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The Second Global War, also known as the Great War, and usually abbreviated as GWII, was a world spanning military conflict that engulfed almost every nation in the world centered around two alliances: the French and United States led Grand Alliance and the United Coalition headed by Germany, United Kingdom and the Confederate States of America. Nearly 90 million military personnel were called up to fight, with nearly 50 million casualties suffered by all sides.
The war ended with victory for the Grand Alliance, and the defeat of the United Coalition, ensured in harsh peace treaties that followed, which resulted in the dismemberment of the Ottoman, German, and Austro-Hungarian Empire's, which were replaced by numerous smaller states. The massive British Empire had much of its land stripped away and delivered to France and other victors. The terms of the peace would lead to the defeated powers embracing National Socialism and driving the world to an even more devastating war.
Causes and Outbreak
It is generally accepted that the spark for the war was the assassination of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmed Riza in Belgrade on July 12, 1911, and the series of diplomatic maneuvers, misunderstandings and delays eventually lead to the declaration of war on Austria-Hungary by Turkey on August 6, with the rest of Europe soon coming to support its allies in the complex series of alliances that had been created in the decades leading up to the war. However, other causes have been proposed and debated as to what led to the war, and it is generally accepted that many minor crises and other events have lead to the eventual outbreak of war.
The Alliance System
Since the end of the First Global War, the nations of Europe had been engaging in trying to maintain a semblance of balance of power, and had resulted in two major alliances having been formed: the Grand Alliance and the United Coalition, and many separate treaties and alliances that had been created between the different nations. This system, while stable in the short term, would eventually have been over turned as some nation's power increased and other's decreased and allegiances switched. A prime example of this would be that of France and Britain, which, in the aftermath of the German interference in the Italian Civil War, sought to normalize relations. However, this feeling of good will between the two was later nearly destroyed over the clash for colonies, especially the crisis in Burma, and later which resulted in a cooling of their affairs and eventually Britain realigning with Germany. The Americas and Asia also began to drift into different alliances tied closely to their European counterparts. The United States, Assiniboia and Alyseka would form the so-called Triple A Alliance, which was closely tied to the Grand Alliance lead by France, while the United Coalition found friends in the Confederate States of America, the Pacific Republic, China, Argentina and Venezuela. Japan and Brazil were also allies of the Grand Alliance
The Arms RaceAs the threat of war grew, the various nations of Europe and the America's sought to arm themselves with the newest equipment available. The Krupp Works in Germany, the Armstrong complex in England and the massive Imperial Armaments factories in France were constantly developing newer, more devastating weapons, usually in response to an announcement of a new defensive product from another major power. A prime example of this was the British Dreadnought battleship, which, when launched in 1904, was the ultimate naval weapon: the first "all big gun" armaments (in this case, 12 inch guns), and utilizing the brand new Parson's steam turbine technology. The construction of the Dreadnought instantly made all previous battleships obsolete: long range gunnery that could out shoot many other ships and run fast enough to escape from any contest that she might not win gave the United Kingdom a decisive advantage over the rest of the Great Powers.
France almost instantly started work on her own Dreadnought, the first of the Napoleon I class. Germany, Russia, the United States, the Confederacy and Japan also started to develop their own ships, while powers like Italy, Austria, Ottoman Turkey and Persia commissioned similar ships from the bigger powers. As well, nations like Russia and the CSA, normally land based powers, sought ways to battle the sea based powers without having to invest enormous sums of money in lots of battleships which could easily be rendered obsolete with new technology. Therefore, the first effective submarines were built in Charleston in 1904 and in St. Petersburg in 1905, and soon advances in technology gave smaller naval powers the weapons needed to attack the larger navies of their enemies, as the larger powers (especially Britain) believed that submarines were a fad, and couldn't actually sink a battleship, especially one of the new Dreadnoughts.Not only on the seas, but the land based forces of the world were getting new and deadly weapons. Machine guns, airplanes, new artillery and the first semi-automatic rifles were all developed in this period, while the number of men under arms continued to grow at an exponential rate. Universal conscription was defended as a defensive measure, and an entire generation of European boys and men were divided based on the year of their conscription and training, and constituted a huge reserve that could be called upon if needed. As the largest industrial powers had in their means the ability to feed, clothe, and arm an enormous percentage of their population, this guaranteed the next war will be one of the bloodiest unless a quick victory is achieved. These efforts and a "decisive" victory against an opponent, to be able to defeat an enemy before they can mobilize to defeat you, dictated the strategies that would be developed right up to the declaration of war.
First MovesThe events of Belgrade in July of 1911 quickly escalated out of control, as the Ottoman Empire concluded after a brief investigation that Austria-Hungary had influenced and paid the Yugoslav Union, whose member Gavrilo Princip was responsible for the attack. An ultimatum to Emperor Franz Joseph was sent on July 27, demanding that the Dual Monarchy cease all support for groups operating in Ottoman control Europe. Although originally prepared to accept, military advisers to the Emperor encouraged him to reject it due to the demands, which could be interpreted as a loss of face. Therefore the ultimatum was rejected, and the army was mobilized.
Russia was concerned if Austria would cave of not, but when they did not, Nicholas II sent a message to his counterpart in Vienna, and pledged that Russia would support their secret ally on July 29, due to the terms of the Treaty of Salzburg in 1901. Then Russia announced the mobilization of their army.
Italy stepped up at this point, and President Giovanni Giolitti proposed a peace conference in Rome on August 1 to try to settle the issues before they spiralled out of control. However, the mobilization of Germany and Spain, and the French demanding the nations on their border stand down being refused forced Italy to abandon the idea on the third, and began mobilizing the next day, and called on Austria to stand down.Britain was in a precarious position. Their "alliance" with France created after a falling out with Germany at the end of the First Global War was in a very delicate position, primarily due to colonial issues, especially over Burma. However, they wished to protect their lines of communication with India via the Suez Canal, which could only be done by a quick seizing of the canal, or alliance with Turkey. The German ambassador to London offered to forgive the past misgivings and grant enormous concessions to the UK in regard to naval and colonial issues. France tried to speak with the British, but their talks came to naught over the issue of, of all things, the hypothetical use of the Suez Canal by the French after they were to seize it. Therefore, on August 5, Britain announced they supported Turkey, and the Royal Navy was prepared for war.
The European War
The Second Global War involved the vast majority of Europe, divided into two competing, and almost equal alliances. Britain, with the strongest navy, was allied with Germany, the strongest army, and Turkey and Italy, although by themselves considered little more than "honorary Great Powers" had an immense effect of tying down the French, Austria-Hungarians and Russians from focusing on Germany alone. And since continued division of attention was the most effective way to drag out the war, the British and Germans did their best to support their allies in the Mediterranean.
On the other hand was France, with perhaps the strongest economy, Russia with vast reserves and the most recent battle experience (against Japan in the Russo-Japanese War) where the two major powers. Austria-Hungary, still in the midst of trying to reform itself in the face of Nationalism and Industrialization, was maybe not the largest, but strategically one of the most important. The Hapsburg Empire became the linchpin of Russian and French strategies; if Austria-Hungary left the war, then Germany could divert its power to Russia or France, while Turkey could focus on Russia. This was not counting the Austrian, Hungarian and other nationalities that could supply men to the ever escalating conflict.
French Front (1911-1916)After the initial attack, success and stalemate of the German Schlieffen Plan, the French front soon devolved into a static trench warfare. Efforts by the French to reclaim lost territory, and German and British efforts to force the French to give up, and later to bleed them white, resulted in casualty lists that went from thousands, to tens of thousands, to hundreds of thousands in the space of a few short years. New weapons, including poison gas, the tank, fighter airplanes, and strategic bombers all made their debut on the French front. Colonials from the French and British Empire's fought here, most notably North African cavalry, Indian irregulars and Australasian "shock troopers." Eventually, the battles here became a test of wills, but neither side began to falter until the end if 1914 and early 1915, when the French army seethed with discontent and near mutiny, while the pressures of dwindling German resources being diverted to three fronts, tensions between the German and British commanders, and increasing difficulty with overseas supply due to the Imperial French Navy counter blockade to the British and an Irish uprising supplied and aided by the French that dangerously divided British attention.. In the end, the collapse of the German armies on all fronts in late September more than anything led to victory for the bloodied, weakened France.
Polish Front (1911-1916)After initial successes against the German puppet states of the Ukraine and the Baltic Confederacy, Russia and her ally Poland was able to focus its attention on Germany. The next five years would see a running battle, were the massive war machine of Russia tried to break through the tenacious German defenses, while German (and some British forces) would mount naval assaults behind the Russian lines in the area that was the annexed Baltic Confederacy. Russia, with her vast manpower and reformed army (but still developing industry) was originally seen as a "steam roller" who, with possible Austria-Hungarian help, might be able to march into Berlin the day that German soldiers would (hypothetically) march into Paris. However, German defenses and Austrian indecision halted this effort cold. Although the Russian Front was more fluid than the static French Front and the glacial Bohemian Front, enormous casualties on both sides had weakened Russia and Germany. However, the Russian "human wave" tactics, while high in casualties, did weaken the German armies will to resist, and led to their collapse in September 1916.
Bohemian Front (1911-1916)
Considered the "quiet front", the long border between Germany and Austria-Hungary was mutually left alone, with Austrian demands against Italy and Turkey, and German difficulties with Russia and France meaning little could be spared to this fight. Austria held the luxury of the high ground and the most defensible position, anchored in the Sudetenland Mountains. However, the Hapsburg Empire was a mixture of nationalities, with Austro-Germans, Hungarians, Croats, Slavs, Czechs, Slovaks and many more all needing to be balanced. Pan-Germanism was strong in Vienna, and only barely outweighed by support to the aging Emperor Franz-Joseph II. Vague promises of national determination and economic liberation where issued from the government, which convinced the minorities to fight in the war, but they were delayed again and again during and after the war, much to the detriment of the Empire. Only after Turkey and Italy (the two enemies that most of the nationalities could unite against) were defeated, could attention be paid to the Bohemian front, but by then the German Army was in no shape to continued the fight, and the massive "Ferdinand Offensive" (named after the new Emperor, who succeed the throne in 1915 after the death of Franz Joseph) was considered the straw that broke the camel's back.
Alpine Front (1911-1915)In 1911, Italy was divided between Socialists and Nationalists, and King Francis II was pushed by his pro-German leanings and ministers to ally with Germany, and declare war on France and Austria-Hungary. Italy began their fight with a gusto, attempting to invade and occupy Trentio and Trieste, as well as try to recapture Genoa from France. However, the prepared Austrian defenders managed to halt the attacks, and launched a series of offensives to destroy the Italian army, and France pulled some forces from the Western front to counter the Italians. With this two front war, Italy decided to divert attention back to Austria, and both sides launched savage offensives, killing thousands of young men for little gain. By 1914 the Italian army had already gone through all their forces and reserves, and was unable to withstand the joint Franco-Austrian invasion in May 1915, and Italy was forced to seek an armistice in June, the first of the United Coalition to do so. The stoic and resolute Italian armies did hold their ground and were among the bravest soldiers of any army, and it was more a failure of command and strategy, as well as insufficient materiel support in the form of arms and supplies that lost the war.
Balkan Front (1911-1916)The main cause of the war was when a Serbian Nationalist assassinated the Turkish Prime Minister, which was tied to Austria. Therefore, Turkey had to attack Austria first as a way to save face, and prove they could stand among the Great Powers. However, Turkey choose perhaps one of the worst areas in Europe to wage an aggressive war: the mountainous peninsula between the Danube and Sava Rivers that defined the border of the two Empires; the lack of infrastructure and the political and religious tensions all made the Balkans a very dangerous place for armies, both friendly and hostile. Austria and Russia supported Independence movements in the region, which attacked Turkish supply lines that traveled on the few roads and railways that snaked through the area. This in turn lead to Turkish reprisals by frazzled commanders, and thousands are believed to have been killed, though no true numbers are known. In the end, the Austria-Hungarian and Russians that marched into Wallachia, Moldova, Serbia and Bosnia were greeted as liberators against a tyrannical Ottoman state that tightened its grip on power in the region as it began losing in 1913 and 1914. Greece, an ally of France, also declared war against Turkey, and in a series of operations from 1912 to 1914, occupied Thessaly, Epirus and Macedonia, and retained them at the end of the war, which ended for Turkey in January 1916 in the face of riots, mutiny's and uprisings, which then devolved into the Turkish Civil War.
Caucasus Front (1911-1916)
Turkey, when it entered the war, also launched an attack on Russia via the Caucasus, hoping to catch the Russians off guard. However, this resulted in another mountain campaign which inadequate infrastructure and long supply lines, which bogged down almost a hundred miles from Tbilisi, the objective of the attack. Russian counterattacks sliced through the unprepared Turkish army, but they were unable to follow up on this due to the demands of other fronts. By 1914, after a quick naval landing at Trebizond by Russia, the initiative passed to Russia, and Russian forces were deep in Turkey itself when the Ottoman Empire surrendered. This was not before the Turkish genocide of Armenians in the region, which Russia supported in getting their own state both before and after the war.
The North American War
The war in the America's were dominated by the United States and the Confederacy. While the US never gave up the goal of re-annexing the South, the US desperately wanted to expand into the lightly populated but British controlled Oregon Territory. The majority of the American fight was directed against the Confederacy, but Canada distracted the US enough to prevent any major operations on any front. Assiniboia and Canada were locked in a struggle over the vast, empty North-Western Ontario region, as well as the land west of Winnipeg taken in the Third American War in the 1880s.
Alyseka provided re-inforcements to both Assiniboia and the US, and provided the bulk of the Army that marched through Western Oregon and into the Pacific Republic, which was on the Confederacy's side. Mexico, on the US's team, attacked both the CSA and the Pacific Republic, hoping to reclaim the Arizona Territory that was taken from them in the previous American War. In the end, American industry won the war, with the Confederacy, Canada and the Pacific Republic being out built and outlasted, though the cost for the Triple A Alliance was not insignificant.
Appalachian Front (1911-1916)Perhaps the bloodiest part of what could be called the "Forth American War" was the Appalachian Front, which in turn is divided into "East" and "West" by the Appalachian Mountains, with most of the fighting taking place in the East, in Virginia, Maryland and up into Pennsylvania. The "West," in this case, is West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, and the United States had the greater advantage here throughout most of the war, although Confederate Generals fought a brilliant defensive campaign here, though it was clear the main effort would be in the "East."
The battle started with the Confederate attack north to try to capture Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, the de facto and de jure capitals of the US respectively. However, after the US stopped the CS attack at the Susquehanna River, at which point the long, grueling slog south to the Confederacy began. The United States had the greater industrial output (though the populations were also in favor of the US, by about 94 million to 51 million), and was able to shift to a war footing much sooner, allowing more men to be freed to the front. In the end, the United States was able to adapt quicker than the Confederacy to the war effort, and was able to out gun, out build and out man the Confederacy by late 1914. A series of desperate battles in Central Virginia and Tennessee finally forced the CSA to surrender.
Oregon Front (1911-1916)Perhaps the most unique of all the fronts of the war: the long distances made Cavalry the best answer, the war was fluid to the point of disbelief, and the front after 1912 was mostly fought by proxy, with the Pacific Republic helping the British and Confederates, and Alysekian and some Assiniboian troops fighting for the United States. American settlers, both legal and illegal, aided the Triple A Alliance, while the Native Americans were actually torn between their sponsor the United Kingdom, and the Metis/Native republic of Assiniboia. In the end, the Oregon Front became a sideshow to the actual war, and the fighting only ended in late October 1916, a couple weeks after the armistice in the East was signed.
Arizona Front (1914-1916)
Mexico fought its war with the Confederacy and the Pacific Republic over the territory of Arizona in 1914 after three years of indecision: desiring to reclaim the territory, Mexico launched several offensives on the few United Coalition units in the area, and overwhelmed the weakening enemies. In the end, at the cost of "only" 12,000 casualties, it resulted in only a minor shifting of borders, leading to resentment that lead to the First Mexican Civil War in 1919.
Ontario Front (1911-1916)
Canada posed a large problem to both the US and Assiniboia: as a place that can target the Industrial heartland of the US, as well Winnipeg, the former capital of Assiniboia (after the loss of land in the Third American War, Assiniboia shifted its capital west to Wasacna), Canada became a threat blown way out of proportion. Assiniboia directed most of its forces on an invasion of North-West Ontario, although the actual front was very porous due to the rugged, forested terrain, so sometimes army units could find themselves surrounded by the enemy without their knowing. However, Assiniboia pushed forward, capturing Fort William in a daring Christmas Eve assault in 1913 after a bloody, stubborn two year campaign through the innumerable lakes and wetlands between Winnipeg and the port on Lake Superior which saw canoes, bayonets and hand to hand fighting as the primary weapons of war. The Assiniboian advance continued to Sudbury, at which time the US was on the outskirts of Montreal and Halifax, forcing the Canadian surrender.
Quebec Front (1911-1916)
Due to the position of Canada, the US pressed into Quebec early in the war while simultaneously attacking Oregon, the Confederacy and supported their allies in North America. It was only this divided attention that prevented Canada being crushed in the early part of the war, and trench warfare here, as on the French Front, became synonymous with the war itself. It took until late 1912 for the US to even reach the St. Lawrence River, a goal that was expected to have only took a few days at the beginning of the war. At this point, the war bogged down until the 1914 Canadian "Montreal" offensive, where the army stationed in the city launched an attack and pushed the Americans back almost 15 miles at the farthest point from the city. However, this used the remainder of the Canadian reserves, and it became a long, slow battle backwards until 1916, when, after the naval Battle of Sable Island US Marines landed at Halifax and occupied the city. With the last major port suitable of receiving large amounts of supplies and re-inforcements from Britain, Canada gave up.
The Latin American War
With the conflicting nations and alliances of South America, it was only a few weeks after the start of the European and North American war that the Southern Continent burst into war as well. As has been the case in previous Latin-American wars, often times simultaneous with other wars, it was relegated to the back pages of Europe and North America, considered a side show to all but those actually involved. The war, however, was perhaps even deadlier than other fronts: incompetent leadership, political and military, on all sides; poor infrastructure and medical services in dense jungle, steep mountains and inhospitable terrain; and shifting alliances made the Latin American War devastating to all those involved.
Rio Grande Front (1911-1916)
The longest, most violent and costliest front in South America during the war, the Rio Grande Front was fought between Argentina and Brazil, the two premier powers in the region. Argentina, victorious in the last war, was assumed to be the more powerful nation. However, Brazilian preparations and generally superior General Stuff almost turned the tide of the battle early on, compared to the outdated tactics exercised by Argentinean generals. By 1913, both nations had settled into trench warfare, most of which was on the Brazilian side of the Rio Grande. Battles between Brazilian and Argentinean river warships, designed to interfere or protect the supply lines to the Argentinean forces, and, after the 1915 offensive, Brazilian forces on the South side of the Rio Grande. The 1915 Offensive was a major push by Brazil to push the exhausted, tired Argentinean forces out Of Brazil, and liberated Uruguay.
Andean Front (1911-1916)
Very similar to the Alpine front between Italy and Austria-Hungary, the Andean front was fought in mountainous terrain between Chile and Argentina. Having been defeated and lost almost half its land in the First Global War, Chile was yearning for revenge against Argentina, to reclaim lost land. However, due to their much smaller population, Chile was barely able to raise enough forces to push into Argentina, while the larger nation was more concerned with Brazil and later Bolivia than tiny Chile. The Entrance of Bolivia in 1913 on the side of Chile and Brazil changed the tide of the front, with Bolivian troops re-enforcing Chilean forces in driving Argentina out of the Andes. The Andean front was perhaps the most quiet area of the entire war, with neither side investing much effort: Chile because of population and financial constraints, and Argentina due to other fronts.
Pacific Front (1911-1916)
This front comprised of both the front between Colombia and Peru, and starting in 1913, Bolivia and Peru. At the start of the war, Peruvian forces launched a drive into Colombia, but were caught up in the dense jungle and swamps of the region, and Colombian forces were able to hold the line, but where politically divided between focusing on the drive against Venezuela while defending their land from Peru. When Bolivia entered the war with Brazilian and Colombian pressure and promises, their army was divided to re-inforce Chile in the Andes, as well as fighting Peru and Argentina. By 1915, the exhaustion of Peru lead to the nation to collapse internally, and eventually surrendered in early January 1916.
Venezuelan Front (1911-1916)
Venezuela and Colombia entered the war when their allies (Argentina and Brazil, respectively) entered the war, with Colombia launching the first strike, aiming to capture land disputed between the two. However, a staunch Venezuelan defense held back the Colombians, and when Peru entered the war, Colombia was forced to divert troops to that front. With any troops that Brazil, and too a lesser degree Mexico when they entered the war in 1914, that could be spared, Colombia continued to push at Venezuela, while the defender continued to counter attack and hold every inch of ground possible. In the end, Venezuela was the first to weaken, and surrendered after Peru gave up, when the flood of Colombian troops would have been enough to overwhelm them.
The war was not simply focused on Europe and the Americas: the war was indeed a global one, most notably the battle for the seas and Japan's intervention into China and Asia.
Chinese Front (1911-1916)
The Chinese Front was a long front, namely focused on the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, where an early Chinese invasion of Japanese controlled Korea took place early in the war. The outnumbered Japanese were continuously forced back, but managed to re-establish the front 60 miles north of Pyongyang, the industrial center of Korea. From here, the Japanese continued to push north for the rest of the war. The Chinese army was still armed with weapons from the 1870s-80s, and had few modern tactics to work with, instead relying on their huge numbers in human waves to overwhelm positions. Japan, having fought a war to a draw with Russia only a few years before, had learned its lessons, and were able to mount an effective defense early in the war, and in 1913 began a counter-attack, driving Chinese forces from Korea, and had captured most of Manchuria by the end of the war. This would form the basis for the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo.
The African front was mostly fought between the colonial powers of Britain and France, with South Africa and Egypt providing forces to the British Colonial forces, mostly composed of irregular forces from the African colonies. Indian emigres, those that came from India through the Prince's Migration performed especially admirably, with several Indian officers rising up in the ranks as British born officers were either killed, incapacitated or returned back to other fronts that the British were fighting in. Most casualties that were sustained by both sides were via disease and malnutrition, and for the most part, very little was achieved by either side until the last year of the war when French superiority at sea at last allowed more supplies and troops to re-inforce the French colonial forces and inflict defeats on the British. Due to difficulty in communications and supply, the news of the end of the war would take a few months to reach the front.
Battle for the Atlantic (1911-1916)
The Battle for the Atlantic was the name given to all of the activities by all the powers in the Atlantic Ocean during the war. In European waters, the Royal Navy and the French Imperial Fleet duked it out, trying their hardest to establish blockades of the others homeland. In the end, two counter-blockades were effectively established, though neither could do much as the tides of the battle continued to shift. In North America, the US Navy was stretched trying to cover both the Confederate and Canadian coast, and eventually they had to rely on help from France to maintain an effective blockade of both nations. The Battle of the Three Navies, a hundred miles east of Sable Island, was the only time that the three most powerful Atlantic naval powers confronted each other in battle. However, despite the loss of two American, five British and four French battleships, all three nations claimed victory: Britain was unable to break the French blockade of Canada, but a serious loss of ships on the Franco-American side made the both navies more cautious in their deployments. In the end, the battle for merchant trade, between submarines and the vaunted destroyers and convoys, was where the war was decided: British superiority in submarines and the surface fleet to protect he convoys was not able to be matched with the sheer number of French and American subs operating in the Atlantic. The Confederate Navy, numerically inferior to the Americans, was still able to dominate the Caribbean, but otherwise played little role in the North Atlantic.
In the South Atlantic, detachments of French and British warships fought each other, was well as Brazilian and Argentinean fleets. The Battle of Arraial do Cobo was the only major naval battle of mention, where a stronger Brazilian fleet decimated an Argentinean squadron, which turned the tide of the naval war in favor of the Brazilians, which allowed them to block Argentina's food exports to Britain and Germany, while ensuring Brazilian trade to France and the US.
Battle for the Pacific (1911-1916)
Although perhaps not quite as intense as the Battle for the Atlantic, the massive Pacific offered great opportunity for commerce raiders to find juicy targets: the colonies of the Pacific were vital to supporting the war effort in Europe and the Americas. As well, Japan sought to establish itself in a formerly European dominated part of the world. Japan possessed perhaps the largest fleet of any power in the Pacific, if for the only reason that the larger French and British fleets were needed closer to home, in the Atlantic. However, the Royal Navy and the Royal Australasian Navy ships clashed with the Imperial Japanese Navy, along with detachments of the Imperial French Navy, and to some degree, the Russians, all struggled for command of the Western Pacific Rim. Along the American coast, the Pacific Republic and Alyseka were active, and the Chilean, Argentinean, Peruvian and Brazilian navies did fight as well. In the end, the Japanese were able to secure a position of strength in the Pacific, and claimed several British islands and outposts in the peace settlement.
The war finally dragged to a close on 10 October, 1916 with the final surrender of the largest Confederate Army in North America, the Armistice in Europe taking effect on 29 September, and in South America on the 1 October, and the Cease-Fire in North America on 9 October. However, the fighting did not end in some isolated corners of Africa, China and the Oregon Territory for a few weeks, and in the case of British East Africa, until the early months of 1917.
The victorious Grand Alliance met in Paris on 19 October 1916 to begin the process of establishing the peace treaty. This council, while represented by all nations of the Alliance, was dominated by the leaders of the "Big Four" Nations: Prime Minister Raymond Poincaré of France, President Eugene V. Debs of the US, Prime Minister Ivan Goremykin of Russia and First Minister Nilo Peçanha of Brazil.
From the outset, it was clear that these nations wanted to ensure that never again would they have to face the combined power of their enemies again. The German army was restricted to 150,000 men, and no combat airplanes, tanks or heavy artillery were allowed. The British Navy lost most of their battleships and submarines, turning the vaunted Royal Navy into a "Bathtub Regatta" in the words of Winston Churchill. The Confederacy was restricted in a manner similar to Germany, as well as losing the few heavy ships they owned. Argentina, Venezuela and Peru were practically made defenseless; the standing armies were destroyed and only militia's were allowed for self defense.
Land was also stripped away from the the defeated nations: British colonies in Africa were transferred to France, Kentucky and the Northern part of Virginia were taken from the CSA to the US, the Oregon Territory in almost its entirety was given to the United States, and Germany lost land in the east to Poland. Argentina was forced to return land to Chile, while Venezuela and Peru had to make minor territorial adjustments.
Economically, reparations were demanded from all the defeated nations, to be made payable in either gold, raw materials or finished products. Germany had the most, totaling nearly USD $55 billion, with the Confederacy second at USD $32 billion, and Britain with over $25 billion. Fears that these huge amounts could collapse the defeated nations economies lead to reductions, to closer to $23 billion for Germany, $17 billion for the CSA and $9 Billion for Britain. In the end, these amounts would never be paid in full: the plans outlined payments over a period of forty years, during which time the National Socialists came to power in the respective nations, and they cancelled all payments. Their defeat, and the destruction of any government that might possibly have been able to pay for them after the Third Global War meant that the Grand Alliance never received the full amount owed to them, although the occupation/division of Britain, the CSA and Germany afterwards is sometimes stated to have been the Second Global War repayment in the reparations demanded.
In the last months of the war, the German military and the Empire were facing collapse. Days before the cease-fire was signed on 21 September, 1916, Communist revolutionaries rose up in Berlin and other German cities, which forced General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, the head of the German General Staff, to tell Kaiser Wilhelm II that the army could not hold against both the Grand Alliance and the internal revolutions. As his last decree before going into exile, he ordered Lettow-Vorbeck to find any way to stop the war, and to suppress the communists. The communists were quickly defeated, and a republic was declared on 5 October in Frankfurt, which Lettow-Vorbeck pledged to protect soon after, giving the new republic under Chancellor Friedrich Ebert an early domestic victory as the war ended. However, the demands of reparations and the reduction of the army to a self defense force destabilized Germany for years. Lettow-Vorbeck, resigning from the army after clashing with Chancellor Ebert, ran for the Presidency in 1921, and won easily, firing Ebert and establishing a right wing pseudo-dictatorship, but after his assassination in 1930, it quickly fell apart. The economic crash less than a year later destroyed what little chance Germany had to remain democratic, with Ernst Röhm and his National Socialist's taking power in 1934.
In Great Britain, the army in Europe was forced to surrender when their German allies gave up, as that had made their position untenable. Prime Minister Joseph Chamberlain, who had only came to office as a compromise candidate to lead the "National Government" of the war, vowed to continue the war after the Army surrendered. However, the counter-blockade of Britain by the French Imperial Navy and the refusal of the Royal Navy to try to break the blockade, lead to a vote of non-confidence that ended Chamberlain's premiership, and the rise of Conservative Arthur Balfour to the office. He almost immediately sued for peace in October 1916, which ended the war in Europe. British politics would be in flux for the next year as the peace treaty was hammered out, but the harsh terms caused massive protest and even riots by returned soldiers, leading to the assassination of Balfour after he agreed to sign the treaty. The next decade experienced a whirlwind of efforts to revive the economy and put an end to the riots that gripped much of England. Although clam was finally restored in the later 1920s, the Stock Market Crash of 1931 undid almost all the work, and lead to the rise of the Imperial Socialist Party and its leader John Beckett.