Rebuilding Europe: 1918-1920
|Treaty of Copenhagen||Rebuilding Europe||Moving Forward (1920-1925)|
France in Chaos
In the first months of 1918, as the First World War finally ended in a resounding French defeat, the riots and mutinies continued throughout the country. On February 2nd, the Paris massacre occurred as 12 French policemen and over 150 protestors were killed in an uncontrolled melee battle. As a result of this, on February 5th, Paris experienced a massive military crackdown, which stopped the killings but caused the people to further dislike the military, which many of them saw as "weak" and "spineless". The French production decreased by 25% from its pre-WW1 output throughout the year, putting France further behind Germany, which they vowed revenge on. over the next months, the riots continued, with combined killings estimated at over 1,200 people. On July 9th, the people began to turn towards the following year's elections, as political parties fought each other to capitalize on the views of the populace. The National Bloc, led by Right and Center parties began to take the lead, as they played on the French hate of Germany (propaganda showed a German flag burning while a triumphant French soldier stood by) and the public mistrust of the Bolsheviks, socialism, and the new communism. Opposed to the National Bloc was the socialist parties, which failed to work together and began to lose support. The riots quieted down as the French planned to "get their way" through the election. Meanwhile, money from Britain and the US began to flow in, and projects were undertaken to try and rebuild the French economy. much of the northern landscape was covered in craters, trenches, and barbed wire, and thus a massive cleanup program began. The French government was lacking money, and thus the progress was slow even after international support.
As the peace of Copenhagen was signed, the German populace was ecstatic, with a great rise in nationalism. Popular propaganda showed a map of Europe, with the German empire and her loyal allies straddling the continent, while the French and Russians cowered in their meager territory. Kaiser Wilhelm II gained massive support, as he had brought victory to the German people. As the celebrations began to abate in June and July, more important matters came up. The military dictatorship that the German Empire had effectively become had to end, with the Kaiser regaining power and the old system implemented. However, this system was to be tested, as many political parties called for a new constitution and an adoption of the parliamentary system. In an effort to halt the political movement, Kaiser Wilhelm II offered to write a new constitution that would expand the basic rights of every person within the German Empire. This helped soothe the tensions, but more radical political parties still called for the creation of a republic. A few parties united into the Republican Party, insisting that Germany had to become a republic. The Kaiser responded by increasing propaganda in the regions most heavily effected, depicting the Kaiser as the one who won the First World War. The year ended with little change and it became obvious that something would have to be done.
Russian Civil War
As the year started, Bolshevik forces had occupied Moscow and many other major cities in central Russia, but the war was far from won. In St Petersburg a force under General Novargov, a known anti-communist leader, began to prepare a defense of the city. foreign troops also entered Russia, as Scandinavian troops supplemented the forces at St Petersburg and Ottoman forces shipped supplies and weapons to the anti-Communist sympathizers near Stalingrad. On March 9th, a large "Red Army" laid siege to Stalingrad, garrisoned by around 20,000 tsarist troops. after a bloody siege, on April 23rd, the city fell, and by the end of May, the tsarist forces in southern Russia had been eliminated. Focus then turned towards the north, as tsarist and Bolshevik forces collided in Arkhangelsk, with a resounding communist victory. By September, St Petersburg was the last bastion of tsarist forces, and by December, it too had fallen. In just one year, the Bolsheviks had won victories all over Russia and had completely secured it even in the face of foreign armies,
1919: Starting Over
Creation of the USSR
On March 5th, 1919, delegates from all the individual republics of Russia met together in a meeting in Moscow. After the victory by Communist forces in the previous year's civil war, the republics had all adopted communist governments, and now were prepared to fully unify into one country. What resulted was the declaration of the Soviet Union, or USSR, on March 23rd. At first, countries were slow to recognize the nation, but in the next year, most of the major powers, including the US, Germany, and the UK recognized the new government, The new Soviet government sought to rebuild the Russian economy and work on how the republics would be integrated. Plans to recapture what was lost in the Treaty of Copenhagen began to be hatched, and the pressure increased for the governments of those countries to capitulate and join the Soviet Union. All of these plans increased tensions with the Central Powers, who were in control of the governments, and the Soviet Union was forced to back off after the Ukraine referendum stated that any more attempts at assimilation and the USSR will be at war with the Central Powers.
The "German Curtain"
By July of 1919, the USSR was increasing its pressure on the German vassals of Poland and White Russia to break from Germany and join the USSR. In response to this, Germany forced its vassals into creating laws that allowed German police forces and Secret Agencies to operate within the countries. The riots developing from this were brutally put down, and the countryside settled down into a terrified peace. Minor fortifications along the border between White Russia and the USSR were planned, to be manned by combined Central Powers troops. In October of 1919, Germany and Austria-Hungary drafted the Ukraine Referendum, stating that any Soviet attempt to topple the governments of countries in Eastern Europe will result in war against the Central Powers. The document was signed and sent to the USSR on October 30th. As a result of this, the Germans were able to pull some police out, improving relations with White Russia and Poland.
Austria-Hungary: A Dying Nation
Over the course of 1919, the Austro-Hungarian emperor tried to begin integration of the new Romanian, Serbian, and Italian conquests, with the cultures already present in the empire. However, these attempts produced little fruit, as the newly conquered areas were adamant that they would not support Austria-Hungary in any way. The expected income that was supposed to boost the Austro-Hungarian economy from its severe war debts never came, and it was forced to take out another series of loans with Germany to subsidize its police efforts in the new territories. This resulted in heightened taxes in the central regions, who considered themselves loyal to the empire and therefore privileged. The increases alienated these people from the government, and further implied that a revolution was soon to happen.
In Germany, the clamour for reform increased throughout the year, and the Kaiser Wilhelm II was further pressed to improve the situation. On October 3rd, the Kaiser announced that the German Empire would be reformed, and that a transitory government would implement itself until the year 1025, or until the issue was resolved. This set a definite date that the country was to be reformed, so many of the more moderate parties quieted down, while the radical minority called out for immediate action. The transitory government was simply a military dictatorship in the guise of a "republic", but it was effective at lessening the riots.
1920: Peace acquired
Eastern Europe calms down
In the beginning of the year 1920, the Soviet Union was still covertly trying to wrest control of Eastern Europe from the Central Powers. On February 7th, three Soviet spies were discovered in Poland spreading anti-German propaganda and disrupting local politics. Germany was able to weave the story that the spies were trying to undermine the Polish people themselves, and because the USSR was not able to get counter-propaganda into the area, many Poles believed it. This was complemented by the fact that the Russians had held down the Poles for decades, and the Poles found no difference between the Tsarist and Communist Russians, creating very pronounced anti-Russian sentiment in all three nations in Eastern Europe, and the USSR pulled out for some time, desperately trying to turn the tide back in their favor.
France: Rise from Ashes
Throughout the year of 1919, the French government had been isolated, as they were completely focused on trying to build a country back out of the revolting mess it had become. In Early 1920, news came that the National Bloc had achieved 70% of the votes in the election, ruining the socialist's attempt to rule France. On June 8th, the "Loyalist Army" was formed out of volunteers, many of them WW1 veterans, to eliminate the riots the socialists had set up and return the country to peace. In what became known as the "French Purge" around the world, socialist leaders were found and executed in a grisly reminder of the French Revolution. As a result of this, the riots began to cool down and the government regained control over the country. The National Bloc then began a program dubbed "Seven years to the top", a seven year plan to rebuild France to its pre-war standing. Work started on tearing down the trenches and barbed wire, and rebuilding roads and bridges. This focus was on repairing the French transportation center first, then going in and rebuilding cities. US and UK funds helped greatly in the reconstruction, and for the first time in years, the French people were united in bringing France back to glory.
In 1920, Germany began a program dubbed "New Age Warfare", in which new tanks were to be made with engines that did not break down and machine guns replaced by cannons. These so called "mobile light artillery" began to become the rage in the German Army, combining firepower and mobility. However, the new tanks were to be produced in many years, and the current tanks br