Fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus
Let Justice be done, though all the World Perish
Table of Contents:
It is beyond the work of a lowly historian such as myself to properly record the massive tale of the past century. This, of course, is no great criticism of myself or my work; those who have tried have only succeeded in writing books fit for high school consumption rather than pure history. The task I have set for myself has been arduous enough, and I have found myself traveling across five continents, through libraries in dozens of different countries, and dodging censors and rival historians who wish to contest my version of the Grand Truth. But, and the Greatest on High can personal attest to this, I believe that my work has finally reached a conclusion. I wish to thank fellow historians Robert Graves, Heinrich Himmler, Harper Lee, and hundreds of others. Without their great works this book would not have been possible.
If you see any writing with this colour, it is an editorial note. I'll write a few detailing my thought process, or to give background information that the author wouldn't think of putting in.
The Start of the Second Cold War
The end of the Third World War came not with a bang, but with a whimper. The defeated Syndicalists fled from their homes in France and England much like their royal rulers before them. Not content with merely driving them out of Europe, the Eighth Coalition invaded Africa and after a year of hard, bitter fighting conquered the continent.
Masses gather to celebrate the end of the conflict
This period of time is too close to my heart to write about as impartially as a historian should. The victory of all that I thought was good over all that I thought was evil still brings me near to tears. I would like to say right now that, despite what you may have heard, I love my country. I love it deeply; more deeply, in fact, than those that refuse to criticize it. Its victory over the foes that threatened it with destruction is something that I will always be thankful for. But this is a chapter in history that is much like the fall of Constantinople and the plight of the final Emperor Constantine; I can't possibly approach it without casting one side as demons and the other as angels. Thankfully many fine books already cover this period, chief among them We Wish We Fell, Blood in the Sahara, and the authoritative The Third Weltkrieg.
So instead of moralizing, I will simply present the facts. This, friends and fellow historians, is the situation of the world on June 26th, 1948, just before the second Congress of Vienna.
Because of the villainization of France, Napoleon's conquests became known as the First World War.
The Austria that founded the Eight Coalition was radically changed from the Austria that was called the 'Sick Man of Europe'. Its performance in the Brother's War shattered the perception of Vienna as a power past its prime and created a new regional superpower. The war started in 1937 when the young Emperor Otto von Hapsburg, who believed that his alliance with Germany was stronger than it was, pushed for full union with the assorted states of his Empire. The Hungarians refused, and rather than bribe them back into servitude the Austrian army called for a general advance. Despite assurances from the Kaiser, Berlin refused to intervene.
Austria's first target was Croatia, which had decided to stand with the Hungarians. The small country quickly collapsed in the face of sustained Austrian assault. The Papal Italians decided to take advantage of the situation and wrestled control of Venice back from the Austrians. This is something that is often glossed over by history books, but I think it led to one very significant outcome: it gave the Pope a great propaganda victory, something that caused the Syndicalists in the south no small amount of discomfort. With the help of the Bohemians and the Romanians, Austria quickly conquered much of Hungary, and then dealt with the aggressive Poles that had tried to forcefully unite with Galicia. Despite Russia's protests, Austria refused to release Poland as an independent state. This was something that Berlin tactically supported (afraid, as the Kaiser was, of the growing power of the Russian state and their newly crowned Tsar Vladimir Kirillovich Romanov, and convinced, as he was, of Vienna's continued support).
Austrian Tanks rumbling through Hungary
Now I must mention an event which has caused me great shame over the year. I feel like a pious Roman must of after Rome broke its vows to protect Carthage, but I must list what my country has done. Bohemia, the small nation that had so steadfastly stood with the Austrians when the Brother's War broke out, asked for naught but to remain as an independent vassal of the Austrian Empire. The Austrian High Command found this to be unacceptable; what was the war fought over if not to incorporate all parts of the Empire into a undivided whole? Negotiations soon broke down, and Otto von Hapsburg reluctantly gave the order to bring the Bohemian state to heel. The Bohemians fought hard, but could not possibly withstand the Austrian advance. This action remains something that diplomats even today bring up to attack the remaining Hapsburgs.
His Imperial Majesty began instituting reforms that would one day be known as the Danube Federation. This massive undertaking was an attempt to allow equal access to political power to all ethnic and (to a lesser extent) religious groups. Perhaps no other person on earth would attempt to weaken his own power in an attempt to bring progressive reform to minority groups, but the Emperor had already come to deeply mistrust nationalism and national identity. The Hungarians, Montenegrins, Croatians, and Galacian eagerly accepted the reforms, for they expected to be given only the stick after their military defeat. The Poles, still in shock over the loss of their state, were less pleased with their place in the Empire. Guerrilla resistance sporadically spread across the nation. It should go without saying that the Bohemians were the least accepting. Their army and population had been forcefully disarmed so they had no way to resist the changes except through strikes and popular resistance.
The Invasion of Bohemia was short, but resulted in many lives lost.
The Emperor made it clear to the Kaiser that Germany's lack of faith during the Brother's War displeased him greatly. Austria began to look outward to try and better its diplomatic situation. A few tentative conversations occurred between the Entente and the Austrians but ultimately led nowhere; the Emperor did not feel that the Entente would be able to help him in case of a large scale conflict. There was one power though that could though: Russia. The ambassador in Petrograd met the newly crowned Tsar and convinced him over s series of meetings that an alliance with Austria would protect Russia from both German intervention and Syndicalist terror. The alliance had other benefits: trade bloomed between the two countries. This increase in economic activity was a particularly large blessing, for both countries were still struggle with the effects of the German stock crash.
Syndicalist soldiers enjoying a break during the invasion of Germany
In 1942, the Syndicalist Politburo in France sent the German Kaiser a curt message: Alsace-Lorraine or war. Before this Paris had carefully avoided provoking the giant superpower to their east, but it became convinced that Austria would not come to Germany's aid and that Berlin had overstretched itself dealing with rebellions in Indochina and Africa. The German soldiers fought valiantly, but were being slowly pushed back into the heartland. To make matters worse Northern Italy was quickly conquered by Syndicalist forces. Then, miraculously, things soon began to stabilize; Lawrence of Arabia was thrown back to England, the Carlists were making noises that they were about to join the war, the French were unable to advance across the Rhine, and, most auspiciously, the Austrians and Russians were beginning to mobilize.
And Austria declared war on Germany.
They say that Paris was so confused by the report that they spent the entire day debating whether or not to tell the public. In Berlin, shock reigned. Operation Titanfall had begun.
The war was not as easy as High Command thought it would be. The Germans proved to be remarkably resilient, and occupied large parts of Bohemia before the Austrian army was able to surround the southern divisions. While the outcome of the war was never in doubt, the sometimes fanatical defence led the Germans to draw an unfortunate conclusion: that they could have beaten the French on their own. That Austrian intervention was not a last minute attempt to save Germany from Syndicalist powers, but rather was an attempt to usurper Germany's rightful place in the sun. This 'Stab in the Back' myth (and the necessity of Operation Titanfall in general) is fiercely debated by historians to this day, but there is no doubt that it would fuel much of the growth of the large right-wing anti-Austrian paramilitaries after the Syndicalists fell.
This famous image of a destroyed Berlin, captured by famed photographer Joseph Goebbels, became a rallying cry for anti-Austrian right-wing forces after the war.
MittleEuropa was then divided up into three zone. The French held the Ruhr, Alsace-Lorraine and a very large section of western Germany, which it used to create the German Union. Russia conquered all of Germany's allies in the east with the exception of the Ukraine, which had become a bizarre form of Syndicalism now called Khrushchevism (after the Ukrainian Syndicalist leader Nikita Khrushchev) which advocated an alliance between the monarch and the people against the aristocracy and the capitalist classes. This form of Syndicalism kept the Ukraine from joining any of the conflict's three sides, which, for a time, protected its independence. Austria overturned the Peace of Prague and regained the territory it had lost to the Germans. Though many in the Austrian High Command wanted to replace Kaiser Wilhelm II with a Hapsburg, Otto von Hapsburg refused. He believed that a Hapsburg on the throne would be weak and hated by his subjects, and that a proper German Kaiser would help pacify the German people and keep the army in line. For all intents and purposes Germany had become a vassal of Austria.
France quickly came to the conclusion that the Vienna-Moscow axis was too powerful to engage directly. Instead Paris decided that it was time to deal with the deposed nationalists and royalists that had fled to Africa and beyond. In a matter of weeks much of North Africa was overrun. The French, British, and Italians pushed deep into the continent, and were even able to aid a Syndicalist coup in South Africa and Iceland. They were often greeted as liberators, and as Africans rose to lead African states the stain of Syndicalism began to take root deep in the hearts of the natives.
Not all was well for the French. The areas around the 'Front Line' between Austria, Germany, and the Syndicalists became a battleground of warring militias and paramilitary groups. The German Union in particular had to fight a desperate battle against its own people, and only survived because of the support of the French. The French clergy and other so-called 'reactionary' groups formed the backbone of Austrian intelligence in the country, while Syndicalism spread in Bohemia, Poland, and large parts of Russian-occupied Eastern Europe. Britain remained mostly peaceful; the government was radical, but in many ways only superficially syndicalist. They either ignored or supported religious activities, refused to exhort much energy trying to spread revolution abroad, and allowed private wealth and even a form of (somewhat primitive) capitalism. Historians call this type of political system 'the Canterbury Compact', or 'Compactism', for the agreement between the British government and the Anglican Church.
This First Cold War ended in June 1945 when a German paramilitary group launched coordinated attacks on schools throughout the German Union and eastern France. Despite what many historians will tell you there is no good evidence that this took place with the support of German or Austrian intelligence. The so-called 'Danube Document' is an obvious Syndicalist forgery of the highest order created to make the Austrian intelligence service look like they worked without oversight or supervision. I can not and will not believe that any true Austrian would ever agree to kill children.
The resulting war resulted in the deaths of over five million people. The Austrians, Russians, and Germans significantly outnumbered the Syndicalists who nonetheless fought ferociously and nearly broke through into Austria itself before being pushed back. Italy was the first nation to fall; its internal divisions, the support of the Mafia, and the Catholic Church's all-but-open blessing of the Eight Coalition advance caused a civil war in northern Italy which broke the back of the Italian syndicalists even before Coalition troops arrived. The German Union fell next- its own troops were demoralized and uninterested in fighting Germans and many surrendered or turned on their French allies at the first opportunity. France itself held out for nearly a year and a half before being overrun, but the country simply did not have the manpower to fight such the forces arrayed against it. Britain was a tougher nut to crack but the majority of Britain's forces were either stuck in Africa or had been destroyed fighting in Italy or France. The invasion was bloody and ferocious, but after the Coalition forces had gained a beachhead the whole rotten structure that was the British government collapsed. This, ironically, was to be a great blessing for England, as it left most of its roads, almost all of its industry, and much of its great cities entirely intact.
The invasion of Africa soon followed. The newly liberated Papal Italy began flexing its muscles by launching naval invasions across North Africa, but it was only when Austrian and German troops began arriving in large numbers that Syndicalist positions began to be overrun. The continent was too large to keep the Coalition's forces from quickly penetrating into it, and the African nations and European Remnants were simply not powerful enough to hold back the coming tide. The struggle was deadly; many villages and towns were burnt down, and many lives were lost. The civilians casualties in particular were horrendous. The outright majority of the 5 million lives lost during this struggle were lost under the African sun. The Portuguese took advantage of the opportunity to declare war on the Internationale and to scoop up more colonies. Soon the last holdouts of French and British resistance were defeated, and what remained of their governments accepted an offer of annexation and surrender. The remaining African Syndicalist countries held out for a while longer, but soon their territory was occupied and their official armies forced to surrender. Many Africans and Europeans retreated to the vast interior of the continent, were they began to wage a guerrilla war against the neo-colonizers. This war would soon become a gaping wound for Germans, Austrians, and Portuguese alike.
I hope my loyal readers have not grown bored of my more factual presentation; I promise you that proper analysis and even a touch of personal anecdotes will soon flow forth from these pages. But for now I leave you with one lasting image. Imagine an African boy, a boy unable to dream of a world where he can obtain any kind of influence, a boy who had to deal with incompetent officials, many of whom had lived in Austria all of their lives, a boy who's anger grew as he saw that to the Europeans he was both a threat and a savage. This boy, and others like him, would soon lead some of the bloodies revolutions the world has ever known.
I just wanted to say hello to all my readers. This is my first AAR, so I'm kind of nervous that it won't go so well. I've been thinking about writing one for a while, but the excellent ARR 'The Crown Atomic' recently inspired me to try. I didn't think I'd be writing an AAR until after the Syndicalists were conquered, so I apologize for the complete lack of pictures from between the start of the game until the start of the AAR. This chapter, and the next one (but hopefully not the one after that) are prologues that will explain what happened between 1936 and when the AAR begins in 1948. If you have any suggestions about writing style, spelling, etc, don't hesitate to mention it. Also I'll probably incorporate some of the board's ideas about how events are going to play out, so don't be surprised if your idle board speculation spawns a bloody conflict in the middle of nowhere. Finally, I need some help with a few modding tools- this is particularly true when it comes to army unit flags, which I find myself unable to come to terms with. If anyone would like to give me a few pointers or answer a few questions, I'd really appreciate it.
And if you enjoy the AAR please comment! Not only is the feedback helpful, but its also a motivating factors. It gets awfully lonely writing new posts when no one responds.
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