An outline of the alternative history.
- an alternative history / an alternative present
Europa takes place in February 2001, both in reality and in the fiction, but in the present of Europa history took a different course following the collapse of communism in 1989-1991. We have created this "alternative present" in order to mirror the situations many of the refugees who came to Europe in the real 90's fled from. In outlining this alternative history we have found inspiration many places - especially in the wars of former Yugoslavia, but also in our own histories and in the conflicts of other "refugee producing countries" - from Turkey to Somalia.
This is not a what-if - the alternative present is there to underline the LARPs fiction, not to be a plausible story of what could have happened. As the Turkish proverb goes: "If my aunt had balls, she'd be my uncle", and if nationalists came to power in the Nordic countries we really can't know what the world would look like.
Some details are on purpose left out of this text. Especially, the war has received little detail. There will be a more detailed text in the Europa kompendium.
Following the collapse of communism, most of western Europe went into economic decline. Economists and historians blame the laxer work ethics that came after the cold war, American isolationism, the money drain of the welfare states, competition from cheaper East European products, and the collapse of several Asian stock markets in 1992. Ordinary people blamed immigrants, foreigners, politicians and the welfare state. In northwestern europe, economic decline led to a huge rise in unemployment and most people - even those with a job - becoming a lot poorer. Of the Nordic countries, only Norway was able to upkeep anything close to the country's previous strandard of living - mostly due to the oil. Labour became mobile - Nordic citizens moved to wherever there were jobs, and so there were suddenly huge Swedish and Danish ghettos in Oslo and Stavanger.
the rise of nationalism
In the years 1992-1994 nationalist political parties were elected into power - either alone, or as part of coalitions, over most of western Europe - the Nordic countries being no exception. The "New Nationalism" was centred around the strong personality of the party leader, less taxes and harder work, the unity of the nation and agression towards foreigners, dissidents and minorities.
Many of the new nationalist parties toyed with associations to fascism and nazism although most - especially in Norway and Denmark - would sharply deny any accusation of being fascist. These movements had in common with fascism an emphasis on loyalty to the nation and the leader, a preference for corporative rule, a disdain for democracy and civil rights and a willingness to exploit popular prejudice for what it was worth. They were not as blatantly militarist or imperialist as earlier fascist governments, neither did they share NSDAPs preference of mass meetings and marching soldiers. They used traditional national symbols (flags, national anthems) for what they were worth, but did not invent new symbols.
Generally, they did not object to being called "nationalists", but preffered terms like "patriots" and "national democrats".
the new political landscape
Following their rise to power, the new nationalists began a gradual process of consolidatiting their power. History - as taught in schools, explained in speaches and descibed in the media - was rewritten and moderate censorship introduced. By 1995, most left-wing political parties were declared illegal. Nationalist ideology infiltrated the shools and most media. New nationalist factions appeared - armed groups to the right of the governments, and some more moderate political parties that emphasised "A unified, but Democratic, nation". Some of the moderate nationalists - though legal - were harassed by the police and occasionally arrested and convicted for embarassing civilian crimes (adultery, homosexuality, drug traficking). Left-wing and liberatarian groups went underground - some were armed, but the radicals became a definite minority as most of the population actively supported the nationalist governments. After the wars started in 1998/1999 martial law was declared and parliaments were dissolved.
Oppression of minorities
From 1992 and onwards, minorities faced increasing oppression. In the "immigrant cleanup" of 1995, Danes of non-European immigrant background were asked the question "do you feel Danish or foreign?" - in what seemed to be an innocent opinion poll. Those who checked "foreign" were arrested, interned and sent out of the country. The immigrant cleanup was conducted in secret, but the other countries soon learned about the method and followed Denmarks example.
Also the older minorities, even some who had never been consider minorities before, were subject to systematic oppression. Schools in Skåne were set up to teach pupils "proper Swedish", the Skånish flag was outlawed, and Swedish ceased being an official language of Finland. Lappish parliaments were dissolved, and most of the rights the lapps had gained during the 70s and 80s (such as the right to learn lappish in school) were revoked. Swedish politicians talked about "the Skåne problem", Finnish ones about "the Swedish problem" and Norwgian politicians talked about "the immigrant problem" - with "immigrant" meaning guest workers from neighbouring countries. The word "minority" came to include groups such as Swedish guest workers in Norway and natives of Skåne.
The new racism
A kind of popular racism - concerned with language rather than appearance - spread through the peoples and has become almost universally acceptable. It no longer helped to be a white, nordic protestant if you were speaking Swedish in Denmark or Finnish in Sweden - the treatment one would get would be that of a paria. Some regional dialects (Skånish, North Norwegian) are treated similarily.
The new racism has had wide consequences. "Minorities" loose their jobs, and are unable to find new ones unless they are willing to do extremely low-paid, low-status work. Majority citizens spit at minorities on the street and minority members generally receive bad service at cantinas, bars and cafes and no service at all in public offices. Health care is more accessible to majority population than to the minority population. This is not because of laws - the laws generally do not discriminate between majority and minority citizens, the people do.
Right-wing combat groups - mostly with young, "white trash", members - gained a large following. These groups, typically with names like "Swedes for Sweden" or "Norwegian Youth", are well known for beating up the "trash" (their name for anyone not "properly" Swedish/Norwegian/Danish/Finnish), scrawling racist slogans at immigrant/minority houses and organised, violent atacks directed against moderately leftish or centre parties. The police largely do not intervene with the activities of the combat groups.
Paramilitary groups were formed all over the Nordic countries. Most of these sprung out of the regular military - especially the home guard. Many of these continued to operate within the regular military, although the members of a group would be more loyal to the group's leader and ideology than to the chiefs of staff. As the relations between nations grew tenser, paramilitary groups became quite popular, recruiting wildely. Though nominally illegal, they were generally supportive of their governments and thus were not only tolerated, but often received government funding. Paramilitary groups have become well known for their acts of extreme cruelty against the civilian populations during the War.
Moderate nationalist governments are in power in Germany, France and the UK. Because of the new governments opposition to EU, the "Union" remains a loosely knit organisation focused on freer trade. Allready in 1992, NATO decided to follow the example of the Warszaw Pact and dissolve itself. As the cold war was over - the general sentiment went - NATO was expensive, impractical and no longer needed.
Eastern Europe has managed to stay out of the worst - though these countries are poor, too, there is a general confidence and because of the Easts increasing wealth and democracy compared to the West. Russia under Boris Jeltsin, and later Putin, has become an oligarchy, ruled in part by wealthy industrialists and mafia. There were two wars in Chechenya, but the international community didn't care much about it. The former yugoslavia went through a peacefull dissolution of the federation - though keeping a federal military and cooperating on trade politics through the Balkans Union - a body that works the way the EU was supposed to. Slovenia, Bosnia-Hercegovina and Croatia are amongst Europes wealthiest states - only surpassed by Orsinia and Switzerland.
The U.S. under George Bush went back to a decisively isolationist policy - the troubles of the old world were to be left to the old world, and America was to concentrate on itself. The 1991 oil war with Iraq, the last major act of the UN was also the last time the US sent their military abroad to fight. President Clinton, though favouring a more active and interventionist foreign policy, was hampered by a Republican congress and senate supporting isolationism. With the isolation of it's major ally - the UK has been less eager to intervene in European matters and focused more on its former colonies.
There has been frequent talk made, both by american and UK politicians and in the UN, of intervening in the Nordic conflicts - to "restore peace and security" and secure the North Sea oil.
the "refugee problem"
From 1995 and onwards, a steady stream of Nordic asylum seekers arrived in west european countries. These were generally thought to be economic refugees, and usually returned. Blaming the "Refugee problem" the west European countries closed their borders. Human smuggling became common, and there were many illegal immigrants of Nordic origin in countries like Germany and France. During the wars, an increasing amount of refugees turned their attention to smaller countries farther away - Switzerland, Orsinia, and the Balkans. These were countries with a reupatation for being democratic, peacefull, and wealthy. Visas to these countries were impossible to obtain, so refugees needed to resort to human smuggling, but at least it was generally assumed that one would get a residence permit once inside the borders.
the wars - a rough outline
The moment the last US troops moved out of Iceland, Denmark occupied Iceland - a territory they considered "rightfully and historically Danish". Norway responded by moving its navy to within shelling distance of Reykjavik - threatening war if the Danes did not pull out of a teritory that was "rightfully and historically Norwegian".
Unauthorized referendums were held in Skåne. A majority voted for independence, and Skånish guerillas took control over most of the area. This insurgence was brutally crush by the Swedish army.
Norwegian paramilitaries took advantage and flooded into Jämtland and Härjedalen to support the local pro-Norwegian guerillas.
The conflicts between Finnish government and Finno-Swedish groups got armed and intensified. To "secure the rights" of the Finland-Swedes, Sweden occupied Åland and Turku. Helsinki was split in civil war. Finland responded by rocketbombing Stockholm - leaving more than 50% of Stockholm in Ruins. The finnish army marched through northern Norway and in to northern Sweden.
Ignoring Finmark for a time, and taking advantage of the war between Finland and Sweden - Norway occupied Iceland and started annexing Jämtland and Härjedalen without declaring open war. The flow of north sea oil stopped, affecting all parties involved and giving rise to considerable worry in the international community. An international arms embargo was imposed on the North.
In a carefully prepared blitzkrieg in february 1999, Sweden retaliated - swedish troops crushed resistance in Jämtland and Härjedalen, continuing their march to occupy most of eastern Norway. Oslo came under siege by the Swedish army, supported by Swedish paramilitaries and (ironically) Danish paramilitaries. The Danes used the opportunity to occupy Skåne, starting a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing in the area.
What happened then? Most peoples impressions are muddled and confused - the media was inaccessible, even gorvernment propaganda was hard to find. Oslo is still under siege, Iceland divided between Danish, Norwegian and Icelandic guerillas. Even the citizens of Helsinki don't know who actually has the upper hand in the conflict - many have fortified themselves in their houses, firing at random at any suspected enemy on the streets. Also, the Swedes of Oslo and Copenhagen have rebelled and formed fortified ghettos in these towns. There are multiple rumours that the Enemy is building concentration camps, massacring civilian population and ethnically cleansing large areas. The UN is discussing intervention - Russia, Germany and the UK are making huge profits on weapons sales, ignoring the embargo.
This is when you fled to Orsinia.