Conference of Prague (POD)
At the beginning of the Conference of Prague (March 1867), Austrian Emperor Franz Josef I announces his firm intention of abdicate the Crown in favor of his only son Prince Rudolf (future Rudolf III), who is eight years old at that moment, regardless the outcome of the conference.
The delegation of the Kingdom of Prussia, as the main winner side, only demands, besides the usual reparations, the concession of the Lands of Bohemia (Bohemia, Moravia and Austrian Silesia), which were in fact occupied by Prussian troops at that time. The intention of the Prussians is setting a puppet state, ruled by a German prince, which would be integrated in the planned North German Confederation, set to succeed the defunct German Confederation.
However, the Russians oppose such move unless the whole territory of Galicia is conceded to them, Cracow included. Neither Prussia nor Austria want to approve such concession, so they finally agree with Russia a more Solomonic decision: the new Principality of Bohemia and Moravia will be an Austrian subject under the authority of the King of Austria, but also a member state of the North German Confederation, granting that the state will be ‘co-ruled’ de facto by Prussia and Austria; in the other hand, Galicia will be divided in four parts: the duchy of Cracow, as a separate Austrian subject; the northern districts, including Lemberg, will be conceded to Russia; the southern districts will be ceded to Hungary and Bukovina and the surrounding districts will be ceded to (still Turkish) Moldavia.
Meanwhile, the Hungarian magnates push hard for the recognition of the Kingdom of Hungary as a fully independent state. They have even agreed on the candidate for the throne, count Laszló Teleki de Szék; after a harsh process of negotiations, the Kingdom of Hungary is recognized by the European powers, but under several conditions:
- Hungary has to cede the Western Strip (an area populated by ethnic Germans, including cities like Pressburg, Ödenburg and Stein am Anger) to Austria. As compensation, Hungary receives the southern Galician districts.
- Hungary has to grant self-government for the Transylvanian Saxons in its written Constitution.
- Hungary has to recognize the independence of the Kingdom of Croatia.
- Hungary should follow a neutral foreign policy, which will be observed by all the powers present at the Conference.
The conference ends on a note that this new German Federation is to unite into a nation at some point in the near future.
Franco-Prussian War: Start Of The German Empire
By 1870 the idea of a united Germany had gained a huge amount of traction, and the only way to unite Germany in the eyes of most was to acquire Alsace-Lorraine, a historic province of the HRE, and add it to the new proposed nation.
France had recently reformed into a monarchy, with Napoleon III being the current Monarch. The French wanted to add some areas of the Rhineland to their nation. Tensions over the area would build for half a year before France decided to declare war.
On 16 July 1870, the French parliament voted to declare war on the German Kingdom of Prussia and hostilities began three days later. The German coalition mobilised its troops much more quickly than the French and rapidly invaded northeastern France. The German forces were superior in numbers, had better training and leadership and made more effective use of modern technology, particularly railroads and artillery.
By the time August had come the French realized the blunder they had put themselves into and tried to play a defensive role, but with increasing German numbers due to Austrian reinforcements things were looking down for France.
A series of swift Prussian and German (including large numbers of Austrians) victories in eastern France, culminating in the Siege of Metz and the Battle of Sedan, saw Napoleon III captured and the army of the Second Empire decisively defeated. A Government of National Defence declared the Third Republic in Paris on 4 November and surrendered to the Prussian-German forces, although news traveled slowly and some forces fought until December, before treaties could be signed; the German forces fought and defeated new French armies in northern France before the news reached them, further lowering French morale. Following the Siege of Paris which occured before news of a formal French surrender arrived to German forces, a revolutionary uprising called the Paris Commune seized power in the capital and held it for two months, until it was bloodily suppressed by the regular French army at the end of May 1871.
Unification of Germany
The Unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on 18 January 1871, in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in France. Princes of the German states, including Austria, gathered there to proclaim Wilhelm I of Prussia as German Emperor of the Northern Germans (all of Germany excluding Austria and shared ownership of Bohemia-Moravia) and Rudolf III as German Emperor of the Southern Germans (Austria and shared ownership of Bohemia-Moravia) after the French capitulation in the Franco-Prussian War. Unofficially, the de facto transition of most of the German-speaking populations into a federated organization of states had been developing for some time through alliances formal and informal between princely rulers—but in fits and starts; self-interests of the various parties hampered the process over nearly a century of autocratic experimentation, beginning in the era of the Napoleonic Wars, which saw the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (1806), and the subsequent rise of German nationalism.
The Structure of Germany after unification
The structure of Germany after unification somewhat mimicked the old Dual Monarchy system of Austria-Hungary; Wilhelm I would be the Monarch of most of the nation, but excluding Austria, and Rudolf III would become monarch of Austria. Prague, Bohemia-Moravia (Bohemia-Moravia being the only area where there is a true Dual Monarchy) becomes the meeting zone for the two monarchs to discuss the nation's functioning. A system is also adopted where there is a chancellor who handles communication between the 2 German regions and their respective monarchs. The first chancellor of Germany is Otto von Bismark. Die tapferen Bayern is made the official anthem of the German Empire (although renamed Die tapferen Deutschland for obvious reasons).
Dawn Of A New Power
Congress of Berlin
The Congress of Berlin (13 June – 13 July 1878) was a meeting of the representatives of five Great powers of the time (Russia, Great Britain, France, Italy and Germany), the Ottoman Empire and four Balkan states (Greece, Serbia, Romania and Montenegro), aiming at determining the territories of the states in the Balkan peninsula following the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78. The Congress came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Berlin, which replaced the preliminary Treaty of San Stefano signed three months earlier between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, who were backed by Hungary.
Treaty of Berlin
The treaty formally recognized the independence of the de facto sovereign principalities of Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, together with the autonomy of Bulgaria – though the latter de facto functioned independently and was divided into three parts: the Principality of Bulgaria, the autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia, and Macedonia, which was given back to the Ottomans, thus undoing Russian plans for an independent—and Russophile—"Greater Bulgaria". The Treaty of San Stefano had created a Bulgarian state, which was just what Great Britain and Germany feared most.
The Treaty of Berlin confirmed most of the Russian gains from the Ottoman Empire specified in the Treaty of San Stefano, although the valley of Alashkerd and the town of Bayazidwere returned to the Ottomans.
Despite the pleas of the Romanian delegates, Romania was forced to cede southern Bessarabia to the Russian Empire. As a compensation, Romania received Dobruja, including the Danube Delta. The treaty also limited the Russian occupation of Bulgaria to 9 months, which limited the time during which Russian troops and supplies could be moved through Romanian territory.
The three newly independent states subsequently proclaimed themselves kingdoms: Romania in 1881, Serbia in 1882 and Montenegro in 1910, while Bulgaria proclaimed full independence in 1908 after uniting with Eastern Rumelia in 1885. Germany annexed Croatia and Bosnia from the Hungarians and Ottomans after the brief Southern War of 1908, sparking a major European crisis.
The Treaty of Berlin accorded special legal status to some religious groups; it also served as a model for the Minorities System that was subsequently established within the framework of the League of Nations. It stipulated that Romania recognize non-Christians (Jews and Muslims) as full citizens. It also vaguely called for a border rectification between Greece and the Ottoman Empire, which occurred after protracted negotiations in 1881 with the transfer of Thessaly to Greece.
In the "Salisbury Circular" of 1 April 1878, British Foreign Secretary, the Marquess of Salisbury, made clear his own and his government's objections to the Treaty of San Stefano and the favourable position in which it left Russia. Historian A. J. P. Taylor wrote: "If the treaty of San Stefano had been maintained, the Ottoman Empire might have survived to the present day. The British, except for Beaconsfield in his wilder moments, had expected less and were, therefore, less disappointed. Salisbury wrote at the end of 1878: "We shall set up a rickety sort of Turkish rule again south of the Balkans. But it is a mere respite. There is no vitality left in them."
The Kosovo Vilayet remained part of the Ottoman Empire. Germany was allowed to station military garrisons in the Ottoman Vilayet of Bosnia and Sanjak of Novi Pazar. The Vilayet of Bosnia was placed under German occupation, though formally remaining a part of the Ottoman Empire until being annexed by Germany in 1908. The German garrisons in the Sanjak of Novi Pazar were withdrawn in 1908, following the annexation of the Vilayet of Bosnia and the resulting Bosnian crisis, in order to reach a compromise with the Ottoman Empire (the Ottoman government was struggling with internal strife due to the Young Turk Revolution in 1908, which also paved the way for the loss of Bosnia and loss of Bulgaria in the same year.)
A New Kaiser & Democracy begins in Germany (1880's/1890's)
On 9 March 1888 Kaiser Wilhelm I died, leaving his son Wilhelm II as his successor, naturally. Wilhelm II was crowned Kaiser 15 June 1888. Wilhelm II saw a need for a British style Constitutional Monarchy in Germany to keep the people happy, one where he would be more or less a figurehead and not have to worry so much, although with certain powers still exclusive to him, such as emergency war declarations and emergency military control. In a period from June 1888 to January 1890 Germany made it's transition from what was effectively an Absolute Monarchy into a Democratic nation with a mostly symbolic Kaiser, with the first elections beginning in June 1890, featuring newly founded parties.
The parties of the first ever German elections, 1890:
- Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands (SAPD) (Anti-German Republic)
- Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD) (Anti-German Republic)
Centrist Parties (Most Common Party Type):
- Deutsche Demokratische Partei (DDP) — German Democratic Party. A social-liberal party. One of the two main liberal parties. Their party newspapers were the Vossische Zeitung and the Volkswacht. (Pro-German Republic)
- The German State Party (DStP) — Formed in 1889 by the DDP, the People's National Reich Association and remains of the Christian Trade Unionists. In 1891, it published a "Manifesto of the German State Party". (Pro-German Republic)
- Wirtschaftspartei. (Economic Party.)
- Zentrumspartei — The Centre Party was the continuation of the pre-Republic Catholic party of the same name. Their party newspaper was Germania. (Pro-German Republic)
- Volksnationale Reichsvereinigung (People's National Reich Association.) (Pro-German Republic)
- Konservative Volkspartei (KVP) — Conservative People's Party (Pro-German Republic)
- Deutsche Volkspartei (DVP) — German People's Party. Originating from the pre-Republic National Liberals, it was a centre-right national liberal party. Constantin Fehrenbach was its chairman. (moderate against the government)
- Christliche Volkspartei (CVP) (Pro-German Republic)
- Deutschnationale Volkspartei (DNVP) — German National People's Party. It presented itself as a Volksgemeinschaft or non-class party. It established two labor unions; one for the blue-collar worker (the DNAB) and one for the white-collar worker (DNAGB), which had been politically unimportant. The DNVP was the main authoritarian right party of Germany. The DNVP actively supported a return to pre-republic government, where Germany was controlled directly from the Kaiser. (Against the government)
Buildup to World War 1
German industrial and economic power had grown greatly after unification and the foundation of the Empire in 1871 following the Franco-Prussian War. From the mid-1890s on, the government of Wilhelm II used this base to devote significant economic resources for building up the Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy), established by Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, in rivalry with the British Royal Navy for world naval supremacy. As a result, each nation strove to out-build the other in capital ships. With the launch of HMS Dreadnought in 1906, the British Empire expanded on its significant advantage over its German rival. The arms race between Britain and Germany eventually extended to the rest of Europe, with all the major powers devoting their industrial base to producing the equipment and weapons necessary for a pan-European conflict. Between 1908 and 1913, the military spending of the European powers increased by 50%.
Germany precipitated the Bosnian crisis of 1908–1909 by officially annexing the former Ottoman territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which it had occupied since 1878. This angered the Kingdom of Serbia and its patron, the Pan-Slavic and Orthodox Russian Empire. Russian political manoeuvring in the region destabilised peace accords that were already fracturing in the Balkans, which came to be known as the "powder keg of Europe." In 1912 and 1913, the First Balkan War was fought between the Balkan League and the fracturing Ottoman Empire. The resulting Treaty of London further shrank the Ottoman Empire, creating an independent Albanian state while enlarging the territorial holdings of Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Greece. When Bulgaria attacked Serbia and Greece on 16 June 1913, it lost most of Macedonia to Serbia and Greece, and Southern Dobruja to Romania in the 33-day Second Balkan War, further destabilising the region. The Great Powers were able to keep these Balkan conflicts contained, but the next one would spread throughout Europe and beyond.
World War 1
On 28 June 1914, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand visited the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. A group of six assassins (Cvjetko Popović, Gavrilo Princip, Muhamed Mehmedbašić, Nedeljko Čabrinović, Trifko Grabež, Vaso Čubrilović) from the Yugoslavist group Mlada Bosna, supplied by the Serbian Black Hand, had gathered on the street where the Archduke's motorcade would pass, with the intention of assassinating him. Čabrinović threw a grenade at the car, but missed. Some nearby were injured by the blast, but Ferdinand's convoy carried on. The other assassins failed to act as the cars drove past them.
About an hour later, when Ferdinand was returning from a visit at the Sarajevo Hospital with those wounded in the assassination attempt, the convoy took a wrong turn into a street where, by coincidence, Princip stood. With a pistol, Princip shot and killed Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. The reaction among the people in Austria, and by extension Germany as a whole, was mild, almost indifferent. As historian Zbyněk Zeman later wrote, "the event almost failed to make any impression whatsoever. On Sunday and Monday (28 and 29 June), the crowds in Vienna listened to music and drank wine, as if nothing had happened." Nevertheless, the political impact of the murder of the heir to the throne of Southern Germany was significant and has been described as a "9/11 effect", a terrorist event charged with historic meaning, transforming the political chemistry in Vienna. And although they were not personally close, the Emperor Rudolf III was profoundly shocked and upset.
World War 1 (1914-1919)
World War I (WW-I) was a global war centered in Europe that began on July 28, 1914 and lasted until January 3, 1919. It was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until the start of World War II in 1942, and the First World War or World War I thereafter. It involved all the world's great powers, which were assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (based on the Triple Entente of the United Kingdom, France and Russia) and the Central Powers (originally the Central Powers of Germany and Italy; but, as Germany had taken the offensive against the agreement, Italy eventually allied with the Entente). These alliances both re-organised (Italy fought for the Allies) and expanded as more nations entered the war. Ultimately, more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history. More than 9 million combatants were killed, largely because of technological advancements that led to enormous increases in the lethality of weapons without corresponding improvements in protection or mobility. It was the sixth-deadliest conflict in world history, subsequently paving the way for various political changes, such as revolutions in many of the nations involved.
Long-term causes of the war included the imperialistic foreign policies of the great powers of Europe, including the German Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire, the British Empire, the French Republic, and Italian Kingdom. The assassination on 28 June 1914 of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the heir to the throne of South Germany, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, Bosnia was the proximate trigger of the war. It resulted in a Habsburg ultimatum against the Kingdom of Serbia. Several alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked, so, within weeks, the major powers were at war; via their colonies, the conflict soon spread around the world.
On July 28, the conflict opened with the German invasion of Serbia, followed by the German invasion of Belgium, Luxembourg and France; and a Russian attack against Germany. After the German march on Paris was brought to a halt, the Western Front settled into a static battle of attrition with a trench line that changed little until 1917. In the East, the Russian army successfully fought against the German forces, but was forced back from East Prussia and Poland by the German army. Additional fronts opened after the Ottoman Empire joined the war in 1914, Italy and Bulgaria in 1915 and Romania in 1916. The Russian Empire collapsed in March 1917, and Russia left the war after the October Revolution later that year. After a 1918 German offensive along the western front, the Allies one by one capitulated. Italy, which was the last major Allied power still fighting at this point, agreed to a cease-fire on January 3, 1919 later known as Armistice Day. The war had ended in victory for Germany.
Events on the home fronts were as tumultuous as on the battle fronts, as the participants tried to mobilize their manpower and economic resources to fight a total war. By the end of the war, a major imperial power — the Russian empire — ceased to exist, while others — the Ottoman Empire — were on the verge of collapse. The successor states of the former one lost a great amount of territory, while latter the Ottomans would collapse. The map of eastern Europe was redrawn into several smaller states. The European nationalism spawned by the war and the breakup or weakening of empires, the repercussions of Russia's defeat and problems with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk are agreed to be factors contributing to World War II.
After the Great war, the Berlin Peace Conference imposed a series of peace treaties on the remaining Allies. The 1919 treaties of Berlin also brought into being Mitteleuropa on June 28, 1919.
In signing the treaty, Italy agreed to pay war reparations to the Central Powers, and allow the independence of it's northern region as North Italy, a Central Powers member and under a Royal Union with Germany, thus recreating a "Holy Roman Empire" style situation. The Treaty of Lichtenberg caused enormous bitterness in Italy, which various movements, especially the Fascists, exploited with conspiracy theories. Unable to pay them with exports, Italy like many other Allied nations, did so by borrowing from the United States. The payment of reparations was suspended in 1931 following the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the beginnings of the Great Depression worldwide.
The Russian Empire, which had withdrawn from the war in 1917 after the October Revolution, lost much of its western frontier as the newly German puppets of Finland, Baltia, Belarus, Ukraine and Poland were carved from it. Bessarabia was re-attached to Romania, as it had been a Romanian territory for more than a thousand years.
France, as per the Treaty of Versailles, had to pay war reperations amounting to 35 billion francs. The outbreak of World War I caused France to leave the gold standard of the LMU. The war severely undermined the franc's strength: war expenditure, inflation and postwar reconstruction, financed partly by printing ever more money, reduced the franc's purchasing power by 70% between 1915 and 1920 and by a further 43% between 1922 and 1926. France was also to demilitarize an area from Dijon straight north to Calais, with no militarization of the area allowed until at least 1945. The French demilitarized zone would allow German soldiers to patrol and make sure France didn't arm the area. France gives up it's remaining share of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany.
The British/Australians gave up Southern New Guinea to the Germans and had some minor border tweaks in Africa in favour of German interests. Other than some colonial border changes not much was done to Britain, and no reparations are forced.
Japan was to withdraw all claims to German Pacific islands and Chinese ports, and Germany would be taking the Japanese treaty port of Shashi as compensation for Japan invading Germany's colonies in the Pacific. The Empire of Japan originally gained Shashi in the Treaty of Shimonoseki. Germany declares it a colony rather than a treaty port.
Kaiser Wilhelm II was retitled as "Wilhelm II, Kaiser of Germany and King of Northern Italy" on July 5, 1919.
The Ottoman Empire disintegrated, and much of its non-Anatolian territory was seized by various Allied powers that still occupied the area and set up protectorates. The Turkish core was reorganised as the Republic of Turkey. The Ottoman Empire was to gain nearly all of the British possessions on the Arabian peninsula. These agreements were never ratified by the Sultan and was rejected by the Turkish republican movement, leading to the Turkish Civil
War and, ultimately, to the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.
Interwar Period (1920-1942)
The Interwar Period was a time of great tension in Europe, and a period of instability, especially with the onset of the Great Depression. Communist groups took over Russia in the closing months of the Great War, Fascist groups took power in France and the Benelux countries and fought bloody revolutions in England, but ultimately lost there. A new war seems all but inevitable, as new powers dawn and old powers fall.
March On Rome (1922)
Italians felt very bitter about losing their Northern regions, and with the king seemingly doing nothing worthwhile this culminated in The March on Rome (Italian: Marcia su Roma), an organized mass demonstration in October 1922, which resulted in Benito Mussolini's National Fascist Party (Partito Nazionale Fascista, or PNF) acceding to power in the Kingdom of Italy (Regno d'Italia). In late October 1922, Fascist Party leaders planned an insurrection, to take place on 28 October. When fascist troops entered Rome, Prime Minister Luigi Facta wished to declare a state of siege, but this was overruled by the king. On the following day, 29 October 1922, the king appointed Mussolini as Prime Minister, thereby transferring political power to the fascists without armed conflict.
Benito Mussolini's first action was sending supplies to the small but silently growing Fascist movement in France, which would takeover France later on in 1931.
Beer Hall Putsch (1923)
The Beer Hall Putsch, also known as the Munich Putsch, and, in German, as the Hitlerputsch or Hitler-Ludendorff-Putsch, was a failed coup attempt by the Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler — along with Generalquartiermeister Erich Ludendorffand other Kampfbund leaders — to seize power in Munich, Bavaria, during 8–9 November 1923. About two thousand Nazis marched to the centre of Munich, where they confronted the police, which resulted in the death of 16 Nazis and four police officers. Hitler himself was not wounded during the clash, although he locked his left arm with the right arm of Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter who, when he was shot and killed, pulled Hitler to the pavement with him. Hitler escaped immediate arrest and was spirited off to safety in the countryside. After two days, Hitler was arrested and charged with treason.
From Hitler's perspective, there were three positive benefits from this attempt to seize power unlawfully. First, the putsch brought Hitler to the attention of the German nation and generated front page headlines in newspapers around the world. His arrest was followed by a 24-day trial, which was widely publicized and gave Hitler a platform to publicize his nationalist sentiment to the nation. Hitler was found guilty of treason and sentenced to five years in Landsberg Prison. The second benefit to Hitler was that he used his time in prison to produce Mein Kampf, which was dictated to his fellow prisoners Emil Maurice and Rudolf Hess. On 20 December 1924, having served only nine months, Hitler was released. The final benefit to Hitler was the insight that the path to power was through legitimate means rather than revolution or force. Accordingly, the most significant outcome of the putsch was a decision by Hitler to change NSDAP tactics, which would demand an increasing reliance on the development and furthering of Nazi propaganda.
Even though Hitler made several more peaceful attempts to gain traction, the Nazi movement only peaked in the German federal election of 1928; the recently-reformed Nazi Party contested the elections after the ban on the party was lifted in 1925. However, the party, even though it was at it's height, still received less than 3% of the vote and won just 12 seats in the Reichstag. Adolf Hitler, who had been incarcerated in Landsberg prison for his involvement in the Beer Hall Putsch until Christmas 1924, had concentrated on re-establishing himself as the chancellor, alongside the leader Petain, of the Nazi Party in France, which was gaining much more popularity there then in Germany.
French Revolution & Vichy France (1930-1932)
Pressure in France and the onset of the Great Depression creates riots in 1930 and masses of bread lines as well as fights across France between Italian inspired Fascist and Soviet inspired Communist. The military in France faces a dilemma in what to do about the current situation. They end up agreeing with now Lieutenant General Chastien that they will help the needy and execute the Communist demonstrators. The Battle of Rouen Normandy (March 2, 1931) happens when French forces under General Chastien fires on the largest Communist group in the country during a riot. The rebels fire back but are destroyed with great losses.
In the Benelux region the governments peacefully surrendered to their own Fascist movements throughout the late '20s and early '30s; some of these Fascists were from Germany and/or France.
On March 3, 1931, after hearing of the battle and being outraged by events in France the British PM announces that they will revoke their alliance with France and gain closer ties to Germany. The French Communist decide to surrender to the government after clashes all over the country.
On December 9, 1931 General Joseph Chastien and his partner Philippe Petain march into Paris with the army and after some discussion Petain is declared Consul for life - becoming dictator of a Fascist military controlled France.
On February 2, 1932 France and Italy create the Mediterranean Fascist Alliance.
The Great Depression (1929-1942)
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, originating in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until 1942. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how far the world's economy can decline. The depression started in the United States after a major fall in stock prices that began around September 4, 1929, and became worldwide news with the stock market crash of October 29, 1929 (known as Black Tuesday). Between 1929 and 1932, worldwide gross domestic product (GDP) fell by an estimated 15%. By comparison, worldwide GDP fell by less than 1% from 2008 to 2009 during the Great Recession. Some economies started to recover by the mid-1930s. However, in many countries, the negative effects of the Great Depression lasted until the beginning of World War II.
The Great Depression had devastating effects in countries both rich and poor. Personal income, tax revenue, profits and prices dropped, while international trade plunged by more than 50%. Unemployment in the U.S. rose to 25% and in some countries rose as high as 33%.
Cities all around the world were hit hard, especially those dependent on heavy industry. Construction was virtually halted in many countries. Farming communities and rural areas suffered as crop prices fell by about 60%. Facing plummeting demand with few alternative sources of jobs, areas dependent on primary sector industries such as mining and logging suffered the most.
In Germany the Great Depression wasn't easy, but it was liveable for most. Germany's Eastern puppets, especially Ukraine, produced many goods and foods. Germany's industry actually expanded during the Great Depression and by 1937 Germany had effectively pulled out of the Great Depression, and with the help of war reparations, started to pass it's pre-ww1 economy. Germany used Northern Italy for much of it's cheese and dairy production in the Great Depression, and in exchange allowed the people a guarantee of basic amenities.
Buildup to World War II (1936-1942)
The Spanish Civil War (Spanish: Guerra Civil Española), widely known in Spain simply as The Civil War (Spanish: La Guerra Civil) or The War (Spanish: La Guerra), took place from 1936 to 1939. The Republicans, who were loyal to the democratic, left-leaning and relatively urban Second Spanish Republic, in an alliance of convenience with the Anarchists, fought against the Nationalists, a Falangist, Carlist, Catholic, and largely aristocratic conservative group led by General Francisco Franco. The war has often been portrayed as a struggle between democracy and fascism, particularly due to the political climateand timing surrounding it, but it can more accurately be described as a struggle between leftist revolution and rightist counter-revolution similar to the Finnish Civil War and the wars fought over the formation of the Hungarian and Slovak Soviet republics. Ultimately, the Nationalists won the Spanish Civil War.
From February 11, 1937 to March 2, 1937 France made it's first aggressive action since fighting ceased in the Great War; they rearmed their demilitarized zone blatantly in front of German soldiers, and nearly sparked war right then by threatening German troops with war if they wouldn't leave the area. German high command was smart enough to call back the soldiers, although German diplomats were soon kicked out of France and Germany likewise banned France's diplomats from Berlin.
From June 1, 1937 to June 23, 1937 an entirely different crisis almost escalated to war when the Soviet Union began arming their border with the German puppets, and then began a small underground invasion of Ukraine, which was swiftly crushed by the local German enforcement. German diplomats debated war over the violation of Brest-Litovsk, but ultimately decided to come to a peaceful agreement, allowing the Soviet Union to annex Crimea and the Donetsk region in exchange for a non-aggression pact, in which there is a guarantee of not having another invasion of Germany's eastern puppets take place for at least 25 years.
France again sparked a crisis on March 3, 1941 when they suddenly had a swift invasion and annexation the Walloon region (with permission of the struggling Fascist Belgian Government) of Belgium after a large democratic demonstration opposing the Fascist Belgian government took place. France imprisoned all who were confirmed to have participated in the demonstration, and executed the leaders of the demonstration. These actions enraged the British so much they made a formal alliance with Germany on March 11 of the same year. The British and Germans named the alliance the "Hanoverian Alliance".
World War II (1942-1946)
War Erupts (1942)
On June 10th 1942 the French launch a huge and swift invasion of Germany, claimed by the Nazis as a "liberation of Germany from the tyranny of the Kaiser". The French plan for the invasion consisted of one main operation. In Cas jaune (Case Yellow), French armoured units pushed through the Ardennes and then along the Rhine valley, cutting off and surrounding the German units that had advanced into Belgium, to meet the expected French invasion. When German forces were pushed back to the Rhine by the mobile and well-organised French operation, the British evacuated the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and several German divisions that had been leased to Britain from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo. France quickly reclaimed the territories lost in WW1 and thereafter push the nearly 50,000 German soldiers stationed in the area across the Rhine river to the Eastern bank using a revolutionary military tactic deemed "Blitzkrieg" by the German speakers or "guerre éclair" by the French. On this day the UK and Northern Italy also formally go to war with France as per the Hanoverian Alliance and the Soviet Union begins plans for an invasion of Germany's Eastern Puppets, Eastern Germany/Prussia, and Poland sometime in the coming years.
Early Attempts At Trench Warfare (1942-1943)
Seeing as World War 1's trench warfare had been effective the Hanoverian Alliance built up fortifications and dug trenches across Alsace-Lorraine and Western Germany. When the French made another plan to cross into Alsace-Lorraine and across the Rhine river at the same time, the Hanoverian Alliance tried to use these defences, but naturally to no avail. France's "querre éclair" made quick work of the defences by using Tank and aircraft before the soldiers, forcing the Hanoverian Alliance into withdrawing from both fronts. Britain, luckily, stopped using Trench Warfare techniques after France successfully retook Alsace-Lorraine and pushed into Western Germany, with Dortmund falling into French hands on January 11th, 1943.
The last major attempt at trench warfare was in the battle of Elten (February 8th-12th, 1943), when the Fascist Dutch, with small French divisions as reinforcement, invaded the village beginning their part to play in the invasion of Germany. After the failure Hanoverian forces officially banned using trench warfare and began mobilizing armoured divisions and upgrading soldiers' armour instead.
The Tide Turns (1943-1946)
The Spring Offensive began on April 22, 1943 with the invasion of Ukraine by the Soviet Union, resulting in declaration a of war by Germany including Austria. Followed by subsequent declarations of war on the Soviets by Northern Italy and the United Kingdom. From late 1943 to early 1945, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany formed the Balkan Defensive Pact with Yugoslavia, conquering or subduing much of Soviet influenced Southern Europe. The Normandy landings were the landing operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. Codenamed Operation Neptune and often referred to as D-Day, it was the largest seaborne invasion in history. The operation began the liberation of French-occupied northwestern Europe from Fascist/Nazi control, and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front. Following a failed offensive into east-central Germany by the Soviet forces, there was a series of Soviet defeats on the Eastern Front. On May 21st, 1945 the Allied powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, the Red Army lost the initiative and undertook strategic retreat on all fronts. On the Western front the French's blitzkrieg tactics begin to show some age and the allies (mainly the British Empire) progressively push them back to pre German invasion borders by 1945. The United Kingdom and the other members of the British Commonwealth were the only major Allied forces continuing the fight against the French, with battles taking place in North Africa and the Horn of Africa as well as the long-running Battle of the Atlantic.
The End Of The War (1946)
On April 9th, 1946 the French surrendered on the condition they could remain Fascist but only within the natural borders of France, and the fascist Benelux nations were returned to democracy, with Luxembourg being a Belgian puppet for defensive purposes. On June 2nd, 1946 the Soviets in the East surrendered, handing back control of Eastern europe to Germany with some border changes in Germany's favor. The Soviets were no longer a world power, and the still fascist French now needed to be watched closely, but the world now strove towards peace for the time being. Normandy was to be divided and occupied by a joint British-Belgian occupation force until 1950, and France again cannot militarize the pre-WW2 region.
The Cold War (1946-1993)
To Be Continued