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|World War I|
|Commanders and leaders|
Allied Powers Leaders
United Powers Leaders
From Russo-Japanese War to World War
On February 8, 1904, following negotiations between Russia and Japan over Manchuria, Korea, and Sakhalin, Japan launched a surprise attack on Port Arthur on the same day it issued a declaration of war against Russia. The naval battle was technically a Russian victory, as the Japanese were unable to blockade the port and did retreat, but it caused more damage to the Russian fleet. The Russians were under prepared and overconfident about the war, and Japan won the Battle of Vladivostok, allowing Japan to blockade the city. Then, at the Battle of the Yellow Sea, Japan again crippled the Russian navy and restricted Russia from trading in the east by blocking off the Yellow Sea and Vladivostok. Russia began a system of using China as a middleman to safely trade in the East with nations such as the USA, Confederacy, the Spanish Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies. As a result, in June of 1904, Japan blockaded the German treaty port of Tsingtao (to block trade with Europe), and stationed many ships in the South China Sea to prevent trade with the Spanish Philippines and the Dutch East Indies. However, this also greatly limited Siam's ability to trade with Russia and China, and Siam gave Japan an ultimatum to withdraw from the South China Sea or face war. As a result, Britain sent ships to the port of Singapore in August, since it had agreed that it would join a war between Japan and Russia should any other nation come to Russia's aid. Japan, however, then saw defeat at the Siege of Vladivostok, in which Russian troops prevented a Japanese invasion and forced Japanese ships to leave before winter would cause the port to freeze. Later in October, a Russian ship headed from the Baltic to the Pacific mistook a British fishing boat for a Japanese ship, and sank it, in the Dogger Bank Incident. Britain, which had been preparing for war, declared war on October 31, treating Russia's attack as an act of war. The Confederacy immediately passed the Panama Canal Act of 1904, stating that Russia could not use the canal and that Britain could use it free of charge. Russia, which had been sending ships through the canal, threatened the Confederacy with war, but before that could happen, France declared war on Russia, stating that Russia's actions were an act of war and that their alliance with Britain obligated them to join. This prompted the Confederacy to declare war on Russia on November 25th. China and Siam immediately declared war on Japan and its allies, and after naval skirmishes broke out in Europe, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands all declared war on Japan due to its aggression in the Pacific and its threats to trade. German Field Marshall Alfred von Schlieffen devised a plan to invade France through Belgium, were it was not protected, and invaded Belgium on December 10, with Belgium surrendering on December 20. Austria-Hungary was closely allied with Germany, and Russia greatly disliked the Ottoman control over the Balkans. Russia dragged the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires into the war by promoting a joint revolt against the Ottomans by Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, and Bulgaria, and Austria-Hungary joined to ensure it got some of the Ottoman land. In the course of just one month, the war in the Pacific had evolved into a World War.
The Global Stalemate
In the beginning of 1905, much of the world was at war. A group of sizeable countries (Italy, USA, Portugal, and Brazil) were not at war, and began to mass produce weaponry and food, selling to both sides. However, with so many miles of borders between the Allied Powers and the United Powers, many colonies could be invaded virtually unopposed. However, the extreme lack of troops in the colonies was nothing compared to the extremely high number of troops in the main European front. The German forces, after capturing Belgium, invade France. The Germans use machine guns and the fact that the French mainly guarded the border with Germany rather than with Belgium to push into France. France, however, shows its first resistance in the Battle of Guise, a small and short battle but one in which 40% of soldiers involved die. The battle, a French victory, allows France to force a hole in the German advance. The plan, devised by Joseph Joffre, was to use the victory and the natural barrier of the Oise River to immediately divide the German invading forces in two. Then, the Allies would launch an offensive through where the forces had been divided to recapture Belgium and to cut off German supply lines. This strategy failed, however, at the Battle of Laon, as the Germans were able to break through the "French Central Area". The result was that the French were unable to launch the counteroffensive, and instead the Germans were marching towards Paris. The Germans tried to finally fill in the gap and have the two units meet up in Compiegne, but as they were both approaching, they met the whole French Army, resulting in the largest battle of 1905, the Battle of Compiegne. The battle caused the complete destruction of the city and an advance from the German Western unit, but also the construction of trenches to defend against German machine gun fire in the Compiegne forest, resulting in a complete stalemate with the Eastern German unit. As a result, both sides began construction of an elaborate trench system, which continued for miles along the front. The Allies then decided to coordinate their efforts on the front, with Joseph Joffre becoming the Supreme Allied commander, and Ferdinand Foch, Robert Lee Howze, and William Robertson becoming commanders of one third of the front each. At the Battle of Amiens, Foch encounters great resistance while trying to cross the Somme though the city of Amiens, and the battle would last two months, eventually resulting in a German retreat.
Meanwhile, in the south, Spain invaded France through the Pyrenees. However, Britain sent most Canadian troops to help the French fight the Spanish. At the Battle of Pau, Spain's army, which had been exhausted from crossing the Pyrenees, was badly defeated, such that it was embarrassing for the Spanish to lose to an army made up of nearly all Canadians. Theodore Roosevelt then issued the Roosevelt Doctrine, stating that any attempt to gain land in the Americas by a country not in the Americas would be treated as an act of war. This restricted Spain from implementing its plan to invade and recapture Cuba. It also more closely aligned the US with the Allies. Confederate diplomat Luke Edward Wright successfully negotiated with Portugal, Britain and France, that Portugal would enter the war against Spain, in exchange for British, French, and Confederate protection of its colonies and Portuguese annexation of Spanish colonies after the war. Spain, as a result, called for a return of all of its soldiers from France via the port town of Biarritz, signaling defeat against France, and morale was at an all time low for Spain. Spain, in order to boost morale, invaded Gibraltar, and won the Battle of Gibraltar, but as a result, French and British ships blockaded Valencia and Barcelona.
Also that year, Finland began to promote an independence movement, following growing disapproval of the Czar. A major draft riot in Helsinki led to the mob killing about 300 Russian soldiers stationed there. As a result, Russia sent an army of 200,000 to quell the Finnish rebellion. The next day, Finland declared independence, and in a move to limit Russian power, Sweden declared war on Russia. Finland engaged in guerrilla warfare and some scorched earth tactics, while Swedish sent their army in to fight on the Finnish Front in a more conventional way. Russia's invasion was successful and gruesome, until it lost the Battle of Lahti, in which the Swedish forces defeated an exhausted Russian army that had been harrassed by the Finnish guerrillas for half a year. In December, the Finnish scorched earth tactics payed off, and at the Battle of Kotka, the Finnish and Swedish army defeated a starving group of 15,000 reinforcements, killing or taking prisoner all of them. However, the Russians did win a crucial naval battle, the Battle of Sottunga, and with German help, were able to place a blockade on Helsinki, Stockholm and Turku.
Meanwhile, in the Balkans, the revolutionary movements also used guerrilla warfare, but were met with a large a mount of force from the Ottomans. At the Battle of Plovdiv, the Ottoman army greatly defeated the gathered armies, mainly Bulgarians and Greeks. However, in the North, the Austro-Hungarian army was able to cripple the Ottoman forces in the North at the Battle of Sarajevo, and liberated the city. While small battles occurred, a Greek and Austro-Hungarian invasion of Crete began as a success after amphibious landings in the Mirambello Bay, but they lost the Battle of Heraklion, and they leave the island.
In Asia, Japan quickly focused its efforts on blockading the coast of China and Russia. China, which had been pretty dependent on foreign goods, was economically devastated. In an attempt to improve the popularity of the dynasty, China sent troops into Macau, Hong Kong, and Weihai. However, Japan sent troops to take over the blockaded German port of Tsingtao, resulting in the Battle of Tsingtao and a Japanese victory. However, in March, as Vladivostok's port melted again, Russia convinced the Netherlands and Spain to send troops and ships to stop the advance of Japan. However, the arriving Dutch navy ran into a much larger British and Japanese navy at the Battle of Malacca, causing the Dutch naval reinforcements to have minimal effect. Next, Australia invaded the German Pacific territories, and took them in just 4 months. The Japanese naval dominance, however, was unable to secure control over Manchuria, and Japan lost the Battle of Mukden. Meanwhile, Japan, France, and Britain all participated in the invasion of Siam, and in December, the Allies win the Battle of Bangkok. Japan, France, and Britain partition Siam, though Japan only receives a few small islands as naval bases.
With the main front of Europe devolving into trench warfare, the Battle of Marne lasts six months, holding up William Robertson's Central unit. The Battle was a complete stalemate, and would be the largest of 1906. However, Ferdinand Foch's Western unit continually pushed back the German troops, and by June, the troops had reached the border with Belgium, causing the Battle of Lille, which would last two months and feature many advances in chemical weaponry. However, after a French victory in the Battle of the Marne, Germany decided that their best chance was to divert a large portion of their troops towards Robert Lee Howze's Eastern unit, which had by far the least troops of the three units and had seen minimal fighting along the trenches. The Germans believed that if they put 250,000 extra troops on the eastern edge of the front, then they would easily be able to break through the enemy trenches, take many prisoners, and possibly reach and take Lyon, which would be a big blow to French manufacturing and, more importantly, their railroad network. The Germans launched a major surprise attack on Howze's army, and nearly doubled them in numbers. After just two weeks, the Germans not only won the Battle of Besancon, breaking through the French trenches, but also were able to use it as a way to boost morale and public support, gaining an additional 100,000 volunteers after the major victory, which would all be sent to German Army Group E, in the hopes of taking Lyon. After losing the Battle, Robert Lee Howze resigned, and was replaced by William H. Hay, who was tasked with stopping the German invasion. Since the battle occurred in mid-October, his plan was to stay well protected and launch many tiny, hit and run attacks, along with the constant use of mines and gas to slowly deplete the German forces and lower their morale during winter.
Meanwhile, Spain began to invade Portugal. However, Britain again sent the Canadian troops, along with some South African and Australian troops, to help Portugal as promised. Spain's plan was to attempt to conquer Coimbra and Figueira da Foz, which would allow Spain to control the Mondego River and split the country in two, limiting trains and supply exchanges. However, the Spanish forces were met by a large allied force at the Battle of Tondela in Portugal. The battle resulted in a Spanish victory, but damaged the Spanish army in a way which bought the Allies time to regroup. The Portuguese and French units were given the task of holding the Spanish, while the British units launched an invasion into Spain. The Portuguese and French built trenches, and with machine guns, forced a stalemate with Spain. However, with the invasion of Spain occurring, Spain was required to withdraw some troops from the trenches in Portugal, and used guerilla tactics to deplete the invaders. However, the invaders continued to march towards Madrid, and encountered the main Spanish force defending the city at the Battle of Toledo. The battle caused huge losses for Spain, but Spain forced the Allies to retreat by destroying all bridges over the Tajo River near Toledo. The Allies, however, retreated South instead of West to Portugal, and marched towards Seville. Meanwhile in Portugal, The Spanish forces launch an offensive when troops return from Toledo, and in December, the Battle of Coimbra begins, which is a giant Spanish offensive in attempt to take and hold Coimbra and be able to cross the Mondego River.
Meanwhile, in the Balkans, once the invasion of Crete was done, the Ottoman Empire invaded Montenegro. The Battle of Pljevlja was the main opposition by Montenegro to the invasion, but it was an Ottoman victory eventually. At the Battle of Cetinje, the Ottomans finally defeated Montenegro and it surrendered the next day. However, at the same time, the Austro-Hungarians focused their forces further to the West of the Balkans, and made continued pushes into Ottoman holdings. A large Ottoman force met the Austro-Hungarians at the Battle of Nis, but the Austro-Hungarians won, forcing an Ottoman retreat to Sofia. However, the Austro-Hungarian general Svetozar Boroevic was severely wounded in the battle, and would spend the next three months in a hospital. The armies met at the Battle of Sofia, but due to an earlier Ottoman victory at the Battle of Blagoevgrad, which restricted the arrival of Greek reinforcements to Sofia, the Ottomans won. The Austro-Hungarians retreated to Serbia, while the Ottomans won the Battle of Dubrovnik.
Other, smaller invasions occurred. Britain and France invaded the German colonies of Cameroon, Togoland and Tanganyika (but not yet German South West Africa). Portugal, Britain and France invaded Spanish Morocco and the Canary Islands. The Confederacy invades Puerto Rico, Aruba and Curacao, using the last two mainly for military bases to patrol trade with South America and the Suez Canal. Lastly, France invades and captures Mallorca and Majorca.
In Asia, the Allies win some minor naval battles in January and February. The Allies win the Battle of Hangzhou Bay on February 27, and the next day, they win the Battle of Chanxing Island, giving them control of the Yangtze River. However, as the Port of Vladivostok melted, Russia successfully restricts the allies from blockading the port. However, Japanese and British troops besiege and capture the city of Shanghai in March, which shocks many people in China. The Chinese government, as a result, installs harsh laws, rations, and increased conscription. With Japan controlling the Yangtze and Qianting River mouths, the area around Nanking was especially short of resources. However, Sun Yat-Sen launched a revolution in Guangzhou in May, known as the Canton Revolution. This drew a lot of trained soldiers to be sent to stop the revolt, while the newly drafted soldiers were hastily put into defense of Nanking, which prompted Japan to make a further effort towards the city. At the Battle of Wushi, the Japanese forces defeated a large number of untrained Chinese forces. As they retreated to Nanking, the Japanese neared the city. With no food remaining, and a growing sentiment in favor of the revolution, the Chinese soldiers joined the revolution, and took over the city, flying the republican flag. The Japanese kept some troops near Nanking, but would never attack. The revolutionaries, who now controlled Macao, Hong Kong, Canton, Nanking, and other smaller cities, grew in numbers and appealed to others throughout the country. After the allies blockaded the Port of Tianjin, the people of Beijing revolted, and the Empress abdicated in September. Japan then withdrew from China, focusing on Manchuria, and Sun Yat-Sen focused on installing the Republic of China everywhere in China, and securing legitimacy. Meanwhile, Britain and France invaded the Dutch East Indies, and won the Battle of Batavia.
William H. Hay maneuvered his troops constantly, while launching many small, hit and run attacks and constant artillery fire often. At the Battle of Dole, Hay used guerilla tactics against the Germans, and constantly used buildings to his advantage. However, he was forced to retreat after wounding many in the German invading force. As he retreated towards Lyon, he received reinforcements of new Confederate and British troops at Macon. He then stopped at the city, where he ordered the construction of some extra fortifications. In April, the German invaders arrived, resulting in a 20 day battle, the Battle of Macon, which was a major Allied victory and caused the German invaders to be forced back. Meanwhile, since Germany had removed some troops from other parts of the front, Ferdinand Foch's Western Unit was pushing through Belgium, winning the Battle of Ostend in February, the Battle of Ghent in April, and the Battle of Mons in May. Although the Central unit was also advancing towards Charleroi, most of it spent months navigating and toughing the Ardennes Forest. Then, in June, the whole front culminated in three battles which occurred at the same time, each lasting months. The Western unit saw a long, deadly trench fight at the Battle fo Aalst. The central unit, after being pushed back by the Germans, engaged in trench warfare at the Battle of Verdun, which would be the deadliest battle of the war. The Eastern unit, after defeating the Germans at Macon, were stymied at the Battle of Le Doubs, yet another trench battle. Offensives didn't work in this time, attempts to win the battle constantly failed. The front reached a complete stalemate. In November, however, the Germans launched a raid into French lines at Aalst, and the French began a major retreat on the western side of the front. The other two remained in a relative stalemate, but by Christmas, the Germans had reached Dunkirk.
On the Iberian Front, after the Battle of Toledo, the allies retreat, while also being chased by some of the Spanish forces. However, the allies continue to damage the Spanish forces by planting traps and launching many small ambushes. However, at the Battle of Caceres, the allied invaders fight back, and win the battle. Despite winning, the allies opt to not advance, and instead return to Portugal. Meanwhile the Battle of Coimbra ends with an Allied Victory after a long trench battle. The Spanish troops are forced to retreat, where they launch an ambush on returning Allied troops at the Battle of Castelo Branco, where the Spanish defeat some of the returning units from the invasion of Spain.
In the Balkans, Greece launches a surprise attack on Bulgaria, winning the Battle of Kavala and the Battle of Plovdiv. This caused the Ottomans to withdraw a large number of their troops from their invasions further north, and were able to stop the Greeks at the Battle of Haskovo, but the Austro-Hungarians win the Battle of Niksic after the troops are withdrawn from the front. The Ottomans, after defeating the Greeks, chase them back south, winning the Battle of Thessaloniki and forcing the Greeks to remain in the south. Meanwhile, at the Battle of Prishtina the Ottomans continued to push into Serbia, though the Ottomans badly lost the Battle of Moksar further West.
In Asia, Japan continued their blockade of China. However, Sun Yat-Sen sent diplomats to Japan, where the Treaty of Shizuoka was signed in March. The treaty forced Japan to lift its blockade of Chinese ports (but not European treaty ports), and Japan would give recognition to the Republic of China. In exchange, China gave up most of Manchuria to Japan, and agreed to leave the war. The treaty gave a giant oost to the Allies, especially with Japan now able to focus on attacking European colonies and the Russian coast. After the Treaty, Japan invaded the Spanish Philippines, making amphibious landings at Dagupan, following a victory at the naval Battle of the Lingayen Gulf. Then, the Spanish troops only truly fought back at the Battle of Manila, but were unable to defeat the Japanese invaders. Following Japanese naval victories at the Battle of Balayan Bay and the Battle of Isla Verde, the regional governor of the Spanish Philippines surrenders to Japan, and Japan spends six more months taking over the country, taking over each island. However, Filipinos launch a rebellion in November, the Black Flag Rebellion, where Filipinos form an army and take over multiple Japanese-controlled arsenals and government buildings. However, the rebellion falls apart when at the Battle of Davao City, the Japanese defeat the rebels and take prisoner many of its leaders.