The Great War
The Great War started almost by accident, but it ended just like any war in history did
In between, it was more destructive than any war had ever been. More Russo-Spanish, Euro Asian, Britannian, and Roman soldiers died in The Great War, than in any other war in history.
It was the first genuinely global conflict; fought not just on the fields of Poland, Beusuandille, and Rome; but up mountains, across deserts, at sea and in the air.
The Great War shaped the Twentieth Century. It led to the Russo-Spanish Revolution in nineteen twenty-one. It launched the Federated States of California as a world power.
The fault lines from its horribly failed peace settlement, led Rostil into two terrible, simultaneous wars in the Adrianic and Eslovakia, less than twenty years later; then to the Schayne Plains War from nineteen forty-nine to nineteen fifty-three, and to the Cold War.
But the ideas that the men and women of nineteen twelve through nineteen nineteen fought for shaped Rostil for years to come: Nationalism and democracy; the rule of international law; and the rights of nations.
Now, relive the war, and its bitter unresolved consequences.
The Call to Arms
The origins of conflict started in Russo-Spain over a hundred years ago, in the year nineteen twelve…
At the start of the Twentieth Century, as it is today, the western half of the continent of Sotia was the most unstable part of Rostil.
It was here, that three great empires fought for power and influence: The Russo-Spanish Empire; The Belkan; and the Roman.
The true trigger of the war was from both the Beusuan Empire -on the North Irkhallan continent-, and the Russo-Spanish Empire.
Industry was a long slow time in coming to the Greater Russo-Spanish Empire, it was not a place friendly to the ideas of machinery and the 'modern world', so much so that the Industrial Revolution for the Empire did not occur until eighteen seventy, at which point the world changed. The Empire had always been respected; even feared due to their matchless navy and zealous armies, but the Industrial Revolution got the gears turning, literally.
Machinery made the production of arms easier certainly; but also the production of goods and agriculture were changed forever. Over night almost, the Empire became less a medieval land of magic and sorcery and more of a modern, 'proper' nation. In nineteen o' five they changed the face of naval warfare forever; introducing the IES Yordanov, while not the first armored warship; the world's first uniform battery armored ship; the first battleship. One year later it's sister-ship the IES Romanov followed and soon enough thereafter, the Arms Race for the Dreadnought began.
Just a year earlier, the Beusuan Empire had the coronation of its then newest, and youngest, king and emperor: Guische Michel de Grammont, a member of Beusuandille's Royal Family: the de Selene family.
"That extraordinary empire that is the Beusuan monarchy, is less of an empire, or a kingdom, or a state, than the personal property of the de Selene family and all its branching families, whose hereditary talent of the acquisition of land is recorded on the map of the world today." - Peter R. Connolly, Euro Asian Ambassador, Dinsmark
The Beusuan Empire was also an empire in a constant state of crisis.
In nineteen o' three, there were nationalist demonstrations in Selene. There was rioting across its empire in the years that followed. By nineteen twelve, there had been ethnic unrest in almost every part of the Beusuan Empire. Local parliaments were suspended. Troops brought in to restore order.
Relations between the Beusuans and the Russo-Spanish were at an all time high, much to the disgust of Cornelius' inner circle: The chivalric order known as "The Golden Spyglass".
On the ninth of January, nineteen twelve, an ambassador from Beusuandille, Guische's younger brother, Crown Prince Josué Odilon de Grammont, arrived on a diplomatic visit to the Russo-Spanish city of Urbis Lumen. As his car passed the first bridge, a shady man threw a bomb. The bomb bounced off the car, exploding behind it, wounding a few policemen and some bystanders.
After stopping to ask of the casualties, Josué arrived at the town hall. There, the mayor of Urbis Lumen began his official welcome speech. Josué interrupted,
"Lord Mayor, what the hell is the good of your speeches?! I come to Urbis Lumen on a friendly visit, and some stupid idiot throws a bomb at me! This is outrageous!"
After the meeting, Josué left the town hall. He should've been driven straight along the river, going too fast to give any other suspected assassins a chance. But his driver took a wrong turn.
As the car tried to reverse onto the main road, another shady man came out and came face-to-face with the Beusuan prince.
"At that moment, I heard the crack of a pistol shot. Followed swiftly by another, and in that same split second, I saw a shady-looking man standing right in front of me, being thrown to the ground by some bystanders, and the shining sabre of a security guard descending on him, killing him instantly." - Rolando San Nicolas, civilian bystander witnessing the gruesome sight.
"A thin stream of blood spurted from the Crown Prince's mouth onto my right cheek. I asked him if he was okay. He only replied, 'Its nothing.'." - Lothaire Harman, Josué's driver
Crown Prince Josué Odilon de Grammont died on the way to hospital.
The gunman's remains were later identified as Lou Glaisyer, a Beusuan ultra-nationalist.
At the time, the people of both Beusuandille and Russo-Spain never really knew who was behind the killing of Crown Prince Josué. But the Beusuans made the same leap as the world did: that Russo-Spain may as well as pulled the trigger herself.
Beusuandille and Russo-Spain's relations deteriorated at alarming rates as Beusuandille accused Russo-Spanish chivalric orders of organizing the assassination. The knights denied any such claim and were personally affronted, leading to further diplomatic problems.
The death of Crown Prince Josué did not immediately set the world alight. International tension throughout the remainder of nineteen twelve remained relatively low. But behind the scenes in Selene, Beusuan military leaders were planning on how to take revenge on Russo-Spain… Without getting stomped on by Russo-Spain's powerful friends.
"I expressed to his imperial majesty, that war was inevitable. 'That is entirely correct.' said his majesty. 'But how are you going to wage war if everyone, in particular, Euro Asia and Rome are going to attack us?' 'We have secret backing from the Belkan Nationalist Empire.' I replied. His majesty gave me a searching look and asked, 'Can you be certain of that?'" - Alex Delacroix, Beusuan Army Chief of Staff
This was the point in which what would have been a war between just Russo-Spanish and the Beusuan Empires began to turn into The Great War. Emperor Guische turned to the Belkan Black Sun Party for support. On the twelfth of September, he got just what he wanted.
"The Belkan Government has the opinion that we must decide what is to be done. Whatever we decide, we will always find the Belkan Nationalist Empire on our side, faithful ally, and friend of our monarchy" - Beusuan Ambassador, Dinsmark - Telegram to Selene
Earlier in nineteen o'nine, the Belkan Kaiser, Otto von Damon XI, was overthrown by the Black Sun Party in a coup d'état. When the Beusuan Empire came to them for help in August of nineteen twelve, they immediately gave their backing toward their ally. But nothing in Rostil happened in isolation.
Rostil as a whole was divided into two camps:
On one side were Belkaland and Beusuandille, while on the other were Russo-Spain, Euro Asia and Rome. War with one could mean war with the others. No one would know what would happen if Russo-Spain was attacked. Euro Asia would have to attack Beusuandille in order to protect Russo-Spain. Then Belkaland would have to attack Euro Asia to protect Beusuandille.
Jeremias Kunkle, Belkaland's Foreign Minister felt that Beusuandille would quietly settle things against Russo-Spain.
It was the Belkan Black Sun's confident support that pushed Beusuandille forward. The world was being pushed to war, by the Belkans' wishful thinking…and ambition.
On May twentieth, nineteen twelve, Beusuandille's declaration of war caught the world's diplomats napping.
In Saint Ark, Kazimierz Smythe, Euro Asia's Foreign Minister, spoke frankly to Ramsey Wyght and Joël Reyer, the ambassadors of Grand Britannia and Amerique, respectively.
"Beusuandille would not have acted so aggressively without the consent of the Belkan Black Sun Party and their cultic ways. I hope the Britannic and Ameri governments would consider themselves on the side of Russo-Spain, Euro Asia and Rome without delay."
The Triple Alliance powers were convinced that Belkaland was warmongering. On May twenty-third, Euro Asia called up on her reserves. This was the second key stage of the crisis, as Britannia's Foreign Secretary, Merrion Davison, warned on the twenty-ninth of December.
"From the moment that the situation ceases to be a matter between the empires of Beusuandille and Russo-Spain, and becomes one in which another great power is involved, it could not benign that this could become the greatest catastrophe that ever happened in the world."
On the thirty-first of May, nineteen twelve, the Russo-Spanish Empire reiterated Beusuandille's declaration of war upon it when Beusuandille invaded the Grand Duchy of San Marie; Russo-Spain's second largest crown colony.
On the seventeenth of May, Euro Asia would declare its own state of war on Beusuandille after the Beusuan Royal Navy seized control of Port Royal Island.
The Great War had effectively begun…
Russo-Spain's and Euro Asia's alliance with Rome meant that Belkaland faced a war on two fronts, possibly three if the Birkanians were to enter the conflict on the side of the Triple Alliance. Her only hope was to defeat the Romans in the west before either the Euro Asians and Birkanians had a chance to invade them in the north and east. There was no time to wait and see. To the Belkan Black Sun, mobilization from either Euro Asia or Birkaine meant war.
Supposedly the Belkans weren't looking for a fight, though the Black Sun secretly wanted one, even though they admitted that a Sotian war would be long and devastating… even for the victors. But if it was going to happen, the Black Sun Party thought, better sooner than later.
On the fifth of July, nineteen twelve, Belkaland declared war on both Euro Asia and Russo-Spain. Two days later, Belkaland declared war on Euro Asia's and Russo-Spain's ally Rome.
The only great powers still on the sidelines were Amerique and Britannia.
In July of nineteen twelve, both Amerique and Britannia were still at peace… but only just.
"We've been in a state of great excitement, as all the reservists were called up. All the railways are guarded. Everything points to The Great War, so long expected to be brought upon us." - Haf Vipond, Ameri School Teacher
But Britannia was the only great power who could not claim she was the victim of aggression. Nobody had attacked her, so why should she fight? Nor was Britannia bound by treaty obligations, as Foreign Secretary, Merrion Davison, assured Parliament.
"Both we and the Ameri are not parties to the Russo-Spanish-Eurasian-Roman Alliance. We don't even know the terms of their alliance."
But in private, Britannic and Ameri leaders knew they both had to fight. If Britannia stayed neutral, the war would still threaten the country's vast empire, its global trade and security. The same thing applied to the Ameri with her imperial colonies in Africanus and its holdings in Nubia. And they both needed to stay on friendly terms with Euro Asia, Russo-Spain and Rome. Even in peacetime for example, Britannia was not powerful enough to protect her empire against everyone.
In Africanus and the Middle East, the safety of Britannic and Ameri colonies depended on Roman and Russo-Spanish goodwill. In nineteen twelve, both Britannia and Amerique feared their friends, as much as their enemies.
"If we fail both Russo-Spain and Euro Asia now, we would not be able to maintain a co-operation with them, which is of such vital importance to us for trade." - Britannian Ambassador, Urbis Lumen
Further more, both Britannia and Amerique (Britannia most importantly) could not afford a Sotia dominated by the Belkan Nationalist Empire. If Belkaland overran the Ameri and Roman ports, Britannia's control of the seas would be under threat.
On the tenth of July, nineteen twelve, Britannia declared war on both Beusuandille and Belkaland. Amerique declared war on Beusuandille and Belkaland five days later.
The Britannians had a war book, listing what to do in an emergency. The country's leaders knew the war would be a long and painful one; a slow process of blockade; of starving the enemy out.
But most civilians never knew what they were getting themselves into. Throughout Rostil, there was a run on the banks. Most people thought that Britannia, with one of the largest navies in the world, would only be fighting a sea war.
But the weapons, to which the world went to war with, were so new, that they were never fired in anger. Countries were armed with dreadnoughts and submarines less than ten years old. Nobody really knew how to use them… Nobody on Sotia had ever fought a war against each other in almost forty years.
Though it was clear that this war would not be easy, quick, or clean…
On the Roman Front, Gautier Vincient, an Ameri ambulance driver wrote home to his son…
"You ever think of your daddy, walking all over ploughed fields and getting very used to shells exploding all over the place? I really like to hear from you. How's school? Don't be too quick to learn the geography of the world. I fear that it's all about to change…"
In the next episode of The Great War, Belkan armies roll into Poland, Genoa and Rome, leaving a trail of atrocities in their wake. And the Poles, aided by Euro Asia and Russo-Spain; and Rome, aided by Amerique and Britannia, fight for their lives.
So there you have it. The first episode of this "Docufic". I'm working on the next three chapters as I speak. So, if you have any reviews, be sure to leave some.