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The Third Global War, usually abbreviated GW-III, was a world spanning military conflict between the forces of the National Socialist Alliance, led by Germany, United Kingdom and Confederate States of America and the Grand Alliance, headed by France the United States of America, Russia, and Japan. The war was the most destructive war fought in the history of mankind, with almost every nation on Earth being involved, and at least 125 million men and women called to fight, with nearly 70 million casualties, which includes the victims of the Holocaust perpetrated by the National Socialist nations: the Jews in Germany, the Irish in Great Britain and the Blacks in the Confederacy, killed due to their claimed "inferiority", as well as the use of nuclear weapons on multiple sites in Europe and Asia.
At the end of the war, Europe, North and South America and large section of Asia had been left in ruin. The French, hoping that no such war could ever happen again, annexed the majority of Western Europe, including neutral Switzerland. The Organization of Sovereign Nations was formed in St. Petersburg, and its primary goals was to prevent war of this magnitude from ever starting again. However, the victory of France, Russia, Japan, Brazil and the US, as well as the many smaller allies, had leader to a polarization of the world in three armed camps: the Juneau Pact of Democracies lead by the United States and Russia; the Sorelist dominated European Defensive Alliance controlled by France, and associated with by Japan; and the unofficial Brazilian Bloc, composing of dictatorial South American regimes that wished to not be involved with either of the other two alliances.
In many ways, the Third Global War was simply a continuation of the Second: the alliances on both sides were pretty much the same, and it was only ideology that seriously changed in France, Britain, Germany, Argentina and the Confederacy; the first becoming Sorelist, and the last three turning National Socialist, and all of them in the late 1920s-early 1930s. Japan, with an increasingly violent imperialist policy, became a military dictatorship, with strong Sorelist leanings. The Russian Empire, which was still developing democratic institutions in the early 20th century, and the United States, are the only major nations that did not fall to either extremist faction.
France was still reeling from their almost defeat in the previous war, as they lost more troops per capita than any other nation. The Imperial "democracy" that was slowly formed by Napoleon II in the 1840s became increasingly polarized between right wing nationalists and left wing Marxists. It was only when Fédération Impérialiste Française leader Philip Petain was named the new prime minister in 1932 did the increasingly bitter battles in the nation were ended in favor of the Sorelists. Petain quickly set up a dictatorship, imprisoning opponents and centralizing power in his hands, but he also began to put the nation back to work with massive state-sponsored projects and subsidizes to major industry. By the outbreak of the war, France was among the nations with the lowest unemployment in the world. Had the war not broken out in 1940, the nation would have been on its feet by 1945 many claim.
The Rise of National SocialismIn the defeated countries of the Second Global War, as foreign armies occupied large sections of their land, many extremist parties on both sides rose up to try to take advantage of the chaos that the defeat, economic depression, hyper inflation and the haphazard military demobilization had left. It was especially difficult in smaller states such as Argentina, which saw some of their richest, most industrial developed land taken away. By 1923, the former Marxist Nicolás Repetto took power, forming an ideology with a blend of left wing state controlled socialism with strong nationalist undertones. Most major industries were taken over, farms collectivized and most land taken over by the state, rights to free speech and assembly were taken away, and opponents and dissidents were either forced into exile, imprisoned or out right killed. In return, Repetto gave the people work and a National goal: to avenge the defeat of the Second Global War, and make Argentina the biggest power in South America.
Other countries soon became National Socialist: Italy under Benito Mussolini in 1925; Germany with Ernst Rohm and the Confederacy under Sam Rayburn's Liberty Party in 1935; and Great Britain in 1936 with the Imperial Socialist Party, led by John Beckett. Canada became a battleground between "Natso" Ontario and Sorelist Quebec after the assassination of Prime Minister Mackenzie King. Southern China came under the strong armed rule of Lou Tseng-Tsiang during the Chinese Civil War, although both the communists under Mao Zedong and the Imperialistic/Isolationist Yellow Dragon Movement led by Yan Huiqing battled for the control of all of China, leading to a bitter, brutal three way civil war.
The Democratic Struggle
While the National Socialist parties formed an alliance in 1934, the democracies were struggling to cope. The Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed in 1931 due to the many nationalities of the Empire asserting independence, and the financial burden the Stock Market Crash put on the struggling empire. The US and Russia were becoming increasingly isolationist: under Presidents Norman Thomas and Joseph P. Kennedy the US focused namely on the settling of the Oregon Territory they won in 1916, while Russia was dealing with the aftermath of another Bolshevik coup. Tensions with increasingly dictatorial France were increasingly strained, and all three condemned Japan for invading China in 1934.
At this point, the resurgent Germany, Britain and the Confederacy began to make demands for lands that they claim were part of their homeland. Germany's claims to Polish territory, as well as a large part of Austria and Czechoslovakia, Britain's demand for Ireland to return to their control after being made independent in 1922, and the Confederate claims to Kentucky, Northern Virginia and a large stretch of the former Oregon Territory all led to crisis and violence in the nations involved.In 1937, US President Norman Thomas, under pressure from the Liberty Party and Confederate Leader Sam Rayburn at last allowed Kentucky and Northern Virginia to hold a referendum to decide their fate. Both states voted to rejoin the CSA, and this was accomplished by March 1938. In Europe, British Foreign Minister Neville Chamberlain proposed the Florence Conference in April 1939 to negotiate the redrawing of borders, allowing the UK to reclaim Northern Ireland and Germany to occupy the territory that was part of the German Empire but given to Poland at the end of the Second Global War, as well as Italy receiving the Island of Sardinia from France. The French, Russian and Italian leaders gave in to the German and British demands and threats, and both areas were returned for the promise that it would be the only territorial demands by these two nations in Europe.
However, this turned out not to be the case. By September, with National Socialist Riots in Austria, German, Italian and Hungarian forces marched into the nation, forcing President Adolf Hitler to flee to Russia. The division of Austria between the three nations sparked outrage and panic in Paris and Moscow, and led to both nations assuming that war was inevitable. Plans for military expansion and modernization, put on hold in France due to pressing economic issues and barely begun in Russia, were accelerated and intensified, but it barely began to take effect when the war broke out, starting as a conflict in South America on February 15, 1940, that quickly engulfed the rest of the world.
Throughout the continent of Europe, from 1940 until 1946, military operations took place almost across the entire span of the continent, excepting the Iberian peninsula and Scandinavia. The main course of the war could be described as a series of lightning fast Natso victories in the first months, until France and Russia was able to recover from the major defeats and, with the aid of the "New World Invasion" against the British, manage to drive the Natso armies out of occupied France and into Germany, until the power of the atom was unleashed by all sides.
First French Front (1940-41)The first major offensive in Europe was the simultaneous invasion of France by both Germany and Britain in May 1940. German Panzer divisions roared across the Low countries, occupying the Netherlands in six days, entered Flanders/Wallonia and drove hard to try to crush the French army. British amphibious assaults over the channel forced the defending French armies to retreat south. However, tenacious defense lines by the French held up the Natso invasion, turning almost all of France into a massive Second Global War battlefield. While strong on the defense, and with an Air Force the equal of the "Blitzkrieg" oriented Royal Air Force and Luftwaffe, the French had no answer for the combined arms operations of the German Panzers, British marines and dive bombers. By October 1940, the German and British armies, suffering over 200,000 casualties, were then only surrounding Paris, although the plan had called for all of France to be occupied in three months. The evacuation of the government from Paris to Orleans did dampen the defenders attempts to save Paris, and much of the old city had been bombed and reduced to ruble, and the city surrendered on November 19, 1940. Orleans had to be evacuated a few days later, with the Emperor and Prime Minister Petain retreating to Bordeaux. The winter forced a slowdown to operations, but the Natso forces continued to push against the French, forcing the evacuation of Bordeaux in another Amphibious assault in December, and the government again fled south, this time setting up in Marseilles. Through the early months of 1941, the French were continuously pushed back, and the only good news for France was the invasion of Sardinia by under equipped and inept Italian commanders had been repulsed. By March, only the cities of Toulouse and Marseilles were still in French hands, and the military was planning an evacuation to Algeria, dubbed "Operation Phoenix”. While under attack from British and German bombers, over 450,000 French soldiers of Army Group Toulouse were evacuated by the Imperial Navy to North Africa. Although their heavy equipment was left behind, and a rear guard under General Marie Kœnig of 35,000 men were sacrificed, the unbloodied Second, Fourth and Fifth armies were later to be used to spearhead the invasion of Italy, and eventually the Liberation of France itself.
The British and Germans set up a joint occupation of France, with British forces controlling most of the coast while Germany occupied the interior of the nation. By 1943, with Germany's more pressing concerns in the East in the Balkans and Russia, Britain took over the entire occupation of France, and established a puppet state in the small town of Bonneval to help control the restless nation.
British Invasion of Ireland (1940)
The Imperial Socialist Party of the United Kingdom made it part of their war aim to invade and re-acquire Ireland, which had been granted independence after the Second Global War. However, this had been restricted to only the counties of Ulster in Northern Ireland during Appeasement, but Prime Minister John Beckett continued to prepare for the subjection of the rest of the island, and the more sinister plan of dealing with the "Irish Problem" once and for all.The invasion, with a simultaneous attack from Ulster and an amphibious assault on Dublin took place during the opening stages of the invasion of France, when it was assumed that only the British Motorized Expeditionary Force sent to Germany in the months before the war broke out in a shroud of secrecy would be all that was needed to destroy France. The elite Royal Marines, and powerful armored forces in Ulster, were deemed "overkill" by some estimates, and were proven right when the invasion of Ireland, begun on 3 May 1940 ended just ten days later with the Irish surrendering at Mallaranny on 13 May. The invasion perfected the Royal Marines amphibious abilities, and would be used to great effect against France and Russia throughout the rest of the war.
First Balkans Front (1941)
Despite the failure in the occupation of Sardinia, Benito Mussolini sought to expand the Italian State into South-Eastern Europe, namely into the Balkan Confederacy and Greece. After British and German intentions were diverted, Italy declared war on both nations on June 4, 1941, using the spring board from Italian Croatia to attack the Balkan Confederacy and Greece.
While both of the new nations were never very friendly with each other, Greece and the Balkans put their differences aside for the battle, and the Greek army was sent north to help repulse the Italian invasion. However, Mussolini and his generals underestimated the tenacity of the resistance, and too few Italian forces were utilized, resulting in first a halt of the invasion only 50 miles inside the border of the Balkans, and then a stunning, and embarrassing reversal where the Greek-Balkan army were able to destroy the Italian gains and then were able to occupy all of Croatia up to Trieste.
Ernst Rohm and István Dobi, leader of Hungary, were furious with Mussolini's attempts at glory seeking without notifying them first (despite the fact that this was Italy's attempt to prove they could fight without German help). Both nations realized that they had to intervene, or the French would be able to establish a beachhead in Europe, so soon after being forced to Algeria. After signing an alliance with Bulgaria, a massive three nation force, mostly composed of Bulgarians and Hungarians (with German aviation and Panzer reinforcements) quickly sliced through the exhausted Greek/Balkan armies, and forced them to evacuate south. Plans to try to defend the land was cut short when Balkan President Nedeljko Čabrinović surrendered on July 19 to try to spare his nation any more hardship. The Greek army quickly evacuated back to Greece, but the Natso spearheads overwhelmed the Greek Army near the Kosovo city of Rahovec on July 27. With the destruction of the Greek army, Athens was occupied on August 8, and the Greek government was forced into exile in Algeria.
The invasion of the Balkans was one of the biggest blunders of the war: the Italians were decisively defeated, and would never again be able to play a major role. Rohm used this to his advantage, blackmailing Mussolini to send several divisions of Italian infantry, placed under German command, to participate in the invasion of Russia the next year. However, the German and British plans to attack Russia in 1941 after having defeated France had to be put on hold and suspended multiple times and eventually postponed to 1942, both with the tenacity of the French, as well as the Italian sideshow, giving the Russians, Poles and Czechs much needed time to build their defenses.
Project Lebensrum (1942-1943)
With France on the run and the Balkans subdued, the European Natso's took the time to now focus on Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Romania, the so called "Quadruple Pact." Russia was bound to come to the aid of all three nations, which formed a moderately secure buffer between the Western Natso powers and Russia, baring the Hungarian border along the Carpathians. Russian plans for the war predicted that Germany would either try to drive from the Carpathians into the heartland of Russia, or through Poland. Czechoslovakia posed a serious threat to Germany alone with a well equipped army and powerful defenses: however if faced by both Hungary and Germany, Czechoslovakia was in trouble. Poland, however, was the second strongest of the four nations, despite the lack of training for its conscript army, and lack of modern equipment. Romania was perhaps the weakest nation, but one of the most economically important: oil from the Polesti oil fields and wheat were needed by both sides.
The start of Project Lebensraum began on May 28, 1942, with a German, British, Hungarian and Italian blitz through Czechoslovakia and Poland. The Czechs held as long as they could, but were forced to give up in July, with the front now deep into Polish and Russian territory. A combined German, Hungarian and Bulgarian force easily swept aside the Romanian army, and began to drive toward Kiev. Polish, and later Russian forces were unable to halt the Blitzkrieg through Poland, and they were forced to continue to retreat. Although Poland was occupied, the Polish government fled to Moscow, and claimed that so long as the main army was not destroyed, they would continue the fight.
Russia, although with a few years to mobilize and expand their army, was still woefully unprepared. The crash militarization plan instituted in 1939 had resulted in at least matching the number of Natso tanks, and almost as many fighters and three quarters as many bombers, though many were of older models that were outclassed by German and British weapons. Tactics and strategies were still undeveloped, and the man-rush tactics of the Second Global War were the signs of an increasingly desperate Russian defense. However, the early winter of 1942, with snow starting to fall in late October, they eventually realized that the daring plan to knock Russia out in one swift blow was a fatal mistake, and it was becoming increasingly apparent to all but those that believed the propaganda and of the Natso nations that the Blitzkrieg had failed. The Battle for Moscow in November 1942 stopped the assault cold, and the Natso forces: tired, exhausted and cold, were forced to dig in. With the major cities of St. Petersburg and Sevastopol surrounded, and Moscow braving a long siege, the "Winter Respite" set in.
Battle for the Mediterranean (1941-1946)
The longest running battle of the war, the naval fight between Britain and Italy on the Natso side, and France on the other, was perhaps the most important battle fought on the European front. After the French Mediterranean Fleet helped evacuate the French army from Marseilles and was joined by the French Atlantic Fleet, the People's Royal Navy and the Marina Popolare began a life and death struggle with the French Imperial Navy. It was here, in the Battle of Pantelleria in October of 1942 off the coast of Tunisia that the first battle between Aircraft carriers was fought, and the tide of the war turned: with the destruction of all three British carriers and the lone Italian carrier by French bombers and her three carriers (though one, the Austerlitz was lost), the French Imperial Navy was able to secure the Central Mediterranean, and able to commence the invasion of Italy. After the destruction of their most effective weapons, the British and Italians were forced to go underwater, and used their submarines to try to inflict losses on the French, namely the invasion and resupply fleets the French Army in Europe were dependent on. Although serious losses were inflicted, in the end it mattered little, and the Mediterranean was declared a "French lake" by mid 1944, despite a few British raids during the rest of the war.
Italian Front (1942-1945)
With Russia now the major concern of the European Natso powers, the French began to assume that perhaps the liberation of the Metropolitan Empire could begin. Factories that had been set up in the colonies since the major Colonial expansion began in the 1870s were now being used to turn out weapons for the Empire (though not to the same quality or numbers as would have been possible with the homeland), while the massive industrial might of the US, Japan and Russia were able to help supply some weapons to the French, though it was indeed secondary to their own armed forces. The armies of both the newly re-dubbed "Army of Liberation," as well as the thousands of Colonial forces that flocked to the banner to aid the homeland and the promise of new rights and freedoms made by the Sorelists -including support for full racial equality in the entire Empire - were readied and trained for the first step: The invasion of Italy.
After the debacle of the Balkans, Italy had been forced into a subservient position, and literally blackmailed into providing forces to the war in Russia and the defense of the expanded National Socialist Europe. Although the Italian Navy was the strongest, most professional branch of the Italian armed forces, their defeat in the Battle of Pantelleria crippled their strength and forced the battleships and cruisers to port, only able to operate under the range of the weakened Air Force.
On December 6, 1942, the French Imperial Navy escorted one of the largest amphibious fleets ever assembled in history until that time for the invasion of Sicily, in Operation Eagle. A brief, but bitter battle between the French army and the brave, but under-supplied and trained Italian forces ended with the full occupation of the Island by mid-January, and on March 19, 1943, the Invasion of Italy itself was undertaken: a series of amphibious assaults from the toe of the peninsula to the port of Naples resulted in six beach heads, and eventually, the occupation of the entire South.
At this point, Mussolini barely held onto power, asking Rohm and Beckett to provide forces to stabilize the front. British Marines from France were sent, while a Panzer forces originally slated for the Russian front was sent to Italy, and they were able to hold a line about 60 miles south of Rome, where over 200,000 French and Colonial forces were tied up in comparison to only less then half that number holding the superb defensive positions the hilly Italian countryside offered. The front was settled into stalemate by June 1943.
It took until January 1944 for action to return to the Italian front, in the form of a new French offensive aimed in capturing Rome. With the weakening of the front, so that most of the German forces had been withdrawn to aid in the fight in Russia, it was upon the British to focus most of their efforts in helping the demoralized and starving Italians. However, no matter how many elite British units were sent, the numerically superior and better equiped French were able to brush aside resistance, and occupied Rome after a month long campaign. However, after the tricolor was raised over Rome, most of the best French forces were withdrawn to prepare for the upcoming liberation of France, as the mountainous Northern Italy, and the near-nigh impenetrable defenses built there, would be too costly to focus on. Despite this, the French continued to slowly advance up Italy, and had reached Turin when at last Italy surrendered in March 1945
Drive to Sevastopol and Tsaritsyn (1942-1943)
With the failure to knock out Russia in the first year of fighting, Natso forces regrouped, and decided the best plan of attack would be to focus on Sevastopol, the home of the Imperial Black Sea Fleet, and the only ice free link to her Allies. The secondary hope was, with the Black Sea Fleet destroyed or captured, the hesitant Turks would join the Natso side. From the beginning of the war Turkey maintained a strong neutral policy. However, with one of the most powerful armies of South-Eastern Europe, the entrance of Turkey on either side would easily tilt the balance, while Russia and France were quite content with Turkey at least remaining Neutral, and allowing much needed supply ships to travel through the Dardanelles. So long as warships did not enter the strategic waterways, ships of all nations would be granted the right to sail.
With jump off points in Romania and the Ukraine, the Natso forces easily swept aside the Russian armies stationed near Odessa in Early June, and began a rapid drive to cut of the Crimean Peninsula. If Sevastopol was occupied quickly, it was assumed that the drive could then continue East, seizing the industrial centers of Donetsk and perhaps as far as Tsaritsyn, cutting links to the Caucasus and the Volga River shipping.
However, the Russian Army was painfully learning the lessons of modern warfare, and were starting to put up a stiffer resistance. While Odessa was occupied, it was at a much higher cost than expected, so it was decided that a smaller force would be sent to cut of Sevastopol, while the bulk of the army would be sent to attack the larger Russian armies in the Eastern Ukraine and to the Volga River. While the Natso forces continued the Blitzkrieg, the Tsarist officers were becoming increasingly assertive and bold. Under General Zhukov, the Russians continued to slow down the invaders, with hopes to perhaps stop them before Tsaritsyn, Donetsk being lost in July. However, it became increasingly apparent that the city was going to fall under the Natso guns, so the army began to focus on defending the vital industrial and transportation center.
By September, with Sevastopol surrounded and most of the Ukraine in Natso hands, the German 7th Army, along with Italian and Hungarian forces, were preparing to surround Tsaritsyn, and starve the defenders out. However, Rohm in Berlin demanded a speedy capture, so against the better judgement of General Erwin Rommel who led the attack, the Natso forces were thrust into the city. A bitter block by block urban fight began, with the Germans slowly pushing their way into the city as winter set in. The Russian defenders turned the battle into a massive meat grinder: thousands of casualties a day were reported by both sides, while the Germans continued forth.
On Christmas Day, the Russians, under the now Marshal Zhukov, launched a counter offensive, slicing through the inadequate Hungarian and Italian defenders around the city, and surrounded the 7th Army. Without waiting for orders from Berlin, Rommel turned west and fought his way out of the city. While furious that Rommel disobeyed orders, the skillful retreat of Rommel, and his crushing of another Russian counterattack, Rohm was glad that his best military commander survived, along with at least half of the most well-equipped and professional army the Germans had. However, the loses they suffered
Second French Front (1944-1946)
With the Natso armies tied down in Russia, the Balkans and Italy, France was certain that the time had come to begin the liberation of the homeland. With the Western Mediterranean securely in French hands by May 1944, plans that had been drawn up as early as 1942 were revised, and by June a full fledged plan had been drawn up for landings in France. However, it was assumed that most of the Mediterranean coast was heavily fortified by the Natso powers, with the heavily mechanized British Army, along with larger People's Army of France of the so-called Bonneval France, known simply as the Collaboration Army later, providing the manpower to man the defensive works that were built. Eventually, a three step plan was agreed upon, simply known as the "Sardinia-Corsica-Toulon" Idea, where the securing of Sardinia and Corsica was needed to then lead to the invasion of France itself, near the port of Toulon. The first two steps were primarily held by the Italian army, but it was turned out that after the Italian invasion that Sardinia was practically stripped of it's defenders, leading to a practically bloodless landing by Imperial French troops in July 1944. In September, the second step, the invasion of Corsica, was met with more difficulty. British troops had reinforced the island a few months before after Sardinia was invaded, but with some difficulty, the British troops were isolated and they surrendered in November.
By December, with Corsica secured and the forces prepared, the decision for the invasion of France was set for Christmas Day. On December 25, French forces landed west of the port of Toulon and the British/Collaboration Army was unprepared for the assault due to the holiday, expecting the French to observe it. The Imperial forces were able to get a foothold, but quick British moves restricted the advance to an extent of three miles from the coast. For the next three weeks, the Imperial Navy would move more and more troops to the beachhead, until a new offensive in mid-January was launched to capture Toulon and secure a large port for the transportation of more men and equipment. The Battle of Toulon was fought against the British, but the port was captured intact.
From Toulon, thousands more men were put ashore, until three separate French armies of over six hundred thousand men and 9,000 tanks were established, and set out on February 4; The Army of the Atlantic was directed to Bordeaux, while the Army of Paris raced to the capital, and the Army of Lorraine headed for the old Franco-German border to cut off German reinforcements. In the next three months, the powerful French armies raced to their objectives, implementing newer Blitzkrieg tactics that enabled the French defeat four years before. The British and the Collaboration Army were weakened by years of garrison duty, as well as lack of modern equipment and, in the case of the Collaboration Army, lead by political appointees with little military experience. By May 1945, the French armies had reached the Atlantic coast and the city of Tours, but exhaustion and overstretched supply issues resulted in a halt of further offensives, just at the time when the New World Invasion of Great Britain was taking place, leading to claims that the French did so in order to allow the British to withdraw troops to secure Ireland and Scotland, making the American attack much more expensive than planned.
By July, the offensive was moving again, the Army of the Atlantic now pushed north to Brest, while the drive to Paris continued on. The Collaboration Army was falling apart, with thousands deserting and surrendering to the Imperial Army. The British, now facing two fronts, was desperate to hold off both their enemies, and mounted a last ditch attempt outside Paris to try to hold off the French. However, after a week long battle, the British were forced into the outskirts of the city. On July 28, General Douglas Alexander Graham declared France to be an open city, and began the process of withdrawing the British army the so-called "People's Line", stretching from Dieppe on the English Channel, and going through Rheims, Nancy and reaching the Swiss border near Mulhouse, as well as the Brittany Defense Sector, reinforced by more British troops that could be spared from the invasion of Scotland, which was not much.