First Scinfaxi War
The First Scinfaxi War, also known as the Great Scinfaxi War, was a global conflict that lasted from 1943 to 1947, with sporadic fighting lasting until 1951. It involved the entirety of the world’s nations that had survived the Virus Crisis forming a common front against the extraterrestrial Scinfaxi. It was the most widespread and devastating war in history, with over 650,000,000 deaths, nearly a third of the total human population at that time. A war of extermination on the part of the Scinfaxi, every nation entered a state of “total war” in which the entire economic, industrial and scientific capabilities of each country were dedicated to the war effort.
The initial landings of the Scinfaxi were centered around the specific areas in which Earth’s climate best suited their terraforming virus, most notably in Australia, Africa, and South America. The Southern Hemisphere was lost nearly immediately, having been previously been devastated during the Virus Crisis. At the height of their advance, the Scinfaxi had reached as far north as Edmonton in North America, and Berlin in Europe. Without any conventional means to defeat the Scinfaxi, “doomsday” settlements in Antarctica were developed in the event of complete defeat. The detonation of American atomic bombs in Tennessee, followed by German and Soviet atomic bombs in Europe, succeeded in halting the Scinfaxi advance. At the same time, the Scinfaxi Virus had reached the limit of its growth, as the climates of North America and Central Europe grew unsuitable for its continued spread. Advancing in the wake of the Scinfaxi retreat, the surviving human nations were able to recapture most of their territories with an improvised and informal armistice line established across the globe.
The First Scinfaxi War would prove to be one of the largest in human history until the Second Scinfaxi War nearly a century later. The war altered the political alignment and social structure of the world, with the Soviet Union, Greater German Reich, United Kingdom, United States of America, and the Empire of Japan emerging as the last major nations on Earth. These powers would later form the core of the four superpowers of the Orion Arm. Most other countries that survived the war became satellites, or were directly integrated into the great powers. The First Scinfaxi War also fostered a sense of survivalism and urgency among the international community, which became the impetus for the colonization of the Orion Arm.
- 1 Background
- 2 Pre-War Events
- 3 Course of the War
- 4 Aftermath
- 5 Impact
The Scinfaxi is an intelligent, parasitic alien consciousness with two primary forms: a macrovirus that spreads a reddish, mold-like substance, and a tall, crab-like parasite that develops in infected organisms. The Scinfaxi are a technologically advanced species, capable of traversing hundreds of light years to reach different star systems. The origins of the Scinfaxi are unknown, as are the specifics of their biology and the mechanisms and principles by which their technology operates. Their specific motives for invading Earth are unknown, as communication with the Scinfaxi has proved impossible, but it is widely theorized that the Scinfaxi act as a virus on a macroscopic scale, and thus “infect” life-bearing planets to propagate the species.
Prior to the Scinfaxi invasion, the most of the great powers on Earth were highly militarized, in preparation for another global war. The Great War of 1914 to 1918 left Europe in a tense geopolitical state, and despite the pacifistic sentiment propagated by the widespread destruction of that conflict, many European states had irredentist or expansionist designs on its neighbors. The German Reich, under the expansionist National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP), rebuilt its military in direct contravention of the Treaty of Versailles. The Soviet Union, the sole communist state on Earth, was diplomatically and economically isolated from the rest of the world, and its leaders expected a major war against the capitalist West. Soviet industrialization under Joseph Stalin would prove essential in the Soviet Union’s rapid militarization during the war. To counter Soviet power, the Germans and the Japanese signed the Anti-Comintern Pact in 1936.
The Republic of China was divided between the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Initially allies, both factions sought to unite China under their rule after defeating the warlord factions that controlled China in the 1920s. In 1931, the Empire of Japan established a puppet government in Manchuria, the first step in what its government believed was the right to rule all of Asia. The Japanese invaded the rest of China in 1937, starting the Second Sino-Japanese War. In response, the KMT and CCP formed a united front to oppose the Japanese invasion.
The Virus Crisis began in 1935, when the Scinfaxi terraforming agent known as "The Virus" was discovered in Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippines. The Virus spread around the world, but was largely constrained to humid, tropical regions where it spread at an exponential rate. Initially, the Virus was believed to be a mundane disease, termed the "African Flu" due to its prevalence among the British colonies in eastern Africa and confusion as to its actual origin. By 1936, the "African Flu" was found to have parasitic properties that extended beyond human infection, and large portions of infected areas were burned. The League of Nations declared a state of emergency, and evacuations began throughout the world, particularly from British and French colonies to their respective metropoles and the United States.
By 1937, large portions of South America, Australia, South Africa and southern China were afflicted by the Virus. Eight million people had succumbed to its effects and fears of a global pandemic dominated global politics. Evacuations of colonial holdings continued, creating large diaspora populations in North America and Europe. This panic was used to great effect by the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, all of which expanded their influence and territorial holdings during the chaos. By the early 1940s, much of the Southern Hemisphere was considered lost, and evacuations from those regions were halted from fear of spreading the infection. Already, infected zones appeared in North America and Europe, but growth in those regions was much slower due to the colder climate. Nonetheless, by 1940 the Virus was firmly entrenched in Europe.
On the eve of the Scinfaxi invasion, the Virus Crisis had already forced a full quarantine of Africa. All transport craft moving from Africa were sunk by the German and Italian navies, out of fear that the Virus would spread further. All civil order in South America collapsed, leading to the formation of governments-in-exile in North America. The Nationalist government likewise collapsed in Spain, leading to waves of refugees streaming into France. The Soviet Union opened citizenship to any Chinese communists who moved to the Soviet Union, but quickly closed the border after the number of refugees exceeded expectations.
Japanese Invasion of China
In 1932, the Empire of Japan invaded Manchuria, leading to a period of undeclared war between Japan and the Republic of China. Hostilities escalated after the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937 left nearly a hundred Chinese soldiers dead. During the incident, Japanese forces demanded the right to search Chinese territory beyond the Chinese-Manchurian border for a missing Japanese soldier. When Chinese authorities refused, the Japanese Kwantung Army attacked, leading to a series of firefights throughout the Chinese-Manchurian border. While both the governments of China and Japan attempted to avert war, the de facto independent Japanese Army launched an invasion of China sparking what is largely considered the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War.
Japanese forces assaulted coastal Chinese cities, carefully avoiding the Western-occupied zones to prevent the Western powers from intervening on the Chinese side. The war ended the ongoing conflict between the Chinese Nationalists and the Chinese Communist Party who quickly signed a ceasefire, and drew in the other great powers. The Soviet Union and the United States of America supported the Chinese, and the Germans ended their cooperation with the Chinese Nationalists after committing to cooperation with Japan. The Japanese committed various atrocities against the Chinese during their occupation, often using the Virus Crisis as an excuse for the wholesale execution of civilians. These atrocities would still be widely remembered among communist Chinese well into the 23rd century, souring relations between the Empire of Japan and Soviet Union.
By 1943, the Japanese had secured much of northern and eastern China forcing the defending forces deep into the heart of the country. With most of China's major cities under Japanese control, a collaborationist government under Wang Jingwei, a KMT politician, was formed. The Chinese Communists retreated north into Soviet territory; initially welcomed by Stalin, the Chinese eventually fought past Soviet border guards when Stalin closed the borders. As the Virus Crisis worsened, the Japanese gradually withdrew from their captured territories leaving the Chinese civilians to fend for themselves. After the first Scinfaxi landings, the warring factions would agree to a ceasefire and, eventually, an alliance against the alien invader.
Italian Invasion of Ethiopia
By 1935, there were only two states in Africa totally independent of European rule: Ethiopia and Liberia. Italy had long desired to transform Ethiopia into a protectorate, but their invasion in the late 19th century ended in Ethiopian victory. Il Duce Benito Mussolini intended to create a new Roman Empire, with himself as its Caesar, and thus he planned to increase Italy's colonial holdings through force. Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935, on the eve of the Virus Crisis with overwhelming force. The war itself would end in a swift Italian victory, and would be notable for its aftereffects. The Italian invasion served to diplomatically isolate Italy from the rest of Europe until the First Scinfaxi War. Only Nazi Germany supported the legitimacy of the Italian invasion, and this diplomatic overture served as a major step to creating the modern fascist bloc. The invasion also served to weaken the League of Nations, making international cooperation more difficult during the Virus Crisis. Lastly, the war served to expose Italian troops to the Virus, who returned with it to Europe.
Spanish Civil War
See: Spanish Civil War
The Second Spanish Republic established after the fall of the Bourbon monarchy was extremely unstable, with extremes on both the left and the right threatening to tear the country apart. Civil war came when elements of the Spanish military refused to obey orders from the leftist Spanish government. A variety of organizations coalesced around the warring Republicans and Nationalists, including foreign intervention from Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union. Infighting between the Spanish Republican factions and foreign bombing campaigns in support of the Nationalists brought victory to the Nationalists in 1939, and laid down the foundations of the modern Spanish State.
Course of the War
Initial Landings (1943)
On May 5, 1943, thousands of burning lights were seen across the night sky around the world. This event was initially mistaken for a meteor shower and gave human forces no advance warning of an invasion. Scinfaxi forces landed around the world, with the major waves in Australia, South America, Asia and Africa in areas thick with the spread of their Virus. Minor landings occurred in Southern Europe, Poland, Spain, France and the Midwest of the United States. Contact was quickly lost with any humans around the areas centered around the landing sites, leading to assumptions that the meteors started firestorms. However, rescue and firefighting teams never returned and rumors of attacks by unknown assailants spread throughout the world. The first confirmed footage of Scinfaxi invaders came from Croatia, when German forces recorded several walkers emerging from an impact crater. The footage, while initially believed to be some sort of hoax, was quickly verified from other sites across the world.
As Scinfaxi forces moved quickly from their initial landing sites, attacking any human presence they encountered. Local law enforcement were typically the first to attempt actual resistance against the Scinfaxi, but they were hopelessly outmatched. Military forces were quickly mobilized, but the confusing nature of the situation left these forces completely unprepared to deal with their technologically advanced opponent and all engagements led to catastrophic losses. The political reaction to the invaders was swift. Adolf Hitler announced "imminent threat" in a broadcast across Germany, later revealing that Germany was being invaded by otherwordly forces while Congress granted Franklin D. Roosevelt's request for a declaration of war upon this "inhuman enemy of civilization." Germany, Britain, and Japan quickly followed suit. The League of Nations also "declared war" on the Scinfaxi in an unprecedented ceremony and while declaration itself was ceremonial, it served to unite the entire world in the common purpose of defending itself from invasion. The Second Sino-Japanese War came to an abrupt end, as the warring factions agreed on forming a united front against the aliens.
Military mobilization was uneven throughout the world. With the exception of North Africa, the African quarantine was maintained, and with alien invaders in their very heartlands, the European colonial powers mobilized exclusively to defend their homelands. Colonial forces were left to fend for themselves; few attempts were made to rescue them as transports once dedicated to the evacuation effort were rerouted. North America was hardly militarized. The United States military was smaller than even that of Romania's, as the Americans relied on the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to protect themselves from any threat. The lack of military mobilization on the continent allowed the relatively small Scinfaxi invasion force in North America to cut a swath of destruction through the United States, with almost no resistance.
By contrast, the Asian continent was highly militarized, having been in a state of war during the Scinfaxi invasion with an almost unlimited amount of manpower. While Asia was the home to the largest armies on the planet, they were also ill-equipped, particularly in comparison to the Scinfaxi. Those European colonial forces that could be recalled were sent to defend their homelands, and some colonial militias were also brought in to the fight. The Japanese and the Soviets quickly became the only real hope for effective armed resistance against the Scinfaxi in Asia. Of all the regions on Earth, Europe fared best. Many of the great powers of the time were European, and the geopolitical tensions prior to the Virus Crisis and the Scinfaxi invasion led to major rearmament on the European continent. Germany and the Soviet Union were each ready for war, although even they faced considerable difficulties against the Scinfaxi.
Fall of the Global South (1943-1944)
That the global south would be lost to the Scinfax became clear to most analysts early on in the war. The Scinfaxi directed the majority of their forces against South America, Africa, South Asia and Australia, while local governments in that area were already in a state of anarchy due to the Virus Crisis. Remaining colonial forces in Africa rallied together, and aligned themselves with native warbands; for the moment, nearly all inter-human rivalry was set aside. Many attempts were made throughout the continent to engage the Scinfaxi head-on, but the attacking forces were often destroyed entirely. Following these disasters, efforts were redirected to evade the Scinfaxi, particularly by refugee groups, but given the extent of the Virus's spread across Africa, these efforts were likely futile. Thousands of groups numbering from a few dozen to hundreds of thousands marched northward into the Sahara, where the Virus and Scinfaxi forces were all but absent. What became of these refugees is largely unknown, with some claiming they eventually found refuge in safe areas, while others content they were wiped out entirely.
Local resistance in subsaharan Africa fared poorly. Colonial forces quickly fled much of Africa, recalled by their governments to defend their homelands. The notable exception was South Africa, which had been reinforced during the crisis to provide a continued British presence on the continent. The South Africans refused to leave their homeland to the alien invaders without a fight, and instead turned their efforts to defending civilian refugees as ships fled the country. Capetown was the last city to fall, defended by what was left of British and South African forces below the Zambezi as well as several Australian army units on their way to Canada. Thanks to their efforts, over a million African civilians survived, and their descendants would later form the African Union.
In South America, the relatively small armies of the local nations fared little better than anywhere else. Large swathes of the continent fell to the Scinfaxi, particularly in southern Brazil and Uruguay, where the Scinfaxi landed some of their largest concentrations of machines. Human forces fought rearguard actions against the advancing Scinfaxi, ensuring that port cities had enough time to send refugee craft northward. While much of the fighting in South America ended by 1944, resistance in the Andes continued for some time. Pockets of the Chilean Pacific coast were protected from the bulk of Scinfaxi forces by the Andes, and "refuge trails" were established to move civilians from the occupied territories to these coastal pockets. What remained of the human forces in South America fought against the Scinfaxi defiantly, with what remained of the Peruvian Army voluntarily drawing a major Scinfaxi force deep into the mountains and away from the refuge trails. Radio messages from local forces were received by the United States Navy as late as mid-1948, before suddenly ceasing.
In Central America, Mexican and American forces mobilized hastily to secure a buffer zone between major population centers and the Scinfaxi. These forces were later recalled as the situation in the United States proper deteriorated, but major battles between human and Scinfaxi forces were fought in Central America. Notably, the Pacific and Atlantic fleets of the United States Navy were assigned to defend the Panama Canal, in order to keep much-needed supplies moving between the continents and to prevent Scinfaxi forces in South America from linking with those in North America. The Scinfaxi showed little interest in the canal, indicating a possible unfamiliarity with the importance of oceanic travel. The Scinfaxi finally attacked the Panama Canal in 1945, where they suffered considerable losses at the hands of the US ships. Eventually, the Scinfaxi destroyed the Panama Canal's locks, rendering it useless.
French forces in Indochina were taken by surprise by the massive Scinfaxi invasion force that landed outside of Saigon. French forces in the region quickly realized that fighting a conventional battle against the Scinfaxi would result in defeat after defeat, so they opted instead to fight a guerrilla war alongside the locals. Indochina would fall quickly to the Scinfaxi, with many Vietnamese fleeing to Japanese-held territory. French and Vietnamese forces would continue their guerrilla war for many years to come, aided and supplied by Japanese and American forces. This war seemed to do little to deter the Scinfaxi, which moved the bulk of their forces to China, to fight the more formidable Chinese and Japanese armies.
The most successful retreats were made by groups in North Africa moving into the Middle East. The Middle East was largely untouched by the Virus, and ports in Arabia and the Persian Gulf were still operational and allowed tens of millions to escape to safety. As North African port cities were attacked by advancing Scinfaxi forces, refugees fled eastward through the Suez Canal. British, French, Italian and local Egyptian forces protected the refugees in a fighting retreat, until Scinfaxi forces reached the city of Cairo. The Battle of Cairo would prove to be the bloodiest in the entire African theater, with concentrated human forces scoring several successful hits against the attacking Scinfaxi. Although they were ultimately killed to a man, they were able to halt the Scinfaxi advance for three days, allowing thousands of civilians to flee to waiting ships in the canal. The Canal itself would be destroyed by Scinfaxi, in an apparent attempt to hamper humanity's naval capabilities.
Initial Scinfaxi landings in Europe were minimal compared to much of the rest of the world with most landings occuring in southern Europe. Whether due to Scinfaxi preference for warmer climates or perhaps a general ignorance or disinterest in the relative strength of European powers remained unknown. Whatever the reason, the scattered nature of the Scinfaxi in this region and the relative strength of mankind on the continent gave the European powers a major advantage compared to other theaters across the war.
Nonetheless, the Scinfaxi offensive led to many defeats early on in the war and much of southern Europe was lost in a matter of weeks. The first major fighting occurred in the Balkans, which had been under German and Italian occupation in order to keep the peace during the Virus Crisis. German, Italian and Yugoslavian forces engaged the Scinfaxi, but were hopelessly outmatched. Resistance in the Balkans crumbled quickly, not only due to the overwhelming technological advantage of the Scinfaxi, but also because of the confusion and rivalries among the local armies. Disagreements over the creation of a supreme command destroyed any hopes for a united war effort, leading to confused, disorganized attacks and retreats. Most of the Balkan armies were destroyed utterly, to be absorbed as units of the Germany army later in the war.
Spain and Italy fell quickly, their armies ill-equipped even by modern standards, to say nothing of the advanced Scinfaxi war machine. In March 1943, the Spanish government fell, forcing hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee to France. Scinfaxi forces cut through the disorganized Spanish forces, many of whom continued to fight one another in lingering skirmishes leftover from the civil war. Once the scope of the Scinfaxi threat was fully realized, armed groups in Spain disappeared completely and fled with the civilian population. Italy's government meanwhile was forced to flee Rome, as Scinfaxi forces moved down from the Alps.
The invasion immediately prompted German intervention, as the German High Command rushed to aid their allies. Even the major opponents of the Nazi regime, France and the United Kingdom, joined soon after, realizing that the Scinfaxi were unaware or uninterested in human alliance systems. Scinfaxi offensives tore through defensive lines, forcing retreats further north. Some forces continued guerrilla campaigns in the mountains, taking advantage of apparent Scinfaxi unfamiliarity with alpine warfare. The Battle of the Brenner Pass, fought primarily by Italian and German troops, succeeded in slowing a major Scinfaxi advance into Germany, buying precious time for refugees and defenders.
By September of 1943, the Scinfaxi had reached Budapest in Southern Europe, while the Iberian, Italian and Balkan peninsulas were almost under complete Scinfaxi control. Only scattered pockets of resistance continued to resist in southern Italy, before finally being massacred in Naples that November. Tens of millions of people fled to the United Kingdom and Canada, believing those to be safe havens from the Scinfaxi scourge. France fought a desperate defense in the Pyrenees, taking advantage of the mountainous terrain. By November of 1943, a Scinfaxi breakthrough led to the isolation of the French Army in southern France, causing the breakdown of organized resistance in the country. As the Scinfaxi closed in on Prague, Germany remained the only viable military force in Europe. This was due primarily to Germany having survived the Virus Crisis mostly intact, and because they had more time to prepare for the Scinfaxi invasion. German dictator Adolf Hitler took advantage of this situation. His rhetoric evolved to saving Europe from the alien menace since only Germany was capable of such a gargantuan task. With little choice, other European governments accepted de facto German hegemony, allowing the Wehrmacht into their countries with no opposition. Gradually, the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS would become the core of a pan-European defense force, integrating other units and assuming complete command of any remaining allied armies.
The Soviet Union was the most fortunate of the continental European powers. The only landing in Soviet territory was near Lake Sevan in Armenia, deep in the Caucasus and far from the centers of Soviet economic, political, and military power. Nonetheless, the Soviet leadership was nearly paralyzed during the beginning of the war. Soviet General Secretary Joseph Stalin distrusted the other European powers, and despite the small size of the Scinfaxi invasion force in the Soviet Union, only a small Red Army expedition force was sent to reinforce the Germans and Romanians in Bucharest. This expedition force was destroyed nearly to a man, discouraging the Soviets from sending any more forces to Europe. Instead, the Red Army focused on the Scinfaxi forces in the Caucasus, which were steadily advancing despite the difficult terrain.
The year 1944 proved devastating for humanity in Europe. Tens of millions of refugees fled the continent, primarily for Canada and other free areas. While the Scinfaxi were slowed by the cold winter of 1943-1944, their advance continued by spring. By April 1944, the Scinfaxi broke through German defensive lines in the Balkans and the Red Army suffered numerous defeats in the Caucasus. Scinfaxi forces surged into Poland and the Ukraine, where despite enormous preparations, the Red Army proved no more capable of stopping the advance. The Balkans, Romania, Hungary and Austria were soon under Scinfaxi occupation and the Scinfaxi drive through Poland temporarily divided Germany and the Soviet Union limiting even the small amount of collaboration that had occurred previously. The last pockets of resistance in France were routed and German, French and Benelux forces were forced to retreat behind the Rhine. The British Expeditionary Force, sent in late 1943, was likewise forced to retreat back to the United Kingdom. By June of 1944, the Scinfaxi had reached Leipzig and the German government began evacuating Berlin. In the next month, the Scinfaxi reached the capital, leading to the deaths of Hitler and the majority of the Nazi leadership who had refused to leave. A new German government was formed by Ludwig Beck and Henning von Tresckow, which focused on preventing the Scinfaxi from taking German ports and preventing the continued evacuation of civilians.
The Scinfaxi invasion of Asia exacerbated an already-disastrous humanitarian crisis. To meet the Scinfaxi threat, the Chinese Nationalists, the Chinese Communists, and the Japanese all agree to a ceasefire. The already-battered Chinese and Japanese armies were ill-equipped to fight the alien threat, and although they could muster millions of men at arms, they did little to stop the Scinfaxi advance. Refugees continued to stream into the Soviet Union, despite border guards killing hundreds; most refugees accepted that their chances of surviving were better in Siberia than they were against the Scinfaxi. Japanese naval and aerial bombardment proved more effective than desperate human wave attacks, but they only succeeded in slowing the Scinfaxi.
By the early months of 1944, the Asian front seemed lost. The Japanese retreated their forces into Manchuria, unwilling to spend blood and treasure fighting to retain foreign soil. The Chinese themselves abandoned their homeland in droves, a tens of millions of them poured into the Soviet Union or retreated into the more rugged areas of the Chinese interior. Despite Soviet border guards having orders to shoot the refugees, the sheer size of the border and the refugee wave meant that they were totally ineffective. Many of these refugees perished to the elements, disease or starvation, but their chances of survival were far higher in the Siberian wilderness than they were under Scinfaxi occupation. The Scinfaxi left no survivors, completely eradicating all human life in territories they controlled. Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek pleaded with Stalin to allow more refugees into the Soviet Union, but these initial pleas were rebuffed by the Soviet government, concerned with its own survival first and foremost.
North America (1943-1945)
North America was ill-equipped for war. The United States in particular did not expect any of its traditional rivals capable of conducing an invasion and it's fleets served as the primary deterrent to aggression. While the Americans had planned for numerous war scenarios no serious thought was given to an opponent of superior military strength attacking from the south. These factors, combined with American isolationism, led to the country being unprepared for total war, let alone on its own soil. It is perhaps unsurprising that the United States, while the dominant economic power on the planet, suffered the largest reversals and defeats in the early years of the war.
The bulk of Scinfaxi forces in North America landed in Mexico. American troops rushed into the country in an attempt to stop the Scinfaxi and reinforce the Mexican army, but smaller landings in the American South diverted this response. Nevertheless, it was likely that any joint Mexican-American attempt to keep the Scinfaxi contained was doomed regardless, as Scinfaxi forces cut easily through the all resistance as they had elsewhere. A smaller Scinfaxi force defeated American forces in New Mexico, proceeding eastward to the Gulf of Mexico and cutting off a large portion of the American military. The Scinfaxi then moved to secure all of Mexico now isolated and without relief.
American forces in Mexico were slaughtered, with very few, broken units managing to sneak through the northern line into friendly territory. If nothing else, the sacrifice of so many units bought time for the rest of the American military to properly arm. While the Scinfaxi moved to destroy the Mexican-American pocket, America militarized to a degree unseen in its entire history. The next eleven months showed little from the Scinfaxi's northern advance, apart from a few probing attacks, and the fronts in southeast stabilized. It was not until May of 1944 that the Scinfaxi moved on from Mexico and resumed their advance northward into the United States. This lightning advance was met with defeat after defeat for American forces. The large, conscripted army the Americans raised during the grace period was ill-trained and equipped with weapons used by their grandfathers during the Great War. American war industry had not caught up with demand and Scinfaxi technological superiority meant that little could be done even in ideal conditions. By October 1944, the Scinfaxi already reached the city of Chicago, effectively cutting the country in two. Only the fierce winter at the end of 1944 stopped the Scinfaxi advance from overrunning the entirety of North America.
After the fall of Chicago, General Douglas MacArthur established an "Emergency Government for the States of the Pacific." As Supreme Commander of the Pacific Theater, MacArthur was the highest-ranking official in the western United States at the time. With radio contact between east and west sporadic and transportation lines across Canada unreliable, MacArthur judged that it would be necessary to form this emergency government to coordinate forces stationed in the western half of the country. While initially beset with confusion as to what this emergency government's powers were and what it meant for the future of the country, greater integration between the Army and the Navy led to more effective resistance against the Scinfaxi.
Atomic Bombings (1945-1946)
The development of atomic weapons and their use against the Scinfaxi decisively turned the war in humanity's favor, and is credited with saving the human race from extinction. The detonation of atomic weapons in North America in Europe stopped the Scinaxi advance, not only on those fronts, but the world over. The use of atomic weapons seemed to have a profound effect on the Scinfaxi war strategy, perhaps even their deeper psychology, that ultimately led to their retreat into the quarantine zones.
Atomic weaponry has been theorized since at least 1938, when nuclear fission was discovered by German scientists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann. With fears of global war on the horizon, many theoretical physicists, most famously Albert Einstein, expressed fears that the Greater German Reich would be the first to develop atomic weapons and to use them against their enemies. This warning was heeded by the Americans, who began what would be known as the Manhattan Project in 1940. American President Franklin D. Roosevelt believed that if atomic weaponry were to be developed, it should be in American hands first. The British would later join the American effort. Parallel projects were being pursued in Germany and the Soviet Union, each nation racing to be the first to use the bomb against their enemies.
In a twist of fate, the atomic bomb would never be used against other humans, as intended. The Scinfaxi invasion placed all of mankind under threat of total annihilation. Sworn enemies became allies seemingly overnight, and part of this new sense of unity was cooperation between the various national atomic weapons programs. In the early days of the war, the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and the Soviet Union let it be known to one another that each were pursuing an atomic weapon, and each now planned to use it against the Scinfaxi as soon as one was developed. In the minds of humanity's leaders, atomic weapons were humanity's only hope of surviving the Scinfaxi invasion. A bomb that can level entire Scinfaxi armies would be essential to closing the technological gap between the two combatants. Still, atomic weaponry was a gamble, one that humanity could hardly afford to lose. Precious resources were being devoted to the development of a theoretical weapon, one that might be beyond the technological capabilities of mankind. Thus, it was decided that the great powers would combine their efforts.
A secret meeting was convened in February of 1944 between scientists from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and the Soviet Union, where all of them shared notes in the pursuit of developing an atomic bomb as soon as possible. While unthinkable just a few years ago, these scientists were convinced that atomic weaponry was the key to mankind's survival as a species, and so they set aside their political differences in pursuit of the common goal of survival. Since the joint British-American Manhattan Project had a head start in procurement of materials, it was decided that they would be the first to actually build a bomb. This design, along with the uranium necessary to construct the weapon, would then be shared with the other powers.
The first atomic bomb in history, named Trinity by Manhattan Project head J. Robert Oppenheimer, was constructed in the Chalk River site in Canada, far from Scinfaxi-controlled territory. While Oppenheimer and the other scientists wanted to use Trinity in a test explosion, to ensure that the bomb works, they were overridden by the Pentagon, which wanted to use the first bomb against a Scinfaxi-held target. The Pentagon reasoned that mankind could ill-afford to waste one of its precious wonder weapons in a test. Fears that the bomb would be a dud and fall into Scinfaxi hands were dismissed; those scientists who supported the use of Trinity against a Scinfaxi target argued that a species advanced enough to traverse the stars would not gain any new information from a relatively crude and primitive device. A target was chosen: the occupied city of Chicago.
Two flights of B-29 bombers left Canada on the morning of October 3rd, 1945. The first flight carried out weather reconnaissance, and confirmed clear skies over Chicago. The second flight carried Trinity to its final destination. The lead plane, aptly named Necessary Evil, dropped Trinity over Chicago on 9:18 AM. In an instant, half of the city and much of the Scinfaxi occupying force disappeared. Reaching several thousand degree temperatures and having an explosive force equal to twenty thousand tons of TNT, the seemingly invincible Scinfaxi war machines were vaporized. Post-war studies also revealed that Trinity scoured Chicago of the Virus completely, as the Virus reacts extremely negatively to the gamma radiation produced by an atomic explosion.
The hours and days immediately after the Chicago bombing were met with trepidation. Some scientists expressed fear that the Scinfaxi would react to the atomic bomb with their own bombs, doubtless more advanced and numerous than those mankind possessed. Others believed that the Scinfaxi would react violently and double their attacks. Yet others believed that the Scinfaxi would flee Earth, on the basis that they do not want to live on an irradiated world. A retaliatory strike never occurred. Instead, the Scinfaxi advance worldwide came to a grinding halt, a behavior not exhibited by the Scinfaxi since their arrival. Some theorized that the Scinfaxi were somehow unaware of atomic weaponry and were taken by surprise; others contended that the Scinfaxi were well aware of the principles of atomic weapons, but were surprised that humans developed one so quickly. Whatever the reason, Trinity did what no other force on Earth could: it stopped the Scinfaxi.
Counteroffensive and Retreat (1945-1946)
In late November of 1945, two more atomic bombs were dropped in North America, both in Tennessee. The two bombs, Little Boy and Fat Man, were detonated not over city targets, but over large formations of Scinfaxi war machines. Both bombs destroyed the Scinfaxi forces completely, and led to mass virus die-offs in the immediate area. These detonations were followed by yet another interesting development: Scinfaxi forces throughout the entire continent began to retreat.
The Scinfaxi retreat was universal, seemingly with no thought put into various local situations. Some American units reported that Scinfaxi forces which they were barely holding back suddenly stopped during the detonation of the Trinity bomb, and marched southward after the detonations of Little Boy and Fat Man. At first human forces tried to take advantage of this retreat by cutting off tendrils of advance, but this later proved unwise as the Scinfaxi fought fanatically to break out of these pockets to continue southward. Later, the humans allowed the Scinfaxi to retreat, only attacking isolated stragglers. Bombing runs were made over Scinfaxi forces, as were bluff attacks mimicking another atomic strike; while the Americans no longer had any atomic bombs available to drop, military planners believed it was important to make the Scinfaxi think that another strike was imminent. The Germans detonated their own weapon in Reims, France, while the Soviets detonated theirs in Olsztyn, Poland. The human forces turned their efforts to civilian relief, repair of immediately needed infrastructure, and to destroying the Scinfaxi virus. To their surprise, the Scinfaxi virus was dying off on its own, an effect later attributed to the spread of radioactive isotopes through the environment.
As the Scinfaxi retreated, human forces moved in. Specialized teams cleaned up Virus infestation, and safe zones established for the millions of people displaced by the war. By June of 1946, the Scinfaxi retreated far enough that contact between the United States and MacArthur's Pacific government was reestablished. By August that same year, Soviet and German forces succeeded in clearing almost all of continental Europe of the Scinfaxi. With the bulk of Scinfaxi forces now well into the southern hemisphere, the stragglers became easy pickings. American and Canadian troops mopped up the last remaining pockets of resistance in Kansas and Missouri, and a large pitched battle in southern Spain between Scinfaxi and German forces ended the Scinfaxi presence in Europe. By November of 1946, Canadian and American troops reached the former Mexican border, and the coastal towns of North Africa were retaken from the Scinfaxi. The Red Army liberated China, and Stalin integrated it into the Soviet Union.
Attempts by the humans to push the Scinfaxi further south were met with fanatical resistance. It seemed as if the Scinfaxi drew a line across the planet a few degrees above the Tropic of Cancer, and refused to give up any more territory. These warmer climes allowed the Virus to proliferate and acclimate to Earth's environment, becoming deadlier than it had been in the beginning of the war. The invading humans found this out the hard way: human troops found themselves in an alien environment, where the air itself could be deadly. Food and water had to be shipped in via long supply lines, which proved vulnerable to Scinfaxi attack. Nothing could be scavenged from the toxic environment. As winter turned to spring, and then summer, it became clear that while humanity was safe in the northern latitudes, the south belonged to the Scinfaxi.
The human powers ceased major offensives on July 30, 1947, widely considered to be the de facto end of the war. While some wanted to wipe the Scinfaxi off the face of the Earth, it was clear to most that this was an impossible task. Resources and effort going into retaking Scinfaxi territory were better off assisting the millions of civilians that were needed to rebuild the ruins of Earth's once-great civilizations. Soldiers were tired of war, and while they were willing to sacrifice all to fight for survival, they were ready to accept the loss of much of the planet in exchange for peace in those portions already liberated. Some leaders feared that continued offensives against the Scinfaxi may rouse them to a counterattack, one which humanity could not stop. Then, there was the practical reality that the most realistic plans for total human victory required the use of dozens of atomic weapons, when at present, no human power possessed any nuclear weapons.
Thus, the great stalemate began. Human forces would send scouting parties into Scinfaxi territory, but they would never get far before being destroyed by Scinfaxi defenses. This activity would continue for over a century, until the Second Scinfaxi War ended the human presence on Earth altogether.
The devastation wrought by the First Scinfaxi War was unparalleled in human history. Over 650,000,000 people - nearly a third of the pre-war global population - were dead, missing or behind Scinfaxi lines by the end of the war. The surviving nations were devastated by Scinfaxi attack, occupation, and human counter-attacks. Five cities had been destroyed by nuclear weapons, countless more bombed to oblivion. Entire villages, infested with the Virus, had to be put to the torch. What industry and agriculture did remain had been geared for total war, and transition to a peacetime economy would prove difficult.
Of the surviving great powers, the island nation of Britain fared best. The Scinfaxi never directly invaded Great Britain, so their cities and infrastructure remained largely intact, if damaged by Virus infestation. The United Kingdom led the effort to rebuild Europe and North America. Believing that Western civilization will hang together or hang separately, the British dedicated their wartime industries to producing consumer goods to assist their American and European neighbors. The United States, which was heavily damaged but still an economic powerhouse, contributed to the effort. President Harry Truman agreed to the Marshall Plan, allocating twenty five billion dollars to match the British efforts to rebuild the West. During this time, Hugh Dalton, British foreign secretary, proposed the Atlantic Charter, a mutual defense treaty between democratic Western states and the precursor to the Democratic Federation.
The Soviet Union was heavily damaged during the war, but its gains after the war were more than enough to compensate. On Stalin's orders, much of Soviet industry in Europe had been moved behind the Urals and Siberia, where they were far from Scinfaxi control. The centralized command economy of the Soviet Union also allowed it to marshal large pools of labor and dedicate them to particular causes, in this case, the reconstruction of the European portions of the Soviet Union. A series of Five Year Plans were proposed to rebuild and modernize the Soviet Union, plans which met many of their goals. Within a decade, the Soviet Union became one of the economic powerhouses of Earth.
Germany fared well during the war, but this is largely relative to its neighbors. The German Reich was heavily damaged by the fighting, but it remained a coherent state with strong organizational capabilities. This, along with the presence of the Wehrmacht across Europe, meant the Germans were the only force on the continent with any ability to rebuild. Europe was rebuilt in the image of the German Reich, and while its resources were plundered in order to help Germany first, the Germans did contribute to the reconstruction of the occupied territories. This allowed Germany to be the master of Europe, and become one of the human superpowers into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Five great powers – the United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and the Empire of Japan – survived the war and dominated human geopolitics. Smaller countries, such as Spain, France, and the Pacific States, were closely aligned with one of the five great powers, and relied on them for defense.
The United States and United Kingdom remained close allies after the war. The Atlantic Charter evolved into the United Nations, an organization which included the French Republic and the Pacific States of America. Gradually, the United Nations would expand in size and grow from a unified military alliance to a genuine federation, becoming the Democratic Federation.
The Soviet Union was geopolitically isolated and surrounded in the aftermath of the war. German-Soviet relations cooled significantly as the Scinfaxi threat abated, as did the Soviet Union’s relationship with Japan. The Soviets directly integrated those states under their control – eastern Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Mongolia and mainland China – as Soviet Socialist Republics. Attempts to expand the Soviet Union’s influence further into Europe were stymied by the resurgent German Reich, which would serve as the Soviet Union’s primary geopolitical rival throughout most of its history.
Germany emerged as the dominant power in continental Europe. Most post-war governments in German-occupied Europe – with the exception of France, Spain and Italy, – were subsumed into the German Reich itself. National Socialist rule would decay after the death of Himmler, as a succession of weak “half-Fuhrers” gradually granted more power to military leaders at the expense of the NSDAP. During the immediate aftermath of the war, Germany made few attempts to cooperate with the West and the Soviets, but these efforts were ultimately fruitless due to irreconcilable geopolitical and ideological disagreements.
As an island nation, the Empire of Japan’s Home Islands remained intact, the only great power to survive the conflict unscathed. However, Japan’s military was exhausted, and only the fear of Scinfaxi invasion kept local populations from openly rebelling. With the British Empire broken and the Pacific States concerned more with its North American holdings, the Japanese were the dominant power in East Asia and the Pacific. Therefore, they were the only credible defense against the Scinfaxi. Owing to Japan’s distance from the other global centers of power, the Japanese pursued a policy of disregarding the wishes of the other great powers.
The entire Southern Hemisphere, the entirety of Africa and South America, and sizable portions of the Asian mainland, remained under the control of the Scinfaxi. Attempts to reclaim territory by the surviving powers proved futile, as Scinfaxi defenses were impossible to overcome without an impermissibly large force commitment. As the Scinfaxi virus gradually altered the environment of the occupied territories, reclamation attempts were abandoned.
Advances in Technology
The important role of technology in the First Scinfaxi War cannot be overstated, as it was human ingenuity, in the form of the atomic bomb, that ultimately forced the Scinfaxi to the Southern Hemisphere and saved mankind from extinction. The necessities of the war forced tremendous technological advances, which later reaped massive dividends for the battered human race. These most apparently came in the form of military technology that was later repurposed for civilian use. Radar, computers, jet engines and nuclear energy are but few wartime technologies that later improved civilian life. The Scinfaxi virus, and the Earth-based diseases that plagued mankind during the war, led to major advances in medical technology. Modern antivirus and antibacterial medication was developed in response to wartime need.
Incidentally, Scinfaxi technology itself played only a minor role in human technological advances. Scinfaxi technology was, and in many cases still is, far too advanced and alien for human science and engineering to understand. The hive nature of Scinfaxi intelligence belies the need for technical manuals and blueprints, giving human engineers no opportunity to reverse engineer Scinfaxi technology from schematics, and there was and is no known means of communicating abstract concepts to the Scinfaxi. Scinfaxi technology served as an inspiration and as proofs of concept for humans, which later emulated these technologies based on their scientific and technological knowledge. By observing Scinfaxi technology in action, human scientists and engineers knew that space travel was feasible and survivable. Combined with the necessity of spreading humanity beyond Earth, the mere arrival of the Scinfaxi proved a necessary catalyst to promote human space travel.
The First Scinfaxi War considerably changed the perspective of mankind. There was solid proof that mankind was not alone in the universe, and that there existed hostile intelligences far more advanced than humanity. The Scinfaxi were one threat, but it was unlikely that they were the only other intelligent beings in the universe. The human race was no longer safe in the universe, and at any moment the hard-fought victory could be swept away if Scinfaxi reinforcements arrive or if another alien species attacks Earth. If it wanted to survive, humanity had to escape from Earth and colonize the stars.
The Scinfaxi invasion also opened opportunities once thought impossible. It was possible to send objects beyond a planet's gravity well, and living organisms could survive both escape from a planet's gravity and travel from space. If the Scinfaxi could develop technological means to travel through space, then so could humanity.
The First Scinfaxi War also fostered a sense of human unity and cooperation that was unheard of prior to the war. While the human powers were prepared to go to war with one another prior to the Scinfaxi invasion, they cooperated closely in the face of extinction. Propaganda from all sides depicted humanity as a united brotherhood, which will live together or die together. The League of Nations was given immense power in the immediate post-war years, leading some to believe that the age of the independent nation-state was over. Ultimately, this optimism and sense of unity would be short-lived.