PART III: 1900-1926
Dakota is admitted into the Union on January 7, 1901.
Baja Territory applies for statehood in 1902. After some debate, the CS Congress decides to split the territory in half and in September of 1903 creates the states of North and South Baja. A major Confederate naval base is established in Santiago, Cuba Territory.
The next month, Orville and Wilbur Wright prove heavier-than-air, powered flight in North Carolina. A base is planned for construction on the westernmost tip of South Baja; it is nicknamed Houston and later acquires that name officially. After the Wright Brothers fly their plane, the Houston plans are altered slightly and it becomes the first ever airbase scheduled for construction. The city of Houston is founded around the airbase in May 1906.
In early 1903, the Central Powers and Columbia enter into a pact allowing the construction of a canal on the Panama isthmus. The thought of Central access to both major oceans horrifies the Allies, and at the start of 1904, US President Theodore Roosevelt announces the San Juan Canal; it is planned to pass through former Nicaragua, less than two hundred miles from the Panama Canal.
In 1908, Pancho Villa takes Mexico City and overthrows the Mexican Empire, taking control as the provisional president. Seeing the loss of the San Juan Canal at stake, the US immediately recognizes the new Republic of Mexico and begins good relations. The CSA, however, refuses to recognize the new government, and even begins massing troops and artillery along the CS-Mexican border.
In late January of 1911, several Mexican vessels fire on and sink two Confederate frigates off the Mexican coast roughly a hundred fifty miles from Guaymas. It is unknown if the ships are under the control of President Villa or are remnants of the fallen Empire. After attempted negotiations, the CSA breaks off relations and CS forces, including new prototype tanks, cross over into Durango and Coahuila, starting the Mexican-Confederate War.
In mid-March, the CSA executes their first blitzkrieg. Two tank regiments, assisted by heavy artillery, seize all of Durango within days. Mexican vessels launched from Nayarit are intercepted and destroyed on March 29, roughly one hundred miles from their target, Port Houston.
In early April the Confederates execute their second blitz, sending tanks into Sinaloa, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas; all three provinces are conquered in just five days.
The US begins massing its forces on the CS border in early May. In turn, the British begin moving troops to the Canada-US border. On May 18, CS marines and special forces take Mexico City overnight. Two days later, Mexico surrenders. Venustiano Carranza is installed as the new president of Mexico; over the next few years Villa slips into relative obscurity.
Under the conditions of the Treaty of Guaymas, the CSA permanently occupies the provinces of Durango, Coahuila, Sinaloa, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. All enter the Confederacy as Territories.
Later that month, the US President calls off the planned invasion of New Mexico and Arkansas Territory. However, before word of the truce spreads far, the British and Americans clash on the Canada-Washington border. In July, Ward "Blackjack" Pershing and his troops cross into British Columbia. By mid-August, he has defeated the British and taken Vancouver; he demands that the British release the province.
After more than two months of negotiations, the British still refuse to turn over British Columbia. The US begins establishing forts throughout the area, now referred to as "occupied territory."
On April 11, 1911, a joint session of the Confederate Congress decides to grant statehood to all former Mexican provinces. Sonora and Chihuahua are merged into the state of Sonora; Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas are merged into the state of Monterrey; Durango and Nayarit are merged into the state of Durango; Coahuila and Sinaloa remain untouched.
On April 14, 1912, the British launch their pride and joy, the Titanic, and her sister ship, the Brittanic. Tragically, the Titanic strikes an iceberg and sinks en route to Norfolk. The Brittanic completes her journey to New York City, and though the voyage is meant to begin a new era of British-US relations, many people suspect Union sabotage on the doomed Titanic.
In April 1915, the US and other Allies begin experimenting with military airships based on the German dirigibles. The US continues to demand that the British release British Columbia; US-UK relations deteriorate.
In late 1915, the Serbian-Greek-Romanian alliance attacks the Ottoman Empire, attempting to drive the Turks from Europe. The First Balkan War creates the temporary state of Thrace, but it is little more than a Serbian puppet state to control the balance of power in the region. In February of 1916, the Second Balkan War breaks out, and five months later the Thracian Republic is absorbed into the Greek, Serbian and Montenegro governments, but its political influence remains strong throughout the next two decades.
In February of 1917, Houston, South Baja, begins the output of the first mass-produced military aircraft. The most successful designs are Jefferson Davis and Virginia, both of them airships. In June, the CS Congress approves funding to design and produce more such airships.
In March 1919, Britain offers $30 million to Russia for the Alaska colony, planning to attach it to Canada. The US intervenes, employing a back channel and eventually purchasing the colony for $20 million. With Britain furious over the loss of Alaska, relations continue to deteriorate.
Vladimir Lenin rises to power in June of 1921. Despite attempts to avoid bloodshed, his revolution does not take well and so begins the Russian Civil War. Immediately two sides form, the Czarists and the Leninists; the Czarists are backed by their loyal allies the Confederates, while the Leninists are supported by the Union, eager to see the South's largest ally fall.
On July 8, 1921, the Battle of Kara takes place. Lenin's use of spies brings down the Russian Navy fifty miles off the coast. The Confederate Navy begins stationing ships off the western Union coast; the Union, thinking fast, deploys its ships from the East Coast, sending them to Polijarniy. In the Battle of Moscow on July 21 the Czar is captured and executed. A week later the Union and Czarist navies initiate the Battle of Murmansk, while Leninist and Confederate armor collide farther inland. The Czarists ultimately lose their most important northern port.
Novosibirsk begins uprising against Czarist rule on August 6. Three days later, Czarist and Confederate forces are crippled at the Battle of Volgograd. After the Battle of the Volga eight days later, Leninists control all of western Russia to the Volga River. The Central command center is relocated to Novosibirsk, putting down the rebellion there at that time as well.
On September 10, Union and Confederate forces fight the very first all-armor engagement in history in the Battle of Surgut. Ultimately, Central control of the Ob' River is lost, after a two-day battle. On September 18 Leninists and Confederates clash in the Battles of Astana and Balkhash, after which Lenin gains control of Kazakhstan. On September 26 heavy Leninist/Union armor invades Novosibirsk. After yet another defeat, Czarist morale plummets and the command center is relocated again, this time to Irkutsk.
Confederate heavy support finally reaches the front lines. Among tanks and troops is the first airship ever to see combat, Richmond; it is hoped that the Zeppelin will turn the tide of the civil war. Her only competition is the Union airship Tecumseh. Throughout October the Leninist offensive slows, and breaks down to numerous guerilla battles.
The Richmond executes a full-scale bombardment of Novosibirsk on November 14. The Leninist forward command is devastated; Czarist morale begins to rise again afterward.
The Battle of the Yenisey, the bloodiest battle of the war, erupts on November 18. The battle lasts four full days before Union support arrives, and another day after the arrival of the Richmond before a conclusive victory for the Czarist/Confederate army.
Stalin breaks away from Lenin, viewing his use of Communism as too soft and useless. A large portion of the Leninist army breaks away with him and immediately takes southwestern Russia from Lenin after a series of guerilla battles in November. On December 5, the Tecumseh is destroyed in an extended assault on the Yenisey. With no air support, the Stalinist movement, and the Confederate military bearing down on him, Lenin negotiates peace.
The Russian Empire is reduced to less than half its original size. The border with the United Soviet Socialist Republic is drawn at the Yenisey River. After a continued guerilla war in southwestern Russia, the Centrals force Lenin to recognize Stalin's People's Republic of Moscow in February 1922. Stalin's first action, in June that same year, is to sponsor and support a bloodless coup of the Austrian Empire, transforming the aging monarchy into a Stalinist satellite nation with Franz Ferdinand at the top.
After a lengthy review, the US military begins to dramatically slash the budget of the Airship Corps, instead focusing their efforts on fixed-wing aircraft. The CS capitalizes, seeing the advantages of dirigibles, and officially creates the Zeppelin Force. On January 27, 1923, the Thomas Jackson is commissioned as the first fully armed and armored airship ever built, also holding the mantle of the first mass-produced rocket weapons ever to be field tested.
The British begin the spiral to war in April of 1924 with the launch of the HMS Dreadnought. The Allies soon begin designing and building Dreadnought-type battleships. The CSA begins building plants dedicated entirely to the Zeppelin Force.
The People's Republic of Moscow, desperate for a northern port, plans to take control of Scandinavia, plans that are very close to fruition. The Swedes fear the threat of Stalin's forces just on the horizon and apply to the Allied Pact. The Swedish Navy then uses Allied funds to begin upgrading and improving their fleet, while the new department of the Swedish Air Force begins producing the first military squadrons of biplanes. On the same note, the USSR applies, and is admitted into, the Allied Pact, giving the Allies vital territory to attack Russia from.
Mexico, fearing their proximity to the Panama Canal project, finally decides to enter the Allied Pact as a protectorate late in 1925. Columbia decides to follow suit, signing on to the Central Pact, also as a protectorate. The Chinese and the Soviets sign a non-aggression agreement known as the Soviet Harbin Pact.
Vladimir Lenin dies on March 18, 1926. After a great ceremony, his body is placed on display in Leningrad. Leon Trotsky succeeds him as leader of the USSR.
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