XIV: Beware the Communist Menace! Causes of the Soviet War Declaration

Wraith11B

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XIV: Beware the Communist Menace!
Causes of the Soviet Declaration of War​

It has become something of a truism that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union would, eventually, fight an existential war with one another; that the government ideologies of Fascism and Communism were diametrically opposed and a struggle for supremacy was the only possible outcome. This understanding comes from the focus from Hitler’s book Mein Kampf, and post-war revisionism out of both the Reichstag and Kremlin. Roots of this conflict extend to before the Great War: the unification of Germany and its rapid industrialization combined with the fall of the Bismarckian system of reinsurance to isolate France had caused Russian paranoia vis a vis Germany. These problems were only reinforced by the Great War: now the conflict in ideology spiced the tension between the two powers. The only control of this tension was the threat of a two-front war for Germany.

A two-front war had tempered Germany: the feeling of encirclement which the Germans termed einkreisung, was only felt amongst Berlin, and the sentiment was heightened by their loss in the First World War. By the mid-to-late thirties, this sentiment was only enhanced: while before the Great War, Germany had notional allies in the massive paper-tigers of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires, by 1936, Germany only had Italy. The walls were pressing in on Berlin through einkreisung. On the part of Moscow, losses in both the Great War as well as during the early interbellum period combined with their failure to rise to the occasion when attempting to confront Finland caused a distinct sentiment of being unable to tolerate another diplomatic setback, much the same predicament that Nicholas II had found himself in just before the June Crisis.

Germany had worked hard to counter their einkreisung: first gaining Italy and later Hungary as continental allies and managing to expand relatively peacefully through the Anschluss, Treaty of Munich and the subsequent occupation of Bohemia and Moravia, then accepting Japan into the Anti-COMINTERN Pact internationally. A major coup was the destabilization of France, first through the subversion of their political foundations and from there to the acceptance into the Pact. All of the dreams of the pre-Great War Septemberprogramm (September Program) were coming to fruition: a dream of Mitteleuropa, a German-led hegemony over the continent.

Stalin had watched Germany’s rise for some time: he understood that the West appeared to be tottering towards a Capitalist war. He would have preferred to allow the Capitalists to bleed themselves white before picking up the pieces; Stalin certainly feared facing Hitler’s resurgent Germany alone. The West’s failure to engage combined with Germany’s approaches to secure their western flank convinced Stalin that he had to work with his own national interest. This resolve, however, faltered with the compromise of the French, and thus began making preparations to oppose the Germans, but he had not counted on the Royal Navy--and by extension, the entire British Empire--being wiped out.

On the other hand, Stalin knew that the days of the Germans providing military supplies in exchange for the Soviet resources were coming to an end. Already, several missed shipments had been conveniently overlooked by the Kremlin, but the balance of trade was becoming something that the Soviets could not abide. This was in part because of how hot the economy had been run for nearly a year: Schact’s ploy with the MEFO bills had not yet made it back to the coop, but could be heard clucking at the gates. Some research indicates that this was Goering’s doing: by going behind Speer’s back to wreck agreements which had kept the German war machine rolling, he might spark the war in which Goering was confident would bring him back into the Fuhrer’s full confidence. Unrelated to Germany specifically, but directly related to their alliance, the Bulgarians were becoming too cozy with the Italians: Bulgarian demands had already been satisfied against the Romanians, but Italy held territories which had been Bulgarian before the League of Nations had resolved them to Greece’s benefit in the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine. In negotiations with the Italians, the Bulgarians would accede to the Anti-COMINTERN Pact, in exchange for the territories of Western Thrace. The Soviet Union was furious: their view was that Bulgaria would be in their diplomatic orbit, despite the autocratic absolute monarchy in Sofia.

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*****​
Author's Note:
One last post you say?
I find this simply a function of me needing to get back onto my Midnight shift schedule, being able to catch this as it happens!

I can see how such a baffling impossibility would indeed cause problems. Wehraboo unreality and contempt for logistics is indeed amongst the most fierce of all the fictional opponents.
Verily.

There was a brief phase of that. Now it is just fascination to see just how badly someone can bully an AI and amazement at the logical contortions invoked to try (and admittedly fail) to justify the impossible.
I've poked it with the bayonet so many times that it is basically at the end of Death by A Thousand Cuts.[/I][/I]
 
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diskoerekto

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Wow this is comprehensive! Great update! And things don't seem to be too bright for USSR at all, they're behind at nearly everything and they have less of nearly everything. The only thing that can save them some time would be using their numerical superiority of armor, and tech superiority of heavy armor (but this one they need to build more of, there's 2 under construction but they'll need more). Still it's a losing battle for them.

By the way, I think I remember what different letters and parentheses stood for in the tech comparisons, but still can you also include a legend for those?
 
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roverS3

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I'm afraid the Soviet Union is in serious trouble. 'Odin' wouldn't be happy at the relative lack of preparation by the USSR. I hope they're already preparing to move their entire industry to the Urals, they're going to have to.
 
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this is the clash we have been waiting for
 
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Agree with others, the Soviets are behind in just about everything - except oil/fuel and manpower. And steppe, I suppose. ;) But with the UK out of the war and the US (iirc) still out of it, they would seem to be in a New Axis World Order of trouble! Especially if Japan attack them in the east and it’s the old two-front war for the Soviets rather than Germany.

I think it’s more the Fascist than the Communist menace that needs to be feared in this time line. :eek:
 
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XIV: Beware the Communist Menace!
Causes of the Soviet Declaration of War
This would be much funnier were the second line the first, and not even entirely off-brand.

I must commend the effort that goes into these posts, as always, though I must critically assess the value of spending such effort to characterize the Soviet Navy. Simply inserting clip art of a split bucket of bolts alongside a stock image of a life preserver should be sufficient here.

Noting that the Soviets possess a superiority in line infantry and armored vehicles, I would expect them to at least put up a good fight while running the Germans out of MP as is usual in vanilla HoI3. However, knowing equally well that the AI has stationed half the armor in Trans-Amur and one-third of the infantry to garrison Mariehamn I hold out little hope, particularly as I know the Soviets cannot be human-controlled as any sane human player would have quit the Hearts of Iron series cold turkey rather than reorganize such an abomination of an OOB.
 
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diskoerekto

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I know the Soviets cannot be human-controlled as any sane human player would have quit the Hearts of Iron series cold turkey rather than reorganize such an abomination of an OOB.
I did that twice, it was more work than game. that night also all night in my dream I was reorganizing brigades. it was a nightmare.
 
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A graphical tour-de-force as always Deputy Wraith. I'm saddened (but in no way surprised) that the Soviets did not use their extra few years of peace to build one of their ridiculous naval projects. Obviously they would never have finished them and they would all be quite, quite terrible, but a world with a Kronshtadt-class battlecruiser in it would be a happier place. Mainly because it would give something for everyone to laugh at, but I would argue that still counts.

post-war revisionism out of both the Reichstag and Kremlin
Spoilers! We now know neither of those places gets destroyed by nukes.

While checking to see how many of the named people in the update were in fact dead (surprisingly few, and of course it was wonderful to see the hilariously scandalous von BLomberg still in place) I realised I vaguely remembered the name Panfilov so looked him up. While I didn't find him I did find this most Soviet of stories - Panfilov's Twenty-Eight Guardsmen. The tale of 28 soldiers who all died in the Battle of Moscow but destroyed 18 German tanks before they died and so stopped the attack and helped save the city. They were collectively declared Heroes of the Soviet Union for this feat of sacrifice and a massive and tasteless statue was built. As one would expect every single part of the story was a lie, no tanks were destroyed, the Germans were not delayed on that day and several of the 28 survived (including one who became a German collaborator). The statue stands to this day and when in 2015 the head of the Russian State Archives pointed out the story was entirely false and published the documents proving this, he was sacked and the Russian Culture Minister said this;

"It is my deep conviction that even if this story was invented from the start to the finish [...], it is a sacred legend which it's simply impossible to besmirch. And people who try to do that are total scumbags."
 
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The statue stands to this day and when in 2015 the head of the Russian State Archives pointed out the story was entirely false and published the documents proving this, he was sacked and the Russian Culture Minister said this;

"It is my deep conviction that even if this story was invented from the start to the finish [...], it is a sacred legend which it's simply impossible to besmirch. And people who try to do that are total scumbags."
This is the way to only hear what you want to hear ... as no one dares tell you the opposite, did this evar happen before in history ...
 
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Maybe then Japan has no need to strike south. When the germans are done fighting Russia, they'll both be so depleted that the Japanese cab just roll them both over no issue. Take all of siberia, install some puppets or friendly governments in europe, and bribe the colonials with offers to restore France and Western Europe if they give up their Asian colonies.
 
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Wraith11B

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Wow this is comprehensive! Great update! And things don't seem to be too bright for USSR at all, they're behind at nearly everything and they have less of nearly everything. The only thing that can save them some time would be using their numerical superiority of armor, and tech superiority of heavy armor (but this one they need to build more of, there's 2 under construction but they'll need more). Still it's a losing battle for them.

By the way, I think I remember what different letters and parentheses stood for in the tech comparisons, but still can you also include a legend for those?
Yes, I had intended to add the legend, my apologies.

Indeed, the only thing that the Soviets have going for them is to try for local superiority... but at this point in time that's still contingent upon the AI actually, ya know, working. To be fair, the numbers (as will be shown when I finally do up the maps graphics) are slightly misleading. The entirety of German interceptors are in the West to defend against British strategic bombing raids; the majority of the multi-role aircraft are either in the North Sea region, along with the Kriegsmarines' naval bomber squadrons. The tactical air forces are largely in the East. Germany (eventually) pays for this error.

Not a good time to be a commie ...
Not at all, unfortunately.

I'm afraid the Soviet Union is in serious trouble. 'Odin' wouldn't be happy at the relative lack of preparation by the USSR. I hope they're already preparing to move their entire industry to the Urals, they're going to have to.
Indeed, it is. Not to mention that--a bit of a spoiler alert--the Soviets start just mass producing mechanized infantry divisions, which are great, but expensive and take bloody forever to build. I seriously saw maybe five or so regular infantry divisions at one point. It was one of the things that I rectified.

this is the clash we have been waiting for
Because of course!

Agree with others, the Soviets are behind in just about everything - except oil/fuel and manpower. And steppe, I suppose. ;) But with the UK out of the war and the US (iirc) still out of it, they would seem to be in a New Axis World Order of trouble! Especially if Japan attack them in the east and it’s the old two-front war for the Soviets rather than Germany.

I think it’s more the Fascist than the Communist menace that needs to be feared in this time line. :eek:
The issue was that the Soviets declared war, and thus, the normal routine of a NAP with Japan did not actually pan out.

This would be much funnier were the second line the first, and not even entirely off-brand.

I must commend the effort that goes into these posts, as always, though I must critically assess the value of spending such effort to characterize the Soviet Navy. Simply inserting clip art of a split bucket of bolts alongside a stock image of a life preserver should be sufficient here.
I know. It was sad because they gloriously sailed out and were gloriously sunk... hope I didn't spoil that for anyone.

Noting that the Soviets possess a superiority in line infantry and armored vehicles, I would expect them to at least put up a good fight while running the Germans out of MP as is usual in vanilla HoI3. However, knowing equally well that the AI has stationed half the armor in Trans-Amur and one-third of the infantry to garrison Mariehamn I hold out little hope, particularly as I know the Soviets cannot be human-controlled as any sane human player would have quit the Hearts of Iron series cold turkey rather than reorganize such an abomination of an OOB.
That's one thing that I wish Paradox had done better: teach the AI how to use their forces: even just a "This is a Garrison unit, it belongs WELL BEHIND the line in a Fort or a City."

I did that twice, it was more work than game. that night also all night in my dream I was reorganizing brigades. it was a nightmare.
Oof. Not entirely looking forward to it in my next project.

A graphical tour-de-force as always Deputy Wraith. I'm saddened (but in no way surprised) that the Soviets did not use their extra few years of peace to build one of their ridiculous naval projects. Obviously they would never have finished them and they would all be quite, quite terrible, but a world with a Kronshtadt-class battlecruiser in it would be a happier place. Mainly because it would give something for everyone to laugh at, but I would argue that still counts.
It would have been, and would have made for a fun time.

Spoilers! We now know neither of those places gets destroyed by nukes.
Well... I guess.

While checking to see how many of the named people in the update were in fact dead (surprisingly few, and of course it was wonderful to see the hilariously scandalous von BLomberg still in place) I realised I vaguely remembered the name Panfilov so looked him up. While I didn't find him I did find this most Soviet of stories - Panfilov's Twenty-Eight Guardsmen. The tale of 28 soldiers who all died in the Battle of Moscow but destroyed 18 German tanks before they died and so stopped the attack and helped save the city. They were collectively declared Heroes of the Soviet Union for this feat of sacrifice and a massive and tasteless statue was built. As one would expect every single part of the story was a lie, no tanks were destroyed, the Germans were not delayed on that day and several of the 28 survived (including one who became a German collaborator). The statue stands to this day and when in 2015 the head of the Russian State Archives pointed out the story was entirely false and published the documents proving this, he was sacked and the Russian Culture Minister said this;

"It is my deep conviction that even if this story was invented from the start to the finish [...], it is a sacred legend which it's simply impossible to besmirch. And people who try to do that are total scumbags."
Yet still nothing new out of the Kremlin.

This is the way to only hear what you want to hear ... as no one dares tell you the opposite, did this evar happen before in history ...
*super sarcastic* Noooooo...

Maybe then Japan has no need to strike south. When the germans are done fighting Russia, they'll both be so depleted that the Japanese cab just roll them both over no issue. Take all of siberia, install some puppets or friendly governments in europe, and bribe the colonials with offers to restore France and Western Europe if they give up their Asian colonies.
Insofar as they already have secured that region and thus can take their time with Siberia.
 
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To be fair, the numbers (as will be shown when I finally do up the maps graphics) are slightly misleading. The entirety of German interceptors are in the West to defend against British strategic bombing raids; the majority of the multi-role aircraft are either in the North Sea region, along with the Kriegsmarines' naval bomber squadrons. The tactical air forces are largely in the East. Germany (eventually) pays for this error.
Oh good, another bloody nose along the road to overwhelming dominance. Keeps 'em humble, it does.

I know. It was sad because they gloriously sailed out and were gloriously sunk... hope I didn't spoil that for anyone.
Gloriously spoilt.

Oof. Not entirely looking forward to it in my next project.
This requires the correct perspective. Embrace the OOB madness. Love the OOB madness. Be consumed by the OOB madness. Life is OOB madness. Love is OOB madness. Bear the demon spawn of the OOB madness...

The correct perspective may be somewhat less extreme and cultish, but do we really want it to be? We do, after all, play this game for a reason...
 
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Oh good, another bloody nose along the road to overwhelming dominance. Keeps 'em humble, it does.
Aye, humble. A small serving before it gets shoved in their face.

Gloriously spoilt.


This requires the correct perspective. Embrace the OOB madness. Love the OOB madness. Be consumed by the OOB madness. Life is OOB madness. Love is OOB madness. Bear the demon spawn of the OOB madness...
Honestly, I do appreciate it, but since I'll be working with a mod (of some sort), I'll probably not be as badly off as the vanilla version.

The correct perspective may be somewhat less extreme and cultish, but do we really want it to be? We do, after all, play this game for a reason...
Indeed we do!
 
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That's one thing that I wish Paradox had done better: teach the AI how to use their forces: even just a "This is a Garrison unit, it belongs WELL BEHIND the line in a Fort or a City."
HeheHeheHEHEHOHOHOHOHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
 
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HeheHeheHEHEHOHOHOHOHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Indeed.

Wraith has made the common mistake of assuming HOI games even have an AI. In reality Paradox just borrowed the code for a random number generator and then linked that to the game engine. If it looks like the 'AI' is making inexplicably random decisions, that's because it is.
 
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Indeed.

Wraith has made the common mistake of assuming HOI games even have an AI. In reality Paradox just borrowed the code for a random number generator and then linked that to the game engine. If it looks like the 'AI' is making inexplicably random decisions, that's because it is.
That said I wouldn't know where to start to make a better AI or if I could at all.
 
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XV: War in the East, Phase 1: Strike the Bell! January 1943

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MJTz991.jpg



0W9h6TA.png
The world as of 31 January 1943.

The sudden declaration of war by the Soviet Union on the Anti-COMINTERN Pact delivered to all capitals by 7 January had come as something of a surprise to all sides; not least to the forces of the Wehrmacht and Stavka. A miscommunication between Stalin and Litvinov had led the latter to send the note advising of the state of war to all the members of the Pact, which later scholarship believed was to be limited to the European powers. Thus, it was something of a surprise for the Far East theater of the RKKA to suddenly be subject to an all-out attack from Japanese forces. Bulgaria, for their part, had unilaterally chosen to join the Stahlpakt, but was not going to contribute forces to the German high command. Romania again protested that they chose to remain neutral. Turkey also similarly protested their innocence and neutrality in the conflict, but made no effort to restrict any forces from transiting the Bosphorus, tacitly supporting the Italians. For nearly two weeks, no forces on the border between the Germans and Soviets engaged in anything that could be called an offensive: all pre-war planning was thrown into complete disarray. News of the declaration of war overshadowed the announcement the following day of the dissolution of the Communist International, which scholars assume was done in a vain attempt to lure the United States and the non-aligned powers to the Soviet cause. Domestically, Stalin announced that the Soviet Union would alter their production in the war for their Rodina’s cause: more production emphasis was placed on projects which would support kitting out the Red Army, with special focus on tanks. The effects were immediate, but this required the projects which were already in the pipeline to be the focus of the economic might of the Soviet Union.

As mentioned before, the Wehrmacht was focused on their assault through the Highlands of Scotland which was tying up the bulk of their motorized forces, and so the order of the day for the East was to remain on the defensive. This they did, for nearly a week and a half; suddenly, the once vaunted offensive armies of Germany seemed almost paralyzed with fear. Their delay gave the Soviet forces much-needed time to actively dig-in and prepare their own front lines. Indeed, it was the Japanese who took the lead in assaulting the quarrelsome Soviets first: an immediate assault by significant forces out of Manchukuo. Amphibious attacks had also been prepared, specifically to target Vladivostok and later many of the ports of the Russian Far Eastern theater. No less than thirteen offensive actions were immediately initiated, ranging from the line of demarcation dividing Sakhalin, to an offensive directed towards Vladivostok, to an assault into eastern Mongolia. Within days, the offensive had reached the outskirts of Vladivostok proper, and in the confusion, an entire garrison division and theater headquarters was overrun, throwing the defense into confusion. Within a week, the Japanese had secured Sakhalin, and by the end of the month, much of the Japanese forces were well beyond the borders of Manchuria and racing across the terrain against little opposition.

mZiRqf6.jpg

The expansion of Japanese forces into the Soviet’s Far East
Theater was rapid and decisive, unlike the Germans’ attempts.

Once Great Britain had been forced to capitulate, and with the mobile forces of the motorized divisions heading back to Poland and the Gebirgsjager-divisionen released for other operations, Oberkommando Ost initiated their first tentative attack orders. These were against two of the most lightly held locations on the line: Brzesc Litewski, caught with only the local corps headquarters in the city, was the first offensive operation conducted by the Germans on 16 January by four divisions from XIII Armeekorps (51. - 54. Infantrie-divisionen); this action caused the immediate evacuation of the local headquarters, and the Soviets ordering forward the 238th Rifle Division. On local authority, V Armeekorps ordered 35. and 45. Infantrie-Divisionen, supported by the corps troops, to secure the airfield at Suwalki, which was being held by the Soviet 141st Rifle Division under the 6th Mechanized Corps. It was this second action which resulted in the first blood being spilt, and within twenty four hours when the 141st finally retreated, eighty dead Germans and seven hundred, sixty-five Russians were left on the field. A significant butcher’s bill for what would become the most violent theater of war. On 17 January, another locally ordered attack to clear the forests of Lomza to take advantage of another lone Soviet infantry division (in this case, 6th Rifle Division) from VII Armeekorps with three infantry divisions.

0vExn8q.png

Troops advancing around Brzesc Litewski, showing off the MG34.

WheAl59.png

A German officer snaps a picture as troops continue to march forward.

The battle for Brzesc Litewski continued for the rest of the month: three Soviet divisions managed to plug their hole by sending 21st Tank Corps, supporting the 168th and 187th Rifle Divisions. These forces put up a spirited defense, forcing OK-Ost to order IX Armeekorps to launch a corps-wide assault against Bielsk Podlaski just to support the initial assault. Even with all of these forces, the attack would not penetrate deeper than a mere thirty kilometers into Soviet territory. The collective actions of the first few days, however, gave higher command the case to bring before Hitler to order wider attacks. Assent was given for another offensive, this time in the south, and these were corps-sized assaults against Jaworow and Turka. Within a few days, those forces under Armeeoberkommando (AOK) 1 in the Baltics would also commence their own operations, but faced similar issues in gaining ground and even two weeks after the start of operations, only had advanced between 30 to 40 kilometers. While the Japanese were running relatively rampant in the Far East, the Germans had barely managed to kick in the door, at the cost of over fourteen thousand dead, despite inflicting thirty-one thousand killed on the Soviets, and marching a mere ten thousand into captivity.

mjxn6kG.jpg

The map of German advances through the first two weeks
of offensive operations. Doctrinal guidance of having the
infantry gain a foothold to open up the terrain for the tanks
seemed to be counter-productive.


*****
Author's Note: hopefully, this is enough information for you all. There wasn't much in the way of combat going on, mostly because I hadn't actually gotten that far in my strategic thinking (being distracted with the British) and the Soviets being... well, kittens.
 
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A welcome update! So it’s the big league now:
it was the Japanese who took the lead in assaulting the quarrelsome Soviets first: an immediate assault by significant forces out of Manchukuo.
The Soviets are toast. Buttered (and battered) on both sides.
Within a week, the Japanese had secured Sakhalin, and by the end of the month, much of the Japanese forces were well beyond the borders of Manchuria and racing across the terrain against little opposition.
Here we go. Onwards to Irkutsk and beyond!
A German officer snaps a picture as troops continue to march forward.
And snaps a picture of an officer taking a picture. I wonder how many more were lined up behind them in this example of jackbooted performance art! :D
the Germans had barely managed to kick in the door, at the cost of over fourteen thousand dead, despite inflicting thirty-one thousand killed on the Soviets, and marching a mere ten thousand into captivity.
Just started and the toll mounts already. It will get much worse ...
 
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