Ruvelkan Civil War
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|Ruvelkan Civil War|
Top to bottom: An Imperial soldier overlooks the shelled landscape after a Separatist victory at Balatonalmadi; Kaposvár under siege during the last phase of the civil war.
Ruvelkan Socialist Republic|
Zemplen Peoples’ Republic
Organization of Minority Socialists
(Until January 1918)
(Until March 1916)
Ruvelkan Anarchist Army
(Until November 1917)
|Commanders and leaders|
(Until January 1918)
(From January 1918)
|3,400,000 at peak strength in 1915||5,100,000 at peak strength in 1917||
~276,500 Insurrectionists and Anarchists
~150,000 Syarans at peak strength in 1916
Unknown number of Independents
|Casualties and losses|
|1,150,000 military casualties||578,000 military casualties||
~80,000 Insurrectionist and Anarchist military casualties.
~1,000 Syaran military casualties.
|Total Casualties: Estimated 6,000,000 – 7,000,000 combined total casualties including civilians.|
The Ruvelkan Civil War (Ruvelkan: Ruvelya Polgárháború; Ruvelkan Script: Ṷḭṻìłḥi Ũīłųíṷüíǔīṷḯ) was a multi-party conflict in the former Ruvelkan Socialist Republic fought from 5 December 1914 to 13 September 1918 to determine the political future of Ruvelka. The war was primarily fought between the ruling National Communist Party, who came to power in 1867, and the Imperial Separatists, who favored political monarchism and alternative forms of socialism. In addition, a number of rival anarchist armies were formed in early 1915 which fought against both the Communists and the Imperials.
The war officially began following the political upheaval in the aftermath of the 1914 Ruvelkan Revolution, an event which exacerbated ongoing political divisions between the Communists and Anarchists; this led to the subsequent Prohászka Uprising in December. Imperial Separatists primarily cited the ongoing radicalization of the Communist Party and over-bureaucratization in the government as their primary motivations and seized control of the industrial city of Debrecen during their revolt. The anarchist Insurrectionist Army, the largest among the anarchist factions during the war, was formed in February 1915 and took control of large portions of southeastern Ruvelka where they established an anarchist Free Territory opposed to both the Communists and Imperialists.
The Imperial Separatists eventually defeated the Communist Red Army in its stronghold of Kaposvár in 1918 and went on to pull the Insurrectionist Army into a decisive defeat later the same year. By October 1918, the Imperials possessed uncontested control of the entire nation although anarchists revolts against Imperialist rule would continue until 1922. Several foreign nations would eventually intervene, pledging support for either the Communists or the Imperials. The number of casualties suffered during the conflict is often estimated between six million to seven million; as a result the war is often described as one of the greatest national catastrophes ever to occur in Siduri.
- 1 Background
- 2 Major Combatants
- 3 The War
- 4 Aftermath
- 5 Legacy
The Kunghegyes Conflict, which was fought between the Socialist Republic and the Kingdom of Acrea over Ruvelkan support of a communist insurrection, was a major blow to the political legitimacy of the National Communist Party. Ruvelka’s defeat and subsequent occupation by Acrea stirred significant dissonance among the party’s political opponents as well as further drove the Communists and Anarchists apart. The Red Army and Red Navy suffered significant damage from which they would not fully recover before the start of the Civil War in 1914.
1914 Ruvelkan Revolution
Anarchists, which originally formed a power block in tandem with the Communists in the Ruvelkan legislature following the first civil war, had become increasingly marginalized in recent years. The ongoing perceived bureaucratization of the government, alongside their marginalization, resulted in the development of a more vocal and extreme anarchist political movement with roots in the poorer southeast region of the nation.
The 1914 November Revolution, which occurred in and around the Republic’s capital of Kaposvár, was the first of two major events that led up to the outbreak of the Ruvelkan Civil War. While it began as a primarily bloodless protest conducted by the anarchist movement it was responded to by the government with armed police. Over the course of several days, the mass demonstrations escalated into violent armed clashes. The revolution lasted a week and ended with a government victory that resulted in several hundred deaths that further exacerbated internal political tension and set stage that highlighted the differences that made joint communist and anarchist rule difficult.
Popular anarchist leader Viktor Bottyán resigned from his position as co-chair of the Anarcho-Communist alliance following the revolution.
1914 December Uprising
Following the end of the 1914 November Revolution, discontent among the people began to spread rapidly in the wake of the communist government’s armed response. An underground left-leaning Imperialist movement, which had been gaining substantial influence within the last decade, capitalized on the disenfranchisement of the general populace by publicly organizing a volunteer militia within their power base in central Ruvelka. Many of the leaders of the Separatist movement were descendents of commanders and generals of the Imperial Resistance during the first civil war, many of whom had been living quietly and out of politics for the last several decades. Among them was the granddaughter of Queen Edina, Rózsá Prohászka, who had covertly returned from exile in 1909 under an assumed name.
The Separatist Volunteer Guard seized control of Debrecen on 5 December 1914 without firing a shot and successfully disarmed Communist Red Army units that had been stationed there. In the following days, the Separatists immediately began to secure the area around the city. The Imperialists had full control of the Kurilla Plateau by 11 December but had been stopped short of controlling the adjacent Mures Valley and the commerce hub of Hajdúböszörmény by a dug-in and numerically superior Communist force.
Although the initial gains of the Separatist were considered marginal at the onset of the war, it was considered strategically significant that they were able to seize control of one of the two major passages across the Kurilla Mountains and were applying significant pressure to the second. The Imperials would eventually succeed in capturing Hajdúböszörmény before the end of the month and effectively split the Socialist Republic into east and west.
The National Communist Party of Ruvelka had gained power from the old Imperial Matriarchy in alliance with several anarchist factions following the end of the Red War in 1867. The Communists enjoyed considerable popularity in their early years but were somewhat unprepared in immediately taking up the task of governing the nation. Many Communists leaders, while charismatic, had very little experience in politics prior to the civil war and as a result they were slow to consolidate their power. Corruption and bureaucratization became commonplace in the new government; both of these issues became major points of contention between the Communists and their Anarchist allies.
At the start of the war, the Communist Red Army was the largest faction in the conflict. However, the Red Army’s commanders operated on outdated strategies that had won them the Red War and were ill-prepared to fight against the guerilla insurrectionist armies and the unconventional tactics of the Imperial Separatists.
The Imperial Separatists, and its military arm known as the Separatist Volunteer Guard, was the largest and most organized opponent to the communist government of the Ruvelkan Socialist Republic during the civil war. The primary ideology of the Separatist Movement was democratic socialism in opposition to the authoritarian socialist state that was currently under the control of the Communists. Although relatively slow to initially gain ground during the first years of the civil war, the Separatist development of mountain warfare strategies and their familiarity with the terrain around them made them difficult opponents to all the factions involved. The Separatist Volunteer Guard was not an army in the traditional sense until late 1915.
The Imperials received political, financial and material support from the Cacertian Empire and the Acrean Empire throughout much of the conflict. The outbreak of the Divide War complicated supply lines to the Separatists from both nations, but by late 1916 the Imperials had become relatively self-sufficient.
The term “Imperial” is often considered a misnomer for the movement as the Separatists did not practice nor espouse an imperialist ideology. The name was simply adopted since Princess Rózsá Prohászka, a key leader and vocal supporter of social democracy herself, was a descendant of the old Imperial Family.
The two largest independent factions to arise as a result of the start of the civil war were the Insurrectionist Ruvelkan Army under the leadership of former co-chair of the Anarcho-Communist alliance Viktor Bottyán and the Ruvelkan Anarchist Army founded by József Borbély. They were founded and organized to protect the operations of the corresponding anarchist “Free Territories”. While both factions were aligned with the anarchist political ideology, Bottyán and Borbély did not entirely agree on its interpretation. Despite these differences, however, the two leaders and their corresponding armies often worked very closely together especially when confronting either the Communists or the Separatists.
A number of other factions that were not-aligned with the causes or ideologies of either the Communists or Separatists emerged to further their own political goals. Many of these factions were minor insurrectionary armies that fought to protect their communities from takeovers or reprisals carried out by other participants in the conflict. Nearly all of the collective independent insurrectionists militias were politically neutral and were nominally under the leadership of Nándor Kozma who served mainly as a joint representative rather than a political leader. When it was clear that the Imperial Separatists would likely win the war, Nándor convinced the militias to back the Imperials. Following the end of the conflict, the independent insurrectionist movements largely disbanded although pockets of anarchists would continue to fight until 1922.
In the summer of 1915, the Republic of Syara sent in several corps as an intervention force and occupied the Zemplen region of Ruvelka. Although the Red Army had guaranteed the sovereignty of the fledgling Zemplen Peoples’ Republic, it was effectively unable to efficiently respond to the Syaran occupation as nearly all of its military forces were engaged with the Separatists in the Kurilla mountains. Syara would eventually withdraw the majority of its forces in 1916 following the outbreak of the Divide War, but neither the Communists nor the Separatists were in a position to reclaim Zemplen and it remained a territory of Syara following the Separatist victory in 1918.
Initial Anti-Communist Uprisings
The December Uprising, although initially bloodless in its capture of Debrecen, is considered to be the official starting point of the Civil War. Not long after the Separatists secured their control of Debrecen, they quickly pushed to take the city of Hajdúböszörmény on 13 December where they encountered a large Red Army force which fired upon them. General Paloma Keresztes declined to commit her force to a direct assault on the city, citing the Red Army’s numerical superiority and favorable defensive position. Instead, General Keresztes set up a wide perimeter around the city and laid siege to it. The civilian populace of Hajdúböszörmény proved sympathetic to the Imperial cause and with the assistance of a number of grassroots rebel uprisings, General Keresztes managed to secure the city from the Communists a week later.
Imperial control of both Debrecen and Hajdúböszörmény meant that the faction now commanded the two safest and most navigable passes through the Kurilla Mountains. While this did not fully cut off the eastern and western halves of the Social Republic, it made it exceedingly difficult for Red Army units—which were mostly stationed in the western half—to reinforce their comrades in the east. This was made even more of a challenge for the Communists as the Imperials became more adept at sabotaging the lesser travelled passages and setting up ambushes at chokepoints.
The Anarchist factions of Ruvelka, who had threatened rebellion after the 1914 Ruvelkan Revolution, seized the opportunity to start their own uprisings after news of the Imperial seizure of Debrecen. There was some time before the anarchist armies managed to organize, but once they did they controlled significant areas in the eastern portion of Ruvelka. The Insurrectionist Ruvelkan Army was commanded by Viktor Bottyán and co-founded by József Borbély. Together they declared the creation of the Ruvelkan Free Territory in February 1915.
An ideological split in April 1915, however, led to Borbély breaking away from the Insurrectionist Ruvelkan Army and founding his own faction in the Anarchist Army. Bottyán allowed the Anarchist Army to operate relatively unhindered within the Free Territory although there are several recorded clashes between the two Anarchist factions. Despite Bottyán and Borbély having different opinions in regards to the implementation of an anarchist society, their factions worked closely together in fighting the technologically and numerically superior Red Army early in the conflict.
General Adrián Katona was appointed to the position of Marshal of the Socialist Republic in mid-November 1914 after which he declared a partial mobilization of Red Army forces. Katona focused his efforts on the eastern part of the nation as he was aware that the anarchist powerbase was mostly located there. What he had not entirely anticipated, however, was the rise of the Imperial Separatist faction which seized Debrecen in early December. At the time of the uprising, the majority of Katona’s troops were preparing to fight anarchists and he lacked any sufficient manpower to contest Debrecen.
The Red Army had approximately a regiment’s worth of infantry in the nearby city of Hajdúböszörmény but Katona ordered the units in the city to remain in place and defend if necessary. Following the first Imperial attack on Hajdúböszörmény, Katona ordered general mobilization of all Red Army forces nationwide and directed a full brigade of infantry towards Hajdúböszörmény, but refrained from sending the bulk of his forces as winter approached. It was crucial that they maintained control of the Mures Valley, otherwise it would be extremely difficult to reinforce Red Army forces fighting anarchists in the east and the Imperials in central Ruvelka.
Central Ruvelka and the Kurilla Plateau (1914)
The Imperial Separatists had managed to muster a force approximately the size of a field army before they began their assault on Hajdúböszörmény in mid-December. General Barta began shoring up and coordinating the defenses around Debrecen while General Keresztes took three regiments of infantry and two regiments of mountain artillery to take control of Hajdúböszörmény and the adjacent Mures Valley.
In the time it took for Keresztes’s forces to come within striking range of the city, the local Red Army garrison had been able to set up rudimentary defenses in preparation for an assault. Imperial forces were fired upon by the Red Army as they approached the city which is often considered the first shot fired during the war. Although Keresztes and her troops were equipped with several field artillery batteries, she declined to fire on suspected enemy positions in the city for fear of causing unnecessary civilian casualties. Instead, the Imperials dug in and laid siege to the city.
The Separatist Guard expected the siege to last well into the next month, but a civilian uprising that took place on 23 December against the Red Army led to the city’s capitulation and eventual changeover into Imperial hands. After being transferred several more regiments from Debrecen, General Keresztes set about establishing a defensive perimeter around Hajdúböszörmény and securing the Mures Valley. Once Hajdúböszörmény was firmly under Imperial control, General Dorman began her march north in order to capture the port city of Mátészalka.
By the end of December 1914, the Imperials had uncontested control of the Kurilla Plateau and both the Koloska and Mures Valleys.
Central Ruvelka and Aszód (1915)
The rise of the Imperial movement inspired officers of the Red Army to lead uprisings that overthrew the Communists in Aszód, Marcali and Zalaegerszeg. Within the next two months, following General Dorman’s successful siege of Mátészalka in February, the Imperials commanded total control of most of northeastern Ruvelka. General Barta dug in his forces around Zalaegerszeg and set up a defensive line that followed the railroad through the Mures Valley to Hajdúböszörmény. The Imperials had little intention of launching an offensive into Anarchist controlled southeast Ruvelka and instead decided to concentrate their forces west against the Red Army.
The Imperial revolt in Aszód had a mixed effect on the overall Imperial strategy; it meant that both the main ports into the nation were controlled by the Imperialists, but Aszód’s geographic position in relation to the greater Imperial territory made it difficult for them to receive direct support. The momentous task of holding off the Red Army fell to Van Trdatyan—a former Red Army colonel—and Eva Sarkissian, a descendent of the old royalty of the Principality of Szolnok and the leader of the local Imperial Movement. With Dorman concentrating her forces west to defend an inevitable Red Army counter-attack at Polgardi and Hajdúböszörmény, General Keresztes began marching south to Székesfehérvár with the ultimate goal of controlling the rail line that connected Püspökladány and Aszód.
The losses of Aszód and Hajdúböszörmény were severe blows to the Red Army early in the conflict and were considered by the Communist government to be critical objectives to re-capture. Without the safety of the Mures Valley, it would be extremely difficult to reconnect with Red Army force now cut-off from reinforcements in Letavertes and Nagykanizsa. Red Army General Katona began gathering the bulk of his army at Pannonhalma with the intention of launching an offensive to retake Aszód from the Imperials whereas General Illes—with the support of units from the Zemplen Peoples’ Republic—began concentrating her divisions in the town of Rácalmás, east of Hajdúböszörmény.
General Illes launched her attack against the Imperials in April 1915 under the cover of heavy artillery fire. General Dorman had anticipated the Red Army to counter-attack following the end of the winter, but had used her time well by developing a network of in-depth defenses at the entrance of the Mures Valley leading several dozens of kilometers back to the city. Despite her extensive preparations, however, the numerical and technological superiority of the Red Army saw the Imperials pushed back from their initial defensive line.
As the terrain became more treacherous and the Red Army pushed further forward and away from their artillery support, the advance of the Communists stalled. The Imperials utilized their knowledge of the terrain to strategically strike and ambush the Reds. By the start of May 1915, the momentum of Illes’ assault had settled and she made the decision to dig in and secure the territory she had gained while allowing time to move her artillery forward and receive reinforcements from Sopron and Balatonalmadi.
The Reds, however, suffered another major blow to their power bloc in Western Ruvelkan when the Syarans launched an intervention into the conflict by crossing the border that Syara shared with the Zemplen People’s Republic. With the majority of the ZPR’s forces attached to General Illes’ 2nd Army and engaged in central Ruvelka, there was very little the ZPR could do to resist the incursion. The Syarans only met token resistance on their march to Sopron and the city was captured and in Syaran hands by early May 1915.
The sudden introduction of Syara into the conflict forced Katona to accelerate his plans. Premier Ábel was forced to depart Kaposvár for a now-occupied Sopron to immediately request for a cessation of hostilities. Katona—with Ábel working to make sure the Syarans did not advance further than the border of Zemplen—began his march from Pannonhalma to Aszód in early June and reached the outskirts of the city in only a few weeks. He presented an ultimatum to the cut-off defenders of the city, but Trdatyan and Sarkissian rejected his terms of surrender forcing Katona to launch an attack on the city.
Both Trdatyan and Sarkissian had anticipated the arrival of the Communists before the Imperials could muster a force to reinforce them. In the time leading up to Katona’s march south, the civilian militia set up rudimentary defenses and committed to stockpiling resources in caches all across Aszód. Their overall strategy involved holding Katona in place for as long as possible in the hope that their Separatist allies in the north could reinforce them before their supplies ran short.
After several failed attempts to breach the defenses set up by Aszód’s staunch defenders, Katona was forced to begin a protracted siege of the city which he had not originally planned for, acknowledging that both the loss of the ZPR and the street-to-street fighting in the suburbs of Aszód were taking a severe toll on the morale of his men.
Southern Ruvelka (1915)
Southern Ruvelka was primarily occupied by dozens of insurrectionist and anarchist factions. Differing political ideologies made it difficult for the anarchists and the insurrectionists to initially organize, but two major parties arose under Viktor Bottyán and József Borbély. Both were loose confederations of similarly aligned political entities; necessary alliances as a result of more organized and industrially capable opponents in the Communists and Imperials. The Insurrectionists and Anarchists spent most of the first half of 1915 securing their holdings and partnering with local independent movements to form a third power bloc in the ongoing civil war.
With the Imperials and Communists mostly fighting one another in the Kurilla mountains and in western Ruvelka, neither party was fully committed to sending their forces south into Insurrectionist and Anarchist territory (with the exception of Aszód). This allowed both Bottyán and Borbély significant freedom to maneuver their forces throughout the south unopposed. While there were several clashes between factions in the south, most of these firefights were quickly resolved and with minimal bloodshed. For much of 1915, the southern front of the civil war was relatively quiet.
The Ruvelkan Free Territory was officially established through joint declaration in June 1915; the creation of the Ruvelkan Free Territory, under the protection of both the Insurrectionist Ruvelkan Army and the Ruvelkan Anarchist Army, is noted for being one of the first attempts in the region to establish a stateless anarchist society.
On the eastern half of Ruvelka, Imperial Separatist General Kristóf Barta had set up a defensive line in response to the declaration, but did not expect a direct attack from the Free Territories.
Eastern Ruvelka (1915)
Many of the cities in the northeastern half of Ruvelka were primarily supporters of the growing Imperial Separatist cause, but not all of the northeast was sold on the idea of returning to an elective monarchy. Although he was focused primarily on watching the southern front in case the Ruvelkan Free Territory attempted to expand north, the responsibility of maintaining Imperial control on the east fell to General Barta. As a former Red Army general, Kristóf did manage to curry favor with many of the Red Army elements resisting to surrender. While he did not convince many of these pockets to outright join the Imperial cause, he did get them to surrender without bloodshed.
Securing eastern Ruvelka was not without battles, however, and a large contingent of the Communist 5th Army remained garrisoned at Marcali forcing Barta to redirect several of his divisions north to siege the city. When asked why he did not outright attack Marcali, he cited the 5th Army’s untenable long-term position as they were totally cut-off from Red Army reinforcements—he felt that throwing his men against a fortified position would lead to needless loss and perhaps embolden the Free Territory to launch an attack in the south if an attack on Marcali went awry.
The results of the civil war were devastating with the overall loss of life, both military and civilian, suffered on a scale previously unknown in Siduri. The Separatists and most Anarchist factions of the war avoided directly targeting civilians whereas the Communists often used summary executions and terror tactics to keep populations in their sphere of influence under control. Most of the civilian casualties that occurred were mostly due to famines and diseases that were a direct result of disrupted commerce.
The Socialist Republic implemented a policy of war communism which was aimed at keeping towns and Red Army bases adequately supplied. While this did fulfill the Republic’s short-term goal of aiding the military, it did result in an overall economic standstill that resulted in severe hardships for the civilian population. Industrial workers began migrating from urban centers to the countryside where the chances to sustain and feed themselves were more likely. The Communist capital of Kaposvár lost approximately 68% of its overall population as a result. It is surmised that the overall usage of war communism helped to contribute to the ongoing civilian dissatisfaction with the Socialist Republic and eventually aided in the growth of the Separatist movement.
The end of the civil war saw the newly formed Principality exhausted; the economy and infrastructure of Ruvelka had been totally devastated by the conflict. Large numbers of factories and bridges had been destroyed with an equally large number of mines and tunnels either flooded or deliberately caved in in order to disrupt commerce. The industrial production of Ruvelka had fallen to an estimated one-fifth of its former value before the war in 1913 with agriculture suffering a similar decline. By the time Separatists had secured full control of the country in 1922, it was estimated that cultivated land had shrunk to 67% of its pre-war area and the harvest yield only 40% in comparison to 1913.
Historians contend that the foreign-friendly and transparent government that was set up by the Imperials in the wake of the civil war saved the nation from its own annihilation. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the new Principality experienced extremely rapid economic growth primarily as a result of foreign trade with nations who recognized the legitimacy of the new government. There existed significant tension between Ruvelkans and Syarans as a result of the Zemplen affair, but with significant problems back home and a devastated military, the Principality reluctantly agreed to Syara’s claim of the Zemplen region.
Although the suppression of the Free Territories represented a setback for Ruvelkan anarchism, the ability of the anarchist armies to defend their territory was remarked by domestic and foreign observers. The linkages between Ruvelkan and Gylian anarchists resulted in coverage of the insurrectionists in Alscia, and a large number of Ruvelkan anarchists later emigrated to the Gylian Free Territories, which looked to the Ruvelkan ones as a model.
The Ruvelkan Civil War is often referred to within the nation as the “White War” in opposition to the “Red War” which brought the Communist government to power in 1867. The conflict is considered the birth of modern-day Ruvelka and, while the government was forced to go into exile as a result of the partition of Ruvelka in the 1940s, the current government is a direct descendant of the one formed at the end of the Civil War in 1918. The date that is considered both the start of the 1914 December Uprising and the beginning of the Civil War, 5 December, is the official national day of the modern Grand Principality and is a public holiday.