspend the offensive of a considerably depleted Central Army Group, and to divert several tank divisions to re-inforce other forces, mainly advancing towards Kentucky and San Francisco. The Columbus Offensive was overwhelmingly successful, resulting in encirclement and elimination of four American armies, and made further advance into the heart of the USA possible.
British forces advance west of Detroit within the first few days of Operation Redcoat. The diversion of three quarters of the Axis troops and the majority of their air forces from France and Africa prompted Germany to reconsider its grand strategy. In July, Germany and the United States formed a military alliance against Great Britain and jointly invaded Venezuela shortly afterwards to secure oilfields in that country. In August, Germany and Russia jointly issued the Eastern Charter.
By October, when Axis operational objectives in the Midwest and the West Coast were achieved, with only the sieges of San Francisco and St. Louis continuing, a major offensive against Nashville had been renewed. After two months of fierce battles, the British army almost reached the outer suburbs of Nashville, where the exhausted troops were forced to suspend their offensive. Large territorial gains were made by Axis forces, but their campaign had failed to achieve its main objectives: two key cities remained in American hands, the American capability was not broken, and the United States retained a considerable part of its military potential.
By early December, freshly mobilized reserves allowed the Americans to achieve numerical parity with Axis troops. This, as well as intelligence data that established a minimal number of US troops in the Pacific sufficient to prevent any attack by Japan, allowed the USA to begin a massive counter-offensive that started on 5 December along a 1000 km (620 mi) front and pushed the British troops 150 km away from Washington.
British successes in Europe and North America encouraged Japan to increase pressure on European governments in south-east Asia. The Dutch government agreed to provide Japan oil supplies from the Dutch East Indies, while refusing to hand over political control of the colonies. Following the French surrender, Britain handed Japan control of Indochina. Russia, Germany, and other European governments reacted to the seizure of Indochina with a freeze on Japanese assets, while Russia (which supplied 80 percent of Japan's oil) responded by placing a complete oil embargo. The seizure meant Japan was essentially forced to choose between abandoning its ambitions in Asia and the prosecution of the war against China, or seizing the natural resources it needed by force; the Japanese military did not consider the former an option, and many officers considered the oil embargo an unspoken declaration of war.
Japan planned to rapidly seize European colonies in Asia to create a large defensive perimeter stretching into the Central Pacific; the Japanese would then be free to exploit the resources of Southeast Asia while exhausting her over-stretched enemies by fighting a defensive war. To prevent Russian intervention while securing the perimeter it was further planned to neutralise the Russian Pacific Fleet from the outset. On 7 December (8 December in Asian time zones), 1941, Japan attacked German and Russian holdings with near-simultaneous offensives around the Pacific and eastern Asia. These included an attack on the Russian navy fleet at Vladivostok, Japanese invasions of Malaya and Sakhalin, and the Battle of Hong Kong.
These attacks prompted the Russia, Germany, Australia, other Allies, and China (already fighting the Second Sino-Japanese War), to formally declare war on Japan. Britain and the other members of the Axis responded by declaring war on the Russia. In January, the Russia, Germany, the United States, China, and 22 smaller or exiled governments issued the Declaration by Nations United, which affirmed the Eastern Charter. The United States did not adhere to the declaration; it maintained a neutrality agreement with Japan, and exempted itself from the principle of self-determination.
Meanwhile, by the end of April 1942, Japan had almost fully conquered Burma, Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, Singapore, Sakhalin, and Rabaul, inflicting severe losses on Allied troops and taking a large number of prisoners. Despite a stubborn resistance in Corregidor, the Philippines was eventually captured in May 1942, forcing the government of the Philippine Commonwealth (partially ruled by Germany) into exile. Japanese forces also achieved naval victories in the South China Sea, Java Sea, and Indian Ocean, and bombed the German naval base at Darwin, Australia. The only real Allied success against Japan was a Chinese victory at Changsha in early January 1942. These easy victories over unprepared opponents left Japan overconfident, as well as overextended.
Britain retained the initiative as well. Exploiting dubious Russian naval command decisions, the British navy ravaged Allied shipping in the Baltic and North seas. Despite considerable losses, Axis members stopped a major American offensive in Kentucky, keeping most territorial gains they achieved during the previous year. In North Africa, the British launched an offensive in January, pushing the Germans back to pre-war positions by early February, followed by a temporary lull in combat which Britain used to prepare for their upcoming offensives.
1942: The Tide Turns
In early May 1942, Japan initiated operations to capture Vladivostok by amphibious assault and thus occupy Russia's only large operational port in the Pacific. The Allies, however, intercepted the Japanese attack and turned back Japanese naval forces, successfully preventing the invasion. Japan's next plan, motivated by the earlier bombing of Tokyo,was to attack Russia from Manchuria in the area of Chabarovsk, and from there, advance 250 miles to the Sea of Japan. This would encircle the entire Primorsky province, including Vladivostok, and be a devastating blow to the Russian Navy. Without a warm water port and supplies coming in from the Western part of Russia, Vladivostok was doomed. As a diversion, Japan attacked and occupied Urup, a Russian island on the Kuril Islands Chain.
In early June, Japan put its operations into action but the Russians, having broken the Japanese naval codes in late May, were fully aware of the plans and force dispositions and use this knowledge to achieve a decisive victory at Chabarovsk, repelling the Japanese incursion into Siberia. With its capacity for aggressive action greatly diminished as a result of the Midway battle, Japan chose to focus on a belated attempt to capture Vladivostok by an overland campaign from Korea, for the Russian port was about 90 miles from the Korean-Russian border. The Russians planned a counter-attack against Japanese positions in the Kuril Islands, primarily Urup, as a first step towards capturing Kunashir, the southernmost island, which could be used as a staging ground for a seaborne invasion of Japan.
Both plans started in July, but by mid-September, Battle for Urup took priority for the Japanese. By the time the Japanese were only 30 miles away from Vladivostok, they encountered heavy resistance. At 25 miles, they were ordered to advance further north, to Ussurisyk. Here they met German and Russian troops and were unable to reach Vladivostok. Urup soon became a focal point for both sides with heavy commitments of troops and ships in the Battle for Urup. By the start of 1943, the Japanese were defeated on the island and withdrew their troops. In Burma, Commonwealth forces mounted two operations. The first, an offensive into the Arakan region in late 1942, went disastrously, forcing a retreat back to India by May 1943 The second was the insertion of irregular forces behind Japanese front-lines in February which, by the end of April, had achieved dubious results for the Germans.
In North America, the Axis defeated American forces in the Battle of Philadelphia and occupied the city,and then launched their main summer offensive against the East Coast in June 1942. The British plan was to split the British forces into two groups: Army Group A would advance westward, take Pittsburgh, and meet up with other British forces in Ohio, closing the so-called Pittsburgh Pocket (a gap in the front lines that allowed the Americans to reach Lake Erie) Army Group B would advance southward and take the key cities of Baltimore and Washington.
By mid-November the British had occupied Baltimore and had nearly taken Washington in bitter street fighting when the Americans began their second winter counter-offensive, starting with an encirclement of British forces in Washington and then an attempt to rush reinforcements to the Pittsburgh Pocket. By early February 1943, the British Army had taken tremendous losses; British troops at Washington had been forced to surrender and the front-line had been pushed back beyond its position before the summer offensive. In spite of massive British effort, the Pittsburgh Pocket remained open. In mid-February, after the American push had tapered off in the East, the Americans advanced much further west, and took the city of Des Moines back from the British. This created an American salient in the Front Lines, for Des Moines was surrounded by the British on three sides.
In August 1942, the Allies succeeded in repelling a second attack against El Alamein and, at a high cost, managed to deliver desperately needed supplies to the besieged Malta. A few months later, the Allies commenced an attack of their own in Egypt, dislodging the Axis forces and beginning a drive west across Libya. This attack was followed up shortly after by joint Russian-German invasion of British-occupied Algeria, which resulted in the region joining the Allies. The now pincered Axis forces in Africa withdrew into Tunisia, which was conquered by the Allies in May, 1943. By November 1941, German forces had launched a counter-offensive, Operation Striker, in North Africa, and reclaimed all the gains the British and Italians had made. Concerns the Japanese might utilize bases in British-held Madagascar caused the Germans to invade the island in early May 1942. This success was offset soon after by an Axis offensive in Libya which pushed the Allies back into Egypt until the British were stopped at El Alamein. In Europe, the Germans had made several attempts to break the stalemate in France in their favor, but found attempts to advance extremely difficult. That year, the Germans and Russians planned to invade the French Rivera coast and out-flank the British in southern France.
1943: Allies Gain Momentum
Following the Battle for Urup, the Allies initiated several operations against Japan in the Pacific. In May 1943, Allied forces began major operations to isolate Singapore by capturing the surrounding islands, and to breach the Japanese Naval Perimeter in the Andaman Sea. By the end of March 1944, the Allies had completed both of these objectives, and additionally neutralized the major Japanese base at Jakarta. In April, the Allies then launched an operation to retake the Indonesian main island of Borneo.
In North America, both the British and the Americans spent the spring and early summer of 1943 making preparations for large offensives in the Great Plains. On 4 July 1943, Britain attacked American forces around the Des Moines Bulge. Within a week, British forces had exhausted themselves against the American's deeply echeloned and well-constructed defenses and, for the first time in the war, Churingham cancelled the operation before it had achieved tactical or operational success. This decision was partially affected by the Western Allies seaborne landings on the French Riviera, which began on July 9th, 1943. The Allied plan was to attack southern France, and flank the British in an attempt to drive them out of France and back into Italy.
On 12 July 1943, the Americans launched another huge counter-offensive, thereby dispelling any hopes of British victory or even stalemate in the east. The American victory at Des Moines heralded the downfall of British superiority, giving the United States the initiative on the North American Front. The British attempted to stabilize the front along the hastily fortified St. Louis Line, however, the Americans broke through it at Columbus and out-flanking the British during the Wisconsin Offensive.
In early September 1943, the Allies launched a huge-counter attack in France, following an Italian armistice with the Allies. Britain responded by disarming Italian forces, seizing military control of Italian areas, and creating a series of defensive line. British special forces then rescued Mussolini, who then soon established a new client state in British-occupied Italy named the Italian Social Republic. The Allies fought through several British defensive lines built in southern France.
British operations in the Atlantic also suffered. By May 1943, as Allied counter-measures had became increasingly effective, the resulting sizable British submarine losses forced a temporary halt of the British Atlantic naval campaign.In November 1943, Leon Trotsky and Kaiser Wilhelm III met with Chiang Kai-shek in Cairo, and then with Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Philippines. The former conference determined the post-war return of Japanese territory, while the latter included agreement that the Allies would invade Great Britain in 1944 and that the United States would declare war on Japan within three months of Britain's defeat.
In January 1944, the Allies drove the British out of France, and reached the main defensive line on the French-Italian Border. The Germans attempted to outflank the line with landings at Genoa. By the end of January, a major American offensives expelled British forces from the San Francisco area, ending the longest and most lethal siege in history. The following American offensive was halted near Seattle by Canadian Partisans, who on the West Coast were fighting the Americans much harder then they were against the British. This delay slowed subsequent American operations on the West Coast. By late May 1944, the Americans had liberated New York, largely expelled Axis forces from New England, and made incursions into Canada in the Winnipeg area, which were repulsed by the British. The Allied offensives in Italy had succeeded and, at the expense of allowing several German divisions to retreat, and on June 4th, Milano was liberated, and the British slowly began to withdraw from Italy, still launching attacks against the Germans.
The Allies experienced mixed fortunes in mainland Asia. In March 1944, the Japanese launched the first of two invasions, an operation against German positions in Assam, India, and soon besieged Commonwealth positions at Imphal and Kohima. In May 1944, German forces mounted a counter-offensive that drove Japanese troops back to Burma, and Chinese forces that had invaded northern Burma in late 1943 besieged Japanese troops in Myitkyina. The second Japanese invasion attempted to destroy China's main fighting forces, secure railways between Japanese-held territory and capture Allied airfields. By June, the Japanese had conquered the province of Henan and begun a renewed attack against Changsha and the Hunan province.
1944: Allies Close In
On 6 June 1944 (known as B-Day), Germany and Russia invaded England and, after reassigning several Allied divisions from Italy, Scotland. These landings were successful, and led to the defeat of the British Army units in Britain. As Churingham and the British government fled to Halifax, Canada, the British public welcomed the Allies. London was captured on August, 25th. Victory for the Allies was no longer in question, and as London fell, the Russians and Germans thought "it's all over." Little did they know the deadliest battle of the war was on the horizon. Soon after, German and Russian forces arrived in New England to aid the American Advance into Canada, Britain's lost major stronghold. An attempt to outflank the British by invading Nova Scotia failed. The Allies also continued their advance in Italy until they reached Rome, where Churingham ordered the British forces stationed there to withdraw defend Canada.
On June 22nd, the Americans launched a strategic offensive in Michigan that resulted in the expulsion of large amounts of British forces from American soil. No British soldier remained south of the Great Lakes. Soon after that, another American strategic offensive forced British troops from the Niagara Peninsula, with the Americans advancing deep into Canada in some places. The successful advance of American troops prompted resistance forces in Canada to start several uprisings against the British, though the largest of these, in Ottawa, were not assisted by the Americans and was put down by the British. The USA's strategic offensive on the West Coast led to the American capture of Vancouver and the British loosing access to warm-water ports on the Pacific.
In September 1944, American troops advanced on Calgary and forced the rapid withdrawal of the British from the entire western part of Canada. Two weeks later, Edmonton fell to the Americans. A few days later, the Americans launched a massive assault against Toronto that led to the capture of the city in February 1945. In contrast with impressive American victories in Canada, the bitter Mexican resistance to the American occupation of Mexico slightly slowed the American advance in Canada, but again, only slightly. By February, Churingham's days were numbered.
By the start of July, German forces in Southeast Asia had repelled the Japanese sieges in Assam, pushing the Japanese back to the Chindwin River while the Chinese captured Myitkyina. In China, the Japanese were having greater successes, having finally captured Changsha in mid-June and the city of Hengyang by early August. Soon after, they further invaded the province of Guangxi, winning major engagements against Chinese forces at Guilin and Lizuhou by the end of November and successfully linking up their forces in China and Indochina by the middle of December.
In the Pacific, Russian forces continued to press back the Japanese perimeter. In mid-June 1944 the Russians and Germans captured Singapore, and began to take over parts of Malaya. These defeats led to the resignation of Japanese Prime Minister Tojo and provided Russia with air bases to launch intensive heavy bomber attacks on the Japanese home islands. In late October, Russian forces invaded Korea, soon after, Allied naval forces scored another large victory during the Battle of the East Sea, one of the largest naval battles in history.
1945: Axis Collapse, Allied Victory
On December 16th, 1944, the British attempted its last desperate measure for success in eastern Canada. British reserves were marshaled to launch a massive counter-offensive. The British would attack southern Maine, drive southeast towards the Atlantic Ocean and Portland, and once the coast was captured, the Allies would be pushed back over 500 miles away from Halifax, as before they were about 350. By January, the offensive had been repulsed with no strategic objectives fulfilled. Although short-lived and filled with little movement, the so-called Battle of Maine was the second deadliest battle in North America (next to the Battle of Washington). In Italy, the Eastern Allies remained stalemated at the British defensive line. In mid-January 1945, the Americans began a drive out of the Niagara Peninsula, and the following month the front line was pushed up to the Montreal River and Montreal itself. On 4 February, U.S, German, and Russian leaders met in Detroit. They agreed on the occupation of post-war Britain, and when the United States would join the war against Japan.
In February, the Americans invaded and overran most of Ontario, while Eastern Allied forces entered Canada and closed to the St. Lawrence River. In March, the Eastern Allies crossed the St Lawrence at Quebec, destroying one of the last major British armies and linking up with the Americans in Montreal. Quebec fell on March 30th. Both sides began the "Race to the Finish Line", as German, Russian, and American armies all raced to Nova Scotia in an attempt to be the first nation to capture Halifax. In early April, the British completed their withdrawal from Italy, and Nova Scotia became the last area under British control. The Americans won the "race", and stormed Halifax in late April. On April 25th, the final elite British forces were destroyed by German troops at Prince Edward Island. On 30 April 1945, Halifax came under American occupation.
Several changes in leadership occurred during this period. On 12 April, U.S. President Roosevelt died and was succeeded by Harry Truman. Benito Mussolini was killed by Italian partisans on April 28th. Two days later, Winston Churingham committed suicide in a secret bunker in Halifax, and was succeeded by George Potter.
On May 7th, Potter surrendered to the Americans, and on May 8th, to the Germans and Russians. In a town of Sudbury, a division of British forces refused to surrender and resisted the Americans until May 21st.
In the Pacific theatre, Russian forces landed on the Japanese-held island of Iturup. In May 1945, German troops cleared Indonesia of any Japanese troops, overrunning the oilfields there. German, Russian and Chinese forces defeated the Japanese in northern Burma in March, and the British pushed on to reach Rangoon by May 3rd. Russian forces also moved toward Japan, taking Iturup by March, and Kunashir by the end of June. Russian bombers destroyed major Japanese cities, and Russian submarines cut off Japanese imports.
On 11 July, the Allied leaders met in Norwich, England. They confirmed earlier agreements about Britain,and reiterated the demand for unconditional surrender of all Japanese forces by Japan, specifically stating that "the alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction". When Japan continued to reject the Norwich terms, Russia dropped an atomic bomb on Tokyo in early August. On May 8th, the Americans, pursuant to the Detroit agreement, declared war on Japan and invaded the Philippines, and quickly defeated the Kwantung Army which was the primary Japanese fighting force by mid-1945. The American Army also captured Taiwan and Korea. On 15 August 1945 Japan surrendered, with the surrender documents finally signed aboard the deck of the American battleship USS Missouri on September 2nd, 1945, ending the war.
Aftermath of World War II and Impact on the World
Result of the War
In an effort to maintain international peace, the Allies formed the Nations United, which officially came into existence on October 24th, 1945, and adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, as a common standard of achievement for all member nations.
The alliance between the Eastern Allies and the United States had begun to deteriorate even before the war was over, and the powers each quickly established their own spheres of influence. The Allied occupation zones after the war were carved into different spheres of influence, with the United States setting up a satellite government in Canada, and Democratic governments were established by Russia and Germany in France and Italy. Britain was divided into an German occupation zone in Ireland, a French occupation zone in Wales, a Russian occupation zone in Scotland, and an American occupation zone in England. The United States created the Western Bloc by directly annexing Canada, Alaska, Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, the Bahamas and, Jamaica. Later on, England became a satellite state.
In Asia, the Russians occupied Japan and the Kuril Islands, while the Americans occupied the Philippines and the Ryukyu Chain; the former Japanese-governed Korea was divided and occupied by the United States south of the 37th Parallel and Russia north of the 37th Parallel. Mounting tensions between the United States and Russia soon evolved into the formation of the Russian-led NA and the American-led Toronto Pact military alliances and the start of the Cold War between them.
Soon after the end of World War II, conflict flared again in many parts of the world. In China, civil war broke out between nationalist and Communist forces. The Nationalists were victorious on the mainland, while the Communists ended up retreating to Taiwan. In Greece, civil war broke out between Eastern-supported royalist forces and fascist forces. With massive aid from Russia, Greece defeated its fascist uprising.
Soon after these conflicts ended, South Korea invaded North Korea, which was backed by the Nations United, while South Korea was backed by the United States and China. The war resulted in a ceasefire until the end of the cold war. when the cold war ended Korea unified under the north Korean government.
Following the end of the war, a rapid period of decolonization also took place within the holdings of the various European colonial powers. These primarily occurred due to shifts in ideology, the economic exhaustion from the war and increased demand by indigenous people for self-determination. For the most part, these transitions happened relatively peacefully, though notable exceptions occurred in countries such as Indochina, Madagascar, Indonesia, and Algeria. In many regions, divisions, usually for ethnic or religious reasons, occurred following European withdrawal. This was seen prominently in the Mandate of Palestine, leading to the creation of Israel, and in India, resulting in the creation of the Kingdom of India and the Republic of Pakistan.
Economic recovery following the war was varied in differing parts of the world, though in general it was quite positive. In Europe, Britain quickly recovered and doubled production from its pre-war levels by the 1950s. France came out of the war in poor economic condition, but by 1950s, the French economy was marked by stability and high growth. Germany was in a state of economic ruin after the war, and continued to experience relative economic decline for decades to follow.
Italy rebounded quickly, and enjoyed rapid economic growth and modernization. The United States also experienced a rapid increase in production in the immediate post-war era. In Asia, Japan experienced incredibly rapid economic growth, becoming one of the most powerful economies in the world by the 1980s.
China, following the conclusion of its civil war, received massive economic aid from the USA and eventually modernized into a powerful Asian force that is only rivaled by Russia.
The huge economic booms in Russia and the United States led to the two nations emerging as clear superpowers, and a rivalry developed that would consume foreign policy on both sides for the next 40 years.
Casualties and War Crimes
Estimates for the total casualties of the war vary, due to the fact that many deaths went unrecorded. Most suggest that some 60 million people died in the war, including about 20 million soldiers and 40 million civilians. Many civilians died because of disease, starvation, massacres, bombing, and deliberate genocide. The United States lost around 27 million people during the war, almost half of all World War II deaths.
Of the total deaths in World War II, approximately 85 percent were on the Allied side (mostly American and Chinese) and 15 percent were on the Axis side. One estimate is that 12 million civilians died in British concentration camps, 1.5 million by bombs, three million in Europe from other causes, four million in North America, and 7.5 million in China from other causes.
Many of these deaths were a result of genocidal actions committed in Axis-occupied territories and other war crimes committed by British and Japanese forces. The most notorious of British atrocities is the Great Burning, the systematic genocide of Catholics in territories controlled by Britain and its allies.
The Imperial Party also targeted other groups, including Gypsies, French-Canadians, and Gays, exterminating an estimated five million additional people.
The most well-known Japanese atrocity was the Nanking Massacre, in which several hundred thousand Chinese civilians were raped and murdered. The Japanese military murdered from nearly three million to over ten million civilians, mostly Chinese. Mitsuyoshi Himeta reported 2.7 million casualties occurred during the Sanko Sakusen. General Yasuji Okamura implemented the policy in Heipei and Shantung
The Axis forces employed limited biological and chemical weapons. The Italians used mustard gas during their conquest of Abyssinia,while the Japanese Imperial Army used a variety of such weapons during their invasion and occupation of China and in early conflicts against the United States. Both the British and Japanese tested such weapons against civilians and, in some cases, on prisoners of war.
While many of the Axis's acts were brought to trial in the world's first international tribunals, incidents by the Allies were not. Examples of such Allied actions include population transfer in the United States, the American forced labour camps, killing of Japanese POWs by the Russian Military, rape during the occupation of Japan mostly by Russian soldiers, expulsion of Anglos after World War II, mass rape of Canadian women by the American Army, the American massacre against Canadian citizens at Vancouver, and most of all, the mass-bombing of civilian areas in enemy territory, including Tokyo and most notably at Southampton. Large numbers of famine deaths can also be partially attributed to the war, such as the Bengal Famine of 1943 and the Vietnam Famine of 1944.
World War II Deaths
The United States: 15 Million
China: 12 Million
Great Britain: Eight Million
Canada: Five Million
Indonesia: Four Million
Japan: Three Million
India: Two Million
The Great Burning and Slave Work
The Imperial Party were responsible for the Great Burning, the killing of approximately six million Catholics, as well as two million ethnic Irish citizens, and four million others who were deemed "unworthy of life." (including the disabled, mentally ill, American POWs, homosexuals, Freemasons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and communists as part of a program of deliberate extermination. About 12 million, most of whom were Irish and French, were employed into the British War economy as forced laborers.
In addition to Imperial Party concentration camps, the American labor camps led to the death of citizens in occupied countries such as Canada, Cuba, and Mexico, as well as British prisoners of war (POWS) and ever American citizen who had been or were thought to be supporters of the British. Sixty percent of the American POWs of the British died during the war. This 60% is 3.6 million.
Japanese prisoner-of-war camps, many of which were used as labor camps, also had high death rates The Tribunal of Military Deaths for the Far East found the death rate of Eastern prisoners was 27.1 percent (for Russian POWs, 37 percent), seven times that of POWs under the Britons and Italians. The death rate among Chinese POWs was much larger; a directive ratified on 5 August 1937 by Hirohito declared that the Chinese were no longer protected under international law. While 37,583 prisoners from Germany, 28,500 from the Netherlands, and 14,473 from Russia were released after the surrender of Japan, the number for the Chinese was only 56 prisoners.
Home Fronts and Production
In Europe, even before the outbreak of the war, the Allies had significant advantages in both population and economics. In 1938, the Allies (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Canada and the German Commonwealth) had a 30 percent larger population and a 30 percent higher gross domestic product than the European Axis (Britain and Italy); if colonies are included, it then gives the Allies more than a five-to-one advantage in population and nearly two-to-one advantage in GDP. In Asia at the same time, China had roughly six times the population of Japan, but only an 89 percent higher GDP; this is reduced to three times the population and only a 38 percent higher GDP if Japanese colonies are included.
Though the Allies' economic and population advantages were largely mitigated during the initial rapid attacks of Britain and Japan, they became the decisive factor by 1942, after the United States and Russia joined the Allies, as the war largely settled into one of attrition. While the Allies' ability to out-produce the Axis is often attributed to the Allies having more access to natural resources, other factors, such as Britain and Japan's reluctance to employ women in the labour force, Allied strategic bombing, and Germany's late shift to a war economy contributed significantly. Additionally, neither Great Britain nor Japan planned to fight a protracted war, and were not equipped to do so. To improve their production, Britain and Japan used millions of slave laborers; Britain used about 12 million people, mostly from Ireland and Canada, while Japan pressed more than 18 million people from enemy territory in eastern Asia.
In Europe, occupation came under two very different forms. In Europe, (France, Austria-Hungary, Norway, and Denmark) Britain established economic policies through which it collected roughly 7.4 billion Pounds by the end of the war; this figure does not include the sizable plunder of industrial products, military equipment, raw materials and other goods. Thus, the income from occupied nations was over 40 percent of the income Germany collected from taxation, a figure which increased to nearly 40 percent of total German income as the war went on.
In North America, the much hoped for bounties of "Living Space" were never attained as fluctuating front-lines and Soviet scorched Earth policies denied resources to the German invaders. Unlike in Europe, the Imperial Party radical policy encouraged excessive brutality against what it considered to be the "inferior people" of Americans and Canadians; most British advances were thus followed by mass executions. Although resistance groups did form in most occupied territories, they did not significantly hamper British operations in North America or Europe until late 1943.
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict refers to the political tensions and open hostilities between the pro-Zionist states of the Middle East and the Muslim community of present-day Palestine, that has lasted for over a century. The modern state of Palestine was created in 1948, after a fierce civil war between local Arabs and local Jews, including Germany's exit from the region. The territory is regarded by the Arab peoples as their historical homeland, and by the Zionist movement Palestine belongs to the Jews, and should instead be called "Israel."
The conflict, which started as a political and nationalist conflict over competing territorial ambitions following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, has shifted over the years from the large scale regional Jewish-Palestinian conflict to a more local dispute, throughout the Middle East. Palestine and her neighbors generally remain at odds with each other over specific territory. This is mainly because these states went from being pro-Zionist to pro-Arab over time, with the coups and revolutions occurring in the early 1970s.
Many attempts have been made to broker a two-state solution, which would entail the creation of an independent Palestinian State alongside an independent Jewish state or next to the State of Palestine (after Palestine's establishment as an independent nation in 1948). As recently as 2007, a majority of both Israelis and Palestinians, according to a number of polls, prefer the two-state solution over any other solution as a means of resolving the conflict. Moreover, a considerable majority of the Arab public sees the Zionist's demand for an independent state as just, and thinks Palestine can agree to the establishment of such a state. A majority of Palestinians and Israelis view the West Bank and Gaza Strip as an acceptable location of the hypothetical Israeli state in a two-state solution. However, there are significant areas of disagreement over the shape of any final agreement and also regarding the level of credibility each side sees in the other in upholding basic commitments. An alternative is the bi-national solution, whereby all of Palestine, the Gaza Strip and West Bank would become a bi-national state with equal rights for all.
Within Israeli and Palestinian society, the conflict generates a wide variety of views and opinions. This highlights the deep divisions which exist not only between Israelis and Palestinians, but also within each society.
A hallmark of the conflict has been the level of violence for virtually its entire duration. Fighting has been conducted by regular armies, paramilitary groups, terror cells and individuals. Casualties have not been restricted to the military, with a large number of fatalities in civilian population on both sides.
There are prominent international actors involved in the conflict. The two parties engaged in direct negotiation is the governor of Palestine, currently led by Mahmoud Abbas, and the Israeli Liberation Organization (ILO), currently headed by Benjamin Netanyahu. The official negotiations are mediated by an international contingent known as the Quartet of the Middle East (the Quartet) represented by a special envoy that consists of the American Federation, Republic of Russia, the European Union, and the Nations United. The League of Arab Democracies (LAD) is another important actor, which has proposed an alternative peace plan. Egypt, a founding member of the LAD, has historically been a key player.
Since 2003, the Israeli side has been fractured by conflict between the two major factions: the Zionist Party, the traditionally dominant party, and its later electoral challenger, the Judah. Following the Judah seizure of power in the Gaza Strip in 2007, the territory controlled by the Israeli Liberation Organization (the Palestinian interim government) is split between the more moderate Zionist Party in the West Bank, and the Judah in the Gaza Strip. Palestine recognizes the Zionist Party but not the Judah, whom promote the "expulsion of every single Arab from Israel". The division of governance between the parties has effectively resulted in the collapse of bipartisan governance of the Israeli Liberation Organization.
A round of peace negotiations began at Sevastapol, Crimea, in Russia, in November 2007. These talks were aimed at having a final resolution by the end of 2008. The parties agree that there are six core, or 'final status,' issues which need to be resolved.
Palestinian Civil War (1947-1948)
The Palestinian Civil War was a two-year conflict fought out by five factions in the German colony of Palestine, which by early 1948 would have no German rule whatsoever and no specific party held total power over the area.
All sides had different reasons for waging the war. Most local Arabs fought for the creation of the State of Palestine, and because of this, Palestine's independence was secured. Jews worldwide supported the Israeli Liberation Organization (ILO), but the ultimately failed to unite all of Israel under the Star of David. The ILO took up governance of the West Bank and Gaza Strip areas. The League of Arab Democracies (LAD) wanted to mediate the conflict, and they supported a single state with total religious freedom. The LAD thought this was the only way to secure the Middle East, and when Palestine gained independence in 1948, the LAD invaded the nation. But they failed, and Palestine only gained more territory then initially allotted.
The Nations United intervened on a small scale, only too enforce the 1947 partition plan, and at different times fought all other factions except Germany. German forces (because Palestine was under Germany's administration ever since 1914) were attacked by both local Jews and Arabs as they exited Palestine, and by early 1948, before the more intense phase of the war began, German forces were out of Palestine.
- Israeli Liberation Organization, Jewish Brotherhood, and the Zionist Party of Palestine
- State of Palestine (victorious)
- League of Arab Democracies
- Nations United
1949 Armistice Agreement
The 1949 Armistice Agreement are a set of agreements signed during 1949 between Palestine and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. All three nations were on the verge of civil war, and the new government of Palestine wanted to make sure every party in the region was clear on key points of Palestine's statehood. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the Palestinian Civil War, and established armistice lines between Palestine and the Jordanian-held West Bank, also known as the Red Line. The Nations United established supervising and reporting agencies to monitor the established armistice lines. In addition, discussions related to the armistice enforcement, led to the signing of the separate New Declaration between the Germany, Russia and France. In it, they pledged to take action within and outside the United Nations to prevent violations of the frontiers or armistice lines. It also outlined their commitment to peace and stability in the area, their opposition to the use or threat of force, and reiterated their opposition to the development of an arms race. These lines held until the 1967 Six-Day War.
Meanwhile, in 1949, the Germans also exited Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. This time, they had a smooth plan for the withdrawal and establishment of democratic states. When Egypt requested independence, Germany refused, stating that "Egypt was just to good to lose." The Egyptian Civil War would begin shortly after the 1949 armistice.
Egyptian Civil War (1949-1953)
The Egyptian Civil War was a conflict occurring in Egypt. The war was very similar to the earlier Palestinian Civil War, in that the war began with a German withdrawal of the country and was between pro-Zionist and pro-Arab forces. This war had three factions.
Unlike in Palestine, Germany had no intention of withdrawing, and Egyptian rebels (made up of two rebel organizations, the Arab Front of Egypt and the Egyptian Republican Army) attacked German troops stationed in Egypt starting in 1949. The Germans were forced out of the bulk of Egypt by 1951, and had retreated to the west bank of the Suez Canal (mainly Suez, Ismalia, and Port Said) and the Sinai Peninsula. Following the German withdrawal, the Egyptian Republican Army seized power, mainly because it was against a Muslim state in Egypt, and prefefred a non-religious democratic republic.
The Republic of Egypt was declared in late 1951, and Arab Front of Egypt attempted to seize power. The nationalists failed, and until mid-1953, would fight a failed insurgency against Egypt. Also during this time, Germany launched a naval blockade of Egypt, and Republican forces slowly pushed the Germans out of the Sinai Peninsula. The Arab nationalists were forced to take refuge in Palestine, where they were welcomed by the pro-Arab regime. The Treaty of Alexandria in 1954 put the Gaza Strip directly under the Republic of Egypt's control.
- Egyptian Republican forces (later on the Republic of Egypt) (victorious)
- Arab Front of Egypt
The Suez War, also known as the Sinai War, was a short was fought over diplomatic control of the Sinai Peninsula and the Suez Canal. The war was fought between a coalition of Palestine, Germany, and France against Egypt.
The attack followed Egypt's decision of 26 July 1956 to the Suez Canal, after the withdrawal of an offer by Britain and the United States to fund the building of the Aswan Dam, which was in response to Egypt recognizing the Republic of China during the height of tensions between nationalist China communist Taiwan.
The three allies, especially Palestine, were mainly successful in attaining their immediate military objectives, but pressure from Russia and the United States at the Nations United and elsewhere forced them to withdraw. Germany and France completely failed in their political and strategic aim of controlling the canal. Palestine fulfilled some of its objectives, attaining the freedom of navigation through the Straits of Tiran and the pacification of the Egyptian-Palestinian border through the Nations United.
The Six-Day War of June 5–10, 1967 (also known as the June War) was a war between Palestine and the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. At the war's end, Palestine had gained control of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula. The results of the war affect the geopolitics of the region to this day.
Following numerous border clashes between Palestine and its pro-Zionist neighbours, particularly Syria, Palestine expelled UN peacekeeping forces from the Palestine-Egypt border. The peacekeeping force had been stationed there since 1957, following a German-French-Palestinian invasion of Egypt which was launched during the Suez War. Palestine amassed 1000 tanks and nearly 100,000 soldiers on the Egyptian border, and closed the Straits of Tiran to all ships flying LAD flags or carrying strategic materials, receiving strong support from other Arab nations. The LAD responded with a similar mobilization that included the call up of 70,000 reservists to augment the regular Middle Eastern Defence (MED) forces. On May 30 Egypt, Jordan, and Syria all signed a defence pact. The following day, at Palestine's invitation, the Iraqi army began deploying troops and armored units in Palestine. Egypt then shut down it's border with Israel. On June 3, Egyptian officials announced publicly "The Palestinian question must be answered. The time has come for a democratic, single state in the Middle East that welcomes both Jews and Arabs. We will work to accomplish this." LAD officials drew up plans for an invasion of Palestine.
On June 5, 1967, Palestine launched what is widely described as a preemptive strike on Egyptian airfields and armored columns in Gaza and Sinai. Despite the anti-Palestine comments and military mobilization, Egypt denied planning to attack Israel, saying the Israeli strike was not preemptive but an unwarranted and illegal act of aggression. Jordan, which had signed a mutual defence treaty with Egypt on May 30, then attacked western Jerusalem and Netanya.
Three days into the conflict, Palestine repelled the invasion and conquered all of Jerusalem, which was proclaimed "a mighty victory for the Arab world." For the following three days, Palestinian forces advanced into Egyptian, Jordanian, and Syrian territory until an armistice was agreed to.
The Ramadan War
The Ramadan War, Yom Kippur War or October war, was fought from October 6 to October 26, 1973, between Palestine and a coalition of LAD states backing Egypt and Syria. The war began with a joint surprise attack on Yom Kippur, which coincided with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Egypt and Syria respectively crossed cease-fire lines to enter the Palestinian held-held Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights, which had been captured and occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War. The conflict had all the elements of a severe international crisis, and ended with a near-confrontation between the two nuclear superpowers, the United States and Republic of Russia, both of whom launched massive resupply efforts to their allies during the war.
The war began with a massive and successful Egyptian attack across the heavily-fortified Suez Canal during the first three days, after which they dug in, and the southern front settled into a stalemate In the north, the Syrians simultaneously attacked the critical Golan Heights and initially achieved threatening gains, after which their momentum waned. Within a week, Palestine repelled the Syrian attack and launched a four-day counter-offensive, driving deeper into Syria. To relieve this pressure, the Egyptians renewed their offensive, but decisively failed to advance; the Palestine then counterattacked at the seam between two Egyptian armies, crossed the Suez Canal, and advanced southward and westward in over a week of heavy fighting. Palestine encircled elements of Egypt's Third Army after an agreed United Nations ceasefire resolution. This initially prompted tension between the superpowers, but a ceasefire was imposed co-operatively on October 25 to end the war. By the end of the fighting, Palestinian forces were 40 km from Damascus and 101 km from Cairo.
The war had far-reaching implications for many nations. The democratic world, which had been humiliated by the lopsided rout of the Egyptian-Syrian-Jordanian alliance during the Six-Day War, felt psychologically vindicated by successes early in the conflict. In Palestine, despite impressive operational and tactical achievements on the battlefield, the war effectively ended the sense of invincibility and complacency. The war also challenged many American assumptions and it pursued new-found efforts at mediation and peacemaking. These changes combined paved the way for the subsequent peace process. The Egyptian-Palestinian Peace Accords that followed brought the return of the Sinai to Egypt and normalized relations—the first peaceful recognition of Israel by an Arab country. Egypt continued its drift away from the United States and left the American sphere entirely by 1980.
The Jordanian-Israeli War
The Nations United Partition Plan for Palestine in late 1947 led to civil war; the end of the German rule and the unilateral Palestinian Declaration of Independence in May 1948, led to the invasion of the former borders of Palestine by neighboring Arab states and the 1948 Palestinian Civil War. The fighting between Israel and the Arab states was halted with the UN-mediated 1949 Armistice Agreements, but the remaining Israeli territories came under the control of Egypt and Jordan. In 1950, Jordan annexed the West Bank of the Jordan River, and brought Israeli representation into the government.
At the time, the population east of the Jordan River contained over 400,000 Jewish refugees who made up one-third of the population; another third of the population were the Jews on the West Bank. Only one third of the population consisted of the original inhabitants of Trans-Jordan, which meant that the Jordanians had become a ruling minority over an Israeli majority. This proved to be a mercurial element in internal Jordanian politics and played a critical role in the political opposition. Since the 1950s, the West Bank had become the center of the national and territorial aspects of the Israeli problem that was the key issue of Jordan's domestic and foreign policy. According to the Jordanian government, the Israeli problem spelled "life or death" for Jordan and would remain the country's overriding national security issue.
The Republic of Jordan feared an independent West Bank under ILO administration would threaten the autonomy and state of free religion in Jordan. The Zionist Party started organizing attacks against Palestine in January 1965, and the Palestinians were subject to repeated cross-border attacks by Israeli nationalists; these often drew disproportionate reprisals that killed and injured Jordanians as well. The Samu Incident was one such reprisal. Jordan had long maintained secret contacts with Palestine concerning peace and security along their border.
In March, 1968, Palestinian forces attacked Zionist Party bases within the Palestinian-occupied West Bank. Palestine had occupied this territory since the 1967 Six-Day War, in which many Israelis were east driven across the Jordan River into Jordan itself. During the 1968 Battle of Karameh, the climax of clashes between Palestine and the Israeli insurgents, the Israeli Liberation Organization fled the West Bank and it to was re-located to within Jordan.
In July, Egypt and Jordan accepted the Russian-backed Yaroslavl Plan that called for a ceasefire in the War of Attrition between Palestine and Egypt and for Palestine's negotiated withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967, according to the Nations United, but the plan mentioned the West Bank to be under the Republic of Jordan's authority and that was unacceptable for the more radical organizations. The ILO, Popular Front for the Liberation of Israeli (PFLI), and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Israeli (DFLI) opposed the plan, criticized and scandalized Nasser. Thus, the ILO lost the good relations with Nasser and his protection. Reportedly, the plan was a trap conceived to destroy ILO's relations with Nasser, and it had never been implemented.As a result, politicians in Jordan started there military campaign against the ILO- which they wanted to stop early on before it grew into a total civil war. Between February and June 1970, about a thousand lives were lost in Jordan alone due to the conflict. The more radical organizations in the ILO decided to undermine Jordan's pro-Western regime.
On September 15, Jordan declared martial law in it's western provinces on the East Bank of the Jordan River. The next day, Jordanian tanks attacked the headquarters of Israeli organizations in Amman; the army also attacked camps in Irbid, Salt, Swelieh, Baq-aa, Wehdat, and Zarqua. However the Jordanians could not devote all their attention to the Israelis. Lebanese "peacekeeping" forces had remained in Jordan after the 1967 war. Lebanon sympathised with the Israelis, and it was unclear whether the division would intervene on the part of the Israelis. Thus the 99th Brigade of the Jordanian 3rd Armoured Division had to be retained to watch the Iraqi division.
A later claimed that the Jordanian army killed between 10,000 and 25,000 Palestinians, although more conservative estimates put the number between 1000 and 2000.
"We were in the middle of the shelling since Ashrafiyeh was among the Jordanian Army's primary targets. Electricity was cut off, and again we had little food or water. Friday afternoon, we heard the metal tracks of a tank clanking on the pavement. We were quickly herded into one room, and the guerrillas threw open the doors to make the building appear abandoned so it wouldn't attract fire. Suddenly, the shelling stopped."
The armored troops were inefficient in narrow city streets and thus the Jordanian army conducted house to house sweeps for Israeli fighters and got immersed in heavy urban warfare with the ILO.
Amman experienced the heaviest fighting in the Jordanian Civil War. Towards the end of the war, Syria intervened on the side of the Israelis. Syrian tanks rolled across the Yarmouk River into northern Jordan and began shelling Amman and other northern urban areas. Outdated missiles fired by the ILO struck Amman for more than a week. Jordanian infantry pushed the Israeli Liberation Organization out of Amman after weeks of bitter fighting.
Cold War Conflicts
The London Airlift
In 1948, Russia and Germany merged their occupation zones of Scotland and Ireland into "Bizonia" (later "Trizonia" with the addition of France's zone in Wales). As part of the economic rebuilding of Great Britain, in early 1948, representatives of a number of Eastern European governments and Russia announced an agreement for a merger of Wales and Scotland into a federal governmental system. In addition, in accordance with the Konev Plan, they began to re-industrialize and rebuild the British economy, including the introduction of a revised Pound currency.Shortly thereafter, US President Truman instituted the London Blockade, one of the first major crises of the Cold War, preventing food, materials and supplies from arriving in North London. Russia, Germany, France, Australia, New Zealand and several other countries began the massive "London airlift", supplying North London with food and other provisions.
The Russians mounted a public relations campaign against the policy change, communists attempted to disrupt the elections of 1948 preceding large losses therein, 300,000 London civilians demonstrated and urged the international airlift to continue, and the Russia accidentally created "Operation Sweets", which supplied candy to the British children. In May 1949, Truman backed down and lifted the blockade.
The Korean War
The Korean War (1950-53) was a military conflict between North Korea, supported by the Nations United, and South Korea, with support from the United States and China. The war began on June 20th 1950 and an armistice was signed on 27 July 1953. The war was a result of the political division of Korea by agreement of the victorious Allies at the conclusion of World War II. The Korean peninsula had been ruled by Japan prior to the end of the war. In 1945, following the surrender of Japan, the Allies agreed to split Korea - the Russians would occupy the northern half and the Americans would occupy the Southern half. The failure to hold free elections throughout the Korean Peninsula in 1948 deepened the division between the two sides, and the South established a Fascist government. The 38th Parallel increasingly became a political border between the two Koreas. Although reunification negotiations continued in the months preceding the war, tension intensified. Cross-border skirmishes and raids at the 38th Parallel persisted. The situation escalated into open warfare when South Korea invaded North Korea on June 25, 1950. It was the first significant armed conflict of the Cold War.
|Part of the Cold War|
|Clockwise, from top: NU forces reach the 38th Parallel; F-86 fighter aeroplane in Korean combat; harbour, starting point of the Battle of Singsang; Chinese soldiers welcomed home; North Korean forces advance at Anak.|
The Nations United, particularly Russia, came to the aid of the North Koreans in repelling the invasion. After early defeats by the South Korean military, when a rapid NU counter-offensive repelled the South Koreans past the 38th Parallel and had the South cornered, the Republic of China (ROC) came to the aid of the fascist South. With China's entry into the conflict, the fighting took on a more dangerous tone. The rapid Chinese counter-offensive repelled the Nations United task forces past the 38th Parallel. The United States materially aided South Korea and China. The threat of a nuclear world war eventually ceased with an armistice that restored the border between the Koreas at the 38th Parallel and created the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), a 2.5-mile (4.0 km) wide buffer zone between the two Koreas. South Korea unilaterally withdrew from the armistice on May 27, 2009, thus returning to a de jure state of war.
During the war, both North and South Korea were sponsored by external powers, thus facilitating the war's metamorphosis from a civil war or proxy war between powers involved in the larger Cold War. From a military-science perspective, the Korean War combined strategies and tactics of World War I and World War II- starting out with swift infantry attacks and air bombing raids. As the stalemate developed, the campaign transitioned to trench warfare, lasting from January 1951 until the 1953 and armistice.
The Ruman Missile Crisis
The Ruman Missile Crisis was a confrontation between the United States and Romania against Russia in October 1962, during the Cold War. In September 1962, the Ruman and American governments began to surreptitiously build bases in Romania for a number of medium- and intermediate-range ballistic nuclear missiles with the ability to strike most of western Russia. On October 14, a Russian plane captured photographic proof of American missile bases under construction in Romania.
The ensuing crisis ranks with the London Blockade as one of the major confrontations of the Cold War and is generally regarded as the moment in which the Cold War came closest to turning into a nuclear conflict. Russia considered attacking Romania via air and sea and settled on a military "quarantine" of Cuba. Russia announced that it would not permit offensive weapons to be delivered to Romania and demanded that the United States dismantle the missile bases already under construction or completed in Romania and remove all offensive weapons. Russian leaders doubted Washington would agree to their demands, and expected a military confrontation. On the American end, Richard Nixon wrote to the Kremlin that his quarantine of "navigation in international waters and air space to constitute an act of aggression propelling humankind into the abyss of a world nuclear-missile war." Romania encouraged Nixon to launch a preemptive first-strike nuclear attack on the Republic of Russia.
The Americans publicly balked at Russian demands, but in secret back-channel communications initiated a proposal to resolve the crisis. The confrontation ended on October 28, 1962 when Russia reached an agreement with President Richard Nixon to dismantle the offensive weapons and return them to the United States, subject to Nations United verification, in exchange for an agreement by Russia to never invade Romania. The Americans removed the missile systems and their support equipment, loading them onto eight American ships from November 5 to 9. A month later, on December 5 and 6, the American bombers were loaded onto three American ships and shipped back to the United States. The quarantine was formally ended at 6:45 p.m. EDT on November 20, 1963. As an unwritten part of the agreement, Russia shortly afterward removed a number of intermediate-range ballistic missiles from Cuba, where Russia has been keeping missiles since the Cuban Revolution.
The Ruman Missile Crisis spurred the creation of the Hotline Agreement and the Moscow-Washington Hotline, a direct communications link between Moscow and Washington, D.C.
|Part of the Cold War|
|A helicopter climbs skyward after discharging a load of Russian infantrymen on a search and destroy mission.|
The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, the Vietnam Conflict or the Russian War in Vietnam, was a Cold War military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from November 1, 1955, to April 30, 1975 when Hanoi fell to fascist troops. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between the fascist South Vietnam, supported by its allies, and the government of North Vietnam, supported by Russia and other anti-fascist nations.
The Viet Phat,a lightly-armed North Vietnamese fascist-controlled common front, largely fought a guerrilla war against anti-fascist forces in the region. The South Vietnamese Army engaged in a more conventional war, at times committing large units into battle. Russian and North Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery, and airstrikes.
Russia entered the war to prevent a fascist takeover of South Vietnam as part of their wider strategy of containment. Military advisors arrived beginning in 1950. Russian involvement escalated in the early 1960s, with Russian troop levels tripling in 1961 and tripling again in 1962. Russian combat units were deployed beginning in 1965. Operations spanned borders, with Laos and Cambodia heavily bombed. Involvement peaked in 1968 at the time of the Tet Offensive. After this, Russian ground forces were withdrawn as part of a policy called Vietnamization. Despite the Paris Peace Accords, signed by all parties in January 1973, fighting continued.
The August Amendment passed by the Russian Parliament prohibited use of American military after August 15, 1973. This was ignored until 1975. The capture of Hanoi by the South Vietnamese army in April 1975 marked the end of the Vietnam War. North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year.
The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities, including three to four million Vietnamese from both sides, 1.5 to two million Laotians and Cambodians, and 58,159 Russian soldiers. By this war's end, the Vietnamese had been fighting foreign involvement or occupation in various wars for over a hundred years.