First Soravian Civil War
|First Soravian Civil War|
|Part of the Euclean Spring and Liberalism in Euclea|
|Date||April 4, 1857 – 13 July, 1861|
|Resulted in||Seven Province Union victory:|
|Parties to the civil conflict|
|Total casualties: 2,500,000–3,000,000|
Total displaced: c. 1,500,000 (incl. civilians)
The First Soravian Civil War (Soravian: Перша громадянська війна Норозаліка; Persha hromadyansʹka viyna Norozalika) was a civil war fought throughout Soravia between 1857 and 1861 between the Seven Province Union, largely concentrated in the West - who advocated for large government reforms and the abolition of the monarchy, and the Empire of Soravia in the east, who advocated for the status quo. One of the most defining conflicts in modern Euclean history, the civil war began largely as a result of the Soravian defeat in the War of the Triple Alliance. The Zalyks of the Mornorda armies were dissatisfied at the continual Soravian leadership, many of whom had no experience with cavalry-based armies. War broke out on April 4 when the Mornorda seceded from the army, led by Soravian-Zalyk General Eduard Olsov and Altynbay Kalimullin and attacked a garrison in Ulan Khol.
The country was divided by Lake Nimgan and most of the initial fighting would take place in that area. Beginning in 1859, the Zalyks began to advance further into monarchist controlled territory, with their advances culminating in 1860 and 1861 with the Battle of Patovatra that saw the capital taken and the Siege of Samistopol which officially ended the war on July 13. Leadership from both states signed the Treaty of Chekna Manor, calling the Soravian Empire defunct and ordering the Emperor's exile to the Kingdom of Gaullica, where he had been residing since 1858. Olsov was sworn in as President the same day and adopted hardline anti-Gaullican policies to try and secure Soravia's position on the Euclean stage. He adopted hardline nationalist and industrialist policies and his 43-year tenure saw the complete rejuvenation of Soravian society that had dwindled under the monarchy. His policies are defined nowadays as Olsovian nationalism or Soravian Revivalism.
- 1 Background
- 2 Geography and chronology
- 3 Parties to the conflict
- 4 Gallery of leaders
- 5 Warfare
- 6 Aftermath
The Soravian Monarchy
The Nurukovich dynasty after 1750 was largely characterised by series of greedy, brutal and ineffective rulers. The Soravian Empire entered one of its largely dormancy periods in history following the conquest of Minerva in 1790, and the monarchy did little to make any moves that would improve the country's situation as it slowly began falling behind the emerging powers of eastern Euclea. The Soravian peasantry throughout the empire, although largely concentrated in the empire's two largest cities - Patovatra and Samistopol - were becoming increasingly revolutionary as the monarchy largely ignoring the problems that the two cities were facing. This unrest cultimated in the Samistopol Revolt of 1797, largely inspired by the successes of the Etrurian Revolution and the formation of the First Etrurian Republic, but triggered by Ivan V's succession and his immediate plans to lavishly spend on an extension to the palace he was residing in. Ivan V cracked down hard on the revolts and the military disbanded them quickly with many people being killed and many more being injured and wounded.
The peasantry's situation would continue to worsen as the Industrial Revolution spread throughout eastern Euclea, but Ivan V's reluctancy to implement reforms meant the technology of the Industrial Revolution did not reach Soravia until much later. The employment created by the Industrial Revolution never came to fruition in Ivan V's reign, and so the peasant's population continued to expand and the unemployment rates continued to rise. Homelessness became a large problem in Samistopol in particular, but the military would often kick people off the streets if they saw them. Begging and busking was outlawed in 1823 throughout the empire, which put immense pressure on the homeless to either migrate or find a job within the city's borders. In a stroke of bad luck, the harvest of 1823 was extremely poor due to a large dip in temperatures and reduction in sunlight hours throughout the year, leading to the Famine of 1823 and increasing the unrest between the peasantry as many watched their friends and family die in the famine. As many as 300,000 people died as a direct result. In Altko Nurukovich's (Ivan V's half brother) Accounts of a Lost City, he writes:
It was a ghost town - something of nightmares. Wearied bodies limped down streets littered with corpses thin enough to be mistaken for skeletons. An air of dread lay about the city - as if something inhumane and immoral was happening as I roamed the streets. The realities of the world had made their mark on Samistopol and I could never see the city in the same light again.— Altko Nurukovich, Accounts of a Lost City, 1825
Conditions would not approve when Ivan VI succeeded to the throne in 1829, and he largely continued the brutal policies of his father. As unrest broiled, the peasantry were at breaking point. With liberalism taking hold throughout Euclea, the peasantry of Samistopol stormed the Nuruk Palace in 1848, and almost succeeded in breaching the palace gates. The storming led Ivan VI to seclude himself within in palace for the rest of the year, and he was not seen outside the palace until he made a public address in the February of 1849 explaining his absence. Ivan promised "great riches" and "the progression of all mankind" in his 1849 address, but scarcely acted on it between the speech and his reforms - which were the opposite of what he promised.
Reforms of Ivan VI
Ivan VI's reforms were anything but, and they changed largely irrelevant and arbitrary things while ignoring or brushing aside the main problems that the empire had been facing for the past 60 years. The country's economy was in one of the worst recessions it had seen in years and the lack of farmers as well as the situations faced let many to resort to subsistence farming to help themselves and their family survived, only amplifying the hunger problem the country was facing. Ivan's reformed outlawed subsistence farming entirely in favour of a better system that would provide for both the farmer and the peasant. In the first year of the implementation of this new system, both farmers and urban peasants were starving as the food the farmers grew was simply not enough to sustain the growing urban population of the empire. Farmer's began resorting to hiding their food in the floorboards or under hay bales to avoid having to send it all away (a farmer had to provide a certain amount of food before they could keep some for themselves). This pushed the poverty imbalance back towards the urban centres, and the unrest broiled once again. Fearing a threat to his reign, Ivan VI attempted to unify the nation under a single cause when he declared war on Werania in support of Gaullica in 1852 and entered the War of the Triple Alliance.
War of the Triple Alliance
Following Soravia's entry into the war in 1852, the Zalyk armies who had been in the west for a good portion of the 19th century now had to march over to the east of Velzemia to fight against Werania. Due to the lack of a nationwide railway system, this took a while, and would ultimately be one of the biggest contributors to the Soravian defeat in the war. Even though the war was practically on the empire's doorstep, its supply lines were strained for a majority of the conflict. With the war escalating after Estmere's entry, the national unity that Ivan VI had hoped to garner as the result of a quick victory against Werania, and the projection of Soravian influence over eastern Euclea, had quickly faded as the resources needed to sustain the large Imperial Army took much away from the lower classes in society. Coupled with growing anti-Soravian leadership fervour from the Zalyks, who felt they were ineffectively led by inexperienced generals, ultimately culminated in the loss of both the Battle of Trierberg and the Siege of Rokrika in 1855, leading to Soravia signing an early peace with Werania and Estmere in the Treaty of Mirmisto in the February of 1855.
Many western armies were now openly seceding from the main army and declaring their intent to form a new army and state separate to that of the Empire. The recklessness of Ivan VI in plunging the nation into a war many felt it had no reason to be fighting in led to formation of the Soravian Republic near Lake Nimgan, led mainly by Zalyk forces, as well as Soravian peasants in the west. General Eduard Olsov, a veteran of the war, defected to the republicans after witnessing Ivan's warmongering at the expense of his own people. The Soravian Republican Declaration of Independence was made on April 4, but the republic went unrecognised by most Euclean nations - most of which were still monarchies at the time.
Eastern Euclean emergence
Another reason for the civil war and the defection of many of the upper-class was the decline in Soravian power, which had been displayed in the War of the Triple Alliance. The decline of western Euclean influence was being publicly shown, and with the ideas of pan-Weranicism taking hold in Werania after their victory in the war, eastern Euclea was beginning to eclipse its western counterparts. The colonialist era, where many eastern Euclean nations expanded into Coius and the Asterias, only amplified this eclipse in power. While Soravia was a colonial presence in Asteria Superior through the island of George Ruset Land and Chistovodia, it was incomparable to the presence of the eastern nations, who had taken a massive foothold on the continent by the outbreak of the civil war.
Geography and chronology
The civil war is usually split into two fronts: the Nimgan Front and the Vichod Front. It can also be split into the following phases:
The main phase of the war was the fighting that took place along the Nimgan front between 1857 and 1860, the end of which is generally cited as the Empire's defeat in the 1860 Battle of Ovdapol. The main bulk of the casualties were attained during the main phase around Lake Nimgan and the Western republicans garnered much of their support here throughout the Zalyk steppe and eastern Zalykia, and their numbers were greatly bolstered throughout the main phase, especially when Ivan VI fled to Gaullica in 1858.
The second phase of the war took place in the early parts of 1860, where the Seven Province Union began encroaching into Empire territory, and fought to overpower the strong Soravian monarchist fortifications across the Njich-Orikh Line, a 200-mile-long stretch of forts, barbed wire and military installations originally designed to prevent an advance from the east into the Zalyk steppe. The campaign lasted until the August of 1860 when the line was breached by the Union at the Battle of Uzyn and again at the Battle of Garbuzy.
Parties to the conflict
Empire of Soravia
Seven Province Union
- Congress Vichodnia
- Ludoy Islands
- Shumsk Territory
Gallery of leaders
Empire of Soravia
Emperor of Soravia
Seven Province Union
President of the Seven Province Union
The Nimgan Front is the name given to the main front of the civil war, that took place between the bulk of the Union and Imperial provinces, largely centred around Lake Nimgan. The front is generally agreed to have started when Zalyk general Altynbay Kalimullin declared his Mordorna regiments as independent armies and relieved them of allegiance to the Soravian Empire, swearing fealty to Union commander Olsov and pledging his armies to him, on April 4, 1857. The action was regarded as an unofficial declaration of war diplomatically until hostilities officially began when the Union armies attacked an Imperial outpost west of the city of Ulan Khol the next day. The Union stole supplies, ammunition, weaponry and maps of the area that provided the logistical base for much of the early war offensives. Subsequent battles throughout the rest of the year saw both sides consolidate their main forces both north and south of the Nimgan, effectively funneling forces either side and creating large-scale battlefields that saw an amplified number of casualties.
Due to the defection of the Mordorna and the presence of Kalimullin and Aldar Borogshon in the higher-tiers of Union leadership, support for the Union amongst Zalykia, the most populous of the participating provinces, was heavily bolstered, with Zalykia providing large amounts of manpower and an ample workforce for the entirety of the war. Also now backed by labourers in Chistovodia, who had self-declared its support for the Union on the premise it was granted home rule at the end of the war, the Union became a more centralised and unified force as opposed to the guerrilla tactics it had resorted to using for the opening year of the war. With the new Union army structure, Olsov called a major offensive into Imperial territory in the hopes of catching their forces unprepared and unorganised. This offensive was both a success and a failure, with the Union inflicting its first major defeat on the Empire at the 1858 Battle of Krackhi, but suffering almost twice as many losses, numbering around 130,000 in total, one of the largest seen in Euclean history. The knock-on effect of the battle on both Imperial publicity and morale caused Ivan VI to flee to Gaullica in 1858, taking asylum in Verlois. The fleeing of Ivan VI to Gaullica is often seen as one of the pivotal points by which the Union's staunchly anti-Gaullican monarchy stance was created.
Preparations of the Njich-Orikh Line were made as the line itself was moved back to surround mainly the cities of Patovatra and Samistopol. An extensive line of barbed wire, fortifications, pits, traps and open land formed the basis of the Line, and served as the main defensive positions of the Imperial forces in the north after the defeat at Krachki. Due to the length and manpower of the armies enforcing the Line, the Union struggled to breach the fortifications through the north, suffering small losses across the north as small divisions were picked off by Imperial expeditions. Most large battles in this time were Union advances on the Line, and ended either in stalemate or defeat. Fearing a devastating war of attrition, one the Union could not win due to the largely developed eastern portion of the country, almost all under Imperial control, Olsov re-diverted a significant portion of his northern forces to the south of the Nimgan, where Danya Sergeyev's 1st Army were still struggling to penetrate Imperial lines. Smaller victories began to emerge as Fridrik Antonovich's Imperial Army of Patovatra were pushed back to the city of Yanuvka, where temporary fortifications were made. Antonovich requested reinforcements from Osip Lavrov, Lord Commander of the Armed Forces, who was stationed at the city of Filimonovka, along the Njich-Orikh Line that straddled the River Vikna. Reinforcements were denied by Lavrov, who feared that Olsov advanced to Yanuvka as a ploy to divert Imperial forces south and spearhead an attack on the weakened north. Yanuvka fell shortly after due to a lack of Imperial manpower and orders to retreat to the Line at the Vikna were given in the August of 1860. Malina's Seniak Army of the Tsyr was ordered to the Line at the same time, but were severely undermanned and under-supplied due to the brutal conflict in Vichodnia. Reinforcements at the Line did not last long as the Union punched through the line with major victories at Uzyn on September 7 and Garbuzy on September 10, effectively breaching the line entirely and creating a massive hole in the Imperial defenses.
After the significant losses in the south, Lavrov and Antonovich re-grouped and sent their armies to defend the two major Imperial cities. Lavrov took command of the new Imperial First Army and began preparing for a siege in Patovatra, whilst Antonovich did the same with his army in Samistopol. With almost a million Union soldiers advancing on the two cities, Olsov decided to concentrate his forces on the city of Patovatra to siege the city and attempt to catch retreating armies at Kutkivsi and Vysoch. The Siege of Patovatra began in January 1861, and sheer numbers managed to rapidly deplete morale within the city, with the gates breached in March and the subsequent battle managing to eradicate most of the city's resistance in one go, securing the resignation of Lavrov's 1st Army, while remnants of the 2nd and 3rd successfully fled to defend Samistopol. The march to Samistopol ordered by Olsov was arduous and the siege of the city began on April 6. Utilising cannons seized from barracks and army stations both in Patovatra and between the two cities, artillery barrages were commonplace throughout the siege as many old buildings in the southern outskirts of the city were completely destroyed. With the gates looking to be breached imminently, Antonovich and Malina jointly agreed on a last-ditch surprise offensive on the besieging army. Beginning on July 12, around 130,000 of the remaining Imperial forces rushed from the city in an attempt to collide with Olsov's army head-on. The offensive failed spectacularly and Imperial resistance was destroyed the following day. As Samistopol was occupied, Chancellor of the Empire Sergei Yurenov was discovered in a hideout inside the city. Yurenov was brought to Olsov and Sergeyev at Chekna Manor, who demanded he sign the treaty ending the war, which had already been signed by Lavrov, Antonovich and Malina. Refusing to sign the treaty, Yurenov was executed by Olsov, who shot him twice in the head, officially ending the Empire of Soravia.
The province of Congress Vichodnia pledged allegiance to the Seven Province Union on March 26, 1857, around ten days after Olsov announced its formation. Vichodnia was unique in its allegiance and was the only member of the Seven Province Union in the east of the country. Its positioning was mainly due to the monarchy focusing development and investment into its neighbouring province, Congress Senia, due to its position as a barrier from central Euclea and the east, whereas Vichodnia, bordered then by a Soravian ally in the Sunrosian monarchy, became extremely dormant in its development, with its capital city of Paltamo suffering extensively from neglect and becoming run-down during the 1850s. The slums of Paltamo were some of the largest in Soravia and a significant portion of its populace lived in considerable poverty. Olsov visited Paltamo shortly before Vichodnia joined the Union and was remarked for his surprise at the state of the city.
When war broke out between the Union and the Empire in 1857, Vichodnia was the setting of some of most intense fighting of the early war, with multiple Imperial armies encroaching quickly on the territory, led in all by Seniak general Matúš Malina, an ardent monarchist and renowned friend of the Emperor. As many as 250,000 Imperial troops began to surround the undersupplied and encircled Vichod army numbering only around 85,000 in total. Vichod general Jani Salo chose to try and force a guerrilla war onto the invading forces, and split his army up into multiple smaller units in an attempt to harass the oncoming armies, decreasing their morale. Malina quickly realised the intent of Salo, however, and secured two quick victories on the Vichod forces at the Battle of Kuusaa on May 17 and at the Battle of Raiskionkulma on May 20, capturing around 8,000 prisoners-of-war in the process. By the end of May Salo's army was at almost half its original size and it became apparent quickly that the plans of guerrilla warfare were not working, with Malina scoring victory after victory on his forces. In a final attempt to break Seniak lines, a spearhead attack was ordered with all of Salo's forces, numbering around 45,000, near the village of Telataipale, on Malina's own army of over 100,000. While Malina was certainly not prepared for the attack, and despite Salo taking an early upper hand in the battle, sheer numbers eventually overpowered the Vichod forces and they were forced to retreat to Paltamo in July of 1857. The Battle of Telataipale was the first major battle of the war, with around 35,000 casualties.
As Salo retreated back to Paltamo, Malina followed, and preparations for a siege were made. Salo still had around 17,500 men left to garrison the city with, and ammunition from the north being frantically brought down to the city to attempt to hold off Malina's army for as long as possible. On July 10, 1857, Malina's army fired the first shots into the walls of Paltamo, beginning the siege. Many impoverished people inside Paltamo volunteered to fight for the Union and the abolition of the monarchy following their neglect by the institution for so long. A month into the siege the garrison had grown to around 20,000, many of whom were able to be armed and regularly fired shots into the entrenchments of the besieging army. Where Malina had hoped to catch the retreating Vichod's unprepared for a prolonged siege, he had failed. The plan had backfired severely and his troops were suffering significant losses while making no gain on the city. Malina met with Gen. Fridrik Antonovich's Imperial Army of Pavatria in the December of 1857, and had originally planned to besiege the city as one larger army, however complications on the Nimgan Front, particularly with Altynbay Kalimullin's Mordorin regiments being extremely successful on the plains and against inexperienced Imperial commanders, forced Antonovich to remove his forces from the siege and travel back to the Nimgan Front. With Malina isolated once again, bombardment continued on the entrenchments and morale dropped to an extreme low throughout 1858 and into 1859, however slow progress was being made, with the walls being breached in January 1859. Malina attempted two assaults on Paltamo in February and March, spaced apart due to limited supplies from Imperial factories, however both failed as the force of infantry and volunteering peasants repelled both assaults from the Seniak army. Malina would finally successfully capture the city on April 2 as supplies ran out for the defenders, who were forced to retreat. Salo attempted to communicate with the Union Navy commanders stationed in Ovdapol to dispatch transport ships to the city of Koskunen to retrive the army and repurpose it on the Nimgan Front, where the Union had been extremely successful. Historians are unsure whether Salo's distress calls ever made it to Ovdapol, but his army retreated in the hopes that they did. Malina's forces, now rejuvenated from a victory, caught up with the retreating Vichod forces and dealt a critical blow at the Battle of Lapua on April 21, before finally encircling the army on the coast and killing Salo at the Battle of Koskunen on May 1.
After two years of fighting the entirety of Congress Vichodnia was occupied by the Imperial forces. The occupation of Vichodnia was brutal and several reports of atrocities committed by the occupying armies were reported throughout the period. However, they all culminated in the January Massacre of 1860, where most Vichod prisoners-of-war were executed in camps across Vichodnia, with an estimated 20,000 left dead by the murders. Pockets of resistance continued to form towards the end of the war as more and more of the occupying forces began being restationed in Imperial armies fighting on the Nimgan Front, particularly after the Njich-Orikh Line was breached at the Battle of Uzyn in August 1860. Most resistance was defeated but small successes were seen in rural cities that had temporarily freed themselves from occupation before being re-integrated a few weeks later. Vichodnia remained occupied until the Treaty of Ulan Khol was signed in July 1861 that ended the war. Relative to its population, Congress Vichodnia saw the most casualties of any province in the war, with an estimated 371,000 Vichods losing their lives during the conflict, around 6% of its 1857 population.
The civil war had a profound impact on Soravia and throughout Euclea. Soravia had been the first major Euclean republican power since the Etrurian Revolutionary Republic and was the first to experience stability and project its power across Euclea for a prolonged period. Experiencing a period of initial stability under the rule of President Eduard Olsov, who led the Seven Province Union throughout the war, Soravia recovered geopolitically from its civil war relatively quickly. Despite the loss of Lechizna to Gaullica during the war when a buffer state was created between the two sprawling empires, Soravia still projected its power on various Euclean states in an attempt to incite republican revolutions across the continent to create a network of alliances.
Chistovodia supported the Union throughout the war, and was promised home rule by Olsov in exchange for their materiel support for Union armies fighting on the mainland. Once the war had ended at Olsov had consolidated his power, home rule was refused to the colony, who now began to be more directly ruled from the mainland. Extremely unsatisfied with the new premise of rule, Chistovodia declared its independent in 1863, declaring war against Olsov's new republic. With the thought of another war bearing down on many Union troops, Soravia was not as militarised as it was during the civil war. Coupled with neglect for the navy throughout the mid-1800s, the war in Chistovodia proved considerably too far-flung for Soravia to maintain. After a three year long conflict almost dominated by Chistovodian independence victories, Soravia conceded and granted the Asterian state its independence in 1866.