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The Winter Uprising (Rebelión de Invierno; sometimes called the Santiagan Civil War, Guerra Civil de Santiago) was an armed conflict in Santiago between supporters of President Esteban Sanchez and the Winter Rebels, a splinter faction of the Military who intended to depose Sanchez's government.
After five months of conflict, the Rebels took control of San Martín, ousted Sanchez, and set up an Interim Government. This marked the end of what had been the most significant threat to Santiagan society since the country's foundation; and issued in an entirely new era in the country's history, marked by extensive modernization, a far less isolationist foreign policy, and the development of closer alliances with neigboring countries.
The conflict originated during World War I, when Santiago was a member of the Central Powers, alongside the German colony of New Swabia. The German and Santiagan authorities had hoped to incite pro-independence rebellions in the British and Russian colonies in Antarctica; but had significantly overestimated their success, leaving the Santiagan and New Swabian militaries to fight a much more uneven campaign than they had expected.
After a few months of conflict (around December 1914), Santiago's troops had been pushed back into defensive positions along the border, as well as in a few key coastal locations. It became apparent that there was little chance for Santiago to gain any ground, as the forces from British Antarctica, Russian Antarctica, Kerguelen and New Vestfold were far larger, and prevented the Santiagan troops from leaving their defensive positions.
A feeling of dissatisfaction began to spread among frontline troops, many of whom felt that they were risking their lives in awful conditions (the Santiagan frontier was primitive even during peacetime) for a war which their country had no reason to fight, and was unlikely to gain anything from. This opposition to the war was felt most strongly in the fort of Delenva, which was one of the most critical points on the border, and was therefore one of the primary targets of the Allied Powers. Delenva was manned by two battalions, led by colonels Francisco Bodega and Emilio Tejada, who discussed a potential uprising against the current government, but did not attempt one due to the small number of troops under their command (around 800 men).
On April 18th, following the Army's pyrrhic victory in the Battle of Ubézice, a series of anti-war and anti-government protests began in San Martín; which escalated into rioting. President Sanchez ordered the Army, Policía Nacional and the local police department to crack down on the protesters, and after a brief conflict, order was restored. Almost 20 people were killed during this time, and many of Sanchez's more vocal opponents were arrested, regardless of whether they had been involved in the protests. Some historians consider this to be the beginning of the Winter Uprising, though it wasn't until early May that the organized rebellion began.
Sanchez's harsh treatment of his civilian opponents — combined with the anti-war sentiment which was already growing in the armed forces — caused an upsurge of support among frontline troops for Bodega and Tejada's proposed uprising. On May 3rd, five other officers (commanding a total of around 2000 men) joined them in Delenva, and they began their rebellion. After signalling a ceasefire with the Eduardan troops in the area, Bodega (the de facto leader of the rebellion) met with Major Gordon Kensington, their commanding officer, and explained the situation. Neither Kensington nor Bodega fully trusted the other, but they managed to negotiate an uneasy truce, allowing the rebels to focus their efforts on the uprising rather than defending the border.
News of this truce spread quickly, and it wasn't long before President Sanchez and the rest of the armed forces were aware of the rebellion and the potential threat it posed. The actions of Bodega and his supporters were declared to be treasonous by the government, and the loyalist element of the military (the majority of Santiago's overall troops) were tasked with putting down the uprising, starting what was effectively a civil war.
Battle of San Martín