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The Western Bloc (a play on "Eastern Bloc" - the Soviet-aligned European states in the Cold War) is a term applied to a group of Western Antarctic nations - Maudland, New Swabia, and Santiago (and occasionally including Ognia and Kerguelen); as well as the close relationship they have developed over the years. The term first appeared in the 1980s, but was not commonly used until the 1990s.
Maudland, New Swabia and Santiago are the only countries (other than the French Kerguelen Islands) on the Continent which fall outside of both the Antarctic Anglo-sphere as well as the Antarctic Russo-sphere; and each speaks an isolated language on the Continent (Norwegian, German and Spanish, respectively) and as such, they have become closer trading partners in a marriage of convenience. Norwegian has become the lingua franca of the Bloc, as Maudland lies in a central position between the other nations; and Norwegian was already fairly common in Santiago and New Swabia.
It should be noted that "Western Bloc" also refers to the US-aligned states during the Cold War; though terms such as "NATO" and "the Free World" were preferred for these countries.
Early Relations (1899-1919)
The Antarctic Western Bloc first began to develop a relationship in 1899; when German settlement of New Swabia first began, and the German colonists began interacting with the nearby, already-established Swedish-Norwegian colony of Maudland. Relations were at first cordial, and during its fledgling years, German Antarctica was heavily reliant on Maudland for aid and support. In 1901, Santiago was founded, and opened diplomatic relations with several other Nations - including Sweden-Norway and Germany - though this limited diplomacy was certainly not to the later Western Bloc levels.
Santiagan expansion in 1903 created a Santiago-Maudland border, bringing these countries closer together. In the later 1900s, and on into the 1910s, Santiago began seeking stronger alliances in Europe; and began making ties to countries such as Austria-Hungary, Ottoman Turkey and Germany (coincidentally, the three major Central Powers of World War I). This led to much closer co-operation between Santiago and New Swabia; developing a close 'fraternal' feeling between the ordinary people of Santiago and New Swabia, which arguably still lasts today.
In the First World War, both Germany and Santiago were Central Powers, tightening the bond between Santiago and New Swabia; but Santiago pulled out of the War early on, and New Swabia was shortly defeated by a joint assault by both British and Russian forces. The Treaty of Versailles placed New Swabia under an authoritative British Mandate, effectively ending its independently-determined foreign relations.
At first, Santiago and New Swabia attempted to maintain their alliance, but it became harder and harder due to New Swabia's strict British Military Administration. Politically, too, they began to separate, with Santiagan politics becoming more and more leftist; while New Swabia began drifting towards Fascism.
The combined effects of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the election of the Nazi Party in 1937 almost completely destroyed New Swabia's relationships with the other Western Bloc countries.
Meanwhile, Maudland and Santiago started tightening their diplomatic ties in 1915, and in 1921, with the election of President Juan Schmidt in Santiago, the "first Golden Age" of the Western Bloc began. This lasted until 1930, when the effects of the Great Depression began to seriously affect Antarctica.
Though the Great Depression ended the "Golden Age", Santiago and Maudland still maintained a fairly close bond until 1940, when they each became majorly involved in a separate war (Santiago in the Bellinsgauzenia War; Maudland in World War II).
Drifting Apart (1940-1945)
Santiago's War ended in 1941, but the country was still reluctant to enter World War II; an attitude which Maudland was very critical of. Even though the Antarctic Front of the War was over, Maudland was still the site of the Norwegian Government-in-Exile, and Maudlandic and Norwegian troops were still heavily involved in other Fronts of the War.
In 1945, Santiago finally joined the Allies, and relations between the two countries began to improve again.
Second Golden Age (1945-1981)
By the early 1950s, the two countries had regained their close alliance. Maudlandic Premiers and Santiagano Presidents usually held frequent meetings and made many state visits to the other's country. Norwegian was introduced into the Curriculum at Santiagano schools, while statues of Francesco Bodega and Miguel Suárez began cropping up in Maudlandic cities.
During the 60's the two nations maintained their close alliance but the refusal from Premier Mjoen to deploy troops in the South Pacific War led to slow degradation of the relationship. However the refusal brought them closer to the Santiagan military who hadn't supported the war. The relationship was strained again during the South Atlantic War when Santiago refused to actively support Maudland.