The Kingfish (A HOI4 Kaiserreich American AAR) - Part 2: The Rise of the Union State

Published: 2017-05-11

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The Kingfish (A HOI4 Kaiserreich American AAR)

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Game: Hearts of Iron IV

The Kingfish (A HOI4 Kaiserreich American AAR) - Part 1: An Address to the American People

Images: 39, author: CargoShortsSensei, published: 2017-05-08

[Hey y'all, welcome to Part 2 of The Kingfish. The first part of this thing was very well received (in a way I did not anticipate, not at all), and for this I thank you!

Just to clear something up: The entire narrative won't be written from the perspective of a Huey Long radio address. Occasionally I'll lapse into the perspective of a person on the ground - whether that be a German officer sent to oversee their expeditionary force, a frontlines news reporter, a Turkish volunteer, or an address from Huey. But mostly, I'll be writing in the third person.]
On March 11th, 1937, the Second American Civil War began in earnest, with Huey Long and Jack Reed declaring the Union to be null in reaction to Douglas MacArthur's coup.

For the first time since the Civil War (First Civil War?) the American people would shed blood on their own soil.

Since all three factions were unorganized, it would take some time for the fighting to begin. Time that the American Union State desperately needed.
The American Union State was the brainchild of Huey Long, Senator from Louisiana. Long, aka "The Kingfish," was a charismatic populist who had transformed his home state during his term as governor, improving infrastructure and educatio. Originally a Democrat, he abandoned the party after the Election of 1932 and founded the American Union Party, a populist party that found most of its backers in the depressed areas of the American South and Midwest.

In order to build a strong coalition across the South, Long had to make some... *erstwhile* allies.
William Dudley Pelley and his Silver Shirts were white supremacist antisemites and largely had authority over the Carolinas. They took inspiration from the Iron Guard faction in Romania, praising the far-right dictatorship of Corneliu Codreanu, and he often criticized Long for being too soft. Pelley led the most radical faction in the nation, the Silver Legion, and wished to see the Union State become one for White Christians and no one else.
Father Charles Coughlin, a fellow antisemitic radical, was an integral mouthpiece of the Union State, and a link to the North. He fled his home in Michigan before the outbreak of the war, and served as Long's chief "information officer." He and fellow clergyman Gerald L. K. Smith (a Protestant and Catholic pairing, how quaint) were the mouthpieces of the "traditional right."
Charles Lindbergh, an international celebrity known for achieving the first solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927, was Huey Long's running mate in the Election of 1936. He was the most moderate and pro-democracy of the key players in the party but was largely a figurehead.
Another key figure in the government was Henry Ford, who represented the corporatist element of Long's fragile coalition. Ford, being no fan of the Syndicalists or Federals, fled to the Union State and offered his economic services to Long in exchange for power.

Long, being a populist, hated this notion, privately referring to it in his writings as a "deal with the Devil." With Southern industry as stunted as it was, though, he gritted his teeth and worked with Ford, planning on betraying the man when it suited him.
Long's proximity to his antisemitic and racist allies troubled him. He had Pelley and Coughlin tone down their rhetoric as the Union State declared independence, stating that "There has never been a country that put its heel down on the Jews that ever lived afterwards." He was well-known for his advocacy of black education, believing that every man ought to have a chance.

Long was also known for his transformation of Louisiana into his own petty dictatorship, but hey, eggs to omelets, right?
Thanks to a resurgence of the Southern identity, an efficient propaganda machine, and a spreading red scare, the Union Congress had nearly dictatorial control over the South. Huey Long, serving as its president, ruled the breakaway state as a centralized dictatorship. Makeshift state councils were set up, often with the former state assemblies purging any anti-Union members out. The American Union Party was his child, of course, and the members of the party are more than eager to fall in line behind him.

Huey, just hoping to win this war, had no interest in imposing any of his sweeping legislation just yet. He relied on his Minutemen to keep order internally while militias began to organize.
In service to the war effort, the Minutemen managed to seize several Federal supply depots across the South before they could evacuate to MacArthur's territory. The South was never a resource-laden land, so every bit was necessary.
Volunteers poured into American Union Party centers across the South. Since most of these men already had weapons (often crude, but still operating), they were typically assigned to militia division and then pointed to the front with minimal training.
Not all of the US Navy was eager to defect to MacArthur's regime. By securing the loyalty of Virginia and Florida, Huey Long was able to retain control over the key naval bases of Norfolk, VA and Jacksonville, FL. The lion's share of the old Atlantic Fleet was in Union State hands.
To the west, Army Group 1 would be commanded by Howard Knox Ramey. His five militia divisions would be in charge of holding off an advance from MacArthur into the Deep South. Ramey and his colleague, General George Patton, were given long leashes from Long and mostly allowed to run the war by themselves, with Long freely admitting that he was no military man.
The plan conceived by Ramey and Patton was a strike northwards. Jack Reed and the syndicalists held most of America's industrial heartland, and the Union State desperately needed industry. "Operation Bluegrass" was conceived by Patton to push the border with Reed to the Ohio River, gaining the coalfields and negligible industry of Kentucky.

Kentucky stubbornly clung to the side of MacArthur. That mistake would be rectified soon by Patton.
For all its courage and bravado, the American South was clearly technologically backward. Long, acting with his puppets in the Union Congress, funneled resources into the study of industry, both military and civilian. Until the factories of the North could be taken and used, the South would have to make do.
The sizable Union fleet was placed under the command of Clark H. Woodward. For now, Woodward ought only to keep the waters off the coast of the Southeast free of enemy ships, as there was serious concern in Atlanta about a naval landing by MacArthur.
[Shockingly, the Germans have developed teleportation technology? I don't know.]

The German Empire, teeming with enemies of syndicalism, allowed its most determined citizens serve as volunteers in the AUS's army. While Long was hesitant to align himself with the Kaiser, he knew that Chairman Jack would be allying with the French and British, and the Germans were typically quite good at dealing with Franks and Brits.
"We landed in Norfolk on Tuesday and were placed under the command of General Hodges. Oberstleutnant Hofmann met with the general just yesterday, and he's helping the general communicate with us who don't speak a word of English.

We'll have to fight some pumped-up general named MacArthur before we can get out hands on the Syndies, but that's fine. As long as I get to bathe in socialist blood by the end, I won't care."

- Gerhard Becker, German Volunteer, Brandenburg Division
While elements of the Union State military argued for professional armed forces on par with that of MacArthur's, Long was more of a realist. Militias would be the way to win this war for the AUS, and he ensured that the South's meager industry would not be overtaxed.
Scouts on the west coast of Arkansas noticed a US Cavalry division snooping around, perhaps gathering intel for an attack on the AUS's west.
Interestingly, the Cuban government took an interest in the Union's cause. Cuban volunteers were bound for America.
Canada, in a brazen act of aggression that could only be attributed to their legacy as the heirs to the United Kingdom, decided to occupy the Northeastern United States that was not under the control of Reed - namely, upstate New York and New England. While Long considered this to be ground for war, he wasn't quite that reckless. He'd make sure the Canadians handed it back when this whole thing was over.
In a state letter directed to "Hero of the American People Huey Long," Kaiser Wilhelm II himself declared his support to the Union State. He promised German aid to the Union - two highly-trained divisions under skilled German leader - in exchange for Long's neutrality in Europe.

Huey Long was no master statesman, but it was obvious to him what the Germans saw. A MacArthur-led America would be likely to ally with Canada and the French Nationalists; the CSA would be likely to intervene on behalf of the Internationale in a future war. Long had no interest in Europe, so he agreed to the pact.
The first naval clashes of the war begin on off the coast of North Carolina. The Federal ships were ambushed in the Battle of the Outer Banks, unaware that the AUS had such an extensive fleet. The first naval endeavor for the Union was a success.
Curiously enough, the Sultan of Turkey also sent Long a state letter in which he extolled the virtues of Long's vision and offered to send an expeditionary force to help put secure a victory for the Union State.

While Long was hesitant to accept further monarchical support, he would see in the coming months why the Turks had taken an interest in the Union's cause. The Second American Civil War would soon not just become a proxy war between the Germans and the French, but also the Turks and the Arabs.
"My friends, the "king" over in Canada is an enemy of the American people. While he claims to be neutral, he seems to be working with MacArthur every chance he gets. Every territory that Doug could possibly lose, the Canadians come and occupy. First, New England. Then, the Panama Canal. Now, Canada.

"The Windsors lost to the Germans once before, and we'll show MacArthur that he's chosen the wrong king to collude with."

- Huey Long, radio address
Under the guidance of Lindbergh, a small air force was created and based in Atlanta. It could not stand up to Federal or Syndicalist air power, however, so Lindbergh mostly focused on maintaining air superiority over the South.
More militia divisions were formed and sent to Patton to partake in Operation Bluegrass. MacArthur had chosen to lightly defend Kentucky with token garrisons, so AUS high command hoped was that the state would fall with minimal resistance.
The volunteer divisions under Hodges decided to make a big first impression. The Federal government had already fled to Denver, so the decision was made to claim Washington D.C. before the syndicalists could. While Atlanta would remain the official capital of the Union State (and Huey spent much of his time in Baton Rouge), Washington would be a powerful symbol of legitimacy.
On March 22nd, 1937, the Brandenburg Division entered Washington, quickly followed by the Hanoverians and the Cubans. The people of Washington, seeing this strange coalition of foreign arms march on their city, were assured in an address to the people by Long that the city was now under the protection of the Union State.
"To my friends in Washington - today, you taste democracy once again. Government by the people, for the people. The tyrant MacArthur destroyed our old Union; today, you join the new one.

"The men who liberated your city were not Americans, it's true. They are volunteers from across this great Earth who believed so much in our cause that they traveled to this great land to fight for it. If that's not proof that God smiles on us, then I don't know what is."

- Huey Long, radio address
With Washington liberated, the Third Army Group under the command of Hicks moved to occupy the rest of Maryland and Delaware before the rotten Syndicalists could. With two militia divisions joining the command, the Third Army Group would become a highly-efficient trilingual wrecking ball.

Across the Maryland countryside, order dissolves. Loyalists and Reds fought with each and with the Union forces as they spread across the state.
Baltimore is taken the very next day as Syndicalist troops begin to marshal along the banks of the Ohio River.
The newly elected Pope Julius IV [NatPop Pope ftw] pledged his support to the cause of Huey Long, believing that the Union State had the interest of American Christians in mind. Unlike Pius XI, Julius took a liking to Charles Coughlin and believed that Long had the capability to crush the godless Syndicalists.

A group of Papal volunteers landed in Virginia. The powers of Europe had invented teleportation, concluded the Union Congress, and efforts were made to develop this technology themselves.
Six divisions, four languages. A situation that gave everyone involved in the chain of command endless headaches.
Good news arrived from California. The states of Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Utah declared independence from MacArthur, forming the Pacific States of America. With this, MacArthur lost most of his technological and industrial base.

However, the bad news was that the PSA had not taken a hostile stance towards MacArthur. Negotiations between Sacramento and Denver began.
On March 25th, Union troops began Operation Bluegrass. Troops invaded eastern Kentucky, quickly seizing Pikeville and Harlan County (They say there are no neutrals there). While the coal fields were the most economically depressed region in the state, the coal would help fuel the Southern war effort.
A great victory is won by the Union State Navy in the First Battle of the Gulf. The US Navy, taken by surprise, lost 33 ships in comparison to just 2 for the Union State.

March 26th, in subsequent years, was celebrated as "Victory in the Gulf Day" across the South.
While Union troops continued to liberate Maryland, the Syndicalist and Federal navies clash in the Chesapeake. German volunteers watch in amusement as the two rival factions butchered each other.
After a few weeks, the *real* issues begin to brought up in the Union Congress. After declaring independence, the Union State had used the banner of Long's party by default - an American flag with an eagle in the corner rather than forty-eight stars. With the militias largely being from the Deep South, however, they tended to use their own banners - namely, the Confederate battle flag, the "Stars and Bars," or whatever state flags they could get their hands on.

Huey was more than a little hesitant to adopt Confederate symbolism for a variety of reasons, so he ordered that militias discontinue their use of old symbols. With the help of his ministers, he chose a new flag.
A modified version of the Coast Guard's flag was selected by Long. It maintained the American Union Party's eagle, was distinct enough from the Federal flag to be easily spotted, and still shared some symbolism of the old flag.

By omitting the stars, Huey hoped to start phasing out the concept of American being a union of states. This was, after all, the American Union STATE, singular.
After a brutal resistance effort in downtown Baltimore, the city was finally secured by Cuban volunteers in late March. As soon as they finished clearing the place out, they proceeded to brutally loot the place until the 11th Memphis Pride division put them back in line. Brawls broke out across the city between the two divisions.

Huey took major flak for the behavior of the Cuban volunteers, particularly from William Dudley Pelley and his far-right friends. He stood behind the looters despite their "disgusting behavior," declaring that "General Hodges out to be able to whip them into shape. They're just farmboys, like our militias. Give them time."
While the occupation of Maryland began, four French divisions landed in Philadelphia, including motorized infantry. Thankfully, half of them were quickly redeployed to the Midwest by Reed to assist with the effort against MacArthur.
An official front line was established for the Third Army Group, as they were asked to hold the Mason-Dixon Line and West Virginia's Ohio River border.
In addition to sending volunteers, the Italians offered to send a division of troops to assist in the war effort. The now-legendary Milanese Mountaineers would soon become well-known across the Union State.
On April 1st, William Dudley Pelley traveled to Atlanta and made an impassioned pitch to the Union Congress for a proposed "Youth Foundation."

"Young men in this country are not what they used to be," argued Pelley. "They used to have values, courage, and pride in their race and religion. We need to re-motivate the youth and shape them into good, loyal, and productive citizens."

Then, of course, the Union Congress looked patiently to Long, who actually made the decisions. Long was conflicted on this issue, as he was with most things having to do with Pelley. While a Youth Foundation would be a good step towards increasing patriotism, Long feared that Pelley would indoctrinate the youth with his racialist views.

In the end, Long agreed, but only gives Pelley a fraction of what he had asked. Huey assigned a "Youth Committee" to make the decisions for the organization, of which Pelley was just a member.
Incidentally, out of the nine men on the committee, two of them were Long's relatives. Weird how that works out.
On April 3rd, the 3rd South Carolina Division decided to attempt a raid against the small sharecropping settlement of Pinhook, nestled just across the Kentucky-Missouri border. The men partaking in the attack burned and slashed the crop fields of the African-American residents, and the 121st Red Riders responded, pushing the Southerners back across the Mississippi.
Within hours, a second division of infantry arrived to assist the Federal troops, who then pushed the Union Staters to Arlington, a small town just five miles across the river.
Operation Bluegrass was a success within just a few weeks, with little Federal or Syndicalist resistance as Patton rolled into Louisville. The occupying troops, err... took out some aggression on the city as they marched in.
With the French Expeditionary Force leaving Southeastern Pennsylvania, General Hodges concocted a plan. A militia division occupied Lancaster, a significant community to the north. A small raiding party was sent to the small border town of Oxford in order to provoke an attack from the militia...
...and soon afterwards, the Hannover and Havana Divisions pressed the attack against the Syndies.
Despite the Third Army Group's presence along the Mason-Dixon, the Syndicalists did not bother to defend that border. Hodges, not wishing to get overstretched, held back.
While Operation Bluegrass had been a *near* complete success, the French Expeditionary Force managed to occupy Frankfort and Lexington before the Southerners could march there. The French attacked a unit of infantry quite ironically stationed in Paris, Kentucky, but had difficulty operating in the unfamiliar terrain.
Militias were sent to Arlington, where the Union began to turn the tide against the Federal troops. MacArthur's men were soon pushed back to Columbus and nearly across the Mississippi.
With the Hanoverian and Cuban assault on Oxford under way, the militia that was supposed to protect Philadelphia was pinned down. The Brandenburg Division was sent to capitalize on this moment of weakness.
With the Syndicalist border established along the Ohio River, Patton determines that the Syndies would be too busy to attempt to strike at Kentucky...
... so he assigned three divisions to attack the French flank and secure the rest of the state. These militias quickly managed to retake Frankfort.
"We strode into Philadelphia like it was nothing at all. Oh, the socialist mobs in the darkest corners of the city attempted to defy us, but they fell to our superior arms. We burned them out of their holes and raised the Union State flag high above City Hall.

"Oberstleutnant Hofmann tells us that the Syndicalist defenses are broken in the Northeast. By the order of General Hodges, we are now to march to the Atlantic. New York City is our objective."

- Gerhard Becker, German Volunteer, Brandenburg Division
Across the Kentucky front, the Syndicalists faced setbacks. Counterattacks into Louisville were largely a flop, and the French were quickly retreating from their positions in Lexington. A daring raid into the Shawnee National Forest by the Alabama Volunteers gave the Union State a foothold in Illinois, and the men were ordered to push on to the strategically important city of Carbondale.
"Yesterday, we arrived in the city of Newark and secured the Jersey Shore. From our positions in Hoboken, we can see the Syndicalists building defenses in Manhatten, occasionally shouting slurs at us. Just a few miles to the north are the sniveling British exiles.

"I am not one to fear what comes ahead, but the Syndicalists are ready and prepared to defend their city. Rumors are spreading amongst the men that the New York militias ran through Wall Street decapitating the bankers when the CSA seceded, tossing their heads into the river mud. I don't intend to join the poor sods down there in the Hudson."

- Gerhard Becker, German Volunteer, Brandenburg Division

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The Kingfish (A HOI4 Kaiserreich American AAR) - Part 3: Operation Razorback

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