The background of the war can be traced back to 1759. In that year, invading British troops took control of the French colony of Nouvelle-France. Under them, it became known as Quebec after its capital city.
Since this day, some Quebecois, as they were called, wished to be independent of Britain, and later Canada. Their influence was particularly strong in the Saguenay region of Quebec. This resulted in the FLQ (Front du liberation du Québec) terrorist attacks in the seventies. In 1980, an referendum on Quebec independence failed. The independence movement, however, did not give up.
A chance to free themselves manifested itself in the aftermath of Doomsday, in 1983. With the destruction of Ottawa, the capital, and of the provincial capital of Quebec City, surviving politicians from the Saguenay region took charge and declared independence, blaming Canada's NATO membership for the targeting of Quebec City and Montreal by the Soviets.
Since 1984, Saguenay has had contact with the Canadian Remainder Provinces, which considers them as part of Canada along with the rest of their former country. Because of Canadian dominance in the region and international participation, Saguenay remained unrecognized by all countries save one; the American survivor nation based in former Michigan's upper peninsula, Superior, who recognized a kindred spirit when it saw one.
Though Saguenay remained unrecognized by Canada, under Canadian Prime Minister Georges Farrah relations began improving, and for a while, the most optimistic believed peaceful re-integration to be possible. But, in 2001, when Canada reinforced the Gaspé peninsula in order to prevent raids by bandits in the St Lawrence area, Saguenay took this as a threat, and relations quickly deteriorated once again.
Conditions seemed perfect for a war; all that was needed was a spark. This spark came in the assassination of Saguenay's Prime Minister Stéphan Tremblay on September 9, 2009, by a radical element of one of Canada's political parties. War was declared the next day by Saguenay. Calls for peace by the Celtic Alliance were ignored and on September 10, Saguenay announced over radio that there was a state of war between Canada and Saguenay. The Celtic Alliance and the other members of the ADC quickly began to mobilize in support of the Canadians.
After a quick debate, however, the government of the Republic of Superior, an American survivor state in the upper peninsula of Michigan with a long-standing dispute with Canada, declared war on Canada in support of Saguenay on September 15th and began to move troops into the area.
Active stages of the war
Fighting officially began on September 12 when Canadian forces were able to repel a small force of the Army of Saguenay intruding on Canadian territory near the town of Forestville, Quebec. Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Georges Farrah urged the Canadian people to be calm during the crisis and also announced that Canadian military recruitment levels would be dramatically increased. Reports had already showed an upswing in volunteers for the Canadian military by that point.
The fighting first began on the northern front, which was the northern part of the province of Quebec as well as the south of the province of Nouveau-Quebec. The fighting here consisted of raids and skirmishes, not large armies intent on conquering, with little action occurring or territory changing hands. Saguenay forces attacked several power plants in the area, causing disturbances in production and commerce in the region. Canada and the Celtic Alliance quickly began air raids on Saguenay from bases in the area, disrupting them as well, but to an even greater extent. The land fighting had largely ended by December due to the onset of winter.
In March Canadian troops began moving on Saguenay positions, and during this month many small skirmishes were fought in the region, causing much devastation, though no real advances.
The southern front consisted mainly of the Gaspe peninsula, originally a Canadian region, but occupied by Saguenay for much of the war.
On September 13, Saguenay troops launched a surprise amphibious assault on the Gaspe peninsula. The Canadians were not prepared for an attack on the peninsula, as it is far away compared to nearer targets in Northern Quebec and Nouveau-Quebec. The Canadian navy started scrambling to find the secret Saguenay naval base that had launched the invasion and must have been in the area. Some analysts, and much of the population, believed that Saguenay and Superior were working with the criminal warlords collectively known as the Lawrence Raiders, based around the nearby St Lawrence River. This is mainly due to the fact that units of the Regular Army of the Republic of Superior were able to get through to the peninsula, despite the presence of the raiders, having to avoid territory held by surviving city-states in Ontario after leaving Sudbury, and the wilds of Northern Ontario in general being between Superior and the Peninsula. However, allegations of this kind have been around since Canada first began investigating the raiders, but without any hard evidence, though this would be found with the Superior or Saguenay governments.
A Canadian counterattack against the invading Saguenay forces near the town of Cap-Chat, Quebec, failed on September 15 due to the intervention of the superior Republican Guard, following the declaration of war by their government, which had been in the region, attached to Saguenay army units since the invasion began. This failed counterattack was the point at which public opinion turned against the Liberal Party and their leader, Georges Farrah, for good, causing the fall of the government.
On September 17, Saguenay's blitz through the Peninsula ended, and they began to hurriedly establish defensive lines. The entire peninsula was now under Saguenay occupation, and reports seemed to suggest that they were trying to get the culturally-similar population of the peninsula to help them. Saguenay and Superior, following a military government headed by Superior General Horace Beatty, and due to pressure from Superior, established a state on November 3rd in the peninsula called the Republic of St Lawrence, though it was viewed as a puppet state by Canada and the local resistance, which while present the entire war, would be severely weakened by the arrival of Superior forces in late September and only regroup in late December.
From this time until early December, there were regular border skirmishes in the region, mostly along the coast, with only one real large-scale battle. On November 23, Canadian forces attempted one last time before winter to retake the peninsula, this time attacking near the town of Causapscal from New Brunswick territory. The army, having covertly traveled from the southern border of occupied Gaspe, began to surround the town and attacked the Saguenay/Superior garrison, attempting to surround them and force a surrender. Their plan was to attack away from the coastline where there was thought to be fewer soldiers. However, their plan went awry as a regiment of Superioran soldiers had just arrived in the city the day before, and were quickly deployed to repel the Canadians. Only a third of the Canadian army which attacked Causapscal got back to New Brunswick. The rest were either killed, captured, or separated from the army in the process.
With the coming of winter and the Saguenay success at Causapscal, border skirmishes slowed down and stopped, as both sides prepared for winter and for a renewed offensive in the spring. At this point, the Celtic Alliance finally was able to deploy an armored division, largely equipped with the latest Challenger One MBTs, along with No.11 squadron of the CDF, several ships from the Celtic Fleet, and a battalion from the CNI, to the southern front, where they were to be used as a spearhead. The Nordic Union deployed a squadron of the latest Saab Gripens to the Northern Front, which proved to be a vital asset as the most advanced aircraft in the conflict. A Nordic Infantry battalion was deployed there as well. Other countries in the ADC made token deployments, due to the start of the Second Sicily War, though North Germany did send a medical unit which proved very useful in treating the casualties from the failed attack on Causapscal. All these forces fought under ADC command. North Pennsylvania announced to Canada and the ADC in November they were going to break their neutrality and meet up with the ADC Forces throughout January after fighting through raider-held areas in southern Quebec.
The offensive began in mid-January, spearheaded by the Celtic armored division and the Celtic Naval Infantry. Canadian ranks, having been swelled by both an influx of conscripts, trained during winter, and the bringing of the reserves into active service, would form the bulk of the offensive, as well as holding their lines on the Northern Front. The opposing Saguenay and Superior forces, though largely cut off from their countries by a combination of the harsh winter weather and a Pennsylvanian blockade, were nevertheless no pushovers. They would not be fully forced out of the area until late February.
The first major battle took place during the night of January 25 to January 26 in Paspébiac, lasting about six hours. The joint Celtic Alliance and Canadian forces were victorious, after the battalion of Celtic Naval Infantry was landed in the harbor at dawn. Enemy forces would rapidly retreat towards Rimouski and Gaspe, wanting to evade being surrounded, though large amounts still were.
In the following month, it slowly became clear that Saguenay and Superior could not hold the peninsula. Canadian troops arrived at the city of Gaspé on February 14, and the capture of it was the site of the second major battle, as Canadian and Saguenay troops fought through the area house by house, destroying much of the city in the process, and ending with the surrender of the Saguenay troops on the 17th.
Celtic forces, along with the rest of the Canadian troops, continued their pursuit of the enemy forces, taking the city of Rimouski on February 4th, the capital of the puppet government, and driving all of their forces with the Superior and Saguenay troops further westward. This eventually resulted in the forcing of the Pennsylvanian blockade, driving them to the south.
It was about this time they were met up with the 4,000 surviving soldiers from the ranks of the North Pennsylvanian Army and the Niagaran Mercenariness Force who had been attempting to blockade routes to Superior and largely preventing the Lawrence Raiders from moving to reinforce their allies on the peninsula itself. On February 10th, this blockade, at the town of Rivière-du-Loup, was finally forced in the Battle of Rivière-du-Loup, the third and last major battle of the campaign, when the blockading forces were compelled by enemy numbers to move southward in order to avoid being overrun or surrounded.
It would take the rest of the month to largely pacify the region, in concert with the local rebels. Elements of the militia controlled by the Republic of St Lawrence, now branded as traitors, remained active in parts of the countryside until after the end of the war, when they were exiled to Saguenay with the remnants of the puppet government, which disbanded itself in May. By April 10th, when Superior diplomats offered a ceasefire, Canadian and Celtic forces were pressing through raider territory, and had started heading northwards west of the remains of Quebec City, in order to attack Saguenay from the rear.
After talking with their partners in the war and being put under pressure to end things quickly, due to the war raging with the Sicilians in the Mediterranean and the need for ADC forces to be sent there from Canada, the Canadian and Celtic governments agreed to the ceasefire, with North Pennsylvania quickly following their lead. Negotiations quickly began in the Republic of Vermont to end the war for good - with the knowledge that the Canadians and their allies had essentially won it, and their foes would need to make concessions.
Many would be awarded declarations and medals, especially in the case of the Pennsylvanians that had been blocking the base of the Peninsula off while the Celts and Canadians attacked. Their commander, Colonel John Hillman, would be awarded the Medal of Military Valor by the Canadian Governor General for his pivotal role in the campaign.
Naval conflicts in the war have been limited, mainly by the lack of ships, especially by Saguenay. Canada originally thought that Saguenay had no naval forces. However, their small navy was used to attack the Gaspe peninsula in the opening days of the war, giving the Saguenay a tactical advantage. Canada found Saguenay's naval base on the 18th of October, and destroyed the entire base. During the bulk of the war any Saguenay ships involved in fighting or anything of the sort came from bases on the occupied Gaspe peninsula, and the few Superior ships involved had to travel all the way from the Great Lakes, being based in Gaspe as well. Some battles were fought in the St Lawrence River, and a few in the Gulf of St Lawrence. However, Saguenay forces were often less powerful, and thus normally attempted to flee rather than fight the Canadian Fleet. A CNDF battle group was deployed in the area as well.
The result was that after October 18th, ADC ships essentially controlled the ocean, forcing Saguenay and Superior to supply their forces solely through Raider territory.
As at sea, Canada and the ADC had superior air forces. Saguenay's small air force consisted largely of Superior equipment, as well as some airplanes that had been in the region at Doomsday, having been repaired and converted to military use since then. Superior also sent several squadrons of its air force to fight, even though they were outclassed by their opponents. Canada's air force fought in the first battles of the war, however since part of it was being transferred to the northern front even before the war, it did not affect Saguenay's advance into the peninsula very much. The Celtic Alliance has also used their air forces, based on Prince Edward Island for the duration of the war, to attack enemy positions on the peninsula. The Nordic Union deployed a squadron of Saab Grippens to the northern front, which became the most advanced fighters on the North American continent in the process.
Attempts to end the War
Saguenay first attempted to end the war in September, when the occupation of the Gaspse peninsula was completed. Canada rejected this, saying that they would never abandon their territory.
A second attempt occurred on November 1, when a group of Saguenay and Superior diplomats approached the Canadian front line under a flag of truce near the city of Sacré-Coeur, on the northern front. They asked to meet with Canadian diplomats to negotiate an end to war. Canadian diplomats arrived on November 4 and talks began. The Saguenay/Superior delegation demanded that Canada retract their claims on the Great Lakes region, Saguenay, and the Gaspe Peninsula, and recognize the independence of both Saguenay and the Republic of St Lawrence. Canadian officials did not accept these demands, as they were a clear violation of its territory, and after four days of fruitless negotiation the Saguenay/Superior diplomats left.
A third attempt came when president Terrance Newman of Superior proposed peace talks in Stowe on December 24. Canadian Prime Minister Walter Natynczyk did not agree to these talks, citing Saguenay's ongoing illegal occupation of the Gaspe peninsula as his reason. The driving of Superior and Saguenay forces from the area in January and February by Canadian and Celtic forces would prove this a wise decision.
The final, and successful, attempt began on April 10, when a Superior diplomat approached the Canadian lines moving through the St Lawrence River Valley near what had once been the town of Donnacona, west of the remains of Quebec City, proposed a truce and peace talks. The truce officially began at 3:00 pm on the 12th and arrangements were made for representatives from Canada, the Celtic Alliance, the ADC, North Pennsylvania, Saguenay, and Superior to meet in neutral territory to discuss terms. Vermont offered to host peace talks between the parties in the war, and the representatives from the four countries began talks in Manchester, Vermont, on April 24th. Representatives from Aroostook, the League of Nations and the United Communities were also present as observers. A treaty would finally be signed in late May.
The Results of the Treaty of Manchester
The negotiations took a month, and some thought that a return to war was inevitable. However, they finally concluded with the signing of the Treaty of Manchester on May 28th. The results of the treaty were as follows:
- Official recognition of the country of Saguenay and of the borders between Saguenay and Canada.
- LoN investigations into the Canada First Party's involvement in the assassination of Stéphan Tremblay and into the involvement of Superior and/or Saguenay with the Lawrence Raiders.
- No reparations will be paid by either side, save in the event that one of the investigations is successful.
- Saguenay and Superior recognize Canadian authority and claims over the St Lawrence River Valley and Southern Quebec.
- Canada recognizes Superior claims to parts of the former Province of Ontario, in return for a pledge by the Republic to not take any more of said territory, with the exception of Thunder Bay, pending the result of the scheduled referendum there. The Windsor region will be given to future arbitration by the LoN.
- Aroostook and Vermont will assist the Canadian government in exterminating the Lawrence Raiders
- Canada must drop its veto to Superior joining the League of Nations, and join the United Communities in some form.
- Investigations will also occur over the damage of civilian targets and the death of civilians in Saguenay by Canadian and Celtic forces.
Somewhat surprisingly, the LoN investigations went along rapidly. By the end of summer, the results of all three would be known, largely confirming what most people had already suspected.
Investigators would first announce in early July that the Saguenay government's allegations the bombing of civilian targets there by Canadian and Celtic forces were largely unfounded. Any civilian casualties that had occurred during such activities were determined to be the result of slight misses, or of civilians being too close to military targets when bombs hit them.
In a damning revelation, investigators announced in late August that they had determined, through examination of captured weapons, interrogations, eyewitness accounts, the result of investigations into the Lawrence Raiders. The net result was that representatives from both the Superior and Saguenay governments had both been supporting the raiders, in an effort to use them to contain the Canadian government. This had meant the raiders could survive under the pressure put on them by the Canadians, and would allow passage to their forces, as seen by actions during the Saguenay War.
Yet, this did not come soon enough, in light of the third investigation, which concluded in mid-July. This investigation, which was into allegations that the Canada First Party had caused, somehow, the death of the Prime Minister of Saguenay, had profound effects in the Canadian government. Investigators concluded that if the party leadership had not known about the assassination before it happened, they likely should have. If they had known, they either supported it or did nothing to prevent it. Either way, the elements of the party which had done the deed must have had the support of someone higher-up in the party, though they knew not who, and it was these elements which has caused the spark to force the disagreements between Saguenay and Canada into war.
The net result of this was about half of the CFP MPs crossing the floor and voting against the government during a non-confidence vote, causing a new election to occur. Many of the CFP MPs who had crossed would join the Conservative and Liberal Parties, though a fair amount of these would be defeated in the election, which came just after news of the investigation into the support given to the Lawrence Raiders. This would prevent the Conservatives or Liberals from winning outright, but between the two they were able to establish a coalition government under the Conservative Party leader to keep the Canada First Party out of power.
Humanitarian impact and war crimes
Saguenay has claimed countless civilian deaths caused by bombing raids by the CADF and the NUAF, but the Celtic Alliance was quick to deny this, stating that they have limited their attacks to military targets.
LoN investigators have confirmed that Celtic and Canadian forces did indeed limit themselves to military targets and any civilians that perished as a result were more than likely collateral damage.
Much damage was taken in the Northern Quebec region due to the numerous skirmishes, and also in Saguenay proper due to bombing.
The area around Gaspe also took a great deal of damage, since it was fought through twice.
Responsibility for the war and motives
Saguenay and Republic of Superior demanded early on it the war that Canada immediately ban the Canada First Party, under the pretext that it is a militant terrorist organization, and that its leaders be extradited for conspiracy to force Saguenay to join Canada. The Canada First Party has called these demands an interference in Canadian internal affairs, and has always asserted that the assassination was carried out by a rogue element not under the direct command of party leaders.
To a certain extent, however, the two governments did get their wish with the fall of the Canada First Party from power in August 2010, after LoN investigations showed that higher-ups in the party likely knew of the actions beforehand, and if they did not, they should have. The new coalition government of the Conservative and Liberal parties has proved much more moderate, though they still refuse to ban the CFP.
Reactions to the conflict
The following are reactions from various nations who are not combatants during the war:
- The Provisional Republic of Aroostook has officially announced its neutrality in the conflict, warning both sides that any aggressive act against Aroostook will be considered an act of war. The population, however, remains split on the issue. The town meeting of Aroostook, New Brunswick even passed a resolution declaring they will leave the Republic if Aroostook ever comes into conflict with Canada. When reports, however, came out that Saguenay and Superior were working with elements of the Lawrence Raiders, public opinion swung sharply against those nations.
- The PM of New Britain issued a statement supporting Canada and blaming Saguenay for starting the war.
- The Republic of the French Southern Territories on November 5, 2009 diplomatically recognized Saguenay and denounced Canada for its expansionist policies against the nations in the region. This reaction came as no surprise considering the long standing dispute that the Republic has had with Canada over the ownership of Saint Pierre and Miquelon.
- Vermont has taken no official position on the conflict, but President Jim Douglas has publicly said that he hopes all sides in the dispute can agree to a peaceful resolution.
- Thunder Bay has taken no official position in the conflict. However, President Leppe's rhetoric prior to his death included support of Saguenay and denouncement of Canada on a regular basis, though the new government is much more moderate.
- Virginia officially declared neutrality in the conflict. This is due to the difficulty of sending troops to Saguenay. The Virginian President-General Sumrall has made it no secret that, if possible, Virginia would side with Saguenay and Superior at the drop of a hat. President-General Sumrall has issued a statement on the situation, officially scolding the Canadians. He said "The situation in St John's is hypocrisy at its worst. They were supposed to be the epitome of pacifism and diplomacy, and yet these pig-headed Canadians have rejected three separate offers for peace."
- While Victoria has made a statement hoping for a quick end to the war, they have not come out in support of either side. This is due to the wide public support for Canada, while the nation's status as an independent nation made up of mostly Canadian territory would make not supporting Saguenay's independence hypocritical. It has publicly condemned Superior's participation as that of an opportunistic rogue state involving itself in domestic affairs in order to exploit the situation.
- North Pennsylvania has openly supported Canada and has supplied and rescued stray soldiers and had sent a small batch of "token troops" upriver to do hit-and-run operations on the Lawrence Raiders during the war. They refused to fight Superior or the Republique du Saguenay however, only fighting the raiders that they so deeply hate. This has resulted in hampered relations with Superior and Virginia, but the North Pennsylvanians are determined to stop the threat of the Raiders and to let Canada squash the "rebels", which will allow easier contact with the outside world.
- The United Communities as a whole decided to be neutral in the conflict, but the end of the war has brought up the subject of a united government for the three Ontario member-states. The United Communities-Governed Capital, Niagara Falls openly supports the Canadians, although only in their prayers, while North Pennsylvania has only fought the Raiders, the Ontario county-states all have varying opinions and Toledo is neutral.
- The Northwest Alliance broadcasts messages weekly in support of the Canadian government, and have gone on the record as stating that they would send troops if they could. In fact, to be called a Republican, or anything else associated with Superior or Saguenay, is considered a major insult.
- The Commonwealth of Susquehanna has attached a small unit of soldiers to the Mercenariness Forces of the Niagaran military. They are there to learn counter raider tactics, and are only lightly armed. The government has declared neutrality in the conflict, but has demanded that both sides respect neutral parties. Governor Lou Barletta has stated in a press conference while visiting Reading that: "A peaceful solution is possible. The world is a different place, and to avoid destroying ourselves through petty actions, we need to diplomatically work together and make compromises." The General Assembly voted to diplomatically recognize Saeguenay if they withdrew to the prewar borders and ended hostilities, as well as supporting Vermont's peace efforts.