A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #271
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    SilverLeaf167's Avatar

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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    Needless to say, though every modding process in this megacampaign has taken longer than the last, the HoI4 section is probably gonna be the first one where the modding actually takes longer than the playing (at least in terms of work hours - time on the calendar is yet to be seen, but knock on wood). Just a combination of HoI4 having the shortest runtime while also being the most finicky in almost every way and requiring the most customization (especially with the whole game's enjoyability riding on an individual war or two).
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (Finally in HoI4!)

    Sovereign Levander on Steam

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    Hey, just wanted to drop in and say that I recently discovered this thread and have really enjoyed reading through everything. I'm greatly looking forward to the HoI4 section of the AAR. You clearly have invested enormous time and effort into this and the results are really impressive. Thanks for doing this!

  3. - Top - End - #273
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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    Thank you, and hi! Great to see some readers, even individual ones, still trickling in at this point in the game.

    I now notice it's been three weeks since I said "a couple weeks". It's getting there!
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (Finally in HoI4!)

    Sovereign Levander on Steam

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    Interlude #6: Atlas Antebellum (1936)



    (Click for full size)

    Spoiler: Commonwealth of Sovereign States
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    Capital: Krakow
    Population: 137 M. core (33 M. non-core)
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Social Democratic)
    Official Language: Polish (with enshrined rights for minority languages)
    Official Religion: Slavic paganism (with enshrined rights for minority religions)
    Faction: Commonwealth

    This whole section is more than long enough even without recapping all of Poland’s 1053-year-long history, discussed at length in other places. So let us focus on the recent history and present.

    Poland’s political left has a messy history of violent resistance, starting with its very birth in the Hungry 1840s and culminating in the civil war of 1900-03. While much of that baggage still remains – especially in the minds of the conservative right – the left has had great success in rebranding itself as a legitimate player over the last 30 years or so, and can take credit for almost all the greatest and most popular reforms of this era. If the PUP was more or less personified in the controversial Mikolaj Rusin, its usurper the SDP is similarly centered on Bartlomiej “Bart” Stawicki, the most popular politician of modern Poland, who is currently serving his fourth term as Premier. Yet the SDP’s hold on power is not uncontested, and Stawicki was only able to gain his current position by forming the historic Red-White Coalition with his conservative opponent, Leszek Mazowiecki. This is a necessary deal with the devil that aims to ensure stability and government function, at the cost of greatly compromising either party’s ability to push their own agenda.



    In addition to Premier Stawicki, Minister of Finance Mazowiecki, and their respective parties, the third great man of Polish politics is of course High King Lechoslaw IV, scion of the unbroken (if winding) Lechowicz dynasty. Despite being reduced to the role of a constitutional monarch since 1920 – Stawicki’s most iconic achievement so far – the High King still has a great deal of prestige, visibility, soft power, and influence in the margins, should he decide to wield it. Despite adjusting well to his role and not overstepping his bounds, he is also a very active philanthropist, speaker and commentator. His unofficial role is often to reconcile party differences, pressure them to agree, or in fact give them a public excuse to compromise without angering their respective voters. These three leaders each have a hand on the rudder of the ship of state, trying – sometimes competing – to steer it through the stormy waters of their age.



    Poland’s internal troubles don’t end there, though then again, it seems like few nations in the world are entirely alright at the moment. The overhanging threat of another destructive war, which even bordered on mass hysteria a couple years back when tensions with Russia reached their peak, is a dark cloud over the people’s minds. The free media and popular sentiment are strongly anti-war, at almost any cost. What’s more, in regular years the Crown Army could rely on a ready supply of millions willing to seek a job in the military as a source of pay and housing with no expectation of an actual fight. The acute threat of war has not only reduced this flow of voluntary enlisters – the brave individuals that this crisis has encouraged to serve their nation can’t nearly make up the deficit – people have even started to dodge their obligatory registration for the draft, either not showing up at all or making up excuses in order to get sorted as unfit to serve. Whether these problems can somehow be solved at the source, or simply through stricter enforcement, is a matter of great debate in the administration.



    Whether or not the economic downturn of the past few years was actually caused by the Liberal government, or just that same threat of war, it has also done its part in slowing down Poland’s rearmament: while the military can still keep its existent men in arms, any great expansion has been hampered by the lack of heavy industry to dedicate to it. At least the crisis is nowhere near as deep as the previous Great Depression, just a normal fluctuation, and seems to be on its way out.



    After initial attempts to revamp the civil war era Dwójka into something less “rabidly anti-communist secret police” and more “intelligence service”, it was eventually decided that it had too much baggage – especially in terms of reputation – and was better off replaced altogether. The new Security Service, also known as the SB or Slube (Służba Bezpieczeństwa), is meant to focus specifically on foreign threats and not on paranoid surveillance of Polish citizens, but there’s inevitably plenty of overlap, as this includes keeping an eye out for spies and leaks. Much of the former Dwójka’s bureaucracy and members also simply moved to the SB, but at least there were major changes in organization and doctrine, and the career officer Iwo Kraszewski – a long-time critic of the previous leadership – was appointed as its new Director. The SB is a supposedly “apolitical” government bureau overseen by the Ministry of Defense, placing it under joint Sejm–Crown control while still maintaining some of its legacy as a weird offshoot of the army.


    (Note: Intelligence Agency not actually prebuilt at game start)

    Poland’s many colonies will be discussed below, but the homeland itself has two main hotspots in terms of naval strategic importance: Denmark and Calais. The Danish Belts (the narrow straits between the Danish islands) are treaty-bound to remain open to all shipping, while the Kiel Canal crossing the peninsula admits most civilian vessels, but in wartime, Poland can close them both to completely control the entrance to the Baltic Sea (the Belts are lined with heavy artillery, while the Canal includes several locks operated from land). Calais, on the other hand, gives Poland a toehold on the narrowest part of the English Channel, next to Frisia and Lotharingia, and a mere 100 miles from Paris. Its land connection to Krakow has suffered a fair bit as all the countries in between fell out of the Polish sphere, but its strategic purpose remains the same.







    Capital: Kaposvar
    Population: 19 million
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Social Democratic)
    Official Language: Pannonian, Croatian, Slovenian, Serbian and Bosnian
    Official Religion: None (Catholic, Lollard and Cathar)
    Faction: Commonwealth

    Even after 248 years, “Stanislaw’s folly” takes up space on the map, only held together by Polish support and military intervention. Officially the Principality is independent, but in practice, entirely subject to Poland’s whims. Yet due to many citizens’ resistance to its very existence, the central government can’t really be either too democratic or too autocratic, so mostly it’s just weak. With Polish consent, the Yugoslavian Sejm has been delegating more and more rights to the different regions, as well as recognizing more and more of those regions. Poland doesn’t really care too much, since although Yugoslavia is at this point seen as an integral part of the Polish sphere and as a “fellow Slavic nation”, Poland’s main geopolitical interest is to keep it in one piece and not falling under Latin influence. The Latin Federation sponsoring freedom fighters in Bosnia was even one of the flashpoints of the Great War, and they would definitely do something similar again.

    The central government itself is torn between “vassal” attitudes, those more focused on Yugoslavia as its own nation, some specifically Pannonian nationalists who would like the dominant ethnic group to take more control, and others. It seems impossible for a true pan-Yugoslav identity to develop at least as long as the country is seen as a Polish puppet, yet it couldn’t stand very long without being a Polish puppet, seeming to leave nothing but bad options and the status quo. The silver lining is that at least the country’s divisions are “only” political, ethnic and linguistic: religiously it is a major melting pot of different Christian sects, living in relative harmony (or at least peace) with no clear geographic boundaries. So that’s one less division to worry about.

    Yugoslavia itself has a decent enough army, and has made great contributions to Polish wars in the past. However, especially after the Great War, the army has been strictly voluntary, and with a supposedly tight vetting process at that, to avoid either agitating the populace or training future rebels. The Yugoslavian navy and air force are less impressive, but still there.





    Capital: Jakarta
    Population: 64 million
    Government: Dictatorship (Colonial Government)
    Official Language: Polish (majority speak various native languages)
    Official Religion: None (pagan, Hindu and Sunni)
    Faction: Commonwealth

    The East Indies have a population comparable to some great powers, over two thirds of which is concentrated on the southern island of Java. Though the northern parts remain staunchly Muslim – and their rights as oddani are at least legally guaranteed – the majority, including Java, is either Hindu or some other flavor of pagan. And even though the bold pan-pagan idea of Slavo-Hinduist syncretism has been more or less ignored everywhere outside of Poland, in the East Indies it has been “enforced” and gotten a decent enough foothold. More conservative Hindus understandably resent these Polish attempts to hijack and misrepresent their faith.

    After its humble beginnings in the early 1600s, the patchwork territory of the Polish East Indies – now basically synonymous with the region as a whole – was for a long time administered by the East India Company, a crown-chartered traders’ union that became like a great feudal empire unto itself. With a ragtag system consisting of outposts built on “empty” spots, land seized from the local kingdoms, princedoms left as vassals, some that officially remained independent even after their de facto conquest, and more, Krakow was happy with the situation as long as the Company did its job and delivered its dues. Due to the distances involved, the Crown couldn’t really have micromanaged the region if it wanted to.

    This didn’t change until 1862 when the not-yet-disgraced High Queen Wieslawa, prompted by growing awareness of the Company’s brutal rule and mismanagement, nationalized all of its overseas possessions and made the East Indies into a proper Crown colony. At the time, there was some vague hinting that its status would be reviewed in the near future, which many of the colonials also took to heart and remember to this day – but this never truly happened, other than the Crown actually ending most of the special arrangements made with the locals to fully annex them instead.

    In 1923, the SDP-led Sejm together with Lechoslaw IV passed a bill finally turning the East Indies from a Crown colony (personal property of the High King) into a “special protectorate” of Poland, a step above the likes of Senegambia or Kongo but below fully autonomous Nowa Straya. While both shipping and communications have massively improved, it is still incredibly far-flung from Krakow, and as long as the region remains stable, doesn't get much attention on a daily basis. It is mostly important for its location and massive natural resources. Over time, the focus of the economy has moved from cash crops and gold to things like oil, rubber and tin – all massively important for modern industry.

    Life in the colony has certainly improved since 1923, but even though nearly everyone is now technically a Polish citizen, there’s still a clear class divide between the locals and the roughly 300,000 Europeans who have migrated to the region since its conquest. Despite some experiments in democracy on a more local level, the East Indies as a whole are still administered by a Crown-appointed Voivode. The most important naval base Singapura remains under direct military administration, while the official capital of the region is the largest city, Jakarta.

    There are a few other European outposts on the outlying islands, namely British, Nordic and Asturian. Due to their tiny size and distance from Europe, they’re so dependent on the Polish East Indies that they might as well be part of them.







    Capital: Manila
    Population: 13 million
    Government: Dictatorship (Colonial Government)
    Official Language: Polish (majority speak various native languages)
    Official Religion: None (pagan, Catholic and Sunni)
    Faction: Commonwealth

    The Maniolas are usually treated as an extension of the East Indies, and are in a similar situation administratively as well. In fact, the separation of the two was only formalized with the aforementioned 1923 bill. However, even more than the huge and diverse East Indies, the Maniolas’ fraught relationship with Poland – and burgeoning national consciousness – has been defined by the failed Maniolan Revolution of 1893. Out of all the socialist, republican and nationalist uprisings all over the Polish sphere at the time, the Maniolas’ was the largest, and also the most brutally put down with history’s first large-scale use of chemical weapons. While the situation was successfully “pacified” in the aftermath, it instilled in the Maniolans a deep grudge and burning will for independence.





    Capital: Eoragród (Sydney)
    Population: 6.5 million
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Social Democratic)
    Official Language: Polish
    Official Religion: Slavic and native paganism
    Faction: Commonwealth

    Ah, Nowa Straya. The sleepy backwater of the Polish empire, and mostly happy to stay that way. While the loss of the more populous, accessible, and frankly valuable Buyania, Lukomoria and Jeziora was a certain boost in status for Nowa Straya, there’s only so much it could be exploited. While it has been an useful outlet for emigration and source of mineral riches, it’s hardly vital in any sense, and much like with the East Indies, the sheer distances involved have resulted in a lack of attention from the homeland. This has been mostly “benign neglect”, though, bringing Eoragród a high degree of autonomy, to the point that Krakow doesn’t wield most of the powers it actually has. Unlike any of Poland’s other colonies, Nowa Straya is a fully-fledged democracy with its own elections, Sejm and Premier (the High King is still the ceremonial head of state).

    When Nowa Straya was first explored by westerners, it was thought to be a small island, then part of a greater Terra Australis, but finally turned out to be its own continent more or less the size of Europe (not including Russia). It’s very sparsely populated for its size, with most settlements being clustered on the verdant coastlines, but had – and still has – a diverse native population distributed along its entire length. Much like in Amatica, some of these groups were integrated (or rather annexed) into the colonial population, while others were driven into “the Outback”, but unlike in Amatica’s federal structure, even the ones given citizenship have had no real political recognition as groups. Furthermore, the country has an unusually high proportion of East Slavic heritage, such as Ukrainian and Belarusian, and others like Lithuanians. Most of the population at this point is mixed-race Slavic and Aboriginal, adding to the strength of a distinct “Strayan” identity literally across the world from Poland.





    Capital: Nakhon Si Thammarat
    Population: 8 million
    Government: Republic (Social Democratic)
    Official Language: Malay
    Official Religion: Sunni Islam
    Faction: Commonwealth

    The Sultanate of Ligor used to be one of the main kingdoms of the East Indies, with scattered holdings all across the archipelago as well as Indochina. Today, it is the last one to survive in any real form. Made into a Polish vassal in 1863, at the same time that High Queen Wieslawa was nationalizing the East India Company, it was already rather “modernized” at the time and thus allowed to remain autonomous for mutual convenience. Its absolute monarchy, too, veered steadily towards parliamentarism, especially as the Sultan was seen as Krakow’s main lackey and democracy seemed like a logical path towards local decision-making. When the last Sultan, Nazrin IV, died without a clear heir in 1924, the parliament decided to finally make it official and turn Ligor from a constitutional monarchy into a full republic. Without that much thought, Poland gave its blessing, as the move away from dynastic vassalage was more or less in line with the reforms it was pursuing in the East Indies anyway.

    In the years since then, though, the Ligor Republic has become increasingly restless. Zhaoism, surely seeping in from Cambodia next door, has gained a strong foothold – which is an understated way of saying that the parliament is utterly dominated by communists and other socialists, all of whom have independence at the top of their agenda. And possibly not just for Ligor, but even the entire region suffering under imperialist oppression.

    The formerly Latin colonies attached to Ligor at the end of the Great War brought up the population numbers quite a bit, but now the majority are Thais and Cambodians who might feel like they’re simply being tossed from one colonial overlord to another. Thanks to Polish patronage, the autonomous Ligori army is relatively modern, even including a small air force and an armored division.





    Capital: Bielgorod
    Population: 52 M. core (28 M. non-core)
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Social Democratic)
    Official Language: Moldavian (basically Polish)
    Official Religion: Slavic paganism
    Faction: Commonwealth

    The Kingdom of Moldavia is a peculiar nation. Originating as a single chiefdom within Poland, it has gone through multiple steps of growth (under Polish protection), collapse (when Poland got tired of it) and then growth again (when the weakness of the Francian Empire created a power vacuum in the region). Some would say its existence is still dependent on Polish patronage, but what’s certain is that there is no other country more tied to Poland, save perhaps Yugoslavia. It’s also one of the founding members of the Commonwealth of Sovereign States… dragged in by Poland, of course.

    Unlike in Poland, where Slavs were always a clear if internally diverse majority, the Moldavians have basically never been a majority in their own country since they first started expanding. Whether or not Poland’s style of multiculturality would’ve even been possible under these conditions, Moldavia didn’t choose this option, but rather one of aggressive conversion and slavicization. This had mixed success at best, and the Moldavian identity was mostly (grudgingly) adopted in the northern parts like Hungary, Wallachia and Bulgaria that also had closer contact with the rest of Slavdom. Thus the population of Moldavia can be divided into three major identity groups: Moldavians, Greeks and Arabs.

    Such is Moldavia’s economic and military reliance on Poland that even its internal politics generally mirrored Krakow’s: openly admitted or not, whatever winds are currently blowing in Krakow tend to reach the Moldavian Sejm as well. It’s partly due to this influence, partly due to harsh reality, that Moldavia has also been moving towards a more culturally and religiously tolerant, democratic form of government. However, actual democracy seems like an impossibility for a divided state like Moldavia’s, and thus the right to vote has still been strictly regulated along geographic lines. This basically amounts to ethnic discrimination anyway, especially as Europeans who settle in otherwise excluded regions still get to have their rights “grandfathered in”. Everything south of Adana, i.e. the Arab half of the country, is treated more or less like an overseas colony with no political rights.

    Lechogród – still called Constantinople by some – remains one of the greatest cities in Europe and Slavdom, and also a symbol of shared Polish-Moldavian heritage, given its name and all. Though much time has passed since its Slavic conquest and renaming in 1597, it is still defined by its succession of Greek, Roman and Francian history; and though the Muslims just barely failed to conquer it, it still shows the Rûman influence that shaped most of Anatolia, not to mention being a melting pot of the entire Moldavian empire. Its size, economy and location make it in many ways the second Moldavian capital, arguably more important than Bielgorod. Strategically, too, simple geography makes it both a critical link between Europe and Asia – the first actual bridge across the Bosphorus Strait, dreamed of since ancient times, was recently completed with Polish aid – and the only waterway in or out of the Black Sea. As the Bosphorus is less than half a mile wide at its narrowest point and passes literally through Lechogród, it’s understandable that Moldavia has chosen to regulate it rather strictly, permitting all civilian shipping in peacetime but reserving the right to decide which military ships are allowed to enter. In effect, this means only Moldavia’s closest allies, while Russia for instance can enjoy having its fleet locked in the Black Sea. This alone makes Moldavian friendship absolutely vital for Poland.

    Lechogród isn’t the only chokepoint held by Moldavia, either: Europe has grown increasingly reliant on easy shipping through the Suez Canal, which makes the journey to Asia more than 5,500 miles shorter (and much calmer weather-wise) than going around Africa. It is especially vital for Moldavia itself, seeing as its main colonies are in India and Madagascar, but also Poland with the East Indies and Nowa Straya. Due to its importance to all of Europe and the global trade, the treaties surrounding the Suez are somewhat more permissive than the Bosphorus, allowing also military shipping; but Moldavia still maintains the right and ability to close it off in wartime.


    Spoiler: New Covenant
    Show


    Capital: Moscow
    Population: 92 M. core (12 M. non-core in conquered Bolgharia)
    Government: Primacist Dictatorship
    Official Language: Russian
    Official Religion: Slavic paganism
    Faction: New Covenant

    With the signing of the Moscow Pact in 1444, all of Poland east of the Dvina and the Dniepr was granted independence as the “Russian kingdoms” of Chernigov, Novgorod and Vladimir. The local, constantly feuding lords had already been basically independent before then, and this was a preemptive measure to partition the Polish dominion – a massive land empire stretching from Frisia to the Urals – in good spirits before it collapsed under its own weight. Vladimir obviously went down its own path (see the Uralian People’s Republic), Novgorod couldn’t really escape being squeezed between its neighbors, but Chernigov forged its identity as a great conqueror of the Black Sea and inner Eurasia alike. Indeed, the very word “Eurasia” entered the Polish lexicon through Chernigov’s so-called Eurasian Wars in the late 18th century, and today it’s a cornerstone of Russia’s nationalist project.



    Ideologically and politically, Russia is the very image of a primacist nation. Having suffered the devastation of the Great War, the Duma’s abolition of the monarchy in 1908 had plenty of popular support, yet in the immediate aftermath of this decision, the entire country erupted into a second firestorm of revolutionary and separatist uprisings taking advantage of the power vacuum. This was the perfect opening for General Yegor Zavoyko, the remnants of his army, and the Vozrozhdeniye movement to seize power and brutally eliminate any opposition to their rule. 25 years have passed since his coup, and a whole generation of Russians have been born and raised steeped in primacist propaganda, primacist education, primacism in general. While the entire population obviously hasn’t been brainwashed or anything, and underground resistance movements of all colors do exist, they have no public presence. Observers in Poland are getting worried if the wider Russian populace is even possible to mentally “liberate” from this regime. The actual atmosphere in the country is impossible for an outsider to gauge, and dictatorships are known to look unshakable until the moment they fall, but that might also just be wishful thinking.

    After taking power, Zavoyko first delayed reinstating the Duma and then abolished it altogether, maintaining no pretense of democracy but in fact dismissing it as a failure and instrument of corruption. The Vozhd and his High Commissariat – an inner circle of often competing officers and bureaucrats, all in charge of their own portfolios in an almost neo-feudal manner – have held absolute power since then, and the word of the Vozhd is law. Considering just how leader-centric the system is, even by primacist standards, the new Vozhd Timur Morozov has done a remarkable job filling Zavoyko’s boots after his death five years ago. He has successfully enshrined both Zavoyko as the savior of Slavdom and himself as Zavoyko’s heir.



    All Vozrozhdeniye policy is geared towards three main goals: totalitarian control, Slavic supremacy, and the fated rematch with Poland. The economic recovery is a prime example of all three: the old core of Russia can’t really be moved from the west, but newer industry has been concentrated in the east, out of the reach of Poland, powered by a careful combination of Slavic settlement and non-Slavic slave labor (never in the same place – Russia’s size provides plenty of room for an out of sight, out of mind approach, where the people are vaguely aware of what’s going on but don’t really need to think about it). The economy, organized through ministries and state corporations, has been designed for the specific purpose of making Russia more self-sufficient in terms of food, basic necessities, and wartime industry. Immoral and perhaps unsustainable as its building blocks may be, in terms of production numbers, Russia’s industry is indeed on par with the other great powers. This quickly restored and even rising standard of life, together with public works, social security, and more liberal policies in less strategic sectors of the economy, is key to keeping the Russian population content.

    The Russian Army isn’t necessarily cutting-edge, having had to focus on rebuilding over upgrading, but obviously one of the primacists’ top priorities and still very large and well-rounded. The recent conquest of Bolgharia, while clearly one-sided by the numbers alone, finally seems to have ended a long streak of humiliations. Russia has always been a land power, though, and that’s nothing new. By contrast, its notable ports can be counted on one hand, especially after the loss of Nevanlinna and Estonia. It has short and highly vulnerable coastlines on three different seas, two of them behind multiple Commonwealth chokepoints that can be closed at a moment’s notice, and the only port with decently free ocean access – Onega – is both frozen for part of the year and rather remote.



    Yet despite all this, Morozov – a former admiral himself – has made the reconstruction and modernization of the fleet a high priority as well. Even if it has to accept being bottled up, it can at least secure a lifeline through Onega, try to contest the Baltic and Black Seas, and be ready to break out the moment it gets the chance. As the result of a huge campaign over the past five years, the Russian Navy – although split into three parts – is actually rather large and powerful. At least on paper.





    Capital: Rome
    Population: 99 million
    Government: Primacist Dictatorship
    Official Language: Latin
    Official Religion: Catholic Christianity
    Faction: New Covenant

    The modern shape of the Latin Empire more or less follows the lines laid by the personal union of Italy-France back in 1504, which would go on to become the dominant Christian power for centuries to come – arguably to this day, despite its humiliation in the Great War. Indeed, geographically the country can be quite neatly divided into Italy and France, and Paris was even “the second capital” for a long time before the primacists started centralizing power in Rome again. The revival of the Latin language and Roman traditions was just as artificial as, say, the founding of Yugoslavia, but after a couple centuries, they’ve become at least decently rooted even in everyday life. People speak their native languages at home, but are fluent in (modernized) Latin as a lingua franca. The biggest crack in this supposed harmony would be the Occitan people, who “despite their Latin roots” have long felt marginalized within the Italo-French state, and whose ill-fated rebellion in 1912 provided the opening for the Fascist Party to seize power. Under the primacist regime, the efforts to suppress Occitan nationalism have only further intensified.



    People are sardonically forced to concede that compared to Nordic Folkism or Russian Resurrectionism, Latin Fascism is the “less bad” type of primacism. Yes, like with any other kind of primacism, the thin veneer of amusing Romanophilic posturing conceals a level of militarism, political repression, and routine violence against one’s own citizens that no democratic country can accept. But on the plus side, the commitment to the Roman example brings a degree of ethnic tolerance, even if mostly aimed at assimilation into one Roman identity. This might not be ideal, but still far better than the outright genocidal nature of other movements. Although, it has also been shown that the Latins don’t really give a damn what the Russians or anyone else might be doing on their own end, and their own apparent tolerance is less ideological and more pragmatic in nature.

    The father of the fascist movement, Felice Fanti, supposedly partied himself to death in 1924. His successor Lucius Santori, a master of publicity but not necessarily military strategy, was assassinated via bomb only recently, in November 1935. The third and current Dux, Agrippa Gallo, has been in power for less than a month, and his hold on power is still shaky. He was a prominent figure in Santori’s administration as well, but few are really certain how he will rule, or more importantly, how he’ll succeed at it. In this moment of weakness, he has to deal with competitors both in his own regime, in the thoroughly gutted Senate, and abroad.



    In the Treaty of Grazyna, which the Latins have effectively renounced but failed to undo just yet, the country lost almost all of its colonies, Brittany, and swaths of land along the German border. Dux Santori’s attempt to reclaim the lattermost in 1927-30 is seen as the first of a new generation of warfare, involving the first battlefield use of airplanes, tanks, and other modern tactics and equipment. However, despite Germany itself being something of a pariah and the rest of the great powers deciding not to help, the Latin offense stalled, and the war ended in an armistice with minor concessions to the Germans. It was this failed conquest that shattered any illusions of total Latin superiority and led them to form the so-called New Covenant with Russia, creating a two-front situation not too different from that at the eve of the Great War. Other than their shared primacist ideology, which is of course fiercely nationalistic and not always inclined towards cooperation, they’re tied together by their mutual animosity towards the states sandwiched between them.

    The Great War didn’t work out too well for them, of course, so the main question is: do they believe something is different now, and if so, are they correct?

    The Latin nation was always more wealthy and industrialized than Russia, and survived the Great War with less devastation too, leading it to recover very quickly. Its military is all-in-all the third-largest in the world, behind Poland and Japan, but arguably more advanced than either of theirs, with a strong focus on motorization and air superiority. The navy is strong as well – unable to fight the Marynarka head on, but divided into smaller chunks? Who knows.





    Capital: Iruña (a.k.a. Pamplona)
    Population: 1.6 million
    Government: Absolute Monarchy (Nationalist)
    Official Language: Basque
    Official Religion: Catholic Christianity
    Faction: New Covenant

    The three “minor” states of the Covenant have much in common: simple geography has condemned them to follow the Latins’ lead, come what may. They joined the Latins in the Great War, stayed in their sphere afterwards, and show no sign of changing that any time soon. In addition to a certain sense of unity with their strong Catholic neighbor, their own drift towards primacism has been mostly self-guided: with their economies completely dependent on the Latins, it simply makes sense to appoint or elect whoever can best collaborate with the Fascist Party over in Rome, which over the years leads to the normalization of said ideology in the country itself. None of the three are officially “primacist dictatorships”, but the distinction is frankly not that relevant in face of reality.

    Well, the Duchy of Navarra has needed the least nudging in that regard, being a rather authoritarian and conservative monarchy whose duke is perfectly willing to collaborate in his own right. Militarily and economically, Navarra is a small, undeveloped backwater nation, but its strategic importance mostly comes from controlling one end of the Pyrenean Mountains. This means that Asturias to the south is unable to rely on the otherwise nearly impassable mountains as a natural border with the Latins, and may be more susceptible to Latin strong-arming because of this.





    Capital: Cagliari
    Population: 3.5 million
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Nationalist)
    Official Language: Sardinian
    Official Religion: Catholic Christianity
    Faction: New Covenant

    The Kingdom of Sardinia (sometimes Sardinia-Corsica) has existed by that name since the Middle Ages, the good old days when wit, determination and location could make a small realm into a notable player. The “Sardinian Thalassocracy” at various times controlled Algeria, Tunisia and even Bosnia, and was one of the Electors of the Francian Empire from that system’s cradle to its grave. However, while Sardinia has been able to keep up with the surrounding countries in terms of development, there’s simply no making up for its small population and size in this modern era, and despite its long and proud history, it’s had to accept its place as just another Latin lackey. At least this has spared the Sardinians from any aggression on the Latins’ part, despite being seen geographically as part of Italy.

    In addition to the home islands, the kingdom includes a small exclave in Africa around the port city of Oran. After centuries of occupation, this colonial vestige is more Sardinian than Algerian, and treated as an integral part of the country (not to mention housing a fourth of its population).





    Capital: Valletta
    Population: 242,000
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Nationalist)
    Official Language: Maltese
    Official Religion: Catholic Christianity
    Faction: New Covenant

    Last and least, the Kingdom of Malta is a relative micro-state mostly important for its location in the middle of the Mediterranean. Once a part of Italy, it actually broke off in 1547 under the banner of a military adventurer who ambitiously named himself the King of Sicily despite only really controlling Malta. However, after a couple centuries of his descendants failing to act on those claims, they agreed to drop the title in favor of better relations with the mainland. And that’s where they are now. They’ve undoubtedly benefited from their Latin protection, though, since their location means they definitely would’ve been targeted by someone over the years. Only 50 miles south of Sicily, the island isn’t such an important outpost for the Latins themselves, but denying it to the enemy is absolutely vital.

    As a curiosity, the Maltese language itself is actually an offshoot of Arabic, though a thousand years separated and with plenty of Italian influence.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2021-10-19 at 03:36 PM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (Finally in HoI4!)

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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    Spoiler: Neutral Europe
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    Capital: Frankfurt
    Population: 65 million
    Government: Republic (Conservative)
    Official Language: German
    Official Religion: None (60% pagan, 16% Waldensian, 16% Catholic, 8% Lollard)

    The German nation can find no unity in religion, but certainly in a shared language and common enemies. Even though its identity as “Germania” can arguably be tracked back to antiquity, it was first truly unified under Francian rule and then shuffled back and forth between various conquerors, until finally in 1444 the Poles established a pagan client kingdom with a Lechowicz king and Pomeranian nobility. Germany was never retaken by the Christians, but simply grew too sure of itself and turned against its old allies. The War of Moldavian Succession (1634-1638) laid the foundation for the long grudge between Germany and Poland, amplified by Dalimir I declaring himself “Kaiser of the Germans and Slavs” in 1745.

    But of course, Germany in the modern era is most defined by the German Revolution (1781-83) that toppled the short-lived Empire, beheaded most of the aristocracy and started an age of republican ideals, revolutionary wars and great paranoia across Europe. While eventually defeated by Poland and the Latins, basically collapsing into a long period of civil war between progressive republicans and repressive militarists, Germany was left with all too many grudges, delusions of grandeur, territorial claims, and the persistent feeling that it stands alone against a hostile world. By temporarily joining the Coalition in the Great War, Germany was able to realize most of its ambitions on the Latin side, but the fact that it took Polish help to do so left a bitter aftertaste.

    Despite going through a lot of different governments, the one thing Germany hasn’t really had since the revolution is a serious monarchist movement: republican ideals are strongly tied to nationalist ones, with the royal family being a hated symbol of Polish subjugation. Power in the Reichstag alternates freely between coalition governments of conservatives, liberals and social democrats. Blessed with a large population, fertile lands, and mineral riches, and further bolstered by the rich Freigrafschaft (Franche-Comté) taken from the Latins, Germany is one of the world’s greatest industrial centers and Frankfurt a financial hub. However, the nation is not entirely secure: not only is there still some separatist sentiment in Switzerland, Austria and especially the conquered regions, the Latin invasion in 1927-30 was only barely fought to a standstill. Should the Latins repeat this attempt, perhaps a little better prepared this time, there is no guarantee that it would end the same way.

    Germany’s army isn’t currently at full strength, but it is still large, modern, and the country’s top priority. The air and tank forces, while unable to match their Latin counterparts, are some of the only in the world with actual combat experience. And while there is a small navy – admirably modern, if only due to being destroyed and rebuilt all the time – it is recognized as something of a lost cause, at least as long as Germany’s coastline is what it is.





    Capital: Munich
    Population: 7.7 million
    Government: Republic (Conservative)
    Official Language: German
    Official Religion: Lollard Christianity

    While Bavaria as its own state does have a history going back to the Middle Ages, it was only really revived in 1840 when it decided to break off from a Bundesrepublik in the throes of military defeat, revolution, and civil war. This turned out to be a wise decision, as that chaos over in Germany ended up lasting quite a while, whereas Bavaria became a prosperous little republic – at the cost of accepting Polish influence. Its connections with next-door Bohemia benefited the industries of both, but the terms were still clearly dictated by the Poles, a humiliating situation for a proudly German and Christian state to be in.

    The Bavarians are united by the Bavarian dialect, Lollard faith, traditional borders and more, but the main thing separating them from Germany used to be the political situation in Frankfurt. Thanks to the Polish alliance, they were often pitted against their “homeland” or even refused to consider it such, but because their separation was originally caused by circumstances almost 100 years ago, as those circumstances changed, they have slowly started to prefer Germany over Poland again. Ever since the Great War, where they fought side-by-side, Bavaria has been drawing closer to Germany, up to the point of joining it in the last war against the Latins.





    Capital: London (officially also Edinburgh and Dublin)
    Population: 45 M. core (44 M. non-core)
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Conservative)
    Official Language: English, Scottish Gaelic, Irish
    Official Religion: None (Waldensian, Gaelo-Nordic pagan, Catholic)

    The pseudo-federal structure of the Empire of Britannia has only gotten messier in the past couple decades, and in fact, there’s a temptation not to waste too much ink on exploring all its subtleties. On paper, the relevant part is that England, Scotland and Ireland all have their own separate crowns and parliaments, and only some government functions have been by special arrangement shared between all three, as compared to true federations like the Free Nations where state governments exist under a sovereign federal one. “The Empire” is simply what the country as a whole is called, in contrast to the three separate kingdoms. Since the beginning, this setup has led to a system where London more or less sets the course, yet the other two still have plenty of ways to hamper things if they want. The Irish populace and parliament have thrown another wrench in the works by continuing their long streak of rebellion and demanding far greater autonomy, even scorning their “own” kings, illegitimate Scottish pretenders imposed from above.

    Thus the 40-year-old Empire of Britannia exists in an unstable state where most of Ireland is half-independent and trying to push that ever further, Scotland is increasingly slave to English interests, and the whole country is still suffering from the lingering miasma of the Great Depression. As for the other minorities, there are plenty of republican Irishmen left in Northern Ireland, the Welsh have been denied any national representation (partly as “punishment” for their own rebellion in the last century)… perhaps only the Yorkish are relatively content with their status. At the time of its formation, many saw the Empire as a utopian but at least genuinely hopeful peace project, but already it is looking more and more cobbled-together in retrospect.

    It is almost a miracle, then, that the parts of the Empire excluding Ireland haven’t seen greater political turmoil or violent unrest. Despite its economic failures, the Conservative Party has held onto power across the isle, partly because the opposing Labour Party and even more so the Communists need no help shooting themselves in the foot at every opportunity. The Britannic Union of Primacists, demanding (perhaps not without reason) a strong unitary government to replace the current patchwork of parliaments, has also become a loud voice in the opposition but not a serious contender. All in all, the country isn’t at immediate risk of total collapse, but has certainly sped through the “rise” part of a typical empire’s lifespan and then sat in the “stagnation” period for the last twenty years.

    With divisions at home leading many to wonder why the country even exists, Britannia’s vast colonies – administered by the central government – have more or less become its raison d’etre, even while increasingly controversial not just for the usual moral reasons but also their role in the “colony bubble” that started the Great Depression. Indeed, a massive part of the Empire’s resources is spent on the upkeep and protection of these colonies, in such a way that no one can calculate whether they are truly a net positive or not. Britain has notable holdings in Alcadra, the Pacific, but especially Africa and China.





    Capital: Shenzhen
    Population: 64 million
    Government: Dictatorship (Colonial Government)
    Official Language: English (Cantonese, Hakka and other Chinese languages)
    Official Religion: None (Sino-Muslims, Chinese pagans, and Shurenist Christians)

    The so-called Nanfang Protectorate (Nanfang simply meaning “Southern”) is the more recently adopted name for Britannia’s sizable, and populous, holdings in China. Its only semblance of autonomy, though, is whatever leeway the imperially appointed governor is given to apply the orders from the homeland. In addition to the usual mineral goods and all, the Protectorate is most famous for producing a plurality of the entire world’s tea. Also called “blood tea” by some, this cash crop is obviously grown at the expense of actual food, and often in substandard conditions. The large Chinese population also produces a captive audience for British goods, which are typically made from materials produced in the colonies, worked in Britannia, and then shipped back across the sea. The colony itself has purposefully been left with little manufacturing capacity.



    Of course, keep in mind: this just happened to come up here, but also applies to most other colonies of any given country.

    At least Britannia’s notorious (and notoriously inefficient) practice of inflating its army numbers with Chinese conscripts has been phased out, though mostly due to logistical and financial problems in the wake of the Great Depression. The Japanese could learn from the example. The Protectorate still maintains a good number of conscripts on a local level to guard its own border, though.

    Some of Britannia's other colonies will be discussed in the sections for the relevant continents.





    Capital: Dublin
    Population: 6 million
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Social Democratic)
    Official Language: Irish
    Official Religion: Waldensian

    Ireland is only nominally a kingdom under a king that most of the populace actively scorns, and who doesn’t actually reside in Dublin, but in Belfast. This situation is only seen as a stepping stone towards full independence (accompanied by the liberation of Northern Ireland from British occupation). Even during its time as part of the Kingdom of the Scots, the population of green Ireland was always larger than that of rocky Scotland, and they felt little unity despite their “shared Gaelic culture”. Scottish or later British attempts to colonize the island haven’t sat well with them, leading to many revolts that had to be put down by force, often with the aid of Polish arms. With a shaky compromise that pleases neither side, they’ve only really kicked the resolution of this centuries-long struggle a little bit further down the line.





    Capital: Naoned (a.k.a. Nantes)
    Population: 2.9 million
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Social Democratic)
    Official Language: Breton
    Official Religion: Catholic Christianity

    Brittany first took the opportunity to break off from the Latin Federation in the chaos that followed the Mad Year of 1840, but was swiftly reannexed as the Federation rebuilt itself. As the largest distinctly non-Latin minority in the Federation, the Celtic Bretons faced slow but steady efforts to assimilate them into France, or alternatively colonize the region with Frenchmen. Little was heard from them until the Great War, where – during the occupation of the area – the British entered into talks with the local independence movement and found that they had common interests. With a little extra push from Scots lobbying for their fellow Celts, the independence of Brittany (Breizh in Breton, Bretagne in French, Britannia Minor in Latin) was secured in the Treaty of Grazyna, albeit under British protection due to its precarious position – which the Bretons appreciate. A popular rebel leader was crowned Conan I of the Kingdom of Brittany, and with ample foreign sponsorship, the country seemed destined for prosperity.

    However, not only has the small but vocal Latin minority in the country (roughly 12%) maintained a constant resistance and lent fuel to a Fascist Party offshoot that had to – again – be put down with Polish help, the country’s close ties to Britannia have also forced it to share in the prolonged agony of the Great Depression. Growth pains, perhaps, and not a fundamental structural problem like those faced by Britannia itself, but the atmosphere is certainly tense.





    Capital: Stockholm
    Population: 13 M. core (1.4 M. non-core)
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Conservative)
    Official Language: Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian
    Official Religion: Nordic paganism

    Though still often called Sweden for convenience, the country is also referred to as the Nordic Kingdom (or Kingdom of the Nordics) due to, perhaps, the capital’s fading prestige. The Kingdom of Sweden, Finland and Norway is badly stagnant both politically and economically, the two of which obviously feed into each other. What domestic industry it does have is badly lopsided towards military and shipbuilding (respectable and often profitable, but not necessarily tied to quality of life), and the extraction of its massive mineral riches, only for those minerals to be shipped to Poland, Britannia or Germany for the actual manufacturing part. Though the Kingdom’s resources and strategic location have allowed it to maintain its status as a “honorary” power far longer than it should’ve, being too dependent on raw material exports has never been good for anyone, especially as stubborn overspending on the armed forces used to uphold that great power image puts a great strain on the budget.

    The Great Depression hit the Nordics hard – perhaps the worst out of any country outside the direct British sphere – and led to a still-lingering rise in social tensions and labor conflicts, up to and including riots turned armed uprisings. The crisis temporarily raised the price of food imports, which the less-than-arable country is highly dependent on. And while mining is a pretty harsh industry to work in to begin with, it certainly didn’t get any better as the Kingdom pushed to increase production at any cost… despite the fact that the main issue was lack of demand for metal, seeing as industry and construction had taken a nosedive all around the world. In response to increasingly red-tinted labor movements, the General Electoral League (the already conservative ruling party which has had an iron grip on power for decades) adopted basically a zero-tolerance attitude towards unions and any kind of socialism, even outlawing several leftist parties. This further contributed to a freeze in relations with Poland, which was (and is) led by the SDP and also demanded labor reforms in return for its Stawicki Aid program, which the Kingdom chose not to accept.

    Clinging onto its colonial legacy, worried about Russia, and increasingly wary of its own populace, the Kingdom maintains a decent army and a large, if somewhat outdated, navy. However, while it fought in the Great War alongside Poland and acquired both Nevanlinna and Estonia for its troubles, the former was only questionably “worth it” and the latter never interested in serving Stockholm to begin with. The Nords certainly don’t feel indebted to the Poles in any way.





    Capital: Tallinn
    Population: 2.4 million
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Social Democratic)
    Official Language: Estonian
    Official Religion: Esto-Slavic paganism

    The Kingdom of Estonia – a loose confederation of tribes, like most kingdoms of that era – had something of a golden age back in the 10th century or so, but eventually fell by the wayside between Polish, Khazar and Russian expansion. In 1052, the King officially joined the Slavic Church, but that didn’t stop Polish warlords from conquering the area in the centuries thereafter. In the Moscow Pact of 1444, Estonia was made part of Novgorod. While lacking a formalized system of minority rights quite like Poland’s, Novgorod was generally respectful of them, and Estonian burghers and magnates even found themselves in a privileged position due to their control of the all-valuable Baltic coast. That all changed with the Russian unification, when the larger size of the country, increase of government officials unfamiliar with and uninterested in Estonia, and rise of specifically Slavic Russian nationalism left the Ugrian minorities such as Estonians as second-class citizens.

    When offered independence by the Treaty of Ryszarda, the Estonians welcomed it with open arms. After a constitution was written and parliament formed largely on the Nordic model, an Estonian colonel and nobleman was accepted as King Arvo I. The people had, and still have, mixed feelings about the events of the war itself, but Estonia was far from the worst battlefront anyway, and they are grateful to Poland for this gesture (even more so after watching Russia turn to primacism). Said independence did come with the stipulation that Estonia was to be placed under Nordic “protection”, but where the Nords were probably hoping for a Yugoslavia-style subject state, this relationship always ended up being more of an empty formality, even if it remains in place to this day. The Nords have been too weak to even invest very much in Estonia, with Poland playing a larger role instead.

    The Estonian army is decently large and well-equipped for a country its size, as is its navy (focused on coastal defense ships), but in practice, seeing as the only realistic threat comes from Russia, the military fully expects to play a supporting role to foreign defenders in any case of war. If left on its own, Estonia has already lost.





    Capital: Amsterdam
    Population: 8.8 million
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Liberal)
    Official Language: Dutch
    Official Religion: None (Slavic, Waldensian, Catholic)

    Frisia is one of those countries with a history clearly distinct from, but intimately tied to Poland’s. Long part of the Francian Empire, the region was conquered piecemeal by Polish warlords throughout the 13th century before falling under the sway of the Grand Duchy of Bohemia. However, it was both geographically and even more so culturally distant from Poland, and no one could really claim it was “Slavic”, nor did large-scale slavicization attempts or Slavic migration (only a lot of merchants) ever take place. Paganism did take root, though, leading to a 60% pagan majority still in place today. As an already rich region and Poland’s main gate to the Atlantic, Frisia prospered and grew fat on trade – but, they argued, less than if they’d been fully independent.

    The Amsterdam Compromise of 1624 was the result of large and long-lasting rebellions that the Polish crown simply decided weren’t worth it. In exchange for still serving Polish interests, the Grand Duchy of Frisia was granted considerable autonomy, except for a few enclaves such as Antwerp (which was later returned to them anyway) and Calais. Frisia’s importance only began to decline as Poland’s main western port became Hamburg, the Kiel Canal allowed easy access to the Baltic, and finally the Suez Canal opened much shorter routes to and from the East Indies. It was mostly content with its autonomy, though, even proving a great help in various wars.

    Frisia’s full independence, effectively achieved during and after the Great War, wasn’t actually formalized until Lechoslaw IV’s royal writ in 1917, at which point everyone already took it for granted. Though not huge in terms of population or military, the Frisian name is still widely recognized as an overachiever in the spheres of commerce, industry, art, and even engineering and naval power, all based on its 1000-year history as a center of trade. Current relations between Frisia and Poland are cordial, but the country has declined membership or even association status in the Commonwealth or any other Polish alliances, wanting to cement its independence and remain neutral.

    Fun fact: Frisia is originally the name of a geographic region that included parts of Frisia, Germany and even Denmark along the North Sea. As this was the direction that the Poles approached modern-day Frisia from, it eventually got ingrained as the name of the whole country, even among the locals themselves (though the language they speak is called “Dutch”). The larger region that includes Frisia, Lotharingia and Calais is also known as the Low Countries, or the Netherlands.





    Capital: Charleroi
    Population: 9.3 million
    Government: Republic (Conservative)
    Official Language: Lotharingian French
    Official Religion: Catholic Christianity

    As a Latin, Francian and Christian state, there are arguments to be made that Lotharingia “naturally belongs” in the Latin sphere of influence, and oh, have those arguments been made. However, due to its strategic and industrial value, Poland took an interest in it roughly a century ago and never entirely let go. In return, the Poles defended it against the Latins several times, helped it secure the territory it took from the Latins, let it use the port in Calais, and overall got along rather well. Only during the last two decades or so did the Lotharingians make an entirely unforced error by slipping into the Fascist sphere after all and joining in the invasion of Germany. The armistice that “ended” said war stipulated the demilitarization of Lotharingia’s German border. While that whole condition was only a formality that the Germans wanted to include to make it look like they’d won, legally the Lotharingians are still forced to abide by it as long as the armistice holds.

    Lotharingia broke its Latin alliance soon after and sheepishly slipped back under Polish protection, seeking association status in the Commonwealth and thus a guarantee against foreign aggression. The republic has refrained from any more proper alliances for now, though. The flirting with the Latins seems to have inspired the country’s own primacists a little too much, and now the government is trying to avoid any sudden movements that would either strengthen or provoke such extremists any further.





    Capital: Reykjavik
    Population: 116,000
    Government: Semi-Parliamentary Monarchy (Isolationist)
    Official Languages: Icelandic
    Official Religion: Nordic paganism

    The least populous country in the world, not counting any micro-states too small to show on the map. The Yngling dynasty, descendants of the great Queen Thordis who in the 11th century conquered most of Scandinavia and the British Isles as well as founded the Nordic Church, were forced to retreat to Iceland when Norway was conquered by the Ingers in the 15th century. The Ynglings and their most diehard loyalists joined the fishers and sheep-farmers who had settled there before them. While officially it took another few centuries for them to give up their claims to the mainland, they never made any serious attempt to act upon them. The reasons why should be pretty obvious. With Iceland’s population, it couldn’t do much militarily even if it put literally everyone in arms. Instead, the Ynglings were forced to sit fuming and make the best of what they had.

    Iceland has always been highly isolated, sometimes willfully so, letting in only a limited number of supervised shipments from whatever country it was on the best terms with. Even at the peak of global imperialism, the great powers were pretty much fine with this, as they didn’t really care. The only real resource that Iceland can be said to have are its fishing waters, and there the surrounding countries – the Nordics, Britannia, Poland through Bielyziemia – have been able to push it further and further with no real fear of repercussions. This, of course, rightfully makes the Icelanders feel rather persecuted.

    Thanks in part to its political, cultural and economic isolation, Iceland has been able to maintain a strong and conservative monarchy. Still, in an arrangement reminiscent of Poland a hundred years ago, in practice the elderly King Olaf XII delegates most of his responsibilities to the recently empowered parliament – the Althing – and its prime minister. The military consists of a single infantry regiment, a few coast guard vessels, and no air force. Industrially and technologically the country is half a century behind. No one has bothered to either invade or ally Iceland in almost 500 years, and they expect that streak to continue.





    Capital: Van
    Population: 1 million
    Government: Absolute Monarchy (Conservative)
    Official Language: Armenian
    Official Religion: Sunni Islam

    Listed here due to sitting at the border of Europe and Asia, and not really fitting anywhere else.

    Despite the Kingdom of Armenia being the first country to adopt Christianity back in the 4th century, it was conquered and converted by the Muslims (just like the rest of the region), then later made into a Pratihara buffer state. After breaking off from the Pratihara in the 1840s, when said empire was in its death throes, it has managed to go luckily unmolested since then, apparently wooing the King of Moldavia with some sort of (purely ceremonial) tributary system to avoid being conquered. Unfortunately, Armenia has also been spared from any other foreign influence, and is perhaps the least “developed” independent country in terms of living conditions, politics, technology and all that. (Equally poor or even poorer regions exist within larger countries, of course.) Not to mention that most of the world’s actual Armenians live across the border in Moldavia or Russia, and the actual territory controlled by the kingdom isn’t even that which the Armenians themselves would consider the historical core of the country.


    Spoiler: Asturian Empire
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    Capital: Toledo
    Population: 42 M. core (20 M. non-core)
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Conservative)
    Official Languages: Spanish
    Official Religion: Catholic Christianity

    The “Asturian Empire’s” foreign policy adventures haven’t exactly gotten any less embarrassing since the last time we checked in. Most notoriously, it made an alliance with the United Arab States and then joined the Desert War against Abyssinia, Poland and the entire Coalition, only to do literally nothing the entire war and eventually seek white peace without fighting a single battle. Unsurprisingly, the alliance with the UAS didn’t last long after this. Two decades later, Asturias was making noise about its new “axis” with Germany, only to betray its ally the instant the Latins invaded it. Since then, Asturian neutrality has once again been formalized both by its own government, and by the popular perception that Asturian treaties are less durable than the paper they’re written on.

    Internally, Asturias has remained decently stable and democratic, but the feeling that the establishment is a bit flighty and unreliable hasn’t evaded the country’s own population either. Furthermore, as Asturias’ gaffes (and old grudges) have distanced it from the rest of the democratic world, it has shown hints of being susceptible to the Latin Empire’s “stronger together” diplomacy towards its fellow Catholic Latins. While any sort of actual unification with the Empire is obviously not in high demand, primacist and in particular conservative Christian ideas do have a real audience in the country. The “Anti-Asturian War” of 1871-72 is to the Asturians what the Great War is to the Latins. However, much like in Lotharingia, the mainstream parties are still determined – for reasons both political and genuinely fearful – to keep the primacists in the opposition.

    Speaking of religion, the Andalusian Muslim community of southern Asturias has all but disappeared over the centuries, either converting, leaving, or migrating to the colonies (be it voluntarily or under pressure), creating the single largest and most widespread diaspora in the world. This has, ironically, softened Asturias’ policies towards Muslims, and made possible things like the erstwhile alliance with the UAS.

    Despite being mostly treated as a secondary power for a long time now, Asturias does still have a rather wide-ranging if not that powerful colonial empire, including two autonomous – and very different – viceroyalties, or “dominions” as they call them these days. The Asturian military on land and sea is decently large, even if not the most modern, but its biggest problem in recent history seems to have been with the political leadership not knowing what to do with it.





    Capital: Havana
    Population: 10 million
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Conservative)
    Official Languages: Spanish
    Official Religion: Catholic Christianity

    The move from “viceroyalty” to “dominion” came in the wake of the Asturian Revolution of 1875, after the country had already lost many of said colonies in the Anti-Asturian War. As the parliament seized sovereign power for itself and the royal house was reduced to a ceremonial role, it simply didn’t make sense anymore to imply that the colonial governments derived their authority from the king either. Contrast this with Britannia, whose constitutional monarchy was born from peaceful reform and which is thus more comfortable throwing the viceroyal title around rather willy-nilly. In Asturias’ case, this development allowed its different colonies to head in rather different directions.

    The Dominion of the Zanaras is one of the oldest colonial constructs still in existence, even if radically altered. Over the centuries, the islands’ natives have fallen to a negligible percent of the population, as have their first colonizers the Andalusians, but instead, the largest demographic is African former slaves. Slavery wasn’t abolished in the Asturian colonies until the 1870s, and while the end of the slave trade nearly stopped African, ahem, “migration” and increased the flow of people from Europe instead, the Zanaras’ greatest social division is still that of the lighter upper classes against the darker poor. And though sugar, tobacco and such are no longer the grand prize of empires, they are still valuable exports in high demand across the world, leaving the nation little incentive to truly reform its plantation-based economy.



    Though truly universal suffrage wasn’t reached until recently, the Zanaras have taken advantage of their newfound autonomy as a dominion to become a democracy with the power to elect its own governor and parliament. Still, rather than any kind of federation, the sprawling archipelago has stuck to a relatively unitary central government, partly due to the sheer disparities in wealth, size and demographics between the islands.





    Capital: Ciudad de Esperanza (Cape Town)
    Population: 7.1 million
    Government: Dictatorship (Colonial Government)
    Official Languages: Spanish
    Official Religion: Catholic Christianity

    The land of Esperanza and its eponymous capital were named for the Cape of Good Hope: the southernmost point of Africa, and obviously the colony’s main point of interest. Internationally it is most remembered for its conflicts with the nearby British colonies, though the Poles also occupied it once during the Anti-Asturian War. It wasn’t actually granted its present autonomy until 1918 when, hit with economic problems, Toledo decided to grant the governor and his government’s “popularly backed” requests to make Esperanza a dominion like the Zanaras.

    Unlike with the Zanaras, though, the push for autonomy was mostly driven by Esperanza’s then-and-current governor, José Gabriel de Granada, who reputedly runs the colony as more or less his feudal demesne with the help of some similarly aristocratic friends. There isn’t even a facsimile of democracy, as Toledo wasn’t prepared to demand one when the dominion was created, and Esperanza’s founding document specifically made it so that one couldn’t really be forcefully imposed later on. A stunningly successful coup on de Granada’s part, some would say, but he has nonetheless remained “loyal” to the homeland and provided everything that it wants out of the colony, allowing Toledo to ignore the problem.



    In contrast to the Zanaras, which are at least trying to face their racial past and present (and whose population is highly mixed), Esperanza is still strictly segregated, fully ruled by its white minority (larger than anywhere else in Africa, though), and one of those places in the world where the institution of slavery basically still exists in all but name. Of course, that is perhaps a natural reason that “democracy” is seen as such a long leap away, an impossibility in the country’s current reality even if someone were to seek it.



    Other than a string of scattered islands leading from Europe to Asia, Asturias' most significant remaining colony is Asturian Indochina. It is less a singular colony and more a ragtab bunch of them, though, and bisected by the Shan Empire at that. The most significant colonial settlement is the city of Rangún in the Bay of Bengal, sometimes described as a "European city that got lost" with markedly Asturian architecture, culture and infrastructure; however, other than that, Asturian Indochina is very rural and mostly valued for its supply of rubber and rare metals.


    Spoiler: Northern Eurasia
    Show


    Capital: Gondyr-Ola (Vladimir)
    Population: 20 million
    Government: Democratic Communism
    Official Languages: Numerous Uralic languages (main language Mordvin)
    Official Religion: Atheism (Slavic and Uralic pagan elements)

    All of the Russian kingdoms had sizable non-Slavic minorities, but Vladimir was the only one where the Slavs were the minority. The kingdom included huge swaths of recently conquered Uralic and Bolghar tribes and claimed-but-unsettled wilderness, and the Russian population itself was mostly concentrated in the southwest around the larger towns of Moscow, Vladimir, and Nizhny Novgorod. The kingdom was mostly able to avoid squabbling with its fellow Slavs, instead embarking on a campaign of exploration and settlement far, far into the Eurasian east, all the way to the Manchurian border. Slavs from neighboring countries were also invited to participate and offered free land in Siberia, but it was hard to truly slavicize the nation while working with such a small core population.



    The Uralic majority of the country really consisted of dozens of different nations, many of which felt little kinship with each other, but something resembling a united identity started to form in opposition to the Russian ruling class. However, this majority was still not strong or united enough to fight its own revolution. With the untimely death of its Russian king in 1678, Vladimir fell into a personal union under Germany. While Germany was unable to directly govern Vladimir if it tried to, this had dramatic aftereffects come the German Revolution in 1783. As the monarchy over in Braunschweig was abolished, the revolutionary government offered the Uralians what they wanted on a silver platter. The vast estates of Vladimir were split into the republics of Uralia, Siberia, and Bolgharia, the former Russian rulers reduced to a spited minority in all of them.

    With the eventual fall of the Bundesrepublik in 1840, these republics were independent at last. Later on, Uralia agreed to cede Moscow to the newly-united Russia, taking care of that border dispute and much of its Russian minority. Alas, the eternal tension of capital-versus-periphery continued to define politics in the country: as Uralia started to industrialize, the central government started to infringe more and more on tribal rights in order to extract resources from their lands, while the benefits were funneled to the southwest. This, together with all the universal trends of the era that frankly feel redundant to explain at this point, led to the communist Uralian Revolution in 1904, with great popular support.

    The revolution was led by sawmill manager Gondyr Yamshanin, a true working-class hero, the capital city renamed Gondyr-Ola in his honor. Many, though not nearly all, other place names have also been de-slavicized, most notably Nizhny Novgorod (Okram Osh), Yaroslavl (Timerevo), and Iset-Sheher (Yekaterinburg). While Yamshanin was seemingly a real idealist and beloved by the people, it didn’t take long for the People’s Republic to grow increasingly centralized and autocratic just like its predecessors, leading observers to roll their eyes at history seeming to repeat itself. However, since his death in 1926 – not necessarily because he was holding things back, but simply because no one else could have similar authority – there has actually been a move towards a more decentralized, democratic structure where the workers and communities really are given the power they were promised, albeit within the strict framework of communist ideology. This is still a work in progress, but getting there, and seemingly motivated by a real will to reform (and not just internal pressure, which is also a factor).

    Uralia is the largest, most imminent and most familiar example of communism in the West, but not exactly a superpower or military threat to anyone. At least its industrialization has been highly successful, reaching production levels similar to Frisia or Lotharingia (albeit with twice the population), but even though it's able to conduct overseas trade through the Arctic and overland with Siberia, it is growing ever more isolated (even before accounting for other countries’ misgivings towards its political system). Russia used to be Uralia’s main trading partner for a long time, before their respective revolutions, but now with the conquest of Bolgharia, Russia’s open threats to avenge Uralia’s mistreatment of its Slavs are being taken more seriously than ever. Even beyond Uralia and Russia’s personal grudges, primacism and communism themselves are mortal enemies, and both see the other’s ideology alone as ample reason for annihilation.

    Despite investing very heavily into its army to act as a deterrent, Uralia doesn’t expect to be able to resist the Russians for long, should it come to war. Its main hope is to be just formidable enough to keep the Russians wary of starting a multi-front conflict.





    Capital: Tomsk
    Population: 6.6 million
    Government: Republic (Radical Socialists)
    Official Languages: Siberian Tatar, various other Turkic and Uralic
    Official Religion: None (a huge mix of pagans, Muslims and Hindus)

    Siberia’s history as a country really starts in 1783, when it was split off from Uralia due to its sheer size and the weak infrastructure at the time making it impossible to actually govern from the far west. Before that, it had been just the even more rural half of Vladimir, explorers and settlers flooding onto tribal frontiers in search of gold and furs. Siberia is rightly considered the epitome of “remote”, being located in deepest Eurasia and having a long coastline yet no fully reliable ports due to the thick Arctic ice. With a relatively small population meaning that it’s not hard for any newcomers to form a significant demographic, it’s become a truly ragtag mix of Siberian Tatars, Slavs, native and settler Ugrians, Mongols, and more. Even some Hindus have lived in the region since the days that it was a borderland of the Pratihara Empire. Siberia also self-identifies as “The Land of Exiles”, many of them literal: Vladimir used to send its convicts and dissidents there en masse, and in recent decades there’s also been a huge uptick in refugees from primacist Russia. Of course, the most high-profile exile of all was the King of Russia himself, who took refuge in neutral Tomsk during the Great War and thus brought Siberia the most international attention it had ever enjoyed. But despite this hodgepodge of origins, the people living there have no loyalty to any other homeland. In some ways, Siberia is arguably the closest the Old World has to the Free Nations of Amatica.



    Though the settler–native coexistence has never been free of tension, over time a firm feeling of solidarity and national identity has nonetheless formed, strongly influenced by left-wing ideology. What little industry the country has is concentrated around the capital, while the rest of the country is still very much rural – much of the population still lives off hunting, or reindeer-herding for that matter – and equally distributed state support is seen as the only way to maintain half-decent welfare and infrastructure across thousands of miles of wilderness. Though Siberia remains a liberal democracy for the time being, the Radical Socialist Party has held power for several terms now, and is openly on the way to transitioning to “real socialism” with the broad support of the people. While this seems either suspicious or puzzling to most Western observers, perhaps life in Siberia really is a world apart, its political and economic realities difficult for anyone else to grasp.

    But despite Siberia’s socialist tendencies and friendly relations with both Uralia and Manchuria, it wouldn’t trade its independence for anything, and will pursue its future on its own terms. Siberia is some way down the Russian hit-list, but on there nonetheless, especially after giving its brave albeit vain support to Bolgharia in 1934. To prepare for that inevitability, the Siberian army is well-trained and extremely determined, even if small and relatively low-tech, and likely to rely on raids and guerrilla warfare to slow enemy progress into their territory.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2021-10-15 at 06:19 PM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (Finally in HoI4!)

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    Spoiler: Arabia & Africa
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    Capital: Mecca (official), Medina (de facto)
    Population: 62 million
    Government: Federal Republic (Social Democratic)
    Official Language: Arabic (and various state languages)
    Official Religion: Sunni Islam

    The history of the Arab nation can be traced back directly to Prophet Muhammad himself, and the various caliphs that succeeded him. Though myriad other sects exist within the Muslim world, the dominant Sunni branch holds that the Prophet left no direct successor, but the first caliph was appointed by his companions after his death. Ever since the monarchy in Arabia was abolished in 1859, this point has also been used, not necessarily to delegitimize the caliphate, but to paint it as a historical institution that is no longer vital for the continuation of the faith. No popularly recognized caliph has existed since the assassination of the last Madjid by a radical Wahhabist, though many people across the world have tried to claim the title.

    The highly popular ruling party is an advocate of “Islamic socialism”, which isn’t so much “Islamism and socialism” as “socialism adjusted to work in harmony with Islam”. It shares a certain cultural kinship and parallel evolution with Indo-Zhaoism in that sense, putting a lot of emphasis on Islam’s own ideals of… well, charity and anti-materialism. But unlike Indo-Zhaoism, which is ultimately an offshoot of the avowedly militant and authoritarian Zhaoist movement, the UAS’ leading ideology is moderate, closer to the social democratic parties found elsewhere. Also like most of those other parties, though, it has a more radical faction to its left, more extreme in its reading of both Islamic and socialist dogma. In the opposition, it faces a conservative party, a more secular and market liberal party, a sizable Hindu-Persian block, and a small primacist movement.

    The UAS is the archetypical example of a democratizing empire having to accept a decentralized structure in order to be even remotely governable. The biggest thorn in its side would be, predictably, the non-Arab or even non-Muslim minorities, namely those in Sudan, Persia and Afghanistan. The federal structure is designed so that they can be given concessions in their home states even while not having much power in the central government. Especially Persian separatism has been a constant issue, even more critical now that Persia has been shaping up to be the federation’s main oil-producing region.

    The other main geographic sticking point would be the Maghreb, i.e. Morocco, Algeria and Tunis, which were conquered from Kanem-Bornu and the erstwhile Barbary States. While the people are decently content with their lot inside the pan-Arab federation, logistics are obviously an omnipresent headache, as all traffic has to go either through the Moldavian-owned Suez Canal or around the entire continent. As a result, the Maghreb has naturally become somewhat more autonomous and distinct from the rest of the country.



    And finally, the UAS holds onto the lone province of Inhambane in southern Sofala, an old colonial remnant that doesn’t really serve a clear role in the present federation. It has a small population, doesn’t produce much of note, and the UAS is hardly a sea power with a need for far-flung naval bases. But while all the surrounding powers have offered to buy or otherwise acquire the colony, the Arabs have been strictly opposed to the idea of literally selling out their fellow Muslims to heathen colonial masters. At least this has also endeared them to the local population, and conditions in Inhambane are in fact more similar to the rest of the UAS than to the surrounding colonies.







    Capital: Negele
    Population: 5.4 million
    Government: Semi-Parliamentary Monarchy (Conservative)
    Official Language: Oromo
    Official Religion: Sunni Islam

    The name “Abyssinia” is sometimes considered a misnomer, being based on an Arabic exonym for the mountainous region that today includes northern Abyssinia and disputed parts of the UAS. The locals themselves call their country Itoophiyaa (Ethiopia, itself an antique Greek loan), made up of ethnic regions such as Oromia and Somalia. Originally the southernmost remnant of the Tulunid Sultanate that ruled over most of Egypt in the Middle Ages before being pushed back by the Madjids, the Sultanate of Abyssinia has been diametrically opposed to all subsequent Arab states, including the modern UAS. Even the Arabic language, obviously the tongue of the Muslim faith and most of the Muslim world, has been losing ground in the otherwise staunchly Sunni country as modern nationalism inspired the elevation of Oromo as an official language. The ruling class, including the distant descendants of the Tulunids, have themselves been thoroughly Oromized along the way. However, for the most part, building a real “national identity” is still a work in progress, and unlikely to go very well if it only means trying to assimilate all other groups under the Oromo banner.



    Internationally, Abyssinia has mostly been of interest for its strategic location in the Horn of Africa, not so much its resources or anything else. As a Polish pseudo-protectorate, it has inspired the occasional border crisis and was also at the center of the Desert War, which saw a great deal of blood spilled across the sands only for a return to status quo. The country’s internal life has been far from monotonous, though. As the Sultans have clung to their power, only giving in to slow and gradual change – and any opposition has had little trouble acquiring guns and funds from the UAS – they have faced a fair number of political rebellions. Some of these have required Polish intervention to put down, but right now, the country has been decently stable for a while, continuing its grudging march towards constitutionalism.

    As the country is relatively small in population (as well as economy), Abyssinia’s military – consisting mostly of basic infantry and hardy camel cavalry – is entirely focused on protecting its northern border, rightly considering any war against a colonial power highly unlikely but a lost cause should it occur. While it isn’t a part of the Commonwealth of Sovereign Nations (and neither side is in a hurry to change that), it is Poland’s closest partner in the Indian Ocean, and thus enjoys Polish guarantees against foreign aggression.





    Capital: Gatiga
    Population: 22 million
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Isolationist)
    Official Language: Arabic, Kanuri
    Official Religion: Sunni Islam

    The Sultanate of Kanem-Bornu has been, without doubt, highly successful in maintaining its power over most of Western Africa and the Sahel region ever since the early 15th century, even if it has been overshadowed by the colonial powers politically and Benin economically. The original reason behind the Sultanate’s prosperity lay in its close connections to the Arab world across the desert, but its success since then is self-made. Fluctuating between periods of aristocratic and royal domination, for the most part it has been a strong monarchy with the Muslim faith serving as a unifying factor against the Christians and pagans alike. Only more recently has the government taken on more parliamentary features.

    Partly due to its sheer size and the capital’s eastern location, the Sultanate has always been built around local centers such as Kano, Niamey, Gao, Timbuktu and Bamako. A railway system connects most of the realm, but the distance from Gatiga to Bamako is the same as that from Krakow to the Urals, and these distances still make themselves felt. Unlike in, say, Abyssinia, the rulers haven’t made serious attempts to turn it into a “nation-state”, but contented themselves with the pseudo-feudal, pseudo-federal structure and let Arabic serve as the national language. Not until the last decade has it had serious problems with separatism, which the rulers consider a foreign import.

    The Sultanate is a success story of homegrown industrialization, even if most of the country is still agrarian. One of the great symbols of this is the Saharan Railway, connecting Timbuktu to Morocco as the sole railroad (or even road) across the desert that otherwise only camels can cross. However, the Sultanate’s unfortunate role in the Great War – being denied any gains despite its great contribution to the Coalition’s cause – also gave the UAS the opportunity to conquer Morocco and thus the other end of the railway. This left the Sultanate entirely without a coastline, not that it was ever a naval power, and isolated in every sense of the word, spiteful and uninterested in any new alliance with the Coalition powers.



    At present, the Sultanate has been rather stagnant since the Great War. Its military and industry, though decently large, have both fallen thirty years behind the rest of the world, and all its neighbors seem either hostile or indifferent. Inaction and focusing on its own problems seem like the natural choice.





    Capital: Edo City
    Population: 13 million
    Government: Primacist Dictatorship
    Official Language: Edo
    Official Religion: Edo paganism

    “Benin” is another exonym, originally the name of the capital Benin City that Europeans then applied to the rest of the country, even though the locals never called themselves that. Across the ages, the native name of the country has always been Edo, yet in a strange case of recursive linguistics, Benin City itself was recently renamed Edo City. That last part is actually the doing of the primacist dictatorship under President Sango Solaja that, in only 1931, secured the capital and put down all the other separatist, dictatorial and republican factions taking part in a messy civil war.

    Benin has always been multicultural, and one of the oldest republics in the world. How appropriate, then, that after joining the Great War started by its fellow republics, the Latins and Russians, it would meet the exact same fate as them. Its megalomaniacal campaign against Kanem-Bornu ended in disaster (mostly thanks to Polish interference), leading to a collapse into anarchy, infighting, and the aforementioned primacist takeover. These primacists’ ideology is in many ways a continuation of the same militarism that caused this whole mess, with the exception that they believe in turning the country into an ethnic nation-state fully ruled by the eponymous Edo people, destined to defeat the Bornuans and colonialists alike and unite all of Western Africa, sucking all its vast resources into the beating heart of Edo City.

    Edo City is indeed the largest city on the continent, housing a good third of the country’s population, but after the last thirty years, not exactly the thriving metropolis it once was. Solaja’s coup was only possible due to the exhaustion of the other factions’ forces, and after it, he has similarly kept power through violent repression under a thin layer of populist reforms. While Benin is the most industrialized corner of the continent, its military and economy are in tatters, and it is unknown whether Solaja will be capable of whipping up the populace for the next war that he seems to want.



    With the exception of Esperanza, colonial Africa – which was for a long time just a string of trading posts along the coast – has retained its nature as a “resource extraction operation” with comparatively little European settlement, though a white upper class has also established itself as the people running that operation. There are parts where the climate is more suited to European sensibilities, whereas the parts around the equator still tend to be treated as the “dark continent” and shunned by settlers. Africa has been mostly consolidated between Poland and Britannia, though Nordic, Asturian, Moldavian and even Japanese outposts remain.



    Polish colonies, most of them on the west coast, are generally grouped up into Senegambia, the Gulf Colonies, and Central Africa. The main military centers of these regions are Bissau, Sloncowy and Luanda respectively, and the vast majority of the land is administered by colonial governors, with only the Kingdom of Kongo still existing in a purely ceremonial status. In terms of infrastructure, the Polish colonies are decently well-organized and connected along oceanic, river, and overland routes. By comparison, the British colonies – geographically haphazard and acquired from a number of sources – are quite difficult to navigate, and the inner parts are very “remote” even to the Brits themselves.

    Decolonization has obviously been discussed and desired in the colonies, even when mostly sidelined in Europe. Most memorably for the Poles, the African colonies saw a string of armed uprisings – some ideological, some purely separatist – in the same period that Poland had its own civil war, and due to the size and terrain of the colonies, it is safe to say that even active resistance hasn’t been entirely rooted out in the decades since. However, what exactly should be made of the colonies after their hypothetical independence remains an even larger hurdle in the eyes of many European politicians than the effect that their loss would have on the colonial powers themselves.

    Spoiler: League Under Heaven
    Show






    Capital: Tokyo
    Population: 97 M. core (190 M. non-core)
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Nationalist)
    Official Language: Japanese
    Official Religion: Shinbutsu (Shinto-Buddhism)
    Faction: League Under Heaven

    The Japanese Empire often seems somewhat contradictory, having developed in “parallel” to Europe but clearly separate and very different from it. It is the oldest constitutional monarchy in the world with political liberties on par with any other, the home of the 18th century Enlightenment movement, and always in the vanguard of technology and industry. Yet it is also markedly conservative, religious, and xenophobic, and foreigners tend to feel rather unwelcome in Japanese ports: Japan strives to have maximum control over its trade, both ways, even when this clashes with its economic best interest. It doesn’t care about either importing or exporting “culture”, and despite the Enlightenment making Japanese science and philosophy (at the time) a cornerstone of global academic tradition, Japan today has little international presence, but is instead seen as enigmatic and distant. Japanese citizens, too, live in a peaceful, prosperous bubble, isolated from the world, with national harmony as the supreme value.

    This peace and prosperity are paid for by Korea and China, in both materials and men. The Imperial Army’s size continues to be inflated by the Ryouchouhei (“territorial conscription”) system, where Chinese colonial subjects do the bulk of the fighting and the Japanese themselves mostly serve in officer and office jobs. Already the Great War showed just how ineffectual and in need of reform this system really was: despite holding a massive numerical and home turf advantage, Japan took embarrassingly long to even enter British China, failed to invade any Polish territory, and avoided any naval battles. The smaller war against Britannia and Poland in 1914-15 was a slightly better showing, but also showed how little progress had been made. Besides the conscripts, whom Japan seems actually afraid to give too much training or operational liberty, it appeared that there was also a problem with the leadership. The Imperial Army at the time, used to fighting underequipped Chinese warbands, simply didn’t know how to deal with a more “modern” enemy, while the seemingly advanced Navy was far too focused on defense to the point of passiveness. It is unclear how well these concerns have actually been addressed in the twenty years since.



    Japan is the #2 industrial power right behind Poland, with a massive population to match. Alas, its outward militarism over the past centuries has been built on the fact that the Japanese themselves are safe on the Home Islands, and the Ryouchouhei system has proven difficult to abolish, as it would mean a choice between recruiting more Japanese or downsizing the army altogether. The former is a hard sell to the voters, since Japan is a democracy, while the latter would symbolize giving up on dreams of Asian hegemony.

    Japanese settlers in China are demographically insignificant next to the massive local population, while their couple outposts in Africa are just small naval bases, but Korea and the Ryukyu Islands have seen extensive Japanese colonization (while true citizenship or even “assimilation” remains out of reach for the locals themselves). The Kamchatkan colony is massive in terms of area, covering the entire eastern tip of Eurasia, but hasn’t seen much settlement and is in fact one of the most sparsely populated regions in the world. In Kamchatka, Korea and China alike, the border with the communists has become something of a headache, with them trying to sneak in and rile up the natives or sabotage infrastructure.







    Capital: Hsipaw
    Population: 39 M. core (56 M. non-core)
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Nationalist)
    Official Language: Shan
    Official Religion: Theravada Buddhism
    Faction: League Under Heaven

    Although the constitutional monarchy of the Japanese Empire was achieved by a relatively famous revolution – or at least a glorified coup – the Shan Empire’s comparable system was born through a more gradual process of the ruling elites eroding the emperor’s power base, only to reach a tipping point where they finally had to start appeasing the regular populace as well. The Shan state is very much a traditional “empire” in the sense that the Shan themselves are a minority mostly concentrated in the capital area, yet still rule a large and diverse region through a mix of divide-and-conquer policies. Alas, like many such empires in recent years, it has found itself needing to make more and more appeasements, and some of those subject peoples have been more content than others. The supremely mountainous geography of the empire just amplifies the demands for local administration: any sort of nationwide infrastructure, especially on the east–west axis, is always a huge ordeal to construct.

    The Shan navy remains almost nonexistent, the government probably seeing it as a lost cause, but the land army is actually quite large and not even terribly outdated, partly due to Japanese investment. As a country with relatively similar politics, very distantly related culture, but most importantly common enemies, the Shan Empire has become something of a natural ally for the Japanese, and they even fought together in the brief war against Poland and Britannia. Both are staunchly anti-communist, anti-European, and quite openly expansionist, and recently formed an official alliance called the League Under Heaven, that latter part of the name meaning roughly “global” or “greatest in the world”. Asia has been a theater of secondary interest for the European empires, but it seems some sort of major clash is inevitable, one way or the other. The only real question is whom the League might consider its first priority.

    Spoiler: World Workers' Front
    Show


    Capital: Qiqihar
    Population: 50 million
    Government: Vanguard Communism
    Official Language: Manchu, Mandarin (nominal recognition for minority languages)
    Official Religion: Atheism (Manchu pagan and Buddhist elements)
    Faction: World Workers’ Front

    Morphing from a tribal confederation into first the Jurchen (“Yeren”) Khanate, then the Republic of Manchuria, the Manchus were for a long time tributaries – and allies – of the Japanese Empire. Even as they both started to take advantage of the Chinese Chaos to push into the region, they did so in concert; there was of course friction over the division of these new frontiers, but never too much. The Japanese were also happy to have a buffer state between themselves and the Russians, occupying a region they didn’t see as too valuable.

    After conquering much of inland China, Manchuria was the most populous republic in the world, but only technically: full citizenship was mainly available to the ethnic Manchus themselves, and even then limited by wealth, class, and tribal connections. Though the government’s increasingly autocratic attitude was mostly directed at the Chinese, it also started to affect the Manchus themselves, and together with growing economic inequality, laid the ground for upheaval. Seeing as Manchuria lay next to – and had annexed a chunk of – the homeland of the communist revolution, it was perhaps inevitable that this upheaval acquire a red tint.

    Not counting Tibet, all the Zhaoist revolutions in China thus far had been stillborn or short-lived at best. The Chinese Chaos was the perfect cauldron for new states to rise, but also to fall, often before even being recognized outside of their neighborhood. That’s what made the Manchu Revolution in 1904 such a gamechanger, as it successfully overthrew a large and long-lived state like never before. While led by a small “vanguard” consisting mostly of military officers – homegrown communists, but certainly influenced and aided by their Chinese comrades – it received popular support all across the country. While the Republic wasn’t strictly without its own supporters, the People’s Republic ultimately replaced it very quickly with relatively little trouble.

    While still very authoritarian and merciless towards its opponents, the communist regime did much to alleviate the regular people’s most immediate concerns, and also treated the Chinese more equally, rewarding them for their contribution and laying the foundation for what would become the People’s Republic of China. Since then, Manchuria has consolidated its power, feuded with Japan, finished conquering its corner of China, made friendly contact with Siberia and others, and worked on modernizing its still highly agrarian society.

    The current dictator, Chairman Sahaliyan Borgi, believes that industrialization is a must if the communist project is to survive long-term, especially after Japan handily won the last war between them. However, he’s first and foremost an “international revolutionary” who believes that Manchuria must spread the revolution across the continent, build a large buffer of communist sister states, and especially secure all of China and Korea. There’s no doubt that Manchuria itself must be at the center of this project, but that leaves it with the inevitable dilemma of how to balance China’s much larger population. Another good reason for Manchuria to become the industrial powerhouse of the relationship, one might suppose.





    Capital: Beijing
    Population: 128 million
    Government: Communist Dictatorship
    Official Language: Mandarin, Manchu (nominal recognition for minority languages)
    Official Religion: Atheism (Sunni, Buddhist and native Chinese elements)
    Faction: World Workers’ Front

    There’s an argument to be made that Manchuria was so willing to “let go” of China partly because the ethnic Manchus were, at that point, outnumbered 4-to-1 by the Chinese, and this made the Manchu nature of the country very hard to maintain without some very un-communist-like conduct. Then again, Manchuria didn’t actually lose much at all, since Beijing is still firmly under Qiqihar’s thumb and likely to stay there for a while. China itself is a smoking ruin after almost a hundred years of war, and that war isn’t really over either.



    Even if there are no more warlords and kingdoms to clean up, all sides pretty much think that it’s only a matter of time before the factions that have split the nation into four parts – the People’s Republic, Japan, Britannia and the Shan – resume fighting over it. Only the first is aiming for a “united China”, of course: the rest are just shamelessly trying to grow their respective empires.

    The political violence of the communist regime is a step up from the raids, constant state of warfare and, well, political violence of the Chinese Chaos, and at this point, most people are just grateful to have their daily bread (or rice, rather). The more democratic but mostly ineffectual Chinese Republic that fell in 1928 is mostly missed by people other than the Chinese themselves, including the Poles for whom it was a vital gateway to the region. The regime does, however, face persistent guerrilla activity – be it anti-communist or simply separatist – in its western mountains. As for the “light feuding” with China's various neighbors, it mostly consists of China sneaking in agents across their very long borders, while said neighbors just try to hold their own.

    Spoiler: The Khanates
    Show


    Capital: Ulaanbaatar
    Population: 6.8 million
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Social Democratic)
    Official Language: Mongolian
    Official Religion: Sunni Islam

    The great khans of Mongolia are obviously best known for the time that they spent ruling the largest contiguous land empire in world history… well, until its conquest by the Pratihara, which thus became the largest in turn. After centuries of Pratihara, Uyghur and finally Russian rule, the modern Mongol Khanate has little continuity with any Mongol state of the past, except of course cultural. It and the bordering Uyghur Khanate were established as constitutional monarchies in the Treaty of Ryszarda, mostly in an afterthought “Well, we’re not letting Russia keep them” kind of way, but this independence was welcomed nonetheless. Though Mongol and Uyghur soldiers and resources had been shipped off to the Great War, at least the fighting itself never reached the region, and the Poles were still the liberators in this equation.

    But with their independence obtained, the khanates had to reckon with the geopolitical reality. To the west, Russia; to the east, the Chinese Chaos and the communists; to the south, the Himalayas and the less than helpful states behind them. Only Siberia to the north was relatively amicable, but not exactly a major power. Poland gave the nascent democracies what material and military support it could, even fighting communist uprisings on their behalf, but since the fall of the Chinese Republic, there has been no viable route to even access these inland regions. Poland at least nominally upholds the so-called Altay Pact promising to defend these countries, mostly against Russia, but all seem skeptical that it’d actually work that way in practice.

    Mongolia can be divided into two parts: Inner and Outer, the latter comprising the ethnically Mongol provinces reclaimed from the Chinese Republic in its dying days. Both parts are highly rural, even nomadic, dominated by steppe, desert and mountains, but a decent industrial base has started to form around the few urban centers. The military is relatively large, mostly due to the communist threat, and mostly built around half-modernized cavalry.





    Capital: Ürümqi
    Population: 6.7 million
    Government: Constitutional Monarchy (Conservative)
    Official Language: Uyghur
    Official Religion: Sunni Islam

    Uyghuristan’s history is “largely similar” to Mongolia, in terms of being conquered by the Pratihara and then the Russians. Although, whereas the Uyghurs used to be part of the Mongol Empire at its height, when they gained their independence from the Pratihara, the Uyghurs managed to leverage their position and foreign support to actually annex the Mongol region into their own state. The Russian conquest a few decades later rendered this moot, and the Treaty of Ryszarda finalized their separation. While some old tensions remain, both countries have been remarkably nonaggressive since Ryszarda – partly due to the much more threatening forces around them, partly due to their mountainous border forming a rather natural boundary that they find both politically and militarily difficult to contest.

    The capital Ürümqi is actually the “most landlocked” major city in the world, located 1,600 miles from the nearest sea, but of course, the whole country is much the same in that regard. The region used to find prosperity as a major thoroughfare for the Silk Road, offering control of some of the only viable passes through the mountains that surround it on all sides, and Russia did sort of try to recreate that in the form of the Trans-Tartarian Railway. Alas, in the wake of the primacist takeover, the same railway that promised to bring prosperity to the khanates has become more of a liability. At least the khanates seem to be relatively low on the presumed Russian hit-list, and Morozov has tried to maintain somewhat cordial relations in an attempt not to totally alienate all his neighbors.

    The Uyghur population is almost equal with Mongolia, and economically and militarily the two are on rather similar footing. Politically, the main difference would be that communists – homegrown and Chinese alike – have had more of an impact in Mongolia, whereas in Uyghur lands their wily attempts at infiltration have mostly led even moderate socialism to fall out of favor.

    Spoiler: Southern Asia
    Show






    Capital: Kanpur
    Population: 74 million
    Government: Indo-Zhaoist Directorate
    Official Languages: None (de facto Hindi)
    Official Religion: None (strong Hindu and Buddhist elements)

    India, surrounded by jagged mountains or open ocean on all sides, might be thought to have a geographic tendency towards isolation. After European colonization attempts in the early 19th century disrupted things yet mostly fell through, the factors that made India a global center in the Middle Ages failed to repeat that miracle in a modernized world, and the whole subcontinent has received little international interest as everyone just sails right past it. This has also contributed to India’s once strikingly rapid industrialization stagnating a fair bit: the Karnata and Maratha states have turned out decently productive and globally recognized, but far from the juggernauts they both could’ve been with their early start, independence, and large populations.

    The north of the continent, though, never saw that boom to begin with, and remains almost as backward, rural and poor as it was two hundred years ago. Once upon a time, the Pratihara dynasty based in Kanpur ruled the largest land empire in history, taxing around a third of the entire world population and sending armies as far as the Dniepr. However, the story of its stagnation and slow decline is a long and painstaking one, and at this point feels rather distant from what would become the barely recognizable Republic of Rajasthan and finally the Gangetic Commune. Never really being a naval power and eventually losing its coastline entirely left the country very much isolated, at the mercy of its expansionist southern neighbors. Indo-Zhaoism, a form of communism that drops the militant atheism and instead actively embraces Hindu and Buddhist elements such as charity, antimaterialism and unity of all beings, has found fertile ground in Rajasthan and neighboring Gondwana, leading to popular revolutions in both. The Gangetic Commune, still finding its footing, is presently a one-party state led by communists with a firm grip on power, but whose Chairman isn’t so much a dictator as the appointed spokesman of a dictatorship that discusses things in private.

    The Gangetic Commune isn’t really a military threat to its bigger, richer, more modernized southern neighbors, but it is an ideological one. Indo-Zhaoism hasn’t just been popular in the north, but came close to taking over in the Karnata Republic as well, and the ideology actively pursues Indian unification, be it as a single state or just a network of communist allies. As for why the Commune hasn’t simply been taken out already: it is only a few years old, the republics are more busy leering at one another, and simply invading a large country to overthrow a government that still has the people’s support for now is easier said than done. Still, split into three mutually hostile factions, India is certainly seen as a ticking timebomb with the population of a continent – and thus a great bounty for whichever side might win.





    Capital: Nagpur
    Population: 13 million
    Government: Indo-Zhaoist Directorate
    Official Languages: Gondi
    Official Religion: None (strong Hindu and Buddhist elements)

    While the Gondi people have long been a large minority spread across all of India, and some feudal states over the ages ruled areas roughly comparable to these present borders, they were rarely given representation as a people per se. The People’s Republic of Gondwana, then, is in an awkward position where Gondi independence-slash-nationalism is a major uniting factor, but a lot of “their people” are still left outside their borders while a lot of “others” are inside, not to mention that communism itself is mostly meant to be anti-nationalist in nature. Even if they don’t especially mistreat those non-Gondi populations, one somewhat underhanded reason that they want communism to take over all of India is that this would allow for easier population trades between the different regions.

    Having been part of the Maratha Confederacy before international pressure forced its release in 1925, the young nation was quickly taken over by a military junta, but this junta didn’t last long before being overthrown by a grassroots communist revolution. This was actually the first one in India, predating Rajasthan’s by a few years. While obviously the smallest country in the region, and not too densely populated at that, it is still almost the size of Great Britain, and due to its stint in the Confederacy, decently industrialized as well. It’s far more “advanced” than its close friend the Gangetic Commune, leading to hopes that their respective technology and resources could be combined into a communist great power.





    Capital: Mumbai
    Population: 68 million
    Government: Federal Republic (Nationalist)
    Official Languages: Marathi (and various state languages)
    Official Religion: Hinduism (and other Dharmic religions)

    During the time of the Pratihara Empire, the Marathi people formed a distinct caste of landowners, artisans and soldiers with great influence in their own corner of the nation, in what is today the southern part of the Confederacy. However, the impetus for their independence actually came from their relatively brief colonization by the Germans, which wrenched them away from Pratihara domination. After the Bundesrepublik collapsed in 1840, the Marathi people took all the knowledge, guns and other resources that had been shipped to the colony and used them to quickly carve out a large chunk of the still existing but greatly weakened Pratihara.

    Though basically a military dictatorship in its early days, the Confederacy eventually made a rather bloodless shift from a confederation of warlords to a confederation of states. It has a mostly federal structure with a lot of power given to the states, but while a functional republic, it is still rather authoritarian, conservative and paternalistic in its style of government, not to mention its open ambitions of uniting all of India. Part of the reason for the federal structure is to make it easier to add new territories, as the Confederacy refuses to consider the current situation permanent or even lasting. This has brought it into conflict with both Karnata and Rajasthan, most recently in their own sideshow of the Great War, which the Confederacy won. Much like with the great powers of Europe, only their other interests as modern states keep this fighting from being far more constant.

    The ambitious Confederacy has found great success in its industrialization, leading India in terms of economic output despite having only half of Karnata’s population. Both of these things have at least something to do with the Great Indian Desert, which dominates the north of the country and is rather sparsely populated, but also full of natural resources. The army is almost as large as Karnata’s and the navy actually larger, which of course shows the country’s high level of militarization.





    Capital: Madras
    Population: 118 million
    Government: Republic (Conservative)
    Official Languages: Kannada (with allowances for local languages)
    Official Religion: Hinduism (and other Dharmic religions)

    The third and greatest power in India, the Karnata Republic, can trace its uninterrupted history back to the medieval Karnata Kingdom even more directly than the Ganges Commune can to Rajasthan. The constitutional monarchy was abolished only in 1918, leaving the governmental structure mostly intact. However, even though the country is the most populous in the region – and the most populous republic in the world – its military history is actually rather spotty. A long history of being kicked around by colonial powers and the Confederacy has left many people uncertain of the country’s own future. Most recently, it fought and lost against the Confederacy and the Treaty Powers in a sideshow of the Great War, only to be handed the Russian colonies in the Treaty of Ryszarda as a consolation prize after the fact.

    Despite the size difference, the Karnata economy is actually weaker than the Confederacy’s. In the same vein, its military is larger but less developed. Furthermore, despite the Confederacy being ostensibly more nationalist and authoritarian, the Karnata Republic is actually the more centrally ruled and ethnically unequal of the two: though the suppression of India’s many local identities has been deemed an impossibility, the rule of the Kannada elites is very firmly entrenched due to the country’s long history. Hinduism is less central to the national identity than it is in the Confederacy, but non-Kannada and non-Hindu minorities still tend to feel disenfranchised in the republican system just as they did in the former monarchist one.





    Capital: Lhasa
    Population: 5.8 million
    Government: Communist Dictatorship
    Official Language: Tibetan
    Official Religion: Atheism (Bön pagan majority)

    Tibet, “the inheritor of the original revolution”, would like to style itself a rival to Manchuria, but in practical terms this is just empty talk. At least outright conflict has been avoided due to both the relative obviousness of this fact and the more important issues on the board. Ideologically speaking, Tibet’s brand of Orthodox Zhaoism could be considered somewhat more absolutist and totalitarian than Manchuria’s, but not to the point that the Manchus actually feel obligated to intervene or anything.

    All the industrialization attempts in the world haven’t been enough to overcome Tibet’s natural challenges in that field, but if living standards have failed to rise as much as expected, this is a result of economic weakness as well as repressive policies and overinvestment in the military instead. Tibet may sit on a high plateau in the Himalayas, but it can’t rely entirely on terrain to keep it safe in this day and age, even if the leadership seems to tacitly acknowledge that any kind of offensive action is a lost cause with Tibet’s small population and industry.





    Capital: Sittwe
    Population: 901,000
    Government: Primacist Dictatorship
    Official Language: Arakanese
    Official Religion: Theravada Buddhism

    The modest borders of Arakan have actually remained almost unchanged for a long time, mostly because all its neighbors – even the Asturian imperialists – were content to leave the mountainous region as a “neutral zone” rather than waste time fighting each other over some mountains and fishing villages. For instance, the country holds little interest for Asturias per se, yet Asturias would’ve felt obligated to intervene somehow if the Shan tried to conquer it and gain access to the Indian Ocean. And the Shan, also recognizing this, have decided to rather avoid fighting the Europeans for no reason.

    Arakan, a kingdom until a while ago, has been relatively poor, undeveloped, and isolated from global developments. It’s also hard to find any clear ideological history for the current dictatorship, despite having shown some primacist sympathies: it’s more of a classic example of an aristocratic military strongman seizing power in a small rural state with few institutions to stop him. Compared to the deposed king, though, said dictator has been more outspoken about Arakanese nationalism, order, unity and whatnot. At least even he seems to recognize any actual military adventures as highly unrealistic for the small country.





    Capital: Vinh
    Population: 3.2 million
    Government: Primacist Dictatorship
    Official Language: Vietnamese
    Official Religion: Mahayana Buddhism

    Asturian Indochina has mostly been relevant as a source of the usual cash crops, some mineral goods, and more recently rubber. Partly for that reason, Toledo has been unwilling to commit to any outright war with the rump states of Vietnam and Cambodia: it would definitely have the military might to annex them, but it wouldn’t be worth it in terms of resources at the cost of risking the stability of the whole colony. Not to mention that in the 20th century, colonialism is still in full swing at the same time that trying to conquer new colonies is considered passé or even condemnable.

    The tiny Empire of Vietnam has been left independent as a token concession of sorts. More recently, the foreign occupation of Vietnamese lands has lent fuel to a homegrown, pseudo-primacist movement that performed a palace coup in 1917, leaving the Emperor as a figurehead but effectively seizing absolute power for itself. While many military dictatorships are happy to just seize power and sit there enjoying the spoils, the Vietnamese one is absolutely of the sort that is actively pursuing the liberation of the country – should any chance arise.





    Capital: Saigon
    Population: 3.3 million
    Government: Indo-Zhaoist Directorate
    Official Language: Khmer
    Official Religion: Atheism (Hindu majority)

    As a foil to the primacists, separated from each other only by the Asturian colony, there is the communist state of Cambodia. Similarly small, having had most of its territory taken by Asturian, Latin or Polish colonists, Cambodia actually has quite a long history of revolutions dating back to the 18th century, but the communist takeover of the republic was actually achieved by an internal coup in only 1921 (deepening the parallels with Vietnam).

    The Indo-Zhaoist state is very much built around the city of Saigon, but actually relatively prosperous and even self-sufficient, as the communists inherited an already decently developed economy that they’ve done a good job not ruining (as democrats would put it). Though their rhetoric is obviously very different from that of the primacists, in practice, they too pursue the decolonialization of Indochina. A shame, then, that ideological differences stop them from joining forces.

    Spoiler: The Pacific
    Show


    Capital: Accardo (Auckland)
    Population: 3.4 million
    Government: Primacist Dictatorship
    Official Language: Italian
    Official Religion: Catholic Christianity

    More commonly known as Aotearoa, the native name for the islands, the primacist regime has been promoting the use of the formerly obsolete name Nova Sicilia, given by the first Italian explorers to visit the region. Having organized an independence referendum at the end of the Great War, the Aotearoan people voted firmly in favor, tired of being ruled by an empire on the opposite side of the world that treated them as a small backwater province. Alas, though the Aotearoans made attempts at forging new connections with Nowa Straya, other colonies, and even Amatica and Alcadra, they ended up falling victim to a primacist march on the capital in 1911 – even earlier than Rome, actually. The most defining rallying cry for the Legione Libera was the threat posed by the growing demand for equality for the native Maori, spearheaded by the Maori themselves as well as some leftist groups. As the democratic government seemed to be making some grudging moves in that direction, the Legione decided to take matters into its own hands.

    While also broadly primacist, the Legione Libera has no direct connection to the Latin fascists, and believes in neither integration nor outright extermination of the native population, but has been treating them even worse than any previous administration. Life for the average European settler hasn’t changed as much under the present regime, with the exception of any who dare speak against it. But like so many other primacist countries in the world, internationally Nova Sicilia is just too small to do much more than chafe between the larger, more powerful empires surrounding it. At least the army is comparatively large, out of sheer paranoia if nothing else.





    The Pacific Ocean has been something of a strategic afterthought thus far: its sheer size means that controlling it could be immensely valuable, but is also very difficult, and none of the colonial powers’ most important shipping routes have any need to cross it anyway. There is still traffic between Asia and the New World, of course, but no major fighting has taken place in or over the region. Instead, the various empires have split it amongst themselves in relatively good spirits, after having already carved up all other land available. Most colonial powers claim or used to claim some islands, with Poland and Britannia being dominant. The Japanese Empire, the country with the most interest in changing this arrangement, tried and failed to do so due to its notoriously lackluster performance in the Great War.

    While most of the larger islands were obviously populated even before colonization, and European settlement actually remains rather marginal, there are also countless smaller atolls and other barren rocks that mostly serve as naval bases to extend the reach of their owners.

    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2021-10-17 at 02:50 PM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (Finally in HoI4!)

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    Spoiler: Amatica
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    Capital: Radziwill (Kingston)
    Population: 65 million
    Government: Federal Republic (Conservative)
    Official Language: None (effectively Polish)
    Official Religion: None (various Native and Slavic pagans, as well as millions of other immigrants)

    It must be grudgingly admitted that the Free Nations of Amatica has been extremely successful at the main goals laid out by the leaders of Buyania, Lukomoria and Jeziora when they took their independence from Poland in 1847 and formed what would become one of the greatest republics in world history. Despite (or perhaps even thanks to) its federal structure and massive area leaving plenty of space for regional differences and countercultures to thrive, it hasn’t faced a single “major” example of violent unrest, remarkable by today’s standards. Its democracy has managed to remain both stable and, well, democratic. Built on many of the same tolerant ideals as Poland itself, and of course all the same contradictions, the Free Nations prides itself on being the beacon that would soon – in very concrete ways – spread those ideals across the rest of Amatica as well. The dream of Bozydar Radziwill has been more than realized.

    For a long time after its independence, the Free Nations remained more or less tied to the Polish economy, but by the Two Wars Period at the latest, it was able to break into its own due to a huge influx of immigrants, damage done to Europe as a whole, and a lapse in Polish influence. But though Poland offered a bit of help, it was largely through its own military strength that the Free Nations liberated most of the continent in the Anti-Asturian War, and when the Scottish colonies also broke free later on, they fell right into Radziwill’s lap as well. Only the United Lordships has remained staunchly contrarian, refusing to accept the Free Nations’ economic and political hegemony, though the heroicness of this principled last stand is rather diminished by what the Lordships’ own principles include (see below).

    Sitting safely way across the Atlantic, the Free Nations stayed out of the Great War entirely, and has in general been saving a lot of money and pleasing its populace by keeping its military small (in proportion) and strictly professional. Hunting, shooting and citizen militias of varying competence are also popular across the vast, wilderness-filled country, leading to the idea that a lot of people could be mobilized on short notice if need be. More recently, the Federal Party’s President Walenty Podlaski has been more insistent on closer economic and military collaboration with Europe, but even though the unwieldy Trojka system was abolished back in 1914, the country’s notorious trilateralism is still there, as the House of Representatives and Senate have been able to block his ambitions. The opposition Commonwealth Party even renamed itself the Confederation Party a while back to avoid any confusion with Poland’s little experiment, which they strongly oppose joining. The main division between the two parties – federal power vs. state power – has grown a variety of even somewhat confusing side branches over the years.



    Life between ethnic and religious groups has been unusually harmonious in the country, all things considered, but in practice, the Polish language and pagan religions dominate. The country’s also had only one Native and one non-pagan (namely Jewish) head of state, even despite having three heads of state at a time for most of its history. Natives are far more prominent in Congress, where all the regions choose their own representatives and many of these regions are specifically Native territory (meaning that non-Native immigration, even from within the country, is actually restricted).





    Capital: Vancouver
    Population: 2.7 million
    Government: Republic (Conservative)
    Official Language: Scottish Gaelic
    Official Religion: Gaelo-Nordic paganism

    Certainly in the “lower tier” of colonies based purely on material usefulness, Cascadia is decently large, but very sparsely (or at least unevenly) populated and not extraordinarily rich in resources, despite the discovery of oil. Instead, its location has led to something of a mutually beneficial relationship with the Free Nations. Despite the Free Nations’ acquisition of Alaska, it doesn’t really have proper ports or cities on the Pacific Ocean, so instead, Cascadia’s economy and infrastructure have been directly integrated so that the Free Nations is free to use Vancouver and Seattle for its trade or even military needs. They’ve stopped short of formalizing Cascadia’s subservience in any way, of course, keeping it as a fully sovereign country even if a basically “dependent” one.

    Like all the former Scottish colonies, Cascadia was allowed to go free without much hassle when British unification happened in 1894, though it was already quite distinct from the homeland by the time and deep into the Free sphere. Connected by the same pagan faith and other shared history as their homelands were, the Poles and Scots in the New World had a lot of common ground. However, the Scots’ harsher policies towards the Native Amaticans have led many tribes from both Cascadia and Hibernia to grudgingly move across the Free border, causing friction between the governments both at the time of this migration and years into the future, after those tribes have integrated into Free society and have to be accounted for in its politics. For example, politicians from the Free Nations province of Alberta have to balance good relations with Cascadia with the fact that many of their own voters are refugees from Cascadia.

    Not having fought in any real wars since its independence, the Cascadian military is relatively small and outdated, and only as half-decent as it is due to earmarked support from Radziwill. The same goes for most of the nearby countries, unless mentioned otherwise. The Free Nations wants to keep its allies' armies in some sort of shape partly so its own men and attention aren't wasted on defending the entire continent all by itself.





    Capital: Kjipuktup (Halifax)
    Population: 868,000
    Government: Republic (Social Democratic)
    Official Language: Mi’kmaw
    Official Religion: Native paganism

    (Note: The region is Mi’kma’ki, the people the Mi’kmaq, and the language and general adjective Mi’kmaw.)

    The period that Mi’kma’ki spent as “Alfmark” under Nordic rule spanned 1606-1896, and has certainly left its mark on the nation in terms of architecture, legislation, material culture and more; but in other ways, it is a very thoroughly “Native” nation. The colony was always very small, the Nords only barely in the majority, and after the Mi’kmaq won their civil war – or revolution, as they call it – most of the Europeans moved to the Free Nations, while fellow Natives came from the Free Nations to replace them. While the Free Nations was in an awkward position regarding the Mi’kmaw country on its border, it eventually decided not to intervene in the young nation (except economically) and also forbid any foreign powers, including the Nords, from doing so. Being itself a prosperous and relatively egalitarian federation where settlers and Natives have been able to coexist, the Free Nations would’ve much preferred if the Mi’kmaq and Nords could’ve found a similar solution, but the considerable sympathy felt by Natives across the country also meant that open meddling was off the table, lest Radziwill's own integrity come under fire. Unsurprisingly, the Free Nations’ tentative invitations to join the federation were very sternly rebuffed, and the Mi’kmaq chose a policy of diplomatic neutrality.

    While briefly a pseudo-monarchy ruled by its wartime Warchief, after the situation stabilized and the country’s independence was assured, Mi’kma’ki became a relatively straight-forward republic with an elected Grand Chief and Grand Council (with many lesser chiefs and councils under them). However, as the country still struggles to find its identity – especially having fought its way out of the Nordic sphere, only to seemingly fall right into Radziwill’s – it has proven to be fertile ground for a distinct brand of socialism that considers the present economic system an European import and demands a return to a refined form of the Mi’kmaq’s own “pre-capitalist” way of life. The largest factions in the Grand Council at this point are less and more radical proponents of this same ideology, known simply as mikmawism.





    Capital: Camelot City (Washington D.C.)
    Population: 6 million
    Government: Federal Republic (Nationalist)
    Official Languages: English
    Official Religion: Waldensian

    The United Lordships seceded from England in 1850 largely in order to maintain the practice of slavery, which England was abolishing. While it would be hypocritical to call any of the New World colonies not racist – in addition to the tensions that still remain, the difference between when they abolished slavery was only a matter of decades – the issue has been especially prominent in the United Lordships, which had the population with the highest proportion of slaves outside the Zanaras (38%) and made slavery a cornerstone of its national identity. Alas, it ended up being abolished anyway a few decades later due to mounting pressure from the surrounding countries, mainly by the Free Nations, which placed an embargo on all slave-produced goods (and stood poised to sponsor a slave uprising or liberate them by force if necessary). After being granted their “freedom”, Afro-Amaticans were still kept out of politics and civil life by any means possible and used as cheap labor; but Camelot was stuck with the wicked dilemma of not wanting to let go of its workforce, yet facing even larger issues if it tried to stop former slaves from leaving for greener pastures. This emigration (mainly to the Free Nations) has only barely been made up by immigrants and population growth, the country’s religion and language being its only selling points in the eyes of new arrivals, which badly stunted its development compared to the rest of Amatica.

    Though abolition at least slightly pushed forward the modernization of the country, slaves starting to be replaced with tractors, the United Lordships has fallen behind and become the least industrialized and poorest country north of the Yucatan. It barely compares to even Cascadia, Xalisco or Anahuac in gross domestic product. Popular pressure also led to the weakening of the hereditary “lords” system and introduction of universal white suffrage, but the country remains a three-way federation between Elysia (Maryland + Delaware), Arcadia (Virginia) and Sudenia (North Carolina), plus the federal territory of Camelot City. South Fiorita as well as the major Sudenian city of Charlotte were recently annexed by Hibernia. Hating and hated by all its neighbors, the Lordships has been likened to the “Germany of Amatica” in that sense, except without the economy, military, or really any kind of influence that Germany has. No one really knows what to do with it, so mostly they just let it seethe.

    Most recently, though, this toxic brew of reactionary values, animosity and humiliation has led to the predictable rise of extremist nationalism. President Goldner of the United National Party, currently in his second term, has been openly flirting with primacist ideas, only to find them a real hit with the voters. But despite the Lordships’ neighbors being aware of this development in their backyard, and not really fans of it, they can’t really consider the country a threat, even if worst somehow comes to worst, and have thus been reluctant to intervene too directly.





    Capital: Roberton (Charleston)
    Population: 9.6 million
    Government: Republic (Conservative)
    Official Language: Scottish Gaelic
    Official Religion: Gaelo-Nordic paganism

    Hibernia, once the promised land of plantations, has also changed greatly since the abolition of slavery. Despite being one of the few Amatican nations to go to war in recent decades – against the United Lordships – it is mostly seen as a relatively uneventful, if not backwater, then certainly peripheral country. But at least it has a decently large population and, with the collaboration of its other neighbors, has done a much better job modernizing than the aforementioned Lordships. The average standard of living doesn’t greatly differ from that across the border in the Union or the Free Nations.

    However, largely because of that war and the land annexed in it, sectarian conflict between pagans and Christians is more prevalent than in perhaps any other part of Amatica. Natural disasters – a great hurricane in 1932, the flooding that followed, and the altogether mishandled response – have also plunged Hibernia into an economic crisis that lingers to this day, further exacerbating tensions between the Scots, Anglos, and few remaining Natives, especially over land ownership. The country isn’t expected to fall into outright chaos without some new, unexpected misfortune striking first, but it is in a rather weak and passive position right now.





    Capital: Nueva Lisboa (New Orleans)
    Population: 29 million
    Government: Republic (Conservative)
    Official Languages: Spanish
    Official Religion: None (Catholic Christianity, with Sunni Muslim minority)

    Like more or less any other colony by the time of the 1870s, the Asturian Amatican holdings had a sizable independence movement, yet when that independence came at the end of the Anti-Asturian War, it was quite controversial due to being dictated by their invaders, the Free Nations. But after the Free Nations and Poland spent a good while trying to bring the former colonies into their own respective spheres, and Free economic pressure even forced the abolition of slavery, they have since fallen in line with Radziwill’s politics. Relations have been relatively amicable, even if not entirely without friction.

    Though the “Union” was originally formed out of the viceroyalties of Appalachia and America (named for the Amaury dynasty) and various smaller territories, it is not a federation in the Free Nations style but rather an unitary republic with a degree of local autonomy. The landscape is dominated (in order from east to west) by the Appalachian Mountains, the Mississippi River, the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, dividing the nation into four geographically and culturally distinct regions. Partly because travel on the east–west axis was rather difficult before the proliferation of railways, the Rockies in particular are seen as a remote, isolated, and even somewhat mysterious region where various splinter groups like the Mormons made their home and the settler demographic is still smaller than elsewhere in the country.

    Speaking of settlers, the main demographics of the country other than the Asturian Catholics are the Andalusian Muslims who first settled it, the millions of natives who first first settled it, and of course Afro-Amaticans, these latter two groups originally pagan. Though the country officially adopted a secular constitution after its independence, that didn’t undo (or in practice even end) centuries of Catholic dominance and conversion work, and as a result, even most people in these minorities have adopted the faith over time. Cultural and geographic distance from the Vatican has led to some loosening in their habits, though, even leading to some new halfway-heretical fringe movements popping up, especially among the minorities.





    Capital: Hernandez (Houston)
    Population: 19 M. core (2 M. non-core in Yucatan)
    Government: Republic (Conservative)
    Official Languages: Spanish
    Official Religion: Catholic Christianity

    Tayshas, though actually rather prosperous today – at least in its northern and more urban parts – is most often associated with the bloody rebellions and civil wars that have afflicted it over the centuries. The last major one was in the 1870s, after the country’s independence, as both the Free Nations’ invasion and the loss of Asturian support left the central government quite weak, and disagreements over the country’s future prompted both the Andalusians of Salsabil and the Natives of Yucatan to seek their own. The treaty that ended this civil war in the ruling regime’s favor was very much a winner’s peace, but at least made some small concessions to the rebels that have remained and been expanded upon to this day, such as ensuring freedom of religion even in the face of Catholicism being the official church. However, partly due to fears of new secessionism, local autonomy – a common band-aid solution to internal divisions – seems to be anathema to the ruling consensus in Hernandez.

    The greatest boon for Tayshan wealth and stability has undoubtedly been the discovery of great amounts of raw oil in the north, which just so happens to also be the politically easiest region to drill in. Though much of this has obviously been in private hands, including foreign companies, it has also benefited the population at large through taxation, some nationalizations, and even a small bit of that fabled trickle-down effect. The conservative and social-democratic parties differ on the exact size and power of the welfare state, but the existence of one has long since become a staple of Tayshan society, helping to bind the divided people together and, one might cynically say, buy some of their loyalty.

    The recent breakdown of neighboring New Svea turned it from an unnotable backwater into a perceived threat to Tayshas’ own, hard-fought stability. And indeed, be it communist insurgents, non-communist refugees, or simply the worrying example of a successful Native revolution against imperialism, there are many good reasons for Hernandez to be on high alert. At least so far, heightened awareness and extra patrols have sufficed to stop the unrest from spilling across the border.





    Capital: Ptolemais (San Francisco)
    Population: 10 million
    Government: Republic (Social Democratic)
    Official Languages: Arabic, Spanish
    Official Religion: None (80% Sunni)

    No country in the world has seen growth quite as explosive as Caliphania, whose population has multiplied by a staggering 14 over the course of the last century, driven by massive immigration. Being the only Muslim country in the New World has made it the prime destination for all Muslims, not just from the Old World but even from the other colonies, while its location on the Pacific Coast draws in migrants from Asia. Of course, despite Caliphania’s overall tolerant reputation, it’s had its own controversies over things like the huge influx of Chinese refugees with their distinct brand of Sino-Islam, but even they have mostly settled down. Add in the discovery of precious metals and oil, and what used to be the craggy backwater of Amatica has now become one of its richest regions. The capital Ptolemais is the largest Muslim-majority city outside of China. The cluster of Los Angeles, San Diego and Tijuana in the south, with a large Catholic minority, also isn’t far behind in size.

    By all accounts, Caliphania is a stable two-party democracy with power rotating between a pluralist conservative party and a secular socialist one, which is the one currently in power. Of course, in practice, Sunni Islam and the Arabic language are dominant, being shared by most of the original and newer settlers, with only a period of more Catholic immigration in between during the time that Caliphania spent as an Asturian colony. Diversity is in the country’s nature, but the defining social friction seems to be between the quickly growing coastal cities, the vast rural interior (including Natives), and the former trying to seep into the latter.

    Caliphania also controls the Hawaiian Islands in the middle of the Pacific. Besides being another popular target for Asian migrants, especially those who still want to keep in touch with their home countries, these islands’ main purpose is really just to expand the country’s territorial waters. Hawaii also has the highest proportion of Native inhabitants in Caliphania… mostly due to not having that many settlers.


    Spoiler: New Svean Kerfuffle
    Show


    The Nordic colony of New Svea – also including areas formerly ruled by the Asturians – was always second-rate as far as colonies go, existing only for resource extraction yet not especially successful at it, and with very little European migration. Its spontaneous (to a casual observer) collapse in 1929 was mostly dismissed with shrugs everywhere outside the immediate Nordic sphere, be it because there were problems closer to home (such as the Latin-German war) or because it simply was irrelevant. However, the extremely wide tent of communist and separatist movements that defeated the colonial government wasted little time in falling apart into various factions, each scrambling to grab what territory they could. With the exception of Anahuac’s conquest of Chichimeca, open warfare has so far been avoided in the years since, but it hasn’t been far off at times.

    All the “successor states” are highly militarized, expecting more fighting to come, but lack the resources to properly equip themselves. At least what was left of the colonial navy either escaped, got sunk, or was uselessly obsolete to begin with, and has yet to be rebuilt, reducing the threat that these rogue pseudo-states might pose to the capitalists around them.





    Capital: Sayula
    Population: 2.5 million
    Government: Vanguard Communism
    Official Languages: None (Nahua, Purépecha and other Native languages)
    Official Religion: None (Native paganism)

    The People’s Republic of Xalisco is centered on the colonial capital Sayula, and thus inherited the most of the old government infrastructure. It has also taken under its wing most of the Nordic minority that chose or was forced to stay behind after the revolution, including Chairman Hellström himself, who is quarter-Swedish. For the sake of stability, the regime has tried to maintain as much continuity with the colonial state machinery as possible while still remaking it in their own image, and making use of any colonial-era experts and contacts who might be willing to help is part of that. During and after the revolution, the clique that would come to found the People’s Republic espoused a type of “vanguard communism” based on international examples, seeing “enlightened authoritarianism” by an educated and well-organized government as a necessity to bring progress to a region that, due to the evils of colonialism, was woefully disunited and underdeveloped. In the wake of the revolution, the idea of federation was mostly organized from Sayula, and when it fell through, they couldn’t help but feel that this was the rest of the factions rejecting their rightful leadership.







    Capital: Tenochtitlan
    Population: 6.2 million
    Government: Altepetlist Dictatorship
    Official Languages: Nahuatl
    Official Religion: Nahua paganism (and “Texcocoism”)

    The largest and most powerful of the successor states, in terms of size, population, and industry left behind by the colonial regime. The dictatorship of Supreme Leader Texcoco somewhat resembles Fascism in its nostalgia for the Aztec Empire, down to the unofficial name of its governmental system – Altepetlism – being a reference to the altepetl vassal states (plural altepeme) ruled over by the Aztecs. Texcoco (not his real name) is trying to set himself up as some kind of god-king. It’s difficult not to notice that even in a world where plenty of communist states lean towards dictatorship, Anahuac stands out as distinctly un-communist in all but the shallowest of rhetoric.

    Indeed, it’s a shame that it managed to come out in such a powerful position after the revolution, but the Confederation’s territory is defined less by ideology and more by the personal fiefdoms divided between Texcoco and his warlords, who maintain order by force. This is likely why he’s trying to weave Nahua nationalism into the mix, to create some kind of rallying cry. Texcoco’s lackeys each rule over their respective altepeme as Tlatoani, while he himself sits in the ancestral capital as Huey Tlatoani. A real farce.





    Capital: Comalcalco
    Population: 806,000
    Government: Communist Dictatorship
    Official Languages: Maya
    Official Religion: None (Maya paganism)

    Anahuac’s smaller cousin in more or less every way, the very inaccurately named Democratic People’s Republic of Yucatan is separated from Tenochtitlan less by ideology and more by the fact that their respective dictators had clashing personal ambitions, as well as “preferred nationalities”. Unlike Anahuac, though, Yucatan is a small rump state in one of the least developed corners of an already poor region, with great territorial claims across the Tayshan border but no strength to enforce them. Its capital is a relative backwater, while the greatest Maya city of Campeche is in Tayshan hands. And while the Tayshan problem is something that all the Native states have on their minds, it’s unlikely to come to anything as long as they remain internally divided. Yax Pac Pacal can only focus on throwing his weight around in what little room he has, and plot the downfall of his rivals.





    Capital: Tehuantepec
    Population: 1.6 million
    Government: Anarcho-Communist Association
    Official Languages: None (Zapotec, Mixtec and other Native languages)
    Official Religion: None (Native paganism)

    While very adamant that it is not in fact “a state”, the Oaxaca Free Territory still has a leadership of sorts. The Speaker of the Common Defense Committee, and thus the closest thing to a head of state, is a man known simply as An (his actual name), the main ideologue who pioneered this little experiment that succeeded in claiming the country’s southern coast. This area wasn’t the most developed, but still had some decent towns, infrastructure, and a reliable livelihood from the sea – though the eponymous Oaxaca City was ultimately grabbed by Anahuac in the scramble that followed. The Free Territory is also the most “ideologically-based” of the various factions, with opponents leaving and like-minded individuals moving in rather freely. Leaders and organizers down to the lowest level are selected by vote, public property exists to be freely used, and private property is limited to personal possessions rather than e.g. land or capital. The majority of the populace, however, is at best “indifferent” about the intricacies of anarcho-communism, which is a great problem for this particular form of self-government: whereas an authoritarian state can generally organize itself and then impose its will from above, anarchism specifically requires the enthusiastic and active participation of its regular citizens in order to function, even more so than a regular democracy.

    The greatest contradiction of founding a Free Territory on a pre-settled, country-sized plot of land would be its central principle of “free association”. If an individual doesn’t want to participate in the anarcho-communist system, they say, that person is free to simply pack up and leave. But in a reality where most people still live off the land, and have done so for generations before the Free Territory was ever set up, that is often easier said than done, nor is it necessarily “fair” (though the anarchists of course believe that harsh as it might seem, the old system must be rooted out for the new one to succeed). The Territory has struggled to find a good balance of “helping” such contrarians move out without either appearing too forceful or unduly rewarding hated colonial landowners. Even good places to move to are in short supply, most refugees being forced to choose between Xalisco and Guatemala. The movement’s hope is more or less that people would definitely like the system if they just gave it a honest try.







    Capital: Guatemala City
    Population: 1.8 million
    Government: Democratic Communism
    Official Languages: Maya
    Official Religion: None (Maya paganism)

    The Guatemala Commune was left in an arguably pretty good situation after the split. While not the largest or richest of the successor states, it has clearly defined geographic and ethnic borders, a decent population in a developed area, a decently large city as its capital – and no border with Anahuac breathing down its neck. The actual government of the country is somewhere between those of Xalisco and Oaxaca, not too different from any other republic (albeit a young one in an unstable region) if not for its ban on non-socialist parties. In contrast to social democracy, which works inside a democracy in pursuit of socialism, democratic communism claims to be a communist system run in a democratic manner. As a result, Guatemala has the Least Bad relations with Oaxaca (but still not great) and close ties to Honduras a short distance away. It also has extensive territorial claims on Tayshas, though.

    Out of the successor states, Guatemala can probably claim the highest level of “normalcy” for its citizens, should normalcy be defined as the lifestyle of a person in an average democracy.





    Capital: Tegucigalpa
    Population: 860,000
    Government: Democratic Communism
    Official Languages: Spanish, various Native languages
    Official Religion: None (Native paganism, Catholicism)

    Last but not least, the Honduran Commonwealth is governmentally similar to Guatemala, but its origins are entirely different from the mess that was once New Svea. Originally a small Asturian colony, and something of a backwater given little attention or pressure, it was eventually taken over by the Italians, but maintained its Hispanic language and identity. It also saw much higher levels of colonial immigration and mixing than New Svea, leading to some 90% of the population being Mestizo (mixed race) and strangely united in that way. After the Great War, the Treaty of Grazyna gave Honduras the right to vote on its fate, and independence won by a landslide. Already in 1916, it had its mostly bloodless communist revolution, giving birth to the present system. The rest is… relatively uneventful history, with Honduras trying to play nice with its capitalist neighbors, find protection against the folkists to its south, and obviously make friends with the newer communist states – with mixed success, especially when it quickly become apparent what a quagmire the region still is.

    Spoiler: Alcadra
    Show






    Capital: Fortuna (Coro)
    Population: 2 million
    Government: Republic (Conservative)
    Official Language: Spanish
    Official Religion: Catholic Christianity

    The last Asturian holdout in Alcadra after the rest were conquered by the Nords and integrated into Ingerland or Andeland, the small Viceroyalty of Juliana remained in the empire even after the Anti-Asturian War, but not for too long. After its independence, it became a small republic that now finds itself surrounded by militant dictators on one side and colonial powers on the other. The discovery of oil in the soil and off the coast has been Juliana’s main blessing in terms of wealth, but a disproportionate amount of it is controlled by the same British companies that handle drilling on that side of the border.

    The British holdings in the region, for that matter, can be divided into the British Ancelles, New Wessex, and British Guiana. Though autonomy has been experimented with, it has been deemed ineffective (back in Britain) due to the colonies’ small populations, weak industries and overspecialized economies. Together with the Panama Canal, these colonies provide the empire with a strong strategic position – and very lucrative economic one.







    Capital: Karlstuna (Cartagena)
    Population: 7.1 million
    Government: Primacist Dictatorship
    Official Language: Swedish
    Official Religion: Nordic paganism

    Even before the construction of the Panama Canal, the Nordic colony of Ingerland served a similar purpose as the gateway from which the wealth of the Nordic colonies was shipped off to Europe. The canal took this a step further, but from that point on, the benefits wouldn’t be reaped by the Ingerians, but by the capitalists of distant lands. This was, of course, just another (and not even the final) nail in the coffin of the long-declining Nordic Union, but it still exemplifies the once-prosperous colony’s stumbling entrance into the modern era.

    Though foreign imperialism is the folkists’ favorite boogeyman, their greatest focus is really on the imperialism of their own making. Though actually a rather marginal movement back when it violently seized power in 1910 and renamed the country Solmark, the Nordic People’s Party has used ethnic favoritism to scrounge up at least some genuine support in the ground, even if most still see the dictatorship for what it is. The colonial country’s ethnic makeup was always going to be complicated for a nation-state: the Nords are outnumbered by the Natives, and more or less matched by the Sami as well. The population of Sami-heritage people in Solmark is actually larger than it ever was back in Scandinavia, as the Sami forced to settle and farm in Alcadra had more children and formed larger families than they had back home. Faced with this demographic “problem”, the folkists almost immediately launched aggressive birth rate campaigns among the Nordic population (ranging from sheer propaganda to actual financial support) while seizing property from and persecuting the others. 26 years later, the results are starting to show, but are still far from their goal of a majority.

    The folkists also threaten war against Honduras, Britannia and Juliana, but are obviously on good terms with their comrades in Paraland, and also have no particular quarrel with their southern neighbors. Despite having scorned the Nordic Union and been scorned by it in turn, the folkists would like nothing more than pan-Nordic unity, and indeed hope that the Andeans and Vanans might join them at some point. Whatever the case, the Solian population and military are too small to pick a fight with any great powers on their own, and any more allies haven’t been forthcoming so far.





    Capital: Belsby (Belém)
    Population: 2.2 million
    Government: Primacist Dictatorship
    Official Language: Swedish
    Official Religion: Nordic paganism

    The vast majority of Paraland is taken up by the vast Amazon Rainforest, which the colonials have – despite their best attempts – only barely started to exploit. Instead, the Amazon and other great rivers that run through the country get to serve as highways between bafflingly far-flung settlements, and Paraland is in fact one of the only places in the world where, in 1936, river traffic still plays a larger role than that on roads. While some Natives have always dwelled in or later retreated into the spaces in between, the European population is very much concentrated along these rivers or the northern coast.

    Partly due to the small population and relatively weak government, it wasn’t too difficult for the Solmark-sponsored Folkists to seize power in the capital, though actually establishing themselves across the country took a much longer, murkier, and in fact bloodier campaign of repression. The regime is currently satisfied with its results, controlling the places “that matter” even if the countryside is still an open question. At least no organized resistance is believed to lurk in the jungles, but it is difficult to say for sure.

    Due to its lack of men and industry, Paraland is undeniably the de facto junior partner in its alliance with Solmark, but their goals are very much aligned.





    Capital: Arestad (Arequipa)
    Population: 11 million
    Government: Republic (Conservative)
    Official Language: Swedish (with allowances for local languages)
    Official Religion: Nordic paganism

    Another former colony where the Nords are in the minority (roughly 30%), this being something of a running theme with their colonies (partly due to policy, partly due to their population back in Europe being relatively small). Andeland, however, is the first one discussed so far where those Nords have made any real attempt approaching “democracy” with their Native subjects. Keeping them from overruling the Nords in parliament has taken some divide-and-conquer trickery, but luckily the region’s highly diverse nature makes it harder for the Natives to form a united front in any case. In the end, the administration is still dominated by Nords, but a lot of power has been by necessity delegated to the local level, where the Natives are more prominent outside the capital region. Given that the slide into Native self-rule seems inevitable, Folkism and other kinds of authoritarianism have their supporters among the Nords, but they haven’t been accepted into the ruling coalition.

    The Andes have been home to some of the greatest Native empires, but more importantly for the colonists, mineral riches. While gold, silver and gems have faded in importance, and many mines have of course been exhausted, the mining industry has been able to expand onto new, lucrative materials needed for modern industry.





    Capital: Riksborg (La Rioja)
    Population: 15 million
    Government: Republic (Conservative)
    Official Language: Swedish
    Official Religion: Nordic paganism

    In terms of cultural spheres, Vanaland can be quite sharply divided into three regions: an Andalusian east, a Nordic west, and a Native north. Though the descendants of the Andalusian colony of Narafidia, the first real colony in the New World, have been sufficiently outnumbered and diffused that they don’t really form a separatist threat, they do still play a role in the nation’s politics. These minority groups are typically eager to latch onto whatever movement or slogan styles itself as the opposition to Riksborg. In recent decades, this has meant the far left.

    At the same time that primacists seized power up north, Vanaland has been struggling to contain a social democratic movement bleeding more and more members into the arms of the revolutionary communists. The vast, mostly rural country has a high level of perceived inequality and corruption, and the communists have apparently been successful in spreading class solidarity across ethnic lines. Their attempts at general strikes, riots and other uprisings – some of them bordering on civil war – have thus far been put down, but never rooted out, leaving a simmering unrest that only seems to grow with every inconclusive conflict.





    Capital: Finias (Puerto Montt)
    Population: 4.7 million
    Government: Republic (Conservative)
    Official Language: Scottish Gaelic
    Official Religion: Gaelo-Celtic paganism

    Andalusian writings and Native oral histories are in agreement that in 1496, the Andalusians discovered, looted, and severely depopulated the “City of Silver”, the capital of the Mapuche kingdom of Chiloe. They brought great riches and even some slaves back to Europe, though few of these captives survived the voyage and none of them more than a few years. While not the first landing made in the New World – it was on the western coast of Alcadra, after all – it was the first to be widely circulated across Europe, spreading knowledge of these new territories and rousing greater interest in those few already aware. Spurred by these tales of adventure and treasure, countless cities of similar or even greater splendor would go on to be found and plundered elsewhere.

    Despite its thus pivotal (if tragic) role in world history, the actual location of the City languished first in secrecy, then in simple obscurity, as the Andalusians apparently had little interest in it after their initial raid. When a crew of Scots stumbled upon the site much later, they found only ruins, overgrown fields and scattered tribes, great Chiloe having apparently collapsed in on itself. The colony of Finias, named for the captain of said crew, was to be founded on the same spot, much to the dismay of later archaeologists.

    Often summarized as the “Cascadia of the South”, Patagonia is indeed another latecomer Scottish colony on low-priority land that the other empires hadn’t yet seized. However, at least until the construction of the Panama Canal, it had some strategic value as the sole route around Alcadra, and it would also benefit from the same riches as Chiloe: bountiful waters, surprisingly good farmland, and a seeming abundance of valuable metals. As with most gold rushes, the lattermost would turn out to be severely overstated and ruin at least as many men as it enriched, but the independent state of Patagonia remains a decently wealthy little country to this day.





    Capital: Sebastiano (Rio de Janeiro)
    Population: 20 million
    Government: Republic (Conservative)
    Official Language: Italian
    Official Religion: Catholic Christianity

    At the end of the Great War, Santa Croce was the only Latin colony that voluntarily decided against its own independence, partly due to popular fury against the Coalition powers that they just fought a bloody war against. However, only a few years later, the nation made a sudden about-face when it refused to recognize the fascist regime established in Rome. This led to a long war, mostly cold, that only ended in an armistice after several Latin landings ended in humiliating failure.

    Santa Croce has always been the most important Latin colony, and the one with the largest settler population. Though there’s obviously been a mix of migrants from across the homeland and other countries, the official and dominant language and culture has been Italian (the colony never fully got on board with the homeland’s Latin revival). Generally speaking, the coastline is more densely populated and European, whereas some of the inland regions still have a native and pagan majority. The outlying coastal province of Amapa, which was annexed by Paraland at the end of the Great War, was highly rural with only a small Latin population and mostly native.

    Santa Croce is a functional democracy, but due to grudges against its neighbors, the Coalition and the primacist nations, suffers from a somewhat self-imposed isolation. It is more neutral towards the Amatican and Asian nations, but has struggled to make up the difference in terms of international connections. Due to the threat of another war, felt more acutely than in almost any other Western Hemisphere nation, Santa Croce has the largest military in Alcadra, but its main stated purpose is defense.


    Spoiler: Comments
    Show
    This whole mess (roughly 50 pages in Word) wasn't written in one go, obviously, but over the months whenever I happened to feel like writing a bunch of lore about some particular country. By the time I got to the point where I did have to write all the remaining countries, Sunk Cost Fallacy was in full swing, but lack of inspiration ended up becoming something of a barrier to actually getting that done even after all the modding was already out of the way. So, y'know.

    Like all these conversion processes, this one also included a lot of tweaks not directly related to the conversion itself, but it was the first time I actually had to mess with the map layout itself, namely the state borders. This is because unlike the previous games, HoI4 only allows land ownership etc. to be decided at the state level rather than individual tiles, which means that if your desired country borders don't line up with the default state borders, you need to either move them (i.e. change which state different tiles belong to) or create new states altogether. This was very easy thanks to HoI4's inbuilt modding tools, though, and even kinda addictive once I got the hang of it. The base game has 806 states, and I added another 74. A lot of those weren't strictly necessary, but just added a bit of detail or possibility to an otherwise underdetailed region. The spoiler below has some, but not nearly all, of the most visibly reworked regions (if you're familiar with the vanilla borders, anyway). I did do some more intricate map modding too, though: did you ever notice that the Kiel Canal is way too high up north on the vanilla map?

    There was also a bunch of straits that armies can walk across, straits that can be blocked from enemy ships, the Saharan Railway (functionally a strait), uncrossable mountains (mostly in regions that literally lack any roads, not e.g. the Alps), and as a random afterthought experiment, a navigable Lake Ladoga accessible through the Ladoga Canal (the real-life Ladoga Canal kind of sucks, but this one is better). With all of these, I tried to make sure they wouldn't have undesirable effects on gameplay, but there was a certain power-madness underlying the whole thing, after all. And as another Sunk Cost trap, I downloaded a mod that adds a lot of victory points (city names) onto the map to fill in some seemingly empty regions and make it easier to see where the frontlines are, but then I slowly discovered that mod was less than perfect, and I had to fix a lot of those added VP's myself (plus add even more new ones).

    The game isn't starting right here this minute, but with these out of the way, the barrier for playing and writing the first chapter is not nearly as overwhelming, though the finality of it all still makes me anxious. Coming soon!

    In the meantime, I'm full of trivia and modding anecdotes to talk about, so do make chitchat or ask further questions if you have any. Or point out if there are any oddities in these posts. I am not checking them all again.

    Spoiler: Heavily Remapped Region Highlights
    Show






















    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2021-10-17 at 02:50 PM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (Finally in HoI4!)

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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    *squees* Awesome to see all this! Time to reread part of the thread to refamiliarize myself with everything.
    ithilanor on Steam.

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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    A very interesting survey of the world, with a lot of details I've forgotten. One thing that stands out to me is that, while there are a lot of brewing conflicts, none of them seem to be related to each other. It may be that this timeline doesn't have a single era-defining conflict like WWII but rather a period defined simply by conflict in general. Or maybe various factions will make common cause with each other for reasons of expedience and the various conflicts will end up amalgamating into a single War - only time will tell.
    I'm making a webcomic, featuring absurdity, terrible art, and alleged morals.

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    Indeed, indeed.
    I obviously can't really say anything here, other than making you both feel acknowledged.

    The big infodumps are always an ordeal to write, but in this intro to the last section of this AAR (not counting some kind of epilogue), I found it important to give at least this brief tour of countries we haven't really looked at recently - or, in fact, ever. And at least some of them will probably be sidelined from here on, too.

    Plus, yeah, obviously everyone (including me) needs a plain old reminder of where we are, since it's been a while.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (Finally in HoI4!)

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    Chapter #77: The Waiting Game (January–May 1936)

    Spoiler: Chapter
    Show


    13th of January, 1936

    Compared to past eras when the entire process was in the hands of a marshal or two who acted with near dictatorial authority, the exact role of the Minister of Defense was often somewhat fuzzy: while responsible for “the big picture” of military policy, funding and so on, they were not actually in charge of any forces or operations, and much of their job consisted of acting as a go-between for the Sejm, the Crown, Slube and the military itself. To ensure national security and impartiality, no person could hold a political and military position at the same time (with the exception of the High King, Commander in Chief), so the War Council was where war and politics sat down and talked. As such, the exact nature of the Minister of Defense’s role, and their success in it, were very much dependent on their working relationship with the so-called Trojka.

    Florian Dzialo, former colonel, senior member of the National Coalition, and Minister of Defense since 1934, came to a large door guarded by two armed soldiers. He answered their stiff salute with an equally stiff nod. They opened the door, and closed it behind him. Sitting around a circular table in an opulent room – the deceptive opulence of a high government office, with simple enough decorations nonetheless made of fine materials – he saw Lord Marshal Lambert Razicky, Lord Admiral Arkadiusz Sultan, and Air Marshal Bogumila Folta.

    Though officially equal in rank – the highest of their respective branches – the real pecking order between them was no secret to anyone in or outside the room. Lord Marshal Razicky was a loud supporter of the school of thought that the Crown Army deserved most of the focus of the Polish military, and the other two only existed to support it – or him. As he was one of the only still serving and most respected generals from the Civil War and the Great War thirty years ago, the rest of the country was mostly willing to indulge him on that. At this time, the old man was groggily leaning back in his seat, his hands crossed over his stomach.


    (As seen from the red number, these characters are game-mechanically not in their posts yet, but I'll treat them as if they were.)

    Even though the Marynarka had been constantly at work maintaining Poland’s global empire for 400 years and counting, due to some ingrained obsession in the national spirit, it and its Lord Admiral Sultan continued to play second fiddle to the Army. The gap was perhaps not as wide as the Lord Marshal himself liked to think, but in the common mindset or even official doctrine, the Marynarka’s main role really was to secure supply lines and a safe working environment for the Army to do its thing without disruption. That certainly was how it had gone in the Great War, mostly to great success. The Lord Admiral was inarguably spiteful about this, but determined to focus on quietly maintaining what he knew was the true backbone of the Polish state.



    And the Air Force, of course, was the newest, smallest, and least proven of the three. Air Marshal Folta’s (the lack of “Lady” in her title a petty but meaningful slight against her branch) only actual war experience was as a naval officer in the East Indies Fleet, having emerged between wars as a leading theorist and advocate of Polish aviation still in its baby shoes. It was largely thanks to her that the Air Force was its own branch at all, rather than part of the other two as originally conceived – but it had yet to get the chance to prove its expanded budget had borne anything worthwhile, which made it all the more awkward that it constantly found itself begging for more. After Folta and Sultan had worked together to get several carriers built and operational, Razicky had become increasingly convinced that they were building a coalition against him. Not that he saw them as a credible competitor.



    The War Council didn’t nearly always meet in private like this, of course, nor even in person – they were all too busy for that. However, this type of meeting was an established tradition of decision-making in Poland, or probably most other countries, for that matter. Some would deride it as “backroom dealings” made in “smoke-filled rooms”, but the truth was that most of these meetings were rather dry, consisting of routine situation reports that probably could've been handled by mail. And smokeless, because Razicky abhorred the smell.

    “Hello, ladies and gentlemen,” Dzialo said in a faux jovial tone, slamming a thick pile of files onto the table. “Sorry to pull you here so early in the morning, but I have another meeting to attend today. Hope you had a nice Midwinter? Well, let’s get to it.”





    Crown Army – Lord Marshal Lambert Razicky

    The Lord Marshal, never one for speeches, was of the mind that the might of the Polish military required no introductions and should speak for itself... yet somehow he still wanted to spend his time boasting. He was generally on top of his duties, but seemingly made a point of bringing the minimum amount of paper to this meeting and not even bothering to rise from his seat when presenting.

    “The Crown Army stands unopposed on all fronts. All is quiet in the colonies – the natives know better than to cause any trouble by now. Marshals Krukowiecki and Krisna nevertheless request more men, as they always do; I say that Africa will do just fine with what it has, for there are no threats to speak of, but the East Indian theater truly is spread thin, with the vastness of our empire that it must protect. Krisna says lesser islands may have to be sacrificed in wartime; I concur. Polish blood shouldn’t be shed for every little sandbank in the Pacific.”




    “New artillery is performing admirably. Ballistics problems detected in the previous production line are nowhere to be seen. Suggest equipping all units. We can blow an apple off a Russkie’s head. Might also blow off something else, though.” Razicky paused for the joke. He got a little scoff out of Dzialo.

    The Polish “Thunder Doctrine”, or Doctrine of Noise as it was lovingly or mockingly called, was built on the idea that by maintaining an impressive enough arsenal of heavy weaponry – artillery, bombers, battleships – enemies could be deterred from ever initiating hostilities in the first place. Should war still break out, those same weapons would disorient and quickly annihilate the enemy without the need for gruesome trench warfare. More iron, less blood, so to speak. Although, more recently, there had been whispered concerns that the Poles were simply making a lot of noise to hide – maybe even from themselves – that they might have been falling behind in some areas, or that this doctrine itself was restricting their thinking. The tendency to think of tanks as mobile artillery, for one, was rather controversial. Then again, there was a lot of debate surrounding tank doctrine in general.



    “Last autumn’s conscription call-up has confirmed fears that Poland’s youths show less enthusiasm for national defense and more for selfish abandonment of duty. Some have the nerve to demand backline postings, that or service in the Navy, while others try a variety of claims to evade service altogether. I and the Army are united in the desire that such claims be dismissed in the face of medical checkups, and no mercy be shown for those found to be dodging the draft on false pretenses.”

    Having finished talking without ever raising his eyes from his piece of paper, Razicky returned to staring absentmindedly into the distance.



    Crown Navy – Lord Admiral Arkadiusz Sultan

    Sultan stood up, straightening his uniform and clearing his throat, flipping through a bundle of numbers and charts he didn’t plan on making the others suffer through.

    “Let me begin by expressing my sincerest wish that I and the honorable Lord Marshal are in agreement regarding the importance of the Pacific. While the Kingdom’s oceanic holdings do include a number of islands of negligible strategic value, every base with a port from which to operate in that vast expanse is critical in containing the Japanese Navy. I emphasize this not because they are an active threat, but because they have the second greatest navy after ours, we are all familiar with the bad blood between our nations, and our entire industry is very much reliant on safe shipments from the East Indies – not to mention the need to protect Polish citizens. I ask that my compatriots continue to keep this in mind, as I’m sure they have up till now.”



    “As previously discussed, due to financial restraints, the Crown shipyards have unfortunately built no new battleships in a few years, and none are in the works at the moment. However, lighter ships are coming off the slipways at a steady pace, and the first of our brand-new Szczecin Class light cruisers should be ready in due time. I’m also pleased to say that work is scheduled to start on the Jadwiga Pruska, the Marynarka’s very first purpose-built aircraft carrier.” Quick look and a nod towards Folta. “As you know, our existing five carriers are all hollowed-out and converted old battleships or cruisers, which has proven to be a functional solution, but still an unfortunate limitation on their capabilities that can only be circumvented by building them as carriers from the ground up.”



    “The Pruska has been tentatively assigned to the East Indies Fleet as Admiral Malkowicz’ new flagship. Many of the ships currently under construction have been earmarked for him as well. As things stand, this fleet operates far from all others, and would face the hypothetical Japanese all on its own.“




    “After this, the Navy Staff believes it prudent to make a new line of battleships our next spending priority. Our fleet is large, but spread across up to six or seven different theaters at any given time if it is to protect all Polish territory and shipping. As such, some fleets inevitably have to make do with smaller and older ships. Even were we to dedicate unlimited funds to shipbuilding and nothing else – not an option I’m suggesting, mind you – we still couldn’t rely on numbers and modernity alone, in the worst-case but very real scenario of the whole Navy being busy at once. As such, we must continue to prioritize some regions over others, and if necessary, relinquish dominance in some of them. However, the mere presence of our navy should make lesser nations think twice, and let us focus on the ones bold enough to face us.”





    Crown Air Force – Air Marshal Bogumila Folta

    Folta had a whole tirade ready to present, complete with a slideshow of photographs and maps.

    “Gentlemen, I won’t lie to you.” Off to a strong start. “While more and better planes are coming off the production lines with each passing day, what Poland lacks is good pilots to fly them. That is to be expected, since the Air Force is growing at an appreciable speed, but practically no pilot in Poland has combat experience. We have already tapped every foreign veteran, which isn’t many, and civilian pilot to help train our recruits. In addition, we have a strong understanding of aviation techniques as they were at the time of the Latin-German War, where you might remember that the Latin air force trounced the Germans, who mostly provided valuable examples of what not to do. But that was many years ago, and most of the progress since then rests on our own conjecture. On that front, I have little to add, other than that we are working on it. No one except probably the Latins knows these things any better than we do, and they aren’t exactly forthcoming. I have already submitted my request for more trainer planes, even if that means diverting a small bit of production from actual combat craft. Those are no use if the pilots don’t know how to fly.”



    “On that note, we have our first feedback from the officer transfer program initiated last year. While I… highly appreciate you letting us poach your talent, and agree that we should target soldiers with a proven record of discipline and diligence, our troops on the ground… or in the air, rather… strongly object to these transfers being placed into officer roles in the Air Force. Logistical roles notwithstanding, experience in one branch does not seem to translate to the other. They should start from the bottom as airmen, just like anyone else.”

    She aimed the next part at Razicky before he could object, assuming Sultan to be more reasonable: “In the same way that one wouldn’t think to put a ship captain, no matter how good, in charge of an army regiment.” The Lord Marshal, appeased, nodded his understanding and settled back down.

    “However, no amount of planes and training can make up for the fact that in spite of my repeated requests, the network of airfields near our national borders is sorely lacking. While the large airfields close to the center of the country are vital for defense, yes, every mile and every bit of fuel spent flying to the actual battlefield is a drop in the plane’s combat capacity. No matter, I repeat, no matter what we do, if the Ministry doesn’t allocate funds and workforce to the construction of these fields – and no, we cannot simply ‘grab a shovel and dig them ourselves’, since the Air Force Engineer Corps also hasn’t gotten off the ground for lack of funding – the Air Force will be of no use in a war situation. That goes double for the colonies, where the situation is even more dire. I don’t want this to become an ‘I told you so’ situation; I want this glaring flaw fixed while we can. Thank you.”

    Folta hated to be a broken record, but at least the others knew to take it in stride.



    Ministry of Defense – Minister Florian Dzialo

    “Thank you very much. Rest assured, I will take your concerns to the Ministry and the Sejm. Of course, you all are completely justified in your demands, but as the Lord Admiral put it, it’s a matter of prioritizing with what we have. We’ll keep in touch.”

    “But now, for the immediate future. Our friends at the Opera,” he referred to Slube by the nickname of its headquarters in Krakow, “briefed the Ministry yesterday evening, and I trust they have been keeping you updated, but let’s make sure we’re all on the same page, shall we? They have their finger on the pulse of the situation unfolding in Rome. The former chancellor Gallo is the new Dux, but Director Kraszweski tells me this isn’t quite as clear-cut as it would seem, and there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. He should know; he’s the opera man. Regardless, and I quote him here: knowing the Latins, whatever plans Santori had for the future probably died with him, but there’s no reason to assume Gallo is any more of a pacifist. Unless the Germans try something, this will probably extend the lull in the west for a bit longer, but someone has to blink eventually. We are not, and refuse to be, directly involved in this, but West Command’s orders remain the same: fortify Calais and the Yugoslavian coastline. Moldavia will have our support come wartime, but until then, we will not waste resources or cause anxiety by deploying forces outside our territory. The German and Bavarian border is considered safe, but still needs to be manned: consider it a lower priority, make use of the reserves, and do not take battle stations on the border. The Foreign Ministry is trying to work something out with them.”



    “A direct war between us and the Latins is also deemed unlikely for now, but may well occur should they hold to their alliance with Russia – the so-called New Covenant. For reasons that should be obvious, Russia remains our top priority, with the west as a distant second. Nothing new on that front: the consulate crisis in Chernigov gave us all a scare last year, but was hardly cause for war. The Director reports that his work too is a lot tougher in Moscow than in Rome, but it seems their counterparts, the MGB, are mostly focused on stamping down every ember of resistance in Bolgharia, as well as any sparks that might’ve landed in the rest of the country. Morozov makes no attempt to hide his ambitions, but the exact order of his hit-list as well as the timetable are a mystery to us – as is the question of whether he can be persuaded by reality to keep from making good on his threats. We’ll keep acting under the assumption that he can, and make our border look as uninviting as possible. East Command has full authority to make plans and hold exercises in preparation for a hypothetical counterattack into Russia, but active provocation is to be avoided.”



    “Lord Admiral, Air Marshal – in our field of work, I probably shouldn’t say that I regret having no other news for you, but that’s how it is. It seems you have your houses in order without me butting in. I’ll pass your wishlists forward, but I don’t hold the purse strings, I’m just the messenger. Unofficially, I can tell you that the Sejm is still waiting for economic recovery before shifting back towards expansion of the military. Keep up the good work. Gods keep us.”





    It is the military’s job to prepare for the worst. However, the mood in the grand metropolis of Krakow matches the weather this winter: chilly, unexciting, rather gray. People are divided on whether the war on the horizon will truly come anytime soon, or if it’ll just hang there indefinitely. So far, it has hung there for long enough without anything really happening that most people are just learning to live with it, even as they chafe under tightened conscription and economic problems.



    The ongoing power struggle in Rome has held the attention of Polish newspapers, who see in it great drama and operatic twists, even as most information coming out is filtered through the warped lens of the Fascist regime. Gallo, appearing in public as much as possible, has been doubling down on the narrative of a German conspiracy within the Fascist Party, with no way to know how wide and deep its roots might have spread. Whereas most newspapers repeat Gallo’s claims in a relatively uncritical, even sensationalist manner, more level-headed analysts suggest that Gallo is simply playing games to strengthen his own grip on power – though Slube also doesn’t rule out the possibility that there’s a kernel of truth to the conspiracy theory. Someone put that bomb in Santori’s meeting room, after all. Slube itself denies any involvement.



    The drama in Krakow is a lot more understated, with fewer explosions, but still there. Though it often feels like the Polish government spends all its time talking about the economy, and in rather empty statements at that, the Red-White Coalition’s very existence is fundamentally strained, even two years into its term. The fact that it could be formed at all is supposedly symbolic of the peaceful, democratic nature of “the New Poland”, yet its problems getting anything done show that divisions past and present aren’t so easily swept under the rug. Nevertheless, Poland has chosen a path of reconciliation and “solidarity”, and even the grumblers are overwhelmingly in favor of this path over all the other… alternatives. Going back just thirty, forty years, this outcome wasn't inevitable at all.




    A similarly historic event of reconciliation over in Germany causes mixed feelings in Poland. It comes as a surprise to many, but those keeping an eye on the west have been well aware of the cautious talks of reunification between Germany and Bavaria – even if more than a few of them expected those talks to fail. Finished off with a nation-wide referendum in both countries, and with the strong support of both parliaments, Bavaria is integrated into the greater German state on March 10, 1936, in a feat of diplomacy reminiscent of the unifications of Russia or Britannia. Germany is not a federation, and not about to become one: the agreed-upon plans include the gradual scaling down of Bavarian autonomy to make it like any other region of Germany, but the Bavarians are apparently fine with – or even enthusiastic – about this. Some sources suggest that perceived government corruption was high among the Bavarian people, and they somehow expect Germany to be better in that regard. Whatever the case, this “Homecoming” is presented as a step towards the completion of the pan-Germanic dream and celebrated across both countries. Future history books are sure to fight an academic war over whether this century of separation was an unnatural disturbance that outstayed its welcome, possibly engineered by Poland, a righteous display of Bavarian identity, or simply justified in the context of its time.



    For the Poles, this means a few different things: one less cause for tension, perhaps, but also a larger, stronger, more united Germany with its attention on the east and renewed demands for its ancestral lands. Poland's deep-seated financial interests in Bavaria also suffer, of course, but that’s hardly the main concern at this point (especially as it'd be unwise for Germany to expel them entirely and drive its precious new province into an economic crisis). The security of the German border, deemed a low priority, is suddenly called into question.

    But in the end, as this move was partly inspired by Latin aggression and pressure, a self-destructive German attack against Poland doesn’t seem all that likely. Even should they cross the border, reinforcements would surely crush them in a month. The Polish embassy in Frankfurt presents its polite congratulations.

    To the Latins, German-Bavarian unification probably makes little difference compared to the German-Bavarian alliance, especially as they have their own “unity” to worry about. Just as expected, April brings news of what Slube describes as an outright “shadow war” in the Fascist regime. When it's visible at all, the authorities call it a police action, but given Gallo’s previous statements, the sudden disappearance of countless officials – together with unmistakable military activity around the country – leaves little doubt of what is going on. Which of these people were actually involved with Santori’s death is hard to say; in fact, the victims include some of his supposedly most fanatical followers. Apparently Slube’s own intelligence is a little spotty at the moment, as even its spies and sources have had to go dark or leave the larger cities in order to avoid being swept up in this ‘Great Spring Cleaning’. The Latin Empire is expected to reemerge with a lot of holes in its administration, waiting to be filled with replacements completely loyal to Gallo and no one else.





    Alas, nothing else going on in early 1936 is quite as captivating – or terrifying – to the Polish populace as the events in the Kingdom of Sweden, Finland and Norway.

    At this point, it feels accurate to say that Poland’s relations with its northern neighbor have “always” been strained, so defined by one-sided rivalries and pointless standoffs is their shared history (even despite the occasional alliance). That relationship has been anything but static, of course: in the previous century, a Krakow dealing with its own rebels was worried about the constitutional revolution in Stockholm, whereas more recently, a democratizing Krakow has watched Stockholm fall ever deeper into paranoid anti-socialism. Though not originally anti-democratic per se, these conservative forces in the Nordics have been slipping in that direction as a natural consequence of leftism growing more popular with the people. Elections are still held, and the Riksdag rules in an outwardly democratic manner, but with the rather fundamental problem that no parties left of center are allowed to participate or even speak up.

    The parallels between present Sweden and Wieslawan Poland have been eerie, which the Poles have tried to warn of to no avail. The Nords have had their share of political unrest in the past decade – peaceful and violent, unarmed and armed, local and countrywide – and both left- and right-wing militias have formed, even making open references to the Red and White Guards of the Polish civil war. With the benefit of hindsight, the consequences of the 1st of May might seem like an inevitability, but at the time, they come as a shock rippling across the democratic sphere. Left-wing marches on this international Labor Day are met with deadly violence, and furious finger-pointing ensues. The state shows no intent to hold the police and counter-protesters responsible for the bloodshed that the popular opinion says they started.



    During the two weeks following this ‘massacre’, other protests are met with similar or even harsher violence, as the state clearly feels the situation spiraling out of control and tries desperately to grab hold of it. Beneath the spontaneous riots, though, there is another faction acting more methodically, retreating to better positions that it has already dug out over the years. The state is doing their propaganda work for them, to be frank.

    On May 14, a rebel government broadcasts its manifesto across the airwaves. The declaration plays in four different languages – Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Northern Sami – and then loops. Prime Minister Malmquist has shown his hand, it says, as a would-be dictator, enemy of his own citizens, and mere pretender of democracy. He would sooner let his people die than simply let them speak. He has made a particularly ruthless display of that which readers of Reuben Stern have known for a hundred years: the bourgeois status quo will not tolerate its hegemony being questioned by socialism with any kind of ambition (a jab at social democrats in other countries). The first Nordic revolution of 1849, if it was ever a true revolution at all, has fallen well short of its purpose and the Riksdag been hijacked by a regime just as repressive as the last; the only remaining option is to have a second one. History has shown time and again that even seemingly immovable institutions are all still artificial; and that which has been put up, can be torn down and rebuilt.

    The Nordic Civil War has begun, and the fall of this house of cards will be felt across the world.


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    Welp, here goes. No backing off anymore (after dealing with all the hassle of setting up a game…). If I want to adjust the mod from here on, it’ll have to be in the form of console commands or jury-rigged events, but I at least hope to avoid the latter as much as possible. I had to use them a ton in Vic 2, as much due to the game bugging out as anything else...

    I don’t entirely know what the formatting of this HoI4 section will be like, since it’s a pretty different game, structurally speaking, from the others. I won’t try to nail anything down in that regard, and end up writing myself into a corner. The occasional in-character part might be fun since this is going to be the most “micro” section with the shortest time-scale, narrowest focus and mostly the same cast of characters, but I don’t plan to go as far with it as a lot of HoI4 AAR’s seem to do.

    I’ve “playtested” the mod a bunch of times, but only by letting the game run as an observer, so I can’t say anything about the game balance after throwing in the human factor. I’m not the best at HoI4, so even though I sure hope I can outplay the standard AI, in my attempts to shake things up, I might also make some weird mistakes or nonoptimal builds. Even if they happen to be catastrophic, I’ll only save-scum if it’s something utterly ridiculous like forgetting about an entire front for four months. Stuff that could make me ragequit a regular HoI4 game, like losing my entire tank corps or something, I'll just have to live with.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2021-11-07 at 06:13 PM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (Finally in HoI4!)

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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    My first thought was that Poland should support the People's Delegation, because the Nordic Kingdom seems likely to align with the New Covenant, but on further thought I think it might be best to just stay out of the war entirely. The People's Delegation doesn't sound all that friendly towards Poland's non-revolutionary approach to socialism, and even if they lose and the Nordic Kingdom does join the New Covenant, I'm not sure how much of an effect on the war that would have. So long as Poland retains control of the Baltic, I don't see the Nordic Kingdom posing much of a threat.
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    Chapter #78: The Lights in the North are Fires (May–October 1936)

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    ”Just put me on a train to Stockholm, and I’ll win the war for them myself.”
    — Lord Marshal Lambert Razicky




    14th of May, 1936

    The People’s Delegation makes no pretense of being the “legitimate” government in the sense of having won any election or ever been in power; rather, the Reds’ claim to legitimacy is the fact that the system never allowed true democracy to begin with, and never will unless they build their own republic through revolution.



    Militarily speaking, any borders or frontlines drawn in the early stages of the Nordic Civil War are questionable at best, as there are countless Reds stuck inside White territory and vice versa, but they solidify soon enough as those stragglers are either dealt with or manage to slip out. In terms of area, the Reds might seem to have an advantage, but most of the land under their control is very sparsely settled. Though this includes the brunt of the country’s natural resources, it actually leaves them at an almost 3-to-1 disadvantage in population and manufacturing. They’ll need to act quickly if they are to seize what initiative they have.



    The Red cause finds real support among miners, foresters, rent farmers, the urban poor and cosmopolitan intelligentsia alike; their most immediate success is a series of coups in Finland’s main population centers, from which they spread out. The main thing uniting the Whites, on the other hand, isn’t so much any demographic factor as simple loyalty to the elected government and opposition to the things the socialists represent, or are thought to represent. But of course, just as in the Polish Civil War, the majority of the population doesn’t actively consider itself a member of either faction – it merely finds its hometown controlled by one or the other, with varying levels of sympathy for them.

    The Whites are led by, or at least rally around, PM Gunnar Otto Malmquist of the General Electoral League, as well as King Björn II Gustav. They have the advantage of being the ruling party and controlling the government infrastructure, but at the outbreak of the war, they can hardly be called all that well organized, especially when the haphazard White Guards are thrown into the mix. Confusion, mutinies, and even open firefights break out within the national military, composed mostly of conscripts, and as much as half of it ends up defecting to the Red side in the form of either individual deserters or even entire units – a much worse outlook for the Whites than in Poland’s case, where the army largely remained loyal. The White side’s stated goal is the return to status quo and defeat of the treasonous rebels.




    The Reds’ organization consists of a big-tent grouping of leftist parties, labor movements, a few extreme republicans, and just overall disgruntled citizens. They rally around Nordic Communist Party leader Linus Bergroth, who only ten years ago was still a relatively moderate social democrat, eventually radicalized by the government’s ever harsher policies. The exact focus of the Red agenda depends on who you happen to be asking, but they all agree on some kind of republic with a heavily leftist bent; of course, the wartime government they cobble together is more of an improvised military regime, though a number of ambitious socialist programs are quickly put into action in their territory to lay the groundwork for the future (and hopefully drum up support). Rather than the bigger cities in the south, the People’s Delegation sets up its temporary headquarters in Oulu, a mid-sized industrial town in the center of its territory and far away from Stockholm.




    The sudden collapse of the Nordic Kingdom takes Poland by surprise, and immediately sends its own Red-White Coalition into a spiral of… inaction. Even putting aside all of its other priorities, it especially cannot get involved in a civil war so closely reminiscent of its own, the scars of which this very Coalition is meant to try and heal. Active support for either side would be absolutely toxic for Poland’s own politics, if possible at all: most parties not on the far right feel sympathy for at least some part of the rebel cause, but none can subscribe to its methods, nor could Poland bear the diplomatic consequences of supporting a socialist revolution against a major (ostensibly democratic) European country. Even the People’s Unity Party, trying to play nice in the Sejm, can only send the most disclaimer-heavy words of support. And of course, the People’s Delegation has already gone out of its way to denounce moderate socialism, burning a lot of bridges on its own end.

    Meanwhile, due to those other priorities, that sympathy for the rebels, and the pre-war freeze in Polish-Nordic relations, any support for the Whites – the official government – can only be cordial at best, on the level of maintaining diplomatic contact with Stockholm and treating the Reds as rebels, without taking any real action against them.


    (Before anyone wonders about the wording in the tooltip: in the case that they are our allies, we’re meant to just join the war properly.)

    The Kingdom of Estonia, under unwanted Nordic protection since the Great War, wastes no time in washing its hands of this whole mess erupting just 40 miles north of its capital. Its social democratic government also doesn’t go the full distance of recognizing the Reds as a state per se, but remains open to contact with both sides, while staying neutral in the conflict – and most importantly, breaking free from the Nordic leash. This too is less a show of support for the Reds, and more likely an attempt to avoid their aggression.



    Poland’s own desire to maintain cordial neutrality means that when White calls for aid are spread from Nordic or domestic sources, it cannot actively suppress them. Premier Stawicki himself has to make a statement that any private groups or citizens, with the exception of state or military employees, who wish to support Stockholm will not be stopped from doing so. In effect, this support manifests as fundraising, material shipments, and thousands of volunteers entering Sweden through Polish Denmark. While the White government also evokes sympathy throughout the populace for its own reasons – most people are naturally inclined to support the familiar, “non-rebel” government in their neighboring country – the ones who personally travel there to offer up their lives tend to be either intensely anti-socialist themselves, or simply foolhardy adventurers (a real dying breed). Similar support also finds its way to the Reds, but in much smaller amounts, partly due to the difficulty of the voyage (most go through Estonia) and less publicity given to them.



    While the theoretical border cuts an almost straight line right across the Scandinavian Peninsula, there are pockets of enemy fighters on either side of the Baltic: the Red uprising managed to seize Småland in southern Sweden, whereas White government forces have kept control of the province of Karelia and the ports of Turku, Vaasa and far northern Muurmanni. The small garrisons and ragtag White Guards in Turku and Vaasa decide to evacuate and fight another day, whereas the Muurmanni garrison is simply captured, but Småland and Karelia will remain problematic for a few months longer. Both pockets could theoretically be supplied and reinforced by sea, but neither military is currently in any shape to run such an operation, not to mention that the navy has also split in half. Control of the Baltic is yet to be decided, with Nordic ships facing each other in (often half-hearted) firefights at sea. Regardless, civilian ships are advised to avoid the Baltic when at all possible and stick close to the Polish coast, if only to avoid any tragic accidents.



    More support, be it verbal or material, continues to trickle in from other countries, mostly for the Whites, since indeed, the fact that the Reds supposedly stand for democracy doesn’t automatically mean that other democracies stand for them. European, Amatican and Alcadran democracies – especially Alcadran, actually, since that is where Andeland and Vanaland are located – have both practical and moral reasons to worry about the outbreak and outcome of this war. (Asian ones doesn’t especially care.) Two countries stand out above all others, however: Russia and Uralia, for the Whites and Reds respectively. They have very strong feelings regarding, well, socialism. Russia hasn’t been on the best terms with the Nords since it was robbed of Nevanlinna and Estonia, but now, Vozhd Morozov makes no mention of past misgivings and offers his vocal support to the “righteous government of the Nordic folk in their struggle against the traitors”. Meanwhile, Uralia’s sympathy for the Reds is partly a response to this, partly a natural attitude towards a would-be socialist revolution in their neighborhood (which, if successful, might even help contain Russia).

    Whereas other countries have merely allowed, or perhaps sometimes helped, volunteers and weapons to leave for the Nordics, the Russian and Uralian “volunteers” are of a different breed. The claim that they were inspired to take up arms probably isn’t completely false – but it’s also apparent that most of them are actual soldiers, and those arms, other equipment, and even training have been provided by their state militaries. Russian and Uralian troops start to show up in the frontlines in organized divisions with their own officers, uniforms, and in Russia’s case, some tanks, followed by a steady flow of supplies.

    This utter caricature of the volunteer system leaves absolutely no doubt that Russia and Uralia are actively intervening in, and fighting their own proxy war in the Nordics.



    At least for now, though, most of the decision-making is in the Nords’ own hands. Both sides have competent people at the top, but the lower echelons are not so organized, with less coordination and more motivation. Both the Småland and the Karelia pocket make the same cardinal mistake of boldly pushing out into an area larger than they can actually cover, leaving gaps in the lines that an observant commander on the enemy side can use to cut them off from supply. The large lakes found in both regions can be used to cover a flank, but also make the frontline more difficult for a confused officer to keep together.



    As for the “main” frontline, it’s an attacker’s nightmare and a defender’s dream: thick forests, hills, mountains, limited roads, countless rivers big and small running in parallel to the frontline. What’s more, the Scandic Mountains divide it into two distinct Swedish and Norwegian fronts, with only a few mountain passes allowing movement between them. Much like the lakes, the mountains create some safe flanks yet also leave troops vulnerable to being cut off – and just overall make movement a pain. This is where most of the fighting, maneuvers, and bloodshed of the war will be had. At least it’s far from any population centers, a Polish observer might say, recalling the massacres at Warsaw, Poznan, Krakow…





    While all this is going on, Poland is of course doing more than just gawking in disgust. It has several long-running, very important political projects going on that certainly weren’t inspired by current events, but have been placed in a very different context by them.

    On the domestic front: Due to its long and winding history, the Polish administration can be rather cobbled-together in some ways. For instance, the many local, regional, cultural etc. councils that long predate its modern parliamentary system – or even the Sejm in general – don’t always tie together in a coherent manner; supposedly similar organs aren’t always on equal footing; they have or think they have some powers they’re not actually allowed to use; and many of the responsibilities and powers they do have are unofficial. Ideally, for a modern democracy to function – and in particular, keep its citizens engaged – the participation pipeline and division of powers should be clear from top to bottom.

    In a similar vein, there has been broad consensus that the Constitution of 1920 has worked well enough, and the High King has played his role admirably (which politicians make sure to keep repeating), but more legally minded individuals have been concerned by the intentional loopholes left in. All the ways that Lechoslaw IV could theoretically interfere in the work of the elected government were tolerated partly as a way to make the Constitution more acceptable for the Crown and its supporters, partly in the honest belief that an enlightened monarch was still a valuable check on Sejmic overreach. However, both those views have faded in importance over the last 16 years, and the basic problem is obvious: what if Lechoslaw’s successor is less enlightened, or if it turns out that the people want a government he doesn’t like? In the worst case, this could lead to a repeat of the Wieslawan Restoration, or what just happened up in the Nordics. Poland cannot call itself a true democracy while still leaving ultimate power with the High King, even if he still commands respect.

    The Sejm, still somewhat distracted by the war up north, manages to finalize and accept the Constitution of 1936 on 25 July with votes 414–36, opposed by the Royalist Party and Slavic Sanacja (the Royalists for obvious reasons, the Sanacja in an attempt to maintain an ultra-conservative image even though the Constitution could theoretically benefit them). Premier Stawicki gets to go down in history as the man who pushed through two different constitutions 16 years apart (some would debate whether this is a good thing or not, but he does a good job explaining the first one as a necessary transition). The High King, too, gets to be the ruler who voluntarily signed away his own power twice. Some people close to him will later remark (when it is politically safe) that the usually stone-faced monarch seems increasingly uncomfortable with these developments as time goes on.

    The Constitution of 1936 is mainly an edited version of the first one, with the most notable changes being the abolition of the “royal decree” as anything but a formality (taking away what little legislative power the Crown still had), various gentlemen’s agreements being enshrined in actual law, and a new legal definition of municipalities, districts, provinces and regions, though the exact details (and borders) are still left open for regular legislation to decide. (Whether local autonomy is increased or decreased depends on how you view the removal of mostly obsolete or dysfunctional rights against the more effective use of the rights they are left with.)

    While rather unremarkable to most regular citizens, to the people in power, it’s an important entrenchment of democratic rule in the New Poland.





    A mere week after the Constitution is passed, Germany approaches Poland – a rare occurrence, that – with an unusually reasonable attitude towards their ageless disputes. Behind closed doors, the German foreign minister tells his counterpart what everyone already knows: that Germany’s claims on Poland will never be accomplished by force, and that both countries frankly have a lot better things to worry about. Taken aback by this honesty, the Pole asks what it is that Germany is suggesting.

    Plebiscites. Neither Poland nor Germany can be seen to be giving up too easily, but a referendum in each of the debated regions to settle their fates for good – just like the ones held in Germany and Bavaria – would allow them to come out looking reasonable and democratic rather than weak. The symbolic nature of this arrangement is only emphasized by the fact that it is already rather clear what the end result would be:

    The Bremen Strip, Germany’s former North Sea coast, had “always” been German territory, yet was taken from it at the end of the War of Moldavian Succession in 1636 – exactly 300 years ago. This was partly a “punishment” for betraying the Moscow Pact and starting said war, partly a strategic measure to secure contact with Frisia now that Germany could no longer be trusted, but in retrospect, it’s definitely the reason that Polo-German relations are terrible to this day. Beyond the loss of German core territory, it also stripped the country of its short but all the more valuable coastline, vital for any would-be great power. The province has maintained a German identity to this day, and actually became a notorious hotbed of separatism and violent terrorism in the late 1800s, driving out a good chunk of the non-Germans who had settled there.



    Lower Austria – or just Vienna as it's usually called – has never been part of the German state per se, but was passed off between Bavarian, Austrian, Pannonian and finally Polish rule while maintaining a German-speaking identity. It only really became a matter of dispute between Germany and Poland after the Bremen question had already raised the issue. However, with a weaker connection to the pan-German state and much less nationalist sentiment, the city of Vienna in particular has seen a great deal of Slavic settlement from surrounding Bohemia, Slovakia and Pannonia. The rest of the province is somewhat more “German”, but the clear majority of the total population identifies with Poland.



    The fact of the matter is that Poland holds both of these territories, and securely so, making the German suggestion appear rather bold. In any other time, it might well be laughed out of the room. However, it makes a surprising amount of sense: Bremen holds little strategic value for Poland these days, especially with the separatist problem making it a constant thorn in the side of its politics, not least the ongoing regional reform. Thus the matter is taken to the Sejm, which – with a similar majority as the Constitution vote – accepts.



    The full reasoning behind the decision is kept from the public, in an arguably rather undemocratic manner, but the general gist of it is expressed in terms of cultural self-determination and finally settling a fruitless dispute in a diplomatic manner. (When the status of separatist regions within Germany is brought up, both countries mostly just point at the Treaty of Grazyna and push the problem aside.) By mutual agreement, the referendums are held in both Bremen and Lower Austria, and the results are exactly as expected. Bremen, with its separatist German majority, votes to rejoin the fatherland, while Lower Austria is somewhat more split, but still firmly in favor of sticking with Poland.



    Both countries confirm that they have no further claims on the other’s territory, relations are normalized, and a non-aggression pact is signed. Both their leaderships will have to spend some time selling this sudden change in tune to their citizens – or getting used to it themselves, for that matter – but even then, having one less hostile country to worry about is simply in everyone’s best interest. Parts of the army that had been stationed on the German border are sent to reinforce Calais and Yugoslavia, while the rest are sent to help the border guards in Denmark protect against illegal crossings from the warzone up north.





    The underhanded dealings don’t end there, for in early September, the so-called North Sea Trade Summit is held in Amsterdam with state representatives from Poland, Britannia, Brittany, Frisia, Lotharingia – and Germany, as a recognition-slash-celebration of its new North Sea coast. (Lotharingia doesn’t have a coast, but a treaty for the free use of Calais.) The Nords are also informed, but fully assumed to sit this one out, as they end up doing – they have bigger fish to fry. However, rather than just a routine trade summit to renew old agreements on North Sea shipping and hash out new ones, this is also a secret meeting to let them discuss their views on the Nordic situation.

    As expected, they’re all more or less in the same boat regarding the wicked dilemma of active involvement, leading them all to only send thoughts, prayers, and individual volunteers – none as many as Poland, though, with its direct border and historical connections. The discussion of the Red agenda, on the other hand, is a bit more divisive: out of the countries present, Poland and Brittany have social democratic governments, Lotharingia, Germany and Britannia are conservative (with the socialists as their main opposition), and Frisia is known for its market liberalism. Lotharingia and Germany are also the only republics, surrounded by monarchies. The ideological debate gets rather lively, especially when it’s continued after hours with the addition of drinks, and some of the diplomats even come to blows when things get a little too personal. However, many of them will later describe these conversations as, to quote one Englishman: “purely academic, in good spirits, and most [intellectually] arousing”. All go home with increased faith in future cooperation.

    Trade technicalities aside, perhaps the single most important policy decision made at this summit concerns shipping to and from the People’s Delegation. There are, of course, few if any major buyers interested in dealing with the Reds, or whom the Reds are interested in dealing with, so the countries can score some diplomatic points by forbidding trade with the People’s Delegation – the loss of Nordic ore hurts a lot of companies, but they weren’t getting it regardless, as long as the Reds control it. This embargo, only enforced in the home ports and not at sea, would probably be easy to smuggle things through, should anyone try. But as for Poland, it controls the Danish Belts, and thus needs to take a clear position there. In the end, that position is that checking every passing ship for secret Reds would be so much work and violate so many other treaties that it’s simply not worth it. Red ships are thus de facto able to pass through the straits, as long as they’re smart enough to take the hint and keep a low profile. The Kiel Canal, with its stricter checks for all ships, is still off-limits for them.







    There has been stirring on the right for a while now. Gallo seems to have wrapped up his round-up of rivals and secured an iron grip on his regime. In the north, the Folkists have been rearing their heads, fed by the Red menace and Russian support, with the White government forced to tolerate them for the sake of the war. Said Russians, of course, have been making a bunch of noise, though aimed in a new direction for now.

    And within Poland, the Sanacja hasn’t stopped complaining for months, talking about the supposed excesses of the new Constitution while trying to stoke populist outrage wherever it can. Its harping on and on about royalist talking points has even put off the Royalists themselves. In their distorted (?) view, the concentration of supreme power in the Sejm is just laying the groundwork for the continued erosion of royal authority and a future leftist coup. In this narrative, the center-right National Coalition is portrayed either as useful idiots, or under the control of leftist pawns. While it remains to be seen whether these conspiracy theories could bear fruit, it is clear that the Sanacja is trying to drive a wedge into the conservative ranks and siphon voters off of the Royalists and National Coalition both.

    As primacism seems to threaten Europe on all sides, this fifth pillar inside Poland seems more and more dangerous. Whether or not it could win an election, it's already doing damage just by being there. The powers-that-be taking action against the Sanacja might be “exactly what they want”, but it may still be the lesser evil to put the foot down right here. The perfect opportunity is provided by a sudden scandal in early October, when the deputy chairman of the Sanacja is found to be keeping contact with and taking bribes from Russian sources, presumably in return for information and pushing of Russian interests. Though the party itself is actually scandalized as well – the Sanacja’s grander ambitions are hardly pro-Russian, even if their ideologies are similar – for the Red-White Coalition, this is both confirmation that its cause is just, and the excuse to put it into action.

    Trying to ban parties or ideologies has been considered ineffective in the past, but the Sanacja isn’t nearly as popular as the left was before the Civil War, nor is Poland’s overall situation at all comparable. With the overwhelming support of nearly the entire Sejm – some representatives would otherwise object to such an act, but can’t bring themselves to vote “in favor of the Sanacja” – the Slavic Sanacja itself is declared an illegal organization and its participation in politics on any level, national or local, strictly forbidden. The Sejm’s three Royalists abstain, perhaps hoping to woo some now-orphaned voters. But while the accompanying, broader criminalization of primacism is of course a bit subjective, and liable to be misused at some point in the future, it also lays down the battle lines: Poland is a strictly anti-primacist nation, in terms of ideals as well as foreign policy, and will not allow such un-Polish forces to corrode the nation from within. Even democracy cannot stand to allow openly anti-democratic ideology within its state apparatus.



    Sanacja members are no longer allowed in the Sejm, but at least aren’t retroactively prosecuted for their membership – though most of them will be investigated just in case. It is also determined that in the current atmosphere, no emergency election will be held, but the country will wait for 1938 as scheduled. Until then, the Sejm will convene with a reduced size of 417 members – though majority requirements et al. are still based on the original number of 450. This is unlikely to swing many votes, since the government parties already had a majority and the Sanacja already opposed everything anyone else supported. Sanacja members are technically allowed to join another party and run again in the next election, but it seems unlikely that anyone will have them.


    (The 1934 election results, to recap.)

    Spoiler: Comments
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    As you can see, the game mechanics have already decided that we won’t be participating in this war. Obviously I could’ve changed that if I wanted to, but didn’t. I agree with InvisibleBison’s assessment that neither side is really optimal for us; but more importantly, I didn’t want the early parts of this AAR to be even more focused on the civil war, nor for it to be single-handedly won by a few competently micro’d volunteer divisions.

    1936 has been a busy year in Europe. You might smell a bit of desire to “clean up the map” with all these German referendums, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But it also seemed, especially after watching these scenarios play out a few times, that something like this is probably the only way forward for Polo-German relations that isn’t simply stupid for both of them (other than just repeating history and temporarily putting disputes aside in order to have an exact rehash of the Great War).

    In case anyone wonders about Gallo's mention of "2800-year-long history", the Fascists are taking the oldest possible version of when the city of Rome was founded and then rounding up a fair bit from there.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2021-10-25 at 05:26 AM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (Finally in HoI4!)

    Sovereign Levander on Steam

  14. - Top - End - #284
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    Goblin

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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    Wow, this has been a great day's read. I'm in awe at the amount of effort on this truly inspired AAR, culminating in what seems to be more or less a full conversion mod for HOI4
    Quote Originally Posted by ActionReplay View Post
    Why does D&D have no Gollum? Why it does. You just can't see him. He is wearing his precious at the moment.
    There is a lot of very bizarre nonsense being talked on this forum. I shall now remain silent and logoff until my points are vindicated.

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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    Thank you! "Truly inspired" is a new one, but very flattering.

    I guess it is a total conversion, huh? Even if cutting some corners behind the scenes due to only trying to make one country playable.
    (They're all playable, of course, in the same sense that a generic country with no DLC backing is playable in the base game.)
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2021-10-29 at 12:30 PM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (Finally in HoI4!)

    Sovereign Levander on Steam

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    Chapter #79: Network Work (October 1936–June 1937)

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    ”Of course they're still fighting. I don't believe either side is about to sign a ceasefire that would give us a North North and a South North.”
    — Premier Bartlomiej Stawicki, in a private conversation




    As revealed by internal memos and later memoirs, the Russians and their White vassals alike started out with the bright-eyed impression that Russia’s new T-26 tanks would be practically invincible against a ragtag group rebels with only a handful of old artillery to shoot them with. Technical issues and design flaws discovered in the old T-18 models during the Bolgharian war had supposedly been fixed, but the Nordics were in fact something of a live fire proving ground for the T-26, with plans to develop it further into the ultimate Pole-killer weapon.

    Half a year later, they’ve been forced to face the fact that practice is often harsher than theory. While the Reds are indeed short on weapons that can penetrate the T-26’s armor, the forested, uneven, and overall rougher terrain of Scandinavia has proven to be a death trap for tanks, compared to relatively flat Bolgharia. The tanks are perfectly capable of taking themselves out of commission just by, say, driving into the wrong ditch, which the Reds have been happy to dig more of; and the terrain forces them onto a limited number of narrow, poor-quality roads on which they are easily tracked, ambushed, and trapped. Sight and firing lines are narrow, allowing a brave Red to run up and jam an entire tank with a single well-placed log, potentially blocking the entire road as well. As a mockery of the much-touted “food aid” that Russia is providing for the Kingdom, the Reds have taken to calling the clanking metal boxes “Morozov bread baskets”; whereas the innovative petrol-and-alcohol firebombs that they use to destroy said tanks have been dubbed the “Morozov cocktail”.

    Most remaining tanks have been wisely pulled out, and better-suited mountaineer troops sent in their place.



    After the initial confusion and completely unnecessary loss of Karelia, command of the White forces has been handed over to Karl Gustaf Järnefelt, a national hero who was already a general in the Great War. His perhaps rather traditional but at least cautious methods have proven a good fit for the current frontline. The Red commander Sebastian Vasama, on the other hand, is a rather unlikely candidate: a supposedly apolitical career officer from an upper middle-class Finnish background, who seems to have joined the revolution for pseudo-patriotic reasons of all things. He felt that the poorer half of the country had been mistreated, and had no enthusiasm to fight against the Reds with the high proportion of his fellow Finns in their ranks. He’s not entirely alone, of course: some other generals have defected for a variety of reasons, ranging from ideological to personal.



    Vasama and Chairman Bergroth are in agreement that a prolonged war is almost inevitably disadvantageous for the Reds, barring some sort of uprising in the White territory. The capture of Karelia and Nevanlinna helped their supply situation a fair bit, but they’re still the underdogs in this fight. As such, the frontline being stuck in roughly the same place for many months now is pretty bad news for them, but it’s unclear what they could do to break through.





    The incident in mid-November, where Pope Leo XIV openly voices his support for the fascist ideology for the first time, initially escapes with little attention from the pagan Polish state. After all, it’s almost more surprising to hear that he has avoided doing so until now, nor is it really clear – or relevant – whether this is his real opinion or just something he’s saying due to the immense political pressure he surely finds himself under. However, Poland does have a Catholic minority of several million, many of whom feel outraged and betrayed by the Pope’s words: his supposed, even if shallow, neutrality has so far allowed them to separate faith from politics, but now not only do they fear being perceived as fascist or Latin sympathizers, some of them have their own crises of faith towards the Pope, or at the very worst, the whole Catholic Church. (If any Poles actually become fascists as a result of this, it's definitely not a significant number.)

    When Polish state representatives are eventually forced to address the issue, even just verbally, they fall back on the principle of Solidarity, make it clear that the Pope’s words have no bearing on the Catholics’ status as equal Polish citizens, and avoid making strong statements on whether or not the Pope’s words were his own.

    In countries where Catholicism is dominant but fascism isn’t – namely Asturias, its past and present colonies, and Santa Croce – this little speech sparks a much larger crisis. It’s hardly the first time that the Pope has been politicized, or even gotten rejected by a large part of his flock, but it is the first in living memory. “Depapalist” ideas abound, questioning the status of either Leo XIV personally or even the Papacy in general, but have to toe a careful balance not to fall into outright heresy. Others simply choose to believe that His Holiness isn’t speaking freely. In the end, the more moderate wing of this movement launches peaceful campaigns of all sizes, all across the Catholic world, against Gallo and the Fascist Party if nothing else. In hindsight, historians will say that this scandal gave anti-primacist sentiment a toehold in many places where it had been mainly just ignored until now, most notably Amatica.

    Of course, the whole thing is a matter of domestic propaganda for Gallo, and as it seems to have worked back home in the Empire, he cares little for what the rest of the world thinks – especially as no government is taking concrete action over something like this. And it is likely that some Catholics with less prior awareness of the fascist regime now have at least one positive association for it.

    ”Don't forget what Jesus said: Bend over for Caesar!”
    — Pope Leo XIV preaching to a herd of wool-clad wolves, English Waldensian newspaper cartoon






    At least the Latin Empire still has a relatively vivid and superficially “open” cultural life, interested in broadcasting to the rest of the world, and also allowing in foreign publications (after they’ve been approved by the Ministry of Propaganda, now folded into the Cultural Ministry). Out of Russia, there are very few international communications, not counting the domestic radio broadcasts that simply happen to reach across the border (and are mostly just full of propaganda). Oftentimes, the Poles can only hear what the Vozhd specifically wants them to hear... or what Slube tells them.

    Spy work in Russia isn’t easy, what with the strength and influence of the MGB (Ministry of State Security), thorough politicization of all public life, constant abuses of power, and shameless pervasiveness of the surveillance state. However, in the face of Poland’s most likely and most dangerous enemy, mere difficulty is no reason to back off.

    Poland’s most valuable operative in Russia is one Lucyna “4859” Kaniecka, who was born in Minsk and thus speaks with the realistic accent of a Belarusian who has made the patriotic effort to learn the High Russian tongue. Originally a star student of Slube's cryptanalysis program back when it was still called the Dwojka, instead of landing a desk job in Krakow, she was recruited and trained as a field operative… and smuggled in to find a desk job in Moscow. She works as a simple secretary at the National Railways main office, and has also entered a passionate affair with her unsuspecting boss, a married man. In addition to information from her lover, this affair being an open secret at the office provides her with a natural excuse for any odd behavior, such as sneaking around after hours, and a shield against accusations from her coworkers. The railways being the backbone of the country’s infrastructure, the wealth of paperwork that she has access to forms a complete image of everything that’s happening or about to happen around the country, especially to a pattern analyst such as her. Her job is also a good reason to be sending and receiving messages and packages around the country.



    Besides handling a lot of Poland’s spies in Russia, 4859 has even recruited some of them, such Nikita “Witold” Nikitin, a native-born Muscovite and actually a double-agent in the MGB, albeit a low-ranking one. The MGB is even more paranoid, secretive, and segmented than most intelligence agencies are, and thus his access to inside information is actually more limited than one might think… but still invaluable. He has first-hand knowledge of the MGB’s methods and procedures, and the slightest flash of his badge is an easy way to simply not be questioned by civilians who fear the damage to their lives or livelihoods that any provocation might incur.



    Witold himself defected out of disillusionment with the Vozrozhdeniye regime, but though Slube’s network of agents and informants grows – be it by recruitment or by infiltration – and provides the Polish administration with a realistic idea of general events within Russia, it has also made it tragically apparent that there really is no countrywide resistance to tap into, or any chance of forming some sort of shadow government ready to seize power. Any future successor to the primacist system will have to rise from the ashes, formed out of civil servants “not as deeply” involved in its crimes rather than ones actively fighting against it. For the time being, though, Slube is focused on finding the individual discontents who might aid the Polish cause.


    (I'm doing every infiltration op against Russia that I can. Won't be showing all the screenshots.)



    On 15 December, 1936, the Polish Sejm passes the Preparative Procurements Act, basically giving various ministries the authority to move more funding towards rearmament, military expansion, and any even vaguely connected projects. This doubles as a “stimulus package” to try and end the lingering recession by providing more work and hopefully jobs, but the National Coalition’s influence in the text is keenly felt, steering things away from direct government action and towards government contracts for private companies. The end result is hopefully the same, though. Even more so than the recent ban on primacism, the Act is an explicit legal acknowledgment that Poland is preparing for war – or at least some hypothetical war – in the near future.



    Poland’s economic mobilization reaches beyond its own borders, and into the trade with the Commonwealth of Sovereign States (that is, the Polish subject states and Moldavia). Just from looking at them, you would never know that Poland and Moldavia are supposed to be coordinating their military leaderships and even economies in preparation for war: even after forming the Commonwealth, an organization that has yet to live up to its desired potential, they basically wrote some more favorable trade treaties and then left it at that. Poland will need to set up a special commission to figure out how to best integrate the Commonwealth’s economies without making it even more forbidding for new countries to join – after all, the organization isn’t content being just “the Polish-Moldavian alliance”.



    At least the complex military industries of the military-industrial complex are poised and ready to make use of all resources thrown their way. A new Polish tank model, the LC-36 (Lekki Czolg or “Light Tank '36”), is finally entering mass production… well, at the scale that the production lines currently dedicated to tanks are capable of. The LC-36 is better than, say, the Russian T-26 in almost every way, but is merely playing catchup compared to Latin models already in the field. The Poles do have a heavier model sitting around in the form of CC-33 'Skala' (Heavy Tank '33 'Rock'), but those burdened with the honor of dealing with the prototypes have joked that the name is rather appropriate, as the best way to get any mobility out of the thing is to push it down a steep hill. None have been built for active service.



    The same can be said for military aviation, where, after a great deal of deliberation and frustrating bureaucratic delays, the P.11 has finally been chosen as the new dedicated fighter model. The P.11 sports a rather unique “gull-wing” design seen in few other planes in the world, but other than that, Poland is again merely catching up with what the Latins and even Russia already had a year or two ago. The Crown Air Force’s chosen approach to aircraft designs – fielding a diverse array of fighters, dive bombers, torpedo bombers and heavy bombers rather than try to come up with some kind of jack-of-all-trades model – has so far been hampered by the lack of resources dedicated to building all of them. The design of the heavy bomber hasn’t even been agreed upon, partly due to disagreements over what exactly its role should be.




    Hopefully all of that will change for the better sometime soon. Problem is, new toys like tanks and planes are still considered secondary to basic equipment and artillery as long as the Crown Army feels that its infantry is still insufficient.



    On 24 February, 1937, one of the Commonwealth’s most important goals is finally reached when the Empire of Britannia agrees to join as a full member. This is seen as quite a step forward, as despite Britannia’s many structural problems, it is still one of the larger economies, military powers and colonial empires in the world – and a clear icebreaker in terms of expanding the alliance beyond the mere Slavic sphere. Poland and Britannia have been considered close friends since at least the Great War, with Britannia receiving Stawicki Aid and maintaining a non-aggression pact as well as many other treaties with Poland, but membership in the Coalition was not at all a given.

    How is it achieved, then? With a big bunch of carrots. In addition to the Commonwealth loosening some of its economic rules – they were perhaps unrealistic from the start, and the military side of the alliance takes precedence right now – Britannia is also offered benefits that basically amount to force-feeding it money and investment until it's finally back up and running. Through a mixture of cheap or effectively free loans, rather one-sided trades, and many, many assorted agreements such as only buying tea from Britannia from now on, Poland makes it clear that it wants Britannia in no matter what – even at a temporary expense to its own economy.



    At least now the Commonwealth spans even more of the world, including the Panama Canal and other bases in Alcadra, as well as the power of the Royal Navy to hopefully once again tip the balance on the high seas.



    The sheer number of economic programs going on, even if they’re being run at a loss (that the greatest industrial might in the world can surely withstand), does contribute to the Polish economy finally shaking off its last cobwebs during the spring of 1937 and spinning up to full speed – in order to produce instruments of death. Well, that’s how it goes: as long as someone is putting down the cash, a job’s a job, as far as GDP is concerned.



    In June, a bit less than a year after the historic referendums that (at least officially) settled the Polish-German border conflict, the two countries upgrade their relationship from coexistence to outright cooperation by entering a knowledge-sharing treaty to help each other prepare against their common enemies. The main focus of the treaty is on fields where one country has a clear head start on the other – such as the Polish navy and the German air force – and it also leaves room for either country to exclude information that they consider extra classified, but it is a pleasant boon regardless. Rather than just obsolete models from the past war, the Germans actually hand over some very recent Latin schematics for the very newest designs; their own intelligence agency, the Abwehr, clearly has its connections in the Empire after all.



    With more and more new data and equipment coming in, it is apparent by now that the scattered research-and-development departments of the Army, Navy, Air Force and various companies are simply struggling to keep track of everything, let alone coordinate their efforts with each other. As such, a new government agency called the Defense Development Board is founded under the Ministry of Defense. From now on – or, at least, as soon as possible – all the R&D efforts undertaken by the military's various branches will be organized through this agency, which will also undertake its own efforts to gather information on what is or isn’t working, what is needed, and how they stack up against the enemy. It even has the ability to meddle in organizational reforms, something that no mere R&D department could ever do. If Poland is to win (and win quickly) against a country that has spent the last 30 years preparing for the next war, it’ll need one big well-oiled military machine. Given the in-fighting and backstabbing of the primacist regimes, that is one area where it might have an edge…


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    I didn't think of the Molotov-Morozov joke back when I first named the guy, but when the opening came along, I just had to use it.

    I also realized, more to my horror, that the guns, tanks, planes etc. have had their year numbers assigned according to the Christian calendar rather than our fictional Slavic one. Just assume that this is a vestige of the military adopting this international standard somewhere along the way for whatever reason and sticking with it, even though according to anyone in Poland, the current year is 1054 and not 1937.

    A classic in-between chapter, with a lot of somewhat unrelated things happening, but me deciding to cut it here before we wade into the bigger subject coming up next.

    "Coordination" feels like a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot when talking about generic and kind of opaque administrative upgrades, but while it is hard to show, it is indeed a huge part of making any huge organization such as a World War military work properly.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2021-11-05 at 04:13 PM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (Finally in HoI4!)

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    Chapter #80: The Beast in the East (July 1937–January 1938)

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    ”War is not our goal. War is the natural condition of man. Through war between men, nations are formed that war with each other. Any peace is only a break in the fighting, with both sides retreating to their corners like boxers, duelists in the ring. But though war is natural, inevitable, and never-ending, it is not pleasant to lose, for the winner makes the loser his slave. Thus the self-interest of any given nation is to attain absolute supremacy, so that it may ensure victory in the next round, and every round after that.”
    — Vozhd Timur Morozov




    The Nordic Civil War started in May 1936. As of July 1937, the main frontline has only moved some 50 miles in either direction, which on the national scale is nothing. As long as no strategic objectives are achieved, just taking land means little. With the help of Russian elite mountaineers, the Whites have pushed a bit in Norway, but are still more than 200 miles away from Narvik, the Reds’ primary North Sea port – most of the Reds’ meager material aid comes from Uralia anyway, but the capture of Narvik would allow the Whites to pivot around the mountains and threaten to encircle the whole front. The Reds, on the other hand, have inched their way down the Swedish coast, and also find themselves around 200 forbidding miles from Stockholm.



    Many thrusts have been made by either side, only to be blunted or cut off without much ground gained. Partisan operations in enemy territory are also common, but mostly launched from and limited to the area around the frontline, aiming to find or create a weak spot in the defenses. Farther away from the lines, the situation on either side is relatively stable and “safe”, but all resources have been dedicated to this total war for the country’s survival.

    On the White side, the authoritarian undercurrent of the pre-war government has become an overcurrent, with all political activity that isn’t specifically in support of the Whites or the war effort effectively forbidden. This includes any questioning of the Russian alliance, which was quite a shock compared to pre-war attitudes or the memories of the Great War – now, “Russian-Nordic friendship” circles have been founded that are increasingly seen as hotbeds for primacism. Though the Malmquist regime tries to whip up enthusiasm, be it more patriotic or anti-socialist, it seems that quiet sympathy or support for the Reds isn’t uncommon, not to mention simple desire for peace. Conscription has been extensive and indiscriminate, leading to problems with morale and desertion.

    The People’s Delegation hasn’t been that much better in terms of political rights, of course, excusing itself by referring to wartime measures. Social programs have been delayed for lack of funds (despite forced nationalizations), grassroots democracy has had little room to grow, and meanwhile, the crackdown on unfavorable politics has been just as harsh as on the White side. However, the effectiveness with which the Reds have mobilized their smaller population has still surprised all observers. While their conscription programs are just as extensive as the Whites’, the Reds have decided that as a revolutionary movement, they’re better off only sending the willing to the front, while the unenthusiastic can serve in backline or production jobs, and the outright opposed are best left alone. The fact that the Red Army has still managed to surpass the White one in size might be evidence of the genuine support that it enjoys among the population (some social classes more than others). For both ideological and practical reasons, the Reds have also mobilized much more women than the conservative Whites, scrambling to make up the difference in "man"power.

    All in all, the White side currently fields some 79,000 soldiers and 192 big guns against the Reds’ 152,000 soldiers and 70 big guns, though the Reds are so badly underequipped that those White forces half their number actually carry more rifles than them. This is before adding in Russian and Uralian troops, which operate quite independently from the main armies. The war is also being fought at sea, as well as in the air; but the navies are spending more time in port due to lack of clear objectives to fight over, whereas both air forces are simply very small.



    Russia is clearly frustrated with this state of things. No matter how tight the regime’s iron grip on messaging might be, those are still Russian men fighting and dying in the Nordics, with families, acquaintances, and a country-wide audience who are at the very least wondering what’s taking them so long. After all, the regime sent them there with quite a lot of bluster about how quickly they’d crush those Reds and be right back. The fact that they’re also fighting Uralians, and those Uralians are acquitting themselves rather well despite their inferior equipment, just makes it chafe even more, and also raises the question: what exactly is the point of fighting the Uralians in Scandinavia, while pretending to be at peace all across their long mutual border?



    This tension felt all throughout Russian society – especially the military – inevitably causes some trouble along said border. It’s far too long for either side, but especially the Uralians, to keep a constant watch on every mile of it, and assorted little incidents, clandestine operations, or just plain old illegal crossings have always been commonplace. Rarely, however, have they been directly orchestrated by either government.

    Despite their open enmity, the primacists have so far strived to avoid actual conflict with the Uralian People’s Republic, if only for the simple reason that it was of secondary importance as a military target, and as long as Russia wasn’t ready to pursue its total annihilation, a more agitated Uralia would only be a thorn in its side. In July 1937, having apparently decided that Uralia has already become that thorn, and also hoping to pull some of its attention away from the Nordic front, Russia performs its greatest provocation yet, dramatic enough to make headlines in… well, at least the nearby countries.

    Perm, one of the main Uralian cities, is located on the Kama River just a little upstream of occupied Bolgharia. Bolgharia used to be Uralia’s friend and main trading partner in the region, but now that it has been wiped off the map and replaced by nondescript administrative districts under martial law, this part of the border is the second most watched of the entire frontier (behind only the part between Moscow and Gondyr-Ola). A bit of small-scale traffic and trade still occurs between Russia and Uralia, but there’s little chance of any crossing vehicle not being checked, here of all places.



    On 3 July, a medium-sized, innocent enough looking riverboat sails up the Kama. As soon as it’s safely within Uralian territory, armed border guards come up in their own boats and subject it to a routine inspection. To their surprise, they find that the cargo hold is full of concealed radio equipment. The boat is obviously confiscated and its crew apprehended on suspicions of espionage. However, barely have the guards even passed the message forward before their Russian counterparts already start making noise. They have been watching the whole thing from the distance (with binoculars and a scout plane), and are now demanding the release of their countrymen, making threatening moves at the border.

    The next day, the Uralian officer in charge decides to release the prisoners, but keep the boat for now. This does not satisfy the Russians, who seem hungry for a fight, and within a few days, enough troops have been moved into the area to turn this from a routine dispute to something actually worrying. The Perm garrison is mobilized, and the whole Uralian army is actually put on alert: war is a losing proposition for them, but if the Russians are about to start, they’d better be ready. According to Slube, Russia’s troop movements suggest they aren’t preparing for outright war, but are keeping the option on the table should this somehow create a major opening.

    Clashes escalate to the point of open shooting, the matter of the boat more or less irrelevant at this point. There is practically an undeclared war on this stretch of the border. However, when the Russian commander – probably thinking himself very clever – leads half a division towards Perm under the cover of night, he unwittingly ends up recreating a scene seen in Scandinavia many times already: overconfident Russian troops get ambushed by Uralians lying in wait and pinned down in hostile territory. When the whirring of Uralian tanks (the only Uralian tank division, natch) is heard in the darkness, the Russians are sent scrambling home with severe losses. Many are even taken prisoner, and may be charged as spies and terrorists rather than POWs, due to the lack of a war.



    The so-called Battle of Kama River, ordered from the highest levels of government and intended as a show of power, turns into a national humiliation that the Russians do their best to hide from their own populace. The exact thought process of anyone in the regime is a mystery to Slube, but in the end, Russia surprises everyone by ordering its troops away from the border and deescalating things for now. Just punting the issue forward a bit, surely; but for the Uralians, it’s both a wake-up call and a great moral victory.

    ”Before Kama, we went through the motions, but none of us truly dared to think of war, for to do so felt like planning one’s own funeral. When the fighting started, it was a moment of crisis for everyone in the republic. But when the unexpected happened, for the first time, there was the feeling that fate could be averted. Small as it was, we had beaten the Russians back.”
    — Chairman of the Central Executive Committee of the Uralian People’s Republic, Andyamo Shishigin




    Poles, at least non-communist ones, have generally had mixed feelings about Uralia so far, but their common enemy is quickly growing as a unifying factor. Not long after news of Kama River make the rounds, observers from both Slube and the military itself report a huge increase in activity on Russia’s Polish border. Strategically speaking, they say there’s no reason to expect an actual attack right now, especially after the mess with Uralia, but Russia is definitely making another show of power and upping its readiness for the future. Half-manned or mothballed defenses are returned to use and expanded, supply depots are restocked, and other… redeployments are made.



    ”I was questioned simply because someone remembered me talking about Polish music. I have a good idea who it was, but I don’t blame them. I had luck and got off easy by not admitting that I listened to Polish radio sometimes, and instead showing them an old record I happened to have lying around. They smashed it in the yard. My neighbor, Dmytro Havrylovych, was taken away for having too much Polish literature in his house. He and many others from our village were driven to a nearby old barn, kept there for a few days, and then allowed to go home. A week later, though, some of them were carried off again, including old Dmytro. I later heard that he was alive, but I never saw him again.”

    The MGB’s bookkeeping reveals that Havrylovych died of dysentery in 1940 at a labor camp on Mangyshlak Peninsula, Cumania, where he had been sent for possession of foreign propaganda.


    There is also, despite circumstances, still a non-zero number of Poles employed in Russia and vice versa, especially in the Kiev-Chernigov area. The Polish Foreign Ministry is remarkably quick to react and make sure that the former are allowed to return to Poland safely; however, the latter are also prime targets for this recent round-up, and under the same grit-teeth arrangement that secures the return of the Poles, Poland is supposed to extradite Russian citizens to Russia. There is a valiant effort to smuggle away or falsify the records of as many as possible to save them from this random terror, but many still return home to uncertain fates, some of them voluntarily (be it out of confidence, foolhardiness, or fear for their relatives). This is kept quiet at this time, but will become a matter of embarrassment and regret decades in the future when history is reviewed. The border, very strictly supervised until now, is all but fully closed by the Russians from this point on.

    The purpose of this sweep, of course – to the extent that the Russians need one – is to clean the border region of any foreign sympathizers who might be a security risk. People are arrested on the usual trumped-up charges, but also a bunch of less common ones. Estimates say that over the course of July–September 1937, tens of thousands of people, especially “unassimilated Slavs” (Belarusians and Ukrainians who show insufficient dedication to their Russian identity), are deported from the Dnieper region to either prison camps or primitive, supervised colonies that are prisons in all but name. Similar efforts also take place, at a less intense but just as arbitrary level, on the Moldavian border in the Caucasus.



    These troop movements draw attention to the state of Poland’s own forces on the border. Reinforcing it has been the Crown Army’s top priority for a while now, but many of the 102 divisions deployed there are so-called “skeleton divisions” with only a bare minimum of troops and equipment, meant to basically take their positions and await reinforcements. Putting them in an actual combat situation would be disastrous, so the decision is made to stop inflating the numbers and focus on actually getting them to full strength. There is a particular lack of anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns, both extremely vital but novel additions to the arsenal that were only recently ordered for the eastern front, with other fronts to be supplied later.


    (The green bars are small because the units are exercising, but the orange bars show the lack of equipment. Also: 1 set of Infantry Equipment actually equips 10 soldiers, so you can consider that a deficit of 521,000 guns! For the whole army, though, not just East Command.)

    At the same time, though, aircraft production is slowly but surely ramping up. Most of the military establishment is more fascinated with the destructive power and ground support capability of bombers, but Air Marshal Folta (together with most other people who have studied the field) understands the importance of fighters. Some outsiders don’t get the point of fighter planes simply chasing each other in the air and not really affecting the war below, but the fact is, bombers without adequate fighter support can never get off the ground at all, whereas fighters even with zero bombers can at least stop the enemy from using theirs. As such, Folta has managed to drive home her point that pumping out the new P.11 fighters is most important until the airspace is secure, and only then should more focus be put on bombers.

    Of course, the sad truth is that aeronautics are advancing so quickly, many fear that even the most advanced design will always become nigh-obsolete within only a few years, creating a never-ending arms race and waste of resources; but not building any at all would still be infinitely worse. Battlefield use aside, some Polish experts have grown increasingly worried about the devastation that an unchecked Russian air force could visit upon Polish cities hundreds of miles from the front. Air superiority is thus a matter of not just military strategy, but also the safety of civilians.





    Russia is getting more and more hemmed in, and most likely paranoid. Over to its northeast, the republic of Siberia, already very strongly left-leaning, takes the final leap by electing a supermajority for the Radical Socialist Party. It immediately gets to work rewriting a more explicitly “democratic socialist” constitution – comparable to, if not so much Manchuria, then certainly the People’s Delegation, or the direction that Uralia is supposedly headed towards.



    Putting aside the election itself – many outsiders have trouble understanding it or accepting its legitimacy, whatever the reality might be – its geopolitical effects are clear. If one counts Manchuria+China, Siberia, Uralia, and possibly the People’s Delegation, there is a chain of radical socialist states spanning across all of northern Eurasia, and even if their flavors of socialism can be rather different, they all consider each other partners against the rest of the world – or at least their direct enemies, such as primacists and other reactionaries. Even if the Siberians don’t seem to be drawing up any immediate, official alliances, there is little doubt that if Russia made any aggressive moves towards the north, Siberia would provide the connection between Uralia and Manchuria. Until now, there existed at least a theoretical possibility that this would not be the case.





    With all this going on in the east, Poland – its administration and populace alike – tends to pay little attention to the west. Slube does have a separate section dedicated to dealing with it, but the Latin Empire’s Officium Custodes is generally considered a far cry from the MGB. Due to the Latin Empire’s so far more open nature, Slube has had little trouble finding local collaborators such as Sofia “Czerniawski” Vaccari and Anna “Kowalewski” Fanti (given Polish names just to mess with the Custodes a bit) to aid in its operations. However, now it seems like Dux Gallo’s reforms might have made the Custodes straighten up as well, as Polish agents are suddenly finding it a lot more difficult to operate in the country. Despite being less omnipresent and intimidating than the MGB, the Latin intelligence service is proving its effectiveness at acting when it needs to.



    At least Slube is still convinced that neither enemy is plotting any immediate plays, only continuing to build up their strength… so it’s still more of a staring contest.





    If the west feels a bit neglected, then the far east is infinitely more so. The decision to halt deployment of new units until the current ones have been brought up to full strength is probably wise, but still feels like a slap in the face for the head of Indies Command, Marshal Chandra Krisna. He has only 20 infantry divisions to defend the entire region with, less than half the number of new divisions that have been granted to East Command within the past year alone (plus 26 half-strength “defensive brigades” manning various Pacific islands, and 20 divisions of local security forces under the colonial administrations, but these aren’t usually counted).

    Despite being from an upper-class family with close connections to the Polish regime, as the first colonial native to be granted field marshal status in the Crown Army, Krisna’s promotion to the post in 1934 was seen as a great step forward for East Indian rights, and indeed, he has used his position to lobby for more and more native presence in the military leadership. However, some can’t help but feel like his and his staff’s background might be affecting Krakow’s treatment of Indies Command after all, even if Lord Marshal Razicky has also supported Krisna in the past.




    Indies Command’s purview includes all Polish holdings beyond India: the East Indies themselves, the Maniolas, those Pacific islands, the three Chinese colonies (Macau, Dalian and Taiwan), Nowa Straya, and Ligor. However, to emphasize the lattermost two’s greater autonomy (and to save on resources), the Crown Army’s presence within their borders during peacetime is only nominal.



    Nowa Straya is seen as a peaceful backwater, while Ligor has always been kind of an awkward vassal, treated as more of a buffer state than as a full colony. While the Poles like to call it “autonomy”, it might be precisely this lack of attention that has both motivated and allowed the Zhaoist movement to grow so strong within Ligor. This slow-burn development takes a dramatic turn in December 1937: Ligor’s social democrats, who have tried to cling to power while flirting with the more radical communists in order to maintain their coalition, are blindsided by the communists suddenly demanding a premature election only a month and a half ahead of when it was supposed to be held, accusing Prime Minister Mat bin Gana of planning a conspiracy to falsify its results. Whether they believe this or not, enough fools in the opposition parties support this motion for the vote of no confidence to pass.

    However, when the election is over, after many twists and turns, and the results are coming in, the communists are the ones with the landslide victory. In a close and surely conscious imitation of what happened in Siberia, the communist movement does have popular support for the radical reforms it quickly starts pushing through, but outside observers have even more reason to doubt the legitimacy of this election than the Siberian one.



    The new Prime Minister, Ashqar bin Daif, styles himself a world-class revolutionary.



    The election is almost through by the time that the Polish authorities, who obviously have better things to think about (such as Midwinter holidays), really give it any attention, having dismissed a mountain of warnings from observers in the Indies. However, as they slowly ponder sending the Army of Singapura to maintain order, bin Daif continues to execute his plans at breakneck speed. On 5 January, 1938, elite Ligori units cross the border into communist Cambodia unresisted (except by a single guard post that didn’t get the memo, and is quickly disarmed). Bin Daif himself travels to Saigon to appear together with the Cambodian leader Kong Rangsei (soon-to-be Deputy Secretary) and announce the union of Ligor and Cambodia into one great Indochinese Union. While Kong Rangsei is there to nod and provide legitimacy, the ceremony is rather dominated by bin Daif, who makes grand declarations of Zhaoist communism, anti-imperialism, equality, and prosperity for all, to a somewhat confused but mostly enthusiastic reception from his Cambodian audience. The ceremony is also broadcast on the radio across all of Ligor, of course.



    Though the slowness of Poland’s reactions here is deplorable, things are also happening shockingly quickly, and have definitely been planned ahead of time by the Ligori and Cambodian communists – and perhaps some more distant sponsors. After Ligor not only invades Cambodia (technically), but also severs all bonds of diplomacy and vassalage towards Poland, the Crown Army and even Marynarka finally get a move on. They’re halted at the last minute by a warning ringing out from Manchuria: any “military violation of Indochinese sovereignty” will not be tolerated, and Manchuria will be forced to answer in turn to protect its fellow revolutionaries. For Poland, this is of course a flagrant violation of its sovereignty over one of its colonies, but realistically speaking, it cannot call the Manchus’ bluff here. Though Marshal Krisna could probably handle the Indochinese Union itself, and the Marynarka would stop the north from sending any reinforcements, at that point it would be a matter of whether the communists accept the status quo, or insist on maintaining an indefinite state of war that merely ties down resources on both sides, with a risk of spreading into Siberia, Uralia and beyond. And, well, the communists aren’t famous for their ability to accept the status quo.

    As should be abundantly clear by now, Poland does not want any more distractions on the opposite side of the world, especially when the European communists are seen as a potential ally against Russia – and thus has little choice but to shake its fist in frustration.



    Indochina isn’t terribly important for Poland, pragmatically speaking, and the Union might even perform the same purpose as a buffer state that Ligor did. However, the ability of a colony to simply declare independence in such an arrogant manner, and of some second-rate Asian power to intervene in the Polish sphere, is a moral humiliation far greater than that of Kama River. Poland can and will levy all the diplomatic and economic penalties against Indochina that it wants, but they’re hardly capable of undoing a revolution.

    Another week later, it is announced that to signify the Union’s new status as an equal alliance of Malays, Thais, Khmers and all the other Indochinese peoples, the city of Nakhon Raj will be designated as its new capital. Besides being a bit more strategically secure and, indeed, more ethnically mixed, this city’s location at the geographical center of Indochina is also a symbol of the Union’s greater ambitions.



    At least, after seeing all this, the Defense Ministry finally agrees to add to the shopping list 8 divisions’ worth of basic equipment to be sent to the East Indies. The manpower will have to be locally supplied, though.

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    A very eventful half year for the workers of the world. But it doesn’t stop here.
    The Battle of Kama River was an in-game border conflict, where they actually fought it out and either side could theoretically win. I was actually surprised that it was the Uralians, but I guess they were smart to have that tank unit there.

    On a mechanical side note, despite that last sentence, I’m not actually using the feature to make divisions with my subjects’ manpower, because it also forces you to use their subpar (and uneditable) division templates. Manpower isn’t my top concern, anyway.

    The amount of, uh, numbers on display seems to be steadily increasing as I move further. I try to find a balance of being informative and bringing them up in a way that adds meaning to otherwise vague statements of “a lot” or “not enough”, without throwing around too many numbers just for their own sake. Due to the way frontlines, divisions, equipment etc. work, army numbers in HoI4 are a lot harder (if not impossible) to read at a glance, compared to other Paradox games where one man is basically one man.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2021-11-07 at 01:05 PM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (Finally in HoI4!)

    Sovereign Levander on Steam

  18. - Top - End - #288
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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    Hopefully Poland will be able to form an alliance with the Communists. Forcing the Russians to fight along the entirety of their vast northern border will make Poland's war a lot easier.
    I'm making a webcomic, featuring absurdity, terrible art, and alleged morals.

  19. - Top - End - #289
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    Things are heating up - looks like kick off can't be too far away. The big question is what the Latins will do when the Poland-Russia showdown starts.

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    Chapter #81: Voluntary Divisions (February–November 1938)

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    ”It is all our understanding that democratic nations do not wage aggressive war. However, there are times in which democracy itself comes under attack. The enemies of good are perfectly capable of putting aside their differences to unite their forces against it. Perhaps democracies find the idea of solidarity more difficult to stomach precisely because they hold more true to their principles. But we must see that we have even more in common.”
    — Walenty Podlaski, President of the Free Nations




    The Indochinese Union has already gotten away with two great faits accomplis in the space of a month. Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising, then, when it immediately goes for a third. On 2 February, 1938, Union troops start crossing the border into Asturian Indochina, in many places unresisted due to the simple lack of Asturian troops.



    From the perspective of “a country only a few weeks old” doing all this, it would be quite astonishing; but as far as Poland is concerned, it is simply Ligor that has (through some mix of threat and conspiracy) annexed Cambodia and is now riding that momentum as far as it will carry. From Ashqar bin Daif and the communists’ point of view, they are carrying out a grand revolution not just of Ligor, but all of Indochina, and the liberation of the Asturian colonies is a natural next step. Ligor and to a lesser extent Cambodia already had standing armies, and the attacking force consists mostly of these pre-existing troops, though new volunteers are quickly flooding in. To facilitate this revolution, the military has actually been spared any ideological purges for now: even the officers and soldiers who aren’t staunch communists per se are still motivated to fight the imperialists. Ironically, they are using a lot of Polish guns to do so – but perhaps Poland can’t really claim any kind of “debt” on Ligor’s part.

    Indeed, the Indochinese revolution is even more so anti-imperialist than it is communist. Almost everyone in the region, whether they live under Asturian rule, in Ligor, in the Shan Empire, or in a small mutilated state like Cambodia or Vietnam, has generations of pent-up frustration against colonial rule. The communists find it exceedingly easy to tap into. Though the cultural make-up of a massively multilingual, Muslim-Hindu-Buddhist region will likely cause some trouble as soon as they actually need to build a working state out of it, for the time being, simple revolutionary zeal is more than enough to tie them together. The advance into Khmer regions is spearheaded by Khmer soldiers, Thai regions by Thai soldiers, and so on, to make it even easier to sell as a “liberation” and get the locals to join the cause. Although, even some Manchurian soldiers have arrived by ship to help in the invasion, putting Asturias at war with the entire World Workers’ Front.

    The relatively meager Asturian troops in Indochina are meant for internal peacekeeping, not to resist an outright invasion (from a rather well-equipped military at that), and any reinforcements will take a long time to arrive from Europe. The divisions that don’t immediately get stuck and surrounded in the initial confusion are forced to prioritize evacuating the European settler population – relatively small, but still numbering around 20,000, a great deal of whom get caught in the advance and effectively taken hostage. At least Poland has already had a few weeks to pull its own few citizens out of Ligor, which the Union was happy to help with; most of them are being housed in Singapura. However, even the Asturians that do make it to the coast find it difficult to actually get a lift, especially as the first clear communique that comes from Toledo is that Indochina is not to be abandoned.

    The situation just goes from bad to worse when, only 3 days after the communist invasion, the primacist state of Great Viet joins in to grab its share of the spoils before the Indochinese can. Asturias finds itself under attack on two opposite fronts. Though officially it is still not giving up, those evacuations are ordered to be started post-haste.



    Furious Asturians are blaming Poland for not keeping its own colonies in check – with everything that’s going on, someone at the Polish foreign service is definitely moments away from cutting their phone line. But as Asturias’ unreliable foreign policy has made it something of a pariah nation, it’s also not finding a lot of helpers willing to maintain its own empire. The Commonwealth can’t afford war with the communists, and the rest of Europe has better things to worry about, whereas Asturian Amatica, which at least feels a cultural kinship and is generally on decent terms with the motherland, certainly sees no political or military reason to send troops to Indochina – the media over there even depicts the anti-imperialist rebels in a somewhat sympathetic light. Only the dominions of the Zanaras and Esperanza, which are still under Asturian vassalage, are obliged to try and help.

    By 16 February, two weeks into the Indochinese War, the Asturians have made some bold strides into Great Viet, but the Indochinese Union has made significant progress on its own border, including the capture of important regional cities such as Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Vientiane (Laos).





    With the future battlelines of primacist vs. communist Eurasia becoming ever more apparent, the Siberian Socialist Republic has also sent three volunteer divisions to join the Uralians in Scandinavia, providing the Reds with a badly needed boost in soldiers with actual guns.



    Even if Poland promised 8 more divisions to the East Indies, its top priority is still Russia. In response to the Russians reinforcing their side of the Dnieper, the Crown Army does just the same. Though static defenses and static warfare have a bad name, refusing to build bunkers just to avoid trench warfare would be silly at best, self-destructive at worst. It's like not giving pilots parachutes so they don't crash.



    However, the Polish media can’t help but be more fascinated by the fact that Poles are at this moment fighting a climactic battle against a very different enemy: in mid-April, the People’s Delegation launches a bold naval invasion of the capital city Stockholm itself. A large force embarks across the narrow sea from Turku, accompanied by most of the Red Navy, which fights to hold the corridor open. This scenario was considered quite unlikely, even unthinkable, by most on the White side, and Stockholm is very lightly defended. There is only a small division of White Guard militia… and the division formed out of the Polish volunteers who have arrived north since the start of the war.



    The shores around the city are undefended, and the Reds make easy landfall there. Most of the Poles have seen little combat during this war, but now they hold Stockholm like it were their own capital. Stockholm is a city of capes and islands, shielded from the sea by more of the same, most of them covered in parks, villas and farms, not so much military bases. The Poles spread out onto these islands, resolute to fight the Reds on the beaches before they can get within striking distance of the city itself. With this extra bit of time, the White Navy finally pushes in to cut off any further landings. Though the Reds rush into Uppsala and dig down into the suburbs of Stockholm, even appearing to besiege it for a moment, they are unable to secure a port or any other way to supply this beachhead – nor to evacuate it. The invasion force holds off for a few weeks, and at least diverts some White forces from the main frontline, but in the end, the operation that could’ve potentially decided the war brings no results but roughly 30,000 Red soldiers dead or captured (together with their guns).

    Well, it might’ve decided the war after all – but if so, definitely not in the way intended.

    The Nords celebrate their Polish heroes, temporarily glossing over the glaring lack of support from the Polish state itself, and the Polish government is forced to do the same for a moment, pretending to be enthusiastic about the Malmquist regime. As the balance of power seems to have tipped, and White forces start making progress across the line, it seems more and more like this stalemate might be coming to an end soon, and Poland might be wise to start rebuilding relations with the likely victors.

    This brief high point in Polo-Nordic relations turns out to have come at a very awkward time: it is shortly followed by the so-called Nordic Colony Crisis. It is the common opinion that the Nordic Kingdom’s various overseas colonies, composing various small islands and coastal outposts, have long been “left to fallow”, and that has only changed for the worse during the Civil War that has lasted for over two years now. Indeed, the lapse in support and communications from the homeland, combined with all available manpower being shipped back home, has caused unrest and even food shortages in some of these colonies, forcing the surrounding powers to step in. In July 1938, perhaps seeing that the window of opportunity might be closing, the Japanese Empire takes this a step further, landing military forces in the Nords’ colonies in the Pacific and the Congo. The stated purpose is to maintain order, which might not be entirely unfounded, but everyone can tell that it’s just an excuse for invasion. The Japanese Empire has been rather quiet on the global stage, making this move quite surprising, but not at all out-of-character.

    This leaves the other Nordic holdings in a questionable position. Indeed, the Japanese or some other hostile power might be looking to do the same there. Which is exactly why the enlightened, peacelike Western powers must come in to stop them. Not wanting to ruin its relationship with Stockholm at this critical juncture, Krakow refrains from participating in this scramble – but Moldavian and British involvement also reflects on Poland by proxy. The Nords are furious… but by the end of the month, effectively all of their colonies have come under the ‘protection’ of one foreign power or other. When or whether they’ll be returned is an open question.






    Back home, the Crown Army has some philosophical questions to settle. It is hard to maintain its supposedly high standards, never mind continuous improvement, in the face of demands for rapid expansion. The introduction of the Defense Development Board hasn’t been uncontroversial either. While supposedly beneficial in the long run, it has both disrupted projects in the short term and obviously taken authority out of the Army’s own hands. However, the Army's driving philosophy is that sacrificing excellency for the sake of numbers would be a much greater blow both to its pride, and to… well, the health of the soldiers involved.



    Still, none of the debates concerning the modernizing military happen in a vacuum. All of them have a great deal of political influence and material interests in the game, and in some cases, centuries of military tradition. The cavalry is a microcosm of these problems. It has obviously been an icon of the entire Polish nation since before its foundation, but it was starting to struggle on the battlefield already a century ago, and despite reforms, by the time of the Great War, the supposedly elite cavalry was being slaughtered by machine gun and artillery fire at a rate more horrifying than any other part of the military.

    The question of the cavalry’s future has been on the table since then. Some thinkers, especially those looking at developments in the Latin Empire, Germany and Russia, have more or less given up on it, envisioning its reduction to a ceremonial role and perhaps eventual abolition. Others, especially within the cavalry itself, have fiercely objected to this idea, but realized that they need to accept reality and come up with some plausible counterproposal of their own. The gradual introduction of tanks and motorized infantry (i.e. infantry driven around on trucks) has been considered a replacement for cavalry in terms of doctrine, but in Poland’s case, these forces being placed as part of the cavalry has only led to the worst of both worlds: cavalry leaders are both unable to use them effectively and unwilling to support the extinction of horse cavalry, leading this new equipment to languish underused or even actively sabotaged.

    Besides the cavalry’s military traditions, there are also other (perhaps minor, but sentimentally important) factors to consider, such as the size of Poland’s horse-breeding industry, largest in the world, which at this point exists almost entirely to serve the needs of the military. Horses also handle much of the military’s logistics, as motorization is still a work in progress, but any major blow to the more prestigious cavalry corps would still cause outrage in the farming lobby.

    Indeed, it is not just material concerns, but also political pressure from the National Coalition that forces Poland to keep its cavalry (for now) rather than try and replace it. Better to let no possible troops go to waste, after all. The cavalry corps probably isn’t being expanded any time soon, and as part of the compromise, armored and motorized divisions are also separated from its command, the latter being rebranded from “motorized cavalry” to just “motorized”.



    Of course, the cavalry also aren’t romantic idiots eager to charge to their deaths. The cavalryman of 1938 isn’t a winged hussar (except in spirit), but an elite, rigorously trained shocktrooper meant to dismount before wading into battle, armed with machine guns and anti-tank rifles like any other decent division. Only in extraordinary circumstances is the traditional saber charge to be considered. Poland’s 10 cavalry divisions are expected – or at least hoped – to find their niche in environments where terrain and logistics make it difficult for motorized forces to operate, including forested parts of Russia and possibly the colonies. Cavalry detachments also continue to provide reconnaissance for most of the Crown Army, where their flexibility and relative stealth are a great boon.



    Polish hussar carrying a wz. 35 anti-tank rifle, a world-class weapon effective against most contemporary armor.



    Come September 1938, it is time for Poland to have its election once more. Four years have passed with an ever climbing, but actually somewhat numbing anticipation of war, and some wonder if this will simply continue for another four. The balancing act of maintaining mental and material readiness, while not being too overbearing, while realizing that geopolitical developments in the far reaches of the world may not actually seem that meaningful to the home audience, is a difficult one that the administration still has yet to master. But the good news is, the economic and social reforms driven by the Red-White Coalition in this past term, even if designed to support rearmament, have also had a positive effect on the civilian economy. It has climbed out of its recession, and is approaching full employment. This, of course, is a result of manufacturers trying to expand output while also dealing with more and more of their existing workforce being recruited into the military.

    The bated-breath atmosphere in Poland has left little room for new political forces to emerge: in terms of party leaders, the election of 1938 is a contest between three veterans, namely Stawicki, Mazowiecki, and Aurelia Lechowicz, whose Popular Party has maintained a decent following despite the current administration trying to blame her for the recession. Out of the government parties, though, whatever role Mazowiecki might have played as Minister of Finance, much of the credit has inevitably gone to Premier Stawicki, who has expanded healthcare and social security for reservists, veterans, and soldiers’ families.

    In the end, the Social Democratic Party wins a grand 45% of the seats in the Sejm, a great step up from their 33% in the last election. Most of these new voters actually migrate over from the Popular Party, and the National Coalition comes in second at a respectable 20%. Despite the government's efforts to get people involved in the process, though, turnout is relatively low compared to past elections, as the public space has been dominated by other issues. At least the ban on primacist parties seems to be having the desired effect, as a number of splinter groups emerge – with names such as National Camp, Slavic Democrats, Centrist Party, Polish Phalanx – but even the ones that make it past the ban fail to pass the threshold to win any seats. The Royalist Party succeeds in wooing some former Sanacja voters, multiplying its number of seats… from 3 to 15, going from a total laughingstock to merely insignificant.



    The SDP still falls short of a majority, of course, but is close enough to raise the possibility of abandoning the often dysfunctional Red-White Coalition and joining forces with the far-left Polish Unity Party, which has been keeping a low profile and controls 6% of the Sejm. While the PUP’s leader Henryk Klimowicz strongly and loudly supports this option, eager to fully rehabilitate his party in this era when the fight against primacism is treated akin to a holy war, Stawicki ultimately turns him down.

    The Red-White Coalition will remain, sparing Poland the effort and distraction of adjusting to a new regime. Its unifying value as a suprapolitical “government of all the Poles” is far greater than that of a 51% government dominated entirely by the left, especially now that the SDP is sharing power “voluntarily” rather than out of desperation (the Red-White Coalition was originally formed to avoid a Popular Party premiership). And not to mention, due to the increased power of the left, the conservatives should know to appreciate the favor they’ve been shown, and try to behave themselves. If they don’t, their votes can always be replaced with those from the opposition. However, to avoid any embarrassing public rows, the administration will dedicate itself ever more to the most bipartisan agenda: national defense.






    The New World – Amatica and Alcadra – has tended to pay little more attention to Old World issues than vice versa. However, even they have been unable to miss the widening split of the world into mutually opposed democratic, primacist and communist camps. This is especially true of the would-be great power, the Free Nations of Amatica. In a purely ideological split among those lines, its natural place would be with the democratic countries – but of course, it is not purely ideological. No countries, democratic or otherwise, have wanted to support Asturias in its fight against ostensibly communist and primacist forces; the only countries to get actively involved in the Nordics are communist and primacist dictatorships; and of course, the Free Nations itself has always had mixed feelings towards Europe. At times, it has sought closer ties, only to be rebuked; at others, it’s been the other way around. And as long as Radziwill has been unaligned, the rest of its sphere has been discouraged from making any moves either. Walenty Podlaski, president for the past 4 years, has tried with all his might to end this debate and join the Commonwealth, but to no success. When the FN has its presidential election in October 1938, this seems to have been his downfall, as his opponent Albert Pawlus handily defeats him and makes him go down as a relatively rare one-term president.



    The choice between Podlaski and Pawlus isn't entirely one of action and inaction, though. The main difference between their respective Federal and Confederation Parties has been one of central power against state power, of the country’s shared interests against those of individual states. As the distinction between the more and less populated states has grown sharper, party support has also become divided among urban–rural lines, but the way that the electoral system favors the latter has so far sufficed to keep the competition relatively even. As for foreign politics, the Federal Party has ended up hitching its wagon to the cause of global cooperation, which would naturally have to be handled on a federal level – whereas the Confederation Party seeks more local arrangements with the country’s own “backyard” instead.

    Pawlus isn’t a dabbler by nature, though, and he can also see which way the world is leaning. There are too many flashpoints – not to mention European outposts – in the New World to assume that it would never have to take a stand in military matters, or become a battleground itself. The FN has long been directly or indirectly subsidizing the militaries of its neighbors, and Pawlus seeks to basically take the relationship to the next level. After his election victory, he wastes no time getting the ball rolling on his flagship project: the Trans-Oceanic Treaty Organization, or TOTO, marketed as a grand defensive alliance without all the other red tape and eurocentrism of the Polish-dominated Commonwealth. As members of this alliance, he says, the democratic states of the world can seek strength against aggression without the risk of getting involved in the squabbles of empires. (This was naturally a big reason that people weren’t too eager to join the Commonwealth, with the Great War still in fresh memory.)



    In Pawlus’ mind, a simple dedication to democracy isn’t a good enough reason for Amaticans to fight and die for Europe, especially as all the members of the Commonwealth are indeed colonial empires that the FN considers itself ideologically opposed to, elected government or not. TOTO’s mission statement seems a lot more global than the Confederation Party’s usual politics, but at least in its early stages, it really does seem like a neighborhood association kind of deal, as initial invitations are sent to most of the FN’s neighbors and no one else. The United Lordships aren’t invited; the Mi’kmaw Republic strongly declines; and Hibernia, otherwise an ally, holds off on joining due to economic issues and the neutralist stance of its current government. Still, nearly all of democratic Amatica seems to be unified under this new alliance.



    Amatican membership in the Commonwealth would’ve been a plus for Poland, but not exactly something it was counting on or expecting to begin with. The emergence of a “rival” power bloc isn’t that nice, and it would’ve been amazing to somehow rally the whole democratic world under one flag, but it remains to be seen whether TOTO’s influence will be stabilizing, destabilizing, or just ignored. If it can win over some vulnerable countries that would’ve been unwilling to accept Polish protection, that can be considered a good thing, as Poland isn’t really expecting any direct conflict between the Commonwealth and TOTO themselves. More general clashes of interest are inevitable, but every potential battlefield that Poland can cross off the list is one less thing to worry about. The only problem is if this development somehow ends up bringing the curse of war and death to corners of the world that otherwise would’ve been peaceful.

    Spoiler: Comments
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    A hypothetical Podlaski victory would’ve led to the Free Nations joining the Commonwealth, but the rest of the continent wouldn’t have followed automatically. However, I’ll admit I coded that not to happen when playing with “historical” AI.

    Here's waiting for TOTO's expansion into Africa.

    On a fun side note: a (modern) map of the area around Stockholm. Imagine trying to stage a naval landing in that.



    Unfortunately I’m unable to show off the national focus tree during the game without spoiling things, so I’ll try to do it as we complete more chunks of it. Most of those “alt-history” political paths for Poland are basically cardboard mockups, which technically have their basic effects, but not any further events or whatnot coded for them. If I were making this a full-fledged mod for general use – which I am not – I would’ve come up with far more fleshed-out alternate paths with more and longer branches. Some general notes on this part of the focus tree, now that we’ve completed it:



    • ”Support the Reds” and “Support the Whites” require enough support for communism or traditionalism/primacism respectively (so we couldn’t take either of them if we wanted to), and pretty simply give you the ability to send (more) volunteers.
    • The Communist path is otherwise very plain and exactly what is says on the tin, with the ability to have a communist takeover and join the Workers’ Front at the end. "Realistically" this would only be possible through a civil war, but those aren't always too fun mechanically. Anyhow, this basically means abandoning the Commonwealth, with only your puppets joining you in the new alliance; in the hypothetical full version, they would most likely break free, and join whatever alliance your old friends form. They probably wouldn’t go to war with Poland if Poland didn’t start first, but perhaps it could, after taking down Russia with its fellow communists.
    • ”The United Front” only became available after the 1938 election ended in a Stawicki or Mazowiecki victory. Aurelia Lechowicz winning would’ve removed the Red-White Coalition modifier immediately and unlocked “Wartime Liberalism”, which gives her the trait The Golden Witch: trade opinion, production line starting efficiency, production line efficiency retention. An AI Poland led by the Populists also makes slightly different focus choices, just for fun.
    • The Traditionalist tree is similarly very plain, and ends in a choice between a royal dictatorship and a military one. Even in the full version, its effects on Poland’s foreign politics would probably be a lot less dramatic, with its allies and puppets still willing to stick with it against greater threats, but new allies would be a lot harder to gain – except for the ability to compete for influence in non-democratic countries (*cough* Nordics *cough*).
    • ”Give Slube Police Powers” is basically the opposite of “Ban the Sanacja”, taking Slube right back to its roots as a secret police for a reduction in democratic and communist support at the cost of stability.
    • The Primacist route, probably the least “historically plausible” route that would start fights on this timeline's Paradox forums, would definitely cause all of Poland’s friends to leave. More interestingly, though, in the full version, “Third Wheel in the Covenant” would allow Poland to approach the Latin Empire and agree to partition Western Europe in exchange for kicking the Russians out of the alliance. The Rome-Krakow axis could then start wars against Germany, Russia, Britannia (to reclaim the Latin colonies and partition the rest), and probably more or less anyone from there. However, much like the Nazi-Soviet alliance in the base game, this would make the democratic countries of the world hit the panic button and quickly join forces against this world-threatening primacist superpower.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2021-11-17 at 08:12 AM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (Finally in HoI4!)

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    Chapter #82: The Big One (December 1938–July 1939)

    Spoiler: Chapter
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    As of December 1938, two wars rage on opposite sides of the world, both started by different socialist revolutions.

    The Reds’ disastrous invasion of Stockholm in April 1938, stopped by the heroic Polish volunteers (unaffiliated with the Polish state), resulted in the loss of enough men and equipment to end the Nordic stalemate and cause a snowball effect on the frontline. Hindsight will decide whether it was a war-changing mistake, or just a last hurrah before an inevitable end, as the Reds were already falling behind day by day. The Whites’ progress has still been slow, here in the wilds where the few existing roads have been blown to bits; but come December, what remains of the Red Army is mostly surrounded on the coast around Narvik, awaiting defeat or evacuation. The Siberian divisions that arrived this spring have held the line in central Norway, only to end up getting trapped for their efforts. The Reds’ political leadership faces roughly the same choice as their troops, as the way into Oulu and Finland lies wide open, defended only by the most wretched of partisans. Some have already decided to go down with the ship; others are simply waiting for the least shameful moment to flee to Uralia. Victory in this particular revolution is already a lost cause. With no prospect of continuing them, all its ongoing projects seem pointless; even relatively loyal citizens start to distance themselves from the Red cause however they can, in hopes of avoiding White reprisals. The Delegation is a dead man walking.



    In Indochina, what seemed like it would be a sweeping victory for the Indochinese and Vietnamese has at least temporarily turned into a slow siege. Though the Asturians were forced to retreat from the vast majority of their colony, by shortening the frontline they were able to fortify the mountainous region of Assam, around the port of Quy Nhon, and buy time for more reinforcements to arrive. They’ve held these positions for a few months, and now the communists and primacists are starting to chafe against each other. They have mostly secured their respective “core” regions (where they were met with enthusiasm by the locals), but they also have competing claims, not to mention a deep ideological enmity.



    What the Indochinese may have failed to consider at the start of this invasion is that unlike Poland, Asturias has no overwhelming geopolitical reason to seek peace and give them what they want, especially while it maintains a decent foothold: colonial wars can typically keep going for as long as the capital feels like funding them, and the communists – even with Manchurian help – lack the naval power to threaten the rest of the empire. In fact, the Asturian navy has the power to make this war very costly for them.

    The situation does, however, leave Asturias more vulnerable to outside pressure, and easily tempted by any offer of support, especially as it has highlighted how the country has no real allies in the world.



    Almost as if responding to the Free Nations’ founding of TOTO, Agrippa Gallo starts making calls to his own circle of friends. Fair-weather friends, perhaps, and he also doesn’t make any pretense of “international primacist unity” or anything of the sort, which would be blatantly silly; but what the primacist nations of the world do have in common is aggressive militarism and lack of friends in their own neighborhoods. As part of the so-called Southern Axis initiative – a name that Polish sources pick up from Latin communiques – the Latin Empire establishes friendly relations with Solmark, Paraland and Benin, three countries located along the equator on either side of the Atlantic. From a strategic point of view, the purpose of this alliance is clear. More bases in the Atlantic to stand in for the Latins’ old colonies; more access to oil, rubber, and rare metals for the Latin war machine; and more potential battlefronts on more continents.




    Especially as long as the Suez Canal is controlled by Moldavia, the Latin Empire considers the South Atlantic a top priority. However, in addition, while the Empire obviously has sea access from two separate coastlines – Atlantic France and Mediterranean Italy – all traffic between the two is forced to pass through the Strait of Gibraltar. This is an annoying chokepoint at the best of times, but especially vulnerable to enemy naval action in wartime, and should a hostile power take control of the coastal bases on either side of the strait, they would be able to close it entirely, much like the Danish Belts.

    To avoid this happening, the Empire takes preemptive action. It approaches Asturias with an offer it cannot refuse: allow the Latins to lease out the most important naval bases on Asturias’ side on the strait – including the eponymous Rock of Gibraltar – in exchange for a generous lease payment, a non-aggression pact, and nudge-nudge promises of closer cooperation and investment. The area and population around these bases will remain fully Asturian, of course, and its sovereignty or territorial integrity will not be violated in any way. The Poles don’t really have a direct line to the thoughts of the Asturian government, but they seem almost a little pleased – relieved? – upon receiving this offer. With Latin troops making ominous moves near the border, this lets them put off any threat of an European war, and even get something for it. Of course, opinions are split on whether the Asturians would be able to quickly retake these bases if war does break out, or if they just handed the Latins an easy backdoor past the Pyrenees.

    For the Commonwealth, this makes it apparent that shipping through the strait can’t be counted on – not that it was especially vital for the Slavs, but Britain has tended to use the route a fair bit (on its way to the Suez).



    In February 1939, the Whites liquidate the Siberian pocket, overrun the meager defenses of Oulu, and land in Turku as well just to make sure. The remains of the Red Navy have already scuttled their ships, and the same goes for a lot of other equipment. At least the industries and the country at large have been spared, as a conscious choice by the Delegation to show the workers that they weren’t going to resort to scorched earth methods and ruin their livelihoods just to spite the Whites.



    Though many others flee, Chairman Bergroth only hides in the countryside temporarily, and soon returns to sign an official, unconditional surrender. The Nordic Civil War ends on 1 March, 1938, after almost 2 years and 10 months.



    The mood on the White side is unsurprisingly triumphant, and nearby nations also offer Malmquist their congratulations and well-wishes, but the Polish media for instance is a prime example of the mixed feelings caused by this end result. The right wing, including more moderate conservatives, mostly share in the Whites’ jubilation, with or without full understanding of all its nuances. The left wing has varying amounts of trouble (and puts varying amounts of effort into) concealing its still-lingering sympathy for the Reds and grief for their violent fall. The middle majority, perhaps, is simply happy to see the war end, one way or another.

    However, the national security apparatus has its own perspective on the whole thing: the Nordic regime emerging from the war is not the same that went in. Yet none of the underlying causes of the war have been addressed, and probably won’t be. It has drifted hard to the right ideologically, and closer to Russia diplomatically, for which some people blame the democratic nations such as Poland’s refusal to get involved. (They probably have a point.) This is unlikely to change for the better, as Russia is the loudest sponsor of the Nordics’ material and spiritual reconstruction, and the administration must begin the arduous task of cleaning up its house – a task in which it promises to show no mercy. Surprising precisely no one, Bergroth and most other captured Red officials are given highly publicized, rapid trials and executions by firing squad.

    Well. They did say “unconditional surrender”.



    The members of the Polish Division, returning home as heroes – after their defense of Stockholm, they were ferried all around the front just to be present and pose for photos at every significant event, such as the capture of Oulu – will continue to give interviews for the rest of their lives, and put out many a mediocre memoir, which will become controversial despite their relative blandness. However, Slube concludes that with individual exceptions, the roughly 7,000 returning fighters don’t pose an ideological threat, and rather than primacist or pro-Russian, most are in fact patriotic to a fault. If anything, they bring home highly negative experiences of their Russian brothers-in-arms. Keeping in mind the decisions made after Poland’s own civil war, though, the Crown turns down the suggestion of forming the volunteers into their own division in the Crown Army: they are allowed to enlist, or called up just like anybody else, and their past merits will be taken into account, but they’ll be distributed throughout the military with no special treatment.

    The pecking order in the Stockholm-Moscow relationship is made clear, too, when the Malmquist government is forced to grit its teeth and accept Morozov’s demands for the return of Nevanlinna to Russia – definitely already agreed upon during the war. Part of Novgorod since the Middle Ages, other countries can hardly deny that the Nordic claim on the region was tenuous at best, based entirely on its Finnish-speaking plurality. The area taken in the Treaty of Ryszarda included Russia’s largest Baltic Sea port, as well as the Ladoga Canal, and was an important local center in general. Now, as Russian forces march into the city again, renamed Yegorgrad in honor of the late Vozhd Yegor Zavoyko, a good chunk of the citizens are already packing their bags. They have been told that the agreement includes the expulsion of all speakers of Nordic languages, including those whose families have lived in the Neva region since time immemorial. Of course, it’s probably still better than being a minority in Russia… especially after the city has spent the last two years under Red rule, and is surely in for a thorough scrubbing.





    On 3 May, 1939, the world shakes as a European great power goes to war – in a surprising direction that immediately makes a disturbing amount of sense in hindsight. There's just so many threats and empty talk flying around these days that it's often hard to tell.



    The Latins’ Southern Axis project wasn’t limited to Solmark, Paraland and Benin: a fourth country, Santa Croce, was also offered membership and strongly refused it. The republic, while somewhat isolated and conservative in politics, had no interest in anything that even slightly smelled of rejoining the Roman sphere. The exact legal fiction behind the Empire’s attitude towards Santanan independence is mostly irrelevant, but as Gallo gradually ramps up his demands for Santa Croce to join the alliance, or to accept a Latin military presence, or just bend the knee and accept its status as a Latin colony, the people involved can probably sense what’s coming. The declaration of war follows the last and most forceful of these ultimatums, which Santa Croce simply gives the silent treatment.



    It takes some time from the declaration for hostilities to actually start, though, as the Latin army isn’t quite in position yet. The Santanan-Paran border is more than a thousand miles long, but especially painful to attack over, as it runs entirely along the Araguaia River and has a distinct lack of infrastructure (as Santa Croce has seen little reason to build roads leading into the jungles of Paraland). The Paran army is barely enough to even hold the front, never mind move it, and any invasion will have to be handled by the Latins first and foremost. However, Slube intelligence suggests that the Latins still expect this to be a quick wrap-up operation, after which they can return to Europe with their backs secure.



    The Latins have ample reason to believe that the Commonwealth will be too paralyzed to intervene in Alcadra, focused on other fronts, yadda yadda, and they are correct. Enough self-flagellation. Almost since the start of the year, the reelected Red-White Coalition has been hard at work preparing the populace not just for war, but for imminent war, sensing that the moment Poland can no longer sit idly by could arrive at any moment. The Southern Axis, the Gibraltar lease, even the end of the Nordic Civil War – which secured that front for the Russians – have been seen in this light. In addition to putting this fact as bluntly as it is possible to do without being seen as the aggressor, the Ministry of Communications – effectively Poland’s own “Ministry of Propaganda” – gets the government’s blessing for a bold, matter-of-fact messaging campaign to be distributed across all levels of Polish society, translated to as many languages as possible.

    Gas masks (mostly old surplus but still functional) are distributed to every family, and drills held on how to use them. Municipalities are tasked with mapping out and equipping potential shelters, and evacuation plans are drawn up – at least in theory – for buildings, city blocks, and even entire cities. Many entirely new shelters are dug deep into the rock, or just in people's yards. A number of programs are launched to make sure everyone knows exactly what they are to do in the case of war. But of course, though it plays a huge role in the national opinion, the home front is still the safer one by far: there are roughly 2.2 million frontline personnel in the Polish military (2M in the Army, 180K in the navy, 43K in the air force and 15K in the gendarmerie). As the tension continues to rise, deployment schedules and time off are arranged so that more and more of these men and women (mostly men) are at their posts, in immediate readiness at any given time. They’re the ones who will do the dying, once things get going.

    Probably never in history has quite so much effort been put into convincing people that a country doesn’t want war, yet is dedicating all its resources to preparing for one. Opinion might be split on how much of the home front preparations is actually useful and how much simple propaganda, but the message is clear.




    The Latins’ open aggression against a completely peaceful nation just lets the Poles step up their own media offensive and make it ever more blatant in turn, highlighting the primacists’ ruthlessness and the increasingly global threat posed by their growing alliance.



    On that note, the Russians haven’t actually joined the war against Santa Croce – in practice or in name. This is probably an arrangement on the New Covenant’s part: there’s not much that Russia would be able or willing to contribute, and its involvement would only muddle the waters diplomatically, especially as Gallo wants this to be over with quickly.

    However, Slube isn’t sure how well Gallo and Morozov are on the same page. Already before the end of May, Polish assets in Russia – chief among them ‘4859’ and ‘Witold’ – catch a strong scent of something going on in the north. Troops and equipment are being moved by train, and clearing operations performed by the MGB, while the regime seems to be trying to keep it low profile. This is in contrast to the previous, highly publicized intimidation campaign on the Dnieper, but not without precedent; in fact, the Russians have been performing enough “exercises” and other random operations to make Slube relatively certain that they are aware of the deep Polish infiltration of their ranks, just not where it is, and are doing these false starts to make it less obvious when the real one’s coming. However, by late June and early July, ‘4859’ is able to give her expert opinion that the preparations for war, including movements intended to be secret, are clearly past the point that they could possibly be considered a bluff.



    Poland does, to its credit, surreptitiously share this information with the Uralians, with whom it doesn’t usually have a lot of diplomatic contact; in fact, these communications are covered up well enough that they aren’t revealed until, years in the future, the extent of Slube’s intelligence becomes apparent and the Poles are accused of not having shared it. The Uralian response roughly amounts to a “No ****.” If there’s one place in the world where Russia is watched more obsessively than in Krakow, it’s definitely Gondyr-Ola.

    However, this first contact – and the fact that Poland was willing to share – opens a critically important channel between the two countries, capitalist and communist, that have mostly stared at each other from a polite distance with a cordial chill. Though neither is willing to unconditionally trust the other, this head start allows them to get certain preparations in order.

    The clash between Russia and Uralia seems so inevitable, given their respective ideologies, simple geography, and incidents such as Kama River, that frankly, the only thing that was in doubt was the exact order of events. Despite the existential enmity between the two, Morozov apparently finds it prudent to still justify the war to his subjects. Out of all the things, he decides to escalate the issue around one Cpt. Tyko Izhma. He participated as an Uralian volunteer in the Nordic Civil War – a war which obviously added to the mountain of grudges between Russia and Uralia – and is accused of committing atrocities against the Russian-speakers of Nevanlinna, as well as unsoldierly behavior elsewhere during the war. Demands for him to be handed over to Russia as a criminal were already sent back in spring, and obviously ignored, but have been hammered at by the Russian media ever since. In July, Morozov himself raises the issue again, quickly goes off-track, forgets Izhma entirely, and starts ranting about Uralia’s long and storied mistreatment of Slavs in general.

    Now, Uralia isn’t being too forthcoming, but has actually recognized Cpt. Izhma’s misdemeanors in its own investigation (and deemed them minor). Nor is the story of Uralia mistreating its Slavic populace almost since the founding of the modern Ugrian republic all that false, albeit exaggerated and a very complex issue, for whatever that’s worth.

    Morozov also spares some attention for the thousands of other Reds who've taken refuge in Uralia, many of whom are accused of crimes far greater than even Izhma’s (though the very act of being a Red is naturally the greatest of them).

    In the end, Russia sends no final ultimatum to be refused: the declaration of war on 18 July, 1939, is a natural continuum of the past three decades (or the Russian destiny, as the Resurrectionists might say). Sudden, but not abrupt. The start of hostilities on 7 AM, Moscow time, is nothing but Kama River times a thousand. No one with access to the intelligence is surprised; but that still leaves out most of the world, most of the Polish population, and funnily enough, perhaps even Agrippa Gallo, who expected Morozov not to start anything while he was busy.



    Of course, technically speaking, Morozov is just doing the exact same thing as Gallo: wrapping up an annoyance in his backyard in preparation for the big fight.



    Welp.


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    A whole mess and a half. Wonder what kind of popular narrative about the lead-up to war will emerge in the future? At least we didn’t have our equivalent of “appeasement” per se – the question is whether the era of letting the primacists run wild for 10 years, not to mention sideshows like the Nordics and Indochina, will be remembered as one of cowardice, cynicism, apathy, or prudent preparation.

    The exact timing of stuff here wasn’t scripted: there’s a bit of variety to the order in which the Latins and Russia do their focuses, and it’s affected by stuff like the end of the Nordic Civil War. At least on the surface, the way things lined up here might be less than optimal for them.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2021-11-21 at 01:14 PM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (Finally in HoI4!)

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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    I find myself amongst the "middle majority" you mentioned on the Nordic Civil War: Neither side was particularly sympathetic, and while I'm not happy with the primacists-in-all-but-name having won, I don't think a Delegation victory would have been any better. At least it won't have any significant impact on the big war.

    And speaking of the big war, with much of the Russian army deployed against Uralia, the time might be right for a preemptive strike. Especially if you can get the Germans to attack the Latins while they're busy in Alcadra and/or send the Marynarka to trap a big chunk of the Latin army in Santa Croce (or better yet, destroy it at sea!).
    Last edited by InvisibleBison; 2021-11-17 at 08:09 PM.
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    Very sound strategic points, definitely worth seeing how they line up with the situation in-game. Or how a well-laid plan survives impact with (simulated) reality.

    It's funny, by the way, how the game is arguably just getting started for real, but it's suddenly really anxiety-inducing. Due to both starting the game underequipped (as a nerf) and having pumped out those skeleton divisions at one point, I'm still working on that equipment deficit, though it's almost there. I didn't pay close enough attention to AI Poland's exact army numbers and equipment situation to tell if I'm even doing better than it was during the playtests (though in my experience, the AI is more liable to pump out fully equipped but just weakly designed divisions).

    But, yeah, at least the AI is also hamstrung by being caught busy on multiple fronts.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (Finally in HoI4!)

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    Chapter #83: Novelty (July–August 1939)

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    ”Bring Down the Thunder”



    On 18 July, Russian troops open fire on the Uralians. The declaration of war follows, bombastically yet almost as an afterthought, somewhere after the first boots have already crossed the border.

    The Uralian People’s Republic is understandably not a huge fan of Poland. Though it has been able to trade with the western capitalist world on cordial terms – by bending its principles and accepting some level of capitalist activity, mind you, effectively turning Kholmogory (Arkhangelsk) into something akin to a treaty port – and the west has shown it no outright aggression, the distrust runs deep. On top of the communist-capitalist divide, though the nation’s dislike of the Slavs might be mainly aimed at the Russians, it inevitably also colors the Poles by extension. After all, the direct reason for the Ugrians’ persecution in the past was the expansion of the Kingdom of Poland into the east, from which the Russian kingdoms split off. Although, to add some more nuance to the mix, Uralia isn’t just housing Nordic Red refugees: it also took in a number of Polish Reds three decades ago, who left their mark on the Republic’s politics and perception of the west. And that mark certainly wasn’t one of great love for the Kingdom.

    However, the Uralians are no less capable of recognizing the enemy of their enemy when they see one. Already before the war starts, an agreement is reached for a “special embassy”, including some military staff, to be sent to Uralia as an attaché to coordinate things. Until now, Poland has only had a small consulate in Kholmogory. They make the journey on a civilian plane that departs from near Riga, flies in a slight curve through Nordic air space, lands in Kholmogory, and travels on to Gondyr-Ola. It is understood that the embassy’s main job is to pass messages both ways and, more broadly, keep the Poles updated on the situation up north, but the Uralians are cautious of them getting entangled in local matters or information they’re not supposed to have. At least they also recognize that the country is already facing an existential threat, and the Poles really should be the last of their worries.



    Kama River, a tiny skirmish bungled by a single commander, was one thing. A well-prepared Russian offensive across the entire front is another. Immediately as the fighting starts, it is tragically clear that the Uralian army simply lacks the strength to protect its most important cities and even nominally cover the border at the same time. The most critical front is, of course, between Moscow and Gondyr-Ola, the two capitals separated by scarcely a hundred miles of flat terrain, directly connected by an old highway and even a railway (though the Uralians’ first move is to blow these up). The Uralians’ overall strategy (or only hope, rather) is to stall and delay for long enough to allow reinforcements to arrive and more fronts to open up, but even with that in mind, it seems inevitable that at least the capital will fall before the front can stabilize. Although, there’s no guarantee that it’ll stabilize at all: the shape of the country is such that if just the southernmost fifth of its land is taken, it will lose the vast majority of its population and industry, while the frontline won’t even shorten that much. The population caught under Russian occupation also might not have the best time.



    But while Poland was in a way the first on the scene, Uralia’s closer and probably more directly helpful allies lie elsewhere. As was already the understanding ahead of time, Uralia officiates its membership in the World Workers’ Front, the international communist organization led, if not by, then at least from Manchuria. It bears noting that Uralia wasn’t actually too enthusiastic to join this group in peacetime, due to Manchu domination and differences in communist dogma (Uralia is more orthodox Sternist, Manchuria arch-Zhaoist), but now, it is obviously necessary as a source of military support. Siberia, which isn’t actually under attack yet, does the same soon after, providing a vital land connection across Eurasia. Russia is now, indeed, at war with most of the communist world, though geography is a challenge for either side.



    It might seem like one sideshow of this now global conflict is being wrapped up, or at least put on pause: the Asturian defenders in Assam have finally been overwhelmed by the Indochinese communists, deftly cut off from reinforcement or retreat. All in all, the civilians who reached Quy Nhon were mostly evacuated, but tens of thousands of soldiers – more than there were Asturians in the region to begin with – have been left behind and taken as POWs in this last defeat. Asturias has been kicked entirely off the continent, though whether it will make peace and accept this result is a different question. Some of the Manchurian divisions that have been helping in Indochina can now (carefully) make their way back north and start the long journey to Uralia, but some will stay to defend their gains.



    The Asturian troops that made it out have mostly been shipped to Indian Ocean island bases to await either redeployment or a new counterattack onto the continent. This utter defeat of Asturias in the east, that still leaves its troops stranded far from the homeland, is exactly the kind of leverage the Latin Empire shouldn’t be given right now. Although, it seems that Gallo might be improvising here and adapting his plans as well, reacting to the unexpected war against Uralia. As Asturias and the New Covenant both find themselves at war with the World Workers’ Front, Asturias is extended an offer that the Covenant will support its efforts, in return for being given the military access to do so; the corollary is that outside powers, and probably the Latins as well, will consider Asturias a member of the Covenant and treat it accordingly.

    The looming threat of invasion through Navarra, Catalonia and now Gibraltar should Asturias prove uncooperative doesn’t even need to be implied, for it is already obvious. It also seems doubtful that the Latins will actually commit much strength to the Asian theater, though any at all would help. However, the Asturians know an unrefusable offer when they see one. At least this way, the Latins promise to only station troops in bases designated by the Asturians (instead of just invading and occupying the whole country by force). The democratic world collectively rubs its temples.



    The Dominion of the Zanaras, for one, has little interest in any dealings with the New Covenant, least of all the hateful Folkists just to its south. It has fallen more and more into the Amatican cultural sphere over the years anyway, and colonial rule from Toledo was something to be tolerated as long as it was beneficial; whatever is about to happen here, definitely isn’t. On 5 August, the dominion government declares that it is “arranging its independence”, with the current Governor Pousa acting as interim head of state. The provisional Republic of the Zanaras unilaterally declares that it is no longer at war with any of the New Covenant’s enemies, and to seek recognition and safety against Asturias or any of its vengeful “allies”, immediately applies for membership in TOTO.



    The Viceroyalty of Esperanza, already infamously autocratic, has no such qualms. If anything, the case of Zanaran independence just makes Viceroy de Granada an even more outspoken supporter of both colonial rule and, worryingly, the New Covenant.





    25 August. A full month after the Russian invasion of Uralia. It hasn’t been great for the Uralians, who are being beaten back all across the front. They have lost Gondyr-Ola, Timerevo (Yaroslavl), Okram-Osh (Nizhny Novgorod) and many other medium cities. Kholmogory and Chelyaby are threatened, and Perm, the temporary capital, isn’t far from the front either. While the Siberians and Manchus have made some attacks farther east, the relatively small number of troops (for now) on an extremely long border means that these have mostly amounted to irrelevant skirmishes so far, with no clear pushes either way.



    (It’s gonna be hard to make much sense of most screenshots of the northern front, but we’ll have to get used to it. I should have slightly better ones in the future.)

    The Covenant is actually doing less great in Alcadra, where the Paran and Solian defenses on the long jungle border have all but collapsed. The Latins have sent over some troops, yes, but apparently not enough. Most of the land taken is strategically worthless wilderness, but the surprisingly formidable Santanan army has also laid siege to the Paran capital, Belsby, where a lot of the Latin troops have become surrounded. As the Alcadran primacists were under the impression that they’d mostly provide military access and the Latins would do the fighting, these initial setbacks are surely causing some hairline fractures to form in their pragmatic alliance. Especially with new wars starting in Eurasia, they are demanding the Latins to get their act together. Attempting a quick turnabout, the Latins actually made a landing in the Santanan port of Fortaleza recently, but were quickly beaten back in an embarrassing replay of what happened several times during the Santanan “war of independence”.



    But the Uralians are, rightfully, asking what’s taking Poland so long.



    25 August, 1939
    Bratislava, Commonwealth House

    Today’s meeting of the Commonwealth Council, consisting of each member country’s ambassadors to the Commonwealth of Sovereign States, is a little special. High King Lechoslaw IV himself is attending alongside the Polish councilor. This isn’t entirely out of line with the past few years, where it’s been common both to parade the High King around all kinds of meetings and to emphasize the importance of Commonwealth cooperation, but it is still newsworthy. Council meetings are held behind closed doors, yet presumed to be rather dry, at least based on the announcements that come out of them – often broad declarations of intent that may or may not manifest as action.

    This particular announcement has been delayed by an additional two hours, first by His High Majesty’s motorcade being late and then by the meeting itself stretching on. It was reported, in routine fashion, that today’s meeting would concern “the developing situation in the Commonwealth’s surrounding areas”, so the members of the international press awaiting the announcement are slightly more curious than average, especially as the High King is also meant to say a few words. For this reason, the event is being held in the plaza outside the Commonwealth House (a donated ducal palace) rather than the usual press room, which is plenty gilded in itself but clearly insufficient for an occasion like this: the High King’s appearance has attracted a medium crowd of citizens, though nothing compared to the usual amount in Krakow and elsewhere. The speech and announcement are also to be broadcast on the radio.

    “His High Majesty, High King Lechoslaw, and the Commonwealth Council.” The air stirs as the High King finally steps out to an open balcony, flanked by the councilors of Poland, Moldavia, Yugoslavia, Britannia, and Nowa Straya (which was only recently given the right to attend). They also enter at the same time, rather than in order of rank, though the High King is the one who walks up to the podium. Everyone in the audience takes off their hats, and those with seats stand up from them. Someone tries to start applauding, but the High King gestures to stop and be at ease.



    As the clapping fades away, he clears his throat and starts talking at a slow, measured pace.

    “There is little novelty to the situation we find ourselves in. We believe everyone, whether through personal experience or the tales of their elders, ought to remember the world of 1022 [translator’s note: 1905 AD]. Fresh wounds and age-old scars, aching, led great nations to enter into a great conflict, as they had so many times before. Yet that war proved to be more terrible than any other that preceded it. We ourselves, still a young lad, served aboard the warship Kawka, though We have little to brag of from those days. After the war was finally brought to an end, a costly, costly victory for Poland and her allies, there was a sentiment, expressed by many, that the war itself had taught us something, brought the world into a new era. We ourselves would say that the world had already entered into a new era, decades before, in which there was no more place for war between nations. The Great War simply forced us to realize this.

    But despite our deepest wishes as a nation, as members of humanity, there would not be an age of peace, or stability, or prosperity for all.”

    The High King goes on to talk about general history, philosophy, and his personal memories for another half an hour. It’s especially rambling by his standards, as while he tends to wax poetic like any other aristocrat, he's still usually more more to-the-point. The speech also needs to be paused for a while when it starts trickling rain, and cloth canopies need to be carried into the square to shelter the audience. The Commonwealth Council stands still behind him, reminding people what this event was actually about, but at the same time raising more questions. People are too polite to just leave, though.

    Eventually, a change in the High King’s posture and clearing of his throat signals to the audience that he might be nearing the end of his speech.

    “It is the strong and sincere belief of all present that just as civilized persons do not strike each other over words, civilized nations do not wage war over such things as vengeance, punishment, or to keep up appearances, for to do so is only to heap violence upon violence. Nor do they wage wars of destruction simply to be rid of another. Alas, it has been shown that some would disagree. The dictator Morozov and his band of criminals who have wrested control of the old Russian nation, trampling underfoot the rights of its own citizens, have embarked on a quest of annihilation: annihilation of peaceful nations, of democracy, of all that make a principled stand in the way of their hegemony. All this they do in the name of Russians and Slavs, but those who see clearly make no mistake: it is only their own deranged ideology and corrupt personal interest that they follow, and the Russian people pay the price for their madness.

    Bolgharia is not Russian. Uralia is not, and never will be, Russian.

    The Latin Fascists are little better, for one day they speak of a modern crusade against those who believe differently than them, and the next they wage war against their brethren for refusing to participate in it. The Latin citizens, too, live in fear of their own state, yet are made to carry on the wasteful bloodshed of centuries past. We all, regardless of faith, see this for the slaughter that it is.

    The people have not chosen their tyrants. It is thus with great regret, but with utmost determination to pursue it to the end, that by the agreement of the governments of all its constituent nations, the Commonwealth of Sovereign States finds itself in a state of war with Russia and the Latin Empire. It has become clear that only by direct action can these destructive forces be stopped before they…”



    (Month-old screenshot, because the tooltip screws up after completion.)



    20 August, 1939
    Odessa, Black Sea Military District HQ
    Attending: Gen. Jaroslaw Lechowicz, Adm. Janusz Wilk, Gen. Franciszka Jachowska, Gen. Alp Araslan Asher, Gen. Maxmilián Sládek, Air Col. Metody Kulikowski

    “Warriors. I’m glad you could make it. Some of you I already know, but I’m General Jaroslaw Lechowicz. Pleased to make your acquaintance. By decision of the War Council, I have been placed in overall charge of the newly formed Caucasus Command and this operation we are about to discuss. For this, I have been promoted to the rank of field marshal, effective the day operations begin. My command of the Army of Kiev will be taken over by Gen. Radziwill.”



    Gratulacje!

    “Thank you, Fran. However, until then, you will all continue to report to East Command. Preferably, Russia shouldn’t realize there is a Caucasus Command at all. Marshal Rokossowski also knows of this arrangement, of course. Make sure he doesn’t try to push you around while he still can.

    I should be more specific. The Army of Odessa under Gen. Jachowska will remain under EC, but it was decided that she should participate in this briefing due to the Army’s role in the theater. Bomber Wing ‘Black’ under Col. Kulikowski has been lent out to us as a special taskforce. And of course, the Black Fleet under Adm. Wilk will be under the Navy, but is the real backbone of this whole operation. Should everything go to plan – knock on wood – the Bomber Wing and Black Fleet will soon be out of a job in the Black Sea, and free to be deployed elsewhere. That leaves the Marine and Mountaineer Corps under Gens. Asher and Sládek as the ones actually part of CC, at least for the time being. If we are to establish a permanent presence, we will need more forces eventually.

    Now, let’s get to the point. You all have files with more details on your part of the operation. The basic plans were actually drawn up by the War Council back in ’37, and finalized over the past month with the updated numbers and intelligence. I myself was only brought onboard during this last part. However, I’d say the biggest difference is in the sheer detail of the maps and photographs provided by the new high-altitude spy planes. They’ve been tirelessly at work surveying the entire length of the border, as well as our target. And they’ll keep at it, at least as long as it’s safe. The Russians haven’t done anything about them so far, and stopping now would be pointless at best, suspicious at worst.”



    “Some of you might be aware of Jalta Gardens, which was established in Crimea this spring. What you hopefully don’t know, lest someone has failed at their job, is that it is a top-secret information center for this operation and many more. It serves as a listening and analysis post both for enemy communications, and for our most powerful RADAR array so far. And on top of that, we also have assets on the ground providing us with real-time updates, even while the operation is ongoing, should need be.”



    “But where is ‘the ground’? Novorossiysk. The biggest port of Morozov’s Russia – something of a personal fixation, I am told. A lot of money and concrete has gone into expanding it. The Russian Navy is both smaller than our Marynarka, and split into three isolated seas at that, but unlike them, we don’t have the luxury of sitting in port and having a staring contest: Morozov has expanded his own Black Sea fleet just enough that even if it doesn’t do anything, its mere presence will tie down our Black Fleet and stop it from being more useful elsewhere, which I assume was his goal. That’s why the very first thing we do is to knock it out of the game.

    The Bomber Wing, the Marines and the Black Fleet will all depart, simultaneously, from Sewastopol. The bombers will be operating with whatever fighter cover we can muster, but also have the element of surprise, and intel suggests that Russian air defenses in the region are negligible. You may note that this is the closest thing we have ever done to a true combined arms operation; a real novelty, if you will. But moving on.”



    “The port of Novorossiysk faces southeast, parallel to the coast, sheltered by a rocky promontory on its seaward side. The dive bombers will fly over the rocks, while the torpedo bombers will come from the southeast. The target of priority for both is the fleet in port. The entire Russian Black Sea fleet should be docked in Novorossiysk, with no expectation of an attack – I repeat, the entire fleet. Frankly, it should be hard to miss. The city and port facilities shouldn’t be targeted: as long as the fleet is sunk, the port will do them no good, whereas we would much rather capture it intact. All bombers will drop their loads and return to Crimea, from which they may be sent in for another run if the situation allows. The flight time between Sewastopol and Novorossiysk should be roughly one hour.

    Now comes the hard part: while the planes are still flying, the Marine Corps will split into two main groups to land both in Anapa – a small coastal town northwest of the city – and Novorossiysk itself. The former should face little resistance, though a lot more ground to cover, while the latter has the unenviable task of landing right outside the port as it is being bombed and taking it in the confusion. As a major naval base, the city obviously should have a sizable garrison and decent fortifications. We will outnumber them, but face the obvious added difficulties of attacking from the sea. Due to the mountains which surround the city on all sides, at least it’ll be easy for a small detachment to cut off the only road leading further down the coast, but the majority will be forced to land directly in the suburbs near the port. Should the main offense stall, it is imperative that the Anapa group seize any opportunity to proceed inland and surround the city from the other side as well. If we don’t secure Novorossiysk, this whole landing will be a failure with no port to supply it; but when we do, the Marines can retreat into the city and the mountains as needed and focus on holding those positions. They shouldn’t be overextending to try and take the entire Caucasus with just their numbers.”



    “The Marines will land with their own artillery, and also be supported by the Black Fleet with all its firepower and carriers, especially in case the Russian ships try to leave port. At the same time that the fate of Novorossiysk is decided, the Mountaineers will be working with the Moldavians to push across the land border in the Caucasus and take the port of Batumi. While obviously defended due to being on the border, it should be relatively easy with all the Mountaineers’ strength concentrated on one point. Batumi is only some 10 miles from the border, which is why the Russians have also written it off as too dangerous to actually use, but seizing it is still a vital part of the plan.”



    “The Army of Odessa shouldn’t rush to participate in this offensive: the distances are too long for it to make an immediate contribution, and its defensive positions shouldn’t be compromised for no real gain. However, holding those positions is the final puzzle piece: as long as the Kercz Peninsula holds, any Russian ships that get out of Novorossiysk will have no hope of fleeing into the Azov Sea and the ports therein. Linking up Kercz and Novorossiysk may be considered afterwards if resistance collapses entirely.”



    “With Novorossiysk and Batumi taken, and the Azov cut off, the Russians will effectively have no bases in the Black Sea. Their ships, if any, will be drifting around like fish in a barrel for our Black Fleet and bombers to pick off at our leisure. Even though it’ll take much longer for us to actually occupy the entire coast, with these ships out of the game and no chance of any more coming in through Lechogród, the Black Fleet can be completely at ease moving into the Mediterranean to support our allies there. In the best-case scenario, the entire Russian south might be thrown into disarray, giving both Caucasus and East Command openings to exploit. What the CC does after this has been left to my discretion, but our immediate goal should the opportunity present itself is to push up to the Caucasus Mountains, secure the few passes that exist, and hold until more forces arrive. We’ll be working with the Moldavians the whole way, of course.”

    “If I may ask a question,” mumbled Gen. Asher, somehow amused, stroking his moustache.

    “Of course.”

    “I’m honored that you’re giving us the main role in this play,” he continued, “but I believe you’ve skipped a few steps. Pardon me if I’ve missed something, but we’re not at war… yet, are we?”

    “Yes. About that. To give you and the bombers every last minute we can, we’ll be minimizing any and all communications that the enemy could intercept. The cryptology arms race is harsh, and while I have great confidence in our side, they themselves have warned us that security may not be absolute. The High King will be giving a speech one week from now. You should be ready and waiting to depart, but know that there could be last-minute changes. The code to stand down and delay the operation will be ‘dragon’. The code to get going immediately is written right here on your files.”





    18 August, 1939

    Operation Novelty is underway. There isn’t any international law or really even etiquette concerning how war is declared, or technically requiring a declaration at all, but the High King was insistent that it be done before the first strike. It also would’ve been possible for Poland to simply declare war by the agreement of its Sejm and Crown, and then get the rest of the Commonwealth to do the same, but all agreed that it was better for the Commonwealth to declare war as one entity. For a similar reason, war was declared on the Latin Empire at the same time, even though Poland’s main focus is on Russia, to confirm that this is a war between grand alliances, not some border conflict on the Dnieper. This also allows operations to start on all fronts at once. The Uralians are less than pleased with some of the delays involved, though it’s not like the Commonwealth was in any case ready to declare war at the drop of a hat.

    Thanks to the High King’s stalling, though, the first planes are only minutes away from Novorossiysk by the time that the Russians receive word of the declaration, never mind pass it up the chain. Technical chivalry, the best kind of chivalry. 600 bombers, escorted by another 200 fighters, fly low over the empty Black Sea before splitting up into groups for the approach.

    The part about the surprise attack is a total success. The shameful truth is that, whether it’s their fault or not, the bombers squander it. There are too many of them, too tightly clustered, too inexperienced, to coordinate properly over a single port and aim for the ships – immobile as they might be – without running into each other. This ambitious plan is, after all, the first offensive operation conducted by the Crown Air Force. Some are forced to pull away without ever reaching the port. The sheer rain of munitions is only enough to sink a single heavy cruiser and a single destroyer, though several more take damage, and in the end, the most celebrated success of this attack (that was meant to destroy the entire fleet) is the critical damage dealt to the Russian battleship Timur Morozov by a torpedo and several bombs that penetrate its deck. Enemy planes are nowhere to be seen, leaving the fighters with little to do, but 30 bombers are shot down by ship-mounted AA guns. Roughly half of these pilots survive after crash landing in either the sea or the countryside; thanks to the confusion reigning on the Russian side, some of them manage to hold out until they can reach friendly troops, but some are taken as POWs (or unlawfully shot). These are the first Commonwealth casualties of the war.



    Of course, that’s not the end of Operation Novelty: the main attack by the Marines is yet to come. Unfortunately, the survivors of the Russian fleet sally out to dodge any further bombings, happen to spot the incoming reinforcements, and boldly engage them in battle. Here, the Black Fleet (with help from the Moldavians and the redirected bombers) is much more successful, sinking a total of 9 light cruisers and 10 destroyers with no severe damage of its own. However, the invasion force it was escorting is forced to fall back, divert, and land much later than planned.



    Gen. “Smiling Fran” Jachowska’s orders were for the Army of Odessa to hold and not advance, but she realizes that troops opposite her are being moved to Novorossiysk to reinforce it against the now-obvious invasion. She sends back word that she is altering the plan and launches an assault across the Kercz Strait, savaging the enemy divisions with artillery and pinning them in place. As a nice bonus, she realizes that her troops are actually making headway, and might be able to secure a connection across the strait when this attack is over with.



    Jachowska’s attack achieves its goal of distracting the enemy reinforcements. The actual landing in Novorossiysk is, in the end, far easier than even the very optimistic plans dared to expect; the secondary landing in Anapa, now moot, is aborted, and the troop transports redirected to the city. After unloading in the smoking port almost like they owned the place, the Marine Corps is ordered to spread out and secure themselves a beachhead with some buffer room, even as far as the city of Krasnodar if possible. The Russian cavalry divisions facing them, apparently second-rate garrisons rather than anything like Poland’s cavalry elite, melt like butter. At least horses are good for running away.



    Gen. Sládek’s Mountaineers in the south play their (admittedly simple) part in the plan without a hitch, smashing through Batumi and beyond. They are well on their way to at least blocking the Caucasian passes, if not capturing them completely.



    The Russian fleet is a little disappointingly intact, but now locked out of all ports and unable to shelter or repair, just as planned. Despite complications, Operation Novelty has been a net positive, even overwhelming success, far overshooting all expectations. However, Novorossiysk and Batumi are tiny, tiny corners of the world, and while the Poles are fixated on this admittedly strategic and symbolic victory, the war gets going everywhere else as well.

    Spoiler: Comments
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    Full disclosure, because might as well: Russia and the Latins have a +2 difficulty boost (out of +4) and China has a +1, determined over the course of a lot of observer mode playtesting. This gives them a straight-forward numerical boost to a little bit of everything, from research and production to just combat strength. Given how much tweaking the HoI4 conversion took in general, this is more or less a shortcut to buffing them in the same ways that the base game makes certain countries stronger or weaker by adjusting the various ideas and focuses that they get. Of course, Russia and the Latins have some of those as well, but I didn’t wanna go back and forth buffing and nerfing them for even longer than I did. In short, Russian and Latin units should be slightly stronger than they look on the map… but that doesn’t always make up for them being deployed in the wrong place.

    You can see how much I hyped myself up for Operation Novelty, and what a crash back to reality the actual bombing run was. But hey, at least the landing went great. I knew sinking the whole fleet was unlikely, but the end result was still disappointing. I think one mechanical reason that port strikes and thus Coordinated Strikes can be kinda weak is that despite logically only targeting one particular tile (the port), their efficiency is affected by how well the planes’ range covers the entire air zone (like, the whole region between the Black and Caspian Seas).

    However, it was fun typing out the full plan based on the available intel before seeing for myself whether it actually worked, rather than narrate everything post facto. I won’t be doing it at this level of detail very often, but in more general terms, absolutely.

    I’ve been taking a lot of screenshots in this AAR with fog of war temporarily turned off, but from now on, I’ll be doing that a lot less (even on fronts I’m not involved in). I don’t wanna forget to turn it back on and give myself an unfair intel advantage.
    Last edited by SilverLeaf167; 2021-11-24 at 04:44 PM.
    Saga of the Slavs – Paradox Megacampaign AAR (Finally in HoI4!)

    Sovereign Levander on Steam

  25. - Top - End - #295
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Paradox AAR - Saga of the Slavs

    Wasn't expecting the Polish to be the ones kicking off the big one.

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