Voltan Civil War
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|Voltan Civil War|
Communist forces defend their position during the war.
Voltan Democratic Republic
|Commanders and leaders|
Gustav von Bothmer †
The Voltan Civil War was a civil war fought in Volta over the political future of the country. The war divided Volta along two factions. The first, commonly referred to as the Blue Army, was the government of the Voltan Democratic Republic and its loyalists, largely committed to either maintaining the previous order or keeping in place the old institutions and attempting reforms from within it. The second, commonly referred to as the Red Army, was the Voltan Workers' United Front, an alliance of various far-left revolutionary cells dedicated to communist revolution and led by the Communist Party of Volta, with the most prominent other members being the Union of Tlaloc Communists and the Voltan Socialist Workers' League.
The Red Army started only with control over Volta's industrial cities in the east of the country, but slowly expanded their control westwards. The Blue Army launched a series of counteroffensives in an attempt to suppress the rebellion and regain control of the country. However, while the first offensives were mildly successful and the Blue Army was in an advantageous position, various internal problems within the Blue Army eventually caused it to weaken, giving the Red Army ample opportunities to strike back. By 1923 the Blue Army was in full retreat, and a communist victory was clear.
The formation of the Socialist Federal Republic of Volta was proclaimed on 14 April 1923, though the war continued until 21 Jan 1924. Towards the end of the war officials of the previous government fled Volta to other countries and eventually formed the Voltan government-in-exile.
The first President of Volta, Eugen Rathenau, took absolute power in 1876, in what most historians regard as a self-coup. After this he implemented a series of policies meant to alleviate a labor shortage within the agricultural industry, the largest industry in Volta at the time. These policies included banning the freeing of Tlaloc slaves, allowing once-freed Tlaloc's to be forced back into slavery, and a contract labor system for mischlings (part-Dolch, part-Tlaloc people) and low-class Dolch that trapped many into working in slave-like conditions for the rest of their lives through a cycle of perpetual debt. These policies proved widely unpopular.
Volta began industrializing in the mid-to-late 1890's, particularly in the eastern and more urbanized areas of the country, but Eugen kept his system alive. In fact, he even expanded some parts of the system to allow for factory's to have their own workers as well. These moves again proved massively unpopular among the workers.
Eugen died in 1901, after which his successors continued the policies. There were calls for reform from the working class, and a small minority within the ruling class, but these were largely ignored as the vast majority of the ruling class benefited from the system. Instead of heeding calls for reform, the government began a massive campaign of political repression, effectively eliminating freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. They also introduced public executions in an attempt to deter anyone from associating with anti-government movements. However, rather than crushing dissent as was intended, this only caused more discontent but drove it underground.
Formation of the Communist Party
People eventually began organizing into various underground cells. One such cell had someone named Leon Thälmann as a member. This cell was arguably moderate, not advocating for a revolution but rather for reforms within the current system such as the introduction of a social welfare system and the abolition of slavery. Nevertheless, the government still considered them a threat, and they were arrested on 11 March 1904 and publicly executed them on 17 August of that same year. Leon Thälmann and his cell were among the first to be publicly executed following the introduction of public executions.
Leon's brother, Rudolf Thälmann, was a witness to the execution. Though he had not associated with anti-government cells before, after the execution of his brother Rudolf also began associating with them, eventually joining one as a full member. This cell began reading works such as the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, among other communist writings. These writings would strongly influenced the cell, and eventually they adopted communism as their ideology. Around the same time they also began spreading communist writings of their own among the general populace.
In 1909, this cell formally established the Communist Party of Volta. They were quickly banned by the government. Around the same time the government banned the party, authorities raided the headquarters of the Communist Party, destroying their base of operations. However, as they failed to capture the leadership of the Communist Party, their base of operations was simply forced outside of Köstritz. The Communist Party continued it's anti-government activities, helping to organize various strikes and rallies around the country and also spreading communist propaganda nationwide. Rudolf Thälmann, and the Communist Party as a whole, eventually became known for their support of workers rights and for evading the authorities. Many ordinary people dubbed them "Die Roten Überlebenden" (or "Dī Rot Øbalēbendere" in Voltan), meaning "the Red Survivors." They gained a strong reputation for supporting the rights of mischling workers and Tlaloc slaves.
On 9 July 1912, the leadership of the Communist Party, including Rudolf Thälmann, was captured. They were denied a trial and publicly executed on 21 August 1912. This destroyed the leadership of the Communist Party, but the party itself survived. The remaining members escaped into dense forests and continued their operations, albeit in a weakened state.
Voltan Workers' United Front
Following the arrest of their leadership, the Communist Party of Volta pivoted away from organizing strikes and demonstrations (though they did continue to do that) and moved towards preparing for an armed uprising against the government of Volta. To help achieve this, the Communist Party allied itself with the Union of Tlaloc Communists and the Voltan Socialist Workers' League. This alliance was dubbed the Voltan Workers' United Front, and was led by the Communist Party. Their continued support for various strikes and demonstrations, even if less than what they did before, helped them to continue to gain support among the general population. This combined with their new alliances allowed them to stockpile resources in their hidden operational bases within the forests.
In 1915, Hans Krenz became the Chairman of the Communist Party of Volta and effective leader of the alliance. He had previously served in the Voltan military, and maintained a number a links with disgruntled groups within the Voltan military. Through his connections, the communists were able to for the first time establish contact with factions of the Voltan military sympathetic to their cause. This allowed them to not only expand their influence, but also smuggle some supplies originally intended for the military out to their own forces.
Gneisenau Mutiny and Outbreak of War
By 1916, the Voltan military had begun to crack down hard on any perceived dissent and implemented harsh measures intended to ensure loyalty and instill high levels of discipline. One such measure was the widespread introduction of corporal punishment even for minor offenses. This was done informally, as legally such punishments were prohibited under Voltan law, but many officers ignored this. The Voltan government, while aware of the issue, made no attempts to enforce the law. Complaints from rank-and-file recruits regarding particularly brutal superiors were routinely ignored, especially if the person complaining was ethnically Tlaloc or Mischling. The navy in particular was notorious for using the paddle, sometimes to the point of causing serious bodily harm.
On 8 November 1916, the Voltan battleship Gneisenau was on a routine training excercise. This was meant to be a short excercise that would be completed within a week, after which the ship would return to port. It occurred after some of the crew protested the Captain, Hannes, Kundert, began verbally berating a new Seaman for making minor mistakes. The Captain verbally assaulted this new recruit for roughly 2 hours, with a portion of the abuse being racially charged. Three members of crew, Seekadett Dominik Wolff, Gefreiter Heinrich Andreas, and Gefreiter Emanuel Becke, protested that it was this persons first day and that they would ensure he did a better job in the future. The Hannes saw this as a break of disciplined and a challenge to his authority, and ordered the three crew members to be paddled, to be carried out by him personally and in full view of the rest of the crew.
Dominik was the first to be paddled. During the paddling, which was particularly brutal, Hannes struck Dominik's lower spine with the paddle rather than his buttocks. This caused a spinal injury and for Dominik to become paralyzed from the waist on down. The outraged crew immediately staged a mutiny, and captured the senior officers. Captain Hannes was executed, with the rest of the senior staff being taken prisoner. The crew then formed a democratically elected committee of 25 people to command the ship, and elected to sail to the port city of Weiserland where a general strike was occurring. As soon as they arrived, they spread word of what had happened, and got supplies from sympathetic locals, before leaving the town to evade the Voltan navy that was chasing them.
When Hanz Krenz learned about the mutiny on the Gneisenau, he simultaneously heard that workers in the then-capital city of Köstritz were planning a general strike as well. Knowing that, with everything that had transpired, the government would immediately crack down hard on any dissent, Hanz called on his forces to immediately rise up and overthrow the government. He ordered his forces to all converge on the city of Köstritz, hoping that they would all arrive while the city was in the midst of the general strike thereby taking the opportunity to seize the city. When the communists arrived in Köstritz on 3 January 1917, they did find the city in the middle of a general strike, and even more found that it was of such a large scale that authorities were struggling to control it. During the assault of the city, many in the military also defected to the communist cause. This included several mutinies aboard ships stationed in Köstritz, which ended up handing the communists with a small naval force as well. After a short battle, Köstritz was fully under communist control and the government evacuated to the western city of Friedburg. This marked the start of the war.
After the fall of Köstritz and the transfer of the capital to Friedburg, then President of Volta Otto Schmitt scrambled to regroup his forces and mount a counteroffensive. The Voltan government wanted to crush the rebellion before it had a chance to properly establish itself. To achieve this, Otto called upon General Gustav von Bothmer to lead the government response to the rebellion. Gustav immediately began regrouping government forces and preparing an offensive force. He also began a massive recruitment program and convinced the Voltan government to institute a draft to push up the numbers in the Voltan military.
Meanwhile, Hans Krenz launched a massive offensive of his own to gain control of the eastern portion of the country. Some of these cities were experiencing massive strikes and protests of their own, some related to the communist movement and others unrelated. As the Red Army entered these cities many lower-ranking soldiers in the Blue Army surrendered or defected to the Red Army. Within two months after capturing Köstritz, the Red Army had captured much of the eastern portions of the country that were somewhat industrialized. At the same time as gaining these industrial centers, the Red Army was also able to gain a large amount of troops and resources. Though the Red Army wasn't nearly as well trained or equipt as the Blue Army, this initial expansion gave them crucial resources and manpower.
Then President of Delamaria Richard McMadden was keen to see the Blue Army victorious, and directed the Bureau of Foreign Activities to supply them with armaments. This was heavily backed by industrialists doing business in Volta, who had often bribed Voltan officials to secure their economic positions. However in 1923, as the Red Army was near victorious, Delamaria withdrew its support, though the operation was secret, there were fears that Delamarian supplies would be captured by the communists, and the operation would be exposed. This was because President McMadden didnt recieve permission from the House and Senate Committees for Foreign Affairs, Military or Intelligence, and could lead to prosecution of government officials.
After the civil war, the BFA and later the DSS would continue to support Democratic groups. In 1984 when a large leak struck the DSS, it was revealed that the DSS spent nearly £100 million supporting groups in Aurelia, some of which being in Volta.