The Gathering Storm, Redux - Gameplay Thread (WW2 - Early 1940)

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  The Gathering Storm, Redux - Gameplay Thread (WW2 - Early 1940)
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Author Topic: The Gathering Storm, Redux - Gameplay Thread (WW2 - Early 1940)  (Read 29339 times)
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« Reply #575 on: April 28, 2023, 11:07:58 AM »

Lev Kamenev's statement in regards to the Franco-German peace deal:

"Peace with dishonor! The French aristocrats, trembling in fear of a more equal world, bowed to Hugenberg! The world will soon spit at their name and mock their weakness!"
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« Reply #576 on: April 28, 2023, 05:09:32 PM »
« Edited: April 28, 2023, 05:14:42 PM by KaiserDave »


Given in the evening over the Radio to the entire nation and Empire, immediately after SEGRETISSIMO. SALUTO AL DUCE!

Men and Women of Italy. Soldiers and sailors of the Regio Esercito, and of the Regia Aeronautica, and the Regia Marina across the Kingdom and in the overseas territories and dependencies. I, your Duce, come to you live from Rome, heart of Italy, and mother of civilization. This is not the first time I have come to you over the airwaves, invented by the Italian genius, and true fascist Marquise Guglielmo Marconi, nor will it be the last. But today, I bring forward a special message, to bring assurance to loyal Italians and patriots, and to bring terror unto the enemies of the Italian nation.

Since the victory of fascism and the destruction of the plutocratic liberal system, we have won many victories. We have conquered the land, and we have conquered the seas, and we have conquered even the great economic crisis of the world, the so called "Great Depression" which Italy has survived, more prosperous than her neighbors. We have avenged the vittoria mutilata, with our conquest of Dalmatia, and of Albania, and now with the total dominion over the Balkans, our ancestral hinterlands.

We have proved the supremacy of the fascist model, not only with the construction of the fascist state, and of a fascist society, with Italy as the most morally disciplined and revolutionary and prosperous state on the planet, but also for the entire world. We have proved the duplicity of liberalism and the strength that lies in unity, conviction, and the revolutionary articles of fascism. That is why it is those fascist, and fascist inspired states that are showing the greatest strength against those challenges to European civilization, even in faraway South America the fascists are winning.

But we face many challenges on the European and global scale, civilization remains at risk from the most disgusting external and internal enemies. There is war, and chaos, and madmen command armies throughout the world. We must remain intensely vigilant. The enemies of Italy remain as cunning and as duplicitous as ever. In Moscow, Leon Trotsky and his puppets seek to swallow Mother Europa whole. And in Europe there are those statesmen who seek to repeal the Risorgimento and dishonor the august House of Savoy. Within Italy, there are internal enemies, who wish to take advantage of the crisis in Europe, the wars, the disruptions of trade, to enact their agenda of sabotage, espionage, and terrorism. There are also those who erroneously believe that fascism has lost its teeth, that is has become complacent with itself, that it has lost its revolutionary power.

This has manifested itself not only in the hosts of Communist spies and saboteurs in the nation who seek to swing open the door to the Red Army to plunder Rome and Milan for all her treasures, but also to opportunists and elitists, who think that fascism has become tolerant of opposition and believe they have an ability to advance their personal agendas. A class of opportunists and elitists who don't care about the nation, the people, or the House of Savoy, and seek only their own enrichment and benefit. They spit on the flag and the fasces, and they worship themselves. They pursue their own agenda over the interests of the nation, they undermine the unity of the nation when it most needs discipline, they have somehow imagined fascism will tolerate this, it never has and never will.

Let me make things absolutely clear. The Italy of Fascism does not tolerate opposition! It is invincible in both attack and defense, those who attack the Italy of Fascism will be dealt a blow ten-thousand times greater. Those who conspire against our nation, our King, and fascism will be destroyed, and those criticisms that undermine confidence in the monarchy, or in fascism, or the state will be silenced. The Italy of Fascism is one! It is indivisible, and invincible! With the fasces, with Duce, with the Crown of Savoy, Italy is terrifying in power and ever-glorious! Those who take the attack to the nation will be utterly annihilated, those criticisms which seek to disassembles the fasces, and the fascist society, will not be tolerated. Opportunism is a crime against the nation, conspiracy is a crime against the nation, and crimes are punished!

The common folk of Italy, who are led by an uncommon man, Benito Mussolini, are undefeated when united behind their leader. But those who seek to lead the people away from the flag, and the crown, towards falsehoods and treachery will be defeated. But we must be vigilant, Bolshevik armies attack Europe, and their spies conspire within Italy. Opportunists in Italy seek to take advantage of this crisis to grow their own power and mislead the people!

It is for this reason we must declare a State of Siege. Italy and her possessions are under attack! When the city comes under the attack, the first thing that must be done is to arrest all the thieves and to cut their throats! We must be ruthless to enemies, and to those who attempt to oppose fascism, I tell you now, you will be crushed! Without mercy, entirely and utterly! The iron fist of fascism is all-powerful! Perhaps you are already experiencing its might!

I tell the Italian people, wherever you are listening now, in Rome, or Palermo, or Venice, or Turin, or Naples, or in Tirana, or Trieste, your Duce has taken action! Italy will be secured from her enemies, and delivered from those who seek to do her harm, but I ask you, Men and Women of Italy, to stand loyally behind the Flag, behind the King, and behind Fascism! If we do these things, if we are disciplined, and united, if we man the battlements with vigor, we will surely drive out the enemies and crush those who defy the power of Italy.

Men and women of Italy, we have won many victories, and there are many more to come, but we must be vigilant against enemies, and we must not neglect those in our own backyard. Together, we will sanctify Italy first and then together expel ALL the barbarians from Europe.

I ask you to pray with me tonight for the men of the army, of the police, and of the Volunteer Militia. I ask you to pray for the triumph of Catholic religion over Marxist atheism, I ask you to pray for our King, who labors tirelessly and purely for the good of the country, and I ask you to pray for me so that Italy will be victorious. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost guide us in our endeavors. Amen.

Long live Italy! Long live the King! Long live Fascism!

The radio speech is followed by the playing of Giacomo Puccini's "Crisantemi"

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« Reply #577 on: May 02, 2023, 04:47:48 PM »

This peace is a sham signed by a collaborator and traitor to the French people who stabbed his allies in the back.

We French do not want to relive the horrors of the Great War and lose yet another generation of young men. Australians are well familiar with the horrors of Passchendaele. There is likely a greater threat brewing closer to home for you, Mon ami.

At least we are not collaborators and traitors to our nation who kowtow before a foreign leader.

Tough talk coming from the Socialist Savior of the Soviets who worked tirelessly to prevent a global united front against the scourge of communism at the League of Nations Roll Eyes
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« Reply #578 on: May 04, 2023, 12:10:29 AM »
« Edited: May 04, 2023, 02:37:58 PM by Lumine »

The World War
January to June 1940 (Part One)

"Herr Hugenberg and Wilhelm the Lesser entered this war with a rather childish delusion: that they could bomb everybody else - with chemicals if need be - and nobody was going to bomb them. And at Prague, Paris, Krakow and other places they put this extremely naive theory in operation. They tried it in our own soil a year ago, and only succeeded out of sheer blind luck. But Fighter Command wasn't broken. And what's more to the point, Bomber Command was waiting in the wings. Gentlemen, our time of waiting is over. We fly over the Channel and into the lands of the Hun today, to let Hugenberg know the reality behind his theory of air war. And so I say to you this: The boche have sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind."

(Arthur "Bomber Harris, speech to RAF Bomber Command crews)

Western Front

The Siege of Gibraltar

For over two hundred years, Gibraltar has stood as one of the symbols of the British Empire, the path to its naval domination of much of the Mediterranean Sea. From the Rock of Gibraltar, the Governor - Brigadier General Bernard Montgomery - presided over increasing activity since 1938, particularly after instructions to inspect all oil tankers crossing the Straits created a massive naval traffic jam. Determined to fulfill his duty, General Montgomery was not surprised when a Spanish corps out of Cadiz began moving on his defensive positions. For Spain and its new leader, the time to avenge the humiliation of Gibraltar was now, with the Franco-German peace seemingly showing Britain at its weakest moment. Unfortunately for the Spaniards, Britain had been heavily fortifying Gibraltar for more than year, enabling Montgomery, his garrison, and naval Force H to put up a furious resistance. Having repelled the initial Spanish assault, the battle for Gibraltar devolved into a lengthy siege as Montgomery refused to yield.

Again and again, Spanish commander Queipo de Llano would attack, but insufficient manpower and an unwillingness to sacrifice his entire force to take the fortress ensured continued and successful resistance. All through the first half of the year, Montgomery surpassed expectations by keeping up a defiant effort, a marked contrast with the rapid and disastrous fall of Singapore. By the arrival of summer, amidst dwindling supplies and a mostly injured garrison, the Rock still stood as British territory. The price, however, had been high. For one, supplying Gibraltar meant to have dangerous naval sorties again Spanish artillery, which badly hurt Force H. For another, the constant battle made it impossible for naval traffic to enter the Straits of Gibraltar, forcing all shipping non-hostile to Britain to rely on the Suez Canal. For the rest, there was no longer any path other than to land at French forts, Spain having been blockaded by the Royal Navy in reaction to the attack. While a morale boost, the costly resistance in Gibraltar appears to have reached the decisive point, forcing London to make a difficult decision.

An Awkward Peace

Although the downfall of Giraud and the arrival of Pétain seemed to indicate good chances for a peace, many were caught off guard by the suddenness of it. Without any public developments, the stunned Entente and German public were surprised by the Peace of Paris, and even more so by the contents. As domestic politics became immediately influenced - contrasting a mostly grateful French public with a somewhat disappointed German one - by the treaty, the military situation altered instantly. Battered after two years of trench and chemical warfare, French divisions re-entered previously occupied territory - much of which has been ruined due to extensive chemical warfare - as the Germans either rushed to the Eastern Front, or moved to crush the remaining Entente resistance.

As London and Paris engaged in a battle of wills over the "Peace with Honor", Britain defiantly decided to keep up the struggle, choosing to redeploy the BEF and Commonwealth forces into the Belgian front. Over the next few months, as battles took place in Belgium and across the African continent, an explosive report appeared in the New York Times in America, claiming that Britain had threatened war on the Pétain government over the Treaty of Paris, information which was later supported - controversially, leading to a storm in the House of Commons - by a number of opposition MPs. This, in turn, opened up the divisions regarding the conduct of war.

Although Britain appeared safe from invasion due to the demands of the Eastern Front for the Reich, the prospect of "fighting alone" besides the Commonwealth made some uneasy. Others, like Sir Oswald Mosley - fresh from a triumphant tour of Italy - wanted to exploit the situation to push London in the same increasingly anti-Communist position as France. With Lloyd George's support, Leader of the Opposition Archibald Sinclair has called for an open debate on the conduct of the war, in what might result in a tentative Vote of No Confidence. Prime Minister Halifax, however, has also found unexpected support due to his actions, with the King (most unexpectedly) and much of the Conservative Party - led by the hawk faction of Churchill, Cooper, Amery and Eden - actually rallying behind his defiant intent to fight on.

Belgium falls, evacuation at Ostend

For their part, the Belgian government had been offered terms by Berlin. Finding it impossible to sign them due to their emotional implications - including the loss of the vital Belgian Congo - King Leopold made his last stand, hoping against the odds for a miracle as the Entente forces landed in the remnants of his nation. At the Battles of Dixmue and Bruges the Entente put up a strong defense, bolstered by air assets, all while facing the bulk of Kluge's Army Group A, the new German force in Belgium. To their credit, Lord Gort and King Leopold forced the Germans to pay a horrific price for every inch of territory, forcing the Reichswehr to make a slow advance only made possible through almost toxic concentrations of chemical warfare and aerial bombardment. Having pushed the Entente back from its positions, and as civilian casualties multiplied due to chemical bombardment, King Leopold reached the end of his mental resistance.

The Belgian Army surrendered afterwards, with the King joining them in German custody after refusing an offer to escape and live in exile. The civilian government, however, chose to evacuate to London to form a Government in Exile. Having complete naval control over the Channel, the Royal Navy successfully evacuated the BEF and the Commonwealth divisions back to Britain from Ostend despite some harassment by the Luftwaffe, preventing the loss of the Empire's most experienced forces. For now, however, and as the Benelux faces an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, the brutal warfare of the Western Front is temporarily at an end.

Air War over Germany

Even since the Battle of Britain in late 1938 had damaged the Royal Air Force, significant efforts had taken place to restore the damage and to prepare for vengeance, with Air Marshal Peirse's Bomber Command featuring prominently among them. With the Western Front all but over, and the British aerial assets now concentrated in Britain as opposed to dispersed around France, London decided the time was ripe for some revenge. As aircraft production increased - in a contrast to German air production, stalled due to oil priorities - Bomber Command grew in size, resulting in a concerted air offensive in the Spring. Lacking the sufficient fighter range, British heavy bombers poured into the Ruhr and prominent German cities in Hanover. Much like the German raid, and against the odds, the British offensive - led by Air General Arthur "Bomber Harris" - managed to overcome German anti-air and fighter resistance.

While unable to deliver a crippling blow or substantially damage the Luftwaffe fighter wing, the RAF was nonetheless able to bomb industrial zones in Lübeck, Kiel, Hamburg and Bremen. Having prided itself as the strongest air force in Europe, there are signs that the Luftwaffe will soon face serious competition for the skies.

African Front

Rise and Fall of the German Colonial Empire

Having had to relinquish gains in Alsace-Lorraine - the source of much frustration for conservative Germans -, the Reich nonetheless more than avenged the loss of its colonies in the Great War through the Peace of Paris. In one stroke, Germany recovered Togo and Cameroon, as well as gaining vast and resource-rich territories in the French Congo, Gabon, the Ivory Coast, Madagascar, and Tunisia. Adding this to the potential of accessing the Belgian Congo, the future looked promising indeed. Chancellor Hugenberg certainly fueled such dreams, as, in the middle of a large scale reshuffle and military promotions - further binding certain powerful individuals close to him - key Generals were rewarded with the appointment of Reichskommisar, responsible for the new colonies without having to leave Berlin for it. It was, on the surface, a most tempting prospect.

For Britain, however, the notion of a German foothold in Africa was unthinkable. And what is more important, they had the means to prevent it. With Berlin unable to send garrisons to its colonies due to the British blockade - with only a few officers and/or civil servants travelling through French territory to formally receive ownership -, the Royal Navy staged landings all across the winter and spring, seizing the territories. Local resistance varied, ranging from French commanders who willingly handed them over to British forces and then returned to the remaining French colonies, to those who actively resisted, leading to several skirmishes. The effort has required the use of large amounts of troops to occupy and garrison such vast territories and further poisoned the air between London and Paris, but it has also prevented the establishments of said Reichskommissariats, at least for now. Shortly after British landings in the French Congo, the Governor of Belgian Congo declared for the Belgian government in exile, bringing an apparent end to the brief campaign.

Eastern Front

3rd Battle of the Baltic Sea

The Kriegsmarine had avenged its honor last year, but it had failed to decisively defeat the Soviet Baltic Fleet and truly respond to the humiliation endured months ago. Unwilling to leave it at that, the bulk of the German fleet sailed again under Admiral Lutjens, bolstered by Polish air assets and now further reinforced by the repaired u-Boat submarine fleet. Once again, Admiral Levchenko and the Soviets answered to the challenge, forced to defend their hard-won control over the sea to facilitate Soviet operations in Lithuania. This time the tide turned decisively. Having learned the lessons of previous encounters, Lutjens applied ruthlessly precise gunnery on the Soviets, successfully pulling of an encirclement. After several brutal hours of fighting, half of the Soviet Baltic Fleet was on the bottom of the ocean, Levchenko taking surviving vessels back into Kronstadt. Although damages will limit the scope of short-term operations, the German-Polish alliance has regained control over the Baltic Sea.

The Romanian Switch

After an unexpected - and in his mind heroic - journey that had taken him from despair in Transylvania to triumph in Bucharest, General Dumitrescu and King Michael faced a difficult situation. Two years of ceaseless warfare - including some of the most brutal use of chemicals in Europe - in a nation facing an economic meltdown had caused untold misery. The nation begged for peace, wearily - at best - celebrating the liberation of Bucharest due to the danger of further warfare. Bulgaria had seized southern Dobruja, an act that neither the General nor the King forgot or forgave. Having received a sudden peace offer by Moscow, the Romanian Royalist government agonized, allegedly receiving pressure from multiple sides to take the deal or to keep up the struggle until final victory. Requesting a different deal after the Peace of Paris, and receiving a favorable reply, Dumitrescu and the King blinked. To the shock - and glee - of the Romanian public, nothing less than a full withdrawal had been negotiated.

Over the next two months, the Soviet Black Sea Fleet abandoned its blockade and the Red Army abandoned Romania - including territories won at the costs of hundreds of thousands of casualties - to regroup in Poland. In tow came thousands of Communist refugees, including the outraged Lucretiu Patrascanu, now an exile. Giving a widely celebrated speech, the King hailed the end of the struggle, crediting the army, the public, and Romania's "true friends" with the nation's survival. The price of such an advantageous peace, however, was made clear when Dumitrescu, claiming to do so with a heavy heart, announced a full embargo of Poland, Hungary and Germany. For the future, Romania would rely on the Black Sea for trade.

Amidst the "Romanian Miracle", however, a daunting challenge beckons. The nation has been devastated, with its oil industry so thoroughly wrecked that it will take months and/or years to recover. Much of the land in the east is now utterly poisoned. And despite the arrival of military and humanitarian aid - leading to an incident when Bulgarian assistance was revealed to be of an obsolete nature -, it is unclear how the liberated nation will climb back of the economic black hole. And yet, for now at least, the public breathes an uneasy sigh of relief. The war, for now, is over for them. Another thing entirely is how such a peace might be received in Moscow, with talk of furious denunciations by Tukhachevsky loyalists in the Congress of Soviets over a "betrayal" of the Red Napoleon's legacy.

Duel of Spies in the East

The successful assassination of several high ranking Soviet officers late last year made it clear that assassination attempts were here to stay as part of the brutal war in the East, and continued well into the year. Once again, they were all directed towards high ranking Soviet personnel, with Chairman Kamenev, Director Yagoda, and Commissar Trotsky all seemingly marked for death. In the most spectacular of attacks, a sewer landmine detonated beneath the NKVD HQ, almost killing Director Yagoda. Seemingly insulted by this personal affront, and having already whipped the NKVD into shape to contain the Emniyet, the Director increased his efforts to counter enemy attacks, aided by comprehensive security measures already introduced by Kamenev.

Two attacks on the Chairman were stopped before they could even take place. Attacks on Trotsky and Yagoda were prevented in time. The final attack, the attempted shooting of Commissar Trotsky by disaffected Stalinists, managed to get through the NKVD net. Luckily for Moscow, Trotsky survived, though at the price of being put out of commission for the rest of the year while he recovers. Despite many of the assailants taking their own lives with cyanide, enough were captured for the NKVD to take action. Several suspected Polish and German cells were arrested, their members shot for espionage, in what expected to significantly reduce the Abwehr's ability to pull off further hits. In response to the Trotsky shooting, an investigation also revealed what appeared to be a Stalinist spy ring, with captured members disappearing into the torture chambers of the NKVD HQ.

Polish and Lithuanian Campaigns

With the aftermath of the 3rd Battle of the Danzig Corridor leaving dozens of thousands - some would say hundreds - of casualties, many expected the Red Army to repeat its previous modus operandi and immediately return into the offensive, pushing into Berlin once again. To their surprise, the Red Army drastically shifted gears. Under orders by Chairman Kamenev, Commissar Trotsky immediately began working with General Zhukov to whip the remaining forces into shape, seeking to learn past lessons to streamline the Soviet chain of command and improve performance. While Trotsky's attempted assassination prevented him from completing the process, it did much to bolster Soviet morale as the Red Army withdrew entirely from East Prussia entirely. Behind them, the Red Army left a path of destruction, wrecking Danzig and Konigsberg, destroying bridges and roads, and doing everything short of salting the earth to make the region unusable to the Reich.

This, in turn, drew the ire of the Prussian Jünkers, whose ancient lands were now wrecked. As if sensing their anger, Chancellor Hugenberg presided over the greatest concentration of force in Europe ever - some three million men, including German, Polish and International Legion divisions -, throwing them up in a full advance to push towards the Baltic. They were joined by Spanish reinforcements, White Russian troops, the Ernst Röhm Freikorps - causing very awkward scenes - and even French volunteers, the "Frankish Legion" division. Despite the closing of Gibraltar due to the siege, the Axis forced managed - through unknown means - to retain an oil lifeline, enough to keep their forces running while preventing great exertions in mechanized warfare.

In spite of the sheer scale of the armies involved - which now had the anti-Communist "Axis" boast greater numbers - both armies were in poor shape after a year of incessant fighting and attrition. And with the Red Army switching to the defensive, the large anti-Communist forces had to make it across the devastated East Prussia before finally being able to face Zhukov in Lithuania proper. Over the next few weeks, both men battled again, with both armies now resorting to aerial chemical bombardment.

As casualties mounted - if on a much lesser scale than in the previous year - rapid advances became next to impossible due to chemical warfare, which disrupted the supply lines needed to support such advances. Soviet troops also showed greater resistance, being under new orders from Trotsky - issued from his bed - to "Kill One More than They Kill". In the end, however, the material difference was too big. Unable to cut a path to outflank Zhukov, Manstein nonetheless pushed him out of the defensive lines, threatening the much awaited encirclement. Zhukov, for his part, chose to save his Army. At the end of Spring, the Red Army abandoned Lithuania and much of Northern Poland, concentrating back on the Belarussian border. Despite significant casualties, the bulk of their forces had been saved.

Farther to the south, both sides delivered significant reinforcements while choosing to commit to a defensive strategy, resulting in multiple chemical bombardments - with the Luftwaffe inflicting greater casualties - but not in large scale battles, keeping the frontlines almost identical to the start of the year.

The Spring Outbreak

As the "Axis" forces liberated East Prussia - to much relief from the local population - and their advance became bogged down in the prolonged fighting for Lithuania, keeping so many forces supplied proved a challenge due to broken down roads and destroyed ports, even after the Kriesgmarine restored naval superiority. This, in turn, undermined the living conditions of the soldiers. And though the Axis could boast far better equipment and living standards for their multi-national army, the army hospitals soon started to fill not only with the wounded, but also with the sick. First a handful, then a dozen, then hundreds, and finally thousands of soldiers became incapacitated for days, covered in disgusting lesions and ulcers, and experiencing fever. In a minority of cases, the disease proved surprisingly deadly, adding to the casualty lists. As the disease spread even further, doctors identified it as Tularemia, an infectious bacterial disease that was soon linked to poisoned water supplies.

Although, on the bright side, the disease proved not to be persistent and or particularly lethal, it also substantially slowed down operations and caused enormous discomfort, hurting the efficiency of Axis forces and weakening the men. Just as important, the outbreak also caused something several cases of psychosis, particularly amount units mentally traumatized by chemical warfare and now paranoid avoid an even deadlier prospect. Unable to explain the outbreak through any means other than purposeful contagion, and despite the lack of firm evidence, German and Polish experts have been quick to denounce the Tularemia outbreak as an unprecedented form of biological warfare, opening yet another chapter in modern warfare after the thorough use of chemical weapons since 1938.
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« Reply #579 on: May 04, 2023, 02:40:37 AM »
« Edited: May 04, 2023, 05:37:22 PM by Lumine »

The World War
January to June 1940 (Part Two)

East Asian Front

Stalemate in Eastern China

During the second half of the decade, Nanjing had proved to be a match of sorts for the cites famous for resisting sieges and advancing armies, having kept up a successful resistance for almost three years against repeated Japanese offensives. Again and again, the IJA had crashed into the NRA, and it had not managed to break Chinese morale despite far superior equipment and dwindling Chinese supplies. Once again the IJA marched from its Shanghai supply base, extending its advance to encompass much of Eastern China right as the NRA prepared a counterattack of its own. While seeking to hold the line in Nanjing, two Chinese pincers moved against Yancheng and Hangzhou, seeking to disrupt Japanese efforts in what, if executed perfectly, could well pose a risk of encirclement. And yet, the loss of experienced commanders to the renewed civil war and the shortages of material - with no major European foreign powers coming to the rescue - made success a difficult proposition.

The Yancheng offensive stalled early, with initial Chinese success finding increasingly strong resistance until reaching strong Japanese defenses, Unwilling to sacrifice his men, the NRA commander pulled off a tactical withdrawal, preventing major losses and containing further Japanese counterattacks. Hangzhou, however, proved to be a major Chinese disaster, as a clever deception attempt was discovered through aerial reconnaissance. The subsequent Japanese assault almost destroyed an entire Chinese army, opening the door for major advances south of Nanjing over the rest of the season. In spite of this and of further Japanese expansion up north, another IJA push towards the capital met with the same fate as the others. With the areas surrounding Nanjing now some of the most fortified in the world, it proved impossible to dislodge the Chinese defenders.

Zhang and Chiang struggle

Hu Hanmin's death of a heart attack early in the year removed the Great Man of the Southern Coalition, leaving a group of generals behind as the inheritors of his legacy. And with the Communists still a minor force, and Wang Jingwei being, for the time being, discredited over his embrace of the Japanese peace, it became clear that the struggle for leadership came down to two men: Chiang, still resisting in Nanjing, and Zhang, the Young Marshal, still keeping up the fight for Manchuria. Following the Northern Coalition's invasion of Sichuan and Hubei, Chiang decided to respond in force. Having little option but to rely on the warlord armies, the KMT moved into Henan province from three different directions, resulting in a major campaign during the first half of the year. With Zhang preoccupied with Manchuria, Feng Yuxiang took command, fighting a brutal campaign that saw both armies steadily losing morale, discipline, and even coherence.

In the end, more centralized command in the Northern side carried the day, retaining control over most of the province while inflicting heavier casualties on the disorganized warord armies. Despite this setback, Chiang had managed to stop the raids into Sichuan and Hubei, at least for now.

The Fall of Harbin

In spite of the major threat to Manchukuo caused by the advancing - if rival - NRA and Northern Coalition forces, the Manchukuo divisions received comparatively fewer reinforcements from Tokyo, who had been forced to commit much of the IJA to other fronts. Seizing the opportunity, the NRA in Northern Manchuria built up its strength during the winter, relaunching its attacks during the spring from Qiqihar. In a series of violent battles, the IJA narrowly held the line, with extremely difficult logistics preventing the NRA from making headway into the industrial zones. Their hold on the rural countryside, however, was expanded, alleviating fears of encirclement and destruction. Southwards, Zhang bypassed the Japanese defenses at Hsinking with his cavalry, before fighting a major battle at Harbin. With the newly recreated Kwantung Army already battered due to its encounters with the NRA, Zhang won again.

This time Harbin fell, resulting in the fall of much of industrial Manchuria - in what is to be an important economic blow to Tokyo - as the Japanese-Manchukuo forces fell back and Pu-Yi's regime escaped to Korea.

Fighting in the South

Expecting an easy victory due to the isolation of the British garrison, a Japanese Army attempted a naval invasion of Hong Kong, having more than sufficient naval and land strength to seize the key port. Having gained a beachhead, the IJA was stunned at the sight of thousands of Chinese defenders crossing into the colony to take up defensive positions. For several weeks the Japanese fought for control against what became a full effort by the Southern Coalition - apparently aligned with London - to defend Hong Kong. Unlike in Shanghai, the beachhead proved impossible to expand enough due to mercilessly artillery shelling by the Chinese, forcing the Japanese to stage a withdrawal. The Japanese, nonetheless, had greater success in an attack from Burma, failing to seize much territory due to the difficult terrain, yet cutting off all roads leading to the British Raj, cutting off yet another possible supply route for Nanjing.

South East Asian Front

Striking Southwards

Increasingly isolated, the Dutch East Indies were in a particularly vulnerable position by the beginning of 1940. Not just because military power was negligible compared to Japanese might, but also because the mother country, thoroughly ruined by the bombing of the dykes, was in little to no position to provide any assistance. For all purposes, Governor-General van Starkenborgh was forced to fend off for himself while receiving large amounts of Dutch refugees who had braved the long journey from Europe, all while having to contain the rising strength of the local Indonesian independence movements. Amidst this backdrop, Field Marshal Sugiyama decided on the Dutch East Indies - one of the world's largest oil producers - as the next target for conquest. Carefully planning an "island hopping" campaign by using Singapore as a key logistics hub - which eased the growing strain of grossly overextended Japanese logistics -, General Terauchi, one of Sugiyama's key lieutenants, struck the first blow.

Over the next six months, Japanese forces overran British Borneo - whose isolated garrison withdrew to coordinated with the Dutch - and landed forces across Sumatra, Dutch Borneo, West Papua, Bangka Island and Java. Facing off against more twenty Japanese divisions were the Dutch Colonial Forces of General Berenschot, boasting less than a third of such massive strength. Still, Berenschot proved a genial commander, making use of terrain to fight delaying battles and forcing Japan to extend its lines. Initial harassment of Japanese shipping did much to disrupt supplying, until Admiral Doorman's hopelessly outnumbered cruiser force was finally intercepted and sunk. Aided by Indonesian rebels, Terauchi was able to force Berenschot out of Borneo, West Papua, Sumatra and Celebes - which surrendered on its own - as well. The Dutch commander, however, concentrated his resources on Java, Flores and Timor, forcing Terauchi into a slow jungle and mountain campaign. Though at their limit, Berenschot and his forces keep resisting.

Burma and India Campaigns

Realizing the danger to the Jewel of the Empire, Britain sent a number of reinforcements during the first half of the year, raising as many loyal Indian divisions as the Raj's weakened administration could muster and support. It was not an easy task amidst Bose's calls for independence, amplified after efforts to push INC leaders to pick sides led many of them into Bose's arms due to the impossibility of outright backing continued British rule - only Gandhi and Nehru keep a stubborn silence, with Jinnah declining to join a revolt for now -. However, this political failure was contrasted with some success in the field by General Auchinleck and his Anglo-Indian Command, which defeated Bose's militias in a series of skirmishes and prevented the uprisings from spreading to other provinces. The fighting for the remnants of Burma dragged on for weeks as terrain and lack of infrastructure in the region prevented even the reduced Japanese-Thai forces from being able to supply their men.

Having nonetheless won the Battle of Myitkyina, the Japanese kept up their advance, facing new British commander William Slim at Imphal. Contrary to expectations of a rapid victory, Slim kept the Japanese occupied for months as the logistical situation worsened, before finally having to withdraw into Assam. By the end of the season, Japanese armies have overrun Burma completely and seized Chittagong, being forced to stop before reaching the key target of Dhaka. Instead of relying on marching their way through Burma, significant resources were destined to Singapore and Rangoon, from where another invasion force made its way into the British-controlled Madras Presidency in the eastern coastline. After a successful landing in Visakhapatnam, the IJA established a major bridgehead in the region. Despite the enormous difficulty to keep the force supplied, assistance from local INC rebels - which treated the IJA as liberators - did much to help stabilize the bridgehead.

From there, the Japanese fleet moved one of its armies into Ceylon, facing the recently reinforced British East Indies Fleet. Admiral Tom Philips, the new commander, faced Chuichi Nagumo in a series of skirmishes that culminated on the Battle of the Palk Strait. Lacking sufficient resources against a large part of the Japanese Combined Fleet, Philips was defeated in his effort to prevent landings, forcing him to skillfully withdraw back into his main naval base at Trincomalee while saving almost his entire fleet in the process. After landing in the north side of Ceylon, General Kuribayashi's invasion force managed to overrun the northern half of the island by the end of spring. This, in turn, places him in a key position to seize the naval base at Trincomalee and the main city of Colombo. Although some locals have aided Kuribayashi on his efforts, a number of civilian leaders led by Stephen Senanayake have sided with the British, preventing a full-on uprising.

Pacific Front

Fear and Bravery in Australia

Having reached the end of their logistical chain of supplies for now, Japanese forces in New Guinea were forced to abandon immediate plans for an invasion of Australia, devoting their resources to the capture of West Guinea and the invasion of the Dutch East Indies. This, however, did not mean Australia was spared from further fighting. Cairns and Port Darwin were both relentlessly bombed by Japanese bombers flying out of Port Moresby, causing countless civilian casualties and raising the spectre of eventual invasion. The Hughes government took decisive action, trying to sweep aside the sense of panic by issuing a rallying cry to form citizen militias, to enlist women in factories and to mobilize Australian national resources for the struggle. Perhaps more decisive than this was the news that all members of the government would forbidden from evacuating to New Zealand, a propaganda move that did much to restore national confidence. As government propaganda floods the streets demonizing the Japanese foe, Hughes has recovered some of his standing.

However, recent propaganda has appeared in the largest cities, mocking the Premier for his "obsession" with Europe and for being a closet Communist sympathizer. Whatever the case, demands for the return of ANZAC troops and for major naval reinforcements grow larger everyday in Sydney and Canberra.

Balkan Front

The Bitter Peace

Although one could not say that the guns went silent in the Balkans, the end of traditional warfare after several years did much to rearrange the board in a region increasingly dominated by the iron first - covered in velvet in only a handful of cases - of the League of Rome. Few nations had been as devastated as the new rump Kingdom of Serbia, whose civilian and military casualties could be said to outweigh even Romania and the Netherlands in the sheer scale of their misery. Forming a collaborationist administration that signed the Treaty of Fiume, the Italians put the locked up Crown Prince George in the throne, finding perhaps the one man in Serbia willing to sign such a punitive treaty without being entirely despised by his people from the get go. Against all expectations, King George has managed to keep an eerie peace in the broken, hollowed out streets of Belgrade. While disliked for signing the treaty, George's earlier popularity, penchant for nationalist rhetoric and commitment to reconstruction has prevented further major uprisings, even as rumours of his depraved behavior behind doors begin to leak.

The arrival of Turkish experts and economic aid has also alleviate some of the crisis by helping rebuild Serbian agriculture, although much of the population - many bearing the scars of chemical wounds - still stand at the brink of starvation, a matter not helped by a heavy military occupation. By and large, Italy has bought some semblance of peace across the former Yugoslavia, at the cost of an enormous and highly costly military occupation. Still, General Mihailovic's armies in the field - mocked by George as the "Chetniks" - have refused to yield. The Italian garrison commander, Bersaglieri General Aminto Caretto, has relentlessly chased Mihailovic across Serbia, showing personal valour in the field despite a marked inability to catch and destroy the Chetnik forces. Out of the former Serbia, Montenegro - now a Kingdom ruled by Victor Emmanuel III as Regent - has developed as the most "stable area", despite its apparent continued loyalty to the Greater Serbian state.

In Slovenia, local forces have managed to contain Tito's communist militias, preventing him from returning to Croatia for the time being. In Croatia, now greatly expanded, Ante Pavelic's regime has very reluctantly eased up some of its restrictions on Bosniaks, only for reports of gruesome acts and forceful deportation - sometimes even worse - against Serbs in Bosnia to continue reaching the outer world. Hungary has also seen some success in terms of decreased resistance in the Banat, although much of it is attributed to the agricultural crisis - as international aid from other nations has instead been directed to the Netherlands - and the difficulty of even rebel forces of living off the poisoned land. By and large, it is Bulgaria that has seen the most stability despite growing pressure to demobilize, with the IMRO-controlled Macedonia making use of new provisional autonomy to stabilize the former battlefield. It will, however, require enormous resources - more than an exhausted Bulgarian economy could hope to muster - to rebuild and develop the region.
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« Reply #580 on: May 04, 2023, 09:06:03 PM »
« Edited: May 05, 2023, 02:05:10 AM by Lumine »


Convention Season in the US
Borah and Roosevelt Jr. easily renominated for second term,
Wendell Willkie unexpected seizes nomination, Democrats go internationalist,
Amidst collapse of a possible American First ticket, Willkie faces Dixiecrat revolt


No President since Woodrow Wilson has served a full term in office - and Coolidge was the last to be re-elected -, which has created a dynamic in America unlikely that of the 1840s and 1850s. The collapse of the Hoover administration sunk the Republican Party, just as the collapse of FDR resuscitated it. And with America's oldest President at the helm, presiding over a deep divide between isolationists and internationalists on both major parties, many wondered if Borah - the outsided - would have what it takes to survive. To his credit, President Borah proved to be a moderate supreme in office, carefully balancing out conservative and progressive pressure while leaving the Supreme Court to finish off the New Deal on its own. Said balancing act, of course, did not shield Borah from controversy, particularly from those who found his administration to be altogether too timid, too distant. But for ordinary Americans, exhausted after the Justo-Roosevelt affair, distant may just have been a welcome dynamic.

Despite talk of a challenge, no important Republican challenged the President in the primaries once Borah's intention to run again became clear. And despite talk of potential bids by Charles Lindbergh and even former President Hoover, neither man jumped into the race. Sweeping aside a handful of favorite sons, the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, Borah was easily renominated with only a handful of delegates voting against, and Vice President Roosevelt faced even less opposition. This proved to be a marked contrast to the Democratic race, which featured no less than nine reasonably strong candidates for high office. All of them holding various views, split both on economics and in foreign policy, making the leaderless Democratic Party a mirror of the GOP division in 1936.

Three men fell early on during the primaries: Senator Harry Byrd, who deferred to Former President Garner as the senior Southern Democrat; Senator Alben Barkley, whose populism flopped hard in the first primaries, and more spectacular of all, previous nominee Henry Wallace, his bid derailed by the publication of a series of bizarre letters to a personal guru (the "Dear Guru" letters). The remaining heavy-hitters converged into Chicago for the showdown, some fresh off strong primary showings (Hull, Sinclair, Kennedy) and others banking on strong delegate work (Garner, Long). The surprise was a man who had not held office before: Wendell Willkie. A prominent businessman who had made national news in past years, Willkie's candidacy was the product of internationalist Democrats who felt their options were too narrow or too tainted to win, as well as young Democrats worried about the future of their party.

A life-long Democrat - though a moderate -, Willkie announced his campaign a few weeks before the convention, gaining steam and prominence by embracing the New Deal (while harshly condemning FDR) and attacking his rivals for their isolationist views. As Japanese advances in Asia and the Franco-German peace left Britain isolated, the isolationist cause gained greater force than ever before. During the convention, early leads by former President Garner failed to give him the nomination due to an inability to garner a majority. Kennedy and Long traded blows next, with each man's heavy unpopularity outside their own factions preventing them from finding majorities as well. Wielding control over the large California delegation, Governor Sinclair kept up the fight, causing further deadlock. On the sixth ballot, Willkie began to take off.

By the eight, Cordell Hull saw the writing on the wall and cut a deal, sending Willkie close to a majority. A fiery speech rallying Americans to defend the New Deal and to defend the Free World sealed the deal - despite accusations that Willkie had packed the audience with supporters - as cries of "We Want Willkie!" echoed across the hall. The main contenders were left bewildered as Willkie took the nomination on the ninth ballot, immediately announcing Senator Cordell Hull as his running mate. While adopting a relatively moderate tone in economic issues, the ticket signaled a drastic Democratic shift towards internationalism, mirroring the GOP's isolationist shift in 1936. Willkie's cause, however, was dealt an almost instant blow when a speech which referenced the need to make progress in racial equality - said to be a holdover from an earlier draft for a ballot speech - enraged Southern Democrats. A walkout ensued.

Gathering a week afterwards in Atlanta, Southern delegated nominated former President Garner and Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge, claiming the nomination had been stolen and that Willkie's views were intolerable to conservative Democrats. The "Dixiecrat" ticket is expected to run on conservatism and isolationism. Despite similar attempts by Governor Kennedy to push America First into running a third party ticket, the Lindbergh wing prevailed over the ambitious Democrat, keeping the movement Non-Partisan in formal terms in regards to the 1940 election. Senator Long, who had already ran as a separate candidate in 1936, had to drop a bid due to a lack of support. However, due to his control over Louisiana, it is not ruled out that the Senator might present an alternate slate of electors loyal to him.

With Willkie's nomination and the Dixiecrat revolt, it is up to President Borah now to draw the battle lines and decide how to confront the popular and youthful businessman.


1940 French General Election
President calls for snap election right after Peace of Paris,
Far-Right "Front de la Liberté" triumphs alongside pro-peace parties,
PRRRS collapse, PSF enters the scene, Pétain to appoint new PM


France was at peace.

It was difficult to believe, having spent two years in a struggle so bloody that it only matched the Great War in destruction, carnage and misery. And whereas the Great Work had been somewhat more contained, this time Paris had fallen, and much of Northern France's countryside was thoroughly poisoned with chemical weaponry. Few days passed before an unexploded shell or canister detonated, killing more civilians and rendering some areas too dangerous to rise in. The French Army, having fought a titanic struggle, had finally been broken, but not thoroughly defeated. President Philippe Pétain, the Hero of Verdun, took office as President having promised a "Peace with Honor". Many chose to believe him in despair, half expecting the President to fail. The shock of the announcement of the Peace of Paris, thus, cannot be overstated. Overnight, a relieved nation learned their struggles were seemingly over. What is more, the long dreaded national humiliation had been avoided.

There was to be no occupation, no reparations. Alsace Lorraine would remain French - causing anger in Berlin and ecstasy in Paris -, and though many colonies would be lost, it was a price the bulk of the National Assembly was prepared to pay for. Acting Premier Albert Sarraut (PRRRS) saw the Treaty ratified by the National Assembly and the Senate, at which point Pétain - only a few months ahead of schedule - dissolved the former. Plainly, the election campaign would be fought on the recent peace and on the future of the Third Republic after the Peace with Honor. Pétain would preside over a reasonably fair election, not banning any participants - even the PCF - and refraining from chicanery despite making it clear his preferences were with the right. Although most parties remained the same, there were important new additions: the right-wing Republican Federation (FR) joined forces with the far-right parties (of the fascist and/or monarchist variety) to endorse Pétain's peace, take up the anti-communist banner, and even call for a dictatorship to restore order and prosperity.

With the rest of the moderate right (AD and RI) endorsing the peace despite significant pro-war minority factions, Francois de la Rocque's French Social Party (PSF) emerged as the sole party of the right to remain loyal to Pétain, but to denounce any collaboration with Germany whatsoever. In the center, the Radicals (PRRRS), damaged after the Daladier and Giraud governments, took the pro-peace side, contrasting with the pro-war Christian Democrat PDP (in which Giraud found a home). In the left, the SFIO made a bid to become the largest opposition and anti-German party, fighting a campaign based on saving the Republic from dictatorship. The Communists (PCF), undermined by their flight in 1938, fought a desperate campaign to support Kamenev in his fight against Berlin. The campaign was brief but intense, with Pétain's face plastered around the nation as the right called for voters to back the Old Marshal. Most controversially, a number of anti-peace propaganda pieces showed up across Northern France, mocking Pétain as a sell-out and showing Marianne - the personification of France - being dragged off by a menacing looking German.

In the end, Pétain's control over the timing of the election left his rivals - many of them reduced to a minority on their own parties - neutralized. On election day, the traditional parties all experienced a major setback - the Radicals alone lost half their vote share -, leaving the centrist benches in the National Assembly much reduced. On the left, the Communists were pushed far back, while the SFIO made a comeback as the main opposition force to the President. On the right, it was a triumph for the Front de la Liberté, turning the far-right parties into strong electoral machines. Their only disappointment was the surge experienced by De la Rocque and his PSF, whose working class appeal denied the Front a far stronger result despite being punished by the electoral system. The pro-peace parties had won a clear majority and Pétain showed his clear appeal, but the nation had not quite voted for the complete destruction of parliamentarism either.

In the aftermath of the election, it is now left to the President to choose a Prime Minister, in what is likely to decide the future course of his government. Among the many candidates, those cited in the press are:

Pierre Etienne Flandin (AD) - Experienced politician and a symbol of the moderate right, Flandin would represent a clear indication of support for parliamentary rule and collaboration with the National Assembly, keeping a democratic course for the nation.

Pierre Laval (IND) - The cynical enfant terrible of politics, Laval would represent Pétain's intent to dismantle the Republic and form a pro-German, apolitical dictatorship, in which Laval would play a major role by taking much of the burden of government off the President.

Francois Darlan or Maxime Weygand (Military) - By choosing either the Chief of Staff of the Navy or his old Army colleague, Pétain would likely seek a personal military dictatorship, backed by the army, which would be subservient to his own views instead of relying on a previous ideology.

Francois de la Rocque (FSF) - Though it would alienate the Front, choosing de la Rocque would allow Pétain to follow an anti-German policy if so desired, while having an authoritarian regime seeking to obtain support from the masses through corporatism. De la Rocque would also consider an Orleanist restoration of the monarchy.

Front de la Liberté - Several candidates aspire to the Premiership from the Front, all of them with a personal agenda: Louis Marin (FR), who aspires to be the "respectable face" of the front; Jacques Doriot (PPF), who would install a Mussolini-inspired fascist regime; Pierre Taittinger (JP), who'd install a far-right dictatorship and would consider a Bonapartist restoration; and Charles Maurras (AF), who'd restore the monarchy (Orleanist or Legitimist) and establish an anti-semitic, integral nationalist regime.

1940 French General Election:
Party   Votes (%)   Seats
28% (+9)190 (+98)
SFIO (Left)21% (+5)134 (+26)
PRRRS (Center)12% (-10)89 (-87)
AD (Center-Right)11% (-4)57 (-30)
RI (Center-Right)7% (-2)29 (-15)
PSF (Right)7% (NEW)27 (+27)
PCF (Far-Left)6% (-4)18 (-8)
PDP (Center)3% (+1)16 (+5)
Independents7% (=)50 (-6)
Total610 MP's

Incoming Prime Minister:
TBD (-)

Incoming Government:


Night of the Long Knives
Facing greatest crisis since the 20's, Mussolini strikes!
Arturo Bocchini's OVRA leads massive crackdown and terror campaign,
Thousands dead, Vatican embarrassed by lurid, shocking scandal


After the chaos of the early 1920s in Italy, Benito Mussolini had been able to consolidate his power for almost fifteen years without meaningful opposition. In what became the largest sign of opposition to Il Duce since Matteotti's ill-fated challenge, Pope Benedict XVI's historic speech criticizing what he saw as Mussolini's "duplicitous attitude" regarding his anti-Communist commitment outraged many Italian Catholics and conservatives, leading for calls to convene the Grand Council of Fascism and even open criticism by men like D'Annunzio. A lesser man might have lost his nerve. Mussolini, however, concluded that he may have grown complacent in regards to internal opposition, and acted accordingly. In an ominous and bitter speech, Il Duce warned of internal enemies who had deluded themselves as to the weakness of the regime. Announcing a state of siege across the nation, Mussolini promised to showcase the iron fist of fascism.

Shortly afterwards, thousands of OVRA agents, the Italian secret police, departed their headquarters backed up with military support. OVRA Chief Arturo Bocchini - one of the rising stars in the regime - had clear instructions: opposition had to end. All across Italy, arrests of prominent socialists and communists - even those who had left political activity - took place. With Gramsci already dead, Bocchini went after the next best thing and had prominent communist theorist Amadeo Bordiga dragged into the torture chambers with his comrades. Shortly afterwards, hundreds of already arrested dissidents were dragged out of the prisons to be summarily executed by firing squad. In prominent cities, OVRA agents stormed all printing presses that were publishing anti-semitic newspapers and had smeared minister Guido Jung, smashing them all. Bocchini took it as far as burning down the headquarters of fascist anti-semite Telesio Interlandi's Il Tevere newspaper, whose rhetoric had not been far off that of pre-Hugenberg's Der Stürmer.

A number of low ranking Fascist functionaries - particularly in Sicily - were also arrested and tried in highly publicized events, accused of corruption and of undermining IL Duce. Further sweeps across the cities led to the arrest of suspected dissidents, traitors, and foreign agents, all of them summarily shot as well. But by far the riskiest move by the OVRA was a direct attack on the Vatican, as Cardinal Camillo Caccia Dominioni - favorite of the previous Pope - was arrested in Rome. Amidst furious threats of excommunication by the Pope, Caccia-Dominioni was tried and publically revealed to be a pederast, embarrassing the Catholic Church in a scandal of unforeseen proportions. Following a visit by Count Ciano to the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI has seemingly desisted of alleged plans to have the Fascist regime excommunicated, denouncing Caccia-Dominioni instead. The Pope, however, has not been deterred from excommunicating Bocchini over the arrest in the first place.

Only the Pope's apparent restrain prevented a major crisis, as the arrest of a Cardinal worsening Mussolini's problems with Catholics that were only lessened by the scandal. By and large, and even as the Church is forced to try and clean up its image, the Duce's image has taken a further hit in Catholic nations, hurting pro-Mussolini parties as well. In the streets of Italy, an uncomfortable silence has taken place after the OVRA has returned to barracks. There is an atmosphere of fear, coupled with the clear silencing of much of the recent public opposition and criticism. Thousands are said to be dead in an event described by the foreign press as the Night of the Long Knives...
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« Reply #581 on: May 05, 2023, 02:20:01 AM »

MID YEAR NEWS - with Radio Crusader

"As the Catholic Church battles scandal, Pope Benedict XVI has issued a stinging rebuke of anti-semitism, formally disavowing Polish Cardinal Hlond's anti-semitic tirades. The Pope has credited King Otto of Hungary with raising the issue with the Vatican, and has praised His Majesty the Apostolic King for his principled stand against Marxism..."

"Several merchant ships have been turned away in the North Sea, trying to go around the British blockade of the German Reich. The ships, suspected to be of American companies, were said to be trying to bring vital goods to the Reich..."

"From Switzerland, a major indictment of King Otto of Hungary has been published in the press. According to reports, Otto has been described as a manipulative warmonger, trying to play Italy and Germany against each other to gain Balkan dominance. The reports claim Hungary is planning a betrayal of Bulgaria..."

"Major Cabinet reshuffles take place in Berlin and Moscow. Hugenberg has heaped promotions on Generals and Ministers, whereas Kamenev - who has elevated Zinoviev as the new Soviet head of state - has seemingly brought his rivals close by giving them major offices of state..."

"Following Night of the Long Knives in Italy, the International Olympic Committee said to be preparing to suspend the 1940 Rome Olympics Games, claiming that the conditions are unsuitable for such an event..."

"King Alfonso XIII and the Royal Family return to Madrid for the first time in nine years, consolidating the return of the monarchy to Spain. The ailing King has confirmed General Franco as Prime Minister, but the Constitutional Convention is likely to encounter trouble from the Carlist pretenders and the struggle between Alfonso's sons to succeed him..."
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« Reply #582 on: May 05, 2023, 03:34:53 PM »

July 1st, 1940

List of Conflicts:

Great Eastern War Soviet Union vs. German Reich, Polish Republic, Free City of Danzig,  Kingdom of Hungary (1939 - Present)

German-Entente War British Empire (UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand), Belgian government in exile vs. German Reich, Kingdom of Spain, Kingdom of Hungary (1938 - Present)

Pacific War: Empire of Japan, Kingdom of Thailand vs. British Empire (UK, Australia, British Raj), Netherlands (Dutch East Indies)

Third Sino-Japanese War: Empire of Japan, Manchukuo vs. Republic of China vs. Northern Coalition vs. Southern Coalition

Chinese Civil War: Republic of China vs. Northern and Southern Coalitions (1939 - Present)
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« Reply #583 on: May 07, 2023, 11:30:30 AM »

A Message to Australia from Prime Minister Billy Hughes

"The magnitude of the task before us cannot be stated.

Japanese forces have rolled over everything in their path to this date. The fall of Port Moresby can be seen as nothing but a failure. A war cannot be won by retreat.

We now stand at a crossroads. We can either move forward and engage the enemy, or we can, as some have suggested, agree to negotiate with him . . . but I have to tell you, there can be no negotiation with the Devil!

We will make our stand here, in this nation of ours, and with the sea surrounding us and our backs to the wall, we shall fight. It is the only way. We know that the Japanese across the water have a reputation as fearsome soldiers, but they are only human! Cut them and they bleed, same as the rest of us!

The Volunteer Defence Corps, so loyally organised by those retired servicemembers, is hereby made an official arm of the Australian Imperial Force, with General Henry Chauvel as its commander. The Corps will also be open to any man between the ages of sixteen and sixty. While you are encouraged to arm yourselves, the government will provide what it can to ensure a strong national defence.

To the women of Australia, we ask you to take to the factories to produce the tools we will need to defend ourselves against this menace. Every ship, every plane, every cannon, every rifle, every bullet we can produce will be needed in the coming battle.

To this, I also add that no member nor minister of this government shall be permitted to evaucate to New Zealand. We shall, if necessary, pick up rifles ourselves to defend this nation!

People of Australia, this is our moment! This is our time! All of our history has led us to this point! Australia will never return to the dark ages! Australia shall remain a beacon of hope in this sea of darkness! A beacon of light! A beacon of liberty!

God bless you all, and God bless Australia!

Advance Australia Fair
(with altered lyrics for war, to be played across the radio)

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We've golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature's gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history's page, let every stage
Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair!

Should foreign foe e'er sight our coast,
Or dare a foot to land,
We'll rouse to arms like sires of yore,
To guard our native strand;
For loyal sons beyond the seas
We've boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To advance Australia fair!
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair!
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« Reply #584 on: May 07, 2023, 11:39:34 AM »

General Elections in Catalonia and the Basque Country shall be held on Tuesday, November 12, 1940.

Any Party that supports Catalonian or Basque Independence shall be prohibited from standing in the elections.

Francisco Franco
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« Reply #585 on: May 09, 2023, 05:20:17 PM »


Halifax out, Churchill in
British PM falls after "France Debate" in the House of Commons,
Despite opposition, King Edward prevails in new appointment,
Conservative "hawk" Winston Churchill becomes fourth PM since 36'


The House of Commons was well and truly packed. It was to be a most paradoxical of situations, for the main subject of the debate - Prime Minister Lord Halifax - could not be present due to the rules of the Lords and the Commons. The debate, started by the initiative of Archibald Sinclair and Stafford Cripps, purported to discuss the present conduct of the war, particularly in regards to France and the Western Front (hence known as the "France Debate"). In reality, it was to be a debate on Prime Minister Halifax, in office since the defenestration of Neville Chamberlain after the Treaty of Istanbul in late 1937. Anthony Eden, Foreign Secretary, senior "hawk" in the Conservative Party and likely heir, loyally led the debate. It proved to be something of a confused affair. Whereas some senior parliamentarians went after Halifax for being overtly conciliatory with the Soviets (Mosley, Lloyd George) or too hostile to them (Cripps, Pollitt), Leader of the Opposition Archibald Sinclair kept the pressure on the conduct of the war itself, which had seen a number of setbacks as the Empire, faced with the twin German and Japanese threat, appeared to be at its most dangerous point in living memory.

Although the motion in favor of the government was carried, with the hawks providing much cover for the PM on his intent to keep waging war, several Conservative defections - with the party increasingly unruly as the 1941 election approaches - delivered a blow in terms of morale. Although most expected the government to carry on, Halifax, exhausted by the immense task and the efforts of the past two and a half years, had had enough. Wanting to give his successor a greater chance, he willingly and surprisingly tendered his resignation, which was accepted. Many internal discussions took place within the Conservative Party in the following days as a successor was needed. Despite Eden's status, his prominent role in the Halifax government had won him a fair share of critics, particularly in the opposition. In the end, it became clear that the "hawks" advocating for resistance and defiance would prevail, but that Eden would not be the one lead them to the promised land.

Enter Winston Churchill. Experienced parliamentarian, twice a defector, and a very energetic and controversial figure, Churchill had won a reputation by bitterly opposing German rearmament in the House of Commons, and for calling Ramsay MacDonald "Judas" over his plans for Indian Home Rule. Having served as First Lord of the Admiralty under Chamberlain and having resigned after the Treaty of Istanbul, Churchill had been brought back to government under Halifax, serving in the same position during the first two years of conflict. Despite controversy over the naval defeat in the Far East, Churchill's tireless activity had won him much support, and his anti-German stances also helped to win over the opposition. More important still, he was a personal friend and ally of King Edward VIII, who was more than happy to wield his power and influence to elevate him to high office. Despite the Conservative "doves" being aghast, Churchill was called to the Palace, becoming the fourth Prime Minister since 1936.

It remains to be seen whether he can stop the political instability that has, thus far, hampered British interests around the globe.
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« Reply #586 on: May 09, 2023, 05:35:37 PM »

The following flyers will be dropped all over the British Raj, and the following speech will be made

It is my honor to stand before you today to express my unyielding support for Subhas Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army. We, as a nation, have seen the struggle and oppression that India has endured at the hands of the British colonialists for far too long. It is time for us to take a stand and support our Indian brothers and sisters in their quest for freedom and independence.

Subhas Chandra Bose is a true leader and visionary who has dedicated his life to the cause of Indian liberation. He has shown time and time again that he is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. He has forged a strong alliance with Japan, recognizing that our two nations share a common enemy in the British imperialists. Together, we will fight to free India from the shackles of western oppression.

Japan is proud to stand with Bose and the Indian National Army in this fight for freedom. We will provide all the necessary resources and support to ensure their success. But make no mistake, this will not be an easy fight. The British will do everything in their power to stop us. They will use their superior military might to crush us if they can.

But we will not be deterred. We will stand up and fight for what is right. We will fight for an independent India free from western oppression. We will fight for the rights of all Indians to determine their own destiny.

So I call on all of you today to join us in this fight. We need your help, your courage, and your commitment to this cause. Together, we can achieve what many believed to be impossible. Together, we can create a new world order based on mutual respect and cooperation between nations.

Let us stand together, as brothers and sisters, in this noble quest for freedom. Let us show the world what can be achieved when we work together towards a common goal. The time for action is now. Join us, and together we will write the history of a free and independent India.
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« Reply #587 on: May 09, 2023, 06:31:15 PM »

Wikimedia Commons

Address to the Commons by the Prime Minister Following His Election as Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party and Appointment as Prime Minister

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I stand before you today as a humble servant of His Majesty the King, who has been asked to form a Government in our King’s name. Given the awesome challenges that our Empire faces today, this is not a task to be taken lightly or without the full conviction of one’s heart. It is with my full fortitude that I accepted His Majesty’s invitation and I will form a Govenment to make Britain proud.

*cheers from the benches*

I have watched with sadness as my predecessors have been unable to respond to the challenges of this new age. Now is not a time for weakness, now is not a time for cowardice, now is not a time for complacency. We must face these challenges head on, with boldness and decivisness, to ensure not only lasting prosperity for our children and our children’s children but the very survival of liberal democracy in Europe. This is no time for appeasement or fear!

*cheers from the benches*

I pledge to you and to the people of the Empire, be they an aged women in London, a soldier in the Congo, a young girl in Montreal, or a farmer in Darwin, that I will commit the whole of my being to winning this Great War. For failure is not an option. In this struggle, failure would mean the fall of London, the collapse of the greatest Empire that God has ever seen, and death of many thousands, perhaps millions, of patriotic Britons. I know, because I’ve seen it in their faces, heard it in their voices, and read it in their letters, that the people of this Empire would rather die than kneel before a Kaiser or be subject to his despotic rule!

*cheers from the benches*

I am in the process of naming my Cabinet and hope to present a Government that Britain can be proud of in the very near future. I pray for God’s wisdom as I undertake the Herculean task but I am comforted in knowing that every man and woman in this House is dedicated to the cause of the Empire and to protecting our British way of life. There are likely dark days ahead, but I am confident that our Empire shall rise together as one from this war, stronger, more united, and greater than ever.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

*cheers from the benches*
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