Weak Propositions (1884)
By 1884, the British were beginning to consider certain possibilities for their Empire. They were wondering how to keep it indefinitely, the founding of the Imperial Federation League in 1884 is seen as the opening movement toward some considering on imperial form.
Established in multiple white settler colonies and a few other minor colonies, the IFL remained insignificant but did have vocal supporters in Canada, Britain, Australia, and even a new minor presence in South Africa.
The Imperial Federation was to be handled as such. The Imperial Parliament (Westminster, stripped of its local responsibilities) would handle foreign affairs, the army, the navy, and those colonies (including India) which had a population the bulk of which was "alien". The centre would also have a final court of appeal. Local Parliaments would exercise control over Home Affairs, the police and education.
Supporters of Imperial Federation presented the argument that the two choices for Britain were Imperial unification or Imperial disintegration. In their view the future importance of Britain depended on it federating.
Colonial Conferences (1887-1904)
The Colonial conferences were multiple meetings of many colonies, particularly white settler colonies, to facilitate greater co-operation as well as co-ordination of multiple issues of imperial defense and force deployments and other communications issues.
The First Conference in 1887 conducted during Queen Victoria's Jubilee (a significant occasion), deliberated on multiple issues of Defence, Imperial co-ordination, as well as the laying of new communication lines to better connect and support the Empire. The Title "Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Ireland, and the Colonies, and all Dependencies thereof, and Empress of India"
The Second Conference brought together in 1894 by Canadian demand, led to the propositions of a telegraph cable linking Australia and New Zealand with the rest of the Empire in a more prominent fashion. All self-governing British colonies were invited to send delegates with the exception of Newfoundland Colony. Western Australia and Natal Colony did not send representatives due to domestic priorities. The colony of Fiji was also invited due to its geographical location on the proposed route of the cable but declined. Delegates were sent to the conference by Canada, New Zealand, the Australian self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria and the South African colony of Cape Colony. Unlike other colonial conference, the colonial delegates were cabinet ministers or legislators or government representatives rather than Prime Ministers.
Resolutions were proposed to the conference and it was agreed that decisions would be made on the basis of "one colony, one vote" but the resolutions were not binding on the British government or the Colonial Office. In addition to discussing telecommunications issues, the conference also approved a resolution favouring preferential trade within the Empire. However, this resolution was opposed by Australia's largest colonies, New South Wales and Queensland, who were suspicious the Canadian initiative seemed designed to undermine Australia's protective tariffs. Regardless of some of the glaring issues, the topic of further centralizing and unifying the Empires colonies with the Motherland seemed a pressing issue, as multiple discussions but no concrete commitments toward this initiative were actually made.
The Third Conference occurring in 1897 led to Chamberlain proposing the creation of a permanent Imperial Council made up of delegates from the colonies to act as an Empire-wide parliament with the power to bind the colonies on imperial matters but this was rejected by the colonies due to fears of loss of autonomy. Chamberlain also propose that colonies increase their contributions to the Royal Navy but only some colonies agreed to increase their contributions and no permanent arrangement was agreed to. Chamberlain also proposed a customs union between the colonies and Britain while Canada proposed preferential trade but no decision was made by the delegates.
The 1902 Conference proposed much of the same to the colonies who once against rejected it seeing no need to truly give up any autonomy and suffer coming back under the non-self governing Imperial umbrella. This led to a major problem of Britain recognizing its slipping grip on its colonies, and the Imperial Federation Leagues failure to gain significant traction behind the scenes to organize such a movement.
The Christmas Ambush
On Christmas night, following much celebration by British Sailors and the lack of thought of an attack by the US, seeing the Venezuelan issue as minor enough to warrant just saber rattling, the US fleet under George Dewey began an infamous ambush that became a severe issue for the British Navy.
The US fleet surprising the Royal Navy absolutely gutted the British battle group, which lost just under half its number to a numerically inferior force, as well as a fleet considered inferior to the Royal Navy in every way possible. The British public opinion of the United States sank immediately, with calls for revenge, and war permeating the less disciplined members of the Parliament.
Eventually with some heavy condemnation by the British Government, further war was avoided, but the strike at the Psyche of the British Empire had been dealt. The United States was not a backward, isolated enemy it could hope to isolate and destroy. It was a Powerful nation that not only beat the Spanish heavily, but had risen the ranks to the point of challenging the Royal Navy. In the months following Christmas Ambush, also known as the Battle of the Caribbean Sea, the British officially called the 1904 Colonial Conference to discuss the true future of the Empire and the new rising threat of the United States.
A Change in Policy, The 1904 Conference
In 1904 following years of hostile attitudes and issues between the United States and the United Kingdom, A final colonial conference was called, with the explicit purpose to iron out the many issues in consolidating the Empire. The Imperial league, specifically in Canada had made immense political gains in the purpose of the Imperial Federation movement. The Conference itself saw an about face of the former politics based around the Empire. Realizing the burden was too much for the mother country, the Canadians who had agreed to share some of the defense budget, specifically for the Americas realized that overall the United States had become not only a threat to the UK and Canada, but all her colonies and dominions overseas.
While extremely skeptical multiple other colonies and dominions to be agreed to hear out the various proposals as well as re-evaluate their position when it came to the new entrance of the United States to the scene of active and anti-British powers.
Following nearly a week of meetings and decisions it was fully realized that Canada, the only Dominion of sufficient status, will lead the charge as the first of the Dominions to begin its integration into the British empire. This also led to the Union of South Africa being created out of the conference.
The First World War
The First World War was one of the crowning moments that saw the British Empire evolve from its Imperial roots into a more unified Liberal State. It also happened to be one of the worst wars in human history, responsible for nearly 25 million casualties. Following the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo the Austro-Hungarian Empire delivered their ultimatum to Serbia, by and large an attempt to neuter Serbia and prevent the Empires fragile Balkan position from deteriorating.
Following the Austro-Hungarian Ultimatum to Serbia, the Russians in support of the Serbians embarked on an defense of Serbia who almost guaranteed could not hold out alone against the Austro-Hungarian Onslaught. In mere weeks, the age-old alliance systems of Europe were called up and by this point almost all the worlds Great Powers were at war. France, Germany, Britain, Russia, Austria-Hungary, all engaged in a titanic struggle which could very well have seen the whole framework of Europe change.
The First battles of the War Began with the Invasions of Serbia, as well as the German Invasion of France which saw their advances stonewalled at Marne and a forced fallback away from Paris to better defensive positions. Before long more and more had joined the conflict with British and French colonies coming into play and their imperial forces from abroad coming to the fight in Europe. The British were most notable for this with forces from nearly all their Dominions joining the war
The War in the West, while initially a war of movement turned into a stalemated blunder almost immediately. With some of Frances most productive regions under German control or siege and a combined Anglo-French army totally unable to dislodge the Germans, the war bogged down into uncertain and brutal terms. The British, however, were able to maintain almost a complete naval blockade of the German empire which kept its large battle fleet at port to prevent it from being squandered in useless engagements.
In the East the Germans and the Austro-Hungarian Empire were unprepared for a quickly mobilized and ready to fight Russia which invaded Austrian Galicia and East Prussia rather quickly. The Austro-Hungarian forces were deterred but the attacks on East Prussia led to successful counters into Poland where the Russians were forced to withdraw to Poznan to mount an effective defense. Shortly into the War the Ottomans Empire still hoping to reclaim some lost territory as well as provide some sort of unifying purpose to its flagging emprie, joined on the side of the Central Powers and launched its own invasions of the Russian Caucasus.
In the Western Hemisphere a new event was unfolding, one which would change the size and scope of the war. With the war starting, many German possessions were totally indefensible by the very virtue of the conflict it was facing. Many smaller battle groups were tasked with harassing Entente shipping while others were told to head to neutral nations for internment or outright demilitarization until they could return home. The United States had, however, issued an open declaration that any and all ships on either side could seek safe haven in American ports for some repairs, provisioning among other things. Maximilian Von Spree the commander of the East Asia Squadron hearing of this as sailed toward the Americas managed to use good favor between Germany and the US to make a legitimate movement through the Panama canal. This move was highly criticized by the Entente as aiding the Enemy and in itself almost sparked an international incident, but when the US reaffirmed "Any and All Ships" the Entente Backed down realizing a potential blunder in the Making. The German Fleet under Spree hearing of the blockade realized that it would not reach home, and from Panama made a beeline for the American ports on the East Coast using American goodwill to skirt the US coast and its territorial waters for quite a bit of time. Everything changed, however, following the Norfolk Disaster
Tension in the Americas
The Norfolk Disaster was an issue arising from the US allowing any and all ships on either side of the World Spanning conflict to use US ports for buying basic provisioning and prevent their destruction and death at the hands of the enemy. The German East Asia squadron under Maximilian Von Spree had spent weeks on the run from Entente forces particularly the British navy. After losing a few ships on the way to the United States, the British daringly engaged the German fleet of the Coast of Norfolk. The German fleet immediately broke formation totally caught off guard by the British attack turned and steamed for the port at Norfolk as quickly as possible with almost all the ships suffering hits. The US Navy unwilling to tolerate such an act within its territorial waters launched the only available ship of sufficient firepower in Norfolk at the time, The USS Nevada. Seeing the German fleet not returning fire and realizing the Germans were trying to make good on US offers of safe haven (which the British had outright ignored now) the USS Nevada began a daring engagement Alone against two other British Dreadnoughts, a battle cruiser, and four destroyers. The British wholly expected the Nevada to pull off and not engage them, and slowed down slightly to give the USS Nevada a wide berth. A British Dreadnought the HMS Superb usually stationed with the Grand fleet in Britain (out on a new exercise and patrol route due to increased US naval presence), passed the Nevada with intent of showing them some respect and not firing while so close. This, however, ended with the HMS Superb being absolutely annihilated by the USS Nevada trained all her Triple gun turrets on the Superb hitting the ship from an extremely close range compared to a usual naval engagement.
The HMS Superb initially looked as if it had weathered the salvo but when no return fire came, and the Ship began to list heavily to the Port, the Rest of the British Fleet changed their heading to deal with the Nevada which had just sunk their flagship. The Nevada then turned its guns on the British fleet and fired a singular Warning shot across the Bow of the HMS Colossus. The Captain of the Colossus immediately gave orders to engage the USS Nevada only to be greeted with a shot that glanced off the Ship off into the water. The SMS Dresden had turned to aid the Nevada. The captain of the SMS Dresden Fritz Lüdeck realized what he was doing and turned his ship to open another salvo at the HMS Colossus. The USS Nevada began to retreat back toward Norfolk as the German cruiser ran interference. In a show of courage the German Cruiser faced off against the British Battle group alone. German survivors attest to US servicemen saluting the SMS Dresden and her crew as the American Super-Dreadnought pulled off and pushed ahead back toward Norfolk firing some covering shots from its cannons as it withdrew.
The captain of the Dresden Fritz Lüdeck before hand had realized the dire situation the singular American ship was in and with the HMS Superb closing he was convinced the British ship would bring the full bear of its arms on the American ship. He turned to aid the American ship which had sailed out alone to assert American sovereignty in the waters. The British who had been ordered to violate neutrality of any country if they encountered the German battle group, looked as if they might give the Nevada a break and pull off with only the HMS Superb following to demand the surrender of the German Battle group waiting. This led only to the USS nevada utterly obliterating the British capital ship in its opening salvo. Captain Lüdeck realizing the American ship had not only saved the lives of him and all his comrades, but was challenging the British by itself, rushed to turn the ship around to aid the American Ship. Lüdeck missed the warning shot as he tried to give orders to ready the ship for a last stand. The USS Nevada on its withdraw from the battle gave its salute to the SMS Dresden and Captain Lüdeck ordered that all guns be brought to bear on the HMS Colossus. The Dresden presenting as little a profile as possible opened fire on the Colossus exclusively in an attempt to score a lucky hit. While some minor damage was incurred the Colossus returned fire with two solid hits on the Dresden. Lüdeck, wounded but still in the fight ordered the ship to charge full into the Colossus and for weapons to be handed out to the Crew. More ships from the British fleet now with clear sight lines of the Dresden opening fire with only one hit. The Dresden itself still surged forward at full steam with fires raging across part of the ship. Closing on the Colossus, the captain fired one more salvo on the Dresden before the German cruiser slammed into the British ship full force. In a final attempt to lock down the British battleship, the German crew began to board the ship as best they could and a full force close quarters engagement broke out between the crews of Colossus and the Dresden.
Unable to actively engage the Dresden due to its proximity to the Colossus, the Remainder of the British fleet remained at a careful distance. The crew of the Dresden fought valiantly and worked toward taking key parts of the British Dreadnought, The British crew while totally unprepared for the ramming by the Dresden, or the boarding of the Colossus, fared extremely well after the initially attack. Outnumbering the German crew by more than two to one the British were able to fend off attacks except for a dedicated attack to take the Magazine of the British ship. The German Captain himself led the final charge to take the British magazine after realizing his rear guard had retreated from their defensive positions guarding their backs on the upper decks. While managing to take the Magazine, the British were able to corner Captain Lüdeck who held the British at a standstill with intent to destroy the magazine and bring both ships and their crews with them.
After just an hour of intense close quarters combat, US naval forces from the Coastal patrol, created as a response to prevent such actions as this, arrived to help handle the situation. Five destroyers at full steam from the south with the Battleships New York, Texas, and Arkansas all came into the local area. The USS Nevada also under the full intent to protect the US coast came back out from port to meet the British Fleet. The British not wanting to abandon the Colossus to capture or destruction attempted to stay and guard the ship as it fought off German boarders but after multiple warning shots and recognizing their new inferiority to the US fleet in the area were forced to abandon the Colossus unable to even attempt to save the crew.
Just three hours after the engagement, the British had lost two Battleships, the HMS Superb, and the HMS Colossus to the Americans. Within days, news of the battle between American and British forces spread and an international crisis began to Arise. The British had violated the neutrality and good will of another great power. While insisting the leader of the task force had been acting of his own accord, US presentation of written orders to fire on the German East Asia squadron even if it violated neutrality (corroborated by the Captain of the HMS Colossus) stirred up an immense resentment and anger toward the British who may have started a conflict they very well could not finish.
Conduct of the War before American involvement
The Initial conduct of the war on all sides was an confused scramble to try to figure out deployments. Early 1914 saw the original deployment plans of the Germans and Austro-Hungarians entirely changed and never put to practice in mock drills. This led to the German armies total confusion as to how the Austro-Hungarian military would be directed in the East. The Germans expected most of their allies troops to be directed against Serbia while the German army dealt with France. In actuality the Austro-Hungarian military got caught between its commitments against Serbia and Russia forcing it to divide its forces.
The Germans in retrospect had sent at least 80% of their military strength in the form of seven field armies which rushed through Belgium with the intent of knocking France out of the War quickly. The invasion through Belgium, however, brought the British into the war in short order which saw the Anglo-French forces managing to valiantly hold back the German forces at Marne bringing the Germans into a static position in Northern France forcing them to dig in and defend.
With the stalemate in the west, the Austro-Hungarian and German forces fought a decent war of movement against Russia inflicting heavy losses and even driving them back out of Galicia and East Prussia in short order, ending in German advances into Poland. However, with the original Central powers War plan having failed (avoiding a long costly two-front war) The Germans had come out on top with a powerful strategic position. France's coal mines were either under siege or under total German control, cutting the French off from coal entirely, and the Anglo-French Alliances were a full 250,000 troops further in casualty and death rates than the Germans. In the east the Germans had essentially achieved Tactical and in some cases strategic superiority as their momentum carried them against the Russian army which was badly led and lacked timely strategic decision and was faltering in Poland.
In the colonies, the War went extremely badly for the Central powers, as the Germans lost almost all their colonies the minute the war started. While some fighting occurred, German East Africa by the close of 1914 was the only remaining colony remaining under any sort of German control, with German Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck fighting a potent guerrilla warfare campaign against the Entente powers. In Asia the German colonies had almost all be immediately seized by the Entente and their allies, forcing the German East Asia squadron to flee across the Pacific.
By the end of 1914 the War had come to a true stalemate that didn't exactly favor either side. The Central powers had quite of bit of Strategic superiority in Europe, but the Entente had the resources of roughly 50% of the globe to draw on meaning, that every day the Germans could not claim a victory, more and more resources were being directed against it. German High Command at this point realized it was only a matter of time before it saw its enemies colonial troops filling in the gaps and the potential of other powers joining the Entente. This, however, was somewhat made up for with the entrance of the Ottoman Empire into the war roughly three months into the War, hoping to regain some territory from the British and the Russians. Initially Negligible the Ottomans were able to make some moderate advances in the Caucasus but were unable to make any advances in the Middle East.
The Central Powers also also had many issues with trade and supply as the British and French and their allies blockaded all supply routes to their ports and made it extremely difficult for them to conduct any sort of trade, meaning that overall the Germans were stuck in a disadvantageous spot logistics-wise. The Central powers almost immediately were forced to begin redirecting supplies to the military effort which caused some civilian disturbance.
An Unlikely ally and a Year of Disasters.
By the Close of 1914 the German situation was dire, but not immediately Dire. With operational superiority, and a new strategy, they hoped to win the war, but in a few years time. The maintained a defensive stance in the West while fighting an extreme war of movement against the inferior Russian forces. Serbia while managing to throw back Austro-Hungarian forces was still a small isolated state compared to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and while getting British support suffered extremely as it fought a losing war of attrition against the Central Powers. By 1915, however, they got their Relief as the Kingdom of Italy joined the conflict on the Entente Powers, with the expressed intent of taking territory that was "Italian" from the Austrians. This provided some relief but the Serbians were still at quite the disadvantage due to Bulgaria's recent 1915 entry into the war on the Central Powers.
The most pressing concern on the Entente powers mind remained the disaster at Norfolk. The British navy following orders to engage the German East Asia squadron ended up violating the neutrality of the United States, who had offered safe haven to any and all ships, military and otherwise. The German East Asia Squadron ended up attempting to come to safe haven in Norfolk in Virginia ending in the destruction or capture of the British Dreadnoughts HMS Superb, and Colossus, and the retreat of the remainder of the task force into international waters. This disaster while polarizing in American society. A Nation who was staunchly neutral had its neutrality violated by the British. The United States and the Entente powers engaged in a dynamic diplomatic struggle. However, in the end of it, all the US population was polarized against the British and by proximity the Entente. Germany openly apologized for bringing the war to American soil, having not expected the British to open fire on a neutral country like the US. The United States congress deliberated heavily on whether to actively support or at least tacitly support the Central Powers. At this point Germany actively courted the US not for a wartime ally, but at least as a supplier, opening up lines of credit and supply/trade deals. The US while more economically active in the British and French states were unable to get over violation of neutrality by the British, and began to favor the Central powers, particularly Germany more.
By April of 1915 the US president Woodrow Wilson made the decision to openly and actively deliver supplies, escorted by the US navy to Germany. The supply fleet carrying munitions, food, medicine among other things set sail during late April 1915 and reached the British blockade in early May. The British ordered the supply fleet to stop for seizure, but under orders from the US government the ships began to run the blockade. Back in Washington weeks earlier, Wilson had designed a gamble, which would decide American entry into the war. With a population already angry at the British for the violation of its neutrality, President Wilson was already able to rally public support for the war, with many moderates already agreeing that this violation would not stand. He would run the British blockade, delivering supplies to the German Empire, if the British fired, or stopped the ships and seized them, the American entry to the war was assured, if the British let the ships go, the US would play both sides and supply both. He received his answer on May 4th 1915. The Supply fleet had been seized and the US destroyer escorts had sought shelter in German ports. On May 5th Congress declared war on the British. This led to the remaining Entente Powers declaring war on the United States in short order.
The Eagle and the Lion
The entrance of the United States in the war, prompted a mass scare of the various public of the Entente Powers. The British, however, drastically stepped up their recruitment efforts, and resigned themselves to the Western Front stalemate, transferring multiple Divisions to Canada to meet the United States in Battle. The United States, while maintaining a small military, mobilized its vast population and resources in short order. The United States, with only an army force of roughly 150,000 by the wars start, organized the American Expeditionary Force out of its existing forces, planning on quickly taking Canada's major cities and then taking the fight to the Entente abroad was stopped almost immediately, as Canadian veterans from the Western Front, joined by British regulars the Canadian forces crossed the Border relatively quickly attacking Detroit and Buffalo in short order. The AEF met the British and the Canadians quickly to prevent the capture of and US cities, culminating in the first two battles of the North American Theatre. The Battle of Detroit, and the Battle of Buffalo led to extremely brutal and bloody results as nearly 60,000 troops on both sides were killed and wounded in Detroit, and another 30,000 in Buffalo forcing the British and Canadians to retreat back across the Canada. The battles themselves lasted roughly a month each and the US began to realize this may not be a quick and easy war. However, within three months, the US had managed to recruit and train nearly 300,000 new soldiers, and with the passing of the Selective Service act, the US numbers swelled to nearly three million, with nearly 2.5 million being draftees, and nearly 500,000 being volunteers.
By September of of 1915 the AEF began to move its forces into Canada only to meet stiff and dedicated resistance from Canadian and British forces, who had applied their lessons from Europe to Canada. Trench lines, prepared by the Entente Forces met the first US invasion of Canada with great success. The First Toronto Offensive ended in a rough and brutal stalemate favoring the British, the US forces taking some cues from the Germans adopted their own trench lines with the expressed intent of preventing another attack on US soil from this area. Many smaller and medium sized skirmishes happened near the Toronto trench lines, with much of the smoke and noise being able to be heard from the outer city limits. The only notable victory of the initial campaigns in Canada was the extremely short siege of Vancouver, which saw the US attack, and siege, and occupy Vancouver and the surrounding area, in less than three weeks. However, the issue remained that US forces would never be able to cross the Canadian wilderness to hit Canada on the flank due to the outright lack of roads and proper logistics in enough numbers to do so. The US considered some possibilities but was content with claiming victory in the Canadian West as opened up a corridor to Alaska.
Abroad, the US fought the British almost exclusively, which in turn forced the British to remove some ships from their blockade of Germany to fight the United States which effectively fought the Royal navy on multiple occasions. The USS Nevada in general became known as "The Brit Killer" for its effective naval record having sunk the HMS Superb, three armored cruisers and six British destroyers in the first five months of the war.
Effectively, by November of 1915 the US and British had come to a stalemate with a clear line being drawn as the British and American fleets and Forces kept to their respective sides, neither able to gain a clear advantage in the Atlantic, and the battle lines being drawn in Canada proper as the US was unable to break any defensive movements due to its inability to bring its full forces to bear on the Entente in a singular location due to the myriad of new fronts opening.
Initial Asian conflicts
Following US entrance into the War, the US saw a slew of Attacks on its pacific Territories as many of its islands, including Guam, and Wake island were attacked and seized by the British and French, as well as a massive Japanese naval raid on the Philippines. Within two months of the war declaration, The Japanese began to hit the United States in the Philippines with nearly 50,000 Japanese troops landing on the northern islands. The Philippines in general was highly divided on how to approach the war. Many joined the Entente ranks as guerrillas or auxiliaries for the Invading Japanese, but the United States managed to convince many people that the Philippines would be no better under the rule of any of the entente powers or their allies. The Japanese while swiftly occupying the northern part of the US territory were met with almost fanatical resistance as the local deployments of the US marines under command of the US Admiral Walter C. Cowles who had also organized nearly 42,000 Filipino troops to fight along side the nearly 7000 Marines he had managed to land into the Area.
By mid 1915 the Japanese had reinforced but were unwilling to make any more offensives south, looking on utilizing their local superiority in fleet numbers through them and their allies to cut off the islands and then take them once they had been sufficiently starved and depleted. However, this never came as Admiral Cowles proved to be a shrewd naval commander, managing not only to reverse Japanese gains on smaller US islands, but also utilizing a typhoon in 1915 to not only split up but destroy multiple Japanese ships including their newest Battleship the Yamashiro. The various fleet actions by Admiral Cowles are noted to be some of the most effective of the entire war, as the US having inferior numbers and an inferior position was not only able to reclaim territory but effectively remove the Japanese as a naval threat in the war until early 1916 when it was able to re-deploy many of its now repaired ships. In this time period, however, the US Asiatic fleet was able to redeploy its assets against the meager naval forces remaining in the Pacific and managed to inflict serious losses on the Ententes Pacific naval shipping and light naval assets, with a raid on Sydney even taking place shocking the Australians who believed they were far from the conflict. US trends only reversed on Cowles Death in January of 1915 which forces a new inexperienced admiral onto the scene.
By the end of 1915 and early 1916 the Germans had not made any new gains in the West and the East didn't see many new gains either. As the French looked to relieve the German assault at Verdun, which had been costing them thousands of lives to defend, the Germans were forced to end the assault as a series of Russian offensives were geared toward relieving the French. However, during this period as well, the Gallipoli campaign was organized, which was an attempt at opening a new front on the Ottomans as well as supplying the Russians who had suffered immensely during the war. The Brusilov Offensive in general had also gone from astounding success to failure in the making as the Russians were unable to support the offensive due to failing supply lines. The Failure of Gallipoli in late April of 1915 forced the Russians to initiate many of the operations independently against a superior German and Austro-Hungarian Force. Only the timely entrance of the Romanians in 1916 pulling threats away from the Russians saved the collapsing front.
By mid 1916 the US having managed to keep the Royal navy at bay had been sending naval groups into the Mediterranean for months which had begun harassing shipping and in one case had shelled French military ships at port. As a Result of this, the French became absolutely convinced they would be seeing an invasion of their southern territories and began a massive naval buildup in the region in an attempt to counteract any potential invasions or other attacks. This, however, led to unprecedented naval buildup that was mirrored across all fronts in the West. A large buildup of British forces in Newfoundland, and off the coast of Germany, was mirrored by American buildups in Maine, and the Mediterranean, as well as the confirmation of the German High Command that the German High Seas Fleet would leave port for the first time in the war in an attempt to break the British blockade as its first priority, and to tie down a massive portion of the British fleet so the US navy could operate with more freedom.
In June of 1916 all the years massive naval buildup had finally come to the culminating series of naval battles over the course of the month. The First naval battle of the month was the Battle of Jutland, a large fleet action between the British Grand Fleet, and the German High Seas Fleet. Germany was intent on engaging and destroying a portion of the British fleet to allow German Mercantile shipping to once again sail the seas. The British objective remained to engage and destroy the German High Seas fleet or contain it to prevent it from threatening its own shipping. It ended in a rough stalemate putting many British and German ships out of action alongside heavily weakening the British blockade but not ending it. The Second battle was the Battle of Cherbourg which saw the US Atlantic Fleet, engage other parts of the British Grand Fleet, and the elements of the French navy. The battle also ended in a bloody but definitive American Victory. The Triple Battle of Toulon, Toronto and Istanbul, all started within minutes of each other and all ended rather inconclusively but did solidify a far reaching American presence in the Mediterranean and opening up Entente shipping to American attack.
The Land War of 1916-1917
By this point in the War, Trench Warfare had become the norm, The Western Front and the North American Front were both stalemated by early 1916 and no new gains had truly been made. The Americans were stalled outside of Toronto, and the British had managed to reinforce to the point to extending the defensive lines through parts of the Canadian wilderness, with many believing that the US would try some out of the box adventures through the Canadian wilderness to get a new flank on the Entente Forces. By this point the British had not only reinforced the Western Front in Europe, but had also drawn up thousands of Indian soldiers who were beginning to re-deploy to Canada. The Indian troops were staunchly loyal with many believing in following the British colonial system through and using Indian involvement in the War as enough cause to be granted Home Rule post war. This brought thousands of Indian soldiers into the Americas and Europe as they became a major manpower advantage to the Entente. The 1916 war became a war of land battles with the Entente beginning to launch various offensives with the explicit intent on breaking the Trench warfare and restore a war of movement.
The First two battles were in the Summer of 1916 with the Somme and Detroit Offensives. Coordinated to catch the Central powers off guard the Entente also began the Asia Minor Offensive at the same time with the goal of hitting as many of the major participants as possible. While initially starting out slow the Offensive came into swing when in August of the Triple Offensive, Mexico funded and coordinated with by the British were co-opted to open up major conflict with the United States, with Britain promising to help Mexico reclaim former glory, new territory in Central America, and promises of post war support economically, and militarily. While somewhat backward and industrially destitute with only a few industries, the US did see the Mexican army launch a major offensive into the US Southwest with Mexico reaching the outskirts of major Texas cities such as San Antonio. However, the advance was stopped south of San Antonio as the US national guard, and elements of the Army stopped the Mexican army dead cold. This was the United States first reported use of chlorine gas which proved to be the only decisive use of the war. Mexican troops were wholly unprepared, as the small but now strategically superior US forces drove Mexican forces south of the border only to stop and reinforce to prepare for an offensive into Mexico.
These battles in against Mexico were backed up formally by a massive British Offensive geared toward taking the battle onto American Territory as well as multiple offensives on the Western Front and the Middle East. The multitude of offensive all committed to by at least two powers at a time led to an offensive on other fronts as well, with Serbia and Italy launching their own offensives on Austria-Hungary, and the surprise Reversal of German Armies on the Eastern Polish Frontiers. The multitude of offensives beginning mostly in 1916 all lasted until the final months of 1917. Almost all of them were inconclusive with only the Offensives in Detroit making some serious gains into pushing the US out of Canada only being a few miles from forcing US forces back over the border.
The massive multi faceted offensives of 1916 did have one major impact on the Central Powers. The various central powers, were extremely distraught by these offensives thinking that due the viciousness of these attacks, the Entente Powers were nowhere near collapse. The US while an effective ally had truly not put enough into the War. This, however, was met with defiance almost immediately as the US acting alone of its allies launched its own string of offensives
1917 American Offensives and Industrial emergence.
The United States in relation to its allies, was spread thin across multiple fronts as it had multiple extremely far away and broad fronts to cover. The US was fighting brutally in Asia, had nearly 1.5 million men involved in the war in Canada and its various occupation movements. Was filling in gaps for various central powers in Western Europe, and was mobilizing for a large Pacific and Asian campaign. The buildup to this was astronomical, with the stalemate in Canada the US and British following the end of the Detroit offensive drew down their previously massive numbers to much smaller concentrations. the forces went from 1.5 million American troops and 1.3 million combined British, Indian and Canadian troops were both drawn down to just 200,000 each as both began to draw down and commit to other fronts realizing no major gains or territorial changes would occur in North America. While the pressure was still there, the US began to focus almost exclusively on Mexico, and the Pacific with tertiary support to Europe.
The US had done quite a bit more work that many of the Central powers actually understood. Due to naval engagements and increased American naval involvement in the Atlantic, the merchant fleets of multiple Central Powers were able to take to the seas again. The German High Seas fleet had also been put to sea in a meaningful way severely straining the British and French fleets. The US had also brought the fight to the Japanese who had their fleet knocked out until midway through 1916. The US began to realize its pivotal role in deciding where and how battles would develop. The British had only undergone reactionary movements against the US for most of the war, and the US had met the Japanese, their only other true combatant in the naval war, directly multiple times, and had decisively knocked the Japanese navy back to their home islands.
The United States in late 1917 unwilling to give the Entente Powers a break, began Operation Typhoon, and Operation Valkyrie. The Two operations were two massive mobilizations of US troops overseas into the Pacific and into the Atlantic. Operation Typhoon would bring nearly 1.2 million US troops to the Pacific geared toward taking on the local colonies, and retaking the Philippines as a forward Base. Operation Valkyrie was a major operation geared toward launching nearly 1.4 million US troops to Europe via Africa, with the expressed intent of sweeping Morocco and Algeria clean of French forces, and embark on a large front opening in Southern France.
Operation Typhoon launched on July of 1917 with the US pacific fleet, reinforced by new ships built on the West coast and some from the East Coast, began to charge across the Pacific. The US fleet for the first time since mid 1915 began to strategically and attempt to decisively engage the British and Japanese fleets. With an open route to the Philippines, the US landed 350,000 troops which reinforced nearly 60,000 exhausted Filipino troops and the remainder of the US marines which had been fighting viciously since 1915. The Remainder of the troops began a massive campaign into Asia as well as an opening into French Indochina and Formosa brought US forces on the doorsteps of both Empires bringing the battle to the rich or important colonies of Japan and France. Initially, US forces were slow to get off the ground in Asia, they were forced to bitterly fight in the northern Philippines to evict the remaining Japanese soldiers there.
With the US amassing such large forces in the area, the French recognized a dire situation developing, the United States had done what was considered impossible. It had carefully managed its Pacific enemies and now had bided its time long enough for its industrial power to overtake that of the Entente. Since the outset of the War the United States had been undergoing a massive mobilization of its manpower and resources. While it had initially encountered problems with many of its troops under bad doctrine and leadership much like every other power in the war, tactics quickly changed as the US adapted extremely well to the new forms of Warfare. This included, the mass issuing of the Model 1887 trench gun. A Shotgun which was used effectively by the US on multiple occasions. The US industrial strength had boomed to outclass all Entente Powers who had parts of their industrial territories attacked seized, or otherwise harassed for the Duration of the War. The US, however, had not only held back the Commonwealth in Canada but had stalemated the front preventing gains on either front but also preventing the Commonwealth from seizing important northern industrial sites. The US had also begun to accept contracts from various central powers, as American export into Europe while initially dipping soared to nearly 3.7 billion and growing by the end of the War. The US by 1917 was manufacturing a massive surplus in military equipment with enough excess to arm significant forces within the German Army, the US was undergoing massive research projects to develop new weapons, the Americans were not only out producing, but out developing the Entente. By 1918 the US was ready for one final assault paired with the Germans to finish the war once and for all. Specifically due to the German exhaustion due to the re-engagements of the British blockade.
The Spring Offensive
The Spring offensive was the last marketed attempt by the German High command to its Kaiser and military leaders to end the war once and for all. The Germans had initiated the Russian revolution forcing a major ally to withdraw from the War as it fell to Civil war. The Germans were rushing millions of men to the West to meet an exhausted Entente army. By this point the buildup began in the winter of 1917 with the US itself beginning to deploy troops into Europe meeting the new addition of veteran Commonwealth troops from the bloody fighting in the North American Front.
The US as well was preparing its own offensive in the Pacific having retaken the Philippines entirely at the beginning of 1918. The Anglo-French forces mostly consisting of Colonial troops and a small amount of motherland troops, were amassed in the colony of French Indochina. Nearly 350,000 Entente troops backed up by a powerful Japanese Battle group. The US forces consisted of nearly 500,000 troops amassed in the Philippines. Almost all the powers had fully underestimated the Americans ability to reliably project power toward the Pacific, this was fully shattered as an idea as the US not only performed reliably in the Pacific, had effectively held three off the world's best navies off with inferior forces with some good leadership by two different supreme admirals. The Invasion of Indochina was an unprecedented attack in the heart of all three colonial empires. One of the richest french colonies situated within striking distance (in some cases marching distance) of two other colonial possessions from Britain and Japan. The Battle commenced roughly two weeks before the spring offensive in Europe.
The Invasion of Indochina was a crowning moment in Americas war effort. The US had consistently proven through the whole war that it could hold its own against other colonial powers, but never score a strikingly decisive victory. The US in this regard issued the Asia campaign to be the poster child for its propaganda effort. With so many hero stories and good publicity coming out of the front in Asia the US population was ecstatic. Public opinion shifted toward a Pacific victory, threaten the Core colonies of the British and the war might end decisively. The US generals made it an imperative objective to draw down combat on the North American Front and move it toward the Asian theatre and some support to Europe. The US running supplies through the Mediterranean and through Austria had established an effective but singular supply line to its European allies. The US in this regard had also stepped up its deployment in Europe to give an extra boost in manpower to the Germans preparing their own offensive. The US, however, dedicated its most experienced units into Asia as the US invasion began.
The US invasion began with the absolutely destructive Skirmish battle in the South China Sea. The now locally superior Naval forces of the US managed to isolate a combined Entente fleet consisting of Japanese, British and French ships and destroy or force a surrender on multiple ships. The US having destroyed the core of the Entente's defense fleet was thus able to begin its massive amphibious attack on Saigon. While initially light as lack of transport kept US troop numbers low, the initial force of 50,000 was able to establish the Mekong Beachhead with relative Ease. The majority of Land forces stayed within range of the US fleet on the coast and for weeks the US lifted thousands of troops into Vietnam. The US forces starting at 42,000 were able to win multiple decisive engagements with colonial units in the Area. The Second Wave of US forces showed up as the possible collapse of the Mekong Beachhead was underway. Under attack on all sides and having fallen back to their final defensive positions in the trenches, the 2nd wave of US forces disembarked with a new weapon. The 1918 Browning Automatic Rifle proved its worth as a weapon and the Entente forces, not expecting such a versatile weapon suffered severe casualties as the weapon was put onto the field. By the 3rd and 4th waves the French colonial forces were the only military force still undergoing offensives. The US then began the long process of spreading out into French Indochina.
The German military transferring millions of troops back west, was effectively able to re-establish operation superiority into the end of the war. With nearly 200,000 Americans now on the front all armed to the Teeth, the Spring Offensive began in earnest on March 21st. The Anglo-French forces were initially overwhelmed by the mass of troops flooding the battle points. The storm troopers, some of Germany's most veteran troops, armed with new weapons and tactics began a massive attack along the prepared positions, ultimately securing some worthless territory but nonetheless, a gain. The German assault was followed up by Fresh American troops who threw almost their entire force into the battle after the Germans did. The US forces were able to follow up on gains by forward German troops. This finally fielded into a successful breakthrough in June as German troops flooded through a gap in the lines toward Paris forcing a general retreat as French Forces began to converge on paris to defend it.
By the Time the Central Powers reached Paris, the city had been fortified to the teeth. Trenches were spread before the city, and every vantage point was manned. French forces attempting to hold their capital, were willing to due so at all Costs. The Battle of Paris remains to this day one of the most destructive battles in Human history. Nearly 2.5 million Central Powers troops, converged on Paris with 2.3 million Entente forces spread before them. The Battle was titanic in Scale. The ferocity with which both sides fought turned the originally Successful Spring Offensive into a stalemate. The French threw themselves at the central powers determined to hold the line. The US itself was forced to end its major offensive operations in Mexico and cut back on its commitment to Asia as the ferocity of the battle began to peak. For weeks the forces around Paris held as the city was reduced to rubble. Some respect remained as many of Paris's historical buildings were avoided. The US forces withdrawing nearly 1.2 million men from different fronts began also to shift its attention heavily into the pitched siege of Paris. The US had advanced far into Mexico reaching the outskirts of Mexico city, and had also re-initiated some offensives into Canada. With the Indochina Front going well the US was also forced to draw down the Expeditionary force from its original 500,000 to just 150,000 still facing off against 200,000 Japanese and British Troops. Germany itself practically begged for the US to send troops to the front in Europe.
The French nation in general seemed to invest everything it had into the Battle for Paris. The French army withdrew garrisons from all over the country to replenish the lines in the battle. The French state once thought to be spent from the war, managed to Marshall almost its entire remaining strength in Paris. nearly four million French forces stood ready to engage the 3.7 central powers forces. Augmented by nearly 400,000 Italian forces and another 500,000 Commonwealth forces, the counterattack began in late 1918 pushing on through the winter. The Commonwealth forces searched to nearly a million as the offensive began to gain steam and push the German and US forces back into the trenches. The US having rushed another 1.3 million troops to Europe had managed to deploy nearly 500,000 of them by the time the Winter Counteruffensive had begun.
Winter Counteroffensive and the War's End
The Winter counteroffensive was one of the most unexpected things of the War. Initially inferior, the Entente forces, with special thanks to the French began to regain initiative and momentum as the rallying call "Keep Paris Free" during the siege had brought back a mass outpouring of support for the war. Men not drafted, young or old, came out in the defense of Paris. The military taking anyone armed whoever came. The result of this was nearly 900,000 French killed during the siege mostly military (50,000 civilian casualties are reported due to some families who refused to evacuate the city) The French, however, held the line in Paris even when German forces at one point at reached the Seine river. The French, however, performed one of the most amazing reversals in military history as the now 3.5 million strong French forces support by its allies surged back east retaking territory as the German Spring offensive collapsed. The Battle came back to its original destination as the Trenches around France were re-manned.
It didn't stay like this for long as the French carried on into a massive assault on the German trenches. The fervor the French had gained was recognized and used by their generals and commanders. Not wishing to waste the patriotic fervor they ordered Frances first offensive since the mutinies against further offensives years previous. The men carried through with the order as 3.5 million French forces slammed on the trenches now manned by 500,000 Americans who had offered to cover the re-organization of the German armies behind the lines. The 500,000 strong American forces was reinforced with the 80,000 fighting able men from the first US expeditionary force. The Entente forces pressed up against the Americans with overwhelming force. Outnumbered greatly the US forces held their ground extremely well but were forced to retreat part of the way into the Winter offensive as French forces began to overwhelm the Siegfried line. The US, however, was able to reinforce with more troops from the homeland but soon as Christmas of 1918 came around, the war was over. The French populace unable to deal with the government pushed on into a massive revolution. The French Army had elements maintain their defensive positions but Germany had encountered its own problems. It had lost nearly 1.5 million men in its Spring offensive and now with issues establishing their satellites to the East, the State of Poland arose in open revolt of this system and began seizing towns and overthrowing and occupying forces. The German state was now total open in the East as it had expended almost all its remaining strength on the Spring offensive. The US now manned a border alone against the remaining Entente forces. The War finally came to an inconclusive end on February 8th 1919. An Inconclusive white peace was established and the interim French and British agreed to let Austria-Hungary deal with Serbia and the Balkans as best it could. The US was forced to withdraw from Germany and with the war over the US was also forced to withdraw to many of its pre-war borders. The US, however, in response seized multiple French and British islands, and refused to leave the now fully American controlled Vietnam. The US while battered made its own peace with the Commonwealth, and Mexico seeking no territorial exchanges nor hard feelings as the US settled into its new position as Britain's equal.
Aftermath of the War
In Europe, the war had left the whole continent Quiet. Millions of men had died, entire regions had been razed to the ground, and revolutions had broken out. The German Empire was in shambles, it had spent itself broke buying munitions and other thing from the US and to keep itself afloat, and was now exhausted. This exhausted Germany was forced now to deal with a Polish uprising which was threatening the entire system it had just established in the East. With the collapse of the French into Revolution, and the Germans battered badly by the French counteroffensive just months before the Germans settled with the French and the Commonwealth and other Entente Powers. With no major battleground to be had and everyone worse for the wear, the various powers all agreed to collectively end the war with some discrepancies both Ways. Germany was returned all her colonies, and the Central powers were free to deal with Eastern Europe. Bulgaria expanded its borders, and Austria effectively puppeted Serbia, Germany had gained a whole new host of potential satellite states in the East only to have that dream broken by a violently rebellious Poland. This devolved into the War of Polish independence which brought the exhausted but superior Germans into conflict with the newly raised Polish Home army which was determined to gain a free Polish state at any cost.The Balkans were the sight of multiple Central victories from the War. Serbia was now a non threat, and Bulgaria had managed to expand its borders back and beyond what they once were, Seizing Romanian territory as well as territory from Greece.
Middle East and the Ottomans
The Ottoman Empire was undergoing a transformation. With the rise of Mustafa Atatürk, he began to advocate the Empire to attempt to liberalize into a democracy. He called for the removal of the Sultan and his replacement with a republic. The Empire while initially on unstable ground had seen massive US investment during the war, Oil reserves were developed, and various relationships were established that brought the rise of the Ottoman Revolution. The Revolution was relatively bloodless and the Sultan seeing his nation transformed in such a short amount of time, abdicated and turned over control to the Interim government. This revolution saw the first overseas deployment of US forces specifically marines which stood guard in Constantinople to prevent violence from going over the top. This was wildly successful as the various ethnic groups within the former Ottoman empire as well as a few of the Arabian protectorates agreeing to help expand and give legitimacy to this new Middle Eastern State. By 1920 the Interim government had managed to not only create a secular constitution (sponsored heavily by Atatürk as the father of the movement) but one that helped mitigate population differences with dual representation. While not perfect the system initially saw overwhelming support as Atatürk himself was elected as the first president of the Union of Sovereign Islamic States.
The USIS was an unprecedented nation created out of the end of the first World War but effectively became solidified with the US recognizing the state. The state, however, did almost immediately start fighting a war against people more inclined to independence within its borders, as well as a protracted war with the British who were coming back around to secure the protectorates which had left their sphere as well as border conflicts in Egypt.
The Russian Revolution
The Russian revolution of 1917 was unprecedented on the backdrop of the Great War. With the great defeats of Russians all across the East without and really true decisive victories, by the 1917 revolution the Russian army was in a state of mutiny, and the empire was ready to break down. The initial revolution brought about a dual system of government between republicans and democratic advocates and the Bolsheviks, which lasted only a short amount of time before the Bolshevik revolution began and established Moscow as the capital of the Russian Soviet State.
By the Time of the signing of Brest-Litovsk treaty, the Soviet Russia then focused on fighting its developing civil war and within four years had taken control of the whole country beginning to expand its reach outward. In 1922 just years after the Civil war and with Soviet political control extending to a few surrounding territories as well, the Soviet Union was created out of the shattered remnants of the Russian empire. While excluding certain parts specifically much of Poland, the Baltics and parts of Belarus and Ukraine, the Soviet Union was able to begin reasserting itself as a great power picking up the peaces of the Russian state and reforging them.
Over the course of the war the United States in particular had taken quite a bit of island territory as well as part of the core of French Indochina creating the Vietnamese commonwealth in its place which brought tension between the US and France to all time highs just directly after the war. Many French believed American seizure of this territory was a massive violation of French authority but the US practically ignored them, managing to turn the Vietnamese down the road toward US influence as the Vietnamese were allowed much more freedom and development as an American puppet than a French colony.
Due to American aggression in holding these territorial boundaries (multiple times almost escalating into a Franco-American conflict) the Entente powers refused any return of territory to Germany seizing her colonies and refusing to return them. Germany remaining the most powerful continental power, but also battered did not dare reignite the war to retake its colonies and abandoned all their colonies except its pacific islands, which it sold to the US. The Various other territorial issues also arose in the Western Hemisphere, as the US had more or less won the North American theatre. American demands were simple, everything must go. This led to hostile reactions from various European colonial states, especially the French and British who were unable to resume control of any colonies the US had seized over the course of the war (which was all of them except French Guiana). The British and French while recognizing they were just recently enemies, asked the former US allies from the central powers to intervene and arbitrate. However, all of them refused, citing the fact that the Entente very well intended to treat them that way if they had lost.
Fuming at the lose of the colonies to the US, the Americans consolidated their gains by outright annexing all these colonies as territories, and directly annexing Cuba as well (in a widely to be believed to be fraudulent plebiscite). The new umbrella of territory effectively sealed the markets of Central America to the US. This almost caused a new war, just months after the end of the Great War. The French and British attempted to land an expeditionary force at their respective Virgin Islands territories only to meet US ships and a warning to leave the area or face military action. The Entente's expedition fleet initially rose to challenge the US fleet, but after seeing more ships beginning to show up, the Entente fleet left but only after leaving a message which was seen as a major diplomatic move, recognizing US sovereignty over the area.
The Turbulent 20's
By 1921 the vast majority of the wars aftereffects had been felt, creating an extremely foreign and weird situation to much of the World. The Traditional Great powers had all suffered due to the war, and some extremely crazy changes at taken place. Germany by this point had ended its war with Poland letting the Polish state, The Austro-Hungarian Empire was suffering greatly as the Austrian half of the empire began to crumble due to lack of Austrian want to continue the system. This left Hungary in an awkward position of trying to assert its control over the whole of the union. The French had lost a significant amount of an entire generation, it had lost a good chunk out of its colonial Empire primarily to the US, and the industrial regions and French capital region had been absolutely ground up during the war.
The British, Japanese and United States were the only powers standing in the opening of the 1920's. The United States had proven its 1902 engagement with the British wasn't a fluke. The US had carefully chosen its involvement in the Great War, and it had paid off. It had become the largest industrial producer on the planet, it showed more industrial production than the French and Germans combined. Britain lagged behind significantly, having lost millions to the war, and it had its naval dominance decisively challenged by two determined powers. The United States had not only beaten the British at their own game, but it had taken the best Britain had to offer and come back asking for a second round. Atrocious American casualties never reached levels that were lethal to the various other nations, and it had such a large population it could absorb the losses and keep moving as if nothing had happened. The United States with its immediate postwar policies and economic decisions, had eclipsed the British. The US fleet was nearly 30% larger than the British fleet with more Dreadnoughts, the American military had seized colonies across the Pacific and ousted all colonial powers from the Americas with the exception of Guyana. It had also opened up a massive new market to itself, the now open markets of Europe which were now unable to compete, and many had suffered such great loss that they just couldn't produce like they used to.
With multiple traditional great powers essentially knocked out of the running for a time, various nations attempted to fill in the gaps with the notable exception of Soviet Union, which saw its dynamic and relatively powerful entrance from the depths of such a horrible civil war.
Bulgaria and Poland were two of the most dynamic risers in this time period, with eventually the Kingdom of Hungary joining in later. Bulgaria in particular had come out as decidedly the most stable and powerful remaining state in the Balkans. Austria-Hungary was close to collapse, and the Austrians had begun to pull all support for the union leaving Hungary to cope with the vacuum. The Ottoman Empire was embroiled in what was seen as an "experiment in government" in the Middle East. The Union of Sovereign Islamic States (USIS) had been borne out of Atatürk's reforms out of Turkey. The various fledgling republic and tribal states and monarchies (mostly out of the former Ottoman Empire with notable exceptions of King Faisal of Iraq, and various Arabian tribes which lent their membership when given concessions) the USIS began fighting a low intensity guerrilla war in Arabia and in Egypt's Border Regions to drive the British out of Arabia, and also cause an uprising in Egypt giving the USIS a potential new member, and most definitely a new ally. The USIS was widely ignored by all except the British and the US until its entrance in World War II. The British were fighting to regain control over protectorates and colonies in the Region, and the US was explicitly investing, industrializing and propping up the new state.,
Bulgaria was another new riser and was met with open hostility in the Balkans its only remaining ally a flagging and heavily unstable Germany. Bulgaria slowly but surely managed to stabilize itself. It had suffered comparatively low casualties compared to any of the other powers, and had proven itself extremely capable of fighting a war well above its level. It had fought the Russians and Romanians alone, and had personally managed to subjugate much of Serbia during the war. It had overcome many of its dispositions with the Ottomans empire and managed to expand into Greece as well linking up and presenting a united front to the Entente. Bulgaria by 1921 finally managed to turn outward after consolidating its gains. The Bulgarians seeing money pouring into its Islamic neighbor finally agreed to open itself to investment, entering into a very carefully concocted agreement with the United States to allow Bulgaria not only to efficiently industrialize (and still present the US a profit) as well as gain particular support and advising into maintaining control over its many new territories. Bulgaria by this point represented itself as the Third Bulgarian Empire but due to American influence saw many stabilizing factors enter the country including the free and open adoption transforming into a Constitutional Monarchy. Bulgaria by 1927 had not only recovered fully from the Great War but also managed to come out as a rapidly industrializing state and one with a rapidly expanding population with ethnic Bulgarians beginning to enter into a massive population boom.
Poland is yet another success story, with the Polish state reforming itself out of the shell of the Russian Empire. Poland, gaining its freedom from the Russians and just months later the Germans, began Post Great War. It was at war with nearly all its immediate neighbors, as the new German satellite network collapsed. Polish revolt had reduced that to a pipe dream as massive uprising in Poznan, Danzig, Warsaw, and Krakow of the Poles in the area led to the Poles embarking on a war of independence from all influences. The Polish homeland had been torn apart by war for the duration of the Great War and at this point the Polish people had come to the absolute edge of their limit. Warsaw and Krakow had been ruined, The Polish farms lie deserted as people were killed during battles on their land, as well as people running for shelter. In 1919 Józef Klemens Piłsudski, was the de facto leader of the amassing Polish soldiers returning from the Great War due to Russian exit. Józef was unwilling to remain a subject any longer and spent months bringing many veterans and new troops into the fold. By the time of the 1919 mass civilian uprisings, Piłsudski had amassed nearly 300,000 direct supporters and was counting on using his initial numbers to swell his ranks. With the uprisings in Poznan and Danzig adding to the initial uprisings in Krakow and Warsaw, the Poles embarked on the Polish war of Independence. Germany was wholly unprepared for this, it had left a skeleton force to police and retain its new satellite states in the east only to lose one of the most important ones almost immediately. With massive offensives going on in the West particularly the latent Siege of Paris, and the subsequent Winter Counteroffensive, the Poles under Piłsudski launched a campaign into Danzig and Poznan hoping to reclaim significant numbers of Poles outside the current Polish state.
The War for Polish Independence ended decisively during 1921 as the Poles defeated a core German army near Danzig officially shattering German morale and Spirit. Unable to continue past that point, the new Polish government under Piłsudski claimed victory and occupied the Danzig corridor and Poznan. The German nation next door collapses into anarchy as the revolution to topple the empire began.
Poland spent the next ten years embarking on its own project to modernize and industrialize, managing to secure more eastern territory particularly with the Polish-Lithuanian War which saw the Baltic states concede and join the new Polish state, much to the USSR's chagrin. The Poles also saw a crash course industrialization as well as the implementation of a new unified currency and a massive push to improve Polish infrastructure. Unheard of amounts of deficit spending were poured into Poland by the Polish government. It became so bad that many banking firms (most of them British or American) refused to lend any more money to Poland. This, however, came back with almost record returns not even five years later. The Second Polish Republic under Józef Piłsudski had in such a short time brought Poland from a dis-unified state, to one that was now boasting the best Growth in Europe. This new Polish Ascension brought them to great prominence as even various minorities saw a great improvement in their quality of life. This was not met without its own issues, as a failed Polish expedition farther into the Ukraine ended in disaster, and various unforeseen economic integration issues caused unexpected expenses which initially hampered Polish growth.
Results of the Revolutions
By the end of the First World War, three prime participants in the war, the Germans, Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the French, had all collapsed into some sort of revolution. The French revolution quickly deposed the Republic government with a new one which calmed the French state down quickly with promises of restoring the French nation to its former glory. The German Empire collapsed unceremoniously as the decisive defeat of exhausted German Armies in Poland led to the end of the Polish war of Independence, which brought about the collapse of the royal government of Germany and led to the establishment of the Weimar Republic, created to at least transition Germany into a productive nation once again. The German Revolution of 1921 led to thousands taking to the streets to rip out all vestiges of the old government. The Weimar Republic was established quickly so as the reform from a monarchy into a republic, with many deals being struck to prevent further collapse of the German State.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire ended unceremoniously as the Austrians politically unwilling to continue the union allowed the collapse of the empire, with the Habsburg family abdicating as they saw the insurmountable issues facing the nation. The Hungarian half of the empire, was held together by and large by a massive Hungarian undertaking to prevent its various disparate territories from separating. The Hungarians embarked on a seven-year campaign to hold together its empire mobilizing the Hungarian population for a massive multi-faceted conflict. The Hungarian Black Army was formed which saw great early success across the Hungarian state. The only major loss of the Hungarian Army was its expedition into the former Austrian half of the Empire which saw a unified force resist Hungarian expansion into Croatia and Austria. The Hungarian Federation was the eventual reformation of the Hungarian State as it managed to gain the loyalty and some support in exchange for some concessions (and it also was to prevent the advancing Hungarian army from snuffing out the final remnants of organized rebellion). The new Hungarian State rather than purge its rebels offered a solution to the problem. The various ethnicities would all be seen as equals, and each would have their culture respected and they would all join into a Federal system based out of Budapest in order to maintain some sort of potential power base for all these ethnicities to act on. The Hungarian Federation later began to show great growth prior to the Great Depression, but the issues arising from the Depression reversed these gains and brought great hardship to the new state.
The Financial Crash and Depression
In 1929 the World hit a major problem that ripped apart much of the institutions set out by the closing of WW1. By the close of World War 1 the US had become the undisputed financial center of the world. The majority of the "Western World" suffered the worst economic depression of the 20th century.
It began in 1929 with Black Tuesday, the most devastating free fall of the stock market in US history.
The Wall Street crash of 1929 saw many people's fortunes disappear overnight practically. The excessive attempts of speculation was the real issue as the ever increasing speculation and belief that the Stock Market would rise forever led to some pretty bleak outlooks by the time of the crash. The Stock market crash had a profound impact on nearly all facets of the US economy. Steel production fell by nearly 50%, and agricultural products were cut nearly 60% of their prices. Factories laid off workers to save money, and thousands became unemployed. All attempts to stop the economic free fall failed and the US slipped into massive depression.
The Rest of the world was not much better, nearly every economy in Europe was absolutely destitute as their investments and stock fell to unprecedented lows. The Gold standard which was the main currency denomination of most of the world, was the main vector of the Depression spreading. The various interest rates that were used with loans and other payment plans precipitated a major outflow of gold from various countries, with many such as the British abandoning the Gold standard and instead floating their currency on foreign exchange markets.
The Recovery from the depression didn't truly begin until 1933 when many countries began to show some positive economic growth again, but did have another issue to contend with, a Global food producer suffering from a major drought, The Dust Bowl. The Dust bowl was caused by ignorant farming practices in the mid-west United States and saw a migration of population to the East and West, as they attempted to find work.
The Limping Empire
The Post WW1 world was not kind to the British Empire. Severe hits to her prestige, and economy were precipitated by the end of the war, and it had not only been actively challenged it had gained an unexpected rival which was now her Industrial superior. This was something the British Empire had never truly had to deal with before. It still maintained a powerful and robust military, but the British had been unable to beat the United States. While their main issue with a continental adversary in Europe had been alleviated, it had been replaced entirely by a large American state which had proven it was able to take the fight to European colonies, and wasn't hesitant to seize them either.
This led to the Westminster Conference of 1925, a conference hosted by the British for all her colonies, in an attempt to re-evaluate how the Empire would operate. By this point proponents of the Imperial Federation idea were extremely prominent in the politics of many British colonies and dominions. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa all saw significant rise in the Imperial federation idea. the British had not lost the war, but did see some loss and it was perceived lack of centralization was the reasoning for this. Many pro independence supporters were also present, but were actively drowned out as the Federation idealists and the British representatives began to hammer out details of such and agreement. The agreement was finally hammered out with greater sharing of military burden and further centralization of each potential member states economy to support the needed military to maintain the British Empire. The British themselves turned over garrison control to multiple Canadian garrisons in Burma, and other parts Asia to the Canadians and Australians as they began to take on burdens of duty.
The sharing of the burden led to many of the more aristocratic British take offense. However, with severe curbing by the royal family and parliament, the Aristocracy was essentially silenced being unable to find any real reason to take burden off the British isles proper other than some honor bound reasons. This, however, did leave it open for the British to heavily expand their Naval capabilities. The US, however, in an attempt to prevent further arm's races invited the Great Powers to a meeting in Washington which concluded in the Washington Naval treaty signed in 1923. The Treaty gave the US and British fleets active parity with each other and a further ratio on other Great Powers. 5:5:3:3:3:3 was the ratio and the Japanese almost walked out of the negotiations almost totally unwilling to accept only 60% of their adversaries capital ship fleets. However, unwilling to embark on an arms race with the United States, the Japanese were forced to agree.
While a diplomatic victory for the British limiting all their rivals except the United States to a lesser ship count, the status of the United States as an extremely powerful but once again isolationist state brought about by the populations unwillingness to actively get involved abroad. The British by this point, however, were able to finagle their military power specifically with the naval aspect as it began a massive undertaking to not only have the most modern navy, but the most well trained, regaining the title it held for the majority of the 19th century. The US in other regards are mothballed nearly half its fleet due to lack of need and eventually also due to the Great Depression.
The British - by the time of the Great Depression - had taken some of the most prolific steps toward recovery. However, it suffered just as much as it attempted to right itself economically from the death throes it was in not a few years ago. The British empire in its old form, was a wounded animal entering its death throes. In 1931 in an attempt to further right the economic issues of the empire an unprecedented move was drafted. The British issued the Statute of Westminster, which opened up the option to all, but was directed at Canada. Canada was offered to be an outright equal partner of the United Kingdom, and would gain seats in parliament, mass political representation, direct economic investment, and many other benefits (this would in turn hopefully jump start some British industry and capital again). Canada accepted after two weeks of deliberation on the condition some minor sections were renegotiated. The British also agreed and the United Kingdom expanded across the Sea much to the Chagrin of the United States.
The Iron Eagle Rises
In 1921 following the de facto stalemate in the First World War, as well as the loss of territory to the Poles in their war of independence, the Kaiser and the royal government was deposed with expressed intent to create a republic. The Weimar Republic was built out of this with a series of alliances and coalitions built up in an attempt to secure the government's legitimacy. The Weimar Republic saw some stability through the 20's but ultimately Germany remained a shell of its former self with various protests and riots breaking out almost every week. Germany had spent itself into oblivion fighting the First World War as well as the Polish War of independence. The Germans had subsequently suffered extreme casualties, as well as losses of territory, and was deeply in debt having borrowed much of its war time spending from the United States. The interest on these payments alone was cause for alarm as the Germans made every attempt to avoid paying the American banks.
The German political spectrum was a mix of moderate and radical elements with the most prominent being Communists and the newly rising Fascists. The National Socialist Party eventually renamed the Nazi Party in 1921, was created in 1919 and began to gain real traction in 1921 culminating in a coup attempt by a young Adolf Hitler who attempted to seize control of the government but was in fact imprisoned after it failed. The Nazi party some some major fall off after this but when released in 1924 Hitler began to rebuild the Nazi party from the ground up, attempting to gain power Legally.
When the Great Depression hit and American banks issued their demands to pay up on debt to the Germans, the German economy fell into free fall with Hitler being able to step in and begin crafting his rise to power. In this time period he published his book Mein Kampf which detailed his political agenda and his platform, the book sold relatively well. By 1933 the Nazis managed to gain not a majority but a good amount of seats in the German Reichstag which had them ruling in a short lived political coalition. By this point the Weimar Republic was unable to prevent the further advancement of the various radical parties, especially the Nazis. By 1933 Hitler and the Nazi party had outright seized all power in the country and began implementing their various laws and racial policies within the country. This included various economic policies which caused intense issues with the United States due to the suspension of payments on many of the debts the Germans owed to them. This was with many other nations too as Germany effectively became a rogue state as it restructured. However, many countries were wholly unwilling to challenge this new State and Germany continued Unmolested as the only nations able to stop them were trying to rebuild their shattered economies.
By 1934 Adolf Hitler had begun a process of re-arming and modernizing its Armed Forces, which had fallen a bit behind due to the various revolutions and upheavals the German nation had undergone since 1920. Hitler, however, was able to rally the country behind the Fascist ideals, as the German government now under the supreme command of Hitler began to not only massively re-arm and mobilize soldiers. This was something unheard of for the Great Depression years. The "Third Reich" as it became known, was becoming one of the leading economies once again as it produced thousands upon thousands of jobs as the German military machine began to Turn. The other powers of Europe were unable to do much, having little to no authority over the Germans, were forced to watch as Germany began to take commanding leads in Science, Economics, and military power on the Continent.
Prelude to War, the Second Coming
Testing the Waters
By 1936 the Spanish civil war had broken out, with a loose alliance of Republicans with no true leader facing off against the Nationalists, led by Francisco Franco. Initially a Coup d'etat the Spanish military forces under the Nationalist were unable to take all of Spain's cities and oust the government. This led to the Second Spanish Republic moving to end the rebellion. This, however, was a short lived dream as the notable seizure of Seville, with even the entire southern area of Granada falling to Franco's forces almost immediately. This gave a solid staging ground for Franco's forces in Morocco to land in Spain and reinforce his other mainland forces.
Initially Franco was hoping for a relatively bloodless Coup but failed when his rebels were unable to seize major cities like Madrid, Toledo, Barcelona and many others were not seized. This Left Spain militarily and politically Divided as Franco's Nationalists faced off against the loose alliance of Republicans arrayed against him. Across the South and West of the country Nationalist forces made considerable initial gains being stopped midway through the country, as Franco was unable to finish off the Republicans quickly. Franco initially did very well as he gained political and military support from abroad, mostly from Italian and German forces (and even then mostly Italian units) as both looked to gained military experience as well as test new technologies. The Republicans on the other hand got unspoken secret support through France by a host of different parties, most significantly the Soviet Union. The Spanish civil war turned into a bloody stalemate as purges became the norm in both sides with the thought of ensuring their power base and removing undesirables.
The Involvement of Italy was not very surprising as their previous aggressive conquest of Ethiopia (now Italian Abyssinia) made them feel extremely confident in their Power. Mussolini, however, had some of his power checked as generals having performed in the war were to be sent to Spain, almost revolted after hearing of a plot by Mussolini to check their influence by imprisoning or killing them. Led by Alfredo Guzzoni, the generals were able to secure their position and prevent their sacking by Mussolini. Mussolini was livid but did not reveal this to his new Ally Germany as it would potentially discredit him and his government as the first Fascist government in Europe. General Guzzoni now with his own power base secured and spoke privately with Mussolini with plans for the Spanish intervention establishing an distant but working relationship between the Italian military leadership, and the Government. Many of Mussolini's previous appointees were removed in this effort as more qualified men (previously removed or sacked) were returned to their position. This led to Italian forces, when landing in Spain to act and be much more efficient due to competent leadership. The Italian "Volunteer" units became some of Franco's most effective as in April of 1936 the Nationalists were able to not only take all of Spain northern Coast but were extremely close to threatening the Republicans supply lines through the Pyrenees which ensured they received their foreign support.
The Republican government technically collapsed during this period as military ineffectiveness plagued the Republican forces. The Government was almost unilaterally replaced by Soviet Support Communists/Socialists in Spain who re-organized their forces with Soviet support. The Republicans prepared a counteroffensive to retake the northern coast and continuing until December of 1936 the Republicans were able to get as far as Asturias before Franco himself led a large offensive of Madrid, forcing many Republican Units to retreat and reinforce the Capital. March of 1937 saw the end of the Spanish civil war as Franco managed to overwhelm Madrid and break out across the country, isolating multiple significant Republican units as his forces stormed across the eastern half of Spain. The Republican leadership was captured in Valencia in June of 1937 and Franco solidified his control over the country, riding on a wave of legitimacy as he had personally led the capture of Madrid and been wounded in the shoulder in the process. Now a prestigious general as well as a wounded war hero, Franco embarked on a major process to repair the damage done to the nation.
The technical and military experience gathered by various parties involved in the Spanish civil war was significant. The Italians had proven their competency as a military force, the German equipment and tactics had worked beautifully, and the Soviets had tested some of their equipment as well and gotten a jump start at modifying their combat doctrine to better combat the increasingly aggressive Fascist states in Europe.
An Alarmed Commonwealth
By 1937 and the end of the Spanish Civil War, the French and British governments met to discuss the rising situation in Europe. Recognizing neither side was ready to fight a war any time soon, the British government under Prime Minister Chamberlain began drafting ideas on how to hold off Germany long enough for the United Kingdom to re-arm. Many members of the mainland parliament in London were mostly against the idea of re-armament, but the Canadian representatives were resolute with the famous words of a Parliament member being "We will re-arm or we will all die speaking German". After nearly a month of Deliberation Parliament barely passed a vote authorizing the re-armament of the nation. This led to many of the British Dominions beginning to re-arm as well which ultimately led to some positive economic impact as the government being forced to invest the money brought some jobs back to many dominions and the UK itself. The French as well began their own re-armament program and began to stockpile the Maginot line for an eventual German offensive.
The UK began stockpiling massive amounts of munitions and equipment as it spent profuse amounts of money to get its industrial sector back into working condition. The French were in the same position but between the two, realizing they might not be able to win began looking for other Allies to prevent such an issue. The Germans in this regard had been uncharacteristically hostile toward Poland with various border violations and even a few border skirmishes breaking out. The Polish were more than willing to accept an alliance from the French and British effectively nullifying the numbers and equipment advantage (in theory) of their German neighbors. The Soviets had been negotiated with to prevent their own invasions with promises of handing over part of the Baltics to the USSR in exchange for a non aggression pact. Many Poles were outraged by this deal but when the first border skirmishes with the Germans broke out nearly all protests and issues regarding this were removed as many began to feel the Germans were the biggest threat.
In 1938 the fears of the allies were almost entirely confirmed as the British and France were forced to allow the Third Reich to not just annex their cultural brethren in Austria, but also the Czech Republic. Any further expansion by the Germans was not to be tolerated regardless of the readiness of any of them and the British began to step up its naval forces along the coast. The Commonwealth in particular was not fully prepared but was the most prepared out of all the allies by this point, and had begun expanding its military force, with many Canadian troops entering the UK. The newly named "United Commonwealth Force" essentially reformed the British Expeditionary Force by adding forces from South Africa, Canada and other colonies on top of British regulars. 500,000 troops began to be shifted toward France as the Germans looked to be ready to Invade Poland.
The Manchurian Incident
Japan throughout all this had not only come out of WW1 with only some lost ships and hurt pride, the Japanese had come to see the United States and China as their main rivals. China had the massive amount of resources and arable land that the Japanese would require to make Japan a self-sufficient society. While this attitude was one present in Japanese society beforehand the general loss to the United States brought the Japanese to around to the thought process of needing to be able to challenge the United States outright. The ability to do this lay in China and South East Asia, with their already producing resource bases (rather than the alternative option of Siberian conquest). This attitude of conquest was multiplied ten-fold with the Great Depression essentially disabling many of the colonial powers in Asia. By 1932 the Japanese had not only bounced their economy back, but were also in the middle of a massive military buildup.
With the Mukden incident occurring Japan overwhelmingly invaded Manchuria, establishing the State of Manchukuo a Japanese puppet state. The overall incident was one that was instigated by the Japanese and the overall invasion of Manchuria was an overwhelming success. The Japanese forces were able to take the whole of Manchuria very quickly with little to no resistance from local Chinese forces. Japan established its full control over Manchukuo extremely quickly, with a Manchu puppet emperor Puyi (the last Qing emperor) as well as a military and a collective of military bases and Japanese officials. The Japanese then began very obvious attempts at forcing their culture on the Manchurian territory with many names being moved into Japanese as the area became a colony of Japan in all but name.
With this stunning Success the Japanese leadership, particularly the Admiralty saw that Japans closest and most populous rival was extremely weak. It was divided by a civil war, the Nationalists had just lost Manchuria to Japan, the warlords and many other powers were getting restless again as potential for independence again really brought out a hard line side in them. Japan began to build up immensely preparing to capitalise on its obvious superiority over China. The United States began to make various warnings to Japan that "No intrusion into China would be tolerated." However, they were ignored as Japan began to test its water. By 1937 Japan had made a stunning discovery in Manchuria that it had kept under raps since 1934. Japan had discovering oil in Daqing and had spent the past few years not only developing the reserves but becoming as oil self-sufficient as possible. The Japanese began to stockpile all sorts of materials, such as rubber, ball bearings, munitions, equipment. Ships were moved into positions, and armies were prepared. On July 7th 1937 a small skirmish at the Marco Polo bridge escalated into full scale conflict as thousands of Japanese and Chinese forces engaged. In August of 1937 the entire local area including Beijing fell to Japanese forces. The Second Sino-Japanese War had begun.
The War in its initial stages went well for Japan. Multiple coastal invasion occurred with many cities on the coast falling, the Japanese had achieved near total Naval supremacy and was able to incur wherever it wished. In other notes it was also able to cleanly avoid conflicts with the British and other colonial powers in the area as it established a much less hostile working relationship due to the less antagonistic issues with oil. Japan thus also easily was able to begin avoiding much of the American embargo (put in place in 1941) except the shipments of scrap metal which it relied on heavily for its high quality steel industries. Japan, however, was more than willing to be more economical to prolong its ability to beat China and avoid entering a Two Front War. While many of its civilian sectors suffered a bit from lack of resources, the Japanese began to actively scrap building more ships in order to manufacture more heavy equipment for its invasion of China. The US by 1941 had not only embargoed the Japanese but had begun to move military equipment into Asia. Hawaii became a heavy site of use as US forces, mostly from the navy, were built up with the Pacific fleet being headquartered there. The Commonwealth of the Philippines and the Vietnamese Commonwealth were both also rapidly built up as they began to see larger US forces which began to train and supply their Commonwealth Allies (also nominally puppet states)
The Second World War
By 1939 Hitler looked as if he had calmed with his territorial ambition. He had managed to peacefully annex Austria with the Anschluss, and had also overrun the Czechs with little to no resistance. It had signed the Tripartite pact between the Third Reich, the Kingdom of Italy, and the Hungarian Federation, with multiple tertiary allies secured just as well. The Axis itself had been formed, which formed an effective counter balance to the Anglo-Franco-Polish Alliance, also known as the Triple Alliance. The Triple alliance was not entirely convinced of Hitlers want to go to war, and it was believed the hostile rhetoric specifically toward Poland was all talk, no actual action was predicted. Of the Axis powers one of their Allies had absolutely no stake in potential wars to the north, which brought about thoughts that the Hungarian Federation would decline to participate in any future wars with the Triple Alliance. The British had successfully lobbied further non-aggression against Poland with the Soviet Union who went extremely quiet and minded its own business in the East. The Triple alliance only lacked a key lynch pin in their strategy. Poland was still woefully behind in modern might militarily. It had an experienced, well trained force, but had been unable to gain enough aircraft, and mechanization for its armed forces, putting it into a distinct disadvantage on the Eastern Plains it controlled against the German tanks.
Hitler by this point began manufacturing in secret; plans to invade Poland and secure it for future use. He began also to warm up to his new allies as he looked to ensure their participation in any of the future great European wars. The Hungarian Federation and Italy agreed readily as they all looked to confirm their new territorial ambitions with Germany to make sure they did not conflict. The Allies by this point had not fully mobilized but had all assembled expeditionary forces to handle any possible situation that developed. The French had a force of 500,000 brought up to prevent German incursion against Poland. The United Commonwealth Forces consisting of the United Kingdom, and its Dominions and some colonial troops numbered roughly 500,000 as well and was ready to move into France on a moments notice. The Polish military was by far the most ready to fight. With 800,000 troops ready at any point with potential to raise up to 1.2 million with further men in reserve for active combat. These proposed military mobilized which came to reality were said to be enough of a deterrent for the Germans but this proved wrong when the Germans began massing on the Polish border, and German forces beginning to man their western Defensive positions. While animosity remained, the Triple alliance, particularly the British began to open up talks with the United States to mediate, but got a standard pre-WW1 diplomatic response. The US was claiming isolationism again and would not involve itself in the brewing Great European war on either side.
The War Begins
In September of 1939 the Triple Alliances worst fears had been realized. Hitler removing doubts to his further expansion, demanded that Poland return the Danzig corridor to Germany claiming that a good amount of Germans lived in these areas as well as citing irredentist claims from the former German Empire. Poland refused and on September 1st the German Army began its massive invasion of Poland. The Germans forces surged through the entirety of Poland's western border. 1.5 million Germans smashed through the Polish Frontier as the Polish began a fighting retreat to hold the City of Warsaw and stabilize a defensive line. The Poles had been readying for this war for almost two years by this point and began not only to quickly mobilize but set up deadly traps for the Germans as they advanced on Warsaw. The Poles were able to concentrate their mobilized forces rather quickly as they countered the German advance with a massive assault on the forces preparing to attack Warsaw. This proved to be a strategic mistake for the Poles as the Germans using their new Blitzkrieg Tactics destroyed the Polish Home Army which retreated in full to Warsaw. Foreign correspondents were appalled with how the Germans fought the Poles as many prisoners were undeniably killed, and surrender became an extremely bad option for the Polish increasing the ferocity of the fighting. By the opening of October the Germans had taken roughly 60% of the country and the Polish military had gone from an effective fighting force of 1.2 million to a paltry 250,000 who were mostly hiding out in Poland's Rural eastern Territories. The USSR became relatively uncomfortable with the Germans now running right up on their border but remained neutral as the Germans decisively beat the last of open Polish resistance on October 17th driving their remaining forces into hiding. With the end of the Polish invasion, their government fled to the United Kingdom in Exile, managing to survive to fight another day. The French generals, now regretting their decision not to invade Western Germany when it had the chance, waited for the eventual German attack. The Saar offensive brought about by the French while the Germans still fought in Poland had succeeded in only proving the French were unwilling to commit long term to a major offensive into Germany and preferred to defend along the Maginot Line. The April of 1940 was bleak for the Allies as the Wehrmacht invaded and occupied Denmark and Norway forcing the British to retreat from the Area. The Allies began even more furiously to fully re-arm and prepare for the invasion of France. This came in May of 1940 as Millions of Germans and French mobilized to fight. The invasion began on the 10th of May as German forces crossed the French Frontier. This coincided with multiple other invasions of the Low Countries. This saw Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Belgium all fall in quick succession as the German forces blew through the area and broke out into Northern France having defeated the combined armies of the Dutch, Belgians and the French force that been sent to Assist. The United Commonwealth Forces spent this time shifting available assets into France to reinforce their allies old and new. The Battle for Northern France began in earnest as the French fanatically began to defend their homeland. Unexpectedly the Germans had cut their way through the Ardennes but for two weeks thousands of German vehicles were backed up along only four marching areas. The French and United Commonwealth forces harassing the German columns but did not bring any ground units to follow up. The Germans broke through the Ardennes shortly after and engaged in multiple battles with the Allies winning all of them as the French began a general retreat west and the United Commonwealth Force began its own retreat toward the coast. This effectively split the Allied forces which meant the Germans could wipe them out at their leisure. This led to one of the only Allied successes during the Battle of France
The Continent Shall not Fall
The Battle of Dunkirk became one of the most hectic battles of the war. The United Commonwealth Force was in danger of being wiped out alongside French and forces from the Low Countries. The Germans had run up on them and the British government made the decision it would save its troops and abandon its heavy equipment, preferring to save lives in favor of equipment. However, Canadian commanders when looking at the German forces arraying against them noticed a relative lack in direct ground attack by German forces with the heavy emphasis on artillery and the Luftwaffe to handle destroying the evacuating force and the fleet on its way to pick them up. The British forces refused to commit to any offensive against the Germans and the Canadian commanders acted in complete insubordination refusing to give up France with out so much as a fight on their part. The Canadians using their nearly 100,000 strong forces and with their own heavy equipment (as well as some timely volunteers from the British tank forces) embarked on the Dunkirk Counteroffensive.
The Germans who had advanced up on the Expeditionary forces were far beyond their true operation range. The tanks that had run up on the allies had next to no infantry support, and the Germans would lose the initiative in that area. This over extension was not outright known by the Allied forces and the British seemed hellbent on evacuating their forces from the continent to live to fight another day. The Germans were focusing on Dunkirk as a tertiary objective as they overran France. The French were low on morale and were suffering horrible capture rates and low casualties as the French war footing began to collapse. By this point the British government seeing how overwhelmingly superior the German military had performed, the Allies began to discuss a conditional surrender to the Germans. This was quickly stifled as the counteroffensive picked up surprising steam in France
The Canadian forces going rogue, supported by some other British tank forces also acting against orders, began their counter attack on the 27th of May. Some allied troops had already started their evacuation and the French that were below the battle lines to the south were realizing they were being abandoned by some of their forces, as well as their allies. The French units just to the south were abandoned by General Maxime Weygand who withdrew of his own accord after being unable to reach further French forces to the south. The French units began to have issues in keeping morale and cohesion and the entire war effort in France was threatened. The Counteroffensive, however, was a resounding success. Depleted and exhausted the German units around Dunkirk were beset by Canadian forces, once again proving their ability as shock troops. The Canadians fought with viciousness that initially offput their British comrades and brought about a sort of legend among German troops involved in fighting them. The initial assaults saw the full force of the Canadians deploy and make an unexpected assault on German positions. The German units were absolutely butchered as the Canadians overwhelmed the positions and took no prisoners. The German Commander Rundstedt himself was killed in this assault as the forward German Tank units collapsed. This led to news of this attack spreading to the Ally forces. The Canadians were eventually rejoined by the remnants of the Dutch and Belgian forces and finally by French and British units. Churchill in a public event to address this development gave his famous "Shall not Fall" speech.
The news of a successful counter attack against the Germans spread to many of the French units which began to fight with new Morale and vigour. While many units were cut off, many of the trapped French units fought harder than usual as they tried to reach some friendly territory and the Great Exodus began. Operation Exodus was a Massive French counter attack that was aimed at opening up retreat corridors for the thousands of French trapped behind lines or on the Maginot line itself. The Dunkirk Safe Zone became a major point of retreat for many French units as Paris fell in June of 1940. The sloppy lines of retreat led to heavy casualties on all sides but mostly the French as they were forced to retreat on unreliable retreat lanes and avoiding combat with the Germans. By the end of the operation of the 500,000 French soldiers retreating from the Maginot line, only 200,000 returned with many others killed or captured during the Retreat.
The French was able to hold much of Northern France as the Allied forces stabilized the area around Normandy retreating out of the Dunkirk Area in favor of setting up defensive positions on some of the difficult terrain. The French government by July of 1940 officially signed their surrender under Duress in Paris. The Treaty of Paris was signed on jJly 12th 1940 which brought about the unconditional surrender of France. The French military, however, refused to surrender with the majority of it beginning to dig in for a long war. The United Commonwealth itself used its expeditionary forces to bolster the French defensive lines and also commit to the Siege of Paris. The Germans by August had been driven from Paris. However, the government was deemed inept, and the Commonwealth supported an interim government run by the Military until the War was over. The French Military rallied under such leaders Charles de Gaulle, and Phillipe Leclerc who both by this point had taken up the joint defense of their homeland. The Two generals managed to draw in reserves from as many parts of France as Possible. many made the trek through occupied territory as Charles de Gaulle assumed command of the French government at Britain's suggestion. By the Fall of 1940, however, the French remaining only at about 700,000 total strength were pushed out of nearly half of Normandy and into Brittany and Anjou. The French embarked on a desperate defense as only the 350,000 remaining British stood on deaths doorstep in Caux. The British forces and the minor remnants of the United Commonwealth forces which were not fighting with the French, the British forces in Caux were kept alive by the Royal air force and Royal navy. The tempo of the conflict soon changes drastically. With a large German force keeping the Allied Forces in Anjou and Provence occupied with holding their last bastion, the German Luftwaffe exploited their numerical advantage in aircraft and began a massive bombing campaign over England ordered directly by Hitler (which consequently allowed the entire British portion of the United Commonwealth Forces to escape back to England). The French were on their last legs, and the British now began to see massive aerial fleets appearing in their skies. With the new focus on the aerial combat over Britain the French were able to consolidate their hold over Brittanny declaring it the "National Redoubt" as the remainder of the mainline French forces dug in for the long war
Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain began on October 17th 1940. With the German Fall Rot Operation now nearing completion the Luftwaffe was eased on the French as the focus on the British now began. The German Air force began a massive bombing campaign over England. They started with the military airfields in Southern England intent on knocking the Royal Air Force out of the fight while they finished up in Europe. The British desperately fought in the Skies above England utilizing new technology, Radar it was able to effectively co-ordinate defense from the German attacks. However, on one night the British underwent a retaliatory strike. Churchill ordered a raid on Berlin. The British sent out 98 Bombers from airfields in Southern England and bombed Berlin. The cloud cover was light and the Allied bombers targeted with no discretion. The damage of this Berlin raid was significant as various industrial targets were hit and an entire residential block was raised to the ground killing nearly 1500 people. Churchill then promptly announced that "he would defeat Germany at any cost". Churchill by the Christmas of 1941 finally saw the final Bastions of French resistance on the Continent fold with an evacuation bringing the remaining Allied forces to Britain and a few varying territories. This saw 200,000 French left on the Beaches as the Germans took them prisoner. The Blitz on Britain continued as Hitler now ordered the economy to prepare fully for war, a total war. The German population began to harden itself for the times to come, until April of 1941 the Germans hammered Southern England and the British retaliated the Two nations going blow for blow. The battle, however, finally concluded in Favor of the Allies with nearly 40,000 civilians and 1000 airmen killed in Britain and 33,000 civilians and 3200 airmen killed. Germany left itself content with having potentially put Britain down for a few years and began to Consolidate preparing for a new operation.
The Battle of Britain notably eclipsed the announcement of Spain's joining on the Side of the Axis. Gibraltar was put under siege but the Spanish were unable to take the area as the Garrison held out. The French colonies surrounding Spanish Morocco occupied the Spanish colony quickly and a good amount of French Equipment moved from Algeria gave the French the ability to continue fighting. Support for the British in Gibraltar was established.
The Early North African Campaign
In the opening of the War the Italians had also joined in the War aiding Germany in their invasion of France, as well as beginning its own invasion in Africa. It turned many of its forces onto the British colonies beginning a major siege at Malta, capturing Cyprus, and beginning an invasion of Egypt from Libya. The French were too disorganized to challenge the Italians so parts of Algeria were seized as was Tripoli. By late 1940 Italy had seen just as much success as Germany, taking the majority of the North African coast in a matter of months. However, as the British navy began to trickle into the Mediterranean the Italians so notably less success due to the severity of the British attacks along the transport and shipping lanes. The British navy had secured Naval supremacy on the seas forcing much of the Italian fleet into the Easter half of the Mediterranean. The Germans considered helping the Italians but with the commencement of the Battle of Britain in October of 1940 the the Italians began to reverse the British gains that had been made.
The British by this point had been holding on by a thread. The British were, however, beginning so see some of their colonial troops come into play. The Indian soldiers were brought up into Egypt and met the Italians in a brutal Open battle in Alexandria. The Battle of Alexandria saw 600,000 British Indian troops engage the smaller Italian force of 250,000 and crushing them in an overwhelming victory capturing or killing nearly 80,000 of the Italian troops. The Italian forces retreated well outside of Egypt digging in majorly around Tripoli as well as establishing a mobile defensive area throughout the Deserts of Libya as well. The Italians maintained a force of nearly 500,000 still as it began to re-fortify. The Italian Navy performed relatively well in comparison to the British and was able to maintain a solid supply line to its forces in North Africa. The front in North Africa stabilized relatively quickly as the two sides prevented on the ground fighting in favor of Naval and Aerial combat. The Italians once again proved competent but were just unable to drive the British out while being able maintain their own operational integrity.
By 1941 the British had managed to hold their ground and were now shipping troops from India to Egypt regularly with the Union of Sovereign Islamic States allowing them access through, not wishing to see an aggressive and powerful Italy on its border. This move, however, brought Italy fully well into the war, matching British troop strength as the Italian forces now numbering roughly 800,000 faced off against about 780,000 soldiers from the UK and its colonies. The Italians, however, saw much better success in defending against the French forces who almost exclusively fought out of her colonies at this point, managing to deter further French incursions as the French became much more focused on fighting the new involved Spanish.
The Long Defiance, and a New Identity
By this point the War in Europe was going very badly for the Allies. Almost every continental ally had been wiped out and occupied. The British had managed to salvage her heavy equipment from France, and was able to guarantee steady supply by outsourcing much of the building and development of certain equipment to Canada which became the staging ground for the United Commonwealth. The British were now isolated and fighting mostly alone all across the Europe and other parts of the World. They were fighting in North Africa, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, they had just lost Greece, and were now potentially seeing the Support from USIS fall out as the combined pressure from all the Axis nations began to become more apparent with the USIS government now seeing demonstrations for support of the Nazis and its Axis allies. The British were desperate.
In 1939 the British had been given a challenge to their naval supremacy. The Battle of the Atlantic saw the bulk of the British and French navies (the latter having its main port of operations in a colony or British territory) engage the combined might of Italy and Germany who now had all of continental Europe to base its ships out of. Germany particularly favored U-Boats as they targeted allied shipping and transport with great effect. This began to effectively cripple the Allied war effort as the British were unable to properly supply themselves and the French were limited to fighting in Africa and somewhat in Spain as they attempted to keep the British territory of Gibraltar from falling. However, allied fortunes began to shift after the United Commonwealth forces managed to begin turning the U-boat sorties into very unprofitable ventures as the new convoy systems hammered the U-boats. The British then began to rebuild its stockpiles and also began to build up its new fleet of Lancaster bombers producing nearly 300 in Canada alone within a few months. extending into 1942. However, by this point, as much as the British had been surviving, they still were unable to truly challenge the Axis and began to settle for other operations. The British decidedly began a massive troop build up in Spain to reinforce the flagging French forces who had broken out into the Granada area along the southern coast. This, however, was Britain's only major offensive (not a counteroffensive) of 1941 as they began to consolidate their military stockpiles to prepare for new and heavier combat in 1942.
While 1941 was a brutal year for the allies the British had managed not only to bring about the rise of a massive French resistance movement beyond Brittanny but had also begun to prod further weak spots in the Axis secretly meeting with Bulgarian ambassadors to hammer out either a Bulgarian exit from the war or an outright switching of Sides seeing Bulgaria as one of the weaker links. Any attempts of communicating with other powers such as Spain, Italy and Hungary proved fruitless as they all stood steadfast behind their German ally. Britain now began to turn toward a nation it had been unwilling to previously work and co-operate with. Winston Churchill met with Joseph Stalin with talks on halting the Axis, specifically German gains. This, however, came to complete fruition a short time after when Adolf Hitler betrayed his word with Stalin (ending previous non aggression pacts and agreements) in order to begin Operation Barbarossa.
The Eastern Front begins
By early June of 1941 Hitler had turned Germany into Europe's pre-eminent superpower with relatively small loss of life compared to what was expected. Of the nearly two years of conflict the casualties were well below their expected levels, and the occupation of France had become relatively low maintenance as the French were disorganized following their defeat (until French forces began to stir up resistance again). The Germans due to the harsher than usual fighting in France in 1940 had prepared for a total war which had then diverted all industrial productive capabilities geared toward the war. German generals were relatively uneasy with Hitler newest orders. Invade the Soviet Union. His rationale was the easy collapse of the Polish forces as well as the fact the majority of his flanks were secure and the majority of Europe was under Axis occupation and hence would be able to be used to fight and destroy the Soviet Union. The Germans invaded the USSR on June 10th 1941 beginning operation Barbarossa. Much of the Soviet communications structure was destroyed or damaged pre-invasion and hence when German troops flooded over the Borders exploiting a paralyzed Soviet command structure. The offensive totally caught Stalin off guard, who did absolutely nothing for almost two weeks as Germans soldiers poured into the country, Stalin was recorded quietly as being distraught. For two weeks the Soviets suffered atrocious casualties with entire field armies surrendering and other units. The first week of the invasion saw Axis forces advance nearly 450 miles into the Soviet Union and it continuing at this pace.
All three Army groups: North, Center and South, saw massive territorial gains as they advanced through the USSR reaching Russia proper. By mid September the Axis forces had taken much of the USSR's key territory and even seized Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine area. This battle only strengthened Hitler's thoughts that the Soviet system was essentially ready to collapse and only needed the final "kick" from Germany and its allies to open up the entire area for German conquest and settlement. Confident also in his allies ability to hold off the British and their allies Hitler diverted supplies and offered German commanders to its Italian and Spanish allies in hopes they would be able to counter the mostly British advances into Spain and North Africa. This paid off a bit as the two allies began a defensive war covering the West for Germany while it focused heavily in the USSR. The Winter of 1941-42 truly ended the initial offensive and while the Germans had advanced into the USSR almost reaching Moscow and besieging it and other key cities. Stalin had managed not only to survive but was now learning. He appointed Marshall Georgy Zhukov for his effective tactics against the Japanese in Khaklin Gol and their Kwantung Army. Zhukov by this extension became one of the only people who was able to not only Speak with Stalin as an equal but also undermine him on multiple military decisions without being killed or exiled. Zhukov consequently used this practical immunity to establish himself as a powerful, effective, but overbearingly controlling leader.
By the Autumn of 1941 Zhukov was now in command of the majority of the Forces around Moscow and Rostov embarked on a desperate defense of the Soviet capital and its surrounding regions. The German attacks on Moscow went through until early December with the German forces being stonewalled by not only fanatical ground resistance but also zealous aerial defenses. Most of Hitler's generals began to believe that their invasion and treatment of locals had rallied the various people of the USSR. The Germans began to be plagued by partisans behind the lines, and vicious fighting along the Moscow defensive perimeter which saw the German advance blunted again and again. The Germans became clearly unable to seize Moscow as the Russians bought time with blood holding the line until fresh reinforcements came. This came on December 7th 1941 when fresh units from Siberia supported by a massive amount of tanks and artillery support began a counterattack which culminated in the eight-month long Siege of Moscow
The Great Return
By Early 1942 the British had officially set up its agreement with the Soviet Union to work at ending the war and crushing the Axis powers. There were varying plans on how to deal with the Germans and their Axis allies, the Soviets in particular were pressuring the remaining allies to re-open a second front in France, mostly in an attempt to divide the Germans and prevent them from bringing their full strength against the Soviets. The British plan was to fund the various resistance groups (mostly the French and Polish) toward revolting against the Axis and taking advantage of the situation to re-open the front. In February of 1942 the USSR and British co-belligerents made an agreement finally on how to handle the situation with Churchill and Stalin opting to embark on both plans within certain intensity. The British would begin a massive bombing campaign of Germany and extensively expand their offensives in Spain, and the Soviets would continue their current war with the Nazis in the east and the two would meet in the middle. This was seen as a titanic task as the British were still engaged heavily with the Italians in Africa and could not fully commit into Spain, and the Soviets had now begun to see troops from the Hungarian Federation which had begun to operate as a co-belligerent on the Eastern Front to help the Germans. The only saving grace seemed to be the Kingdom of Bulgaria officially switching sides and fortifying its borders. The Bulgarian state was proportionally small compared to its neighbors and hence withdrew to its borders disallowing itself to be caught in a costly offensive that would force its exit from the war. The main issue the Bulgarians began to experience was the moderate bombing that was brought down on them by Hungarian and German forces as well as Romanian units that were diverted in terms of trying to reclaim some of their homeland.
The shift in the Axis fortunes occurred in the Middle East when USIS in 1942 solidified a war time alliance with the British opening up an entirely new manpower pool to the Allies. The involvement of USIS brought its immediately standing armed forces alongside the British who brought the nearly 200,000 forces to bear on a massive offensive on the Italians in Africa. The Continuation of the North African campaign truly brought about the point when the Axis advance was truly stalled. The Italians were now outnumbered and committed on two fronts (North Africa and recently Spain) and were outright losing on North Africa. Its East African colonies were fully occupied by the British at this point as well further causing some morale issues as the Italians began to desperately fight in North Africa while they attempted to evacuate as much as possible, opting to "live to fight another day". Spain saw more extreme success as the Madrid Offensive led by the French forces and backed up by the British who attacked the Spanish lines with extreme ferocity as the Spanish saw French tank forces adopting the German form of warfare, something extremely unexpected by the combined Spanish and Italian forces. The French attack followed up by a mass amount of British forces achieved for the allies, operational superiority in Spain and led to the fall of Madrid which plunged Spain into chaos. Francisco Franco was killed in the seizure of the capital as was much of his Regime, being unable to evacuate. The Entire Spanish War effort collapsed in March of 1942 unexpectedly forcing the Italian forces to retreat with now exiled Spanish Fascist units across the Pyrenees into Southern France. The Germans also now joined the defense in Southern France preparing for a Grand invasion of France through the passes in the Pyrenees.
The British now by this point were seeing popular opinion for the war growing as they saw now success after success. The fall of Spain was memorialized and the disorganized nature of the Axis retreat allowed thousands of French forces to flood into southern France expanding the French resistance significantly as the Germans began to see extreme issues from hostile French resistance fighters wreaking havoc behind the lines. The French now as well had undergone a signing agreement with the United States (followed soon by the British and Soviets) known as the Lend-Lease Act, an act passed in the US that saw the US beginning to send arms, resources, and equipment to the Allies to keep them pressing on through the war. The French and Soviets were the prime recipients of Lend Lease, and to a lesser degree the British. The French receipts of Lend lease saw their forces bolstered significantly as Charles de Gaulle himself began preparing for the grand Invasion of France drawing up nearly all the remaining strength of the French forces now camped out in Northern Spain. The French mostly relied on colonial troops here with nearly 85% of its nearly 800,000 force consisting of colonial troops. The French were unable to draw up enough equipment to begin the invasion when initially planned (the planned strength was supposed to be 1.2 million French troops, 600,000 United Commonwealth forces, and a simultaneous attack by a UC amphibious force in Normandy,) was delayed by the French acquisition of Lend Lease which saw them re-organize how they would begin their invasion. Regardless of this, however, the British began Operation Thunder the massive bombing campaign of Germany.
Pacific Tensions and Lend Lease
By this point it had been correctly determined the United States would not intervene in the brewing conflict leaving Europe to her fate. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was keen on entering the war, but much of the American populace was focused on maintaining their powerful isolation. This, however, was somewhat dubious due to Japans sympathies with the Axis powers which forced the United States to recognize it might need to help the beleaguered allies in Europe. While Japan was in fact acting outwardly aggressive toward China, it had not truly engaged in conflict with the Soviets or moved on the British or French colonies. The US had enacted an embargo which was supposed to force Japan to its knees, saw Japan break its economic ties with the US in favor of its Chinese conquests. This greatly disturbed the United States but it was wholly unable to rally its people into a war with Japan to prevent their outright conquest of China.
However, the Japanese aggression and now ever increasing rivalry with the United States saw the US able to pass an the Lend-Lease Act. This saw the US beginning to ship massive amounts of material and resources to fight a war to the Allies, with the French and Soviets being the prime recipients. This was relatively popular with Roosevelt's constituents who lauded him for his ability to "Fight a war without actually fighting a war". The Lend Lease saw the entire restructuring of the French forces now camping out in Northern Spain and also allowed Stalin and the USSR to maintain their titanic war effort on the Eastern Front. Tensions did eventually almost boil over between Japan and the US when Japanese ships sunk US merchant shipping heading toward the Soviet Union but war was avoided when Japan secretly agreed to avoid helping the Axis in exchange for the US secretly avoiding the "Chinese Question".
The US in this regard, however, did begin to see the development of the post-war power structure across the Globe and began to develop new foreign policy based on this, which included massive repairing of relations with almost all its Latin American neighbors. The American analysts saw that the post War powers were already set up, with the US, USSR, British Commonwealth, France, and Japan being the worlds post war great powers. This was not favorable to the US as it now attempted to set up a western ally for itself that could act politically on par with other Great Powers.
The Rising Sun
Japan while part of the Anti-Comintern pact with the Third Reich was not willing to engage the Soviets in open conflict having been outright defeated by the Soviets at Khaklin Gol, an untold Soviet-Japanese border war which saw Japan abandon designs for Siberia. The Japanese by this extent focused almost exclusively on China for its resources as it began to develop the resources heavily. The initial tactics used in China were excessively brutal, with Chinese being murdered outright in many cases. This, however, following the invasion of Shanghai was the Nanking massacre. The Chinese capital was seized by the Japanese with hundreds of thousands of Chinese being murdered outright simply for being Chinese. This was kept heavily under wraps by the Japanese as many civilians began to become disgusted with the overly brutal and militaristic tendencies. This began to see a more light approach coming around for the Japanese military as Prime Minister Hideki Tojo conceded to the emperors demands to avoid such brutal treatment of the Chinese. This was met with hostile resistance from hard line militaristic generals, but it saw Tojo arresting these men and forcing them to commit ritual suicide for the "Shame of murdering so many innocents, an act which in itself is dishonorable". These generals heeded the orders and the example was set. The Japanese army was reigned in at the heed of Hideki Tojo and the emperor. While the Imperial Japanese Army was rampaging in China many in the Imperial Japanese Navy or IJN were becoming extremely unruly as they wished to expand into South East Asia and Indochina to satisfy the resource needs. This brought about some inter-branch rivalries within Japan that was hard to put to heel and caused an international incidents particularly with the US and the British.
Following these incidents the IJN was neutered of its power projection capabilities in favor of supporting the army (and preventing the navy from executing a coup). The Japanese admiralty in this regard even saw multiple admirals sacked and effectively imprisoned for acting against the wishes of the Emperor. This brought out a various slew of issues with Japanese military establishment which Tojo was told to rectify by the Emperor. (Nominally the Emperor did not have this much power but with Tojo's sympathies lying towards the emperor he abided). This immediately led to the Japanese attempts at consolidating their gains, building a new puppet state in China itself as it began to build up defensive fortifications. This outright change in Japanese tactics gave the Chinese (Nationalist and Communist) a good break with which to consolidate their forces and attempt to build up for counter offensives. While definitively aware of this the Japanese concentrated on building the Kwangtung Army into one that could handle the threat and began to embark on a heavy upgrade process for the army, coincidentally this also led to the United States begrudgingly accepting the Japanese gains as further Japanese conquests were deemed impossible by both governments and the more militaristic elements had been eliminated from power by the end of 1941 and early 1942.
The Siege of Russia
The Winter of 1941-42 was a relatively brutal one, the Germans were engaged not only in the offensives on Moscow, but also in Stalingrad, Leningrad, and were now facing a determined counterattack on all fronts intent on liberating Moscow and Stalingrad specifically. Stalin while having transferred a good number of government functions from Moscow to over the Urals (this was subject to great debate but Novosibirsk was the eventual place chosen) to Novosibirsk due to the absolute inability of the Germans to even touch the city. The Sieges of Moscow and Stalingrad were seen as the prime objectives for the Soviets at this point. Every Soviet commander pushed heavily for a focused offensive but at behest of Stalin the Red Army was to embark on the second largest offensive of the war. The Winter Offensive or Operation Savior was a massive operation involving millions of men across the entire Eastern Front. The plan was to open up an absolutely massive counter attack at all possible avenues essentially using the overwhelming numbers and the experienced Soviet commanders to paralyze and reverse the Germans who had by this time had dug in for the winter. The operation began on November 23rd 1941 with the first attacks on German positions in Moscow began.
The whole operation kicked into gear relatively quickly and the ferocity of the attack caught the Germans by surprise who were wholly unprepared to wage a winter war and were attempting to pull out of their previous operation to encircle Moscow. The offensive carried over into Stalingrad as well which was much less obviously held by the Germans. The Soviets, however, focused almost their entire operational strength in bringing the monolithic Russian capital back under full control of the Soviets. While the battle raged in the streets of Moscow, the whole time Stalin spoke over loudspeakers encouraging the men of the Red Army. When handed a request for his surrender from the German commanders, Stalin took to the airwaves again issuing the most famous speech of the war. It spoke of his men's undying loyalty to the Motherland, and how no sacrifice would be forgotten. Among many other things this led to a rally by the Red Army who not only embarked on the wars most famous mass charge, but one of such intense ferocity and viciousness that the Germans were wholly unable to handle such an attack. Almost half the city lay in ruins, and thousands of German troops were on the Kremlin's doorstep, Red Square was a shadow of its former self. However, this charge began early in the morning before the heavier fighting of the day began. 650,000 soldiers of the Red Army began the charge at 4:30 in the morning on December 30th intent on having German troops outside of Moscow by New Years. The Germans were unable to cope with such a massive charge, which was supported by a massive artillery barage, tanks, and other vehicles some of which were notably lend-lease vehicles provided by the United States. The Red Army hit the German army all along the lines in Moscow and within ten minutes had overwhelmed the forward positions near the Kremlin and Red Square. The charge continues with thousands dying but notable Soviet success practically drowning the Germans in Red Army manpower. After nearly 18 hours of some of the most brutal fighting of the war, the Soviets had driven the Germans to their positions outside of the city and the momentum carried on
Following the massive patriotic fight to retake all of Moscow the Winter Counteroffensive of 1941-42 continued with Soviet forces over the next few months forcing back the Germans from the literal doorstep of the Kremlin to Rzhev which saw the Wehrmacht attempting to not only hold its ground but reverse Soviet gains to no avail. By the end of February the Red Army had not only regained strategic initiative but had turned Army Group Center and Army Group North back quite away and even began to resupply Leningrad in some very extended cases. However, by the Summer of 1942 the Germans were once again ready to conduct a major offensive into the Soviet Union looking down into the Caucasus region.
The Eastern Front Collapses
In June of 1942 Army Group South, having received its new orders, began a massive push toward the Caucasus with the initial objectives of seizing the Don and Volga Rivers followed by the regions farther south. Hitler in all his vanity ordered both objectives seized at the same time, directing considerable resources towards taking Stalingrad the namesake city of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. This was against much of the advisement of his generals which were looking at a bigger picture and not looking to fight for Stalingrad due to the relative ego fight that was going on for the city. Stalin would not permit Stalingrad to fall, and Hitler would not allow his forces to fall back from Stalingrad.
The rest of the Eastern Front was just a relative stalemate as the direction of the offensive prevented full offensive in the other directions. The defensive nature of German military force on the rest of the front was heavily skewed due to the massive shift in forces to the South. The German Northern and Center army groups saw their manpower and equipment transferred to army group south. The Axis forces saw their advance reach the foothills of the Caucasus as they attempted to push on and take Grozny and then swing around behind Stalingrad and meet up with the initial forces which had made contact with the Red Army on the outskirts of Stalingrad. The offensive going extremely well considering the implications of the overall southern push was eventually stonewalled as the Red Army under the command of Georgy Zhukov and a protogé of his Nikita Khrushchev took personal control of the forces in Stalingrad. This powerful duo involved in the South prompted Field Marshall Friedrich Paulus to re-direct considerable resources to Stalingrad to keep the commanders off balance and promptly seize the city. This, however, was not what happened whatsoever. While German forces initially were able to seize great swathes of the city and push the Red Army to the utmost strained position to hold onto the city, the Soviet forces began a massive counterattack all across the city, and the entire Southern Front code named Operation: Uranus.
By this point the Hungarian forces were stretched thin having suffered immense casualties from the betrayal of the Kingdom of Bulgaria to the British in exchange for its own independent sphere of influence in the Balkans post war. The Bulgarians took much of Transylvania before the major impact of this betrayal was realized. of the nearly 600,000 Bulgarian troops participating in the Axis invasion of the USSR, only roughly 150,000 remained by the time Operation: Uranus had come into play. The Bulgarians in close communication with Soviets had essentially faked their entire part of the operation prior to Operation: Uranus. To the modern day it remains one of the greatest acts of deception of the war. During this point the Bulgarians and Soviets had been lightly fighting making it look like massive assaults were taking place. The Bulgarian generals during the stalemate following the failure to take Grozny secretly made contact with Soviet command Zhukov and multiple other lesser southern commanders in the Red army. This was done through British channels which took significant amounts of time but gave it a good amount of legitimacy. Eventually, by the time the Germans began to suffer from the massive front-wide assault the Bulgarians remaining in the Caucasus seized the initiative opening up a massive attack from behind on Hungarian and German forces before falling back to the safety of the advancing Red Army. In the meantime, with Operation: Uranus in full effect the Hungarian forces at home were suffering a full scale assault by the now withdrawn Bulgarian army.
With this grand betrayal in the Balkans and the massive counterattack the Axis forces in Stalingrad suffered a disastrous setback. From November 19th 1942 to December 2nd 1942 the Axis forces were gradually surrounded by the operation and by December 3rd were fully surrounded by Soviet forces which brought attention to the fact that Hitler had issues a no retreat and no surrender order. By this point the Nazi generals collectively admitted that Hitler's insane strategic choices and vanity, would be the death of all men on the Eastern Front. Correspondence between many of the generals - even the extremely die hard Nazis - were unwilling to heed any more of Hitler's orders and began to redesign their war plan to fight much more flexibly. However, in February of 1943, Hitler found this out and attempted to have the ringleaders arrested. However, under the command of Erwin Rommel in tandem with Karl von Rundstedt managed to undermine Hitler and place him under house arrest while the German forces began a general strategic retreat from the Eastern front following the overwhelming casualties that were taken by Army group south following the surrounding of the entire 6th army. However, with Hitler now indisposed and unable to give orders to the military, the United strategic thoughts of the generals issued orders for the 6th army to attempt a breakout from the encirclement of Stalingrad. With nearly 1.2 million German troops stuck in the encirclement the orders made sense as an outside and inside attempt to break the encirclement finally opened up a corridor which allowed nearly 950,000 of the German troops to escape with a good deal of their equipment. With Strategic initiative gone and the Red Army managing not only to embark on a massive counteroffensive in the South, the Germans were forced to begin a strategic retreat to the West with reserve forces beginning to establish a massive defensive line centered around Minsk and Kiev, as the Wehrmacht began to engage in stalling actions using its strategic strength and still superior technology to try carry the day. This was only somewhat successful as the Battle of Kursk in July of 1943 forced yet another general retreat for the German forces who were forced to begin manning incomplete defensive line while also losing nearly 400,000 troops to the failed counteroffensive.
The Long Years
With the failure of the German invasion of the Soviet Union and the disposal of Hitler as an active war leader for all intents and purposes the Nazi leadership consisted almost entirely of the high ranking Generals who were attempting to hold the line as best as possible. With the significant amount of damage done to the Soviet production lines as well as their forced moving over te Urals, the Wehrmacht had effectively put the Soviets under the weather for a good part of the first chunk of the Eastern war. However, with its other European allies faltering, and with complete betrayal of Bulgaria to the allies, the Hungarian Federation was on the verge of abandoning the Eastern front completely to fight Bulgaria being wholly unable to handle the surprise onslaught which had forced them out of Transylvania entirely and were beginning to push into the Hungarian heartland. The Italians were in dire straights attempting to fight in France as the Allied forces made serious preparations to move across the Pyrenees and retake France having very obviously replaced the Spanish government and bringing them into the war. The German forces in the Pyrenees were low on the priority list for the German leadership but with the mountain passes under their control the Axis forces were expected to hold indefinitely. The Italians had suffered a disastrous setback which reversed their forces in Africa which had brought Allied forces to the gates of the main remaining Garrisons in Italian Libya. However, in a striking show of Solidarity the Italian forces began to redeploy much of its home forces into a few final offensives geared towards removing the initiative from the allies and stabilizing the Hungarian foces before refocusing on the Eastern front to save the faltering German lines.
The Italian offensive was one that was not well coordinated with its allies but what welcome, nonetheless. Italy by far had taken the least casualties of all the Axis members and maintained a lions share of its strength still having only devoted its forces to major fighting in Africa. With the Italian navy still an effective force, and having proven its worth against the British navy, the Italian forces amassed the last of their strategic worth into one final offensive outward except for in France in which it is used to reinforce the Pyrenees line. Italian forces began landing in Tunisia reinforcing the 300,000 strong garrison (the majority of the remaining Italian forces in Libya were stationed here). The troop complement went from nearly 400,000 to almost 1.2 million outnumbering the now 600,000 strong British force which had been stripped to reinforce for the invasion of France. This miscalculation led to severe kickback as the British navy was engaged all across the Mediterranean during as the Italians used their relatively open supply corridor to keep their African forces armed. The Libyan Counteroffensive began on July 17th 1943 with a massive surge of Italian forces overwhelming the Commonwealth and French forces who were under the impression Italy was giving up to focus on the European theatre. The offensive took place in two parts, with the bulk of the forces geared towards driving Commonwealth forces to the Egyptian frontiers, and the roughly 250,000 of the expeditionary force devoted towards securing the Algerian border against further French incursion.
The Allies were caught totally off guard by the Italian offensives in North Africa and even Bulgaria which had done much towards helping the allies suffered extreme casualties as. It saw emboldened and well-led Italian troops reinforcing the faltering Hungarian home army, which consequently allowed the majority of the Hungarian eastern Army to remain in the field in full support of the Germans. The quick stabilization of the Balkan front with help from Italy was a lucky break for the Axis as they were very near a dangerous position of collapse which would have left the entire Eastern Front vulnerable to an attack from behind, and even potentially a flanking maneuver from the Soviets themselves who were busy throwing themselves at the Eastern Wall a German built fortification built in haste but fortified over a good period of the past few months to stem the Soviet advance.
The Allies were caught totally off guard by the Italian offensives in North Africa and even Bulgaria which had done much towards helping the allies suffered extreme casualties as it saw emboldened and well led Italian troops reinforcing the faltering Hungarian home army, which consequently allowed the majority of the Hungarian eastern Army to remain in the field in full support of the Germans. The quick stabilization of the Balkan front with help from Italy was a lucky break for the Axis as they were very near a dangerous position of collapse which would have left the entire eastern front vulnerable to an attack from behind, and even potentially a flanking maneuver from the Soviets themselves who were busy throwing themselves at the Eastern Wall a German built fortification built in haste but fortified over a good period of the past few months to stem the Soviet advance. By August of 1943 the Italian efforts to stabilize multiple fronts led to not only great success as all of Libya was retaken by Italian forces, but the building of the Pyrenees Line as well as the German acceptance of the Italian forces filling many gaps along the Atlantic Wall. This was an unprecedented relief for Germany as it was able to begin transferring thousands to the Eastern front to try to hold back the Soviet advance. Overall, however, this became the final strategic offensive operation of the war for the Axis as shortly after crossing into Egypt, the Union of Sovereign Islamic States joined the conflict under the pretense that the British would renounce its multiple claims in the Middle East as well as allow for a referendum of independence for Egypt with the explicit condition of retaining the Suez Canal.
By the Winter of 1943 the Allies were now beginning to bring the full might of their forces to bear against the Axis. The joint Hungarian-Italian forces were now facing a committed siege in the Balkan from the Bulgarians the USIS, the French were beginning to see signs of major revolt on top of Allied attempts to bombard the Pyrenees line into submission, and the Soviets were grinding their way through the Eastern Wall with expected success in a breakthrough in early 1944. The fighting along the Eastern Wall is characterized as some of the most brutal of the entire wall. German forces were still strategically viable and were attempting not only to regain offensive initiative, but were extremely focused on encircling some of the major thrusts of the Red Army and remove a large component of the Red Armies offensive strength. The Autumn and Winter of 1943-44 saw the German forces fight with relative success having even reversed the Soviets in the Baltics on multiple occasions only being stopped dead cold just a few weeks later due to the over-extension of the German forces as a whole and their unwillingness to commit to a winter offensive which severely hurt their chances in 1942 as it was. The Eastern Wall, however, held surprisingly under immense pressure with major German counter operations ending in the Spring of 1944 with the breaking of the Pyrenees Line in France.
In July of 1944 was when the full Axis collapse was becoming increasingly obvious. The Bulgarian and USIS forces had managed to reverse the Italians and Hungarians during the Siege of Transylvania which saw nearly 150,000 Italian troops captured and the Hungarian home army effectively ceasing to exist as a fighting force. The Hungarian forces numbering roughly 350,000 still on the Eastern front were then recalled abandoning an entire sector of the Eastern Wall for the Germans to refill. However, with equipment and manpower shortages becoming rampant the Germans were unable to regain the impervious nature of the Eastern Wall. The Battle of Budapest becan shortly thereafter as the remaining few thousand Italian forces and the bulk of the Hungarian army now returning from the East attempting to hold their capital at all costs engaging in a bloody battle in an attempt to maintain the Balkan front and their capital. The German forces were then subject to a previously planned offensive hitting Minsk (while ignoring Kiev due to a stigma of the area being known as a relative meat grinder) which allowed the Germans to hold having their most well equipped and numbered units in Minsk to blunt the assault. However, when a probing attack in Kiev revealed the thin lines the the Minsk offensive shifted to show the ruse was over. Kiev fell once again in December of 1944 in the middle of winter as the Kiev Breakthrough left Thousands of Germans stuck on a now collapsing Eastern Wall. By February the Red Army had now begun a massive advance in Ukraine and now had reached Poland in pursuit of the remaining German forces fleeing west to defend the Fatherland.
In France the Pyrenees line had collapsed in August of 1944 as nearly three million allied troops from the Commonwealth, France, and Allied spain left the Italian and German defenders at a complete loss. The line was a thick and solid as the Maginot line but following a massive breach in the lines near the coasts the Allies surrounded nearly 500,000 Axis troops killing or capturing most of them as they flooded out into Southern France. The French themselves having been planning a mass uprising in the meantime saw many former members of their military begin combat operations in Northern France, and other civilian resistance members doing much of the same. The French in particular were some of the most prolific fighters as they retook huge amounts of the homeland from the Axis but were unable to break a Joint German-Italian army holding the easy routes into Northern France. In the North the Axis forces were beleaguered as a massive uprising was underway and old military units reformed or were brought together as best as possible organizing into a massive attack on Paris where an Axis garrison was stationed. Expecting a large battle, the intimidated German commandant surrendered without a fight sparing the City of Paris further destruction. This also led to the remaining Axis forces in France to be almost entirely cut off leaving only a small corridor for the nearly million man force to escape through Orleans and Burgundy back into Germany. In the Mediterranean the Italian fleet finally saw its end in the battle of Gibraltar, an attempt to cut off the allies from their supplies in Spain and facilitate the closing of the Western front shortly thereafter. This was met with disastrous failure as the French and British Navies met together off the coast of Southern Spain and obliterated the Italian fleet reducing the combat effectiveness of the Italian fleet by nearly 60% and bringing the previously successful attacks in North Africa to a quick end as supplies ran dry and the massive expeditionary force surrendered in short order to Commonwealth and USIS forces.
With the relative collapse of both the Eastern and Western fronts in great degrees as well as pretty much every other front in relative to the Axis, the Germans were now under the intense pressure to fight to at least gain some sort of good conditional surrender which didnt totally dismantle everything the Nazis had built in such short brutal order. The German military strength by the Autumn/Winter of 1944 was still a strategically viable force capable of defending the Fatherland. Having avoided fighting a massive amount of grueling and resource consuming fights in the East in favor of defending the Eastern wall had given the Germans a relative ability to not only maintain a strategic fuel reserve but strategic reserves of a good amount of equipment. With roughly 4.3 million soldiers still available to fight, all on the German home front the Wehrmacht began to fight its final battles even as the Italians collapsed following a massive cross sea operation landing in Sicily which put Italy on the defensive being able to utilize only about 400,000 troops for the whole campaign with many of the Italian forces being stuck in Germany following the retreat out of France. With roughly 600,000 Italian forces finding themselves stuck in Germany with no easy way home due to the lack of infrastructural ability and constant harassment, they threw in their lot with the Germans adding their force on top of the German one (giving the Germans their 4.3 million strong force). The Germans while struggling to maintain a mobile force as well as trying to keep the war industry going, did well enough given their situation. The Soviet army had been stalled out near Warsaw and had begun to rebuild and resupply itself for a final push but was met with fierce and debilitating resistance by the Germans intent on not letting the Red Army reach the Fatherland. In the West the Allies were met with the Siegfried Line which sitting opposite to the Maginot Line, had been effective re-armed with as much of the Maginot lines defensive guns as possible. The Allies for the second time in the western war were met with a massive defensive fortification to overcome leaving them with very little choice but try to breach it and flood into Germany.
Over the period of the next eight months into 1945 the German military held out as best it could but finally was starting to be met with incredibly debilitating casualties. The Luftwaffe by the end of Autumn 1945 had roughly 15 aircraft to its name, and the once thundering Panzer divisions had no fuel left, leaving the Wehrmacht with little other choice than to fight on foot. The Germans also saw the Hungarians, and Italians both pull out of the war following their unconditional surrender which opened up another hole in the German lines to be filled. By December of 1945 the German forces officially lost all control, their lack of mobility, food, and nearly dry munitions stockpiles forced them to result to brutal, intense, fanatical resistance. This was unsuccessful as the Red Army finally breached the final defensive lines around Berlin only beating the Western Allies by a few days still conducting its the Seige of Berlin. The Western Allies saw just as much of an issue as the Red army trying to push towards the East. The Siefried Line had been fortified to the Teeth and hence a relatively small force was used to hold the line much to the chagrin of the Allies. They knew for a fact from their Soviet allies in the East more and more forces were being stripped from the Siegfried line to supply the defensive actions in the East. This finally proved to be their undoing as a joint Anglo-French force breached the Siegfried line near Stuttgart which quickly led to the retreat or surrender of the final forces holding in the West. Following a few pitched battles near Nuremburg and Munich the final resistance crumbled and the German forces began to surrender in mass to the Western Allies with the first Commonwealth troops reaching the outskirts of Berlin roughly the same time the Soviets were beginning their final push into the city. The Third Reich officially surrendered on Christmas morning 1945 officially ending World War Two and beginning a new age as various disagreements between the Soviets and West European powers split the continent roughly in half
A Hard Earned Peace
With the end of the war now accomplished, the duty to rebuild Europe and how best to handle the Axis powers began its design. The Soviets attempted to negotiate for occupation zones in every former Axis country, but the Western Allies, particularly the Commonwealth now welcoming Australia and New Zealand as fully fledged Members of the United Commonwealth declined this offer limiting the occupation zones to the places of physical control. The Soviets while admittedly the stronger power at that particular moment with the potential ability to seize the rest of continental Europe declined to do so due to their immense war fatigue as well as threats from the United States to cut off its now only food support to a bloodied Soviet Union. The United States and Japan were both brought into the negotiations due to their great power status's and helped arbitrate on the treaty which finally led to a peace settlement during the Paris Peace conference in 1946. Germany was to be split up into three occupation zones. The Commonwealth, the French, and the Soviet elements. The Soviets were also to gain control of Poland, Czechoslovakia and East Germany forming a buffer. Italy was also to come under joint Anglo-French occupation. The Soviets clamored for more looking to extend their influence deep into the Balkans but with Bulgaria having switched sides and with intense pressure of the Allies as well as the Union of Sovereign Islamic States, the Soviets were limited as the Bulgarian forces now predominant throughout the former Hungarian Federation were able to claim it as their Sphere of influence severely limited post WW2 Soviet influence in Eastern Europe. However, the Soviets were able to gain a large territorial concession in the form of the rest of Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic states. The peace accords also stipulated major reparations due to the various involved states. The Paris Peace Accords were signed in October of 1947 following a year of negotiation which put the treaty in effect.
The End of World War II
Following the end of the Second World War, the various powers that had been instrumental in the defeat of the Axis, argued profusely on the future of Europe and even the World. Spiteful of the countries which were not fully involved in the conflict in any direct sense, the post war conferences in London, Moscow, and Rome specifically excluded multiple nations. The United States, and the Empire of Japan specifically were denied access to these conferences which in turn caused great outcry from either as the leadership from both these countries agreed that Europe starting a new and destructive war ever 20 years was not something that would be considered acceptable. This fell on deaf ears as the USSR, USIS, Commonwealth, French Union, and Bulgarian Empire all began to decide the future of Africa and Europe.
The Post War Conferences
The Soviet Union and Bulgaria recently having seen a major victory for Communists within its country were dead set on securing Eastern Europe for themselves to prevent such a war from occurring ever again. The USSR in particular was adamant about keeping Germany occupied and these talks eventually devolved into a shouting match which nearly sank the post war conferences.
The Western Allies, particularly France and the Commonwealth wanted not only to make German reparations but also Split apart Spain and force reparations from them, too. However, with the unseating of Prime Minister Churchill just after the war, the Commonwealth switched its attitude to a much less belligerent attitude nullifying the reparations and the splitting apart of the axis members into smaller countries in favor of solidifying their hold on Europe's colonies and drawing the line with Communism in Western Europe.
The Union of Sovereign Islamic States, however, became the prime mediator between the two sides striking a relatively fair deal, Dividing Europe and allowing certain agreements to take hold that would ensure roughly 20 years of direct peace between the developing cold war between the nascent Franco-Commonwealth Alliance and the forming Soviet Bloc. USIS would occupy the entirety of the border between the two blocs for a period of ten years while both sides committed to rebuilding and restructuring from the Second World War, and the remaining ten years anything within 30 miles of the borders from either bloc would remain demilitarized.
As stipulated and as an after effect of the 2ar, the areas of Burma, India and Pakistan all gained their independence as a result of the war.
The European Coalition
With a new horizon for Western Europe, the French and British now having been relatively forced to reorganize its Dominions into the United Commonwealth began to develop the European Coalition. The Coalition was formed by the vast majority of Western European nations only excluding Spain and Switzerland to begin with and with West Germany being de facto included as a member with its occupation zones in West Germany all being within the alliance to begin with. The Coalition formed on the tenants of preserving the sovereignty of Europe and her Colonial territories, and preventing the spread of Communism across the globe.
Forming in 1954 the Coalition was immediately tested when a proxy war broke out with Japan over British, French, and Dutch colonies remaining in Asia. This turned into multiple conflicts which saw the declaration of the Malayan Emergency and the Indonesian Revolt followed closely by the French Indochina War. All of these conflicts were spurred on by Japanese funding of armed rebels and revolutionaries and were concurrent with the Japanese funding of rebels in the Commonwealth of Vietnam as well which saw Malaya, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam all see some level of revolt or conflict. Having just come out of an immensely devastating war, these conflicts all ended by the close of 1959 with the exception of Vietnam with the majority of the European Colonies being granted their independence by their former colonial overlords. Most of these subsequently joined the the Nascent Greater East Asian Union which was recently formed between Japan and their reorganized and new formed Chinese Federation ally.
While this was a major failure, the subsequent outbreak of various independence movements in Africa was put down ruthlessly with concessions being granted by the Portuguese and French in many cases to allow settlement and economic development by European powers which had lost their colonies to revolt. The signing of the Grand African Development Treaty allowed this as the whole of the European Coalition united in an attempt to put down the colonial independence movements. This went from 1957 to roughly 1965 with a decisive battle in the Congo officially ending the further attempts by the various European forces to re-establish control over some of the former colonies in Central Africa. While not a total defeat, it saw the vast majority of the French and British central African colonies gain their independence and also began the emergence of the Greater Nigerian Republic which consequently began to take control of many of the former European colonies in West Africa
The Moscow Pact
'Moscow Pact or Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance, sometimes, informally MOPac, AKA, in format to WDP and EC) was a collective defense treaty among the Soviet Union and many other Soviet satellite states and allies in Europe and Asia in existence during the Cold War. The Pact was the military complement to the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CoMEcon), the regional economic organization for the Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe as well as Asia. The Moscow Pact was created in reaction to the integration of West Germany into the European Coalition in 1955 per the Paris Pacts of 1954, but it is also considered to have been motivated by Soviet desires to maintain control over military forces in Central and Eastern Europe and extending its influence into Asia.
Initially this pact only consisted of the USSR, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany, but quickly with Bulgarian membership and the membership of its sphere and Eastern Austria, the Bloc quickly became the foil to the European Coalition which brought about the major instrument to the beginning of the Cold War. The Moscow Pact generally began to expand towards Asia as well following the collapse of the Nationalist government in China which was replaced relatively quickly by the Peoples Republic of China under Mao Zedong. He quickly joined the Pact in order to prevent further Japanese aggression.
Western Defense Pact
The Western Defense Pact was developed and signed into existence in 1951 following the various expansions or developments of other blocs, particularly the nascent Moscow Pact, and the European Coalition. The Pact was built around the expanded concept of the "Good Neighbor Policy" which under Roosevelt was somewhat ineffective. This Plan known as the Western Plan were put out as a massive aid package sent to the various South American countries tagged along side various trade agreements and with certain countries arms purchases and developments. This was accepted relatively quickly as the superior economic policies of the United States on top of lump sum funds send to these countries allowed the countries, particularly Brazil, and Mexico to change the whole dynamic of their economy. Initially disregarded as an insignificant development due to the sheer scope of the advance needed by many of the South American states. The Soviet Union and France were especially skeptical and did not see this plan working. However, shortly after the expanding economy of the United States, as well as the now rising economies of Latin America had begun to rapidly catch up to the rest of the world. In the case of the United States they had the largest GDP in the world by 1961 around which Time Mexico and Brazil were approaching modern levels of GDP in relation to their size and new productivity.
The Pact eventually grew to encompass the entirety of the Western Hemisphere besides Canada and a small part of Guyana and were hands down the largest military alliance on the planet. Between all its involved parties, the WDP maintained a combined military strength of nearly seven million in peacetime and some of the best power projection capabilities on the planet which allowed for significant intervention Abroad. One of the most notably effects of the establishment of the Pact was the transfer of every country in the Bloc into a democracy under the deal which would be guided by the United States in order to establish a group of stable democracies.
Early Cold War
The Iron Curtain
Immediately following the Second World War, Europe was split between multiple parties most notably the wartime allies of the United Commonwealth, the newly minted French union, and its minor allies mostly in the west. The Communist bloc out of the Soviet Union controlling Eastern Germany, Czechoslovakia, the Baltics and parts of Austria, and finally the wary alliance of the Union of Sovereign Islamic States and the Bulgarian Empire. The previous alliance of convenience tying all these nations together collapsed almost the minute the war ended as no conference had been conducted in the pre-war. This led almost immediately to the United Commonwealth facing off directly against the Soviet Union who began a race to include more and more allies into the growing struggle for Europe.
In short order, the two developing Alliance Systems, the European Coalition, and the Moscow Pact both began to expand including new members every year in the 1950's and somewhat into the 1960's. This began a major standoff as the French and British were forced to begin reclaiming or reasserting themselves in their colonies, as well as trying to keep the peace in Western Europe. This eventually led to the mutual fortification across the majority of Europe. referred to a the "Iron Curtain" by Winston Churchill and eventually others, the term became synonymous with the massive fortification of central Europe. Aside from the defensive context the Iron Curtain also refers to the perceived wave of oppression that was placed over much of Europe do to its victory in WW2 and the movement of Bulgaria to a major Communist ally.
Era of Uprising
During the immediate post war years well into the present, the movement for colonial independence remained an extremely pressing issue for the British and French (and eventually all other colonial powers). It was noted by the British and French that they would never have won the war without their colonies. This saw the initial formations of the European Coalition as a base alliance between the British and French to help each other maintain their colonial territories. For the first decade, however, the colonial powers met with nothing but failure in this effort. Nearly every Asian possession held by a foreign power was up in arms. Even the victorious Japan suffered uprisings in its Korean and Chinese territories. Along side these, Burma, Malaya, Indonesia, and Vietnam all showed a massive force of uprising. French Laos and Cambodia fell within a few weeks and Vietnam underwent a nearly 30 year process to liberate itself. Malaya was the first real concentrated attempt by a colonial power to maintain presence, it was, however, met with failure and Malaya and Singapore both went independent.
It wasnt until the early 60's that signs of the recovery from the various colonial revolts were anywhere near fixed. The British, French, and Portuguese all managed to co-operate and put down many of their revolters openly in their African territories leaving small guerrilla movements throughout the colonies. By this point it was noted that the war against these rebellions led to extremely disproportionate casualties, and at one point many powers were criticizing the European states for their treatment of the African natives. The criticism only died as the rebel movements began to fizzle out due to extremely high casualties.
On the other hand was the British mission to India. India was nominally pushing for independence until following World War II where Mohatma Gandhi championed the push for independence. While a pacifist movement the victory of these kinds of protests was noted and by 1949 the newly formed United Commonwealth agreed to release India. This and the subsequent partition of India split Burma, and Pakistan off to make a state for Muslims. While generally considered a bad idea, the way in which the Commonwealth implemented the partition allowed for a peaceful movement of peoples mostly Muslims and Hindus into each other's respective favored country. As a condition to independence the New Indian Republic agreed to house a limited garrison of troops to help maintain the stability of the three new states in the region. While the rule over them was extremely resentful the former British Indian territories dispersed into a calm and stable environment with India becoming one of the most steadfast allies to the United Commonwealth and eventually the entire European Coalition.
Rebuilding of Europe
With the end of WW2 the entire continent of Europe was shattered. From the southern tip of Spain to the foothills of the Urals the continent had seen its populations, and industrial might shattered and then divided once again into opposing blocs. The European Coalition, consisting of the colonial powers and western Europe in general, facing off against the European parts of the Moscow Pact, an international alliance consisting of a wide range of states from Europe to Asia.
The USSR unwilling to accept help from any capitalist power declined to partake in the extremely forgiving US loans offered to it and its new satellite states began to rebuild on its own and left major occupation forces throughout Eastern Europe, eventually bringing Bulgaria into the fold to take the heat off the Soviet Union as the prime provider to the bloc at all times. This, paired with the new internal development policies, helped overall avoid a war for decades as consecutive premiers of the USSR attempted not only to settle Siberia, but build up industrial centers in the far east. This was widely considered a success as the relative hands off policy of the USSR for the 50's and 60's in terms to their occupation allowed for the relatively easy going rebuilding of many of its new satellites and allies. The internal programs by 1970 saw the internal population of the USSR increase by several millions in multiple locations and the beginnings of a far eastern industrial complex were coming to fruition in the Amur basin with which its large resource base turned Amur into one of the largest inhabited areas far away from the coast. By 1975 the USSR had not only started to regain a significant amount of its pre-WW2 population but had started a baby boom that was in direct correlation with its settlement policy and the completion of the Great Transformation of Nature plan built up in Siberia a series of shelter belts to turn tracts into major agricultural land, and in one case a series of mountains were built from the ground up to prevent a massive amount of cold air from heading south.
In Western Europe the nations of the nascent European Coalition were forced to take a large amount of loans from the United States. While initially considered a necessary evil by the majority of the Western European community it eventually became known as a saving grace. By 1955 the British and French had not only taken out large amounts of loans, but had significantly recovered their mainland strength and were even in the midst of admitting their German also known as the Federal Republic of German or West Germany. The idling of the West German industry was eventually seen as detrimental and with the fortification aspect of the cold war became apparent the activation of German industry was championed as the perfect launching point to shield western Europe from Communism. This saw West German industries stabilizing within the European economic framework which had been integrated significantly to increase efficiently. The West German economic miracle then occurred which turned West Germany into a potential failure into one of the most productive members of the Coalition and even securing its re-armament in 1950. By the mid-1960's Western Europe was entering a peaceful golden age having re-secured control of many colonies, establishing a thriving economy and overall successfully maintaining a status quo with the USSR.
With the technical end of Japanese hostilities against the Chinese forces the Chinese civil war resumed rather quick. The Chinese federation was created shortly thereafter out of the Japanese possessions in mainland China. On the other hand, the Nationalists had been discredited throughout all of China leading the Communists under Mao Zedong to make a comeback and win the civil war in short order. This led shortly to their joining of the Moscow Pact soon thereafter to prevent further Japanese aggression and was followed by a swift and brutal annexation of Tibet. The Chinese in particular became one of the prime contributors to the alliance as Mao taking cues from Premier Zhukov in the Soviet Union was restructuring his entire country from the ground up to be more efficient and have a better handle on its military and economics as well. With a solid chunk of China in the hands of what was perceived as a puppet government Mao used this as an excuse to heavily mistreat his citizens which included appalling working conditions, forced labor, and other atrocities which to this day remain unpunished.
Elsewhere in Asia, much of Indochina was exploding into open conflict with their former imperial masters. Indochina has revolted and Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam emerged from the ashes with Vietnam being the only country more than 20 years later gaining its independence from the United States. Unrest in British India led to its own independence and its first leader Gandhi taking possition as the countries first leader. With United Commonwealth troops presiding over the partition into East/West Pakistan, Burma and India proper to prevent a catastrophe, this led to an increasingly isolated India to quickly turn to its former colonial overlord and request a direct alliance. This put India sitting at a population of roughly 350 million on the path to becoming one of the Commonwealths, and by extension Europe's most major foreign ally. By 1962 India had not only improved the quality of life for its citizens significantly but had significantly unified and gained considerable military strength as well. It was armed to the teeth and due to the surrounding hostile influences of the Communists in Indochina, and the Pakistanis on their border propped up by USIS, the Indians had become one large force.
Japan, on the other hand, was forced to abandon multiple concepts during this period, particularly with its superiority complex. It suffered an immense revolt in Korea and its erstwhile Chinese puppet was in no position to help yet. This left a economically suffering Japan trying to settle and develop Manchuria while facing a massive Korean revolt. This revolt lasted for roughly five years and was backed mostly by Fascists who were dead set on getting some sort of revenge on the Japanese. However, with their use of terror attacks in many instances, the general populace had a falling out with the main resistance group which led to more mild resistance leaders being able to settle a favorable peace with Japan. This led not only to increased Korean autonomy but also guarantees of their culture which had been put under pressure by the Japanese to be abandoned. This ended up becoming a saving grace for Japan as the subsequent Korean Miracle transformed a rural and somewhat agrarian Korea into a technological powerhouse for Japan. Consequently it also led to a significant amount of Japanese immigration to Korea which diluted the demographics further and did cause some unrest but in the end served to further integrate Korea into the Japanese Empire as a component state rather than a subservient one. This, paired with significant liberalization within the Empire, allowed it to transition relatively well into the modern era.
The United States, and its good neighbors
With the United States having managed to maintain its military neutrality throughout the war, the US had undergone a tremendous shift in how it dealt with its politics. It had gone from mimicking the British concept of "Splendid Isolation" to now one of Aggressive Isolationism which colloquially became known as "American Isolationism". This aggressive isolationist policy saw its roots in the darkest days of World War II with the lend lease act supplying the Soviets, British, and French militaries with large amounts of equipment to maintain their war efforts. The French and Soviets became the prime users of this equipment, and went on to devote their industrial base to producing other needed equipment items. The result of this policy with the victory in the Second World War by the preferred side (who was also severely weakened by the war) the US was able to not only avoid the Second World War all together but became incredibly enriched by the experience with many of Europe's nations being required to pay back reparations for the equipment. The US becoming known as the global financial center also allowed for the Americans to enter into the Havana Accords which solidified its new alliance with essentially every other nation on the two continents. This not only led to the uprising of democracy but also to a vast influx of capital to many nations. This notably saw Brazil, Mexico and Colombia gain a large lead in its industrial potential and also saw quality of life, money acquired, and pretty much all facets of their societies improve.
By the late 60's every American economy was entering into a golden age which was not broken until 1973 with the first major Recession since the war. This not only put Brazil, and Mexico well into the spotlight as emergent powers, but also made up for the US's previously lacking allies. By 1970 the US had not only become the worlds top naval power, but had also elevated two of its Allies into position as naval powers. Mexico and Brazil both by the 70's maintained a moderately sized carrier fleet. In comparison thought the United States maintained the largest in the World even into the modern day. In 1971 upwards of 15 Super carriers, and 13 light carriers were in service, with only the United Commonwealth and Japan coming in close with seven and six, respectively.
The United States beyond this had expanding its influence significantly. The European markets and their attempt to hold onto their possessions overseas gave the United States a steady buyer of a lot of weapons munitions and even market goods that couldnt be realistically provided by the beleaguered European governments. The US along side this was seeing a lot of return investment into its Middle eastern ventures and through soft power maintained a relatively large share of global oil supply. This only expanded when its own natural reserves were exploited and the Venezuelan reserves also came into clear dominance in the Americas for oil production. The natural resource extraction and domestic industries in Latin America expanded significantly as well with the entire bloc becoming moderately industrialized by the mid 60's with Brazil and Mexico becoming the second and third largest industrial states in the west respectively
The US also underwent an extensive process to brings its new allies military up to a modern standard. With the extension of US bases into many of these areas, as well as agreements for direct training, the US began integrating the many Latin American allies into a fighting force that would be worth its weight in any future wars. This became apparent during the Vietnam War in which Brazilian, Colombian, and Mexican troops all took part in major numbers with many of the other Western Defense Pact members sending much smaller forces. The United States sent the most as it tried to maintain control of its erstwhile protectorate.
Proxy Wars and Colonial Wars
The immediate post war world saw the movement of many nations towards independence. Of the Asian colonies only a small amount of the islands in the Indonesian chain and the Philippines remained closely aligned with the west while many quickly tried to overthrow their former overlords and joined either the Greater East Asian Union led by Japan or the Moscow Pact under the USSR. This was seen as extremely unfavorable to both the European Coalition the United States, and the Republic of India all of which henceforth withdrew attempts to undermine each other. The US in particular stopped interfering in the southern most regions of Africa due to the large strong point the European Coalition held onto in the region and was also unwilling to see the area fall to Communism or another outside influence. Communism was considered the most likely but also containing an upstart like Japan was something the US was uniquely interested in.
The First colonial wars in Asia started right after the Second World War. The lessening presence of the colonial forces in response to the war followed by increased taxation, increased colonial divisions were essential in the establishment of the independence of these states. Indonesia was one of the most successful having uprooted and kicked out the Dutch in the time period of a year. The Indonesian War of Independence continued on for another two years as the Dutch tried to re-assert control and were helped by Commonwealth forces which were also embroiled in the Malaya Emergency. In Indochina Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia had all emerged as independent states and were overly fighting for their independence. This saw Vietnam engage in high level guerrilla warfare for nearly 25 years as they attempted to kick the United States out and decide their own fate. The French suffered just as quickly and following the initial revolt of Vietnam attempted quietly to re-acquire the territory for the new French Union but was consequently defeated by Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnamese Nationalist Movement or "VNM" which was a collection of Communists, Nationalists and Freedom fighters intent on reclaiming Vietnam. The defeat caused the French to not only withdraw from Vietnam but pull out of Laos and Cambodia rather quickly granting their independence less than six months later. By 1960 the only Asian territory not relinquished or recaptured was Vietnam which would go on fighting well into the 1970's.
The African wars of independence were generally not as successful. The European nations attempting to retain their colonies deployed allied armies in order to prevent further unrest. North Africa under the French and Spanish (with eventual British Help) held on initially only to be launched into open war in 1959 starting the North African War which was launched almost the same time as the Nigerian War of Independence and the mass revolts in South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, and a host of other South African colonies. by 1962 Nigeria was essentially free and had secured a large chunk of former colonies and annexed them creating the Greater Nigerian Federation which coinciding with the Republic of Ethiopia secured the independence of themselves and a good size of Central, West, and Eastern Africa. By 1965, however, the Nigerians, having built their own alliance system, agreed to withdraw its support from the remaining independence movements following a catastrophic invasion attempt of Algeria. This saw a Nigerian task force of nearly 300,000 trapped as the Algerian rebel armies which were assumed to have been holding on and ready to support the Ethiopian campaign had recently seen major casualties. The Nigerians reach Algeria after a brutal march through the desert only to meet up with 50,000 well armed French troops which leveled the army and captured 80,000 prisoners wiping out or scattering the rest. Unable to stomach further losses and being able to easily combat the Europeans, the Nigerians exited the conflict which ended shortly thereafter.
By the end of the 1960's the open colonial conflicts had essentially ended and with the exit of both Ethiopia, and Nigeria from the conflict, the rebels were on their own and open conflict flagged until early 1970 when over support from the Soviet union arrived. The Colonial wars picked back up almost immediately as arms and supplies being covertly shipped into Africa reached Communist rebels mostly along side a few other non-Communist groups. While South Africa, Angola and Mozambique all remained relatively pacified the remainder of Europe' African colonies remained in open revolt with guerrilla warfare taking place well into the 80's with many of the European immigrants beginning to take control of the situation being numerous enough to fight the conflict on their own now. This drastically leveled the price range for these conflicts bringing them well into manageable territory.
The German Border Crisis
In 1961 the issues stemming from the European facet of the cold war was boiling over into a major issue. With the erection of the Berlin wall and the fortification of the Fulda Gap and a border clash in the same area which brought tensions to a head. By the late 60's the tensions had not dropped and had only increased as West Germany, also known as the German Democratic Republic, joined the European Coalition finally gaining approval from a key member, France to not only be fully re-armed, but integrated fully into the alliance structure. The tensions continued to escalate as in 1967 East Germany was fully re-armed as well. Neither side particularly wanted to fight each other, at least in regards to the Germans, but the British and French forces were looking to secure the entirety of Germany and push communism out of West and Central Europe and secure their Eastern Flank.
The Soviet Union on the other hand was keen on turning either the rest of Europe into communist states, or at the least getting a good idea of how the prepared the European coalition was. having been focused almost exclusively on the internal development and the light development of the Moscow Pact the Soviet Union had been lacking in paying attention to the rebuilding of Western Europe, particularly France and Britain seeing only their colonies being in flames and their armies abroad fighting in Asia and Africa. The Soviets were in well prepared positions and with their satellite states and the Bulgarian sphere as well they prepared a prodding amount of intelligence into Western Europe. This was relatively successful as the information gathering had made it stunningly obvious that Western Europe was not only recovering but thriving. The wars to maintain each powers colonies waged without fail and the collective amount of secured resources were being pumped into the European economy. England and France in particularly rebuilt well and a post war wave of settlers alongside a heavy incentive to increase births were achieved in both countries. The later cooperation of the nations militaries had effectively allowed both countries to maintain their respective colonies, mostly in Africa with notable exceptions of a minor number of British, French, and Portuguese possessions in Asia. The troops returning were some of the most experienced in the world and unbeknownst to the soviets most of these men had been fighting a combination of high and low intensity conflict since 1939.
The outbreak of the crisis in 1969 was due to a series of mismanaged errors by both sides. In the intervening years between WW2 and the Fulda crisis, the Soviets and European soldiers both had undergone various special forces conflicts throughout Europe as a war of espionage was fought with agents and special operatives doing work in the respective blocs were killing each other, seizing information, and attempting or succeeding in conducting assassinations. One of these took place near a town named Fulda, centered in an extremely strategic rout that could facilitate east-west and west-east invasion routes. in winter of 1968-1969 multiple Soviet Spetznaz units were caught on the other side of the border with an expressed mission of gaining intelligence on potential defensive positions and arttilery in the region. Unable to get away the units engaged in a nearly 37 hour engagement in the town of Fulda between December 7th and 8th. Being within range of Soviet units just across the border, the Red Army in tandem with the Red Air Force mobilized to evacuate the Spetznaz Units. The situation made international news and the corning of Spetznaz units directly in violation of the Border with Western Germany demonized the Soviets. All news outlets on the planet that weren't in league with the Soviet sphere themselves, condemned the Soviets. This sparked an international incident widely against the Soviets and halfway through the conflict with the Spetznaz in Fulda the tensions had begun to ramp up with the European coalition threatening a heavy reprisal for such a blatant violation of sovereignty.
At hour 37 the conflict reached a ceasefire as it was made public by East German authorities that a British SAS unit was captured in East Germany near the city of Berlin. The world media news outlets were silent for nearly 6 hours, and it was announced that safe passage would be granted to both units back to their respective borders. The World was glued to any radio or television which was televising this intense situation. The people of the world were not wanting to see the Third world war break out only 30 years after the Second World War. It was debated heavily if World Wars were just a generational thing, with every new generation starting and experiences the horrors of a World War. Both the Commonwealth and its European allies, and the Soviets were criticized for their aggressive political posturing. The criticism fell on deaf ears as it looks liked the incident would spark a wider conflict.
West and East German forces had begun to clash shortly after the exchange, with shots being fired between the defensive lines lining the border of the Coalition and Moscow Pact. It was considered unbelievable by all those witnessing it. It started with the returning of the Special Forces units to their respective sides. The exchange at the border was handled badly due to the extremely high tension, and when it looked like someone was going to shoot one of the border guards opened fire killing three Soviet Soldiers. The German border guard was killed shortly thereafter and a small firefight began to break out through the Fulda Gap. The unclear situation on the ground left many of the officers on both sides on edge and unclear communications finally resulted in the mobilization of the Soviet and East German air forces. This resulted in the mobilization of the French, Commonwealth, and West German air forces. The subsequent air battle became the official expansion of the border issue into a full blown conflict. On both sides of the border in Germany the defensive lines began to open up on each other. artillery began to rumble, and the mobilization of each blocs border garrisons funneled into a major conflict.
On December 15th the week of outright conflict now turned into an offensive by the French forces being supported by West German divisions into the Soviet Republic of Austria. The unexpected offensive caught the Soviets off guard and garrison units in Austria suffered a brutal breakthrough of the Austrian line reaching the outskirts of Vienna only to be forced to withdraw with a Soviet offensive slamming through the German Line and pushing through the Northern European plain bee-lining for France. The Offensive was consequently stopped and the European Coalition rammed itself through the Fulda Gap. On December 25th also known as the Christmas truce, both sides agreed to withdraw from each others respective gains and would repair the holes in the border.
The Soviets and Coalition alike learned much about the others capabilities. The Soviets learned of the effectiveness of the Coalitions superior firepower doctrine versus the Soviet Massed assault doctrines. The European on the other hand learned that not only was the Soviet Mass doctrine extremely difficult to stop but was extremely costly to stop. nearly 35,000 troops were killed stopping the moderate soviet offensive and compared to the nearly 23,000 Soviet casualties the European were worried that a war on this scale would cause the deaths of another Generation of Young men.
The Lessons of the Fulda border war spread rapidly throughout the world. Harsh criticism and even potential cut off of trade was directed at both the USSR (which was selling oil/natural gas for capital influx) and the European States. This proved to both powers that a large scale war between the two powers would be infeasible without replacement import potential and in the case of the Coalition a new source of oil. The Commonwealth and French however had proven their point against the Soviets. They were no pushovers and would not cede the rest of Europe to communism so easily.
The Reapers Due
By 1970 the world was embroiled in politics reminicent of old European politics. Brinkmanship, a Balance of Power, and constant war marked ths beginning of the 70's that saw global military expenditures increase by nearly 250%. This came particularly with the Militarization of India, The aftermath of the Fulda war, and various incidents which escalated to local conflicts during the period.
Circum Pacific War
Coming right off the back of the end of conflicts in the 60's it was looking as if the 70's was going to be a much more peaceful decade. This was shattered within a year and a half as extremely invasive foreign policy directed from Japan at the Americans Philippine ally. The Philippines having just fought with the United States since 1955 in Vietnam had ebraced massively Western culture and values, as well as intensely American military doctrines. This made them the prime nation to not only counter the Japanese but to be the alternative to Japan in Asia for alignment.
The War broke out in short order following the peace accords which concluded the Western involvement in Vietnam. The tensions leading up were notably escalated by the Vietnamese voluntary joining of the GEAU under Japan much to the Chagrin of the other Great powers. This was specifically noticed within the United States which had open protests against Japan and its noticeable expansion of its sphere in Asia as well as its age old issue of taking territory from China. US public opinion however was rather galvanized against yet another war so shortly after the failed pacification of Vietnam, that was until the Japanese invasion in March which saw the first shots of the war fired.
The Japanese Grand fleet consisting of just under 100 ships supported a massive invasion force against the Philippines which landed near Manila and the northern islands of the Archipelago. Expecting to see a quick and easy success against what was perceived as weak and ineffective troops of the US and the Philippines the Japanese landed early in the morning on March 13th. Instead of lax and weak resistance the Japanese were met with a half-million Filipino troops and another half-million troops combined from the United States an unexpectedly its Brazilian and Mexican Allies. The Japanese by the end of the first day knew their situation was untenable and engaged in The Battle of Leyte Gulf consisting of nearly seven major fleet battles across the seas and straits around the Philippine Archipelago. The Battle is known to be one of the single most deadly naval battles in Human history, and for the first time since the First World War, had Naval Forces been engaged in such large conflicts. Of the Attacking and Defending fleets, over half of each was destroyed or disabled. Between land based casualties, the subsequent landings over the next week, and the massive amounts of air and naval power involved the opening battle of the war saw nearly 150,000 dead and the capabilities of both fleets severely reduced in the area. The casualty rate can heavily be attributed to the Filipino and Japanese counter strikes at various areas in each others respective homelands specifically with the surprise long range strategic bombing of Nagasaki.
Operation Sundered Heart followed shortly after. With much of the equipment already being in the Philippines, the United States deployed a quickly formulated war plan and now with more forces arriving from Hawaii which were already en route, the invasion of Formosa took place with nearly 65,000 troops managing a massive aerial and marine invasion of Taiwan.