Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Airship Legacy - Part 18 (Final)

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Part XVIII: The Second Great War, 2005

            As the year 2005 began, the news from the frontlines of the Second Great War was not good if you were living and working in the Allied capitals of Berlin, London, Washington, Vladivostok, or Tokyo. China had defeated Japan in Korea. The Russians had pushed the Europeans into Poland. Moral among the troops and civilians was starting to drop. It was in this climate that German Chancellor Lehmann agreed to meet with President Doughty in Washington in February of that year.
            The Washington Conference, which was also atteneded by the Foreign Ministers of the United Kingdom, East Russia, and Japan, would ultimately change the outcome of the war. At this meeting, those present were told about Germany and America’s “secret weapon,” the atomic super-bombs. Both countries now proposed to use these weapons to force Russia and China to end the war. The debates were heated. There was serious concearn of contamination if too many of the bombs were used. In the end, the Conference decided that there would be three bombs used. One on the Chinese city of Harbin, one on Volvograd, and one on Archangel. Some had pushed for using the bombs on larger cities or national capitals, but this idea was dropped. Chancellor Lehmann successfully argued that such an action would likely cause major problems after the war as these countries attempted to rebuild.
- Franks, Dr. Hugo, The Atomic War, Berlin: Humboldt University Press, 2019.

            2004 had been a year of setbacks for the American forces in Siberia. Initially, the Americans had been able to push the Imperials back to Lake Baikal, and were bombing Irkutsk in anticipation for a planned invasion later that year.  However, with the Chinese occupation of Khabarovsk, all plans for Irkutsk were scrapped. Khabarovsk was placed under siege, which would last into 2005. The city would finally fall back into Allied hands on January 29, 2005. The cost was heavy. An estimated 150,000 American lives were lost in the Siege of Khavarovsk.
            With the supply line resecured, attention once again fell on the city of Irkutsk. Planning was slow and cautious. The Chinese were still harassing the Trans-Siberian Railway, and bombing Vladivostok. The War Department decided that the invasion of Irkutsk would begin on July 1. The commanders on the ground were worried about pulling so many troops from the boarder with China, fearing that the Chinese might be able to come in and cut the supply lines again. However, the War Department mysteriously assured them that that would not be a problem, with no further explanation.
            All was revealed, however, on the morning of June 26th. An American rocket was launched from a submarine in the Pacific, and at 4:22 a.m. local time, the first atomic super-bomb ever to be used slammed into downtown Harbin, in the square infront of the main trainstation. The central part of the city was utterly obliterated. Of the urban population of approximately 4 million, it is believed that nearly 1 million died within the first hour after the attack.
-Newton, Dr. Kyle. Drive to the West: The Western Front of the 2nd Great War. Los Angeles: UCLA Press, 2021.

China Issues Cease Fire!
Tokyo, June 27- In the wake of the atomic attack on the city of Harbin, the Chinese government has announced a cease fire with the Allied Forces. Chinese authorities are reporting that nearly 2 million people have been killed in the Harbin area, and some think that this count could continue to climb. The Chinese Army has been pulled back from the front lines since the cease fire was issued in order to assist the survivors in Harbin. There are calls for the Chinese President to resign.
            In Korea, the Chinese are on the retreat, announcing they were pulling out of the peninsula. About two hours after the Chinese left Busan, Japanese forces landed and occupied the city. The Japanese Royal Armed Forces announced that they hope to liberate the whole of Korea within a mater of weeks.
-“China Issues Cease Fire!” The New York Times, June 27th.

            At the beginning of 2005, with added troops from Italy and France, the Russians were finaly pushed out of Polish territory. British and Polish troops liberated Vilinus on January 27th, and the Germans began to heavily bomb Minsk on February 7th. Slowly but surely, the Russians were giving up ground to the Allies. Minsk would finally fall on May 17th, at the cost of nearly 300,000 German lives. By the beginning of June, the British front was in Estonia, and the War Ministry was hopeful that that country would be liberated by the end of July, and that, with any luck, the war could be over by early 2006.
            Then the big game changer came. The Night of the Atoms. At about the same time that the American rocket launched from the Pacific, two German rockets flew across the skies of Eastern Europe. At 10:29 p.m. local time, the first German atomic super bomb hit the city of Volvograd. The second bomb hit Archangel minutes later, at 10:33. Between the two bombs there was nearly 5 million people dead within the first day.
            The Russians were shocked. In the chaos following the bombs, the Allied forces surged forward. The German/Polish force was now surrounding Smolensk, and the British/Polish force had crossed out of Estonia and were headed towards Petrograd. Russian Prime Minister Yalinkov vowed to avenge the destruction of Volvograd and Archangel. Despite this, the Russians continued to loose ground. In the Pacific, theater, the Americans took Irkutsk on July 7th. Smolensk fell on July 23rd. Moscow and Petrograd were being bombed daily.
            Yulinkov’s vow would prove to be shortlived. A British bomb slammed into the Russian Executive Offices in Petrograd on August 6th, 2005. The Russian Prime Minister and two senior cabinet members were killed, including the head of the Prime Minister’s secret police. Czar Vladimir II called for a cease fire with the Allies on August 8th, which was accepted on August 9th.
-Rutherford, Dr. Thomas. Our War in Russia. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2022.

The War is Over!
Washington, August 11- The Second Great War has finally come to an end. With the death of the Russian Prime Minister 5 days ago, the Imperial Government’s resolve to continue the war quickly unravled. The War came to an end in Europe on the 9th, and the Imperial Government asked for a cease fire with the United States, Eastern Russia, and Japan yesterday, which was approved over night by the governments of those countries.
            With the guns falling silent, the spotlight will now shift towards the diplomats. Already, people are discussing what the new boarders of Russia will be, how much reparations they will be forced to pay, and if some of Russia’s leaders would be forced to stand trial for their part in the war. Some want the Russians to stand trial for the estimated half a million American troops that are dead, along with nearly one million European troops.
            But all that will come later. For now, people across the country are jubilant, glad that what many are calling the worst war in history is now over. Families are now waiting eagerly for their loved ones in uniform to return home.
-“The War is Over,” The Washington Post, August 11, 2005.

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