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In this issue of Halo 101, with a guest writer of yours truly, Dab1001, I want to go into some more obscure lore that many might be oblivious to. Today, we dive into an era long before humanity had even heard of the Covenant, to take a look at the brutal events which were the catalyst for the formation of the UNSC, in Halo 101: Interplanetary Wars.[Note 1]
Setting the Stage
The conflicts collectively known as the Interplanetary Wars took place between 2160 and 2170, almost a full 400 years before the Master Chief finished the fight. Though the setting for the fighting often varied, the major players of these conflicts remained more or less constant: the Communist Koslovics, the fascist Frieden movement, and United Nations forces.
The Koslovics were a product of a resurgence of Communism during the 22nd century. Led by Vladimir Koslov, the Koslovics' aim was to install Communism, and take power from corporations, particularly in the newly-created off-world facilities and colonies. In their own words, they wanted to return to the 'glory days' of Communism.
Meanwhile, the Frieden movement was on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Formed in the Jovian moons in opposition to the Koslovics and a perceived threat of oppression from the United Nations, the Frienden movement was backed by several corporations from the Unified German Republic, who had been the victims of so-called "workers' crusades" organised by Koslovics.
However, towards the waning years of the conflicts, the Frieden movement began to show cracks in its surface, as a splinter group known as the neo-Friedenists emerged from within the movement. After the UN show of force that occurred following the Rainforest Wars, this new group proposed to cut a peace deal with the UN, but one which would leave them with some form of authority in parts of the colonies. This idea flew in the face of what many hardline members of Frieden believed it stood for and so, much infighting ensued, culminating in a face-off at Delambre, on Luna.
Spark that Lit the Flame
Though tensions between the opposing factions had been high, no armed conflict had yet occurred between the United Nations and Frieden forces, by early 2160. This would soon change, when the Frieden movement launched a seemingly unwarranted attack on United Nations Colonial Advisors stationed on Jupiter's moon of Io.
This caused the UN to launch retaliatory military action that came to be known as the Jovian Moons Campaign. Known for being one of the bloodiest engagements fought in the Sol system at the time, the campaign lasted 3 short months, from March to June of 2160, but had a disastrous knock-on effect on the political climate for the following 10 years. There was no clear victor of the campaign.
With tensions heightened from the conflict, many national governments on Earth began strengthening their militaries and fighting proxy wars off-planet. The Jovian Moons campaign proved to be a divisive issue among colonists, with many people radicalised by opposition to the armed intervention. This encouraged anti-governmental and anti-corporate sentiments with colonists, hence fostering sympathy for the rebelling factions.
A Soldier's Tale
The next major clash between UN, Koslovic and Frieden forces came in 2162, on Humanity's homeworld Earth. These conflicts were called the Rainforest Wars, named for their setting in South America where rainforests like the Amazon cover a great deal of the terrain. As the name suggests, the majority of the armed conflict between the warring factions took place in South America, however additional attacks and guerilla wars broke out across the globe, and even in the colonies elsewhere in the system.
The Rainforest Wars began when Frieden and Koslovic forces gained a foothold on the continent of South America. This was a fertile and economically-promising land, which was vital to the welfare of the planet. Naturally, UN forces retaliated en masse, leading to another bloody engagement which turned the continent into a war zone.
Towards the end of the conflict was when the previously mentioned neo-Friedenist group began to emerge, from within the Friedenist movement. Though the infighting would not come to a head for around a year yet, the stark ideological differences between neo-Friedenism and hard-line Frieden members were beginning to arise.
The wars drew to a close with decisive victory for the UN, and most rebel forces on Earth vanquished. However, by the time this came, much suffering had been inflicted on the people of Earth. Not only had the wars directly caused damage to people and property through the actual conflict, it is thought to be the cause of a massive famine which would effect citizens of Earth even after the fighting ceased. In addition, damage was done to the economy that would not heal for years, extending beyond the Interplanetary Wars.
Two great-grandfathers of the famous Preston Cole were known to have fought in the wars; one gave his life in the line of duty, while the other, Captain Oliver Franks, was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions. Another famed veteran of the Rainforest Wars was Jeremiah Mendez, who wrote about his experiences in the book A Soldier's Tale: Rainforest Wars, published in 2164. This highly-regarded book came to be known as a military classic by the 26th century, and was well-thought-of by SPARTAN-II trainer Franklin Mendez, who read excerpts from it at the funeral of Kurt-051.
Inception of the UNSC
Following the success of the Rainforest Wars for the organisation, the United Nations moved to create the United Nations Space Command, along with the UNSC Marine Corps. This centrally-controlled military organisation had jurisdiction over the entire of human-controlled space, and would continue to for centuries. The Marines Corps would see its first deployment a year later during the Mars Campaign. By the end of that conflict, all national governments and their armed forces were dissolved into the UN and UNSC respectively.
In 2162, the inner turmoil between Frieden and Koslovic forces resulted in a series of disagreements between the traditional Frieden and neo-Frieden ideologies, which peaked in the Battle of Delambre. As UNSC forces approched the Delambre crater, where Frieden forces were encamped, neo-Friedenists among their ranks, presumably in a desperate attempt to save themselves, took up arms against their former allies, resulting in a brief conflict. It is thought that the neo-Friedenists won the engagement, as they were later known to have attempted to bargain with the UNSC forces.
Red Blood Spilt on the Red Planet
Attempting to bring the region under Communist rule, Koslovic forces ceased several corporations' facilities in the Argyre Planitia region of Mars some time before December of 2163. In that month, the UNSC Marine Corps saw its first deployment off-world. In a pivotal moment for space warfare, a contingent of Marines was deployed with the aim to crush the Koslovic forces in a spectacular ground assault. This kind of assault would become the standard tactic for years to come.
The Mars Campaign was a huge success. With the occupied facilities freed, and Koslovic and Frieden forces on the Red Planet dealt a huge blow, the United Nations had the influence it needed to dissolve all nations on Earth under one single governing body: itself.
The First Real Interplanetary War
Having reached the height of its power, the United Nations began the Interplanetary War proper, to root out and destroy the remaining dissidents and rebels in the solar system. What followed was a 6-year campaign running from 2164 to 2170.
Utilising the newly-formed Marine Corps, the UNSC sought out and defeated pockets of rebel resistance all around colonised space, from the Jovian colonies to Earth itself. What remained of the Frieden and Koslovic forces had no hope of opposition too this new superpower, and were eventually all pacified.
Having been beaten thoroughly by the UNSC, time and time again, the rebel leaders were eventually forced to surrender in 2170. The decade-long Interplanetary Wars were brought to a close in the same place they'd began: the Jovian moons. By signing the Callisto Treaty on the moon of the same name, the senior figures in both the Koslovics and the Frieden movements formally surrendered themselves to the UNSC, effectively ending the conflict. What little resistance dared to remain after their commanders had surrendered was quickly crushed.
The signing of this treaty also brought about the prominence of the Unified Earth Government. Though it was founded in 2075, it had little-to-no relevance until this treaty gave its democratically elected government complete power over all of human-controlled space. The UNSC was placed under its control, and the United Nations reverted to being an administrative body on Earth as it had been when it was originally founded.
The era of peace and prosperity brought about by this treaty would remain largely undisturbed for centuries to come. Not until the Insurrection in the late 2400s would a conflict of the relative magnitude of the Interplanetary Wars blight the human empire. What followed the signing of this treaty was an age of technological advancements like slipspace travel, groundbreaking achievements like the Odyssey's colonisation of Reach and general good fortune to all of humankind.
That's all from me. I hope you enjoyed this mostly factual[Note 2] look at the Interplanetary Wars! Next issue of Halo 101, the regular writer, Wilc0, will be back to talk about either the ancient Human civilisation or Preston Cole (he wasn't specific about which :P ).
- ↑ I apologise for the lack of relevant images in this article. The Interplanetary Wars are a really underdeveloped era in the Halo universe, with no visual media having ever depicted them. So, I'm forced to use images of the Insurrection and creation of the Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine from Halo Legends: Origins II to fill the gap. You'll just have to use your imagination a little ;)
- ↑ Once again, due to the relative sparseness of information about this era when compared to others, I was forced to use inference to fill a couple of small gaps in knowledge. However, none of the inferences are very major, and all are logical and based on confirmed canon.