Never Forget Your Wars Feb 27, 2016 23:38:07 GMT
Post by spanishspy on Feb 27, 2016 23:38:07 GMT
Preface: this work was originally posted on AH.com on November 7th, 2015.
NEVER FORGET YOUR WARS
A Vignette by SpanishSpy
A Vignette by SpanishSpy
The year was 1961; the Iron Curtain predicted by Churchill at Missouri had fully descended upon the European Continent. The Second World War had ended with the division of that continent, with the German nation severed in two, with its capital at Berlin divided, its western portion encircled by a cold and unflinching wall. The world was divided by ideology, with liberal capitalism and authoritarian communism at each other’s throats.
However, beneath the specter of war that hung in the minds of every human being on the planet well enough informed, there were wars occurring, although ones that had been long neglected. If any lesson had been learned from the horror that was the World Wars, it was that war was an awful, awful thing, but governments and leaders believed that they were of great importance, as parts of national pride and international order.
The great spiral into chaos that would characterize that year started when a young clerk in the service of the Dutch Ministry of Defense, Stefan Renneboom, was working with records for a supervisor in The Hague. To his surprise, he found text of a centuries-old declaration of war on the Isles of Scilly, a chain of islands off the coast of Cornwall and under the sovereignty of the United Kingdom. The war had been originally an extension of the First Anglo-Dutch War, when the Royalist Navy retreated to the islands. Eventually, the Parliamentarians were victorious in the war and forced the Royalists to surrender, but peace with the Netherlands had been neglected.
Renneboom brought this up to his supervisors, who eventually made its way to the Minister of Defense, Sim Visser, who passed it along to Prime Minister Jan de Quay, a member of the Catholic People’s Party. After heated discussion with both his generals and with the Dutch Parliament, it was decreed that the state of war would have to resume.
Dutch air forces were launched from bases in Zeeland from there struck the Isle’s largest settlement of Hugh Town, on the island of Saint Mary’s. Initially believed to be a strike by the Soviet Union, the British government was soon alerted to the fact of the Dutch resumption of war by the Dutch Ambassador in London, who was subsequently arrested by the British police.
Harold MacMillan, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, reacted with shock; the Netherlands was supposed to be an ally of Britain, having fought alongside it in the Second World War; both had borne the brunt of the Blitzkrieg of Nazi Germany, the United Kingdom being bombed by the Luftwaffe and the Netherlands occupied by the Wehrmacht. This was a betrayal of the highest order, said MacMillan to his general staff, and therefore the United Kingdom would have to respond.
And respond it did; within minutes of the strike on Hugh Town, Royal Air Force planes were deployed from southern England, intercepting and destroying the Dutch attackers. From there, the Royal Air Force launched attacks on the Dutch air bases in their country.
The Netherlands was clearly the aggressor, maintained MacMillan, when he discussed the attack with President Kennedy of the United States and with other nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the mutual defensive pact that bound the nations of Western Europe and North America together. NATO was perplexed at the Dutch decision to declare war, but they were undoubtedly the aggressors in this conflict.
From there, as per the Treaty of Brussels, the forces of France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and West Germany streamed into the Netherlands. By the end of 1961, the Dutch forces had fallen at the Siege of Leeuwarden, a battle fought on the land, on the sea, and in the air. The city was devastated, and the Dutch government was captured for ‘war crimes.’
However, examination of the justification used to attack the United Kingdom revealed that there was still technically a war going on between the Allies of the Second World War and Germany. That country, now divided, still existed, and still with a military that could pull its own weight. This military was occupying the Dutch provinces of Drenthe, Friesland, and Groningen. To NATO, this was clearly worrisome that their old enemy would be this powerful.
Now, the war would continue. “We must liberate the Netherlands, not only from their government but from the Germans as well,” said Kennedy in a speech to Congress. Not surprisingly, Konrad Adenauer was repulsed by the allegation of Fascism, but nevertheless the war would go on. The Netherlands became a battleground once more, with Assen being destroyed in a Stalingrad-esque battle which would end in March 1962.
The Soviet Union and its client states considered the state of the war in the west and found that they, too, were at war with Germany. Germany was two states; both had to be brought to surrender. As such, the forces of the Warsaw Pact in that country marched into Berlin and overran the city, destroying large swathes of it and capturing the East Germany government as well as the government of West Berlin. From there, they pacified the rest of the German Democratic Republic, and then marched westwards in a peculiar reenactment of the Second World War.
The two armies, NATO and Warsaw Pact, met at Bonn, the latter capturing Adenauer. Germany was now wholly occupied, and Khrushchev and Kennedy talked to one another in friendly tones. The German threat was now resolved, or so they believed.
However, in East Asia it was noted that there still existed a state of war between Japan and the Soviet Union, once more dating back to the Second World War. Clearly, thought Khrushchev, this was utterly unacceptable; since NATO saw the reason to end their wars with Germany and the Netherlands once and for all the Soviet Union would have to do the same. They would lose international credibility, thought Khrushchev and the Politburo, and so action would have to be taken.
Forces were dispatched from Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Magadan, Anadyr, Komsomolsk-na-Amure, and other cities in the Russian Far East, and descended upon the Kuril Islands, the key territorial dispute between the two countries. An island-hopping campaign, not unlike the Pacific Campaign of the Second World War, ensued; by March of 1962, the Soviets landed on Hokkaido.
This would the spark which would set the powder keg of the world aflame, not unlike the assassination of Franz Ferdinand a half century beforehand. As per the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan, the United States had to come to the defense of the archipelago. Forces on the Home Islands, already having participated in some dogfights with the Soviet Air Force, were moved to Hokkaido to engage the Soviet forces; now Congress authorized a formal declaration of war on the Soviet Union.
To support their premier backer, the various nations of the Warsaw Pact offered their forces to the Soviet war effort; surprisingly to Khrushchev, Josip Broz Tito offered to join them. In an attempt to preserve national credibility, the Montenegrin declaration of war on Japan, leftover from the Russian-Japanese War, was used as a legal justification for the declaration of war on Japan and thence the aid of the Warsaw Pact. Tito was insistent that his ideology and that of Stalin were distinctly different, with his own practice being the more orthodoxly Marxist, but in the name of practicality it was swept under the rug for the most part.
In Europe, two more wars started, with further intention of bringing ‘national honor’ to their states. In Spain, it was found that the town of Huescar had declared war on Denmark during the Napoleonic Wars, and so Danish assets in Spain were seized by the government. NATO, unlike the conflict between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, retained neutrality on the basis that it was an internal issue; there was no attacking outside of Spanish boundaries due to the nature of their status as a non-NATO member, and that Denmark had lost so little. This was in conjunction with the obvious war with the Soviet Union.
The second war was the finding that the Punic Wars had never technically ended; in Italy, the idea was met with the desire to go to war once more for national honor, that nebulous idea that was causing the world to go to hell in a handbasket. To finish the war with Carthage, the Italian Air Force began pounding Tunis, the capital of the country where the remnants of Carthage once lay. NATO once more could not concern itself with a local conflict of that nature.
As all the nations of the world enmeshed themselves in the conflagration that was in the name of national honor, the United States launched its invasion of Cuba. After a long and grinding battle, it was found that the Soviet Union had begun installing nuclear weapons on the island, disturbingly close to Florida.
The Americans launched their missiles, the Soviets launched their missiles and then the world then burned.