In the spirit of nostalgia, I am going to write a little bit about events in the distant past. If you don’t like that sort of thing, feel free to dip out now. I won’t judge you- it’s not usually my thing either.
One of the advantages of playing a really long time (10 years next month!) is that you see a lot of stuff. Most of the time, political decision making remains hidden. Even years down the line the full story of many of the key events in the game will remain untold, out of respect to those involved. Although in most cases players making decisions in 2009/2010/2011 are gone now, there are still a few kicking around. So today I’m not going to talk about shady deals or backdoor revolutions, but one of the most public and open events in history, but one that most today will not remember.
It is late 2010 and the Phoenix alliance is on its knees. After a year of battling EDEN forces, the leadership of the core countries in the alliance (Serbia and Hungary) have realised that the alliance is failing. The reason for that is simple- and familiar. When PEACE GC fell a year before, it’s big flaw was that it was just too big to manage effectively. Phoenix was intended to be a slimmed down version of PEACE, but the reality is it was still too bloated. What’s more, the alliance makeup of Phoenix and EDEN meant there was an almost continuous war in the balkans with little hope of any final victory.
At that time Hungary was in secret (not really that secret) talks with Poland about the two countries forming a new alliance. Poland and Hungary have real world historic relations that stretch back centuries, and so it wasn’t difficult for them to establish a good relationship. Serbian leadership had also became tired of the fact they were propping up Phoenix, both in terms of financial and military power. They wanted a new alliance where the bigger contributors had more of a say.
On the periphery of this there were all of the smaller Phoenix nations. At that time, Phoenix had around twenty members. Slovenia and Montenegro were both closely tied to Serbia. The three baltic states were closely aligned with one another. Oddballs in the group were the UK, Germany and France. The UK had been Phoenix founders, and were there primarily because of relationships with Hungary, and later Serbia, during the PEACE era.
When Phoenix began to come apart in early 2011, and Hungary/Poland formalised their relationship, a debate was raging in the eUK over which way the country should go. At that time the UK was very close to both France and Germany, and the trio had been coordinating militarily as a unit for some time. In addition, several members of the UK leadership team, including Arrlo were considered joint anglo-french citizens. There was therefore a strong feeling amongst many citizens, especially those who had been born during the Phoenix era, that the UK should stick with France and Germany wherever they may go.
To paint a picture for you, in early 2011 there were three main alliance blocs forming. Firstly there was EDEN, that ever changing successor to ATLANTIS. EDEN’s core members were Romania, Greece and Croatia. Bulgaria had recently joined after falling out with Phoenix members (over the decision to admit Macedonia). Poland, Spain and Sweden were also members, and closely tied together for historic reasons dating back to the early game. They were however looked on with suspicion by the other EDEN members who anticipated (correctly) that they would leave the alliance.
In the Americas a new group had formed, built around the USA, Brazil and Argentina. At that time those countries were the most powerful in the Americas (with the USA being the strongest, then Brazil and Argentina a close third). Historically both EDEN and Phoenix had relied on those countries to cover the European night period, and so they had spent most of their games fighting each other. American unity was therefore concerning to everyone. This group originally called itself PANAM, but changed this to Terra to appeal to non-American countries.
In Europe, the core group of ONE was forming (as New World Order at that time) around Poland-Hungary, with Serbia and Spain coming along as allies of those two countries. At first an informal group, this became a genuine alliance in February/March 2011. The alliance was different to everything before, as it consisted of four very strong countries loosely associated with no formal rules or regulations and very little in the way of metagaming.
In the UK two clear political paths were emerging for the country. Firstly, to follow France who were flirting with Terra and looked likely to join. Secondly, to remain officially neutral whilst maintaining MPPs with Serbia and Hungary. The UK had a historically poor relationship with Poland who had been consistently attacking it through the Phoenix period. This was considered a major stumbling block to any formal relationship with ONE.
A house divided
In the end France joined Terra in February 2011 with the UK following later that month, and Germany a month later. As many had hoped, the three nations had stayed together. At the forefront of this political move in the eUK were three citizens- Arrlo, jamesw and Artela. All three had good relations with France and Germany, and also reasonable relationships with the eUSA, who were effectively leading Terra at that time. However this decision was a controversial one: it was seen as a backstab to Hungary and Serbia, and many UK citizens were not comfortable siding with the USA and Canada, who were both historical enemies of the UK.
As a result the UK was strongly divided between February and December 2011. Some of the divisions went on beyond that, shaping all of the major alliances in different ways. Although a fairly small and insignificant country militarily, the eUK ended up contributing to world events in a major way.
Arrlo, Artela and jamesw all ended up in senior leadership positions in the Terra alliance. On the other hand, I and a small group of UK citizens moved to central Europe and began working on building relationships with the new ONE alliance. This put the UK in a difficult position, understandably. Officially it was a member of Terra, but despite that it was a house divided, with citizens fighting for both sides. Many of my group publicly stated that they did not represent the UK in order to free up responsibility. In the UK itself, the government kept mostly neutral in the battle, supporting Terra militarily whilst still maintaining some MPPs with former allies in the balkans.
When I first arrived in ONE, the first thing I did was join the ONE alliance’s military unit. This was meant to be an answer to EDEN’s mobile corps, which itself had been formed in response to the PEACEKeepers. As a former general in the PEACEKeepers, and at that time a fairly powerful tank, I was able to take a leadership position within ONE’s mobile unit. This meant that UK citizens were at one point commanding the militaries of two alliances.
As time went on, ONE proved its power by defeating EDEN in a number of key battles. As a result of this, EDEN and Terra began to coordinate, and slowly pushed back ONE advances. This meant increasingly the Terra and EDEN leadership became closer, and though there was some mutual distrust they operated as a unit in most theatres of war. Because all of the ONE countries were European, and the majority of wars were fought in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia etc, there was little direct war in the Americas at this time. Terra therefore felt that they were contributing unequally and gaining little in return.
This all changed in April 2011, as war broke out worldwide. Poland’s attacks on Germany drew Terra into the conflict directly, which spread into both North and South America. The UK (rather pointlessly) decided to attack Belgium in order to get a border. This was a miserable failure, partly because Belgium signed ONE MPPs, and partly because many UK citizens refused to fight in the war. Belgium had been a long time ally of the UK, and also as discussed above many UK citizens felt they were fighting on the wrong side in this war.
During this global conflict the battle between the two UK factions became most heated as they regularly faced each other across the battlefield in France. Relationships during this time publicly broke down with both factions releasing articles and going for BH medals for their respective sides. In those days of course a BH medal was a much more significant event, and so UK flags on both sides of a battlefield was something most people noticed.
Finally at the end of April the UK left Terra after barely two months in the alliance. The government at the time cited the failure of Terra to support the UK in their war as the reason for this, along with the EDEN-Terra relationship. However the real reason - which everyone was fully aware of - was that the balance had shifted between the two factions in the UK and the pro-ONE faction was in control.
After leaving Terra the UK remained officially neutral until December 2011 when they joined ONE officially. In that period, jamesw returned to the UK and eventually became a leader in ONE. However Artela remained in the eUSA and eventually became on of its most prominent citizens and a multi-term President. Arrlo remained in France, before eventually joining with Croatia who he remains associated with today.
The Terra-ONE face off pulled apart the leadership of the UK and scattered them amongst all three alliances. For the next two years the group would regularly face off against one another. There were several occasions when Terra, ONE and EDEN all had eUK citizens in their HQ. The UK itself remained heavily divided, though as 2011 drew to a close and we entered 2012, public opinion began to shift more towards ONE and the relationship with France and Germany began to fade away.
In the years since this division in the eUK made the country significantly weaker. In terms of internal politics, it triggered a series of party mergers. Foreign affairs became the focus rather than domestic policy, and as a result those leaders who were involved in foreign affairs tended to increasingly group together in a single party. This created tension between the ruling party and others, which eventually led to a series of political take-overs and the eventual exile of the ruling group to Poland.
The relationship between the UK and North America was irretrievably damaged and that was still visible years later in Sirius. There was a wave of emigration to the eUSA from the eUK as many from the pro-Terra faction left. This group continued in the eUSA until almost the present day.
At the end of 2012 the TWO alliance was formed as an improved version of ONE. TWO was intended to have a core group of countries which were all very powerful, and then a wider group which would support the core group (ACT). Despite being very much a minor power by that point, the UK was one of the six founding members of TWO, along with Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Slovenia. This membership was largely a result of the UK’s decision to leave Terra and support ONE in mid-2011.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little bit of nostalgia. It’s a tale as old as time, and I’m sure others have different recollections to me of how this all happened. That’s what 7 years does to the memory. Until next time!