Military dictatorship in Etruria
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United Transetrurian Federation
Federazione Transetruriana Unita
Sjedinjene Prekoetruriska Federacija
Združena Čezetruriska Federacija
Etruria in green.
|Government||Federal authoritarian military dictatorship|
|Francesco Augusto Sciarri|
|Giovanni Aurelio Brocco|
|Gennaro Aurelio Altieri|
|Guilio Cesare Tulliani|
|14 May 1960|
|1 July 1983|
The Etrurian military government was the authoritarian military dictatorship that ruled Etruria from 4 May, 1960 to 1 July, 1983. It began with the bloodless constitutional coup of President Massimo Bartolucci—and ended when Miloš Vidović took office on 1 July, 1983 as President. The military overthrow of Bartolucci was backed by the near entirety of the Etrurian officer corps and the Supreme Command of the National Armed Forces (Commando Supremo), who had lost faith in the democratic government to confront the Western Emergency.
The military dictatorship lasted for almost twenty-three years; despite initial pledges to the contrary, the military government, in 1963, enacted a new, restrictive Constitution, and stifled freedom of speech and political opposition. The regime adopted nationalism, economic development, and Anti-Collectivism as its guidelines.
- 1 Background
- 2 Capitoline Accord and fall of the Second Republic
- 3 Establishing the regime
- 4 Sciarri period (1960-1974)
- 5 Brocco period (1974-1978)
- 6 Altieri period (1978-1983)
- 7 Return to democracy
- 8 Resistance
- 9 Aftermath
Etruria's political crisis stemmed from the inadequacies of the new political system constructed in wake of the Solarian War, through the Community of Nations Mandate for Etruria. In an attempt to limit the influence of the security establishment and reinforce checks and balances, the Senate of Etruria was granted far-reaching powers and oversight over security policy. The failure of the post-war governments to equalise the pace of reconstruction across all states of the federation, allowed the festering and growth of separatist and far-leftist movements in Carinthia and Novalia. The post-war political system massively limited government responses to security crises, with deployments of police, the auxiliary gendarmes and regular military dependent upon votes in both houses of the Senate.
The emergence of secessionist movements in the western states first came about in the early 1950s, as these states saw significant inequalities in reconstruction and re-development compared to Vespasia. The use of proportional voting had resulted in successive coalitions, with the Democratic Workers' Party government (1957-1960) being forced to rely upon the support of separatist linked left-wing parties in Novalia and Carinthia to hold majorities. Not only did this significantly reduce the federal government's ability to respond to the amassing of weapons by separatist militias, but further limited law enforcement's ability to investigate. The Democratic Action Party government (1948-1957), which drew many of its leading figures from the Community of Nations Mandate, refused to adopt harsh measures against separatist elements, go as far as to defend their rights under the constitution, alienating unionists in the centre-right and the military.
The separatist crisis in the western states slowly escalated during the latter half of the 1950s, as loyalist elements in both Carinthia and Novalia began to arm themselves alike. In 1956, both states were rocked by sporadic but bloody acts of violence, with 33 killed in a bombing of a separatist rally in Čara in August 1956, followed by a gun attack on loyalist trade unionists in Dubovica four days later which left 21 dead. President Massimo Bartolucci, who was in coalition with the Novalian Labour Party, struggled to find a solution owing to constitutional restraints and the threat of his government falling apart in the event of military deployment. This vacuum only worsened the bloodshed as entire towns became scenes of gunfights between loyalists and separatists.
In 1958, the Carinthian separatist movement united under Igor Kučan and his United Liberation Front for Carinthia. This was followed several months later with the consolidation of Novalian groups around the Novalian People's Army under Ante Šušak and Milan Stipetić. Many in the Etrurian military saw this as the first step to outright revolution or secession in the western states and regularly urged Bartolucci to violate the constitution in the name of national security, though he refused. In an effort to dissuade an open revolt, Bartolucci secured snap elections in Novalia and Carinthia for April 1960, in which he hoped unionist and loyalist parties would be re-elected. However, both states saw the pro-separatist parties gain majorities in the form of electoral-blocs, giving the separatist movements control of state administrations.
In wake of the separatist victories, numerous groups within the Etrurian elite began to plot against Bartolucci. The entire Supreme Command of the National Armed Forces met at Villa Spirito Santo, the home of General Francesco Augusto Sciarri to plan the coup. The SCNAF had the full support of the business community, several Church leaders and numerous political figures on the right. At the end of March, Ante Šušak indicated that Novalia would formally declare independence from Etruria "within a matter of days." This dramatically escalated the internecine violence within Novalia, this was followed by a bombing of the Supreme Court in Poveglia by the ULFC killing 4 people.
Capitoline Accord and fall of the Second Republic
In anticipation of the impending declarations of independence, the Supreme Command moved up plans to remove Bartolucci from office and declare a state of emergency. The Supreme Command was headed by General Francesco Augusto Sciarri, who for years had held significant disdain for the post-war constitution and political system. He viewed the failure or rather constraints on the federal government to confront separatism as a long-term intention of the post-war elite. Following the meeting at Villa Espirito Santo, he secured the backing of all senior commanders in the Army, Air Force and Navy to stage a coup. On May 1, he and six other senior commanders agreed the layout of the post-coup government and deployment to the Western States.
In the early hours of May 4 1960, the Etrurian Army deployed approximately 6,800 soldiers to metropolitan Poveglia, from the 2nd Military Region under General Amadeo Vincenzo, sealing off the Poveglian Causeway and surrounding the homes of prominent government ministers. At 3.54am, soldiers entered the Palazzo Vittoria on Saint Andrew's Square in Poveglia and held Bartolucci and his wife at gunpoint. The same time, troops seized control of all major radio and TV stations across Etruria. A staffer had informed General Ludovico Farnese in northern Etruria, which held predominately pro-Republic officers, of the coup. As Farnese prepared to consider ordering his troops airlifted to Poveglia to protect the president, he was removed by colonels within his command staff.
At 04.19am, the President of the Chamber of Representatives, Umberto Allegri, a member of the right-wing Patriotic League, telephoned the Palazzo Vittoria to inform President Bartolucci that the military action would be supported by the lower-house and that he was confident President Ettore Solariano would declare support for the action on behalf of the State Council (upper-house). Realising that he had no support in the Senate, the President acquiesced to the plotters, who presented him with a pre-written statement he would read out to a special joint-session of the Senate the following morning. Following his agreement, senior figures in the coup plot arrived in Poveglia, while the order for a joint-session was issued.
At 08.00am, President Bartolucci addressed the joint-session in which he read:
My esteemed friends, in the past few months, our country has descended into a period of great instability and internecine hatred and violence. Our current system of constitutionalism and governance is structurally inadequate to confront the crises engulfing our great country. As such, in acknowledgement of the fact that we cannot defend the peace nor the integrity of our federation and republic, I am formerly conceding government power to the military forces of our nation. I am in the understanding that they will strive to defeat the collectivist and separatist threat that endangers all peoples of Etruria, while maintaining the dignity and traditions of our democratic constitution. I urge the Senate of the United Etrurian Federation to agree and offer our military the support and trust needed to combat this dangerous enemy. May God bless us all and our military forces as they take upon the burden of governance and war, to maintain our great and strong nation.
Immediately upon his address finishing, armed soldiers entered the Hall of Saint Peter, which houses the joint-session. The President of the State Council, Ettore Solariano, then proceeded to demand a joint-session vote on accepting the letter by the military, which if passed would grant them extraordinary powers. Prior to his request, President Bartolucci read out a letter from his cabinet expressing their support for the military. It was later revealed that during the night, the military had stormed the homes of all cabinet ministers and forced their signatures at gunpoint. With the President's support and that of his cabinet, the Joint-Session voted unanimously in support of the letter, that would be called the Capitoline Accord. The vote, ultimately represented the fall and final demise of the Second Etrurian Republic.
Establishing the regime
Following the vote in the Joint-Session of the Etrurian Senate, the Supreme Command of the National Armed Forces moved swiftly to consolidate their control over the country. At 09.00am, General Sciarri took to national radio to proclaim a "government of national emergency and stabilisation" (Governo di Emergenza Nazionale e Stabilizzazione), in the same address he declared martial law across all of Etruria to confront "our enemies, domestic and foreign." The Army then deployed a further 35,000 soldiers to towns and cities across Etruria, while the Senate of Etruria was kept open and active, its corridors and halls were lined with armed soldiers at all times. On May 5, the Supreme Command declared the state administrations in Carinthia and Novalia void and arrested the state leaders and hundreds of political, social and civil service figures, while appointing military officers to head "Emergency Military Administrations" (Amministrazioni Militari di Emergenza).
Massimo Bartolucci resigned as President quietly and returned to his summer house on Lake Imperia, where he would remain until 1963, when he was disappeared by the military regime. His cabinet was kept intact by the Supreme Command who utilised them for implementing nominal social and economic policies. However, in June, the Ministers of National Defence, Internal Security, Justice and Foreign Affairs were sacked and replaced with military officers.
Yet throughout May, the major focus of the new regime was the mass deployment of military forces to the Western States and the decimation of the federal level, Party of Radical Workers - the country's premier Collectivist party. Between May 4 and May 10, over 3,500 PRW members were arrested by the military, including its leadership, a further 6,000 associated members and union representatives were detained from May until August, yet released. On May 25, the new regime amalgamated all federal law enforcement into the Organisation for National Vigilance and Security (OVNS), which was brought directly under the authority of the Supreme Command. The military directed OVNS to pursue and neutralise domestic opponents to the regime and separatists in the Western States, while slowly the Supreme Commander sidelined the Senate and cabinet from day-to-day governance.
On May 28, the Etrurian Army launched a full-scale offensive into the Western States, targeting known separatist hideouts, weapon and ammo dumps and training grounds. The mass deployment of troops to the west, effectively killed the 1946 Constitution. The operation resulted in the deaths of an estimated 200 people and the arrests of 600, the start of the offensive is generally accepted as the start of the Western Emergency.
On June 10, the Senate passed the military's Emergency Powers Act, that granted the Supreme Command the right to rule by decree. This was followed immediately with decrees formally banning all separatist parties, movements and clubs, as well as a decree greatly reducing the freedoms provided by the 1946 Constitution, with the introduction of censorship, closing down of regionalist media outlets and centralising of all federal media broadcasters. On June 25, the Supreme Command lifted the right of a fair trial and permitted detention without trial, which greatly aided in their ability to crush student opposition that was rapidly growing in Vespasia.
Throughout the remainder of 1960, the Supreme Command continued to launch mass arrests of leftists, critics, opponents of military rule and separatists across Etruria, while further marginalising the role and influence of the Senate over its actions and activities.
Sciarri period (1960-1974)
In the immediate after of the overthrow of Bartolucci, Francesco Augusto Sciarri, the head of the Supreme Command, became the de-facto head of government and state of Etruria. In this capacity, he led the way in consolidating further powers for the Supreme Command and marginalising the existing institutions. As such, throughout 1960, the regime focused on removing critics and opponents within Vespasia, while deploying military forces to the Western States.
In 1961, opposition to the military's rule began to organise itself among student bodies across Etruria, while the deployment of military forces to the west escalated the violence. In turn, Supreme Command under Sciarri stepped up repression of critics. Sciarri also sought to unify society against what the regime was describing as a "an attempted leftist revolution", in turn seeking to conflate the student protests with the separatist conflict in the west. This was aided by the nominal cooperation of several major national newspapers and TV outlets, who had come under the informal control of the Supreme Command.
In January, a major anti-war and anti-junta student protest was held simultaneously in Vicalvi and Stazzona, which involved an estimated 300,000 students and staff. In response, the military regime deployed soldiers and police, who acted without restraint and brutally repressed the marches. An estimated 800 were arrested, 400 injured and at least 36 killed either in the street or in police custody. The same day as the crackdown, the Supreme Command altered the rules of martial law, stating that any organised protest would result in immediate arrest and detention without trial and the withholding of state benefits to the families of those detained.
Consolidation of powers
In wake of the crackdowns and further escalation of fighting in the west, the Supreme Command sought to rally and unify Etrurian society. Having seen some success in uniting Etruria by conflating student protests with the leftist uprising in the west as part of a wider "leftist plot backed by the MSU", the government turned to the disputed islands of Apokoronas held by Piraea following the Solarian War. The dispute was first raised in regime propaganda throughout 1960, as many in the Etrurian military believed the weak Piraese government was aiding or housing Carinthian and Novalian separatist leaders.
Preparations for a military operation to seize the disputed islands began shortly after the crackdowns on January 19. The Supreme Command opted to construct a media narrative that the islands were being used by Piraea to house, train and supply separatist groups across the west and within Tarpeia. Between February and April, the Supreme Command was regularly claiming it held evidence of training camps on the islands, while using forced confessions from separatists in Tarpeia to claim Piraese fishermen were smuggling guerillas and weapons into Tarpeia, to reach separatists in Carinthia and Novalia. On May 22, an explosion in Centurpie, the provincial capital of Tarpeia was blamed on separatists based on Vamos island, within the Apokoronas chain. Records released in 1995 proved that it was in fact a gas explosion, it was used successfully by Supreme Command to further present Piraea as a "safe haven for leftist terrorists and secessionists."
Efforts by the Piraese government to seek a diplomatic solution were regularly blocked by the Etrurian regime, which refused to negotiate with a "government backing those who would tear our country apart." While others in the regime questioned whether the Piraese government had even enough control over its own borders to offer solutions.
Owing to the short distance from Etruria, little time was needed to amass the necessary forces needed to secure control of the islands. Having 60,000 soldiers deployed across Carinthia, Novalia and Tarpeia further covered deployments from Piraese suspicion. Throughout June and July, the Supreme Command made regular statements indicating that it would use military force to "deny safe haven for all traitorous forces." This coincided with further Etrurian naval and air activity in and around the islands, while 5,500 marines were readied in Centuripe and Allagra.
On 5 August 1961, Etrurian marines backed by the Navy and Air Force launched an amphibious landing on five of the six inhabited islands. The islands, for the most part were only protected by armed police, while the largest island of Armenoi, had a garrison of 150 soldiers. The Etrurian Air Force bombed their garrison along with several police stations and the local airfield, killing 29 people. By the evening, the Etrurian military had seized complete control over four of the five islands. Armenoi would be fully seized by the early hours of August 6, after the Etrurian military captured the remaining Piraese soldiers who attempted to flee into the highlands to stage a guerilla action until Piraea could liberate the islands. The capture of the islands was announced by Francesco Sciarri on national radio, leading numerous celebrations across Vespasia and loyalist-held regions of Novalia. The Piraese government, refusing to go to war owing to Etruria's military superiority opted for diplomatic protests, which went unanswered by the international community.
On August 9, the islands were formally merged into the Federal Autonomous Territory of Tarpeia, this was followed by excessive human rights abuses against the local Piraese population. Over the next two decades the islands would undergo a limited form of Etrurianisation, a process used by the Etrurian Revolutionary Republic in occupied regions. This included the repression of non-Etrurian languages and culture and the import of Etrurian nationals. They remain in Etrurian hands and disputed by Piraea to this day. The success of the invasion greatly enhanced the regime's standing among the general population.