• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

stnylan

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That peace is really just a chance to prepare for another war. Both sides have a lot of work to do.
 

Centurial

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Apr 29, 2017
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Chapter 27: A new Era (1946 – 1950)




In January of 1946, after years of development, the first nuclear bomb was successfully detonated in America. Within a month, two more successful tests were carried out. Due to the unbelievable scale of this weapon, and the fact that the world was currently at peace, the weapon was formally demonstrated during the third test, where international observers were brought to observe and films were distributed to the public.

This caused tremendous stir around the world, and a fair bit of panic in Europe, where war with America was still foreseeable. Suddenly, America’s strength was reassessed – their ability to conduct strategic bombing was already fearsome on its own, but now it could take just a single bomber to destroy an entire city.

In secret, Livonia had actually been pursuing nuclear technology of their own ever since 1944, but their own project was still years away from producing a usable bomb, so this was quite concerning. Fortunately though, even in a state of war, none of Europe would be in range of American bombers, and their navy wasn’t remotely capable of supporting a trans-Atlantic invasion of any kind. Still, this caused even the more jingoistic members of the Nations of Europe to exercise caution.

In general though, plans to conduct war against America were beginning to fade anyways, as it became clear just how costly such a conflict could be. Even without considering nuclear weapons, America’s air force and armored corps, while inferior in strength to Livonia’s, were large enough in numbers to be a serious threat in war. Additionally, the pace at which the country was expanding its navy meant that within the next several years, they would once again be able to compete with the Baltic Navy. Though the two sides were threatened by each other, there wasn’t a strong reason for either to attack the other – and any gains made by a successful war would be overshadowed by the losses such a war would entail.




In March of 1945, the first Livonian jet planes entered mass production, once again establishing the superiority of the LAF. America didn’t have any jet technology of their own yet, so these new Livonian fighters would make America’s very large existing air force obsolete.

As Europe settled into the new political order, the question of standing militaries became the main topic of late 1945. To protect the new alliance and enforce its will around the world, sizable standing armies would need to be allowed once again in some nations. This year, both Isbania and Bavaria were allowed to start developing sizeable standing armies once again, while England was allowed to restart its air force. All of this was done under supervision, but tension between members of the Nations generally remained low - given the threat of America, exhaustion from the war, and a strong focus on the economic revival and transformation of Europe.



In November 1945, the tension in the Balkans against Al-Turkis, fueled by mass protests, political violence, and strikes, ultimately resulted in mediation by the Nations of Europe, resulting in the creation of two new independent states. In the western Balkan territories, the nation of Serbia was created – a fairly obvious country, with a strong ethnic identity of their own which had generally been autonomous over the last several centuries, and a unique religious tradition stemming from the Reformation era.



More complicated was the nation in the east, the Balkan Republic. Unlike Serbia, the ethnic mixing of this region was more confusing – there were a mix of Muslims and Christians in the country, and ethnicities varied by region. The largest ethnicity of the protesting regions was actually Bulgarian, but the Bulgarian state itself still refused to align with the Nations of Europe, and many ethnic Bulgarians under Turkish rule were opposed to becoming part of Bulgaria’s dictatorship. It was hoped that creating a republic composed of several autonomous regions could alleviate these concerns, but in practice, the nation would experience consistent social and political turmoil.





The early stages of decolonization were started by Livonia in 1947, jumpstarted by the question of Italy’s former colonies. The land in Asia wasn’t particularly valuable and historically had been difficult to administer, so the land of the former Italian colonies were granted general independence with a few restrictions kept in place, primarily regarding military basing rights.

The former Italian colonies of Africa, which had seen near-constant revolt by the natives ever since they were annexed from Britain in 1903, were also split into nations that year, with the exception of the coastal territories, which were annexed by Aquitaine and Livonia. As a whole, colonization of Africa had been largely condemned by government figures within Livonia: in addition to distaste over colonial violence and repression, the land was expensive to maintain control of, and the majority of it had no meaningful strategic or economic benefit. Within Livonia’s own empire, plans were made to grant independence to most of the unprofitable African lands over the next several years, though a tight hold would still be maintained on those with strong strategic or material value. Aquitaine, struggling to rebuild and gain control of their nation and its empire after the war, followed Livonia’s example of decolonization in inland Africa. Later on, even Khalij would face rebellion along their eastern coast.


Asia was more complicated though; many of the Asian colonies such as Malaya were crucial to the Livonian empire for both their exports and strategic location, but even those such as Barusiak [Phillipines] which met the criteria for independence had to be more tightly maintained due to the possibility of a renewed Pacific War between the colonial powers. Ultimately, these decisions were delayed until 1950, after which Barusiak and Ceylon were given civilian independence. Malaya’s territory of direct rule was reduced, but the land was still explicitly occupied and exploited by Livonians.

The relinquishment of these territories did help to ease the administrative burden on the colonial powers, but ultimately would fuel independence movements around the globe within colonial empires. Over the course of the next three decades the majority of the world’s colonies would become independent: some peacefully, and others through brutal independence wars. The new nations would generally be characterized by internal conflict, as well as interstate wars in Africa and Indochina.
 

Centurial

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Epilogue: Warfare and Diplomacy in the Atomic Age (1950s and 1960s)



Beginning in the 1950’s, the Nations of Europe consciously focused on expanding their influence around the world, trying to align as many countries as possible towards them (and away from America) in order to secure both allies and access to critical resources – particularly oil.



Suddenly, internal conflicts and wars across the globe began to attract interest from the two powers, though many others were still ignored. The first of many examples occurred in response to a problem which had been brewing for many years before its eruption in 1952 - the collapse of the Haitian Empire. The Empire had never been particularly stable, spending most of its existence consumed by ethnic conflicts between former slaves and their descendants, different ethnic groups across the various islands, and particularly in the Empire’s own colonial conquest of Colombie. Haiti had been saved multiple times during the Empire by American intervention, as the countries evolved into valuable allies in the early 1900’s.



The Haitian Crisis of 1952 began with a coup, when a faction of the Haitian army based in Cuba assassinated the country’s dictator, and attempted to install one of their own. He was resented by many lower-level officers for his political repression, reliance on corruption, and Haiti’s exploitation by American monopoly companies.

The coup caused a short civil war, lasting just about two months as the garrisons and warships of various territories supported one side over another. American intervention in support of the old guard resulted in the occupation of several islands, and soon a government military campaign through Cuba recaptured the Empire’s largest island from the Army. There was no other foreign intervention at this stage of the Crisis, as Haiti was firmly in America’s sphere of influence, and the entire ordeal began and ended quickly.

However, the period of chaos sparked a massive uprising across the South American territories, beginning a war for independence that would last over 13 years. While Haiti’s old government, under a successor, was able to regain control of its home territories, political violence continued for years and the country fell into a very poor state. Several coup attempts followed during this era, a few of which succeeded, though none sparked civil war as the 1952 coup had done. In Colombie, the guerillas fought with incredible tenacity, supported by European arms shipments smuggled in from the Livonian colony in Guyana. The rebellion was important to the two continental superpowers for two major reasons: first, a Livonia-friendly Colombie would give the country influence and military strength within the Western Hemisphere, which was obviously a huge concern for America. Additionally, there were large oil reserves within eastern Colombie.

Several campaigns followed in the rebellion, often separated by periods of relative quiet as the Haitian army ran out of steam, or political chaos at home froze the military. Eventually though, the Haitian Empire fell apart, with multiple islands becoming independent; including Cuba. Colombie became an independent state as well, though the Panama region was soon granted independence.



The Europeans had found themselves involved in their own war in 1956; a conflict that began with fighting between the rivaling nations of Iraq and Misr. Both nations were inherently hostile to Livonia and its allies; Misr was a communist nation which had strong interests in Livonia’s Suez territory, while Iraq had been consistently hostile to European influence for decades.



Similar to their conflict many decades ago, the war began with an Iraqi invasion into Misr’s Levant territory. It wasn’t long before the Misri army had fallen back, forming a defensive line around the much smaller Palestine territory, and maintaining the army via naval supply.



The western interest in this war began with a diplomatic push by the Karenian government, which saw this as an opportunity to finally take control of the Caucasus territories for purposes of nationalism, border security, and access to large oil reserves – as well as a chance to weaken Iraq, which was perhaps the greatest threat to Europe aside from America.

As Misr continued to take losses against the Iraqi forces, they were able to negotiate a deal with Livonia, which allowed them to transport their armies across the Sinai region, ultimately halting the Iraqi advance and saving the Palestine front.

This caused heavy backlash within Iraq, whose war plans had been dependent on the encirclement of Misr’s army. Just over two weeks after the deal was made, Iraq responded with a heavy bombing raid against Misr’s supply chain, using the obsolete American-made bombers purchased by the Iraqi government recently. Simultaneously, Iraqi soldiers rushed into the Livonian and Aquitanean colonies on the southern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, while also beginning artillery barrages and small-scale offensive operations along the Karenian border.



The scope of Iraq’s aggression caused widespread condemnation internationally, causing even America to shy away from assisting Iraq – they were already distracted at home, and the radical anti-western and isolationist policies of Iraq didn’t exactly endear the Americans to their cause, especially given the level of support that would be required for Iraq to succeed and the logistical challenges of delivering it.

Once again, Misr had become an ally of convenience for the Westerners, despite their differences – Livonia and Karenia were now in a state of full-scale war. Iraq succeeded in capturing colonial Arabia eventually, despite resistance from the well-defended coastal bases and airfields of Livonia and Aquitaine. However, the other fronts were a different story; Iraq was losing ground in both Palestine and the Caucasus, as European aircraft began to flood into the region and take control of the skies. The war continued through all of 1957, with Misri armies doing the majority of fighting on the ground – Karenia’s armies advanced past the Caucasus mountains, but their army wasn’t in any position to supply an invasion force through the mountains and deeper into Iraq.



Supported by the arrival of Livonian armor, the advance continued deep into Iraq until early 1958, when the country finally capitulated. However, this was not the end of conflict in the region; the Europeans took complete control of the peace and partition deals at the end, often ignoring Misr’s own extensive demands in favor of their own. Their demands for the spread of communist satellite states throughout Arabia and the surrounding area were denied completely, while the Europeans’ own proposals were very different in nature. This wasn’t just diplomatic friction – Misr’s furious diplomats even threatened to expel European forces from their territory completely, stopping just short of threatening their own war.

It didn’t end well. Misr’s diplomats soon stormed out of the negotiations and tried to set up their own zone of military control – attempts to expel the Livonian forces from the region resulted in several skirmishes between the former allies, and soon the Sinai region was once again closed off. The crisis continued over the next several days as Livonian and Aquitanean armored divisions assaulted major Misri bases in the occupied region. Ultimately, the conflict was ended via shock-and-awe after Baltic Navy bombardments of Misri bases in Palestine.



Within a week of the crisis, the Misri government agreed to negotiate again, rather than risk a complete loss of control.

Livonia’s victory in the crisis gave them and their allies near-complete control over the resulting peace with Iraq – as planned before, the empire was partitioned by the Europeans, with Karenia advancing its borders to the Caucasus via the creation of an autonomous republic, and an independent Persia and Arabia being established. Misr was given a wider section of the Levant territory to serve as a buffer, and Iraq’s regime was ousted in favor of a new, cooperative faction. To alleviate issues in the future, the two European colonies on the Arabian Peninsula were also granted independence.

In regards to Misr, a deal was struck to try and avoid conflict in the future – the country agreed to grant Cyprus and Crete independence, and in exchange, Livonia transferred control of almost all of its Suez territory to the country, with the exception of the Canal and a very small buffer zone.



However, the fallout over these events, as well as general instability and corruption which had plagued Misr for decades, eventually resulted in an Islamist coup two years later, removing the last major communist government from power and transforming the social structure of the Misr state.

There were, of course, several other incidents within and between countries during this time period, but many of these were given little attention by either of the superpowers. While some nations were willing to be friendly to the business interests of one side or another, particularly corrupt dictatorships, others were unwilling to commit to once side – there was no major difference ideologically between the two, so pragmatic foreign policy generally won out in non-aligned countries, many of which remained neutral in the rivalry.

After the independence of Colombie, the newly-independent nation established friendly ties with Livonia, and accepted a guarantee of independence, but stopped short of an alliance, or even allowing any major military bases. The war-torn nation wasn’t interested in any more conflict – their aim was to avoid antagonizing America, and to try and remain at peace. Relations would remain sour between the two nations for quite a while though.









In the 1950s, under a new, autocratic leader, the Chinese nation within the Xi Dynasty realms began to centralize and reform. Industrialization and trade with both superpowers helped the country to finally begin to grow and prosper again, though there were many setbacks. Eventually, unification with Kucha was achieved in 1958, with Yi territories later joining in 1960, finally reuniting most of the Chinese nation again under a single flag.

The two Indian states, Talakad and Kanyakubja, went to war in 1964 over border tensions. Neither superpower assisted militarily, but the conflict was extremely bloody, and saw wide-scale humanitarian aid being orchestrated for the civilians of both states by the West, in a rare act of cooperation between the two rivals.





By the 60’s, much of the world’s colonial empires had been dismantled in one way or another, but select few territories still remained under imperial control. For Livonia, the most important colony, which they had refused to let go of despite widespread local unrest and insurgency, was Malaya – a land of great natural resources and strategic importance. Eventually, the region fell into all-out war, with the rebels receiving heavy material support from America, along with local cooperation by neighboring Indochinese countries. The war would last 4 years in a relative stalemate despite the technological imbalance, with Livonia eventually pulling out of the country after the destruction of all resource infrastructure in the area, as well as the heavy expenses of maintaining this war while a recession at home was underway, leading to voter backlash.

And so history went on – the tension of another World War was fading, though rivalries still remained. The fall of colonialism birthed many new nations, where instability reigned supreme. International politics evolved in a globalizing world, as the diplomatic union established in postwar Europe was eventually expanded and emulated into more nations. Life was better for many, but many regions were still full of problems, both old and new, and these would ebb and flow into the future, just as they have throughout the past.
 

Centurial

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Apr 29, 2017
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And that’s the end of Baltic Lightning! It took quite a while (not helped by me stretching out the ending for so long – sorry!), but it was completed all the way from CK2 to HOI4, plus this epilogue.

One of the (many) reasons I wrote this was because I spent so much time playing these games, yet didn’t seem to remember most of my playthroughs – I wanted to do something both epic and memorable, and I knew that writing an AAR would be the perfect way to commit such a playthrough to memory. I never expected it to grow in popularity so much as it did around the tail-end of the EU4 section, and I’m very thankful to everyone who has taken the time to read this story, in part or in full. The award nominations [and victory] were a great morale boost as well :). Special thanks as well to everyone who has left commentary and questions – it’s challenged me to think more deeply about the world surrounding this story, and the predictions and reactions always made me smile.


Please feel free to ask any last questions or comments about Baltic Lightning now before the thread dies, about whatever within or around the story you would like :)
 

Narvait

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Congratulations on the finish of such a huge AAR! It kept my interest from the CK2 up to the very end.
How many RL years this grand campaign plus AAR took?
 

mike the knight

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Centurial , its been a great plesure to see this end in such a beautiful way.I can not wait to see your next adventure
 

Centurial

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Congratulations on the finish of such a huge AAR! It kept my interest from the CK2 up to the very end.
How many RL years this grand campaign plus AAR took?
Thanks :). I think I started in June of 2017, so quite a while ago, though my pace of posting towards the end got quite slow.

Centurial , its been a great plesure to see this end in such a beautiful way.I can not wait to see your next adventure
Thanks - I'm still not sure if/when I'll do another, but we'll see ;)
 

stnylan

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Very many congratulations on bringing this run to a conclusion. The Cold War -esque strategic ending seems entirely appropriate somehow given everything. I very much liked the little details about Misr and Iraq, given the quite large role those nations have played at one time or another.

Thinking all the way back to High Chief Nalka, we have come a very long way.

All in all though I just want to say thank you for writing the most engaging megacampaign I have ever followed. I don't doubt the amount of work behind it. I do hope you have the the time and energy for another project at some point (not necessarily another megacampaign of course!) but even if not, it has been an absolute blast.
 

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Congratulations! This was quite the journey, and as I often point out, it's the AARs that keep me working on the converters.
 

Centurial

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All in all though I just want to say thank you for writing the most engaging megacampaign I have ever followed.
That's very high praise given how many AARs you must've followed throughout your long history on these forums! Thank you :)

Congratulations! This was quite the journey, and as I often point out, it's the AARs that keep me working on the converters.
Thanks; I'd like to give special thanks to you in particular for creating the tools that made this possible.
 

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Congratulations for this amazing AAR. The final part also was so good. Added the cherry on top of a grandious cake of an AAR.
 

Capage

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Standing ovations, Sir!
If you decide to make another one, I'll be on board. A BC start would be ideal. Even a pure Imperator AAR from you would be interesting to read.
 

Centurial

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Standing ovations, Sir!
If you decide to make another one, I'll be on board. A BC start would be ideal. Even a pure Imperator AAR from you would be interesting to read.
What do you mean by BC start?


(Also, as with most PDX games, I'll probably spend only a little time in Imperator until 9+ months after release, since the games tend to get substantially better around the 1st/2nd DLC. Was definitely the case for both HOI4 and Stellaris)

If I do another one, it'll probably end up being in HOI4 since that's what I'm the most into right now, and I tend to have really interesting playthrough ideas with that game. But we'll see :)
 

stnylan

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What do you mean by BC start?


(Also, as with most PDX games, I'll probably spend only a little time in Imperator until 9+ months after release, since the games tend to get substantially better around the 1st/2nd DLC. Was definitely the case for both HOI4 and Stellaris)

If I do another one, it'll probably end up being in HOI4 since that's what I'm the most into right now, and I tend to have really interesting playthrough ideas with that game. But we'll see :)
I could be wrong, but I think he was suggesting doing another megacampaign starting with Imperator, and moving on from there.

Edit: Though if you do end up doing a HoI4 AAR I would be very interested.
 

Capage

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BC - before Christ

I find HOI4 playthroughs interesting only when your setup's different from the default. I don't see many ways to change America's positions in something surprising for example.
But I don't own or play HOI. You might pick an interesting nation and prove me wrong.
 

Centurial

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Oh, well then yeah that would be too much to do another GC. But I'll see how Imperator is though once it's out.

Hopefully I'd be able to make HOI4 interesting; if I were to do one it'd likely be Kaiserreich since I've done vanilla to death since MTG came out :)
 

stnylan

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Hopefully I'd be able to make HOI4 interesting; if I were to do one it'd likely be Kaiserreich since I've done vanilla to death since MTG came out :)
Heh. I am just in early July '41 of my third "proper" MtG playthrough (as Germany). First two were as New Zealand and Canada.

But so much more I want to do. For one of them I do have an AAR idea, albeit it may never see the light of day.
 

Gianniz

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Oh, well then yeah that would be too much to do another GC. But I'll see how Imperator is though once it's out.

Hopefully I'd be able to make HOI4 interesting; if I were to do one it'd likely be Kaiserreich since I've done vanilla to death since MTG came out :)

I know its been a while. But could it be possible to have a look at your HOI4 conversion? I read you changed some stuff up and would like to take a look at it for my own conversion later on.

Anyway great read and thx for the effort