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The Airship Legacy - Part 16

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Part XVI: The Second Great War

            When war initially broke out, the United States was actually non-commital towards the conflict. President Boren and the socialists did support the East Russian Republic, but popular opinion was extremely wary of fighting in a foreign war. Boren did what he could, getting Congress to approve the near unrestricted sale of weapons to the Republic and pass a full embargo on the Russian Empire, and to expel most Imperials from the country. And the Boren Administration had not entirely given up on the diplomatic option, with diplomats working, both formally and informally, trying to end the war before it mushroomed out of control.
The Empire made early advances into the Republic, bombing much of the rail networks and moving well past Lake Baikail. By mid-May, things were looking bleak. To make matters worse, following failed negotiations between Beijing and Vladivostok, the Chinese Republic declared war on the Eastern Russians on May 2, gaining promises of increased territory from the Imperial Russian government.
 Germany, though threatening war, had yet actually act, and most of the European powers were waiting on the Kaiser. The events of June 12, 2002, would drastically alter the events of the conflict, and make it grow into what would become know as the Second Great War.
-Samuels, Dr. Lewis. Blood and Ice: The Second Great War, 2002-2005. Georgetown, Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2022.

            “….and I’m Frank McCaully, and this is an ANN Breaking News Update. We are going live to our correspondent Amanda Sasser, in Berlin, where there has been a report of a violent explosion in the heart of the Reichscapital. Amanda, can you hear us?”
            “Yes Frank, I can hear you. I’m standing in Pariser Platz, not far from the American Embassy and the famous Brandburg Gate, and as you can see behind me, a huge plume of smoke is rising from Unter den Linden Strasse, where an expolsion, believed to have originated in the subway tunnels underneath the streets, ripped into traff…” Amanda receives a piece of paper with new information, and looks stunned.
            “Amanda, what is is?”
            “F-frank, according to his report, President Boren’s motorcade was on Unter den Linden at the time of the explosion, and it appears that this bomb was targeting the President. He had arrived in Berlin last night and was staying that the City Palace with the Kaiser, and was headed to the Chancellory to meet with Chancellor Lehmann this morning when the bomb went off.”
-Broadcast from June 12, 2002, ANN Archives, New York City, New York.

BERLIN, JUNE 12- President Boren, on an emergency trip to Germany to discuss with our allies about what options existed concerning the conflict in Russia, was killed by a terrorist bomb that exploded in the subway tunnels as the President’s motorcade passed on the street above. Initial evidence uncovered by German and American security agents points to Imperial Russian involvement, possibly being a hit ordered by the Russian Prime Minister himself. German Chancellor Heinrich Lehmann stated that Germany would likely declare war on Russia within the next 72 hours, as soon as the Reichstag could be convened and vote. Germans are outraged that the Imperial Russians have perpetrated this dastardly murder on their territory. Since the bombing, hundreds of people have been laying flowers outside the American Embassy in Pariser Platz in honor of America’s slain leader.
            Vice President Samuel Doughty was in Lakehurst, New Jersey, attending the dedication ceremony of the National Airship Historical Center, where the original U.S.S. Eagle is one of many older airships that are now on display to the public. In an eerie throwback to the 1974 assassination of President Hubert Humphrey, Doughty was sworn in as President in the same lounge that President Kennedy took the oath of office following Humphrey’s death. In address to the nation last night, President Doughty swore to avenge the murder of our fallen leader, and to come to the aide of the East Russians. Congress is expected to vote on a declaration of war later today.
-“President Dead: Russians to Blame!” The Washington Post, June 13, 2002.

LONDON, JUNE 20- In the wake of the assassination of American President Daniel Boren, the Russian War has consumed most of the Globe. America and Germany declared war on Russia on June 13th. Poland, Denmark, and Finland declared war on Russia on June 16th. China declared war on the American-led coalition on June 17th. Japan Declared war on China on June 18th after Chinese warships fired on a Japanese passenger ship that had left Vladivostok bound for Tokyo. And today, the British parliament voted to declare war on the Russian Empire in a near unanimous vote. The Prime Minister and other members of the government have requested that the Commonwealth Executive Council meet in an emergency session, with the hope that the entirety of the British Commonwealth would stand in solidarity against the Russian Imperials and declare war. It is expected that Iran, Iraq and possibly Pakistan will ally with Imperial Russia. For the first time in nearly a century, it looks as like the world could be dragged into a second Great War.
-“Russian War Consumes Globe,” The Times (London), June 20, 2002

Imperial Troops Take Yakutsk
Vladivostok, July 11- The Imperial Russian Army has taken the East Russian city of Yakutsk, on the Lena River, in yet another victory in the Russian War. As it stands now, the Imperials have completely overrun the Republican defenses along the Lena River and are driving towards the next defensive line at the Aldan River. The Vladivostok Army has suffered heavy losses during this fighting, and the East Russian government is crying out for aid. The city of Vladivostok has been under almost daily bombardment from Chinese aircraft flying out of Harbin. The Chinese have attempted to take the city of Khabarovsk, on the Amur River, but have been pushed back past the border.
            The single positive note from the war so far has been that the Imperial naval base on Sakhalin Island has been captured during a joint East Russian/Japanese assault, ending the Imperial Navy’s presence in the Pacific. Nearly half of the American Pacific Fleet is expected to arrive in the Sea of Japan within the month to alleviate the burden on the Japanese and Republican navies.
-“Imperial Troops Take Yakutsk,” L. A. Times, July 12, 2002.

Warsaw Bombed!
Warsaw, July 20- The fighting of the Russian War has finally spread into Europe. For weeks, the German and Polish navies had been blockading the Baltic Sea, and had sank several cargo ships attempting to leave the Russian Empire. However, until today that was the only real confrontation. That changed in the early hours of the morning, as Imperial Russian bombers, likely flying out of Minsk, flew over the Polish border and bombed central Warsaw, damaging the Polish parliament building and many other buildings. Hundreds are feared to have been killed. At the time of print, there was still no word on the whereabouts of the Polish President and his family, and a bomb did strike the Presidential residence.
            Chancellor Lehmann has assured the German people that the German and Polish armies will be moving against the Russian Empire “as soon as humanly possible.” There is a fear that the Imperial Russians may try and invade some of the Baltic states and take back territory it controlled during the era of the Imperial Baltic Federation. There have been reports of troops massing on the border with Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Those nations have declared a state of emergency and have called up their reserve forces.
-“Warsaw Bombed!”, Berliner Morgenpost, July 20, 2002.

Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia Fall
Warsaw, July 30- The Imperial Russian Army has poured over into the three former Imperial Baltic states, quickly wiping out the defense forces of all three nations. The attacks began two days ago, beginning with the bombings of the major cities in these countries, along with bombings of the main military installations. The Russian Navy engaged the German and Polish navies, breaking the blockade and then attacking the port cities of these nations. To make matters worse, the Russian Army is still on the move, and Polish authorities fear that Russians are moving towards the Polish border, possibly to invade Poland itself.
-“Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia Fall,” The Times (London), August 1, 2002.

Khabarovsk Falls to China
Vladivostok, August 9- The East Russian Authorities have confirmed that the Chinese Army has taken the city of Khabarovsk, on the Amur River, cutting off the rail lines that link Vladivostok to the rest of the country. There is now a air of panic beginning to spread in the East Russian capital, with their main army having been pushed back to the Aldan River Defense Line, and the Imperial Russian Army looking poised to break through soon. Farther south, the Imperials have reached the city of Chita, and with the fall of Khabarovsk, it is feared that Chita will fall soon.
            The silver lining in the conflict is that American troops will soon arrive in East Russia, and the War Department stated that they feel confident that these fresh soldiers will be able to take back Khabarovsk and at least stabilize the frontline at the Aldan Line before the onset of winter.
-“Khabarovsk Falls to China,” The Washington Post, August 10, 2002

            The first summer of the Second Great War was considered, overall, a victory for the Imperial Coalition. The Russian Empire had taken Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia at the end of July and had crossed the boarder into Poland on the 2nd of August, disrupting German and Polish plans to invade the Russian province of Belorussia on August 4th. The Allied forces were on the defensive in Europe, as well as in the East. China took Khabarovsk on August 9th, and were encroaching on Vladivostok as well. The Imperial Russians had taken Yakutsk early in the war, and on August 20th they took the city of Chita. There was a real fear that East Russia would fall before winter if things did not change quickly.
            Luckily, the first American forces arrived in Vladivostok on August 10th, with the full force arriving in the country by August 22nd. In the last major advance of the summer, the American and Republican forces launched an attack on Khabarovsk on August 30th, the city was taken from the Chinese in mid September.  And with American troops augmenting the Republican ranks on the Aldan Line, the Imperial Russians were not able to make any more territorial gains in East Russia.
            In the West, the Allies were able to push the Imperial Russians out of Poland by mid-August, with German and Polish troops crossing into Lithuania and Russian Belorussia in September. By mid October, the Allies were laying siege to Minsk. British troops arrived in Poland on October 22nd, and with this the Allies were able to make a powerful enough surge to take the Lithuanian capital from the Imperial forces on November 3rd.
-Price, Dr. Henry, Great War of the 21st Century, London: New British Press, 2018.

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