Great War I
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Great War I or the First Great War, also known as World War I or the First World War, was a global conflict that lasted from 16 April 1932 to 25 May 1938. Contemporaneously known as the Great War or "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilization of more than 100 million military personnel and the vast majority of the world's countries, making it one of the largest wars in history. The war resulted from a combination of factors but the catalyst was the escalation of geopolitical disputes dragged all of the world's Great Powers into a war because of the existing framework of alliances, a war that would be fought across Europe, Asia, North America, Africa, and Australia. In a state of total war, the primary belligerents threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capacities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. Great War I was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated 50 to 80 million total fatalities, with more civilians than military personnel killed. Tens of millions of people died as a result of genocide, famine, massacres, and disease. The war involved widespread use of aircraft, including in the strategic bombing of population centers, and tanks.
Great War I is generally considered to have begun on 16 April 1932 with the invasion of Brazoria by the United Commonwealth, in support of Landonist rebels in the ongoing Brazorian Revolutionary War. The commencement of the Brazorian uprising uprooted the longstanding political balance of power in North America and the uneasy peace that had existed since the Continental Revolutionary War of 1917-1921. The creation of the United Commonwealth under the leadership of the Continentalist Party of the United Commonwealth polarized the remaining American powers – Sierra, Superior, Astoria, Manitoba, Quebec, the Maritimes, and Brazoria – into a defensive alliance concentrated on the containment of Landonism on the continent. After embarrassment in the Russo-Japanese War and subsequent rebellions across the 1910s, the subsequent Russian Civil War would see the emergence of the Russian Republic in 1926. Allied intervention in the war and clashes between Russian and British interests in Central Asia would lead to renewal of a German-Russian alliance in 1929, who were later joined by Japan in 1931 to form the Triple Alliance—the culmination of the 1926 Molotov-Shidehara Pact which established a treaty of non-aggression between Japan and Russia and repaired relations in securing Russia's Far East and Japan's dominant position in China. The Entente Impériale was catalyzed in response, which marked the creation of an alliance between the United Kingdom, France, Sierra, and China, with the express goal of countering the Triple Alliance, Japanese aggression in the Pacific, and containing the spread of Landonism further. Both alliances would intervene in the Spanish Civil War (1926-1930), which was largely seen as a precursor to Great War I, and also in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1927-1938), which was fought concurrently with Great War I in Asia and the Pacific. Communist Italy under Pietro Nenni sought to create a Mediterranean empire modeled after the Roman Empire, and so supported the creation of a Communist regime in Spain and sought to invade the states of the Balkans. In South America the right-wing nations of Chile and the Empire of Brazil directly aligned with the German Empire, both of which seeking to combat the Entente-aligned sphere consisting of Patagonia and Antilles, the latter of which being a particularly important target for the United Commonwealth, as the Antilles harbored the pre-Landonist, federal government of the Commonwealth.
The war in Europe took place across a number of theaters. The Western Front consisted of the Franco-German border, and was the site of the first shots of the conflict in the continent. Outdated military doctrine would lead to a highly costly, eight-month defensive stalemate in northern France, after the successful invasion of France through Belgium by the Germans via the Schlieffen Plan. After the encirclement of the British Expeditionary Force and its allies and the subsequent Wissant Evacuation from the Lowlands across the Channel, a combination of German air superiority and armored mobility allowed them to outflank the Maginot Line and push into France, occupying Paris on 9 May 1933. A German occupation began of France with the establishment of a puppet government at Moulins, although the French government-in-exile, remnants of the French army, and numerous partisan organizations would continue to disrupt German occupation. The Balkan Front saw a three-sided invasion of the Entente-aligned nations of Austria-Hungary and Yugoslavia by both the Landonist and Triple Alliance nations. An Italian amphibious invasion of the Balkans would successfully occupy Albania, while also supporting a Landonist faction in Greece, however, the Italian Army contingent would be pushed out of Greece by 1936. The Ottoman Empire, having aligned with French and British interests, became bogged down in the Caucasus against the Russians and in the Balkans against the Greeks, Bulgarians, and Romanians. A German-supported Arab Uprising led to the creation of new Arab states in the Mesopotamia and Levant regions, while the Italian and Spanish-led North African Campaign, while initially successful, was repulsed from Algeria and Egypt. The Ottoman Sultan signed a peace agreement under German pressure, which led to his overthrow by the Turkish National Movement, launching the Turkish War of Independence against Greece, Bulgaria, and Russia.
In North America the United Commonwealth would cross into Brazoria, prompting declarations of war from Sierra and its American allies. Although seemingly isolated in the continent, the United Commonwealth possessed a significant population, industrial, and infrastructural advantage, allowing it to quickly mobilize and overwhelm many of its neighbors. The brief Maritimes Campaign – an overwhelming combined invasion by air, land, and sea – led to the surrender of the republic after 66 days, with the United Commonwealth propping up a Landonist puppet regime. The Western American Front, involving the Landonist invasions of Superior, Brazoria, and later Sierra, proved one of the most deadly fronts of the conflict, eventually collapsing into a stalemate at the Rocky Mountains near the Sierran border. The Landonists would secure victory in the Brazorian Revolutionary War in 1935, subsequently cementing Brazoria as a Landonist nation. Superior would likewise be nearly completely occupied, although Superian guerrilla campaigns made the distant territories of the nation impossible to govern for the United Commonwealth. After the Mexican Campaign of 1935, which saw Sierra's southern territory overwhelmed bringing the front nearly to the doorstep of Porciúncula, a Sierran counteroffensive would push the Landonists back into Mexico, ensuring Sierra’s survival. Landonist forces would also secure Sierran territories in the Yucatan peninsula, although further Landonist interventions in Latin America proved a crippling mistake. In the Caribbean the Landonists blockaded the Antilles and captured numerous islands, although under pressure from the Empire of Brazil these gains were curtailed.
In Asia the Sino-Japanese War continued concurrently throughout the war, with a Japanese invasion of China being largely successful but resistance continued as the army overstretched itself in the vast landmass. The Japanese occupied large portions of northern China, secured Manchuria and Taiwan, and numerous port cities along the coast. Japanese ambitions in the Pacific would lead to the bombardment of Pearl Harbor in Sierran Hawaii, which corresponded with a simultaneous invasion of other Pacific territories, including Tondo. The Tondo campaign ultimately ended in a Japanese victory, with Tondo becoming a Japanese territory. European colonies such as French Indochina were also swiftly occupied, being replaced by Japanese puppet regimes in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. For the remainder of the war the Japanese and British battled extensively at sea in the South Pacific, with the Japanese adopting an "island hopping" strategy toward Australia.
Political and military alliances to 1932
The unification of Germany in 1871 changed the balance of power that existed in Europe since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 at the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars. The political disunity and economic weakness of Central Europe in centuries past allowed nations in the West like France, Spain, and the Netherlands to focus on their maritime empires and challenge the naval power of Great Britain, but the creation of a unified German Empire forced them to shift their attention back to the continent. The rapid economic growth of Germany not only strengthened it militarily but allowed it to surpass the previous leading economy of Europe, the United Kingdom. Initially, the British did not understand the true significance of rising German power and believed it will benefit their colonial expansion as Germany would put pressure on France. Otto von Bismarck, the first Chancellor of Germany and the architect of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871 that brought about the German unification, set out to diplomatically "manage" the situation in Europe to maintain this illusion. He did not get Germany involved in the colonial scramble to avoid antagonizing Britain as the French had done, working to isolate France from a potential alliance with the British, and signed treaties with Russia to keep that country from becoming hostile to German interests. However, after he stepped down in 1890, Kaiser Wilhelm II and a succession of puppet chancellors undid his work by antagonizing Britain in colonial and naval affairs, and by breaking their treaties with Russia. This would naturally lead to increasing ties between France and Britain, starting with the signing of the Entente Cordiale in 1904. The diplomatic map of Europe became more complicated with the collapse of Austria-Hungary in 1917 and the resulting Austro-Hungarian War, followed by the Russian Revolution and Civil War which dissolved the Russian Empire, leading to the creation of a number of new states on the European continent. These factors created the conditions to put the European powers on a collision course.
Despite efforts to keep a balance of power and bridge the gap between Germany and the Anglo-French alignment, from the early 1920s European and international affairs was defined by the emergence of the Triple Alliance, and the creation of the Entente Impériale in response to it. The dissolution of Austria-Hungary had removed the main contention between Germany and Russia that led to the end of the Three Emperors League in the 1880s, the Austrian and Russian rivalry for influence among the Slavic states of the Balkans. With Austria reduced to a rump state around Vienna and Russia no longer strong enough to exert influence on newly independent Central European states, Germany increased its relations with the military government in Moscow. An economic relationship developed that allowed Russia to improve its economy and keep a sphere of influence while giving German industry access to all of the natural resources it needed, resources that were transported over land and were out of reach of the British Royal Navy. In East Asia, Japan was becoming increasingly isolated from its traditional trading partners in Europe and North America, and improved its relations with Germany to avoid becoming completely isolated. With German encouragement, the Japanese were able to come to an agreement with Russia in 1926 that settled their historic disputes and secured the northern perimeter of the Japanese Empire from a potential Russian threat. This opened the way to a Japanese invasion along the "southern route" of British, French, Dutch, and other European colonies in southeast Asia and the south Pacific, to secure resources for the Japanese economy. From the perspective of Kaiser Wilhelm II, this Triple Alliance of Germany, Japan, and Russia benefited German interests in Europe by securing its eastern borders and putting pressure on Britain and France in Asia.
The alignment of Germany, Russia, and Japan encouraged closer cooperation between France and Britain, which after 1927 expanded to include the Kingdom of Sierra, China, and the Ottoman Empire, and became formalized as the Quintipartite Pact in the summer of 1929. The Anglo-French alliance had a basis that went back to the early part of the century, but the others came together in response to developments during the late 1920s. After Japan allied itself with the other "isolated" powers, Germany and Russia, and then launched an invasion of China in 1927, the British and the Sierrans began increasing their support to Chiang Kai-shek's Chinese Nationalist government. They increasingly coordinated their policies in Asia as both had extensive colonies and trade in the region that were threatened by Japanese militarism. By 1930 the two countries were providing a large quantity of supplies to China to keep its war effort going against the Japanese. The Ottoman Empire had become an ally of France and Britain despite having lost some of its territories to them in the past in exchange for much-needed economic and technological support. The Turkish elite saw assistance from Britain and France as useful in maintaining the empire as its administration became more inefficient, corrupt, and outdated, using military and financial aid to hold the empire together with simple displays of military force against any rebels and bribes to local tribal leaders. Western interests in the Ottoman-controlled Near East were mainly in the petroleum industry, as it became the biggest source of oil for the two powers, which they relied on for their economy and to fuel their navies. The Germans had courted the Ottomans in the past but gradually lost interest as their relations with Russia improved, while French and British investments eventually dominated the Ottoman economy. With these alignments in place by 1930, relations between the involved states became increasingly hostile as the gap between their interests became too wide to bridge.
Spread of communism in North America and Europe
A third grouping of states emerged by 1930 in addition to the Triple Alliance and the Entente Impériale, the Landintern, because of a factor that emerged on the international stage in the 1920s which had not existed previously – the rise of international Marxism-Landonism. The Continental Revolutionary War erupted in 1917 after decades of economic mismanagement, corruption, and terrible conditions for the working class created by the Federalist Party dictatorship in the United Commonwealth, one of the North American continent's two leading powers. Official and underground socialist movements were extensively developed in that country and took advantage of fighting that broke out between protesting workers and government forces in Appalachia in early 1917. Aeneas Warren and Zhou Xinyue, two followers of Landonism, emerged as revolutionary leaders who would lead the Continental Revolutionary Army to victory over the Federalist forces, which were forced into exile in 1921 after a string of military failures by evacuating to the Antilles islands in the Caribbean. The defeat of the Federalists shocked the public of Western Anglo-America, and their countries provided economic and military support to the remnants of the Federalist government in the Antilles. Meanwhile the United Commonwealth came out of the Revolutionary War as the world's leading Communist state but would remain diplomatically isolated in North America, despite being formally recognized by them in the Treaty of Bernheim, having even less relations with Europe. Sierra, Superior, Brazoria, Tournesol, and other countries on the continent still opposed the new government and their relations were hostile, especially since the state also espoused Continentalism, a desire to bring all of North America under its ideology. Europe received a similar experience in 1918 when the Italian Revolution broke out and successfully overthrew the king of Italy, inspired by the ongoing war in the United Commonwealth. These events would lead to an anti-communist Red Scare during the 1920s in much of Western Europe and Western Anglo-America.
The rise of militaristic Seamus Callahan as the leader of the United Commonwealth after the death of Warren and the creation of the Landintern further caused the economic and political isolation of the new Landonist-Marxist countries from the rest of the world. An "Iron Curtain" descended on the two communist countries from the rest of their respective continent. Italy would not have a significant role in the diplomatic affairs of Europe in the 1920s aside from its support in the Spanish Civil War for the Republicans and remained a backwater in most ways, but the United Commonwealth possessed a strong industrial base, plentiful resources, a large population, and a developed financial sector. As a result the Commonwealth was able to recover quickly from the devastation of the war and began asserting its interests in the region, mainly spreading its Continentalist-Landonist political system abroad, and thus setting itself against the hegemon to the west, the Kingdom of Sierra. Callahan's successful support for revolutions in Quebec, the Maritimes, and the Northeast Union, led to Sierran Prime Minister Earle Coburn hosting the Shenandoah Conference with him in 1926 to normalize relations between the two states and to contain the Commonwealth to eastern Anglo-America. This created an uneasy truce, freezing the Mexican Revolution with each of them agreeing to respect the division of Mexico between the Western-backed North and the Landonist South. However, Callahan was never satisfied with the geopolitical arrangement created by the Shenandoah Conference, since the pro-Sierran countries of Superior, Tournesol, and Brazoria were directly on the Commonwealth's border, making it vulnerable to Sierran invasion. But the truce generally held until a series of events in 1931 in Brazoria and Mexico.
Brazorian and Mexican Revolutions
One of the most persistent problems that prevented a deescalation of tensions between Sierra and the United Commonwealth was the question of Mexico. The start of the Mexican Revolution in 1910 was precipitated by the end of three decades of rule by Porfiro Díaz, leading to a power struggle between revolutionary and counter-revolutionary factions. The Sierran government was drawn into the conflict when Sierran business interests lobbied it to support General Victoriano Huerta's reactionary dictatorship in 1914, in an effort to defend the economic interests of Sierran agricultural companies in Mexico. A full-scale civil war erupted when the rebel leader Pancho Villa seized power in 1916 and launched an attack into Sierra as retaliation for its intervention on the side of General Huerta. Sierra, Brazoria, and initially the United Commonwealth when it was still ruled by the Federalist Party, sent troops for an Anglo-American military expedition in Mexico. It was successful in removing the revolutionaries from power and a friendly regime was installed by Sierra and Brazoria under the Treaty of Veracruz in 1917. But it remained unpopular as it was seen as a foreign puppet, facing opposition from the Villistas in the North and the Zapatistas in the South, who waged a guerrilla war against the new government. The situation became destabilized further when the Continental Revolutionary War broke out in the United Commonwealth. The Continentalist Party began assisting the Landonist insurgents in South Mexico in 1919 with military advisors, volunteers, and funding, before their own war against the Federalists was even over. Neither side was able to fully defeat the other and a stalemate ensued between North and South Mexico in 1923, when they agreed to recognize each other as independent countries, and after Sierra recognized the new Continentalist United Commonwealth in the 1922 Treaty of Bernheim, they began an unspoken arrangement to reduce tensions along the border in Mexico. No formal treaty recognizing this partition of Mexico was ever signed, however. The uneasy truce held up for more than a decade, even when the aggressive militarist Seamus Callahan came to power in the Commonwealth, who wanted to spread Continentalism–Landonism abroad.
The Mexican question reemerged in 1931 when Sierran Royal Army troops along the line of contact crossed the border because of a miscommunication and clashed with South Mexican border guards, leading to the September Crisis. Both Sierra and the United Commonwealth demanded apologies from each other and refused to back down diplomatically, as each side of the border in Mexico became militarized with more troops. It may have been possible for them to resolve the "Mexican standoff" back to the status quo before the Veracruz incident, but another factor emerged during this heightened state of alert that set the two Anglo-American powers on the path to war. The Great Depression triggered by the collapse of the London Stock Exchange, followed by the Porciúncula Stock Exchange, in 1928 hit the Republic of Brazoria particularly hard. After two decades of steady economic growth because of the discovery of oil and a rapid industrialization into a manufacturing economy, the Brazorian middle and working classes lost most of their recently-gained wealth when the fall of the stock market and a run on the banking system led to a financial meltdown. The issue was even more dire than in Sierra or elsewhere because of the reliance of Brazorian investors and companies on Sierran credit, creating an economic bubble, and when the credit became unavailable because of the crash in Sierra, the economy imploded. Tens of millions of Brazorians became impoverished overnight as the Brazorian escudo lost 80% of its value. The Dust Bowl, beginning in 1929–1930, caused a drop in Brazorian farming output, leading to a food shortage and mass migration from rural areas to the already-overcrowded cities. President Miriam A. Ferguson of the Progressive Party was unable to resolve the crisis during the next four years. These factors combined led to a massive increase in support for the Landonist Democratic Worker's Party, which became popular among the lower and even now the middle classes of Brazorian cities. Attempts by the Brazorian government, at pressure of Sierra and Tournesol, to persecute the DWP only caused more discontent between the people and the government. The Brazorian Army itself saw a split, as officers tended to side with an emerging "White" counter-revolutionary movement while many soldiers sympathized with the Landonists and even supported "Red" paramilitary groups that began forming in the cities. The DWP promoted the formation of "soldiers' committees" to address the decreasing living conditions for Brazorian rank-and-file, which sparked a hostile reaction from the upper class-dominated officer corps.
Ahead of the Brazorian elections scheduled for the summer of 1932, it became clear that the DWP would win a massive victory, as neither the Progressives nor the conservative National Reform Party offered a coherent plan for overcoming the crisis. That the United Commonwealth appeared to be mostly unaffected by the Depression and was seeing an increase in living standards for the working class looked appealing to Brazorian citizens, and the DWP took advantage of this to propagate Landonism throughout the country, seeing massive rallies in the cities and growing support among the army. The rural areas remained more loyal to the existing government and the National Reform Party. These developments alarmed the Brazorian upper class, which was somewhat similar to the former Federalists now in exile in the Antilles. Tensions rose ahead of the election in the autumn of 1931 and early winter months of 1932, almost in parallel with the Sierran-Continental "September Crisis" over Mexico which seemed to mirror the same divide as in Brazoria. In early April, a defecting Brazorian officer in the United Commonwealth revealed that reactionary forces in the Brazorian Army had a plan to seize power and create a dictatorship in the event of a Landonist victory in the upcoming elections. The Federation of Landonist Unions organized a general strike in a demand that the government reins in the army and addresses the living conditions of the people. President Ferguson, under pressure from the generals and from the Government of Sierra, declared martial law and sent in troops to remove the protesting workers in Houston. This would quickly escalate into the Battle of Baytown. In response to the outbreak of violence, more strikes broke out across the country, especially the industrialized east, while the Brazorian Army began a general mobilization. At this point, in early April 1932, the escalation in Brazoria became part of the larger North American diplomatic crisis. Seamus Callahan, seeing Brazoria, Tournesol, and Superior as Sierran allies right along the Commonwealth's entire western border, and the militarization in Mexico, decided that a war was unavoidable and began amassing the Continental Army in accordance with its prearranged plans. Brazoria was important because it was both "the biggest kindle for sparking the Continentalist Revolution" and was located right between the Commonwealth, Sierra, and Mexico, making it strategically important.
Once the mobilization of the Brazorians and Continentals began, Sierra, Superior, and Tournesol followed suit, and resolving the tensions diplomatically became out of reach. The United Commonwealth sent troops into Brazoria and simultaneously launched an attack on Superior, Tournesol, and Manitoba on April 12, 1932. The start of the war in North America occurred around the same time as simmering geopolitical crises in Asia and Europe were coming to a head, and was the first spark that would lead to a general global war.
Japanese Assault in the Far East
The situation in East Asia from the middle of the 19th century until 1932 had been marked by two major developments: the decline of China and the rise of Japan. The Qing dynasty in China was already starting to show signs of growing weakness in the early 1800s, and coming into extensive contact with Western civilization accelerated that by destabilizing Chinese society, showing that the existing inefficient and corrupt system under the Qing could not defend itself militarily from European powers or raise the living conditions for its own people. But there were strong incentives for the imperial elite at the top to maintain the system the way it was, rather than upset the social and economic order by reforming, and so the few attempts at reform in the late 19th and early 20th centuries never went beyond the surface level of buying Western technology. While the leaders of China refused to modernize and tried to keep their traditional system, Japanese leaders took a completely different approach. After coming into contact with the West in the 1850s, many Japanese visited Europe and North America, and quickly realized that Japan had no chance of defending itself from them in its current state. Four clans in western Japan used the Tokugawa shogunate's inability to handle the crisis as a reason to remove the shogun and hand power back to the emperor. In practice, the emperor remained a figurehead while the new institutions of the state were controlled by the four clans, including the bureaucracy, the army and navy, and the zaibatsu economic conglomerates. In this way, after the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japan became an oligarchy controlled by a small number of clans, who led in the name of the emperor and maintained a facade of democracy in the form of elections to the Japanese Diet. But the Japanese constitution contained mechanisms that allowed the cabinet to circumvent the Diet, while political parties themselves were also representations of the specific clans that funded them. The result was that Japan modernized successfully, creating a modern army and navy, a manufacturing industry, and institutions comparable to those in Europe, while China descended into warlordism and poverty. Japan's victory over China during the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894–1895 solidified the country as the dominant power in East Asia and intensified revolutionary activity within China.
But the Japanese home islands lacked resources, and Japan's main economic asset was a large labor force. The manufacturing economy that developed in that country relied on resources from abroad, and it incentivized Japanese leaders to find a secure source of natural resources. Increasingly, mainland China was seen as the solution to the problem. In 1911, a series of military mutinies funded by revolutionaries living abroad brought down the monarchy when much of the army refused to defend it. The last emperor abdicated and a republic was declared, but it descended into military rule by the dictatorship of Yuan Shikai, who commanded the strongest army in China and the loyalty of the generals. When he died in 1915 there was nothing left to hold the generals together, who developed strong regional and personal loyalties because of the attempts by the Qing to weaken and decentralize the army, and the Republic of China became divided between numerous warlords. None of them were powerful enough to completely reunite the country, and so a series of power struggles ensued. Japan took the opportunity of Chinese weakness to send troops from Japanese Korea into Manchuria in 1917, breaking off the territory from the rest of China as a Japanese puppet state, in an alliance with the local warlords. This began Japan's meddling in Chinese politics that would ultimately lead to total war between the two countries. Back in Japan, during the early 1920s the last surviving leaders of the clans that led the revolt against the shogun in 1867 were dying off, and the power vacuum they left behind was increasingly filled by the Imperial Japanese Army. Because a law required ministers of war to be active duty generals or admirals, the Army was able to control the government by refusing to appoint a general to the position. This mechanism allowed the Army to became larger force in Japanese politics during the 1920s.
Japan's aggression in China was isolating it from its traditional trade partners in Europe and North America. As a result, the militarists in the Japanese government aligned the country with Germany, which was also becoming isolated from the West due to the leadership of Kaiser Wilhelm II. In 1926 a series of events took place that would determine Japan's course in the next decade. Germany, which entered an alliance with Russia in the years after the 1923 Russian Revolution, mediated an agreement between Japan and Russia that made them allies. This meant that the Japanese Army's past consideration of a plan to invade Siberia was no longer an option, and as the extraction of resources from Manchuria was not providing as much benefit as had been expected, the Japanese high command saw the European and Sierran colonies in southeast Asia as the best solution for the resources that the Japanese economy needed. In order for southeast Asia to be secure and for supply lines to the Japanese home islands to not be vulnerable, the Sierran colony of Tondo had to be taken over, as it was in the path between Japan and the southern territories. This would necessitate Japan to go to war with Sierra and the Western European powers. In late 1926, a power struggle had broken out in Beijing that led to Japanese to openly intervene to install their preferred warlord as the head of the Chinese government. In early 1927 the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out between Japan and China as a result of this, and China increasingly became close to Sierra and Britain. An oil embargo was declared by Sierra on Japan in December 1931, previously its largest source of oil. Because Japan's oil supply was very limited a decision to resolve the crisis had to be made quickly. Negotiations failed to reach an agreement because Sierra took a hard line in the talks, and Emperor Hirohito approved the military's plan to go to war. The outbreak of war between the United Commonwealth and Sierra on April 12, 1932, accelerated those plans. On April 26 and 27, the Japanese Army and Navy launched surprise attacks on Tondo, the Dutch East Indies, French Indochina, British Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Guam and the Caroline Islands, declaring war on France, Britain, Sierra, and the Netherlands.
The Austrian Crisis
The map of Europe was drastically changed when the Habsburg Monarchy that dominated much of Central Europe ceased to exist after a political crisis in 1916, when the monarchy attempted to address political rights for the empire's many ethnic groups but instead precipitated secession and civil war. There was a collapse into several years of conflict, with Hungary mobilizing its troops and fighting the Austrian imperial forces, before getting invaded by Romania, which supported the break-away region of Transylvania, a part of Hungary that had a large Romanian population, while Serbia entered the South Slavic lands. The war was the largest in Europe in recent memory, and ended when a diplomatic intervention by Britain, France, Germany, and Russia led to a political settlement in November 1923 restored peace in the region and balanced the interests of the Great Powers. Austria gained its independence as a republic with the fall of the Habsburg dynasty, Hungary became an independent republic but with greatly reduced borders from what it had within the Austro-Hungarian union, while some of the Slavic territories joined with Serbia to become the Kingdom of Serbs and Croats (becoming the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1926). What was left of Austria consisted of some of the German and Slovenian speaking regions, with the new state's population reduced to around 7 million people. The capital city was dominated politically by Social Democrats and was liberal and secular in its political leanings, while the countryside was dominated by the Christian Socialists that supported conservatism and Catholic clericalism. Neither party could achieve a majority in the Austrian parliament as they received less than half of the vote, usually leading to marginal parties like the Communists or the Pan Germans forming a coalition with one of the two.
Between 1923 and 1928, the federal government and the Vienna city government were both dominated by the Social Democrats, who created the basis for a social welfare state from the economic ruins of the former Habsburg Empire, while the rural states were controlled by Christian Socialists. However the onset of the Great Depression in 1928 with the crash of the London Stock Exchange in April of that year led to a severe economic crisis, including hyperinflation, that ended Austria's economic recovery. The subsequent 1929 parliamentary elections led to a new coalition government being created by the Christian Socialists and the Pan Germans, who were interested in forming a union with Germany to resolve the economic crisis. As part of the agreement that resolved the Austro-Hungarian War, the newly independent states would remain militarily and politically neutral, to remove them from the competition among the great powers, and so Austria's union with Germany was prohibited and the country had a security guarantee from France. However, the new Christian Socialist-Pan German coalition, headed by Chancellor Carl Vaugoin, was encouraged from Germany by the far right of the Center Party and by its own extreme Pan German ideologues. Increasingly, this new government began to persecute the Social Democrats and other opposition to their rule while creating a presidential dictatorship, and backed a militia called the Heimwehr (Home Guard). The political persecution of their opponents continued to escalate over the next couple of years into violence, with encouragement from Kaiser Wilhelm II, who told others that a German alliance with Austria was his goal.
By the late 1920s, Germany was led by a ruling clique consisting of the four leading forces in German society: the army, the landlords, the bureaucracy, and the industrialists. The German emperor was in the center of this system, uniting all of them. Together they had disproportionate influence over the German government, more so than the political parties in the elected parliament (the Reichstag), which served an advisory role while the cabinet officials, the judiciary, and the German General Staff were responsible to the emperor. Since Bismarck left the chancellery in 1890 those four factions, and especially the German Army's Prussian officer corps, came together to control the state. Foreign policy was influenced by the army officer corps, which wanted to avoid antagonizing Britain and therefore was against colonial entanglements, and the emperor with the support of the industrialists, who both wanted to expand German colonial influence, to rival that of Britain and solve the German economy's resource needs. Instead of other continents the Army officers wanted to focus creating a Mitteleuropa system in both eastern and western Europe, an economic and political association of countries that would be dominated by Germany. These two sides came to an agreement to pursue both policies, and as a result Germany antagonized Britain, France, Italy, and other European powers, except Russia, which had reached an agreement with Germany in 1925 to cooperate in trade and delineating their spheres of influence. As part of this, Kaiser Wilhelm II wanted to form a pan-German bloc involving Austria that would form the core of Mitteleuropa.
The French were adamantly opposed to the new Austrian government or to German influence over it, believing that control over Austria would serve to increase Germany's military and economic advantage over France and its ally Britain in Europe. But the victory of the Republican-Socialist Party in the 1929 French elections and the left-wing turn in French politics due to the Depression convinced Wilhelm that France had a weak leadership that would not interfere with a German partnership of Austria. In fact, the new government in France still pursued a foreign policy that aimed to contain German influence, working with Britain and trying to influence states in the Balkans to side against Germany. The signing of the Triple Alliance with Russia and Japan in 1929 had secured Germany's eastern frontiers, allowing Wilhelm and the German General Staff to focus all of their forces on the west. In January 1930, France ended its military support for the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War as part of its diplomacy with the Spanish Landonists as they were nearly victorious, but this was interpreted by the German Kaiser as another sign that France would put up with anything. As the French were distracted with the conclusion of the Spanish Civil War the international stage seemed set for the Austrian annexation. But in late December 1931, the Austrian cabinet was forced to resign after several Christian Socialists, disturbed by its closeness with the German Empire, sided with Social Democrats in a no-confidence vote to remove Chancellor Vaugoin. His replacement was opposed to German influence and took measures to secure Austria's neutrality, including closer ties with France, while undermining the Christian Socialists' control over the Austrian state.
Kaiser Wilhelm and many of his advisors in Germany were enraged by these developments, and the German Army began preparations to take control of Austria by force. A German ultimatum was given on March 1, 1932, to the new Austrian Chancellor Karl Seitz, demanding that he restore the previous state of affairs before he entered office and restore the Habsburg monarchy, but this was ignored. The German military preparations were noticed and the French ordered a partial mobilization of their army on March 26 to intimidate the Germans into backing down. This had the opposite effect, as the range of options for the Germans to respond was narrowed because of the time it took to mobilize, and Kaiser Wilhelm decided to put into effect his military's plan to defeat France by invading it through Belgium to go around its fortified defenses along the German border. He believed that this was an opportunity for Germany to achieve a quick and decisive victory against France that would establish the German Empire as the uncontested superpower on the European continent, similar to Bismarck causing the Franco-Prussian War that led to the German unification in 1871. The growing tensions in North America between the United Commonwealth and Sierra went largely unnoticed by the European public and there was considerable shock when news of the outbreak of war between them reached Europe in late April, followed by news of Japan's lightning attacks on Sierran and European colonies across Asia, which briefly distracted the public. At that point Germany began its march into Austria, France, and Belgium, on May 18, 1932. The German entry into the war against France and soon Britain, together with Japan's war against those countries and Sierra, would turn what began as regional conflicts into a broader global war between the Triple Alliance and the Entente Impériale.
German invasion of Western Europe
When the German Army entered France and Belgium in May 1932 there were two factors to its initial success, the German offensive strategy and the lack of French preparations to counter it. The German victories in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and the Franco-Prussian War of 1871 were the result of excellent staff work, through extensive preparation and then implementation of using railroads and the telegraph to move a large amount of troops with near-perfect coordination until they were concentrated in another country's territory and delivered a strike on the opposing army. From the 1890s and 1900s the General Staff expanded on this plan and projected that it would need to be implemented with overwhelming force, a larger number of troops and new technology in the form of machine guns, tanks, and airplanes. From the mid-1920s the offensive strategy adopted to include radio communications, motorized infantry, and more advanced tanks and airplanes. These technologies were demonstrated on battlefields during China's Warlord Era and the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Continental Revolutionary War, the Austro-Hungarian War, and the Russian Civil War, which showed that infantry bayonet and cavalry charges would be decimated by machine guns, tanks, and trench warfare. German observers noted this and expanded on their original planning, with the German Army undergoing mass motorization and creating independent panzer divisions by 1929. The Inspector of Armored Troops, Oswald Lutz, and his chief of staff Heinz Guderian pioneered the idea that tanks should not be used to advance in parallel lines always together with infantry as conventional thinking at the time called for, but they should be used independently in columns to break the front line and go behind enemy units, decimating the rear area and causing chaos, and advancing ahead so that the motorized infantry can follow to mop up the enemy and occupy territory. The development of these theories and the lack of an adequate counter to them explained how the German Kaiser went from one astounding victory to another in 1932.
The French Army adopted a defensive strategy and possessed a smaller number of tanks compared to Germany. Although officers like Charles de Gaulle advocated a similar offensive, tank-based strategy to that developed by Germany, the French General Staff rejected this and decided to bog the enemy down with defensive lines. To this end multiple lines throughout northern and southern France were designated as defensive areas that could be turned into a system of trenches and fortifications in the event of a war, but they were in a low state of preparedness, and there was inadequate communication between units that would make movements during war less coordinated. The lack of French preparations and communications meant that once the French first line of defense was breached, reforming a new line of defense further in the country would become more difficult as units were uncoordinated and too far away from each other. The main French force was concentrated on the German border, with a smaller force along the Belgian frontier. Beyond that there were smaller groups of units throughout northern France between Paris and the border regions. A modified version of the Schlieffen Plan of 1905, which called for a German offensive through Belgium, was adopted by the Germans, where the Franco-German border was a pivot point from where armies further north would advance further than those to the south, entering into northern France through Belgian territory in an arc. But the Chief of the General Staff, General Hans von Seeckt, added the modification of using tank divisions to spearhead the attack focused around Luxembourg, the center of the line, where the French defense was weakest. The best French divisions were placed away from the center towards the edges, as they had thought that those areas would be where the main force of the German offensive would hit.
The German attack began on the early morning of May 18, 1932. German forces, attacking with 900,000 men in 51 divisions, overran Belgium in three days, with airborne forces being dropped behind Belgian troops in the western part of the country. The Belgian government fled to France and remaining Belgian units retreated south. On May 30, in accordance with an agreement between Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Dutch government, the Royal Netherlands Army moved into western and northern Belgium to begin occupying the country. In France they were faced by more than 1 million French troops spread throughout the north, but the main blow of the German offensive fell on the French center, which was defended by undermanned and poorly trained divisions. The center collapsed and there was an immediate breakthrough, catching the French by total surprise, who thought that area with the Ardennes Forest was impassable. The French further to the west, faced with the German right wing attacking them from western Belgium, began fighting a retreat after they heard after the breakthrough in the Ardennes. Two French field armies from the northwest and southeast were ordered to stop the German panzer breakthrough in the center on May 26 but they were too far away and could not move quickly enough. Meanwhile, attempts were made to reestablish a defensive line further to the south, in the area immediately north of Paris. In the meantime, General Erich von Manstein's panzer troops advanced quickly and covered over 200 miles in about two weeks without facing any serious opposition, reaching the Atlantic coast on June 4 near Abbeville and being behind the French and Belgian forces moving from the north. Poor coordination between their units, refugees on the roads, and harassment from German aircraft hampered their retreat south. Panic was setting in Paris as the defense of the French border was collapsing. The French War Minister, General Philippe Pétain, ordered troops to move south to the new defensive line just north of Paris, where additional units from throughout France were concentrated.
By the time a stable defensive line was reestablished near Paris and central France, the French had lost nearly 600,000 troops, most of whom were captured prisoner after being surrounded by the advancing Germans. On June 10, three German armies attacked the "Pétain Line" in the north and the center. The French and British Expeditionary Force defenders had more success than earlier, with the Germans failing to break through any points in the line. Panzer divisions were brought into action from June 16 but the line still held, with the French being able to better use trenches, fortifications, a higher concentration of anti-tank guns and artillery to hold the line. Over the next three weeks the Germans moved their armies closer to the front, processed prisoners, and reorganized their forces while the front line units probed the Anglo-French defensive line for weak points. This gave the French a chance to mobilize enough forces from other parts of France, new draftees, and colonial troops to strengthen the line enough to repulse the German attacks. The Germans failed to capture Paris and the Western Front settled into a slower pace of warfare for the next several months. However, Belgium was fully occupied and its annexation by the Netherlands was declared on July 1. Austria was occupied by the end of June as well, where the pro-German political forces created a new government that welcomed the German occupation. Kaiser Wilhelm was unsatisfied that France had not been knocked out quickly as he had hoped, but Germany's rapid advance to the gates of the French capital, the loss of over one-third of the active French Army, and the fall of Austria and Belgium shocked the world. The German General Staff would begin planning for a new offensive once the forces were reorganized and prepared in August and September 1932, to take Paris and force the French government to capitulate, as beyond northern France the defenses were not as well organized and there was not enough space to continuously retreat.
Outbreak of war in Anglo-America
The war in North America began nearly a month before the war in Europe, on April 12, 1932. The progress of the war during its initial stage was slower than in Europe or Asia, because the geography was larger than Europe and involved traveling over land rather than by ship as in Asia, and the development of motorized transportation and usage of armor was not as advanced in Anglo-American armies as it was in European ones. By the early 1930s, military thinking in Anglo-America was influenced by the wars in Europe in 1917–1925 and the war in China, but the implementation of the lessons of these wars was being translated into new doctrine very slowly. This was because the armies of those North American nations had not participated directly in the development of combined arms maneuver warfare as the European and Asian armies in those conflicts, and the politicians in North America were slower on accepting the military recommendations based on these changes. Besides the War of Contingency and the American Civil War in the 1860s, the only recent large war on the continent had been the Continental Revolutionary War. The Allied intervention in that conflict by Sierra, Brazoria, Tournesol, Superior, and Manitoba failed to have a substantial impact because of the Landonists' success in mobilizing the mass of citizenry for total war, leading to the isolation and defeat of the Federalist armies, while the Allied troops were too few in number to make any change. The result of this most recent war was that the Continental Army and its leadership learned the valuable lessons and began implementing them into its doctrine, similarly to what the Germans had done in Europe, while the armies of Western Anglo-America were much slower on making these changes. Those lessons included mass mobilization for total war, the growing importance of tanks, motor vehicles, and aircraft over mass infantry and cavalry movements, and by 1931 there were moves to experiment with independent armored units similar to the German model. The actual implementation of this was not as complete in the United Commonwealth as it had been in Germany, however, because of economic challenges and the focus of the new government on other priorities, but that still put the Continental Army in a better position in terms of doctrine and preparation than its neighbors.
In Sierra and Superior these ideas were only in the experimental stage of being implemented into doctrine. The vast majority of their armies were infantry and to a lesser extent cavalry, with some motorized and tank units that operated in close contact with the former. The Continental Army had a larger proportion of its forces motorized, although it used horses for its logistics, as well as more tanks. Smaller powers like Brazoria, Tournesol, Manitoba, and Astoria were even further behind, and tended to rely on the outdated defensive strategy of forming one rigid defensive line to prevent an enemy from passing it, putting them in a disadvantage as they would not be as flexible to responding to a breakthrough of their line or forming new defensive lines further inside their territory. These facts help explain the Continental Army's successes in the first stage of the North American Front. The Continental Army Group South, consisting of two field armies with 250,000 troops, led by General Smedley Butler, entered Brazoria and began backing up Brazorian Crimson Army units in the eastern part of the country, where support for the Landonists was the highest. The disorganized state of the Brazorian government loyalists given this situation, and their emphasis on static defense meant that their units in eastern Brazoria were rapidly encircled, isolated, and forced to surrender. As a result the Continental advance was very rapid, and by the start of June 1932 they were in central Brazoria. By late June, the reorganized Brazorian White Army and the Ferguson administration committed its resources to creating a new fortified defensive line known as the "Steel Line" running along railways from Oklahoma to Dallas and San Antonio. It was also beginning to be reinforced by the Sierran Expeditionary Force in Brazoria that was deployed by the Poncio Salinas government, numbering nearly 70,000 troops by early July throughout western and central Brazoria. The Sierran force had a higher concentration of armor and artillery than the White Army, allowing them to slow down the Continental advance. In Tournesol, most of the country's defenses were concentrated along the border with the Commonwealth, which the Continental Army Group Center breached after five days of armor, artillery, and air attacks along the front line. With the fall of the main defensive line in eastern Tournesol, the rest of the country was quickly occupied, and isolated Tourneser Army units were overwhelmed. Some surviving Tourneser forces escaped into northern Brazoria to continue the fight.
Sierra and its allies declared a general mobilization on April 13. Continental Army Group North, led by General Thiago Mitchell, also began their offensive into Superior. The government of Superior evacuated Saint Anthony, which was close to the Continental border, and established their provisional capital in Clarke, Montana. Field Marshal Prince George of Minneapolis, the chief of staff to the King, decided to trade space for time, with the Superian Royal Army carrying out a fighting retreat into western Superior, the areas with more difficult terrain near the Rocky Mountains. Much of eastern Manitoba was also overrun in the first two weeks. By June 30, Tournesol, half of Superior, large parts of Brazoria and Manitoba were under Continental occupation, but the Army paused its offensive to allow reinforcements and logistical convoys to catch up, and to consolidate their gains. Sierra was spared from the initial offensives because it was separated from the Commonwealth by these buffer states and a natural barrier in the form of the Rocky Mountains. On April 26, an emergency meeting of the Sierran Privy Council convened where war strategy was determined. It was agreed that Sierra would focus on defeating the United Commonwealth in North America while fighting defensively in the Pacific (the Japanese launched a surprise attack on the Sierran Pacific Fleet in Manila Bay that morning). A full mobilization of the Sierran economy and public to support the war effort would take place, especially as its Anglo-American allies were counting on Sierran support to push back the Continental invasion. By mid-July the front settled as the Continental advance stopped, allowing both sides to position their troops for the next phase of the war.
While the rapid advance of the Continental Army stunned the public of western Anglo-America, the United Commonwealth failed to achieve the strategic goal of these offensives, which were known as the Continental Blitz in the Sierran press, to capture all of Superior and Brazoria and advance past the Sierran border in the Rockies. During the Caribbean Sea campaigns the Continental Air Force failed to secure air superiority over the Antilles that would be necessary for a ground invasion, as the Antillean Air Force had been supplied extensively by Sierra. Seamus Callahan and the Chief of the General Staff, Marshal Omar Radford, decided to cancel their plans for a potential landing on the Antilles and to focus on the mainland, with the advance on Sierra being the ultimate goal.
The Balkans campaign
The dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire changed the map of the Balkans in the biggest way since the First Balkan War of 1912, with Hungary becoming independent though losing one-third of its territory to Romania, Czechoslovakia becoming independent, and merging with Serbia to become Yugoslavia. Austria was greatly reduced in size but did keep a land bridge to the northern coast of the Adriatic Sea, an area populated mostly by Slovenes and some Italians, and avoided becoming landlocked. The region remained unstable because the Congress of Paris that resolved the Austro-Hungarian War had left nearly every party except Romania unsatisfied. Hungary lost Transylvania to Romania, Serbia did not get the Slovene lands that remained part of the new Austria, while Czech and Slovak nationalists were forced to accept a union to become Czechoslovakia. Another change to the dynamic was the 1918 revolution in Italy. Now led by Benito Mussolini's national-communist Italian Socialist Party, the country pursued the traditional Italian foreign policy of dominating the Mediterranean, but with the additional goal of spreading communism to nearby states. During the 1920s the country hosted communists in exile from the Western Balkans and also supported Croatian nationalists that wanted to undermine Yugoslavia, led by Ante Pavelić. Italy's main rival Austria-Hungary had been removed, and Spain was too weak and unstable to become a significant power, leaving France as the only other major rival to Italy in the Mediterranean area. But policymakers in France were focused on containing Germany on the continent, and began diplomatic efforts to put together a "Balkan Entente" directed against Germany, which came to include Yugoslavia and Hungary by 1931. Greece and Bulgaria initially remained neutral. In reality, the German High Command never had any interest in getting further involved in the Balkans, other than maintaining its traditional close alliance with Romania, another source of oil for the German economy. The French insistence on containing Germany led to its regional allies focusing too much on that and as a result ignoring where the true threat in the Balkans emanated from, Italy and Romania.
When the Great War broke out in Western Europe, Italy took the distraction as an opportunity to invade Albania in early May 1932, and the country was quickly overrun. King Zog abdicated and the People's Socialist Republic of Albania was declared with Italian backing. The country was strategically important to the Italian High Command as a naval port that controlled the entrance to the Adriatic Sea, and it was historically influenced by Italian states. Mussolini believed it was necessary for Italy to take control of it to counteract French and German influence in the Balkans and to use as a springboard for further Italian military operations in the region.
The Caucasus front
East Asia and the Pacific
The Sino-Japanese conflict
Fall of France
War in the Balkans
The Arab Revolt
The naval war in Europe was limited. The largest fleet in the Royal Navy, the Grand Fleet, was assembled in May 1932, consisting of between 25 and 35 capital ships. It patrolled British home waters as well as the North Sea, for the purpose of blockading shipping to Germany during the war.
Western American Front
Fall of the Ottoman Empire
Developments in 1937
Armistices and capitulations
Aftermath and legacy
Peace treaties and conferences
The First Great War was ended by multiple treaties signed between the warring countries, of which six were the most important, and among them the Treaty of Berlin codified many of the results covered in the other agreements to create one broad post-war order in the world. Other agreements of major significance for setting the postwar order included the New Orleans Accords (signed in July 1938), which resolved the conflicts in Mexico and Brazoria that had set off the war there and established broader Sierran and Continental spheres of influence, and the Midway Island Agreement (signed in August 1938), which ended the war in Asia and recognized Japan's dominance of the region. The leaders of the Great Powers wanted to have one negotiation and treaty that resolved the war, each for their own reasons, and the result was the Berlin Peace Conference that lasted from July 1938 to February 1939. The final treaty was signed in Berlin on February 1, 1939, by not only the major powers but over forty delegations from other countries and involved groups.
Ahead of the Berlin Conference the leaders of the major powers had an incentive to make it look like an outcome that was based on the principles of international peace to prevent another Great War and creating a mutually beneficial treaty that took into account the interests of all, including smaller nations. The leaders set out to create a new order that was not just a return to the world of 1931 but a new world that would limit the possibility of such an event from happening again. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced this intention in his July 16, 1938, speech on the "Four Freedoms," supposedly the principles that the negotiations would be based on to create a lasting peace. A Plenary Peace Conference was established for this purpose that was an assembly of all of the delegations, and began its discussions over the peace terms on July 20, 1938. In practice, the Plenary Conference would prove to be ineffectual and its role was mainly to ratify the points that were reached in secret meetings behind closed doors by the leaders of the Great Powers. The reality was that all of the key terms and decisions were made by a small group of leaders of the largest nations in each of the three "blocs" that fought in the war, and when this fact became apparent in the 1940s the resulting treaties faced more criticism in the countries involved. The senior council that met over fifty times during the Berlin Conference and made the decisions included the following: Kaiser Wilhelm II and the German chancellor Hans Luther, the British and Sierran prime ministers Neville Chamberlain and Christopher Rioux, the Japanese premier Sadao Araki, the French president Albert Lebrun, the Continental General Secretary Seamus Callahan, and the Chinese president Chiang Kai-shek. The Sierrans and British insisted on including Nationalist China even though it was not really a great power, being on the verge of collapse at that point, to try to support Chiang's position within China amidst the rise in popularity for the Chinese Communist Party.
Each of the three blocs went into the negotiations with fundamentally different goals. The Triple Alliance and the Landintern were both in a more favorable strategic position and therefore their primary aim was to preserve most of the gains that they made during the war in a formal treaty. Germany and Japan did this openly while the United Commonwealth put out propaganda about making the world safe for international Landonism, though in reality Seamus Callahan thought more in terms of realpolitik. The motivations on the side of the Entente were more complex, given that the military and economic situation for those countries was a lot more varied, ranging from slightly disadvantageous to outright defeat. Sierra and Britain had preserved most of their territory and were relatively better off. Christoper Rioux wanted to fully end the Continental occupation of Superior and Manitoba, and Chamberlain wanted to preserve as much of the British Empire's remaining territories as he could, but both were focused on establishing the League of Nations. Chamberlain sold it domestically and internationally in the terms that the League would function as the main mechanism to resolve international disputes and problems to prevent major wars, while Rioux looked at it more pragmatically as a way of constraining the victorious rivals within a framework of international law that would limit their ability for aggression. The Sierran Prime Minister figured that any of the problems not resolved at the Berlin Conference could be decided by the League later. The German occupation of France meant that the French, led by President Lebrun, were prepared to accept peace terms that would be unfavorable, including the loss of French African colonies to Germany. The Chinese had largely accepted the terms imposed on them by Japan, while the Ottoman delegation sent by Sultan Abdulmejid II was mostly symbolic and had been excluded from the main meetings considering that the Turkish War of Independence was underway and Mustafa Kemal had declared the abolition of the Sultanate.
Over the course of several months the full terms of the Treaty of Berlin, including economic and territorial changes, recognition of new states and governments, arms control, and the Covenant of the League of Nations, were established in a draft. The terms were accepted by the Plenary Conference in a vote on January 8, 1939, and were formally signed by all of the delegations at the Conference, coming into effect, on February 1. Subsequent events in the following years that were also part of the aftermath of the Great War, such as the Turkish War of Independence or the Chinese Civil War, did not impact the contents of the Berlin Treaty in a major way.
|Treaty of Berlin||February 1, 1939||
|New Orleans Accords||July 22, 1938|
|China–Japan Basic Treaty||May 1, 1938||
|Midway Island Agreement||August 29, 1938||
|Treaty of Calcutta||May 25, 1938||
Despite being called the "war to end all wars", Great War I would be the source of other conflicts that would break out and occur throughout the Interwar period. The first major post-war conflict was the Chinese Civil War that began in 1938 not long after the end of the war. The civil war was between the insurgent Chinese Communist Party and the KMT-led Nationalist Government for control over Mainland China as the CCP sought to avenge China's defeat in the war by removing the Nationalists from power, a group that they saw as treasonous and who sold out Chinese sovereignty for their own personal benefit by agreeing to the Basic Treaty which made China a de facto protectorate of Imperial Japan and recognized Manchuria as an independent state. Conflict broke out after the KMT committed a series of massacres in Central China against suspected communists, leading to the CCP to wage a guerrilla war against the Nationalists and take up arms, gaining ground in Western China.
The war accelerated many of the economic trends that had been developing since the start of the Industrial Revolution in Britain in the early 19th century. In the 1920s the economic decline of Britain relative to rising manufacturing economies of Germany, Japan, Sierra, Brazoria, and Superior was underway. Because the Industrial Revolution had started in Britain before anywhere else, British industry was geared for producing more basic finished products that also started seeing mass production in Asia, South America, and eastern Europe as those regions industrialized themselves, with their demand for those manufactured exports from Britain declining. The market being filled with these goods produced elsewhere drove down the demand for British exports overall. The other major industrialized economies, such as in Germany, Japan, or Sierra, began making more advanced and specialized manufactured products that were in high demand. The City of London also began losing its status as a global financial center to other capitals, such as Paris, Berlin, Tokyo, and Porciúncula. Because of this the British economy lost its relative importance in global markets in other economies. The British bankers, who were ideologically determined to preserve the gold standard and the stable exchange rate for the British pound for the past several decades, insisted on preventing the flow of gold out of Britain in accordance with the changing market dynamics. Their attempts to hold onto the gold standard caused deflation in Britain, as the growth of the economy had surpassed the supply of money that was available from the existing limited supply of gold, outpacing the mining of new gold in Alaska and South Africa. The deflation led to a lower standard of living and unemployment for middle and working class people in Britain. This, in combination with the rise of stock trading in the 1920s and a larger portion of the population becoming involved in speculating on the stock market, created unstable economic trends that led to the panic on the London Stock Exchange in 1928 that set off the Great Depression.
In North America, after the Continental Revolutionary War and the annexation of the Northeast Union by the Continentalists, the big name New York City banks fled to the capitalist countries of western Anglo-America, mostly to Porciúncula, and to a lesser extent to Austin, Seattle, or Saint Anthony. Those countries benefited from the influx of capital, but by early 1925 more capital was going into stock market speculation than into expanding industrial activity. Increasingly, during the 1920s more of the public in Britain and western Anglo-America began getting involved in stock trading, turning into a frenzy by 1927. Much of the speculation on the stock market was done on credit from Sierra and England. In late 1927, the Royal Monetary Authority of Sierra began taking steps to curtail speculation, reducing its holdings of bankers' debt and freezing the movement of gold. It hoped by this to reduce the amount of credit being used for speculation, but instead more of the available credit went to that purpose. The election of a Labor government in Britain in early 1928 set off a small panic that led to British capital to flow into Sierra. By April 1928, the panic expanded as the overinflated market fell sharply, and the price of stocks crashed, while a similar collapse also occurred at the Porciúncula Stock Exchange. The stock market crash reduced the available credit and caused production to drastically fall. This forced Britain to abandon the gold standard, allowing the pound sterling to inflate and its value on the international exchange to fluctuate. Letting the overvalued pound sterling to fall led to some degree of recovery in Britain by 1932 after the initial drop in economic activity, as inflation brought the value of the currency more into parity with other market factors. Domestic prosperity increased in those countries that allowed the money supply to increase (such as Britain, Germany, Japan, Sierra), while those that tried to maintain the gold standard (France, the Netherlands, and much of Europe) saw a worsening depression.
The start of the war quickly forced the bankers and governments in the "gold bloc" to realize that continuing to hold to the gold standard was untenable, letting inflation occur. There was an increase in economic production in many of the wartime countries, financed with a mixture of credit, inflation, and taxation. The war forced Britain into more debt and made adjusting its industrial system to produce more highly specialized goods that were in higher demand delayed. Sierra and to a lesser extent its allies in North America became the biggest economic beneficiaries, seeing a recovery from the Depression of 1928–1932 as the value of the Sierran dollar and the industrial and commercial activity caught up to each other, leading to increased prosperity for Sierrans shortly after the end of the Great War. Similar events occurred in Germany and Japan. France experienced mixed results during the Interwar period, with an overall decline in the living conditions, despite leaving the gold standard. The increase in the money supply allowed French industry to begin expanding, but the war indemnity payments to Germany and a partial restructuring of the French financial system put a burden on the economy. Overall, in the 1940s, with several local exceptions, the global economy recovered from the difficulties caused by changes in the 1920s, as the major industrial economies adjusted their monetary policy in accordance with the new market forces. The economy had outgrown the amount of currency available with the existing gold standard and gold exchange rates in place, and abandoning it by the end of the war allowed the financial system to adopt to the new reality of the market.
In the Landonist bloc, the United Commonwealth had been able to largely recover from the devastation of the Revolutionary War by 1928 because of a new economic plan implemented by Callahan. It was cut off from the global economy but possessed a large amount of resources, industrial strength, and workers, which helped it develop as an autarky. The Great War resulted in a boom in Continental manufacturing, expanding its economic development and giving it a more prominent role in the global economy after the isolation of the 1920s.
Along with the creation of the League of Nations changing international diplomacy, international finance was changed by the creation of the Bank of International Settlements in May 1939. Known as "the central bank of the central banks," it became the center of financial capitalism for the purpose of stabilizing the economy after the war. The prewar financial system centered around London continued to change, with London increasingly losing its prominence relative to other capitals in tandem with the decline of British power. The BIS was created primarily to facilitate payments between countries with bookkeeping adjustments in different currencies at one location to prevent the transfer of gold. Organizing the French war indemnity payments to Germany was ostensibly the main purpose of the BIS when it was created. The Bank was led by a board with the heads of the seven major central banks, who made the key decisions regarding international monetary and economic policy, including the Bank of England, the Royal Monetary Authority of Sierra, the German Reichsbank, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of France, the Bank of Superior, and De Nederlandsche Bank. The creation of the BIS marked the end of the British-centered international financial system and the transition to a new global one that took into account the interests of the finance capitalists of the major economies.
Discontent in France
- Japanese Troops Guarding Tarakan.jpg
Japanese troops guarding Tarakan after capturing the island