The Raging Storm - Gameplay Thread
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Trump is “America’s Hitler”
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« Reply #50 on: September 10, 2023, 08:45:43 PM »

The German-Bulgarian Alliance Against Soviet Imperialism

Recognizing the need for all nations to set aside their differences and stand united against Communist aggression, the Tsardom of Bulgaria and the German Reich hereby agree that effective immediately:

i) The Tsardom of Bulgaria shall issue an immediate declaration of war upon the Soviet Union;

ii) The German Reich shall come to the defense of the Tsardom of Bulgaria should it ever find itself subject to unprovoked foreign aggression.  The Tsardom of Bulgaria shall henceforth be deemed under German protection.

iii) The German Reich may use Bulgarian airspace and air force bases, as well as any Bulgarian ports and naval bases for the duration of the war on Communism.

iv) The Tsardom of Bulgaria and the German Reich agree to forgo tariff increases on domestic goods produced and exported by the other. Furthermore, the parties to this treaty agree in principle to future tariff reductions and further policy changes to facilitate free, unencumbered, and mutually beneficial trade, economic growth, and development.

x Tsar Boris III


X Chancellor Alfred Hugenberg, Chancellor of the German Reich
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« Reply #51 on: September 10, 2023, 08:55:45 PM »

The Tsar Speaks - Hungary Is Not Yet Lost!

image from Republika

Fellow Bulgarians,

I speak to you at a time of great peril. While Bulgaria currently stands unscathed, the rest of Europe is burning. Hungary, our steadfast ally in the liberation of Macedonia from Yugoslav oppression, has been brutally violated and decimated by the scrouge of Communism. The barbarians of the Red Army have looted and plundered their way across Hungary’s virgin fields, slaughtering civilians and poisoning vital farmland with insidious chemical weaponry. The proud Hungarian people - who fought alongside our brave Bulgarian men to liberate the Balkans from the bloated Serbian state - are now being subjected to the worst of depravities by the hordes from the East. The perfidious Yagoda has starved, beaten, and raped the great people of Hungary - and now, his troops march ever southward, burning and pillaging closer and closer to our borders. No nation - not Hungary, not Poland, not Romania, and not Bulgaria - is safe from Communist aggression. And no good, no moral nation can stand by as the Red hordes attempt to impose their godless will on the civilized people of Europe.

Bulgarians are proud people. When Macedonia called for aid in their righteous fight for liberation against Yugoslav hegemony, we rose to the occasion. With our allies in the Roman Alliance, we vanquished the threat to the West and reversed the humiliations of Neuilly-sur-Seine. Thanks to the bravery and valor of Bulgarian men, our nation now stands atop the Balkans as a dominant power. Now, my fellow Bulgarians, I ask you personally to join the fight once more.

This conflict we now face is not just one to liberate our Hungarian ally. Nay, this is a far grander war - a titanic battle for the freedom of Europe from the reaching tentacles of satanic Bolshevism. As long as a single Soviet troop stands in Europe, as long as Yagoda sits on his throne of blood, no nation on this continent is safe. With the official declaration of alliance with our friends in Germany, all of civilized Europe now stands hand-in-hand against the Red menace. From the Baltic Sea to the Black, Europe is united against the Communist hordes, and by the grace of God, we will be victorious! We shall drive the Red menace, the Marxist perversion back to the frozen wastes from which it came!

My friends! Countrymen! Hungary is not yet lost. A Bulgarian never abandons a brother, and with the contributions of noble Bulgarian men and our great allies alike, we shall free Hungary, and Europe, from the shackles of Communism. I call upon you today to do your patriotic duty, to join the battle against the Red horde. Hungary shall be liberated, and civilized rule will be restored across Europe!

Glory to Bulgaria!
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« Reply #52 on: September 10, 2023, 09:48:32 PM »

Quote
The Peruvian-German Cooperation Treaty

Recognizing the need for all nations to set aside their differences and stand united against Communist aggression as well as the importance of fostering closer economic ties between friendly nations, Peru and the German Reich hereby agree that effective immediately:

i) Peru and Germany shall conduct full and unrestricted trade with each other

ii) Peru and the German Reich agree to forgo tariff increases on domestic goods produced and exported by the other. Furthermore, the parties to this treaty agree in principle to future tariff reductions and further policy changes to facilitate free, unencumbered, and mutually beneficial trade, economic growth, and development.  

iii) Peru and the German Reich shall enter into a non-aggression pact.

iv) Effective immediately, Peru shall declare war upon the Soviet Union.

X Alfred Hugenberg, Chancellor of the German Reich
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« Reply #53 on: September 10, 2023, 09:50:12 PM »

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The Atlantic Alliance

Recognizing the need for all nations to set aside their differences and stand united against Communist aggression as well as the importance of fostering closer economic ties between friendly nations, Chile and the German Reich hereby agree that effective immediately:

i) Chile shall and Germany shall conduct full and unrestricted trade with each other

ii) Chile and the German Reich agree to forgo tariff increases on domestic goods produced and exported by the other. Furthermore, the parties to this treaty agree in principle to future tariff reductions and further policy changes to facilitate free, unencumbered, and mutually beneficial trade, economic growth, and development.  

iii) Chile and the German Reich shall enter into a non-aggression pact and formal military alliance.

iv) Effective immediately, Chile shall declare war upon the Soviet Union and provide all possible assistance to the anti-Comintern alliance.

X Alfred Hugenberg, Chancellor of the German Reich
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« Reply #54 on: September 13, 2023, 10:20:23 AM »
« Edited: September 13, 2023, 06:37:53 PM by Lumine »

The World War
1941 (Part One)


"Amidst the poisoned city, no sight hurt more to me in those days of fear than that of the trees and the cherry blossoms, of which we all tried to steer clear due to fear that they too were poisoned. They were a cherished symbol of every year, nature's way of rewarding us during the spring with their utter beauty and scent. But I lost track of how many of our young I saw playing with them shortly after the bombing... and whom I never saw again but loaded in carts for the Army's improvised incinerators. Even now, hundreds of miles from Tokyo, being far away as possible from a house I fear I may never be able to set foot on again... even now I fear touching the cherry blossoms. The punishment is too great to describe."

(Yasunari Kawabata, excerpt from Farewell, a short story)

Western Front

Fire and Fury across Belgium

Despite the seemingly insurmountable odds of trying to land a force in Europe against the Reich, the British Commonwealth was determined to keep at least one open front against the Germans. In this task, Lord Gort's Anglo-Canadian BEF had landed in Belgium and established himself around the Yser River, only to stall due to the logistical challenges associated with the enterprise and the still considerable Reichswehr presence. During the first half of the year Gort pressed on with added reinforcements - including the South African corps -, defeating Western Front commander Alfred Jodl at the Second Battle of the Yser River. Having opened the front, Gort pressed ahead whilst cleverly keeping the Germans at bay with strong use of Lewisite - a Chemical which, while far less deadly that Mustard gas, kept the ground contaminated for far longer - to secure his flanks.

The campaign then stalled around Ghent as trench warfare took place again, with substantial Reichswehr reinforcement trickling in. Unlike the British, the Germans had no hesitation to wield their entire array of chemicals, resulting in widespread carnage and, in particular, enormous civilian casualties. In one particular instance, the artillery bombardment of Commonwealth troops with the previously mysterious German gas (now identified as a "nerve agent", the apparent peak of chemical warfare) resulted in the virtual gassing of Ghent, subjecting most of the population to a slow and agonizing death. This time, King Leopold had had enough. While refusing to call for an uprising out of fear of Belgium suffering the fate of the Netherlands, he and the royal family made a daring escape into British lines, choosing to join the Government-in-exile in London.

Denied access to Ghent, the overconcentration of German resources and the widespread chemical warfare in such a small area turned most of Western Belgium into a poisoned nightmare, forcing columns of refugees to flee into Northern France. Despite Gort's best attempts and his own usage of chemicals to inflict significant casualties on the Germans, it became clear that pushing onwards was suicidal. Before long, the British position became untenable - with troops becoming sick simply by being on the poisoned region - and an evacuation was ordered by the BEF High Command. The Germans responded with a substantial aerial and naval effort to try and destroy BEF while it crossed the Channel, resulting in multiple skirmishes. Despite significant British losses, the BEF landed in England once again. This time, King Leopold was with them, alongside a few brigades of Belgian volunteers despairing about the fate of their homeland.

In Belgium proper, Jodl - now showing chemical burns after a friendly fire incident - celebrated the end of the British front. But as the Germans could soon tell, the Belgian population was outraged at the devastation of their country. Soon afterwards, reports emerged of German garrisons being harassed and/or outright attacked by local inhabitants.

The North Sea Dash

Keen to make the Royal Navy pay a dearer price for its blockade of Germany, the Kriegsmarine prepared to sail once again for a new confrontation. This time, they would be the bait, hoping to wield the Luftwaffe as the tool that would pound on the British vessels. Despite a daring penetration westwards into the North Sea and even the Channel, the German admirals were solely disappointed when the British failed to take the bait. Not only that, the Royal Air Force was in full alert as British resources seemed to gather close to the coastlines, all part of an apparent fear of invasion - a hysteria that soon reached London - which nonetheless failed to materialized. After a few weeks of almost pointless skirmishes, the Kriegsmarine had to return to port empty handed. They had expanded the North Sea perimeter under their control, but the depth of the British blockade - extending far into the Atlantic - remained far beyond the Reich's grasp.

The Flight of General Franco

Following the failed Carlist coup in Madrid and subsequent revolt, General Franco felt his grasp on power rapidly collapsing. Aside from the anger of the King, it soon became more than clear that the Carlist had full international backing from the Axis, as German, Polish and even French arms were seen crossing into Navarre. Soon afterwards, the Salazar regime in Portugal went into war as well, siding with the Carlist pretender and invading the Kingdom. In this crucial moment, the Generalissimo made up his mind. Concluding that Mola and the Spanish Army would not follow him into war, he gathered his family and - after a failed overture from the King - fled in a small airplane to the Balearic Islands. From there, a most daring flight ensued: to Cairo, where Franco refused to go to the British forces in the Suez, to Riyadh, and then, risking almost certain death, across the skies of war-torn India into Japanese lines in West Bengal.

After making an emergency landing in an airstrip controlled by Bose's partisans, Franco was taken to Japanese commander General Kawabe. After a brief conversation, Franco and his entourage boarded a long-range Mitsubishi G4M bomber, which refueled at Saigon, Taipei, and eventually, Tokyo. For the remainder of the year - evacuating with the rest of the government to Kyoto - the Spanish dictator became an exile, and a guest of the Japanese Empire.

Traditional Carnage in Spain

Across the entire year, the 2nd Spanish Civil War raged with violence and endless engagements. Perhaps unusually for new European standards, it was one of the few conflicts or fronts not to feature the use of chemical or biological weaponry - much it was suspected that both sides possessed them -, the result of an almost tacit agreement that Spain, ravaged by previous political conflict, could not afford the sort of devastation experienced by Romania, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Serbia, Hungary and many other nations. The first major Portuguese offensive took place at sea, with its navy taking on Spain by attempting to seize Gibraltar. Despite the defections experienced by the Spanish - hereafter "Alfonsist" - military, the navy officers remained loyal to Alfonso XIII, denying the Carlists any naval presence of their own.

Three naval encounters ensued during the year (First, Second and Third Battles of Gulf of Cádiz), matching up Portuguese training and high morale against Alfonsist experience in fighting the Royal Navy. Despite early successes for Portugal, the availability of - old - battleships for Spain ensured a decisive victory on the third encounter, keeping Gibraltar firmly in Alfonsist hands. Not just that, the ceaseless battles littered the Strait of Gibraltar with wrecked ships again, ensuring that the vital trade route would be closed for the rest of the year in a significant economic blow to France and the League of Rome. For the Carlists, triumph would be secured early as General Sanjurjo fought a series of brilliant northern campaigns, overrunning Galicia and the Basque Country, and delivering a crippling defeat on General Cabanellas at Burgos.

In Catalonia proper, the lack of foreign support did not prevent the separatist government from securing control of Barcelona and the countryside. Although Alfonsist General Juan Yagüe fought bitterly and fiercely - often leading mass killings of suspected separatists - holding onto Catalonia became an impossibility. Yagüe - famed for being unflappable - managed to retreat in good order beyond the Ebro River, keeping his forces intact for the final stage. Despite their naval failures, the Portuguese forces stormed their way across Western Spain to link up with the Carlist, eventually doing so after a pyrrhic victory at Badajoz. Contrary to expectations of rapid collapse, Alfonso XIII and Prince Juan rallied the conservative and centrist elements, bringing the CEDA back into government while Mola stabilized the fronts.

This, in turn, increased Alfonsist cohesion and stopped the lightning drive to Madrid. For the next few months, trench warfare ensued, forcing the Carlist-Portuguese alliance to pay a dear price in men for every piece of ground captured. The campaign proved long and difficult, and it was only during the last weeks of December that the Carlists saw victory. Having to decide between encirclement or holding onto the capital, the government chose to live to fight another day. As Madrid fell and the Carlist pretender called his Regency Council into session, the Alfonsists had resettled in Toledo as Yagüe and Mola consolidated their forces. The Civil War was, for now, far from over.

The Appeal of July 14th

Stationed in London, General Giraud despaired regarding the fate of the French Republic following operation Vendemiaire. In this he was not alone, as an increasing number of pro-democracy deputies joined his entourage in Britain, including - in a key show of force - opposition leaders Édouard Daladier and Pierre Mendés France. As France hunkered down in expectation for the long-awaited general strike, Giraud finally obtained enough support to make his move. On July 14th, he was allowed to give a radio speech, broadcasted by the BBC across the entire world. In his "Appeal of July 14th", Giraud accused Prime Minister Maurras of being a dictator "trampling on the French spirit", of having been willing to return Alsace-Lorraine to Germany during failed peace talks, and of being a collaborateur with Berlin, using French neutrality to sideline the British naval embargo.

Informing his willingness to form a Provisional Government to uphold the democratic legality of France, Giraud issued a call for arms, urging Frenchmen to stand up and reject any collaboration with Germany. And then, he waited. In spite of predictions of a groundswell of support and/or even of Civil War, the results were not encouraging. Only a few thousand exiles reached Britain in the next few weeks, and by and large the Colonial Governors - backed by the strongly pro-Maurras navy - dismissed Giraud's appeal. In the end, the "Provisional Government" - with Daladier as President and Giraud as PM - only had two successes in the lesser colonies: French India and French South Pacific, which rapidly declared their loyalty; and French Chad, following a putsch by the anti-Maurras governor.

Eastern Front

Battles of the Dogger Bank

With the Soviet Baltic Fleet depleted and now holed up in Kronstadt as Franco-German units essentially dominated the seas, there was little expectation of Soviet naval action during the war. This proved to be a wrongful assumption, for Chairman Yagoda was prepared to be bold. Despite massive logistical challenges, Yagoda ordered the remnants of the Soviet Pacific Fleet to sail into the Strait of Bering and into Murmansk, in order to combine with the smaller Northern Fleet. Despite the loss of a few vessels and the need for multiple icebreakers to get the Pacific Fleet across the difficult seas over several weeks, commanding officer Admiral Kuznetsov was able to make the journey. After gathering his new command, Kuznetsov sailed his units into the North Sea, hoping to be able to ambush the overextended Kriegsmarine while it tried to goad the Royal Navy.

As Kuznetsov's own officers complained, it was suicide. Kuznetsov had plenty of destroyers and submarines, but only two cruisers while trying to match a Kriegsmarine that still possessed battleships. Bypassing the main body under Lutjens, Kuznetsov took on the German right wing under Admiral Langsdorff. Despite the odds, Kuznetsov fought brilliantly, outmaneuvering the Germans despite having inferior vessels and, at one point, forcing Langsdorff to panic. By the time the German squadron recovered and started gathering its strength, Kuznetsov had decided to call it quits. Judged as a tie due to higher German losses paired with a Soviet withdrawal, the Dogger Bank was nonetheless an achievement for the USSR after several naval defeats.

Smolensk Campaign

Following up on their costly victories at Orsha and Minsk, Erich von Manstein and Julius Rommel prepared for the ambitious 1941 Eastern Campaign. The goal was Moscow, in the hopes that the fall of the Soviet capital would deliver the knockout blow that would finally defeat the Russian bear for good. Accounting for the logistical difficulties of this challenge despite comparatively short distances, Rommel was entrusted with a third of the Axis strength (Army Group Belarus), being tasked with a feint offensive to draw Zhukov's forces long enough for Manstein to punch his way across the plains. It was not to be. For one, Smolensk had been heavily fortified with as many technological monstrosities as the Red Army and the NKVD could muster. For another, Zhukov refused to take the bait, forcing Rommel to fight for Smolensk while putting the bulk of his armies on the main road to Moscow. There would be no easy movements.

Thus, the bulk of the spring was spent on a bloody struggle for the city, featuring Polish offensives into Smolensk amidst substantial urban fighting, and German attempts to break Zhukov's lines and push forward in the long awaited Blitzkrieg. And Zhukov would not yield. Though his orders were to conserve manpower, soon he was forced to decide between opening the road or digging in. He chose the latter. Having gotten the lion's share of Soviet reinforcements, no sooner would the Germans break, encircle or destroy a Soviet division than another would be rushed into battle, even if lacking on training. All-female Soviet divisions made their first show of strength, humiliating a Polish Corps in the Battle of Yelnya before sustaining heavy casualties to mass chemical bombing.

Thinking of the long term, the Germans refused to deploy their worst chemicals in the battles to open up the Moscow road, knowing full well that the subsequent fallout would render their logistics - heavily dependent on horses - unable to support the drive on Moscow. Thus, they had to make do with the less deadly - yet still horrifying - concentrations of mustard gas. The Soviets, for their part, had more than a few tricks up their sleeve. Having already innovated in the field of biological warfare with some success in East Prussia and Belarus, this time they threw caution into the wind: soon the Axis armies were riddled with typhus and tularemia as the result of heavy biological artillery bombardment, affecting the "junior" Axis divisions in particular.

In the end, Manstein broke though, deploying another German surprise weapon - portable rocket launchers - that devastated the Soviet armored corps. Left without his best weapon to prevent a massive encirclement, Zhukov finally gave the withdrawal to prevent the loss of his entire command in Smolensk. The Red Army thus withdrew swiftly towards Vyasma, the Axis armies following right behind. Manstein had crossed the first gate, and it was now time for the second round.

Vyasma Campaign

Although Zhukov was in command at the frontlines, there was a new man at the scene. As part of Yagoda's efforts to reorganize the Soviet state and bureaucracy, the Chief Executioner of the NKVD, Vasily Blokhin, was swiftly promoted to General and given command of the homefront, with the key task of keeping Moscow safe. Thus Blokhin spent the entire Smolensk campaign preparing several defensive perimeters, and even planning to fight within the city if need be, by preparing to mobilize the population of Moscow to fight the Axis. Zhukov resolved to gain time, gathering up his best forces to - according to the new principles of Deep Operation - lead counter-encirclements every time the Axis achieved a breakthrough, all in the hopes of blunting or destroying Manstein's armored spears.

The Vyasma campaign resulted in constant, ceaseless attempts by the Axis to break the Soviet lines, resulting in three major meat grinders at Rzhev, Vyasma and Kaluga. Again and again, both armies danced in a performance of horror dwarfing anything thus far seen in the war or even in the last one. Perhaps decisively, the superiority of Axis airpower came a long way in enabling mass bombardment of Soviet positions, making it possible to move forward despite the enormously high cost. Whatever it may be said of the Red Army's shortcomings as an inexperienced conscript force, it did not lack in tenacity. Soviet soldiers fought until the end, reminding uncomfortable German officers of the French experience in 1812.

The latter phenomenon only grew worse as tales emerged of the brutality of both sides in taking prisoners, often resulting in mass executions or being marched to camps without the sufficient means to provide for basic needs. The days were spent in mass attacks disrupted by the appearance of chemicals, forcing soldiers to cower under their deficient rubber masks. The nights were illuminated by Soviet rocket artillery and Axis incendiary bombs. Civilians who did not flee became unwitting casualties from the scale of the disaster. And the less said about the fate of Soviet female units that chose surrender over death, the better. In the end, Manstein prevailed again, breaking the back of Zhukov's counterattacks and destroying an entire Soviet army at Mozhaysk.

There was no mistaking it now. Although Axis casualties in Central Russia had now reached a horrific stage of attrition, Zhukov's forced had melted again. And Moscow was open for the decisive blow.

Prelude to a Showdown

As the final remnants of the Soviet divisions tricked back to the outer defensive perimeter of Moscow, inhabitants faced their first taste of true horror. Over the course of a few hours, multiple cases of disease were detected across several civilian neighborhoods, and soon enough it was clear enough that a cholera epidemic was in progress as a result of the intentional poisoning of the Moskva River. Naftaly Frenkel, the new bureaucrat in chief, acted swiftly alongside Blokhin. The NKVD conducted a mass sweep of the city, capturing several suspected foreign agents and, as far as they could determine, the culprits: a group of Hungarian agents, seeking revenge for "the plunder of their homeland". The news would be loudly trumpeted across the city by Blokhin. Despite Zhukov's fears that it would spark panic into the local population - and it did - it also provided them with a sense of outrage and finality: if the city fell, their too would suffer the unspeakable.

Soon after, and even as thousands of civilians were evacuated towards Leningrad, Stalingrad and other major cities, Muscovites took to the streets to help build fortifications, to man posts, to enlist as volunteers, and so on. They would fight for their city. Getting a new wave of reinforcements, Zhukov placed his divisions in the final defensive line: from Kalinin to Moscow to Tula. Knowing he had stretched himself thin, the Soviet general hoped to prevent an encirclement, forcing the Axis to fight for Moscow street by street. And still, there were fears of panic, and of what would happen if the government collapsed at the mere sight of the Germans. Against the hopes of the Axis commander, it was not to happen. While the government started its preventive evacuation to Kuibyshev, far away to the east, the most prominent figures stayed. Chairman Yagoda was seen everywhere, often in a manner that seemed impossible to observers.

As summer gave its way to autumn, the Axis were given a clear schedule: three months for seizing the Soviet capital... or winter would come. The world held its breath.
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« Reply #55 on: September 13, 2023, 08:44:15 PM »
« Edited: September 13, 2023, 10:45:35 PM by Lumine »

The World War
1941 (Part Two)

The Battle of Moscow

Von Manstein was optimistic. Despite repeated warnings about the dwindling morale of the Axis troops, subjected to disease, chemical burns and the horrors now forever etched in their minds, the main target was now well within. "One more push" - Walther von Reichenau proclaimed in Berlin - "and Marxism will crumble for good." To his credit, Manstein chose to attempt an encirclement rather than risk the direct assault Zhukov seem to be forcing him to do, scrambling the armored divisions for a pincer movement to encircle the capital and, in a best case scenario, capture the Soviet leadership before they could flee. Over the next three weeks, the remaining Soviet and Axis tanks fought it out in a duel to the death. At Kalinin, the Soviet line held against encirclement, aided by ceaseless Katyusha barrages. But in the south, Heinz Guderian's armor won two decisive battles at Tula and then Ryazan before grinding to a halt.

The combination of German anti-tank weaponry and the Soviet rocketry had all but destroyed their respective tank forces, putting an end to the war of movement. There would be no Axis encirclement of Moscow... but Guderian's push had cut off two of Moscow's four remaining lifelines, cutting off any chance of reinforcement from Southern Russia and Ukraine. For now, the city would rely on the road to Leningrad - vulnerable to the Luftwaffe - or the road east, towards the Urals. At the Battle of Podolsk, the German infantry broke out away with a superb effort, pushing Zhukov into Moscow proper. It was make or break time. Pressed by Yagoda, Zhukov and Blokhin prepared to fight in the city proper. For the next two months, Moscow - a city of four million inhabitants - was the main battleground.

By the end of it, much of the Soviet capital would be in ruins. And those civilians who did not evacuate... would soon envy the death. This time, there was no obstruction to the Axis usage of their thus far mysterious chemical... which, to their horror, they saw being used against them. Although boasting only small quantities of it, the appearance of these revolutionary "nerve agents" - as the foreign press reported them to be - in Soviet hands was a nasty surprise. Street by street, factory by factory, the Red Army, the NKVD and the people of Moscow fought the Axis shock troops, in a brutal frenzy of blood, fire, disease and poison. Entire neighborhoods were razed, historic buildings turned into rubble, and many Soviet deputies to the Congress who refused evacuation died with a rifle on their hands.

To their mounting frustration, the Axis commanders could see the battle stalling on and on as winter rapidly approached, forcing them to double down on the attacks. Scores of brilliant Soviet and Axis officers were cut in their prime by attempting to lead doomed charges, being covered in chemicals as soon as they took over another street or monuments. For the first time in the war, mutiny took place, as a number of Axis units - a phenomenon which the Soviets would soon experience in Hungary - refused to charge out of fear of Soviet chemical or bacteriological response, and would have to march at gunpoint. Soon, commanders lost positive control. It had turned into a battle of sheer intimacy and brutality, a personal war of close combat every bit as horrible and demanding as the worst moments of Verdun or the Somme.

Yagoda and the government evacuated to Kuibyshev during November 1st, as the temperature dropped sharply due to the arrival of a particularly harsh winter. Blokhin disappeared into the streets of Moscow, last seen leading a charge in the hopes of protecting the Kremlin. Zhukov took whatever was left, joining columns of refugees in taking the road to the east to re-establish his command center in Vladimir and beyond. On November 20th, the Polish and German flags were waved across the Kremlin in a major propaganda coup, giving the Axis soldiers the resolve to move on. During the last week of November, organized resistance slowly died on as groups of soldiers and civilians carried on with isolated acts of defiance. On November 30th, 1941, Manstein radioed out to Berlin.

"Moscow has fallen."

Galicia: Verdun on Steroids

Having been the stage for the most intense fighting of the war in the East until Moscow came along, the once prosperous region of Galicia was already devastated to hell during the previous campaigns, turning the ground into a blackened, poisoned, bloodied and almost unrecognizable mess, all littered with fortifications and the unburied corpses of hundreds of thousands of men. August Kork, one of Tukhachevsky's deputies, took over the front with the mission to take into the offensive and break the stalemate. In doing this, he fell right into Polish calculations, as General Maczek, who had also been commanded to attack again, had been given permission to switch to a defensive approach if threatened. This Maczek did, buying time while his depleted armored forces got sufficient reinforcements. Kork clashed into the Axis lines with a ferocity that reminded many of the late Marshal Yegorov, creating hopes that Krakow would soon see within sight.

For once, and as it would become apparent all across the southern Eastern Front, the Red Army had overstretched itself too far on too many fronts. Already depleted by the sheer cost of the 1940 dash towards Italy, and further weakened by the Soviet policy of switching reinforcements to Moscow first, Kork did not have the forces to sustain a strategy of attrition against the Poles. It was sheer unrelenting carnage, once again subjecting his men to indiscriminate chemical bombing from the skies. Soon Kork was forced to call off the offensive. Contrary to expectations, Maczek found it impossible to attack immediately. Kork had been given orders of last resort, and he put them to the test. For two weeks, Soviet artillery mercilessly bombarded the ground as the Red Army withdrew, depleting their local stocks of their new nerve agent... and of bacteriological munition.

Afterwards, Maczek found the entire region of Galicia so thoroughly poisoned that soldiers got sick simply by breathing the air for small periods of time, with many remaining civilians becoming what can only be described as hollowed husks of broken men emerging from the inferno. It took months for the air to clear sufficiently for an offensive attempt to be made, fueled by having replenished the Polish Armored division with French-made tanks. To the Soviet's surprise, the French tanks proved every bit as efficient, and in some aspects actually surpassed the quality of the other Axis vehicles. Maczek's offensive, heralded as the last big push to open the door into the Ukraine, made progress. Despite the heavy cost in men, robbing Poland and Hungary of many of their priceless veterans, Maczek cleared several fortified lines and seized the fortress city of Przemysl yet again, and then Lwow close to the end of autumn.

There he finally stalled, as reinforcements from the south and the east helped Kork close the gap and prevent complete disaster. For all purposes, the Red Army had been almost expelled from Poland, but still held on to its final defensive line before Ukraine.

Raid like it's 1242

Never lacking in imagination, Chairman Yagoda decided the time was ripe to remind the Magyars of their grim past. Among the reinforcements sent to the Hungarian front there was a corps of Tuvan and Mongol cavalry divisions, all of them battle-hardened in the on and off struggles against the Chinese and Japanese armies in the Gobi desert. The order of the day was to invade Slovakia and finish off the retreating Hungarians and their Hapsburg King, spreading fear while Gamarnik did its best to consolidate the Soviet position and fortify the occupied country under its new regime. Thus the Mongols broke through the Slovakian countryside spreading fear and terror, going as far as to approach the sight of Bratislava.

There they met much of the Royal Hungarian Army, backed by a number of Axis divisions from different nations and by wide swaths of Slovakian volunteers, who rose by the thousands of avenge the late President Tiso due to his previous assassination by the USSR. And at the Battle of Bratislava, the fearsome Mongols broke, the cavalry divisions disintegrating under the effects of chemical warfare as the horses suffered the worst.

Clash at the Marius Line

Westward, the Kingdom of Italy wasted no time in mobilizing its forces to the extent that it could, as thousands upon thousands of conscripts marched their way into the Alps while crews furiously prepared new fortifications. Marshal Graziani, the new commander sent directly from Rome, called it the "Marius line", predicting that the Soviets, much like the German invaders of c. 100 BC, would crash into the heirs of Rome. From Tarvisio to Fiume, the Italians prepared for the Red Hordes and their onslaught, all while the Regia Aeronautica squashed the survivors of the Red Air Force and mercilessly bombed the Soviet supply lines - going as far as to use their own chemicals previously tested in Serbia -, only to sustain increased casualties of their own as the Soviets employed every anti-aircraft resource at their disposal.

Contrary to Rome's fears, the Soviets had not chosen Italy as their main target. They had, however, planned to further disrupt its Balkan empire. While the Italians fortified themselves, the Soviets turned towards partisan warfare, helping Tito's forces grow exponentially as they liberated much of Croatia's eastern countryside. Soon, they marched into Zagreb and towards the Adriatic, hoping to infiltrate behind the Italian lines. That they failed to do so had less to do with the Ustashe regime - which, holed up in Zagreb, lost control over the situation - and more with a vital truce secured between Rome and the HSS, which saw Vladko Macek and all HSS prisoners released in return for a truce. Despite some HSS-Ustashe skirmishes, both sides generally upheld the agreement, with Macek gathering up strength in the west and the former Croatian coastline and successfully resisting Tito after denouncing him as a Soviet puppet.

The arrival of new reinforcements into Hungary proper meant that a tentative push towards the Marius Line could now begin, at least in the hopes of overrunning the rest of Slovenia and Croatia. Although in Budapest this was conceived as a sideshow, Grazani thought otherwise. Ordering his forces to stand his ground, the Italian forces fought with utter desperation - fearing an all out Soviet offensive - and won several smaller battles against the Soviet-Partisan force. As the situation in Hungary deteriorated further, Graziani press onwards to avoid losing his opportunity, ensuring the Italians would contribute to the decisive battle for the occupied nation.

The Fate of Hungary

To the frustration of the Hungarian Royalists, the early year was difficult to endure due to high casualties in Galicia and an incident with the Romanian government, which, by abiding to its treaty with the Soviets, refused the launching of raids from Transylvania. When a Red Army offensive aimed at overruning the Banat and Hungarian-occupied Serbia was launched, it was feared that the gains from the Fourth Balkan War would be all lost. But as the Chetniks failed to properly support the Red Army - intentionally or not - the Soviet push clashed into a Hungarian force reinforced with Bulgarian and Greek "volunteer" divisions. In the battle of Novi Sad, the Hungarians prevailed at last, pushing the small Soviet expeditionary corps back into main Hungary proper. This success, a key morale boost, provided a further push for King Otto to attempt the liberation of his land, at any cost.

With Budapest so thoroughly ruined, Debrecen was chosen as the capital of the new Hungarian Soviet Republic. Bela Kun, a familiar and infamous face to Hungarians, would be its leader, ruling the revived Communist Party of Hungary with an iron fist and a desire to triumph where he had failed after the Great War. During the year of its life, the Soviet Republic proved to be every bit as ruthless as the Royalists feared. Factories and gulags sprung everywhere, whipping the war-torn and debilitated population into making weapons for the defense of the new Socialist nation. As the Hungarian-led coalition prepared for the push, Gamarnik and the Red Army applied Yagoda's instructions to the letter: minefields were laid, chemical artillery bombardments deployed at every sign of enemy concentration of force, bounties were placed on Otto and Admiral Horthy (resulting in the latter's assassination by a local Communist in Bratislava), and units made up of criminals, mercenaries and other undesirables put on the field.

The two-month campaign that ensued can only be described as the Hungarian Gotterdamerung. At great sacrifice and great cost, Archduke Joseph August made its way across the minefield that separated him from Budapest, eventually retaking the old capital in a brutal battle. From the south, the League's forces combined with Graziani's vanguard, winning several battles in Western Hungary and forcing Gamarnik back beyond the Danube. Then the Tisza was forced, and finally, the siege of Debrecen ensued. A few weeks before the end of the year, Gamarnik evacuated with his surviving men, the last remnants of the major Soviet force that had led the dash the year before. Initially hoping to cross via Romania, he was swiftly rejected by Bucharest - again abiding by the specific terms of the treaty -, forcing his troops to cross the still held Carpathians to finally bolster the remaining Soviet troops in Galicia.

After the fall of Debrecen, in which Bela Kun found his death at the hands of a mustard gas-filled shell, Hungary was declared liberated and free of Soviet rule. But the harm committed to it equaled the devastation and desolation of Serbia. Dozens - hundreds - of thousands of civilians laid dead as casualties of war, the result of famine, being overworked in the gulags or by the sheer chaos instigated by Soviet doctrine. The Royal Hungarian Army had prevailed, but it was hollowed out as a force. Admiral Horthy had been lost. And still, once again, King Otto had defeated the odds. But the price paid for the nation had been incommensurably high.

The Winter Counteroffensive

The fall of Moscow was a major blow for the Soviet Union. Although the morale effects pointed in the opposite direction, with support for the war hardening as Soviet citizens increasingly saw it as an existential fear, the city was the nation's major transport and logistical hub. Perhaps realizing that little remained between the Germans and great territorial gains before winter fully set in, General Kirponos - the "hero of Kabul" - took command of the Central Front on the rearguard of the Polish battleground. Gathering the reinforcements that he had - bolstered by transfers from the Far East - Kirponos launched a final desperate offensive during December, hoping that the cruel winter would leave the Axis supply line from Minsk to Moscow vulnerable. Facing difficult odds, Kirponos shocked the Axis rear commanders with a series of daring tactical movements, threatening to jump out of the Pripyet Marshes and into Belarus proper. Only a last ditch effort prevented a final Soviet breakthrough, and only at a high cost.

The Ukrainian Revolt

The last surprise of the East during 1941 was experienced in Ukraine. Contrary to Belarus, where the people had sided with the Soviet war effort and resisted the Axis' occupation, Ukraine's attitude to the war had been far more ambivalent, particularly due to fresh memories of the OUN's successful attacks in 1938 and the constant speculation on an eventual Polish entry into the region, mimicking Pilsudski's ultimately unsuccessful effort in 1920. Unaware of the sheer cost for the Axis armies regarding their triumphs - all but erasing their previous qualitative advantage -, the liberation of Hungary, fall of Moscow and Polish offensives all conspired to make Ukrainian nationalists believe the decisive moment had arrived. The OUN declared a national uprising, which, while rapidly and violently squashed in Kiev and other key cities by the NKVD, did spread across the countryside in Western Ukraine. For the first time in two decades, armed militias threaten the Soviet hold over the nation.

Balkan Front

The Raid on Bulgaria

Although unable to punish Bulgaria - as a member of the League of Rome - via land, it was decided by STAVKA and Chairman Yagoda that Tsar Boris needed to be taught a lesson. Thus the Soviet Black Sea Fleet sailed out of Sevastopol, swiftly moving towards the Bulgarian coastline while the Turkish naval alert system - intended to warn of such approaches - experienced technical difficulties, missing the Soviet deployment entirely. The Bulgarians, however, had been counting on such a possibility for years in the past, and had thoroughly mined their sea approaches with that in mind. The Black Sea Fleet, while efficient enough to move in such a way as to avoid most of the Bulgarian mines, had to lose valuable time in doing so, all while the - admittedly small - Bulgarian Air Force intensely patrolled the seas and skies. Before the Black Sea Fleet could strike at Varna and Burgas, they were detected.

In the end, the usage of experimental rocketry would enable the Soviets to sink the small Bulgarian navy, but the ports themselves remained out of reach as the Bulgarian pilots - far better equipped and trained than what STAVKA assumed - kept the Soviet vessels at bay. For all purposes, the raid was to be disappointing for the Soviets, and a non-insignificant propaganda boost by the Tsar amidst complains of extreme Bulgarian casualties in Hungary.

Albanian Campaign

Following a surprising and unexpected defeat in the mountains of Albania at the hands of a rebuilt and foreign-supported Albanian force, Il Duce acted decisively. The local commander, Vittorio Ambrosio, was summarily sacked. Giovanni Messe, one of the Kingdom's most promising commanders, was promoted to Marshal with the task of keeping Tirana safe from King Zog's revolt. That in the subsequent Battle of Tirana the Italian Royal Army was brutally defeated came as an utter shock to Rome and even to Messe himself, leading the Marshal to accuse his entire staff of "near criminal incompetence". Defeated in the field and facing encirclement, Messe lead a daring counteroffensive, essentially trading Tirana in return for saving his army and redeploying in Northern Albania.

Crowds cheered Zog as he made his return to Tirana, celebrating the apparent end of Italian occupation despite Messe's entrenched position and the Italian control over the Adriatic. But what was supposedly a simple revolt now threatens to escalate, as Messe's research has uncovered the extent of foreign support for Zog: not only there were Muslim and Arab volunteers from several nations, but the capture of several spies trying to infiltrate Bosnia and Macedonia has made the presence of the Turkish Army impossible to hide. To make matter more complex, the depth of Turkish support and deployment for Zog is incompatible with the Italian control of the seas, leading Messe to accuse the Greek government, in public, of having granted Zog's forces land transit into Albania.
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« Reply #56 on: September 13, 2023, 10:56:40 PM »
« Edited: September 14, 2023, 09:13:52 PM by Lumine »

The World War
1941 (Part Three)

African Front

The Suez Raid

As per the terms of their newest treaty with Greece, Germany had obtained a number of rights regarding the refueling of the Luftwaffe. And, in spite of a clear desire by Athens not to antagonize London, Berlin had seemingly made up its mind that delivering a major blow to the Empire was more important than such concerns. In a highly coordinated operation, Air General Albert Kesselring gathered an elite Luftwaffe long-range bomber squadron in Crete, only to then deploy them in direction to Egypt without informing Athens. With British forces in Egypt confined to the Suez Canal as a result of their earlier arrangement with King Farouk, the Germans were able to achieve surprise, resulting in the intense bombing of the Canal with the strongest explosives the Reich could muster.

While straying far from the German dreams of total destruction, enough ships were destroyed and installations damaged to make the Suez Canal utterly impassable, fully blocking all neutral trade - including Saudi oil - into the Mediterranean. Around the same time, German bankers bet heavily in the Berlin and Paris stock exchanges against companies that relied on Mediterranean trade, hoping to make a killing against British companies. Most of these had already left Paris following the coup and after the Appeal of July 14th, leaving neutral companies - particularly French and Italian - to unexpectedly bear the brunt. In subsequent days, German companies earned major financial gains in both cities, sending the Italian and French financial markets into turmoil as the Mediterranean was, at least temporarily, closed to them.

Outraged by the use of their airfields to hit the British government, Athens rapidly withdrew its Expeditionary Corps from Hungary and cut all ties to the Reich, declaring their treaty null and void. In subsequent days, the oil-producing nations of the Eurasian Alliance (Iraq and Iran) would also stop all oil shipments to Germany, cutting one of the apparent lifelines of the Reich that have been able to sideline the British blockade thus far.

South African Civil War

Despite the emergence of intense Afrikaner protests against Jan Smuts in the aftermath of his greatest electoral triumph, not many expected them to escalate. And certainly not the leaders of the National Party, who seemed to be doing an effort to, at the very least, postpone such signals of dissent until a more convenient time. And yet matters quickly escalated beyond their control. Smuts - who doubled down on his chosen policies - denounced the protests as being backed by Japan, going out of his way to portray them as intended to empower Black Radicals. For the white nationalists, the mere suggestion that they could be willful tools of that specific group turned anger into fury, resulting in further escalation and clashes with the local police.

Ultimately, what caused an explosion of hatred was the publication - only in Afrikaner areas, as the SAP was efficient in suppressing it in Cape Town and other key regions - of a rumor accusing Smuts of having had a love child with a Black mistress... only to have them both murdered out of fear of being discovered. For a majority of the White population - and those who backed the SAP - it was just too absurd to be taken seriously at all. For the Afrikaner radicals, and for the National Party hardliners of Malan... it was a declaration of war. And this time, Cape Town was caught off guard, for the protests turned into full-blown uprisings as the Afrikaner militias suddenly showed themselves to be very well armed and supplied. Soon, much of South West Africa and the Orange Free State fell to rebels, only for those very same uprisings to fail disastrously in pro-Smuts areas.

As the smoke cleared - and to the utter bewilderment of Black South Africans - it was clear that the rebellion posed a very real danger, but that it was also far from representing even a majority of the White population.

East Asian Front

Return of the Kwantung Army

The Civil War in China came to a sudden and unsuspected end as, once again, Generalissimo Chiang and Marshal Zhang reached a new accord of their own. As both men later clarified to an increasingly outraged nation - particularly after the events of Nanjing took place - there would be no separate or negotiated peace with Tokyo. China would fight on... to the death if need be. Thus, with the Southern Coalition gone and the Northern Coalition returning to its borders, Chinese forces would at last fight united in yet another year of carnage. For the Japanese, having tasted disappointment in India yet boasting of a large multi-continental empire, it was time to get back to basics. The KMT and the warlords had to be hit, and to be hit hard to cease the - for Generals in Tokyo - stubborn and pointless resistance.

Among other fronts, Manchuria was selected for this. Concentrating forces in Korea and rebuilding the old Kwantung Army, multiple Japanese divisions crossed the Yalu River and lead the long awaited offensive. Fully supplied and enjoying a level of equipment that the Northern Coalition - starved of military supplies like most Chinese armies - could not boast, Zhang was forced to fight a defensive campaign, trying to use the new fortifications to hold the IJA at bay. Eventually, Japanese superiority in the field proved too much. With tears on his eyes, Zhang Xueliang was forced to abandon Harbin again after a brief return, allowing Puyi and the Manchukuo court to return from Seoul and take back their former positions.

Zhang was defeated, but not completely beaten. Japanese hopes of encirclement failed to materialize as the Young Marshal took his armies back into the mountains, and a renewed IJA push southwards into Beijing also stalled due to extensive fortifications left behind from 1936-37 and ably manned by the Chinese troops. It was a clear victory for Tokyo, but not an absolute triumph.

Farewell Nanjing

In many ways, the NRA had reason to be optimistic about Central China. Again and again, the IJA had crashed and stalled against the capital, buying valuable time and preventing a deep Japanese penetration into key cities. Having returned to their defensive positions after disrupting a Japanese offensive, the NRA left them again... and so did the IJA. For the umpteenth time both armies clashed in Jiangu province, resulting in another multi-month campaign that quickly degenerated into trench warfare. Once again, the Japanese experienced higher casualties due to the extent of Chinese fortifications and strongholds, and once again their push to Nanjing was disrupted. The city celebrated. It was to be their last celebration.

During the rest of the year, dozens of thousands of Chinese civilians were marched westwards towards the sea by the Japanese army, and forced to start construction on a mysterious and massive infrastructure project. Unaware of its significance, the Chinese kept their aggressiveness despite the difficulty to obtain ammunition, having rising star Xue Yue redouble the push into the Shandong Peninsula. This he did, slowly gaining ground as Qingdao was more and more threatened. By the end of the year, Xue Yue had the IJA into a defensive posture, capturing most of the peninsula while the enemy held onto the fortified ports and cities. And then, to Xue's south, the NRA commanders in Nanjing began to notice the flooding.

Relying on mass forced labor, the Japanese commanders had managed to build a massive and improvised dam in the city of Shanghai, essentially closing down the Yangtze River's access to the Pacific Ocean. This, in turn, was intended to dry out the river, to allow for a further blow later on. Contrary to Japanese calculations, the Yangtze flowed eastward to pour itself into the sea, ensuring that, rather than a drought, floods would take place across several provinces as the water level rose higher and higher. Soon much of Central China was wrecked as large extensions of land were placed slightly underwater, ruining the harvest and causing local famines. Many of the approaches towards Nanjing started to flood as well, sparking some panic and evacuation, but also some relief at the idea that the floods - which did not touch the capital - would prevent the Japanese from marching in.

The second part of the Japanese plan however, called for the blowing up of the dam, releasing water from the South China Sea back into the Chinese mainland... and towards Nanjing. And this worked as intended. The explosion, big enough to cause a minor earthquake, sent a wall of water towards the city. And although Chiang and the government had evacuated in time, the remaining population - well over half a million - had not. Like Atlantis of old, Nanjing was almost entirely flooded, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians. Once it cleared and water levels started to recover - slowly but surely - the farmers and peasants started dying all the way to the West. Then the urban population. And then anyone foolish enough to drink the Yangtze's water... thoroughly poisoned with Cholera.

Where the death toll of the 1941 floods and Cholera epidemic stands at remains a matter of speculation, with estimates ranging from several hundred thousand... to a handful of millions of civilians.

The Struggle for the South

As the Southern Coalition dissolved itself and the warlord armies entered KMT oversight - for control would be a strong word -, the IJA decided to double down on its attempt to overrun the Chinese coastline and end even the most remote threat of supplies reaching their enemies. In Hainan Island, ongoing resistance had long since degenerated into guerrilla warfare, with the final traditional forces being defeated in battle after running out of supplies due to the blockade of the island. By the end of the year, Japanese forces had secured it. A similar success took place in Hong Kong, resulting in an extensive amphibious effort with IJN support to counter the Chinese reinforcements that had bolstered the small British garrison. In the end, superior Chinese airpower won the day, forcing the British-Chinese force to make an orderly withdrawal while surrendering the islands and the New Territories as well.

The main Chinese effort, on the other hand, targeted Guangzhou for liberation, resulting in several mass attacks against the Japanese defensive perimeter. Despite the odds, strong Chinese morale and heavy bombardment secured victory for the attackers, sending the local IJA commander into a panic. Forced back into the city proper and at risk of defeat, the Japanese sprayed most of the outskirts of Guangzhou with Lewisite, essentially preventing further Chinese attacks while - for once - minimizing casualties. While frustrated in Guangzhou proper, a secondary offensive from Kunming into Burma proved somewhat more successful, pushing away the Japanese forces - weakened by difficult logistics - and adding pressure into the Burma Road. While still away for the KMT, new victories in the area could mean a reopening of the vital lifeline into the Dominion of India.

Operation Mikado: The Anthrax Bombing of Tokyo

Plainly speaking, London had had enough. With its Empire besieged in Asia by the Japanese Empire, and unable to fully commit to fighting Marshal Sugiyama as a result of continued German success in Europe, a breaking point had been reached. As a minister would later say to Lord Beaverbrook: "it's time to take the gloves off".

Following the Coral and Bismarck seas raids, the main units of the enlarged British Pacific Fleet prepared for a new operation. As Admiral Mountbatten remained in Northern Australia to protect the nation against Japanese action, and while other units sailed westwards, two squadrons geared up for Operation Mikado, with Admiral Vian's raiding squadron and Admiral Sommerville's carrier fleet sailing out of Australia for what looked like a suicide mission. After refueling at the Santa Cruz islands, they narrowly crossed Palau without being seen, travelling close to the Philippines before making for the Sea of Japan. Vian struck first, taking his raiding squadron into Kobe and Osaka to bombard and destroy Japanese naval installations. Despite successful entry into the Osaka Bay, Vian's luck ran out after being discovered by Japanese airmen.

After a light bombardment of Osaka - which, nonetheless, shook up the locals - Vian was repeatedly harassed by the Japanese air units before being pushed into a kill zone by the main Japanese naval reserve: Shiro Takasu's 1st Fleet. At the Battle of Osaka Bay, Vian fought bravely, only to fall victim to superior enemy airpower. Having bought enough time for a number of his ships to flee - and take refuge in the neutral Philippines -, Vian went down with the cruiser Ajax, his flagship. At that moment, Admiral Takasu celebrated his victory, unaware that Sommerville's carrier squadron had passed him by on the east. Unmolested, Sommerville stationed himself on Sagami Bay and gave the order of the day: "Give those b____s hell." At dawn, the carrier groups split in two. The first one targeted Yokohama with experimental incendiary weapons, causing chaos and confusion despite the limited damages to Japanese infrastructure.

The second one flew over Tokyo itself, targeting two key city wards, including the government area that held the Imperial Palace. Just as the Japanese Zeros sortied out, and despite intense air combat, the British pilots dropped their entire payload. At the moment, the limited nature of it confused Japanese air defenses, who rapidly interpreted the strike as more of a symbolic attack than a serious strike against the city. Sommerville, having waited as long as possible for his surviving pilots to return, immediately sailed back. For several days he was chased by Japanese submarines and air raids coordinated from the Mariana Islands, only to be saved at every turn by thick cloud cover or a series of fortunate decisions. Having feared the entire destruction of his command, Sommerville saved the bulk of it, with his biggest blow being the loss of his flagship carrier Ark Royal (further enhancing the Japanese numerical advantage in carriers).

Soon afterwards, hundreds and then thousands of civilians in Tokyo showed painful sores and then ulcers. Then the first victim dropped dead. And then another, and another. And once the link between the British bombing strike - which had shaken Japanese morale - and the new disease became apparent, panic spread. The dead piled up in several parts of the city, and even those sent to collect bodies began showing signs of sickness. Several high ranking officers took ill, and efforts to decontaminate key buildings proved unsuccessful as well. And then several members of the Imperial Family took ill. After the sudden yet painful death of Prince Takahito, the government realized it was a full blown crisis. Against the will of Prince Regent Yasuhito, the entire Imperial Family and the government were relocated to Kyoto after it become evident the government quarter of Tokyo was contaminated beyond repair.

Although it became clear to scientists that the mysterious disease was not traditionally contagious between people, the rapid rates of infection and the sheer virulence of it - which escalated further and further the more people died - showcased that this was an altogether different biological weapon: one that contaminated an area so thoroughly, what whoever remained there would get sick even after days, weeks, and months... To add to the tragedy, although the disease did not appear to be as deadly as the other pathogens used in bacteriological warfare by the Soviets, Japanese and others, the abnormally high population density of Tokyo - with well over 7 million citizens - caused disproportionate casualties, reaching a death toll of 100,000 by the end of the year. Soon, military microbiologist Shiro Ishii was able to give it a name: Anthrax, and a strain of unforeseen ferocity.

Amidst all the panic and the casualties, the evacuation of the government and the Imperial Family soon turned into an all-out evacuation of Tokyo, which much of the city being rendered virtually uninhabitable by the continued effects of the persistent Anthrax spores. This, in turn, entirely disrupted the Japanese economy and its logistics, as millions of civilians - as much as 1/10 of the total population of the Home Islands - flooded the countryside and other cities in search for shelter. The chaos has significantly disrupted the Empire and its efforts to keep its large overseas empire coordinated and supplied, removing the industrial heart of Japan.

As for the Imperial Capital, now increasingly resembling a phantom city despite the stubborness of many residents and their desire to keep living on the outer districts, there is a fearsome question to be answered from Kyoto: if Tokyo has indeed been rendered uninhabitable for now... for how long will the effect of Anthrax last?
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« Reply #57 on: September 14, 2023, 10:49:24 PM »
« Edited: September 14, 2023, 11:28:30 PM by Lumine »

The World War
1941 (Part Four)

South East Asian Front

Japanese Invasion of Indochina

Isolated from mainland France and unable to get reinforcements or supplies on account of the IJN's tight naval blockade, few options were available to General Weygand in Hanoi. Following instructions from Paris, the General sought a political solution to his dilemma, releasing his "Indochina Declaration" via radio and newspapers promising full domestic autonomy for the constituent nations of a new French Community in Indochina. It was widely seen as "too little, too late" for most groups, with moderate nationalists hesitating to endorse the declaration with the Japanese troops advancing into Hue and towards Hanoi. In the end, it was Weygand's loyal deputy and Chief of Staff, General de Lattre de Tassigny, who successfully cut deals with Vietnamese Catholic militias - strong in the North - to back the deal.

Ultimately, the military campaign was swift. The puppet Vietnamese administration in Hanoi all but abandoned the French, and de Lattre's initial victories with his colonials against the IJA failed to sway Weygand regarding the perceived hopelessness of the situation. In a dramatic scene, Weygand ordered his subordinates to surrender, disobeying orders for a guerrilla campaign by considering them "as dishonorable" course of action for a French soldier. Soon enough, the Thai-Japanese army overrun the northern cities, seizing Hanoi and restoring Bao Dai - who was only too glad to ditch the French and denounce them furiously as "imperialistic colonizers" - as Emperor of Vietnam proper. However, the Emperor would not get to rule Cambodia or Laos. Perhaps wisely, Japan chose to strengthen its relationship to Thailand by massively expanding its borders, entrusting them with maintaining control while gaining much popularity in Bangkok.

The war in Indochina, however, had just begun. In a fiery declaration, Ho Chi Minh, head of the anti-French Communist Party of Vietnam, declared war on the Japanese as well, arguing that Japanese domination was no better than French domination, autonony or no autonomy. Seeking to expand his appeal, Ho has formed the "Vietminh", a large resistance group which has already begun to hit at Bao Dai's administration and against the Japanese. Others resist as well, as criminal syndicates (the Binh Xuyen) and religious sects (he Caodaists and the Hoa Hoas) form private armies of their own to wield power in Hanoi and Saigon. General de Lattre, betraying his old mentor, staged a mutiny and refused to surrender, fleeing into Laos with a handful of French and colonial units.

Up north, the KMT did its best to take advantage of the situation, sending a small army into Thailand in hopes of reaching the Indian Ocean and disrupting Japanese logistics. At the Battle of Chiang Mai the battle-hardened NRA veterans handed over a defeat against the Thai Army, but the extremely difficult terrain and complex logistics made it impossible to continue the offensive.

The Battle for India, Part II

Once again, all eyes were on Ceylon/Sri Lanka, with the redeployment of the bulk of the Combined Fleet to the east giving hope to Britain that the island could be saved at the last possible moment. In the hopes of achieving that miracle, Admiral Philips sailed into the Palk Strait with his reinforced fleet as soon as it became clear there would be no Japanese push towards Africa, and just as General Kuribayashi besieged Colombo. At the 2nd Battle of the Palk Strait Admiral Philips was unable to break the Japanese dominion of the seas, all but dooming the key island. In spite of this, Admiral Nagumo mourned his costly victory, as Philips had both sustained smaller losses and destroyed another of Nagumo's carriers with a successful air raid. A few weeks later, Colombo surrendered to Kuribayashi, leaving only a substantial pro-British guerrilla movement on his rear.

In the aftermath of the twin British triumphs at Bezawada and Cocanada, General Montgomery pressed ahead to capture and destroy Mutaguchi's Visakhapatnam bridgehead, an achievement that could go a long way in further stabilizing the Indian campaign in the Empire's favor. Although the Royal Navy could not assist, "Monty" launched his offensive without hesitation, being repeatedly slowed down by Japanese air raids on Indian airports and on military infrastructure all across the Madras Presidency. As Montgomery reached the bridgehead, Mutaguchi stood his ground, fighting far more effectively now that his supply lines were shorter, if still defective. As Bose-aligned Indian volunteers bolstered Mutaguchi's forces, a long and bitter campaign ensued, pitting the newly reformed elite - and slimmed down - Royal Indian Army against the almost suicidal valor of Mutaguchi's men.

Montgomery won the day with a decisive victory at the Siege of Visakhapatnam, collapsing the entire bridgehead and ending the Japanese attempt to seize Central India for the year. To his immense frustration, Nagumo's IJN staged a successful evacuation, bringing the bulk of the survivors - Indian and Japanese - to Bose's stronghold of Calcutta. Mutaguchi, ashamed by the defeat and assailed by scores of angry subordinates, was found dead afterwards. Few could tell if he truly had committed voluntary and honorable suicide. Over the early part of the year, the isolated pro-independence areas in Western India were put under siege by the traditional Anglo-Indian Army, now under the direction of the devolved government and featuring a growing number of Indian officers replacing British ones. Enjoying superior weaponry and training, the new AIA won its first battles, drastically reducing the scope of the rebellion in the west.

And yet, Bose was anything but discouraged. His control over Calcutta now absolute, he abandoned hope of bringing the INC leadership with him and fully reformed his movement as a functional government, formally declaring the creation of the Azad Hind, or Provisional Government of Free India. His militias became the Indian National Army, ably organized and trained by General Jaganath Rao Bhonsle. Even as several IJA divisions were withdrawn for the fight in China, Bose fought a successful Bengal campaign as Slim was left unable to hold onto a position due to extreme hostility to the locals. Although European and American attitudes to Operation Mikado were quite ambivalent, the British attack on Tokyo proved to be a useful rallying cry for Bose, who denounced it as the ultimate attack on the "free peoples of Asia" by the "most evil of Empires".

With new recruits joining the Indian National Army and giving Bose further credibility, much of Eastern India consolidated behind him just as the West was doing for Jinnah. The Indian National Congress, torn apart by internal dissent and the growing temptation to side with Bose, was left further alienated from the British government over the Tokyo events as well, leading to intense discussions between Gandhi and Nehru about the need for action. Whether this will mean that the INC will resume a campaign of non-violent resistance to bring down Jinnah remains unknown.

Pacific Front

Australia: Waking the Beast

Just as the dilution of Japanese naval power allowed the British to deliver their blow on Tokyo, so did the dilution of British naval power provide Japan with an opening. The bulk of the Combined Fleet - under Admiral Nobutake Kondo - sailed westwards and resupplied itself at Port Moresby, intending to stage a raid all the way across Northern Australia. Only a third of the British Pacific Fleet was left to respond, with Admiral Mountbatten nonetheless responding to the challenge. At the Battle of the Gulf of Carpentaria the British were defeated through the skilled action of the Combined Fleet's air carrier groups, with Mountbatten himself killed when his flagship, battleship Warspite, was blown to bits. As the fleet withdrew back to Brisbane, the Japanese staged two major air raids at Cairns and Port Darwin, blowing both ports to bits and drastically reducing their strategic importance.

It was not the only blow Australia would receive. In a phenomenon that increasingly baffled specialists, an unprecedented number of shark and crocodile attacks across beaches and rivers took place, killing dozens of civilians. The matter threatened to escalate into a media frenzy of speculation until agents of the Australian Investigation Branch (IB) made several arrests: they subsequently uncovered the existence of an Abwehr spy ring, with multiple suspected German agents being charged with having purposely chum the waters in order to cause the attacks in the first place. The announcement initially met with outright derision, only for further such findings by the IB proving to a bewildered population that Australia was not only attacked from afar, but also from inside.

A wave of popular anger ensued, a contributing factor to Prime Minister Hughes' landside electoral victory as the mood of the public swung firmly behind support for the war against not just Japan, but Germany as well. On the night of Hughes' reelection, there were reports of both Chancellor Hugenberg and Marshal Sugiyama being burnt in effigy in major Australian cities.
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« Reply #58 on: September 20, 2023, 08:20:42 PM »
« Edited: September 20, 2023, 10:00:04 PM by Lumine »

End of 1941



In the News:

TIME PERSON OF THE YEAR: Winston Churchill
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE: Not awarded (No suitable candidate)

Oil Production, January 1942
CountryMarket Share
United States54,0% (-3)
Venezuela16,0% (+2,5)
Soviet Union11,0% (+1,0)
Eurasian Alliance*8,7% (-0,8)
Mexico2,7% (+0,3)
Japanese Empire1,5% (+0,5)
Colombia1,3% (=)
Trinidad (UK)1,2% (=)
Peru1,1% (+0,1)
Argentina1,0% (=)
Canada0,6% (=)
Egypt0,4% (=)
Saudi Arabia0,5% (+0,3)
* IRAN: 5,5% /  IRAQ: 3,2%

Australia: Full Speed Ahead
Buoyed by decisive leadership and foreign attacks, UAP wins again,
Already 79, PM Hughes secures a straightforward majority,
Australian public appears to back a continuation of the war

Having vanquished Jack Lang in the 37' contest, Billy Hughes and his United Australia Party (UAP) appeared to be placed in a decent position to remain in power, but one that was by no means secure. For one, Australia's position appeared to be perilous after the massive expansion of the Japanese Empire all the way across the Pacific. For another, Hughes' policies of total mobilization were having a major impact on the Australian economy, as well as creating the risk of serious exhaustion or fatigue as Australian industries were open day and night churning out weapons for the defense of the nation. However, and in a similar manner to the UK - and in direct contrast to South Africa and Canada - the Prime Minister had had the foresight of bringing his parliamentary rivals on board at every step, lessening the risk of a particularly heated campaign.

The campaign - with the election set for December - was thus fought not on whether Australia should remain in the war, but how should it prosecute it. For the UAP, this meant staying the course. For the right-wing Nationals, to cease participation in Europe to focus solely on Japan. For the Australian Labor Party, to soften Hughes' aggressive industrial mobilization. Cleverly - if at the risk of seriously angering the Nationals and the conservative UAP members -, Hughes also made concessions to Jack Beasley's ALP to minimize the risk of strikes, while enacting a public health insurance scheme not unlike the controversial - if popular - measures once proposed by Jack Lang. Thus, it was generally believed that the UAP was on course for a decent victory, perhaps with some minor erosion due to the cost of the conflict.

That is, until the Battle of the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Japanese air raids, which, coupled with the arrest and trial of several Abwehr agents, substantially raised the stakes and roused a sense of anger and indignation from the public. As Hughes had warned, Australia was under siege, and the public responded with a keen intent to take revenge. Coincidentally, the success of Operation Mikado - and the blow to Tokyo - also raised spirits among the Australian public, creating a sense of optimism amidst the heavy damage that Cairns and Port Darwin had endured. As Labor slumped and the Nationals took a minor blow, the UAP coasted to victory, giving Hughes a renewed mandate to prosecure the war on his own terms. The only cloud on the horizon, it seemed, was the unexpected growth of the Communist Party of Australia, which came surprisingly close to obtaining parliamentary representation.

1941 Australian General Election:
Party/Alliance   Votes (%)   Seats
United Australia Party43% (+4)43 (+6)
Australian Labor Party31% (-3)17 (-5)
National Party16% (-1)12 (-2)
Communist Party4% (+3)0 (=)
Social Credit Party2% (-2)0 (=)
Other4% (+1)2 (+1)
Total74 Representatives

Incoming Prime Minister:
Billy Hughes (UAP)

Incoming Government:
UAP Majority (12 Seats)

America: A Rising Spectator
As the war continues, America remains deeply divided on what to do,
Foreign policy divides both parties, but anger against Tokyo and Berlin rises,
As Borah's previous measures are put into question, what will Washington do?

By and large, observers saw Borah's defiant stance against Tokyo and Berlin to signal the return of the US as an active global player, following years of domestically-imposed inactivity caused by the downfall of FDR. Said observers were in turn surprised by the US-Germany agreement, initially heralded by isolationists and disliked by internationalists before Wall Street experienced substantial turmoil after the sudden withdrawal of unfrozen German assets. For all purposes, it seemed as if Washington had given up its leverage against Berlin for very little gains, alienating the very same internationalists who had been encouraged by the President's previous stance. All across the spring and winter, Capitol Hill howled for the resignation of the beleaguered Secretary of State, all while isolationists grouped to defend him on the matter of principle.

As the war escalated across 1941 through several acts of horror, so both factions were emboldened to press their respective points. While America First made much of the European carnage as a warning for America not to involve itself in such horrors, internationalists rallied against the flooding of Nanjing, the evisceration of Hungary, and the ever increasing growth of German influence - particularly after the signing of several treaties with Latin America - as reasons to act. Ironically, attempts to champion the poisoning of Tokyo to turn public opinion against Britain found few sympathetic ears during the year, partly due to growing opposition of Japanese imperialism, and partly due to a tacit - and horrifying for Japanese-aligned Asian states - dismissal of Japanese casualties as less relevant than European ones.

Sanctions also proved less satisfactory than expected, as it became evident early on that, after the initial - and major - economic blow, both Tokyo and Berlin had secured economic lifelines of their own, essentially sidelining Borah's measures. All of these factors raise difficult questions for the President, whose style in office had generally pointed towards carefully constructed consensus. Should the White House provide firmer foreign policy leadership to re-order the paralyzed party system? Should America First and the Association against the Destruction of Europe by the Communists be appeased, or should the internationalists be listened to? Should Washington sit idly by as Japan reinforces its Empire and the German flag is flown from the Rhine to the Moskva? And, perhaps most uncomfortable of all: should the White House make good on its threat to sanction neutral countries who continue trading despite the repeated warnings?

Borah: Year Five
President Borah and new "Conservative Coalition" join forces,
US economy on the rise as New Deal is axed, Wall Street sees record gains,
As midterms approach, both main parties are as divided as ever

Amidst this growing paralyzation of the main political parties, pitting an isolationist Democratic minority and Republican majority against an internationalist Democratic majority and Republican minority, President Borah shed his previous passive attitude towards domestic affairs, turning his second term into something altoghether more meaningful. Joining forces with Conservative Democrats and Conservative Republicans - a new "Conservative Coalition" which boasts a narrow Congressional majority - Borah went on the warpath against the last remnants of the New Deal. Aided by a Supreme Court with a strong GOP majority, Borah systematically overturned Wall Street regulations, reduced AAA farm subsidies, and ended the mandate for New Deal-created agencies. Where Republican support could not be found, Borah declined to fight Congressional battles and resorted to executive action. When executive action was not enough, the Supreme Court stepped in.

For the most part, this put the final blow into the legacy of the disgraced FDR, fully committing the United States into pre-Depression policies with the exception of a more pro free-trade outlook and greater - but not dramatically so - domestic executive power, coupled with greater congressional oversight of foreign policy. Despite the disruption caused by German economic tactics, the United States has profitted inmensely from the past years of neutrality, and the recently unleashed Wall Street has seen record profits with the loosening of regulations. The economy has rebounded and unemployment is decreasing, sparking debate among economists on whether America is experiencing a "mirage", or whether Borah has truly found a way to prevail where Hoover and FDR did not.

One thing is certain: the administration has taken a firm domestic stance a year away from the midterms, rallying conservatives in both parties while alienating the smaller GOP progressive wing, and courting new voters while taking risky gambles with the German-American voting bloc as well as the farmer vote. Next year, a new electoral verdict will be released, pitting Borah against Democratic House and Senate leaders Hatton Sumners and Pat Harrison for control over Congress in years seven and eight of the second term.

The Great Rebirth, Part II
Chairman Yagoda consolidates power despite battlefield setbacks,
New Opposition fully purged, Yagoda loyalists form new "Rebirth" faction,
Congress of Soviets split on cultural matters despite new governing majority

Although the eventual loss of Moscow and temporary relocation to Kuibyshev could well have caused the same sort of political upheaval that brought down Stalin, Kirov and Kamenev, the USSR's new leader proved to be made of different stuff. Amidst his grand reorganization of the government, Yagoda surprised many early in the year by declining any additional new titles, sticking to his previous role as the Chairman of the State Defense Committee (GKO). But whatever titles Yagoda refused fo himself, he very much destined them to old friends and allies. Aside from Vasily Blokhin's major battlefield role until his disappearance in the ruins of Moscow, Yagoda further solidified his alliance with the Right Opposition by elevating Mikhail Tomsky to handle industrial relations, while promoting faithful supporter Naftaly Frenkel to head the entire Soviet bureaucracy. Both men proved invaluable assets, doing much to relocate industries and whipping Central Asia into shape to keep the war machine going despite the loss of the capital.

That, naturally, was the carrot. The stick was provided fully to the New Opposition, the remnants of which were purged from the Congress of Soviets and across the party bureaucracy, all replaced with loyal supporters of the new Chairman. Although show trials were kept to a reasonable level, New Opposition faction leaders Ivan Smirnov and Karl Radek had a high profile appearance before the ruthless Prosecutor General Nikolai Krylenko, who described them before the public as the "dregs of society" before having them sentenced and shot by firing squad. In the aftermath of the purge, the remnants of the Stalinist faction are said to have been broken as well, with a number of members joining Mikoyan in denouncing their colleagues for arrest and execution. In the meantime, Yagoda put in place the beginnings of a propaganda apparatus to elevate his image as an "accessible and approachable" leader, although his public image remains reportedly very distant to that of the "martyr" Tukachevsky.

All of the previous events and the continuation of the "Great Rebirth" have had a major impact in the Congress of Soviets elected in 1938, which has seen its factions split and/or evolve. The Tukhachevist faction was essentially replaced with a smaller and more ideologically coherent version: Revolution / Revolyutsiya, committed to the Permanent Revolution. Tukhachevist splitters formed a breakaway of their own, Control / Kontrol, devoted to the quest for strong, centralized power in the Stalin mold while rejecting the basic tenets of Stalinism. Trotsky and Krupskaya's supporters joined forces, remaking the Left Opposition into Emancipation / Emansipatsiya. The Right Opposition, in turn, reformed into a loose confederation of smaller groups under Bukharin and Rykov, called Prosperity / Protsvetaniye. Yagoda's supporters (Frenkel, Pavel Bulanov, Ivan Zaporozhets, Ida Averbakh), having grown exponentially after being appointed to the vacant seats left by purged or dead deputies, became Vozrozhdeniye, or Rebirth.

Yagoda's practical alliance with Prosperity and with Revolution has ensured a majority for the GKO Chairman in the Congress of Soviets, but by no means a foolproof one. Several factions have bitterly resisted Yagoda's plans to expand female participation and to loosen cultural and religious expression, resulting in bitter debates and, at times, the stalling and/or outright defeat of GKO-proposed measures. But whereas legislative debate could have brought down other leaders in the past, the system created by Tukhachevsky has given the USSR with a surprising amount of government flexibility, enabling Yagoda to continue his efforts. With the USSR now under direct threat by the Anti-Communist Axis, many wonder how this new system will continue to develop.

Congress of Soviets, 1942 Estimate:
FactionSeats

Rebirth (Yagodaism)387 (25,8%)
Prosperity (Bukharism)328 (21,9%)
Revolution (Expansionist Tukhachevism)316 (21,0%)
Emancipation (Trotskyism)226 (15,1%)
Ethnic and Regional bloc123 (8,2%)
Independents67 (4,5%)
Control (Authoritarian Tukhachevism)53 (3,5%)

Total Seats: 1500 Delegates



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« Reply #59 on: September 20, 2023, 10:29:51 PM »
« Edited: September 20, 2023, 10:56:22 PM by Lumine »

France: whoever blinks first loses?
Widespread fears of a General Strike fail to materialize,
CGT and Maurras government locked in standstill as econonmy grows,
French right divided over recent foreign policy challenges

Despite the major success of Operation Vendemiaire, the consolidation of power behind President Pétain and, more precisely, Premier Maurras was very much a work in progress. Maurras' legitimacy was to be directly challenged from abroad, leading to Giraud's Appeal of July 14th and the formation of an alternate Republican government, as well as the loss of Chad and other minor colonies. Despite the instructions given to Weygand, French Indochina collapsed under Japanese aggression, causing the indignation of many conservatives who previously saw Tokyo as a potential partner. None of these challenges, however, stood a direct chance of toppling the new regime in France proper. The biggest domestic threat was posed by the still powerful French trade unions and by the French Communist Party (PCF), which unlike the SFIO had mostly survived the political purge and stood ready to cause trouble.

Thus, the months after Vendemiare led to enormous tension in Paris, Lyon, Marseille and other major cities, always in the expectation that either the unions would declare a general strike to try and bring the country to its knees... or Maurras would send the army and the DGSI against them first, causing a second wave of repression with unforseen effects. And to the profound surprise of Frenchmen - particularly of Parisians - neither happened. Despite ceaseless threats and provocations against the new regime by the Communist-influenced Confederation Generale du Travail (CGT), at no point a call for a general strike was issued, with the Union leadership calling on its members to avoid bloodshed and focus on non-violent means of resistance. This, in turn, deprived Maurras of the justification for a major offensive, with government plans seemingly resting on a reaction to an early strike.

Ultimately, only a number of small splinters from the CGT - particularly those led by anarchist trade unionists - launched significant efforts, only to be bloodily crushed by the Army and then subject to DGSI mass arrests while the CGT almost looked sideways. This odd situation thus prevented major domestic disruption over the year as employers negotiated with the CGT on their own, but both sides remained locked in a tense stand-off as neither took the first step. In the meantime, the PCF continued to evade the DGSI, leading to suspicions that most of their leading members are not only residing outside of France proper... but that they have been doing so for a long time. Thus Maurras was denied his final struggle with the French left, an outcome that was to prove extremely beneficial for the French economy.

Two years of demobilization and neutrality - other than Indochina - had done much to bolster the French economy as trade experienced a major boom, leading in turn to major suspicions that the French Republic could be handling as much as an actual majority of European trade to sanctioned nations and/or thanks to the closure of the Mediterranean. This economic phenomenon - amidst rumors that the nation is flooding in foreign currency as other countries rapidly empty their currency reserves - has also greatly aided the gradual reconstruction of Northern France through the major mobilization of volunteers. Although entire areas have been ravaged and are expected to be uninhabilitable for years, others have been slowly recovering, allowing residents to return even as agricultural work is extremely discouraged due to the chemical poisoning of the local crops.

This newfound prosperity was nonetheless shaken by recent German economic speculation over the Suez, with the Paris Stock Exchange experiencing a major downturn which almost led to outright panic. In the aftermath of the new foreign challenges, the government is seemingly split between those who demand retribution against Britain for backing up Giraud... and those who demand Japan be punished instead for daring to defile the French Colonial Empire. Outside of the government proper, Francois de la Rocque's PSF has taken up the banner of anti-German sentiment from the right, demanding that Paris take action to ensure retribution from Berlin regarding its financial speculation and the long-term damages caused to Northern France.

A War of Horrors
1941 judged as the worst year of the "Second Great War" thus far,
Nanjing, Tokyo, Hungary and Moscow horrify neutral nations and spectators,
Atrocities cause major disruption, but is national morale declining for belligerents?

Rivers of ink have been published across 1941 to explain or denounce the various atrocities that have taken place thus far, of a scale that - in this fourth year of war - has finally dwarfed the Great War, if not in casualties, at the very least in the depth and scale of the horror. With the German flooding of the Netherlands and the widespread and escalating use of chemicals having earned the share of denounciations thus far, the introduction of biological warfare as well as the destruction of entire cities and/or nations have further horrified much of the neutral world, with the added effect of starting to discourage non-belligerent nations from considering an entry into such a frenzied orgy of destruction. To various degrees, the British Empire, Germany, the Soviet Union and Japan have all earned condemnation - even as the League of Nations descends into being outright irrelevant -, but opinions tend to vary as to who is more deserving of blame.

For the Japanese Empire and its new allies - the new Empire of Vietnam, Siam, Indonesia and Bose's Azad Hind - the attack on Tokyo has represented the ultimate insult and the trampling of the peoples of Asia by British Imperialism, a total disregard for the lives of millions of civilians. For many neutrals in Europe and America, the attack is not as harshly condemned as those that have taken part in Europe, partly due to negative racial attitudes against the Japanese - who, as of this year, are now being formally prosecuted, harassed and interned by the Peruvian dictatorship -. For Britain, the attack was only criticized by a handful of Progressive and Labour MP's who subsequently abandoned the government benches as well as the Communist Party, with even Oswald Mosley - a persistent government critic - hailing Churchill for "delivering a crippling blow on the yellow race".

Having suffered the effects of German air raids in 1939, the British population has not appeared to question the morality of the anthrax attack, resulting in a wave of cheers after Churchill explained the measure before the House of Commons. "Britain will not go down", the PM vowed, and MPs appear most unwilling to question the methods of a war of survival. For anti-communist groups, the destruction of Hungary by the Soviet Union has been denounced as an act of utter barbarity, with ceaseless publications speaking of "The Rape of Hungary" as anti-communist dictatorships - and the Vatican - rapidly mobilize international support for its traumatized and depleted populace. For anti German voices, the effects of the Battle of Moscow are coupled with the biological poisoning of the Moskva and the destruction of the Netherlands as symbols of German brutality, often depicting Hugenberg - instead of his monarch - in the same manner that the Kaiser endured in the first Great War.

For Germany proper, the major battlefield successes and the trauma from the Ulm Attacks have done much to negate the morale effects from such losses in the field, even as reports from increasing acts of mutiny - affecting all armies in the Eastern Front - continue to emerge. Chancellor Hugenberg, however, endured a rare misstep after allowing the voluntary screening of "The Great Dictator" - which was to sweep the Oscars - only to subsequently crackdown on all cinemas that decided to show the film. Planned as a show of force, it was to be badly received by the population and even in the conservative-dominated Imperial Diet, leading the unoficial opposition leader Carl Friedrich Goerdeler to describe the Chancellor as being "too clever by half as a tyrant". These, however, are but grumblings of opposition, drowned in thus far victorious campaigns even as the Reich's economy endures ever rising challenges to remain afloat.

Tokyo's efforts to denounce the British anthrax attacks have also been greatly undermined by the flooding of Nanjing and the deaths of hundreds of thousands - possibly millions - of civilians. Even as the KMT has endured a major blow which is sure to disrupt its military operations, the local reaction has been one of utter anger, further solidifying Chiang's hold in power after his latest anti-Japanese turn and his alliance with Marshal Zhang. Pro-peace forces, often represented in the figure of Wang Jingwei, seem to be at the weakest point, leading to speculation that Wang himself could soon face expulsion from the KMT. Although China remains utterly blockaded and unable to receive aid, the so-called "China Lobby" in the US has been ramping up the calls for America to take further action to save China from further atrocities by Japan.

Generally speaking, the atrocities committed across the year will do much to weaken the capabilities of all belligerent nations: Japan faces the loss of its capital and economic center; the Soviet Union has been driven from its capital and logistical center; the Axis have seen one of their key partners ravaged and their ranks diminished by death; and China has seen its capital and countless citizens disappear beneath the floods. And yet, none of these events appear to have weakened national morale and/or a resolve to continue the war, thus far dispelling any notions of a terror attack strong enough to collapse the enemy's resolve.

As the Second Great War enters a fourth/fifth year, even as major cities are turned to rubble and the ground poisoned for good with chemicals and bacteria, there is as of yet no end in sight.
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« Reply #60 on: September 21, 2023, 04:00:28 PM »
« Edited: September 24, 2023, 08:34:14 PM by Lumine »

Turn XI: 1942


The Cast:

German Reich: Chancellor Alfred Hugenberg (Mr. X)
United States of America: President William Borah (S019)
British Empire: Prime Minister Winston Churchill (Dkrol)
Soviet Union: Chairman Genrikh Yagoda (Spiral)
Empire of Japan: Prime Minister Hajime Sugiyama (Lakigigar)
Republic of France: Prime Minister Charles Maurras (YPestis)
Kingdom of Italy: Duce Benito Mussolini (KaiserDave)
Republic of China: Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek (Kuumo)
Republic of Turkey: President Ismet Inonu (LouisvilleThunder)
Union of South Africa: Prime Minister Jan Smuts (Ishan)
Kingdom of Hungary: King Otto II Hapsburg (AverageFoodEnthusiast)
Polish Republic: President Adam Koc (Windjammer)
Kingdom of Bulgaria: Tsar Boris III Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (OBD)
Commonwealth of Australia: Prime Minister Billy Hughes (GoTfan)
Kingdom of Spain: Prince Regent Juan of Bourbon (Dereich)

Economic Performance:

United States of America: Very High
Republic of France: High
Union of South Africa: Moderate
Kingdom of Bulgaria: Moderate

Kingdom of Italy: Weak
Empire of Japan: Weak
Commonwealth of Australia: Weak
Polish Republic: Weak
British Empire: Weak
German Reich: Weak
Soviet Union: Weak
Republic of Turkey: Weak
Kingdom of Spain: Weak

Republic of China: Very Weak
Kingdom of Hungary: Very Weak

Popularity:

Prime Minister Hughes: High
President Koc: High
Tsar Boris III: High
President Inonu: High
Prime Minister Churchill: High
Chancellor Hugenberg: High
Prime Minister Sugiyama: High

President Borah: Moderate
King Otto II: Moderate
Prime Minister Smuts: Moderate
Duce Mussolini: Moderate
Chairman Yagoda: Moderate
Generalissimo Chiang: Moderate
Prince Regent Juan: Moderate

Prime Minister Maurras: Low

Mobilization Level:
Total Mobilization: Soviet Union, German Reich, British Empire, Polish Republic, Kingdom of Hungary, Commonwealth of Australia, Kingdom of Italy
War Mobilization: Republic of China, Empire of Japan, Kingdom of Spain
Partial Mobilization: None
Conscription: Republic of France, Republic of Turkey, Kingdom of Bulgaria
Volunteer Army: United States of America, Union of South Africa
Demilitarized:

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« Reply #61 on: September 24, 2023, 04:47:03 PM »
« Edited: September 24, 2023, 06:11:07 PM by Lumine »

German Reich:


Chancellor,

The black, white, and red Imperial Flag flies on top of the Kremlin. Like Bismarck, you've been able to march into Paris; and like Napoleon, you've been able to see your armies march into the burnt remains of Moscow. It is a remarkable accomplishment, coupled with the expulsion of the battered Red Army away from Poland and Hungary and into the Ukraine. The cost, however, has been enormous. The Reichswehr not only has lost many of its veterans, it is suffering - like all other armies in the East - from the enormous cost of biological and chemical warfare. For a majority of the General Staff and the Kaiser, however, peace is not exactly on their mind. The Eastern Front stands on its seemingly decisive moment for the Axis, and you face a monumental decision. Go all out to finish the Bolshevik threat for good? Or seek moderation in victory?

Through clever problem solving, you have kept the German economy functioning, aided in this task by the collective resources of the Anti-Communist Axis. Unlike the Great War, there is and there won't be famine, and a new U-Boat fleet is ready for deployment. But like the hydra, whenever you cut off a head, another emerges. This time, Von Krosigk notes that although Germany has been able to sideline blockades to acquire key resources, having to pay for them has drained the currency resources, creating the question of how to pay for everything the Reich and its allies have to import to keep the war machine going. Not just that, the ever rising manpower demands of the Reichswehr conflict with the industrial demands for more workers, particularly since Germany provides much of the Axis' weaponry. With the German National Front harshly opposing the mere notion of women entering the workforce, there is already talk of drafting the Russian population in occupied areas as forced labor, as punishment for what the Soviets already did to Hungary. Where will you find the means to keep paying for imports, and how will you address future industry manpower shortages if battlefield losses continue to mount?

Amidst all the challenges up ahead, a curious development has emerged within the House of Hohenzollern. Kaiser Wilhelm III has no shortage of heirs, but his zestful eldest son, former Crown Prince Wilhelm, was taken off the succession in 1933 by Wilhelm II when he married Dorothea von Salviati, a member of the lesser nobility. This, in turn, left the more intellectual Louis Ferdinand - married to Russian Grand Duchess Kira, sister to Grand Duke Vladimir, the senior Romanov claimant - as the new heir. The death of the old Kaiser has reopened the question of the succession, amidst debates on whether Wilhelm's marriage (highly popular with the German public) ought to be recognized and the former Crown Prince restored to the line of succession... or whether the late Wilhelm II's views on the purity of royal blood ought to stand. How will you navigate the politics of royal succession?

British Empire:


Prime Minister,

At long last, Britain has avenged the humiliations imposed on the Empire by the dastardly Japanese Empire, with the attack on Tokyo opening up a brilliant new chapter in the history of military innovation. Despite the squeamishness of neutral countries and a few dissidents in Parliament, Britain has proved that it has the means to hurt its enemies, but the costs of the near suicidal Tokyo run and recent naval losses in the Far East make it a difficult - if not outright impossible - proposition to repeat the blow against the Japanese mainland. This, in turn, raises the difficult question of whether you dare use these new weapons - of so called mass destruction - on European soil, with the risk of far greater international pushback should European lives (instead of Asian) be the victims. Is there really room for moderation with the Empire still in mortal danger? Or should Britain seek victory at every and any cost?

Your successful neutralization of the Kingdom of Spain as a foe has been put into mortal danger with the emergence of the Second Spanish Civil War. With Franco gone and the Alfonsists trying to stabilize the situation against the German-backed Carlists and Portuguese, there is no room for Spain to contibute to the British war effort, and the attack on Gibraltar has enhanced the harm inflicted to Britain's strategic positions in the Mediterranean by the Suez raid. The Foreign Office and the Imperial General Staff are deeply divided on the matter of the Iberian Peninsula. Intervention could yet safe Alfonsist Spain as a vital ally, at the cost of opening yet another front when - even after the Belgian debacle - Britain is already overstretched. To not intervene could see the entire region become yet another German vassal, all while Portugal turns from reliable ally into newfound foe. What will you do regarding Spain?

As part of a deal with the Halifax government, King Edward VIII has been a vocal and stalwart supporter of the war effort and a powerful advocate of anti-German (previous sympathies notwithstanding) sentiment, helping shore up morale with repeated tours across the nation. He has done so with the understanding of being allowed to marry Mrs. Wallis Warfield (previously Simpson) after the war is over, despite the unyielding opposition of the Church of England and much of your establishment. But as the conflict drags on, Edward - who views you as a personal friend - has reiterated his intent to marry, stating that he's waited long enough. To allow him to do so would surely put the King - and his future consort - firmly in your camp and attain great appeal among the lower classes, at the risk of alienating the Church, the middle class and conservative sectors in a key moment of the war. Warfield's American nationality is certain to be a factor as well. What will you say to His Majesty?

Republic of France:


Prime Minister,

Despite predictions of the final, climactic struggle with the leftist trade unions and the French Communist Party, these have failed to materialize. Only a handful of Anarchist-controlled unions tried to strike, and were promptly smashed by the police and the growing DGSI. Simply put, it appears as if the CGT and its wide array of unions are keeping their powder dry, forcing you to rethink your approach when it comes to smashing the remnants of the French left for good. Not just that, the emergence of an alternate French government based on London is also cause for concern. Not of the immediate variety given its remarkable failure at attracting institutional support in mainland France proper, but a factor to be taken into account. As France enters another year with its Republican institutions dissolved, and amidst speculation on what your ultimate goals are... what will you seek to achieve?

The recent closure of the Mediterranean through German action and the manipulation of the Paris Stock Exchange have left a bitter taste, not enough to ruin the newfound economic prosperity, but certainly enough to cause major disruption. The result has been ceaseless debate within the ranks of the government on whether the current stance of partial collaboration with the Reich is still as desirable. Whereas many champion it still and urge the government to take a stand against the British Empire for daring to prop up Giraud, others discuss a range of measures to respond to this crisis. From outside the government but still within the ranks of the right, Francois de la Rocque and his PSF are organizing anti-German rallies in Paris and other major cities, demanding retribution and reparations for the major harm inflicted to French soil by German chemical weapons. Will you attempt to walk this difficult tightrope, or risk taking a firm stance?

Although mainland France stands intact - with the continued hold over Alsace-Lorraine a major source of stability for the government -, the French Colonial Empire has been steadily collapsing over the past few years, sparking outrage among many conservatives against a minority that has seen the colonies as more of a nuisance. Losses to the Germans - and then the British - have now been coupled with the collapse of French Indochina to Japan, sparking talk of a full declaration of war and/or some other way to take revenge on the Japanese. And more recently, the Syrian Arab Republic has informed Paris that, according to the Víenot accords, French usage of land and air bases, as well as the use of the Latakia naval base, have come to an end, with Damascus fully intending not to renew further usage. This, in turn, would see Syria fully leaving the French obit, leaving French Lebanon on its own. Is the Colonial Empire worth saving? Or, at the risk of alienating your own base, should France devote itself to a different goal?

United States of America


Mr. President,

Six years into office, you face a new electoral challenge ahead of you: the 1942 midterms. The longevity of the administration has staffers worried about the so-called "six year itch" that has befallen other two-term Presidents in their second terms, raising the spectre of major Democratic gains in Congress. With the House solidly Democrat, all eyes are in the tied Senate, which will see the Democrats defending almost twenty seats in the Solid South, and the GOP defending all of its vital Midwestern gains made during your original victory in 1936. Other high profile races will include the Governorships of Massachusetts and California (where Democrats Joseph P. Kennedy, co-leader of America First; and Upton Sinclair, Socialist stalwart, will defend their seats) and, most particularly, New York. There, a bitter primary is pitting isolationist (pro-Borah progressive) Thomas Dewey against internationalist (anti-Borah progressive) Fiorello La Guardia, with the winner taking on 1940 Democratic nominee Wendell Willkie. How will you fight the 42' midterms? And will you middle in Republican primaries to push critics out, or to promote candidates from a particular wing of the party?

Following the debacle of the German-American arrangement, the recent developments in Latin America, and a relentless assault by Congressional Democrats, Secretary of State Hanford MacNider has offered his resignation. MacNider has faithfully implemented your policies, but the extreme growth of German, Italian and Soviet influence from Mexico to Chile, the Peruvian invasion of Ecuador, and the increasingly left-wing turn of Mexico and Bolivia has internationalists howling for action to, in their words, uphold the Monroe Doctrine against European infiltration of America's neighbors. You must now decide not only whether to retain MacNider and/or with whom to replace them, but whether you dare change course and take active action in Latin America, or whether it is best for the United States to remain in a non-interventionist stance to occupy that political capital elsewhere. Of equal importance is the fact that many neutral nations have ignored the threat of sanctions to continue trading with Japan and/or Germany: will you dare put those sanctions in place?

By and large the Republican offensive on the New Deal has finally succeeded, wiping away most of what was left of FDR's legacy other than a few piece of politically unassailable legislation. The anger from the unions, farmers and other groups is palpable, but conservative and moderate Republicans have by and large hailed the White House for saving the nation from "socialist tendencies" (progressive Republicans, on the other hand, stand alienated). Having thus fulfilled a major goal with a friendly Supreme Court to rubber-stamp those decisions, the Cabinet wonders what is next. Should the Administration pursue another major domestic offensive on the eve of the midterms, and try to deliver or pick a fight on a specific issue? Or will you sit content with the repeal of the New Deal, seeking to profit from the so-called "return to normalcy"?

Soviet Union


Comrade Chairman,

As you survey the Volga River - and the thousands of refugees orderly crossing it - from the Palace of Culture in Kuibyshev (formerly Samara), the inmensity of the situation dawns on you. Moscow has fallen for the first time in a century and a half, the Red Army has been expelled from Eastern Europe and returns to the Motherland with Trotsky and Gamarnik, and the Ukrainian rebels have taken up arms at least. These are perilous times, in what constitutes the most difficult moment for the Soviet Union since the Russian Civil War. And yet, the war is far from over. The Congress of Soviets maintains its morale, and millions of volunteers march westwards as the reorganized factories churn out new weaponry. The Soviet state has developed its own weapons of mass destruction, and the battlefield defeats have not yet eroded your hold on power, which shows improvement from the turbulent times of Stalin, Kirov and Kamenev. It is make or break for the Soviet Union: how will you prosecute the war despite the loss of the nation's logistical centre?

The Congress of Soviets has relocated with you, with the emergence of new factions and new alliances helping create a majority that can be reasonably expected to aid with the prosecution of the war. It is not, however, all smiles. Despite a tight relationship to President Bukharin and Prosperity, the reliance on Tukhachevist deputies - now split in two factions - conflicts with their steadfast refusal to give in when it comes to flexibilization of cultural policies and the incorporation of women into the army and workforce - even after the sacrifice of Soviet female division in the Moscow campaign - as part of the war effort. This, in turn, poses something of a dilemma. The Congress' existence has seemingly done much to mobilize popular support for the war, but that same existence stands in the way of total power in Stalin's mold. Thus the question: should further purges be enacted and the Congress beaten into total submission to establish absolute power... or will you tolerate this limited opposition to ensure the unity of the nation and preserve a measure of Soviet democracy?

The Soviet Union may not have the same capabilities that Britain showed with its blow against the heart of the Japanese Empire, but it now possesses a wide array of chemical and biological weapons to wield against the Axis to avenge its overreliance on nerve agents to kill or main millions of Soviet troops. And yet, with the current state of the frontlines, further use would necessarily poison Soviet citizens and Soviet ground in the same way that much of Poland, Hungary and Romania have been ruined for years to come. It is not an easy decision, made worse by the international backlash to Hungary, the Ulm attacks and the tactics employed in Moscow that have anti-Communists scrambling to send further aid to the Axis. The choice ahead, therefore, is just as clear as it is intimidating. Should the Soviet Union fight without any remaining restraint, even at the cost of inviting further death or destruction? Or is there a line to be drawn before all of Eastern Europe and European Russia goes down in ruins?

Kingdom of Italy


Duce,

The Red Hordes are beaten! Having smashed themselves against Graziani and the invincible Marius Line - the snickering of the foreign press aside -, the Soviets have been pushed away from Hungary and the vital threat to the League of Rome is removed from the scene. It is a victory for Italy and another accomplishment in the Crusade against Communism, but one that creates difficult questions about the future. Italy clearly has a stake in this struggle on account of the various exile forces it has fielded (including several Ukrainian and White Russian units) which could play an interesting role now that Soviet territory is occupied by the German-Polish Axis. On the other hand, multiple external challenges and commitments put into question whether Italy could - or should - take part in the actual liberation of Russia from Marxism. Will Italy take part in the Axis' crusade despite the recent crisis with Berlin? Or are your resources better spent elsewhere?

Just as there was much jubilation in the streets at the news that the Reds had been pushed back, the joy turned into despair due to the enormous economic losses sustained by the Kingdom as the result of German action. With the Mediterranean closed, key exports can only reach Italy through land routes and at far greater expense, coupled with major losses for Italian companies in the Paris and Berlin Stock Exchanges. The public has increasingly noted and suffered these shortages and economic pain, but it is only among the Fascist elites that Germany's role is clear enough, leading men like Balbo to demand immediate and urgent retribution for this insult on the nation inflicted by Hugenberg and his cronies. With Arturo Bocchini now dead, there is no major pro-German voice to counter Balbo. How should Italy respond to German actions? And how will you seek to reopen the trade routes closed by their carelessness?

It is now clear that the new Empire you've build has not just been under siege by internal forces, but by external powers as well. Greece has been caught playing a double game. Turkish troops have given King Zog the necessary force to liberate Tirana and open a new front across Albania. The Italian garrisons in Libya have been under the first armed attacks in a decade, which have been easily repelled thus far. Ankara has thrown down the gauntlet, so to speak, and you must now decide how to respond to this challenge to the League's hegemony in the Balkans. The internal rebels will also warrant a response: Tito and the remnants of his forces have disappeared into Croatia, the Chetniks and the HSS have acumulated strength during the past year, and the Ustashe - in stark contrast to the more stable Slovenian and Serbian regimes - stand on the brink of collapse after being broken by the Red Army. How should Italy respond to all of this?
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« Reply #62 on: September 24, 2023, 07:04:33 PM »
« Edited: September 24, 2023, 07:52:17 PM by Lumine »

Empire of Japan


Prime Minister,

As the Cabinet reconvenes in Kyoto, it is clear that the Empire has sustained the hardest blow in its history. What was originally believed to be a simple air raid - morally damaging, yet insignificant in its industrial impact - has led to the evacuation of Tokyo due its contamination with Anthrax. As a result, as much as one fifth of the population of the Home Islands wanders the countryside and the main cities looking for refuge, a humanitarian crisis that has paralyzed Japan while denying the Empire the use of its political, cultural and economic center. As a result, the Imperial war machine has been disrupted, but not before further consolidation of its hold on most of Asia and Oceania. An Imperial Prince is dead, and with Hirohito suitably locked up and isolated, the Prince Regent is out for blood. The Cabinet thus descends into warfare, pitting supporters of a negotiated peace against those who, for a start, would begin the response by having all British POWs executed at once. How will the Empire handle this harsh blow?

Regardless of the political response, it is also clear that painful decisions will have to be taken to keep the Empire running in this difficult time. For one, the military insists that Tokyo cannot be abandoned, and they are pushing hard for the city to be repopulated in order not to lose its vital industrial and economic potential, being willing to accept ceaseless civilian casualties as "acceptable losses". For the civilian parliamentarians - particularly Minseito - there is widespread resignation that the city will remain unusuable for now, leading to calls for a full relocation to Kyoto and for the mobilization of national resources (even at the cost of the war effort) to assist the former inhabitants. Adding to the division is the fact that the Diet is overdue in two years in its mandate, with your government having given no indication on when the next Election is to be held. How will you deal with the domestic situation?

Despite the fall-out from Operation Mikado, the Empire has achieved success elsewhere. Indonesia, Siam and Vietnam stand as reasonably loyal partners in the cause for the liberation of Asia under Japanese supervision. Bose continues to fight, and the Azad Hind stands against Jinnah despite the los of its western outposts. Generalissimo Chiang will find it increasingly difficult to push the IJA out of the Chinese mainland after the loss of Nanjing. And yet, there are questions to be asked as to how far Japan dares to push. Should the Philippines be next, risking an American intervention? Should the focus be placed on China, which appears more unwilling to surrender than ever? Or should consolidation be the strategy moving forward due to the internal disruption?

Republic of China


Generalissimo,

As you step into the city of Chongqing, where the KMT and the Nationalist government have relocated on a temporary basis, you wonder about the future. China has fought on for another year, and it has even managed to inflict defeats on the IJA despite shortages of war material. But this has paled in comparison to the depravity of the Japanese High Command, which saw fit to erase Nanjing from the face of the earth, ruin entire regions, and drown hundreds of thousands of civilians, with countless more expected to die from famine after large agricultural areas were ruined by the floods. It is a blow that will further weaken the ability of the KMT to fight effectively... but it is also an event that has galvanized the people's will to resist. There is already talk among party officers that the time is ripe to purge the defeatists for good, with Wang Jingwei - who has always advocated for a negotiated settlement - and his supporters marked for elimination. Will you seek to move against Wang and crush the defeatist faction?

As the Japanese naval blockade and the continued closure of the Burma road strangle any hope of immediate resupplying of the NRA, it is a painful fact that the Republic of China has had to fight the war against Japan with little to no support from abroad, even from those regime who claimed friendship and/or who previously invested in the Chinese military. It is a fact that causes much resentment not only within the weary public, but also within the party's elites. This, in turn, leads to two diverging stances: for some, the world's "betrayal" of China calls for the nation to keep the fight on its own resources, which in turn means devoting all non-military efforts to autarky. For others, foreign support is the sine qua non for actual victory, leading to talk of doing everything humanly possible to bring the United States into the conflict, or to find support from whichever power is willing to provide it. Will you side with either camp?

Polish Republic


Mr. President,

Another year, another victory in the Polish Republic's unlikely quest for survival against the Red Hordes. This time, they have all but been pushed out of the nation they invaded under Tukhachevsky, all while the combined German-Polish effort in Central Russia has allowed Polish troops to march across the streets of Moscow. It is a remarkable personal triumph. The wounds left behind, however, are deep. The Polish military bleeds at a horrifying rate, Polish agricultural production has been almost entirely ruined after the latest usage of chemicals on both sides, and Galicia - both the Soviet controlled areas and those recently liberated - resembles Hell on Earth. Not just that, but you must also start to consider what exactly to do with Polish-occupied Lithuania and Belarus in terms of administration, and whether Warsaw ought to be leading the charge for a negotiated peace... or for the collapse and destruction of the Soviet state. What are the next steps ahead?

Seven years after being elected under the newly reorganized office, your term as the President of Poland is up. Contrary to your expectations and/or hopes, the Republic does not appear ready to put your grander plans into motion, which in turn conflicts with promises made in the past. Vice President Moscicki is already urging you to formalize plans not to run for the office, and is ready to announce his own bid at any moment. Slawek and Rydz-Smigly, placated in the past with key offices, are no longer content to be loyal lieutenants, and are expected to try and run for President as well with the full expectation of your personal endorsement. And this time, the opposition is prepared to run rather than attempt another boycott, with Lubomirski or Sikorski talked about as possible candidates. How will you handle these seemingly irreconcilable ambitions? Or is it time to clean house in Sanation and start a political purge?

Republic of Turkey


Mr. President,

Though the game has been played well, the stakes have increased dramatically once Turkish involvement in Balkans became impossible to hide. Against every expectation, the Albanian-Turkish Expeditionary Force has defeated Messe and the Italians, helping Zog make a triumphant return to Tirana. But this, in turn, represents a grave public affront to Rome and Il Duce, once that could well result in a state of war between the League of Rome and the Eurasian Alliance. Teheran, Kabul and Baghdad, while reluctant to go to war, still look to you for leadership as Atatürk's heir, and this crisis may well decide not only the fate of the Alliance as an effective bloc, but whether Ankara or Rome will be able to claim hegemony over the Aegean Sea and the lower Balkans. There is much at stake, Mr. President. When it comes to Il Duce, will it be war? Or will you seek a different solution?

Despite earlier dreams of Muslim unity under Atatürk, it has proved impossible to make all Muslim states join in a common banner. Syria, now looking to unshackle itself fully from any remaining French influence, is unwilling to forgive the Turkish seizure of the Hatay. Saudi Arabia refuses to take marching orders from Ankara, looking still towards Britain and others for inspiration. After its defection, Egypt has not seemed particularly willing to cross the British again, though the effects of the German Suez raid are yet to be determined. And Jinnah, on whom Atatürk placed such lofty hopes, is now the head of the British Dominion, a major accomplishment for Muslims which nonetheless threatens to allow London to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Will you attempt to follow Atatürk's more idealistic dreams of unity, or is Turkey best suited to expand by taking advantage - aggressive if need be - from such differences?

Kingdom of Spain


Your Royal Highness,

At the decisive moment, Loyalist Spain wants and cries out for leadership. Franco has fled to Tokyo in a bizarre escape from the consecuences of his actions, and the King - his health ruined by years of an unhealthy lifestyle - lies in bed, perhaps living out his final days. As Crown Prince and now Prince Regent leading the relocated government in Toledo, it falls on to you to keep the Alfonsist cause alive against the Carlist and Portuguese onslaught. Although Madrid has been lost and Catalonia has revolved, not all is lost. General Mola has proved to be a priceless commander for the Alfonsist armies, the navy has remained loyal and a match for the Portuguese, and the rapid Carlist advances have raised the issue of overextension in a nation in which their support was always regionally concentrated in the north. The task of reforming the government and fighting the war is enormous, but good leadership may yet prevail. Can you provide it?

The biggest drawback for the Kingdom as of now is the lack of foreign support compared to international aid and supplying of the Carlists, backed so far by Germany, Poland and France. This, in turn, makes it vital for Loyalist Spain to obtain similar backing to recover lost ground. Britain might be the obvious choice after peace was secured with London, but there are questions as to how much Churchill would actually contribute with his struggles elsewhere. Others look to Il Duce, noting that the Royal Family had resided in exile in Rome until very recently. And then there are those who look towards France, noting that, despite recent support for the Carlists, your elder brother Jaime - forced to resign his succession rights on account of being - is technically the next Legitimist claimant to the French throne after King Alfonso dies, a fact which might not be lost among French monarchists in the new Maurras regime. How will you appeal to for support?

Union of South Africa


Prime Minister,

For the first time since the Boer Wars, South Africa is at war at home. Though the Afrikaner and National Party rebels have claimed to have acted on their own, you see the unmistakeable hand of foreign actors, seeking to undermine the Union. With the most experienced South African troops in England and no conscription policies enacted yet - the Army being fielded with volunteers - you must make important decisions on how to battle this insurgency or, as others call it, this civil war. How will you fight the Afrikaner revolt? Should South Africa shift towards national conscription, at the cost of the government taking on a popularity hit? Will you seek outside aid from London, and/or seek ways to prevent foreign intervention in the conflict? And, with most National Party MPs abandoning Cape Town, what will you use your now unassailable majority for?

Kingdom of Hungary


Your Majesty,

As you return to Budapest, tears of sheer anger stream down your face. Having rebuilt the city with so much effort following its destruction by the Czechs, the Red Army has left very little to work with. Hungary has been utterly desolated, with much of its population poisoned, wounded, dead, or only recently liberated from the Soviet forced labor camps. The monster Bela Kun is dead at least, but so is Admiral Horthy, leaving you without a premier to lead the civilian goverment (which is one year overdue on its elections as well). The Royal Hungarian Army is but a shadow of its former triumphant self, but it stands even amidst all the misery. And even at the darkest moment, there are signs of hope as international aid organized by the Vatican and anti-Communist regimes only waits for the reopening of Gibraltar or the Suez to reach Hungary. Once again, against the odds, Hungary has survived. What next, Your Majesty?

Commonwealth of Australia


Prime Minister,

Many congratulations on a strong victory. The UAP is no longer saddled with an unsustainable majority, leaving your hands free to continue close cooperation with the Nationals and Labor... or to cut them loose and govern on your own if you so desire. Even though Port Darwin and Cairns have been devastated and the Royal Navy endured major losses, Australia avoided invasion for another year, and likely for longer given the disruption of the Japanese Empire's war machine. Following the Japanese air raid and the bizarre incident regarding the arrested Abwehr agents the public howls for revenge, but this is easier to demand than to achieve given the difficulties involved. For the most part, you've been afforded an opportunity to begin anew in what might be your last term in office given your advancing age. What will you with your new majority?

Kingdom of Bulgaria


Your Majesty,

The past couple of years of neutrality have been of immense aid to the Kingdom as it seeks to recover from its struggle to the death against Serbia, with the increase trade doing much to bolster the economy. Were it not for the unfortunate closing of the Mediterranean - which threatens further growth -, gains might have been further still. And yet, it seems the time for peace is at an end, a fact that the population and Parliament appear to lament. The Soviets have - somehow - raided the coastline without Turkish intervention, and despite their relative failure, further such attacks could come. Worse still, Turkish agents were caught by the IMRO militias trying to infiltrate Macedonia, which combined to Ankara's open defiance of Mussolini creates the very real prospect of a war between the entire League and the Eurasian Alliance. How will you navigate these troublesome waters?
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« Reply #63 on: September 24, 2023, 08:26:28 PM »
« Edited: September 25, 2023, 07:10:41 AM by KaiserDave »

THE DAWN OF THE LATIN PACT




The PACT of THE LATIN NATIONS

We assembled, the governments of France and the Kingdom of Italy do resolve to bind our nations together in the face of chaos and violence on a global scale. The Italian and French peoples are already bound together by a shared Latin and Romance culture and heritage, and since the rebirth of the French State, deep and comprehensive shared values in political outlook. Italy and France also recognized how events have played out in Europe in such a manner that illustrates the similarity of French and Italian strategic interests in the face of Bolshevik terror and foreign domination, as well as in keeping vital routes of trade open. Italy and France cannot depend on others to keep them secure, only each other. This Latin Pact hereby formalizes the deep and comprehensive diplomatic, economic, and security relationship between Italy and France.  

France and Italy agree to defend each other by force of arms in the case of attack

France and Italy agree to coordinate on matters of security and defense

France and Italy agree to coordinate and cooperate for matters of mutual economic benefit, and provide preference for one another in trade and international commerce, and coordinate on projects especially in such a manner that maximizes strategic flexibility and independence

France and Italy agree to undertake all efforts to the reopening of Mediterranean commerce

France and Italy agree to cooperate in areas of suppressing internal subversives and malcontents

France and Italy agree for joint military planning and cooperation in peacetime

xIL DUCE, Benito Mussolini




Remarks by IL DUCE at the signing of the accord, at Palais de Justice in Nice, France

The friendship between the people of France and Italy is a deeply logical and rational friendship, based not only on strategic interests but also brotherhood and kinship. We share a connection that goes back to Mother Rome, to Virgil, to Augustus and to Gaius Julius Caesar. It was Rome that civilized the savage plains of Gaul and from her rose France, among the most cultured and advanced civilizations in Europe. This kinship stretched through the annals of history, the French stood by us many a time to drive out the heirs of the Goths from Italy, it was Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte who fought in the Carbonari, though many suppress this memory, and it was France who bled with us in the First War against our enemies, and now the Lombard Legion bleeds with Army of Graziani in the heroic defense of the Macius Line. Furthermore, Charles Maurras, who is a friend and a deep inspiration, has taken up, with the call of destiny, the reins of the French State. With this, Italy and France are ever closer, we both share the same values. We are, absolutely, brothers in the same creed.

In today's world of struggle, France and Italy share much in common. Not only do we have our deep historical bonds, but share geo-strategic interests. We both resist the tyranny of the Bolshevik, who desires the destruction of Europe, and the tyranny of dark foreign powers, who desire our subjugation. We share a desire to keep open the flow of trade, and a desire to develop ourselves as independent states.

Despite our deep kinship, many have tried to keep Italy and France apart. The plutodemocrats, who once ran both France and Italy, have devised plots to subjugate both our peoples, it was them who were responsible for the Mutilated Victory, and it was them who enflamed the animosities between our states. But Maurras, might Maurras has driven them out of France. Now there are crowned heads and plutocrats abroad who still conspire to keep our states apart because they know that France and Italy, once together, cannot be defeated. They know that if France and Italy are apart that they are free to dominate Europe, bomb whoever they please, and wage economic warfare against whomever they like in pursuit of their goals of control. Well, today I have to tell them that they have failed. The Latin sisters are now bound together, for victory! Long live the Latin Pact!  


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« Reply #64 on: September 24, 2023, 08:30:23 PM »

THE DAWN OF THE LATIN PACT




The PACT of THE LATIN NATIONS

We assembled, the governments of France and the Kingdom of Italy do resolve to bind our nations together in the face of chaos and violence on a global scale. The Italian and French peoples are already bound together by a shared Latin and Romance culture and heritage, and since the rebirth of the French State, deep and comprehensive shared values in political outlook. Italy and France also recognized how events have played out in Europe in such a manner that illustrates the similarity of French and Italian strategic interests in the face of Bolshevik terror and foreign domination, as well as in keeping vital routes of trade open. Italy and France cannot depend on others to keep them secure, only each other. This Latin Pact hereby formalizes the deep and comprehensive diplomatic, economic, and security relationship between Italy and France. 

France and Italy agree to defend each other by force of arms in the case of attack

France and Italy agree to coordinate on matters of security and defense

France and Italy agree to coordinate and cooperate for matters of mutual economic benefit, and provide preference for one another in trade and international commerce, and coordinate on projects especially in such a manner that maximizes strategic flexibility and independence

France and Italy agree to undertake all efforts to the reopening of Mediterranean commerce

France and Italy agree to cooperate in areas of suppressing internal subversives and malcontents

France and Italy agree for joint military planning and cooperation in peacetime

xIL DUCE, Benito Mussolini



Charles Maurras
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« Reply #65 on: September 24, 2023, 08:51:52 PM »

La France Immortelle
Maurras Addresses the Cabinet and the Nation



Wikimedia

Gentlemen, Frenchmen, it has been two years since the National Revival began. Two years since the end of French involvement in this Second World War. It has been two years since the enemy departed from French soil. It has been two years since the gas stopped falling on good French soil. It is now time to take stock of our situation.

France, despite falling under the withering hail of attacks, be they Japanese, German, or even French, has persevered. She remains a great power. She remains a bulwark of European civilization. We, along with our allies in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Italy, have blunted the Soviet rampage to the Mediterranean. We have continued her civilizing mission across three continents. French diplomats remain, as ever, at the center of the global concert.

 At home, our triumphs are also great. We have quashed the red menace at home - those devious fiends who would plunge France into civil war and back into conflict with her neighbors. We have restored stability and prosperity to France. We have rebuilt Northern France, and allowed France to resume its natural place as a leading economy of Europe. Even now we are ready and prepared to become the breadbasket for a withered and tottering Europe.

Our victories have been great - but challenges remain. At home and across the Channel, there are those Frenchman who want to undo our work, and throw a new generation of young men into the grinder of civil or foreign war. These men are carrion, working in the thrall of foreign governments. Tell me, how many more men need to die to quench the altar of these men’s hubris? France has sacrificed. For herself, for Europe, for the world, and now it is time to rebuild. Do not be fooled by the seductive messages of those safely ensconced in foreign capitals - they would have you sacrifice you and your sons for their own pride!

Gentlemen, Frenchmen, now is not the time to change course. The National Revival must continue. Socialism still beats at the gates in Iberia, in the Balkans, and elsewhere. Trust in yourselves - trust in your government - trust in France, and we shall navigate the storm.
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« Reply #66 on: September 24, 2023, 09:06:03 PM »



IL DUCE DECLARES VICTORY OVER RED MENACE



Selected Excerpts from Il Duce's Public Address, "On the Successful Defense of the Line of Macius"

...I have received reports, from Marshal Graziani on the struggle being waged on the Macius Line, and he has informed me, in a telegram from his command post on the frontline, in a bunker wedged into a mountain, that "the enemy has been driven from the frontier of the nation. The soldiers of Italy are victorious along the entire line. Long live Il Duce!" Successive reports have indicated a massive retreat from the Line, and the liberation of Slovenia is imminent...

...The Macius Line has been defended, Italy has been saved from Bolshevism. We have won the battle, now we will drive the enemy out of Hungary, and out of the Empire for good....

...Italy has kept her promise made to defend civilization. I have kept the promise I made almost a decade ago to defend Europe from the Bolshevik menace. Now, the heart of Europe has been saved, with the valor of the Italian soldier....

...The total liberation of Hungary and Croatia is imminent, the terrorists and dogs of the enemy will be put down, no quarter will be given to the Bolshevik violators of our homes and families. Italy will be victorious...

...Italy has defeated the Red Army. I repeat, Italy has defeated the Red Army. Italy has humbled the Red Army, the Bolshevik has bowed before the martial superiority of the Italian soldier...
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« Reply #67 on: September 25, 2023, 11:44:46 AM »

The Eldest Daughter of the Church Opens Her Doors

Maurras Announces Acceptance of Walloon Refugees

Source: Wikimedia

Who could look across the border at the former Kingdom of Belgium and not feel their heart sting? The Belgian people, and particularly the Walloons, have suffered immensely these past four years. Years of occupation, brutal chemical warfare, and chronic shortages have all dealt a terrible toll to the Belgian people.

The Walloons are a French speaking people. They are Catholic. Should we not open our doors to them? France is the Eldest Daughter of the Church - she should not and will not close her doors to those most in need.

As such, today I am prepared to announce that any Walloon who enters France fleeing from the oppressive violence of war and invasion shall be welcomed in open arms. In Northern France and in North Africa the Walloons can find a new life amongst welcoming people and safe from war, hunger, and deprivation. France stands ready to resettle the Walloons in her own country, to provide them jobs, and to allow them to rebuild their lives.

France will not turn her back on her neighbors in their time of need and she stands ready to relieve their suffering.

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« Reply #68 on: September 25, 2023, 02:17:06 PM »

Quote
Anglo-Egyptian-Hellenic Agreement
The undersigned parties agree to the following:

1. The German attack on the Suez Canal was an affront to the national sovereignty of both the Kingdom of Greece and the Kingdom of Egypt and the Sudan.
2. The British Empire, the Kingdom of Greece, and the Kingdom of Egypt and the Sudan stand opposed to the War of German Expansion.
3. The British Empire will serve as a guarantor for the safe passage of Greek and Egyptian vessels in the Mediterranean.
4. British bases in Malta, Tunisia, and Alexandria shall be open and provide safe harbor to Greek and Egyptian vessels, as well as provide fueling and supply support.
5. The Kingdom of Greece and the Kingdom of Egypt and the Sudan pledge to uphold the ongoing embargo of the German Reich.
6. The British Empire will serve as a guarantor of the independent sovereignty of the Kingdom of Greece and the Kingdom of Egypt and the Sudan.

x
Winston Churchill

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« Reply #69 on: September 25, 2023, 02:25:31 PM »

Quote
Anglo-Egyptian-Hellenic Agreement
The undersigned parties agree to the following:

1. The German attack on the Suez Canal was an affront to the national sovereignty of both the Kingdom of Greece and the Kingdom of Egypt and the Sudan.
2. The British Empire, the Kingdom of Greece, and the Kingdom of Egypt and the Sudan stand opposed to the War of German Expansion.
3. The British Empire will serve as a guarantor for the safe passage of Greek and Egyptian vessels in the Mediterranean.
4. British bases in Malta, Tunisia, and Alexandria shall be open and provide safe harbor to Greek and Egyptian vessels, as well as provide fueling and supply support.
5. The Kingdom of Greece and the Kingdom of Egypt and the Sudan pledge to uphold the ongoing embargo of the German Reich.
6. The British Empire will serve as a guarantor of the independent sovereignty of the Kingdom of Greece and the Kingdom of Egypt and the Sudan.

x
Winston Churchill



x Ioannis Metaxas

His Majesty King Farouk
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LAKISYLVANIA
Lakigigar
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« Reply #70 on: September 25, 2023, 03:10:45 PM »

Japan mourns the passing of Francisco Franco


It is with profound sorrow that we must inform the world of the tragic passing of Francisco Franco, a consequence of the anthrax poisoning that recently afflicted Tokyo.

Japan does not, under any circumstances, tolerate such acts of aggression. The heinous act of using a biological weapon against innocent civilians, and consequently against a former ally's leader, is an affront to the very fabric of international peace, diplomacy, and shared humanity.

All evidence points towards British involvement in this unprecedented attack on our sovereign soil. It is an imperative for nations across the globe to come together and ensure that those responsible are held accountable. Such blatant violations of international law and basic human decency must not go unanswered.

During these testing times, we urge the Spanish people to join us in condemning this unspeakable crime. Japan stands resolute, our spirit unbowed, and we will persevere in our pursuit of global peace, justice, and stability.

Hajime Sugiyama
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YPestis25
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« Reply #71 on: September 25, 2023, 03:13:04 PM »

Quote
Bucharest Accords

France, the Kingdom of Italy, and the Kingdom of Romania agree to the following terms:

I. France, and the Kingdom of Italy shall guarantee the inviolability of Romania’s current borders against Soviet aggression or that of another great power, and pledge to offer all aid and assistance should they be violated by a hostile power.
II. France shall establish the Compagnie Pétrolière de l'État Français (CPEF) to finance the reconstruction of Romanian oil infrastructure through investment.
III. The CPEF shall also direct funds to the establishment of additional infrastructure to provide for the transport of this petroleum to the other signatories of this treaty.
IV. This treaty shall not be construed to infringe on any previous economic commitments made by the Kingdom of Romania.

xCharles Maurras

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Lumine
LumineVonReuental
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« Reply #72 on: September 25, 2023, 03:18:35 PM »

Quote
Bucharest Accords

France, the Kingdom of Italy, and the Kingdom of Romania agree to the following terms:

I. France, and the Kingdom of Italy shall guarantee the inviolability of Romania’s current borders against Soviet aggression or that of another great power, and pledge to offer all aid and assistance should they be violated by a hostile power.
II. France shall establish the Compagnie Pétrolière de l'État Français (CPEF) to finance the reconstruction of Romanian oil infrastructure through investment.
III. The CPEF shall also direct funds to the establishment of additional infrastructure to provide for the transport of this petroleum to the other signatories of this treaty.
IV. This treaty shall not be construed to infringe on any previous economic commitments made by the Kingdom of Romania.

xCharles Maurras


x Petre Dumitrescu, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Romania
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KaiserDave
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« Reply #73 on: September 25, 2023, 03:18:43 PM »
« Edited: September 25, 2023, 03:23:10 PM by KaiserDave »

Quote
Bucharest Accords

France, the Kingdom of Italy, and the Kingdom of Romania agree to the following terms:

I. France, and the Kingdom of Italy shall guarantee the inviolability of Romania’s current borders against Soviet aggression or that of another great power, and pledge to offer all aid and assistance should they be violated by a hostile power.
II. France shall establish the Compagnie Pétrolière de l'État Français (CPEF) to finance the reconstruction of Romanian oil infrastructure through investment.
III. The CPEF shall also direct funds to the establishment of additional infrastructure to provide for the transport of this petroleum to the other signatories of this treaty.
IV. This treaty shall not be construed to infringe on any previous economic commitments made by the Kingdom of Romania.

xCharles Maurras




x IL DUCE, Benito Mussolini
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DKrol
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« Reply #74 on: September 25, 2023, 08:57:55 PM »

Quote
Treaty of Canberra

1. Japan withdraws entirely from India & Ceylon, to the east of the Padma & Brahmaputra river, and recognizes the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as part of the Indian Dominion.
2. Britain recognises Burma, Malaya, Singapore, & Indonesia (including Borneo) as part of the Japanese sphere of influence.
3. Japan recognises Hong Kong as part of the British Empire, on the condition the port won't be used to aid the Chinese in the Japanese-Chinese War.
4. Japan withdraws from the Solomon Islands.
5. Japan apologizes for the bombing of Port Cairns and Darwin. Japan will aid in the reconstruction of those two ports.
6. Britain apologizes for Operation Mikado. Britain will provide financial aid in the reconstruction of Tokyo, as well as providing advice to deal with the aftermath of the anthrax attack. Both nations will cooperate on the development of a human vaccine for anthrax.
7. Britain will cease providing aid to the Chinese nation.
8. An update on the Washington Naval Treaty will be signed elevating Japan as a Tier 1 naval power.
9. The British Empire, the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Japanese Empire stand opposed to the War of German Expansion.
10. The island of New Guinea, including both Western New Guinea and Papua New Guinea, is recognized as an independent state in the Australian sphere of influence.
11. The Aru Islands are recognized as part of the British Empire.

x
Winston Churchill
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