The Great Patriotic War and You was first published on Vladimir's CN-forum blog on the 9th of December and later posted on the forums on the 14th of December as a response to various debates that had flared up among the community. It sought to provide an objective account of the war from start to finish and from this determine what the true outcome was.
The Great Patriotic War and YouEdit
A Crisis of MemoryEdit
After nearly 30 months it seems that this one war remains the most intriguing of them all. For the old League mob and their younger patriots it is the glimmer of hope that the Order isn't invincible, while for the Orders it is the moment when they faced down the entire world and came out triumphant.
The accepted result of this war seems to move in circles. Immediately after the Great Patriotic War, with the Orders on radio silence, it became common sense among the opposing side that the Orders had lost—though this belief was constantly shaken as the Orders advanced far ahead of the former coaluetion alliances in economic, military and diplomatic matters. After the First War of Retribution, with the Order back on the forums and the return to active duty of some of its formerly absent political leaders, common sense shot back to the opposite side, and it was accepted by everyone (or at least, few challenges were made to the point) that the war had been either a stalemate of a victory for the Order. More recently it appears that we have finally reached the synthesis, as political affiliation rather than historical fact dictates who won the war.
Given this we could take a fascinating look at the evolution of accepted history and the role that the hegemonic military/culture of the day plays in it. But perhaps another time; today it is more important to set straight the events of the war and bring a little more historical accuracy to the debate. Rather than argue from a perspective, linking in the logical conclusions and demonstrating my own point or view, I will instead give a brief overview of exactly what occurred and then place forward my opinion, thus allowing the reader to develop their own unimpeded.
It is important first of all to give some context leading up to the war. At that time on Planet Bob the hegemony was the Orders, with their ally Legion playing a passive role (assumed ready to back up the Orders if they were attacked). Outside of this small group the Orders were despised for a catalogue of historical (wars), political ('arrogance'), and emotional (being the one at the top, amongst other things) reasons. Both a cause and a consequence of this is that the Orders were largely isolationist.
The many alliances of the world that hated the Orders made numerous attempts to sabotage them, often resulting in war (ODN, NAAC, ICSN, ICP, to name a few). But while these wars made individual alliances impotent for a period of time, it was clear to the Pacifican hierarchy that their relative strength was declining—while growing much faster than any individual alliance, and faster than all alliances combined in percentage growth, the absolute strength of their would-be enemies was advancing due to sheer numbers to a stage where the Orders would not be able to defend themselves against a concentrated attack. It was disturbing therefore when they also recognised a growing confidence in these alliances to unite with each other for various reasons (although the incompetence of the alliances in question and the skill of the Orders' diplomats slowed it considerably).
We can therefore see the context in which the war kicked off, with the potential enemies of the Order becoming strong enough to challenge the hegemony if only they had the confidence to unite, and with that confidence slowly growing as the political dots began to connect.
History shows that the Orders didn't act on the alarm bells, primarily due to their confidence in Legion (who hadn't openly succumbed to anti-Pacifican propaganda like GATO) to defend them from an unprovoked attack—and indeed, if they had, then the oncoming war would have been a relatively easy victory for this group. Had time gone on as it was, it is difficult to believe that the Orders would have allowed themselves to be surpassed so easily, but it was at this point that history threw a curve ball.
On a slow night Yaridovich infamously posted his slasher-pornographic stories about various members of the Planet Bob community, among them a particularly ugly one about a female member of the IGC. Yaridovich was promptly banned and the world should have moved on, but it was the reaction among LUE that got to the Orders and many others (notably GATO and ODN as we shall see later). With the thread in question removed from the forum, it was rehosted on the LUE server and their IRC chatroom was abuzz with excitement among both regular and government members as they passed it around. Not one of them stood up to condemn the event until after their fate became clear, and those who joined the channel to complain were promptly banned. To members of the community this was something new, and they reacted with disgust. A room of ODN, GATO, NPO and NpO officials quickly sprung up where LUE was condemned on all sides and an agreement was unanimously reached to punish them militarily. One particularly demonstrative quote from Chris Kaos (soon to be a chief negotiator for the coaluetion and condemning the 'imperialism' of the Orders' attack) went: "what you do is you knock them down and keep them down and then refuse to acknowledge their existance whilst holding them down." Things were set in motion, and without dissent the conclusion was reached: LUE would be attacked for their conduct by a combined force including many alliances from across Planet Bob.
So solid was this conclusion that the then NPO Regent, Vladimir, left the events without concern or a second thought. It wasn't until he returned a few hours later that he would find the political situation in turmoil and his nation in nuclear anarchy. So what happened between these two times? The answer lies in two events.
The first occurred when Tygaland, attempting to discuss matters with LUE, was repeatedly kicked and banned from their IRC channel while they continued the festivities brought on by Yaridovich's thread. The culmination of events throughout the night led eventually to Tygaland unilaterally launching a nuclear strike against LUE without warning the other allies. With LUE launching a response against both the NpO and the NPO (from my position at the time I know that the NPO would have joined the war regardless, but as a point of fact it is important to remember that LUE attacked first), the war had begun.
The second event lay in the Covenant of the Lost, which revealed itself at this time. The President of GATO, it turned out, was a spy, working for a group that had members in the Legion, ODN and NPO governments. After discussion with her colleague in Legion, President Yoda, instead of siding with the Orders as promised, instead launched an all out attack against the NPO. The Orders were able to deal with both of these alliances with ease, with strategic discussions within the Orders at he time not even bothering to discuss post-war damage, as it was believed it would be so minimal. However, with the anti-Order sentiment rife throughout many alliances on Planet Bob, GATO's attack proved to be the spur of confidence that was required. One after another, dozens of alliances declared against the Orders and the forums went ablaze with anticipation that the time had finally come for the Orders to fall (though this anticipation took on an unsavoury form and the forums had to be taken offline for the first time in their history, after numerous warnings, suspensions and bannings failed to calm the members of the newly forming coaluetion). But still the Orders managed to hold strong without losing much ground.
What concerned them, however, were reports that two of the larger alliances, the ODN and NAAC, were considering joining the war against them. To head off this threat high ranking Pacifican officials approached their allies, Legion, to discuss their position, which was assumed to be strong after the not-insignificant damage recently taken on Legion's behalf defending them from WSA. Sure enough, and true to their word, Legion promised to join the war. But as time passed by and they remained quiet they were approached again, and this time decided that it would be better to use the threat of their force to prevent NAAC and the ODN from joining—stating that if either did, then so would Legion. This threat proved toothless, and both alliances joined that night to no response. Pacifican officials continued to approach Legion and continued to receive assurances that they would join the war 'tomorrow'.
Despite the entrance of the ODN and NAAC, along with many more smaller alliances, the Orders managed to maintain their position, and, while the entrance of the ODN was placing more pressure at the top, Pacifican strategists continued to predict a relatively painless victory to great cost for the attacking alliances. In this period there was a lot of negotiation, but none that went to achieving a resolution. What came out of them were a number of 24 hour ceasefires, each unilaterally broken by the newly formed coaluetion just before update in an attempt to gain the advantage. But ultimately, if they were to win this war, they needed more fire-power.
It was at this point that the Covenant came back into the picture. Frustrated by Legion's continued promises to enter the war and subsequent failures to do so, a couple of Council members vented their feelings in a private room, with one member of the War Council even shouting for war against them after this one had ended. Of course, this member was shouted down and the Emperor made it clear, even in this private discussion, that no retribution would be sought against Legion. But the damage was done. One member of the Alliance Council in that room was a member of the Covenant and forwarded the conversation to his co-conspirators, who, sensing the opportunity, edited them and provided them to Legion's ruling group. With the pushing of the Minister of Intelligence (who was a member of the Covenant) and the underlying anti-Pacifican that had hitherto remained hidden, Legion resolved to attack the Orders that night.
Through a series of bureaucratic blunders by the Legion elite, the Pacifican hierarchy quickly found out about the war and approached Legion about it, only to be met with denial after denial and a general refusal to discuss the matter. In an effort to prevent the escalation, the Order even sought out and provided evidence that both GATO and LUE were actively spying on Legion. Sure enough the members were kicked out, but it was only the Orders who were attacked.
There is no denying that this was a blow to the Orders. Legion's presence in the top ranks, and with their nations thus far untouched by the war, provided the strategic fire-power necessary for the coaluetion to make a go of it. Unsurprisingly, the coaluetion cut off all negotiations at this point, refusing any suggestion of discussion with the Orders. Their earlier impotent demands of the Orders disbanding to them now seemed a foregone conclusion, and discussion was redundant. This was undoubtedly an optimistic view of the situation. While the coalition had a massive number advantage and now had the numbers at the top to try and ram them home, they still lacked the organisation and experience of the Orders, and while many on the political side of the Order could barely see for the thick pessimism hanging over them (to the extent that the Regent was at one point attacked by a member of the Council as unrealistic simply for attempting to move forward on organising the war effort), the military side maintained that the war was winnable even if all alliances continued fighting [a massive nuclear assault was lined up against Legion for the day after they left the war and their exit proved an ambivalent experience for a number of military commanders].
This carried on for a couple of days, with the battle looking relatively even to the impartial bystander, but the Orders were hard at work negotiating privately with individual alliances so as to gain the clear advantage. It wasn't long before they had convinced both Legion and the ODN (the two alliances causing them the most military trouble due to their top-heavy numbers) to leave the war. This was a massive psychological as well as military blow for the coaluetion, and this is reflected even today in the attitude of many towards the two alliances. But at the time it was fear rather than anger that occupied their minds. With these two alliances leaving independently and without notice, many began to consider that others would do likewise, and no one wanted to be the last one at war (the last one who may not receive a peace—a situation ruthlessly exploited by Pacifican propaganda). So it was that following the departure of the ODN and Legion there began a trickle and then a flood of smaller alliances leaving the war, many of them offering surrenders as a way of doing so; something that the Orders refused in favour of straight white peace in order to encourage the flood. This grew to such an extent that at one point almost the entire first page of the Open World Forum was made up of alliances trying to escape the war and apologising to the Orders.
With this new reality revealed the Orders' negotiators were now able to open each negotiation with the number of coaluetion alliances that had tried to surrender that day, thus highlighting the rapidly weakening bargaining position of those remaining; and more than once a negotiator was heard replying to a demand with 'do you think this is yesterday?'. Where the coaluetion had first demanded unconditional disbandment of both Orders, and then even refused to enter talks, before going back to the original demand after Legion and the ODN left, the demands were now rapidly weakening as the war went on. From the disbandment of both it became simply the disbandment of the NpO, and from there it went for the NpO to leave blue, and from there it became a cash demand, and from there the cash became less and less, until eventually the demand became an apology from the Orders—also refused—and then finally a request for a personal apology from Ivan Moldavi, Emperor of the NPO.
The Orders' negotiators had been quite unforgiving throughout, hitting the coalution negotiators hard with various tactics and refusing to concede anything significant, even when the war looked at its worst. At this point they knew that the war was, in the long run, won for them. CDS, another of the large alliances, had agreed to leave the war the next day, and many more were likely to follow as they had been throughout the previous few days. But the situation was not that easy. Despite their conduct in the war, the Order had lost a lot of strength, while the losses on the coaluetion side were spread over a wider range of alliances and nations. It was recognised that losing more strength would make rebuilding exponentially more difficult, and so an outright tactical victory through forcing the collapse of the coaluetion would simultaneously mean a potential strategic defeat in the long term. Given this trade off the Orders' decided that the latter was the better option. So it came that in the face of victory the Orders lay down their arms and the war drew to a close.
 The above is as impartial a telling of the story of the Great Patriotic War as is possible. The analysis to follow too will aim to be as impartial as possible, but with the understanding that anything that doesn't state 'the coaluetion won' in the most emphatic of terms will be shouted down as biased in certain quarters, we have kept it separate so as to leave the story of the war as uncontroversial as possible. It is my hope that this will be of use to future historians as well as this specific debate.
 More specifics can be found in the YouTube video I created at the time: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=kiQVsj0QZrk. Though the video is obviously from a propaganda perspective, the quotes it provides are accurate and of great use to the historian.
What is it to win? To achieve your original goals? There have been claims that, taking this parameter, it is clear that the coaluetion won. Their goal was to prevent LUE from destruction and this was achieved. But was it? The context of events sheds light on another view, where not only were the main movers in the war unconcerned with LUE's survival, but a number of them actively agreed to attack them beforehand! Of the three main players in the war, this was the story of GATO and the ODN, with the third, Legion, supposedly entering due to a threat on themselves. No, this story doesn't hold together.
It seems clear to me that the majority of alliances entering the war did so out of a long historical hatred of the Orders and a desire to see the world without them. Indeed, many were unapologetic about this even in the heat of war, most notably the Emperor of another major player, Prodigal Chieftain of the GGA. Retrospectively we can see likewise for GATO (led by a spy network determined to destroy the Orders) and Legion (who entered on the flimsiest of evidence to secure their position at the top). Moreover, most of the other alliances who entered did so by a network of 'chained' MDPs—that is to say, Alliance A attacked Alliance X, Alliance X is therefore de facto attacking Alliance A, thus to defend alliance A is a defensive act—and most of the smaller alliances did so out of a rather vocal anti-Pacifican spirit rather than anything else. Indeed, that was the propaganda of the day, not to defend LUE (since no one actually wanted to), but to crush the Orders! If we therefore take the goal of the coaluetion to be 'crush the Orders', it was clearly a rather colossal failure.
Of course, the argument usually evolves from this point, since it is unsustainable in the face of critical thought. Instead the proponents of coaluetion victory argue that they won due to the personal apology offered by Ivan Moldavi (later unilaterally retracted on the basis that it wasn't from the Order as a whole). This is a complete abandonment of the definition of victory usually used by the same people, but we can skip over that oversight for the purposes here, since the point is incorrect anyway. With the war going against them the coaluetion made a last ditch effort to save face by asking for an apology. This is little more than a token gesture by a side on their way to winning a war in order to end it slightly sooner for long-term strategic reasons. Can a losing army claim that as a victory, despite the gesture being a mockery of everything it fought for? To answer in the affirmative surely comes with the direst stench of desperation.
What about the Orders' original goals? Given the discussion with GATO and the ODN mentioned in the previous section, it was explicitly to teach LUE a lesson, if not destroy them completely, and this has never been denied. Were they punished? The fact that it is difficult to say would suggest not as much as the Orders would have liked. While their strength plummeted and a wave of defeatism washed over them in the early days, arguably 'teaching them a lesson' about what they did, they nevertheless emerged as a centre-point in the coaluetion and built up a significant influence as a result—something that was perhaps more important to them. If the war had gone on there is little doubt in my mind that LUE would have been left to fight alone and would have been destroyed, but this isn't what occurred, as the Order took the strategic option and instead destroyed them some 6 months later.
With neither side achieving their original goals we could easily stop here and call it a stalemate as many have done in the past, most eloquently by Comrade Z'ha'dum. But I disagree. What is a stalemate? It would seem to me that it is a situation where neither side can advance at any speed, and thus the war ends due to no one being able to move forward. This was clearly not the situation in the Great Patriotic War, where one side was being struck by an epidemic of surrenders while the other took control. If the side that is actually winning the war then agrees to pull out at the desperate requests of the losing side, what do we call that? Humanitarianism? Perhaps a strategic withdrawal would be more apt. But a strategic withdrawal in these material conditions does not offer the same negative connotations as we have come to take from it. In a strategic withdrawal here there is no ground conceded, nothing lost. If the objectives have been taken as far as they can be then a strategic withdrawal is the only sensible option and cannot be considered a negative action.
Of course, this must be qualified somewhat. In the case of this strategic withdrawal the withdrawing side was the only side capable of victory—and thus the only side capable of ending the war. To use an example, if you are in a fight with and have knocked your opponent to the ground and he is unable to move, then leaving that fight to get to work on time does not mean that you lost, or indeed, even that you drew—I will not begrudge you claiming later on that you won, despite withdrawing for other reasons, even if your objective was incomplete.
Taking these points to their logical conclusion therefore leaves us with a simple analogy of the coaluetion as the Black Knight and the Orders as King Arthur: "Oh, oh, I see, running away then. You yellow [censoreds]! Come back here and take what's coming to you. I'll bite your legs off!"