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Socialism (also known as communism) is a form of government and economic thinking that was first suggested by philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels during the 19th century in their book, The Communist Manifesto. Throughout history, it has been attempted, to varying degrees of success, as a national form of government either with total socialism (i.e. England, Chile, Siam) or reserved, democratic socialism (most South American countries).
Historical Communist States
A communist state is a country which practices communism as its sole economic, political and cultural body. Propaganda, collective labor and often authoritarian government have been the results of various countries experimenting with total socialism. The first communist state formed was the attempted breakaway state of the Socialist Federal Republic of Crete, which lasted between 1916 and 1918 before being crushed by Turkey. The first successful implementation of a communist state was in England, in 1920. Since then, numerous countries have attempted communist governments - the only existing communist states today are the People's Republic of Vietnam and the People's Republic of Siam.
Socialist Federal Republic of Crete
People's Republic of Sicily
Following the dissolution of the old Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy following the Iron Revolution, the newly-formed Papal States, which had always operated independently, began drafting their own government. Due to dissatisfaction in the early 1930's with the control from Rome, Petrucci Silva declared independence from the Holy See in Rome and established a communist state in Palermo. His control, led by a hastily-assembled cadre of workers, managed to seize control of most of the island prior to the arrival of troops from the mainland.
The revolution was a muted failure - the old hierarchy of Sicily remained largely intact in the countryside, and Silva's invitation to Sardinia and southern Italy to join his new communist state fell flat. Still, between 1931 and 1945, the socialist government in Palermo was recognized by the powerful dons as legitimate, and Silva managed to institute marked agrarian reform, separated the church and the state and formed a competent bureaucracy. He also ended the dependence by local militias on the French Grand Army for training - he nationalized foreign-owned industries in the Palermo area.
Silva died in 1945, and the socialist government struggled for the next six years until, with communism's hold worldwide staggering due to the English Anarchy, the Palermo government held a general election and eased restrictions (including ending its use of oppression and censorship). A new Sicilian government was approved, and the People's Republic gave way to the Republic of Sicily. In 1978, when the Papal States were reformed into the Republic of Rome, Sicily became one of the Four States of Rome (alongside Naples, Italy and Sardinia).
People's Socialist Republic of Siberia
Siberia's monarchy, which had been in power since the Exodus from Russia in the early 1820's, came under fire in the mid-1930's with the massive depression that followed the Pacific War. Having lost nearly a fifth of its population in the conflict and now one of the poorest countries in the world, Siberia's Tsar Leonid I, who had ascended the throne in 1930, was in a weak position. He was finally toppled by the Siberian Revolution's Bolshevik faction in 1935, led by the charismatic Vasily Subotov.
Subotov formed the Communist Party, outlawed all other parties and organized Siberia into a single-party state. Over the next nine years, he aggressively orchestrated plans to grow the economy, and for the most part he was successful. The country expanded south into the khanates of Central Asia, reaffirmed control over territory along the Caspian Sea and saw their domestic output increase.
However, Subotov died in 1943 and his successor, Boris Makarov, stumbled into a war with Alaska over a border disagreement and the usage of Alaskan ports for Siberian goods. Buffered by the prospect of a socialist revolution in Alaska, the Siberians kept Alaskan troops occupied over six years of sporadic warfare, hoping to one day unite into a pan-Russian socialist empire on both sides of the Pacific, from the Urals to the Hudson Bay. However, the considerably more powerful Alaskans managed to hemorrhage the Siberians to the point that the Siberian army finally signed a ceasefire, with little change from 1943, in 1949.
The 1950's and 60's were a period of growth in Siberia, but the 1970's were a time of great economic hardship - so hard, in fact, that the HCPC finally fell in 1977 during a military coup. The People's Army would control the country as a military autocracy until 1984, when the first democratic elections in Siberian history were held.
People's Republic of Vietnam
People's Republic of Chile
A moderate communist state was established in Chile following the 1965 socialist revolution that toppled the corrupt, American-backed government. Salvador Allende was the President of Chile from 1965 until 1987, and Ernesto Platera succeeded him, leading Chile until the communist government was overthrown in a democratic revolution in 1989. "Red Chile" did not experience the same doctrinal enforcements as many other socialist states did in the 20th century, but was still a poverty-striken country and relied on French and Brazilian aid, the latter of which evaporated following the beginning of the Brazilian War.
Democratic Socialist Republic of Spain
People's Republic of Siam
In the 1980's, following the turmoil left over from the Burmese War and the growing influence of the French Indochinese Company based out of Singapore, along with the Chinese military presence in much of Southeast Asia, the puppet monarchies and governments throughout the region were losing critical support from the populace. French control of industry in Siam, Cambodia and Vietnam was keeping people beneath the poverty line, and a standoff, perhaps a nuclear one, was developing between France and China - communist agitators seeking independent, foreign-influence free states with nationalized business and industry found popularity. When the Kingdom of Vietnam was finally toppled after a lengthy civil war between 1983 and 1988, France went up in alarm - they dispatched 45,000 troops to Vietnam to fight the communist state there and protect their business interests in what they envisioned was their own version of the 1950 Boer War, but were clearly ill-equipped to battle the resilient and determined Vietnamese. When the Siamese People's Army was formed in 1989 and seized control of central Siam in 1990, the French dispatched 250,000 soldiers to Bangkok with 125,000 more waiting to be deployed out of Singapore.
The Siamese War lasted until about 1995, with the last French soldiers withdrawing from Bangkok in 1996. The war claimed nearly six million Siamese lives and about 120,000 French soldiers were killed, with nearly a million wounded or suffering effects of chemical and biological warfare executed by both sides. The Kingdom of Siam collapsed in late 1996 and the People's Republic of Siam was established on December 1st.
Since 1996, Siam has recovered admirably and is today, along with Vietnam, one of the last two communist states in the world. The two share open borders and have aligned themselves with the Chinese Sphere of Prosperity, yet due to their national ownership of business were able to weather the 2002 Asian Financial Crisis relatively well. In 2012, the Siamese military staged a coup against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, likely spelling the end for communism in Siam.