A Nation on the Brink: Baby's First AAR (France)

Author: mailtime
Published: 2017-05-31, edited: 1970-01-01
France, 1936. A country on the brink. Fascism on the rise at all borders. Communist infiltrators on every corner.

Édouard Daladier rules a divided nation. Worker unrest and a complacent military put France on a dangerous course.

This is my first AAR. Be easy on me. Also not super great at HOI4. My lack of skill and non-historical focuses will hopefully make an interesting story.
At the beginning of January 1936, Daladier pushes through measures to make the French government more efficient. The ability of the communists to disrupt political decision making is strictly curtailed. Who knows how they will react?
Despite political problems, the scientists and industrialist of France due their best to help the economy recover from the great depression. New technologies may provide the competitive edge France needs
France's colonial empire is a great asset. The Metropol's industries are well supplied with resources from abroad. France only lacks a internal supply of oil. The Kingdom of Romania has large refining infrastructure and would make a valuable ally in the Balkans. Overtures for trade are received well by the Romanian government. Inspired by Daladier's ability to force through government reform and the new supply of fuel, some army officers begin to push for an aggressive restructuring of the military.
Disaster strikes in February. The formerly unstable but democratic Spain has fallen into civil war. We are now surrounded on all sides by nationalists and fascists.
The country is evenly divided but most of the army has sworn allegiance to Franco and the nationalist cause. The citizen militias of the Republican Cause will have a hard time even against the primitive and unorganized old Spanish army.

The government considers supporting the Republican Cause but the strong communist blocks within France dissuade Daladier. Private citizens are given approval to volunteer on either side in the hopes that more martial ideologues will perish in the conflict before returning to France.
The Italians finish their pathetic war against the Ethiopian. To use poison gas against Africans is a sign of Italian moral and military weakness.
With the threat of the civil war in Spain and an Italy no longer focused on Africa, Daladier is able to corral some of the squabbling French politicians into a coalition that can affect internal change in the country.
This alliance of the center parties publicly reaffirms its commitment to democracy and current French society. Radicals are slowly being pushed to the political extreme.
The northern Republican bastion is crushed. The Nationalists push towards Madrid.
Military planners begin to look into the incorporation of radios into army doctrine. More portable radios will allow units to work better together.
The awaited communist response to Daladier's center coalition arrives. A coordinated general strike occurs in many industries. The French economy is effectively crippled and right before an election. Some in government urge a crackdown, even setting the army upon French citizens. Others push for concessions to get the economy back on track as soon as possible. The center coalition simply ignores the strike as much as possible. The communists will be made irrelevant and the government will not yield to economic blackmail. Reforms will be made but on our own terms.
Madrid has been taken and the Nationalists push along the whole front. Many communists in France who believed that revolution was possible are disheartened. Everyday their prospects weaken.
In these uncertain times, with the imminent possibility of a German-aligned Spain on our southern border, many return to a conservative stance. A united France and a strong France is needed. The matter of military production and state control of industry become an important issue in the election. The center coalition argues for a state of partial economic mobilization for war attracting a good deal of votes, even from some reluctant communists. Better gradual reforms under the bourgeoisie than execution under the fascists.
The war continues and the Republicans continue to collapse. Barcelona will soon fall and the war will be over. France must prepare for this new world.
The Center Coalition led by Daladier wins the election by a close margin. Small concessions are made to the communists. Newly nationalized war industries have enacted a number of labor reforms that the communists have long been pushing for. However an even bigger crisis is on the horizon.
The Germans have marched troops into the Rhineland along our border. The government argues over the correct course of action. Hardliners urge an ultimatum to Germany and a possible war. British support is unclear and the strikes are still ongoing. We are not strong enough to face the Germans alone. Trying to conscript the striking workers will not end well.

A strongly worded letter is sent instead. All agree that this is the most reasonable action. We live in a civilized age.
The uncertainty over British support in the Rhineland Crisis is concerning. Daladier initiates a series of conferences to harmonize our diplomatic and military responses with Britain. It is an unqualified success.
With the electoral mandate and the support gained from the handling of the Rhineland Crisis, Gaston Henry-Haye is appointed as head of the Center Coalition. He is exceptionally skilled at corralling the various personalities that run the government. He is essential to Daladier's efforts to fix the government.
The Nationalists make even slower progress than expected but the outcome of the war is still a forgone conclusion.
With the partial nationalization of war industries, the engineers are put to work on designing new weapons for our infantry.
With the collapse of the communist cause in Spain, the seeming indifference of the government, and the fact that conditions in nationalized factories are improving, the general strikes convulsing our country have stopped. Men are returning to work and the communists are demoralized. Now the center coalition can put their economic reforms into place on their own terms.
The Entente Cordial is officially announced. The Fascists will tremble.
With the strikes over and an electoral mandate, the center coalition begins a series of reforms and propaganda. Designed to appeal to various elements of French society, the reforms vastly lessen social tensions.
The Republican militias make a few pushes but Barcelona is now on the front line.
The Olympics are held in Berlin. Perhaps this is sign that Germany is willing to work within the international system.
Despite this spot of hope, rearmament continues. Radios begin to be distributed to the troops. With proper coordination, the French army can maximize its efforts.
France is currently protected by awe-inspiring static defenses. But that will not be enough. When taking the fight to the enemy, fortifications must be constructed quickly.
A new era begins for Spain. Possibly the world. There are now fascists on three fronts.

But it is not all bad news. The communists in France lose their influence everyday. This is surely a blow to their cause. And Franco is not as ideologically committed as Hitler. He may be able to bring around.
More bad news for the communists. The authoritarianism of the Stalinist system has been exposed for the world to see.
Two blows to the communist cause in quick succession. The stage is set for Daladier's reforms to unify the nation and bring us back from the brink. Economic reforms and military reforms will soon follow. France will be a modern nation, unintimidated by her neighbors.


Thanks for reading my first AAR. Hope you like it.

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Images: 19, author: Yoper101, published: 2017-02-02, edited: 1970-01-01