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ORS TECH ENTRY #36 - The First Interbellum


Brought to you by popular demand, the next entry in the Exile: Into the Dark Waters Historical Database: The First Interbellum.

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Category: History, Selected Article: #36
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The First Interbellum
    Post-Secession Boom
Freed from GTA rule, the Outer Rim entered a new era of economic growth. Far-reaching liberalization of economic policy combined with government help to regions struck by GTA bombardments allowed the colonies to recover from the war faster than anyone could have expected. Outer Rim corporations invested powerful financial and material resources in rebuilding Syndicate infrastructure and restoring the Syndicate’s largest production centers. Two of the strongest participants in the reconstruction process were United Heavy Industries with a  total expenditure of 118.8 billion credits between the years of 2339 and 2345 and Bamiyan Development Corporation with 61.4 billion credits spent during the same period.

In exchange for their investments, several corporations gained a dominant position in Outer Rim markets and received government contracts on constructing new ships and military infrastructure. Shipyards around Jupiter and Saturn began mass production of the new Vitalius-class frigate, a fast, cheap and reliable frigate designed by Bamiyan Development Corporation that would form the mainstay of a new ORS fleet.

Economic growth was followed by closer political integration of the Outer Rim. From a loose confederation and a military alliance of colonies dispersed throughout the Sol system, the Syndicate evolved towards a more centralized unified state. While respecting wide autonomy of the colonies' internal policy and their economic freedom, the Syndicate Magistratorium consistently acquired prerogatives over ORS' defensive policy, technological development, and maintaining diplomatic relations with a problematic neighbor -- first the GTA and later the EFN.

    Earth reborn
After losing the Secession War and the destruction of Zion Station, Earth lost both its central government as well as its privileged position within the Sol system's balance of power. Administration of Earth's remaining colonies was taken over almost entirely by Mars' pro-GTA factions and military commanders like Admiral Walker and Admiral Rossendarch. Earth's local factions, the boundaries of which mostly reflected pre-unification national borders, took over the administration of ‘internal affairs.’

By the end of 2340, Admiral Walker and Admiral Rossendarch had regrouped the remnants of the GTA fleet and secured the GTA’s remaining territories, so they intensified efforts to reunite quarrelling factions of Earth and Mars into a new centralized government. On January 20, 2341, leaders of the American Conglomerate, the European Union, the Indo-Asian Confederation, the Republic of China and 25 other factions met in Shanghai and formed the Earth Federated Nations. In a 74-page-long document called the Charter of Federated Nations, they announced that it was 'high time for Earth's government to stop existing only theoretically' and that 'Grand Terra needs leadership that will not fail her as the GTA of old did'. The radical, nationalist, and xenophobic wording of the document was a harbinger of the EFN's authoritarian nature. Despite initial reluctance, pro-GTA factions of Mars eventually joined the EFN, sealing the reunion of old GTA territories.

The new Earth government made far-reaching political, social and economic reforms, centralized government administration, created a new fleet command structure, and passed strict corporate laws. Old corporations like Han-Roland initially protested against the new regulations, but their losses were promised to be compensated by the new EFN fleet construction programs. These privileges turned out to only be a facade as the quickly expanding EFN police and security services began removing disobedient management under false charges and made the corporations totally dependent on government policy. Propaganda showed corporations as a public enemy to justify deeper and deeper state interventions. It was just the first step towards a total surveillance state that would later become a routine fact of life for EFN citizens.

Government-dependent corporations directed huge funds to construct a new fleet for the EFN. New ship classes were introduced like the EFC Evangelist-class cruiser, the EFFg Solomon-class frigate and the EFCa Praetor-class battlecarrier. With its surveillance state and terror machine growing, the Federation began to close the power gap between itself and the Syndicate.

The EFN introduced a new militaristic doctrine that included mass conscription, universal military education in schools and emphasis on order, law, and public service rather than freedom as well as the needs of society rather than the needs of an individual. The EFN spread propaganda of the 'New Earth nationalism' proclaiming the superiority of the 'true sons of Terra' over societies of other worlds with exceptions made for 'Earth's eldest children' -- Luna and Mars. To reflect this propaganda of favoring Luna and Mars alongside Earth, the EFN fleets were reorganized into the 1st Gaian, 2nd Lunar and 3rd Martian Fleets.

    Seeds of conflict
In the late 2340s the ORS still benefited from the Post-Secession Boom and the EFN mostly restored its pre-Secession War economic potential. Since the end of the Secession War, the ORS and EFN maintained cool, if not overtly hostile, foreign relations (and even made a few bilateral trade agreements). As the Federation and the Syndicate continued to rebuild, however, the more hawkish factions in both states began to come to power. Shifts in government funding resulted in a rapid increase in spending on fleet construction, military infrastructure, and national security.

It wasn't long before an arms race between the ORS and EFN resulted in growing unrest. An unfortunate chain of events took place between border outposts and patrols in the Asteroid Belt. Typically, a cruiser or frigate 'accidentally' fired upon the other side's convoy or a fighter wing got dangerously close to the demarcation line.

The first serious incident happened on March 19, 2350 when ORS and EFN patrols clashed near Vesta resulting in the deaths of 2 Syndicate pilots and 8 Federate pilots. In retaliation, the Federation cruiser EFC Cretheus destroyed an ORS mining base on Ceres, killing 38 civilian miners and 9 military crewmen. Further escalation was halted by an emergency conference between High Magistrate Nehru and Federation Chancellor Archambeau where they both promised to restrain their more hawkish military commanders.

Although the situation had officially calmed down, both the ORS and the EFN switched to waging covert actions. Across the Sol system unidentified fighters and bombers began attacking supply convoys, outposts and patrols, but both governments denied any responsibility for the attacks, instead claiming they were the work of ‘unaffiliated terrorists.’ Military intelligence agencies and secret services also intensified their efforts to infiltrate the opposing side. The Federation had discovered the existence of the Syndicate’s Enutriet-class factory ships and was determined to take away this strategic advantage from the ORS. EFN agents were given high priority orders to find the factory ships’ staging areas and managed to find over 30 of them by the end of 2350.

In January 2351, under pressure from the pro-war faction led by Admiral Walker and Admiral Rossendarch, Archambeau was forced to resign the EFN chancellorship and was replaced by Thomas Warfield. Walker, Rossendarch and Warfield were all determined to start a war with the ORS as soon as possible before the newly-gained intelligence on the Enutriet factory ships became outdated.

To be continued in...The Martian War (Part 1)!

Just added a line at the end of Earth reborn to correct an inconsistency that I just noticed: it's in my notes that the fleet organization of the GTA changes slightly after the GTA becomes the EFN. The GTA had the 1st Gaian, the 2nd Martian and the 3rd Jovian Fleets. Of course, after the Secession War, Jupiter and all of its colonies become part of the Syndicate and Mars being within the demarcation line at the Asteroid Belt becomes (contested) EFN territory. The EFN thus reorganizes its fleets into the 1st Gaian, 2nd Lunar and 3rd Martian Fleets. I realized I hadn't made this change explicit until now so it might have confused people when I made references to the (GTA's) Martian 3rd Fleet and then making references to the (EFN's) Martian 2nd Fleet without any kind of transition.

You have to pay attention to detail when you're an editor, you know. :D

Unless I'm missing something big, how come the intel on Enutriet factories ended up being so important for the EFN? Do they pose an actual strategical advantage for the ORS?

At the very least, the EFN believed that the Enutriet factory ships provided, if not an overwhelming advantage, then enough of an advantage to tip the balance to the ORS in the event that the ORS made a first strike sneak attack. Wars have begun for similar reasons.

More on this later.


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