Leonsteiner Revolution

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The Leonsteiner Revolution refers to a period between 1951 and 1953 in which the First Republic of Leonstein was overthrown, and which ended with rival factions engaging in violent civil war.


[edit] Background

The First Republic of Leonstein had been declared in 1889 in the Treaty of Ahlen. It was organised along hierarchical lines, with a ruling class of rich industrialists, nobility and even religious leaders making the decisions. Suffrage was only extended to owners of land or capital, thereby excluding the majority of the population.
While this wasn't unusual at the time, by the early 1950s all other such states had long since changed or been destroyed. The uncanny ability of the rulers of the first republic to stay neutral and not get involved with the major geopolitical changes that occured meant that its archaic and autocratic rule remained intact.
However, the revolutions, popular movements and democratisation in Europe and all around the world had also made an impact in Leonstein. Dissidents became a common sight, workers began to ignore the laws forbidding strikes, and even formed labour unions.

[edit] The PDFL

From these early, unofficial unions came the People's Front for a Democratic Leonstein, also known as PFDL. It began its existence as a discussion group for disaffected individuals and included workers and even some intellectuals from all industries and trades. When in 1950 the first national conference of the PFDL was held, police had violently cracked down on the group, and subsequent meetings were held in secrecy.
However, in late 1951 a new legal code regarding labour relations proved to be the final straw. Originally meant to make it easier for employers to detect and punish union activity, instead the law spawned nation-wide protest actions, largely organised by the different cells of the PFDL.
The government hit back, once again with violence. But this time tensions had become too great, and workers were no longer willing to take it. The PFDL Leadership (among them a young and energetic Max Bechtel) proclaimed that the time of the ruling classes was up, and that democracy would come now or never.

PFDL began to organise raiding parties of armed men and women which would attack police stations and other government institutions, and then disappear back into protesting crowds moved there as diversion. At the same time, large civil disobedience actions began, and a general strike was declared that covered almost all industries, with the only exceptions being the production of foodstuffs and other essentials.

[edit] The Split

Only a few months into the campaign, with the government attempting to gather all military forces still loyal to it in order to retake the metropolitan areas, first divisions in the opinions of the PFDL leadership became apparent. On one side, a liberal movement, inspired by Ordoliberalist philosophers and economists like Wilhelm Röpke argued that it would be best for the country to establish a democracy along the lines of the West, with universal suffrage, as low taxation as possible and with capitalism as its economic system.
On the other side, Max Bechtel and his comrades were arguing along the lines of socialist revolutions worldwide. They felt that the things the PFDL despised about the Republic were not small details, but the very system itself. They argued that a successful revolution would have to completely do away with the society that had been established. They wanted a planned economy, close relations with the Soviet Union and, most importantly, the abolition of private property.

[edit] Victory and War

In September 1952 the First Republic ceased to exist. After the last loyal forces had been forced to surrender, nothing stood in the way of the PFDL to take the capital. When the first militias stormed the Parliament, they found that the leadership had since disappeared, and were on their way to move to South America.
Nonetheless, the masses were impetuous with their victory. But the first cracks in the façade had appeared. Communist and liberal PFDL militias had occasionally gotten into violent disagreements, and in some places, open warfare had erupted between the two.
Fearing civil war, both the Communists and the Ordoliberals decided to hold the first meeting since victory in early 1953. Known as the Ahlen Conference, it was meant as a forum to reconcile the differences and create a common government that could re-establish law and order and repair the damage done by the strikes and fighting.
However, an agreement was no longer possible. Both sides had prepared intensively, and developed very strong visions for the direction of the country, and a compromise could not be found. Furthermore, continued clashes between militias all across the nation became a serious issue.
It was Max Bechtel who ended the conference after five days with his famous quote: “Gentlemen, we have nothing more to say to each other. History will settle this issue.”
Two weeks later, he led an army of two thousand men and women into the capital and captured it, thereby ending the final phase of the revolution and beginning the First Leonsteiner War which would result in the division of the country, to last until 1987.

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