In this series I attempt to change the course of world history in Hearts of Iron IV by turning the United States of America into a communist powerhouse of the 30s and 40s. There’s no telling what will happen when the Second World War kicks off and how my new nation will cope.
I’ve already altered the political scene in the US by kicking out Franklin Roosevelt in favour of Earl Browder, leader of the American Communist Party. Now I move to cement my control in North America.
“We cannot, and will not, accept the dominion of imperialistic empires over nations that should, by rights, be free!”
- Earl Browder, General Secretary’s Address to the Nation, March 1938
Two things happen after the Communist States of America (CSA) announces its birth to the world. The first is the re-invigorated workforce of the the American people doubling their efforts, effectively sending the country’s materiel production into overdrive. The second is Canada crapping its pants. Mere days after the announcement, Canadian troops are flooding to their southern border, ringing the Great Lakes with divisions on standby.
The dockyards of the US continue to pump out more and more ships. The coasts of the country are patrolled steadily by great armadas of naval power, bristling with heavy guns and loaded with countless aircraft. On the mainland, Dwight D. Eisenhower, now a stalwart general of the American Red Army, arrays his troops along the Canadian border to put an even greater fright to our northern neighbours.
The sleeping giant is now truly beginning to awaken, due in no small part to a hefty trade deal conducted between the CSA and the Soviet Union. Factories across the country are being collectivised and industrial output surges as a result. ‘Uncle’ Joe Stalin - as he is now known to the American people - is unfathomably pleased with the news, declaring Comrade Browder a hero of the people and granting him an honorary Hero of the Soviet Union award. Browder, not one to be outdone, reciprocates by sending a specialised hammer and sickle Medal of Honour back to the Soviet leader.
As 1938 rolls around, I work on a new set of National Focus goals aimed squarely at annoying Great Britain. The US has a number of “War Plans” at the start of Hearts of Iron IV that range from the historically accurate (war with Japan and Germany) to the ahistorical, yet more exciting, alternatives (war with the Soviet Union, alliances with Hitler, invading the UK’s colonies). The latter is one I’m very interesting in pursuing. There are few nations out there can match the naval power that the CSA is currently producing, but Great Britain is one of them. If I can wear away her Royal Navy then I will be unmatched at sea.
Things are moving nicely in Canada. Without attracting attention, special units of the Communist States’ secret service have infiltrated The Great White North and begun sowing the seeds of communism. As 1938 turns into 1939 Canada is facing the prospect of a communist revolution in its midst. What's more, the CSA’s raw recruits raised over the last year have been sent to garrison the western seaboard. I put a pugnacious general named George S. Patton in charge of them and draw up some (preliminary at this stage) lines of advance into the weakly-defended side of Canada.
Imperial Japan continues its advance through China, now occupying more than half of the ailing Republic. I send my Pacific Fleet, numbering some 200 vessels, to patrol around the South China Sea in a show of power to the Japanese in case they start looking towards Hawaii. The CSA’s technological advancement continues unabated - the military is now a full year ahead of its time. Hearts of Iron IV gives factions hefty penalties for researching technology ahead of time to keep things fair, yet the advisors and manufacturing deals I’ve procured are giving the CSA enough of a bonus to even negate these penalties.
In Europe everything is progressing along the usual historical lines. Hitler has annexed Austria and marched into Czechoslovakia without France or the United Kingdom doing anything. The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact has been signed and it looks like the newly-formed German Reich will find no enemies from its eastern frontiers. As the days tick forward to September 1939 I’m eagerly awaiting the spark that lights the global fires of war. Then it happens: Hitler marches the Wehrmacht into Poland and the Second World War kicks off. Of course, it’s not the Second World War yet. It’s just the Germano-Polish war at this stage.
The denunciation of Great Britain and its colonial ideals has left a great impression with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. What had once been seen as a grand alliance in the making - between an old empire and a rising one - has soured into name-calling and mudslinging. The American people are by now fully indoctrinated into the utopian ideals of communism. The CSA model has its differences with the Russian one. Free trade is encouraged and still flows between America and Europe. Political freedoms are pronounced, though the Communist Party has the rather irregular support of 98% of the population. An enormous mural of Comrade Browder is hefted over Times Square, fluttering in the Autumn breeze.
France and the United Kingdom honour their agreement to Poland and finally realise that sending strongly-worded letters to the Fuhrer is not working as well as they intended. Both declare war on the German Reich, sparking a number of skirmishes across the entirety of the Maginot Line. A few weeks later Germany invades Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg and Holland, bypassing the French defences and plunging towards Paris.
Meanwhile, across the border from Canada, Eisenhower notices Canadian troops melting away from their posts. A few days later the news is brought to Comrade Browder in the Oval Office. A communist revolution has erupted in Montreal. Quebecers, in a glorious re-imagining of their revolutionary forefathers in France, have taken arms against a government they don’t recognise as legitimate. Quebec is in open rebellion and immediately volunteer troops from Eisenhower’s army are sent across the border in secret to help them against a flailing Canadian army.
Slowly but surely I’ve been beefing up the CSA’s armed forces ready for the titanic clash to come. It is almost time for me to press the button that justifies war upon Canada, the United Kingdom and democratic fools the world over. In one final show of unity Joe Stalin and Earl Browder sign a pact that unites the Communist States of America with the Soviet Union - the two are now the superpowers of the Comintern and will back each other to the hilt in the event of war. A war that is around the corner. With Great Britain backed into a corner by Hitler, it’s time for America to liberate the colonies it so doggedly holds on to.