The Silent War refers to a period of geopolitical tension and proxy conflicts between the International Republican Coalition (IRC), led by Russia, and the Organization of Democratic Nations (ODN), led by Great Britain. This era emerged in the aftermath of the Great War (1935-1939) and has shaped the global political landscape, with nations aligning themselves with either the IRC or ODN. Although direct military confrontation between the two superpowers was avoided, the Silent War saw numerous proxy conflicts, such as the Algerian-Numidian War and the East Indies Crisis, where the IRC and ODN supported opposing factions to further their respective interests and ideologies.
The roots of the Silent War can be traced back to the Great War (1935-1939), which led to a reshaping of the world order and the emergence of Russia and Great Britain as the dominant global powers.
The Silent War traces its origins to the aftermath of the Great War (1935-1939), which left Europe divided into pro-Russian and pro-British spheres of influence. The Russian-led International Republican Coalition (IRC) and the British-led Organization of Democratic Nations (ODN) emerged as the two predominant global alliances, each promoting their respective ideologies: national republicanism and liberal democracy.
Russia, and National Republicanism, and the IRC
Russia espouses National Republicanism (also sometimes known as Vosstanism). It is a radical republican ideology that emphasizes civic nationalism, national autarky, and anti-mercantilism. It seeks to promote the interests of a particular nation by opposing corporate and monarchical institutions. The International Republican Coalition, led by Russia, operates on these principles, promoting regional stability, mutual defense, and defending the interests of its member states against perceived external threats, such as western imperialism. The IRC supports authoritarian governments and is associated with a more centralized, state-driven approach to governance.
The Organization of Democratic Nations
The Organization of Democratic Nations (ODN), on the other hand, is composed mainly of liberal democracies, including former colonies and post-colonial states, emphasizing democratic governance, human rights, and individual freedoms, led by Great Britain. It seeks to maintain stability and security in the international community through diplomatic means and military defense when necessary, promoting the idea of collective security and cooperation among member states.
This period of geopolitical rivalry, although not resulting in direct large-scale warfare, has shaped international relations and global politics for decades, with both sides working to advance their interests and undermine those of the other.
From 1940-1950, the world witnessed numerous proxy conflicts and political shifts, such as the Russian reorganization of Alyeska into an autonomous National Republic, the Lima-Belem conspiracy in South America, and the founding of the International Republican Coalition. With the British Empire and Russia vying for influence worldwide, regions like central Europe, Asia, and Africa experienced unrest and power struggles. The Organization of Democratic Nations was formed in response to the IRC, and minor alliances such as the Pacific Rim Security Treaty were established. The decade also saw the rise of decolonization movements, culminating in the Indian War of Independence from the National Republic of Jambu and various African nations being granted independence from Britain.
The development and possession of nuclear weapons played a significant role in the balance of power between Britain and Russia. In the early 1950s, Britain conducted its first public nuclear weapons test, showcasing its capability and serving as a deterrent against potential Russian aggression. This show of force influenced Russia's decision to refrain from attacking Japan during a tense period of conflict. By 1954, Russia also acquired practical nuclear bombs, further escalating the potential consequences of any direct confrontation between the two superpowers. The presence of nuclear weapons on both sides contributed to an atmosphere of caution and a preference for engaging in proxy wars and diplomatic maneuvering rather than direct military conflict.
From 1950 to 1965, the Silent War saw the establishment of new alliances, decolonization, and proxy wars. The Association of North American Nations (ANAN) was founded to promote regional cooperation in North America, while Genoa and Corsica underwent revolutions. Decolonization efforts resulted in the creation of multiple new states, including the Dominion of the East Indies and the Sultanate of Dar Runga. Conflicts such as the Numidian-Algerian War War, the Russo-Persian War, and the Austrian Civil War highlighted the ongoing power struggles between Britain and Russia, with their respective allies taking sides. Additionally, Japan's Dirty War saw the repression of National Republicans and the rise of the Emperor's popularity.
The 1960s and 1970s saw a string of nuclear disasters around the world, such as the Krasnoyarsk Meltdown (1958) in Russia and the Bradwell-on-Sea Meltdown (1967) in England, and especially the Kemo Nuclear Disaster in Corea (1971), which impacted not only Corea, but also its neighbors, triggering to the Great Nuclear Scare. This subsequently led to the 1970s Global Oil Crisis, which saw increased oil prices. The situation was exacerbated when several Near Eastern nations with anti-British inclinations nationalized their oil industries and formed the Eastern Joint Development Organization (EJDO), challenging Britain's economic and political dominance.
Major proxy conflicts
Wars between sovereign nations
British ports' surrender in China (1942)
In 1942, China initiated a blockade on several British treaty ports, including Shanghai, Ningpo, Taichow, and Foochow, effectively cutting them off from the rest of the world. The Chinese demanded the surrender of these cities and began a large-scale military buildup in the surrounding areas. As tensions mounted and supplies dwindled, the British ports, against orders from Europe, decided to surrender collectively. Control of the ports was subsequently transferred to the Chinese military.
Numidian-Algerian War (1957-1958)
The Algerian-Numidian War was a conflict that took place between the newly decolonized nations of Algeria and Numidia in the late 1950s, during the broader context of the Silent War. The war began shortly after both countries gained independence from Britain in 1955, fueled by territorial disputes, historical grievances, and the influence of competing global powers. The conflict was characterized by a series of skirmishes and border clashes that ultimately resulted in the establishment of an Algerian-Numidian Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in 1958.
Russo-Persian War (1960-1963)
A significant conflict over oil and fishing rights in the Caspian Sea, that ends with a Russian victory. The war led to the creation of the pro-Russian National Republic of Tabarestan, carved out of the northern region of Persia, bordering the Caspian Sea.
Insurgencies, rebellions, or civil wars
Rise of National Republics
National Republican parties around the world took power in countries experiencing political instability or pro-independence movements, they aligned with Russian interests, creating a more polarized world and intensifying the Silent War between the major powers. At the founding of the International Republican Coalition (IRC) in 1941, there were 13 nations that described themselves as "National Republican." By 1965, that number grew to 31, more than double the number of founding members of the IRC.
Peruvian Civil War (1944-1963)
The Peruvian Civil War (1944-1963) erupted as a result of economic hardships, political instability, and the rise of National Republican ideology in Peru. The conflict involved the Peruvian National Republic, led by General Pedro Velasco, fighting against the Loyalist forces supporting the monarchy. After years of warfare, internal struggles, and declining foreign support, the Nationalists' resistance crumbled, allowing the Loyalists to reclaim control over most of the country.
Thirteen Days War (1942)
The thirteen days war was a military conflict between the National Republic of Rumelia (supported by Russia) and Hellas (supported by Britain). Despite its short duration, the conflict was characterized by rapid military movements and fierce skirmishes, ultimately resulting in a population exchange between Greece and Turkey to resolve the underlying ethnic tensions.
Kampuchean Civil War (1946-1949)
A civil conflict in Southeast Asia, where the National Republic of Thaitania supported a National Republican rebellion in the Kingdom of Kampuchea to overthrow the monarchy, eventually leading to intervention by Viet-Nam and Britain. The civil war saw a victory for the royalist faction of Kampuchea.
Indian War of Independence (1948)
Russo-Japanese port crisis (1950s) and the Japanese Dirty War (1957)
Russia had ruled over the treaty ports of Idzu and Maizuru since the 19th century. During the Great War, Russia persuaded Japan to fight alongside them against Corea. In exchange, Russia promised to cede Idzu and Maizuru back to Japan. However, after victory was achieved in 1939, Russia reneged on their promises. Negotiations between the two nations stalled throughout the 1940s. Japan, tired of waiting, sought military means to seize control of the ports. In 1952, Japan launched a military operation to annex Idzu and Maizuru, much to Russia's chagrin. Russia was hesitant to launch a counter-attack since Britain had assured Japan's defense in the event of war. In the following years, a strong anti-National Republican sentiment would rise in Japan, leading to the Japanese Dirty War in 1957. National Republicans, even those only suspected, are arrested. Internment camps are established to detain Russians. Mass censorship ensues and state-sponsored terrorism grew rampant. Despite this, the Japanese Emperor’s popularity continues to grow.
East Indies Crisis (1960+)
The East Indies Crisis involved the Netherlands fighting pro-independence Soenda rebels in the former Dutch East Indies. This conflict saw the Russia and the International Republican Coalition (IRC) supporting the rebels, while the Organization of Democratic Nations (ODN) backed the Netherlands.