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In Hearts of Iron you take control of one of a myriad of countries that existed during the timeframe of the games (typically 1936 to 1948, with Hearts of Iron II extending to 1964, and Darkest Hour gaining a World War I scenario from 1914-1920) In addition, you have the opportunity to bring political figures who may not have held power or failed in their attempt to, and change history with that leader in the helm. This page lists the historical figures that appear in Hearts of Iron and the tropes they are associated with.

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Allies

    General 

  • Difficult, but Awesome: Generally the democracies start with the "Great Depression" and cannot justify wars as easily or build up armies as fast, but if played correctly a democratic power will have a large industrial base combined with a powerful research branch by mid game.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: Generally the democracies cannot initiate wars of unchecked aggression and can only get involved in defensive wars until mid-to-late game

    United Kingdom 

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Initial Leader: Stanley Baldwin
Initial Ideology: Democratic
Although the United Kingdom emerged victorious from the Great War, the foundation of its great empire was shaken to its core. A generation of the country's finest were lost in the trenches of Flanders and Northern France, while unrest spread throughout the Commonwealth and massive debts accrued.

With the trauma of the last war still in fresh memory, the country now faces the prospect of another. It is becoming increasingly clear that there will be no Peace for Our Time.


  • Abdicate the Throne: As in Real Life, Edward VIII can abdicate in order to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee.
  • Balkanize Me: The Man the Guns DLC allows for the decolonization of the British Empire, and going communist allows you to force other countries to follow suit.
    • On top of there being a setting now to start the game liberating their colonies, or releasing Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
  • Brits with Battleships
  • Epic Ship-on-Ship Action: Starts with the "Fleet in Being" Naval Doctrine.
  • The House of Windsor: Three of its members note  serve as national spirits for Great Britain in the game. A non-aligned Britain (only possible through Man the Guns) can have Edward VIII become leader for Great Britain however.
  • The Leader: At the start of the game, is leader of both the Allies Faction and of The Commonwealth of Nations, with the various Dominions starting as puppets of the United Kingdom. With the Man the Guns DLC, a British player can form the Imperial Federation, essentially a centralized version of the Commonwealth.
  • Nepali With Nasty Knives: In the Their Finest Hour expansion for III', the Gurkhas are Britain's unique unit.
  • The Strategist: Starts with the Grand Battleplan Doctrine.

    France 

French Republic

Initial Leader: Edouard Daladier
Initial Ideology: Democratic
Despite the devastation of the Great War, France has been on the road to recovery thanks to a strong economy. However, the Depression has still affected the country and the new German regime has no interest in paying the war reparations stipulated by the Treaty of Versailles.

When the treaty was signed, a French marshal famously remarked that it was not peace, but an armistice of 20 years. Those 20 years are now rapidly running out.


  • Artistic License – History: The Prime Minister of France in January 1936 was Pierre Laval, not Daladier.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Historically was one of the major wars that gave them this stereotype. Enforced by giving France particularly low national unity before IV phased that out and a special low surrender threshold afterwards (most countries will not capitulate until 80% of their victory points are occupied, but France has a national spirit that causes them to surrender once they lose 30% of their victory points, such as by the occupation of Paris). Can be averted however if played correctly. In fact an in-game achievement requires you to make it to the very end of the game (1948) without ever surrendering or capitulating.
  • Enemy Civil War: In IV, should France choose to go to war with Germany over the remilitarization of the Rhineland, and still retain the Disjointed Government National Spirit. There would be a 20% chance that French Communists would rise up and begin a Civil War. And that's not even going into what happens when France capitulates to Germany as per Real Life.
  • Epic Ship-on-Ship Action: Starts with the "Fleet in Being" Naval Doctrine.
  • Gauls With Grenades
  • The Leader: Can serve as the leader of the Little Entente, an alliance that historically fell apart in the early 30s due to the rise of Nazi Germany. Conquering all of Germany's lands with this alliance is required for an achievement.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Vichy France, should Germany decide to form it. You can also play as them, if you choose to do so.
  • Omnicidal Neutral: The Napoleonic branch of the focus tree in La Resistance expansion results in France fighting the leaders of all three main factions.
  • Space-Filling Empire: Should the British accept it, you can opt to let your country's remnants be absorbed into Britain and become the Franco-British Union, instead of choosing to fight as Free France or Vichy France. note 
    • France is one of six potential countries that can form the European Union.
  • Stone Wall: Generally, the limited manpower and factories (plus land fort construction buffs) forces the players to adopt this strategy.
  • The Remnant: Should France capitulate to Germany, France can choose to fight on from lands not awarded to Vichy France, should Germany choose to form it.
  • The Strategist: Starts with the Grand Battleplan Land Doctrine.
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    United States of America 

United States of America

Initial Leader: Franklin D. Roosevelt
Initial Ideology: Democratic
The United States retreated back into isolation at the end of the last war and enjoyed a period of economic prosperity during the Roaring Twenties. This came to a dramatic end when the nation was gripped by the Great Depression.

America's policy of non-intervention in foreign wars has stood firm, but tensions are rising in both Europe and Asia. The 'Great Neutral' may find itself drawn into the maelstrom whether it wants to or not.


  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Lampshaded. The US starts the game with "The Great Depression" that cripple its war effectiveness, but can activate "The Giant Wakes" to rev up its war economy if world tension rises.
  • America Won World War II: Depending on player/AI actions this can occur.
  • Face–Heel Turn: In the fascist focus route, America goes from the Arsenal of Democracy to an oppressive state that has turned back the clock on civil rights about a hundred years and is bent on world conquest.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: While Douglas MacArthur is a polarizing figure, him being able to be the leader of a fascist United States is a step further than even his harshest critics would be likely to accuse him of being willing to do.
  • More Dakka: The only Major country in the game to start off with the "Superior Firepower" Land Doctrine, which could be defined as this trope with Artillery in places, or choosing to increase the capabilities of support companies.
  • Ranger: Their Finest Hour adds the US Army Rangers as America's special unit.
  • Science Hero: The U.S. starts the game with 4 research slots... then gains 2 more via focus, and can form research agreements with the British, Soviets and Mexico.
  • Take Over the World: The foreign policy for a fascist America focuses pretty much entirely on picking fights with just about everyone and leveraging America's vast industrial might to conquer the world.
  • Yanks with Tanks: The U.S. has 2 (mutual) focuses that can increase tank production speed by 15%.
    • Peace Through Superior Firepower: Should they develop Nuclear Weapons.
    • The Pentagon: Can be built via a national focus, granting a boost planning speed.
    • Rebels with Repeaters: Applies to the Confederates should the Second American Civil War happen.
    • Semper Fi: The United States can build Marine divisions just like everyone else, and there's a focus dedicated to expanding the USMC in IV.

Axis

    General 
  • Historical Badass Upgrade: The Axis's relative industrial might is significantly inflated (or, you could argue, everyone else's is deflated) for the sake of gameplay - if the relative industrial might was portrayed more accurately, it would be unlikely that an AI-controlled Axis would get past France on its own, much less push deep into the Soviet Union.

    German Reich 

German Reich

Initial Leader: Adolf Hitler
Initial Ideology: Fascist
A new Germany has risen. Three years have passed since the Weimar Republic was dismantled and replaced by Hitler's Third Reich. Economic stability has returned after the trying years of the Great Depression, and mass unemployment has been dealt with.

The military restrictions imposed on Germany by the Versailles Treaty are long forgotten, and the Wehrmacht grows stronger by the day. Another Weltkrieg is on the horizon.


  • Artistic License – History: In II and III, Germany's head of government is Rudolf Hess (and later Martin Bormann). In reality, Germany's head of government was the Reichskanzler, meaning that Hitler was at once the head of state and the head of government.
  • Cincinnatus: If the Military Junta wins the German Civil War, von Mackensen will always step down as soon as a new government is formed.
  • Enemy Civil War: Available with the Waking The Tiger expansion. Instead of opting to remilitarize the Rhineland, you can choose to oppose Hitler, bringing about various conservative groups under August von Mackensen to overthrow Hitler.
  • Epic Ship-on-Ship Action: Should a restored German Empire choose to focus their efforts on defeating Britain and France, they can work on rebuilding the High Seas Fleet with modern battleships and battlecruisers.note 
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Historically, August von Mackensen supported the Nazi regime from the very beginning and received bribes from Hitler in exchange for his loyalty as early as 1935. While him leading an anti-Nazi revolt isn't completely unthinkable, note  he certainly wouldn't have helped create a parliamentary democracy in the same vein as the Weimar Republic, which he detested.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Somewhat downplayed. Should Germany choose to overthrow Hitler, France will switch its tree to its ahistorical fascist or communist path. This was intentionally done to prevent German players from making things too easy by keeping France hostile, if not wanting to go to war with you.
  • The Leader: Leader of the Axis Faction at the start of the game. Alternatively, should they choose to restore the monarchy, they can either reform the Central Powers with Italy (after killing off Mussolini) and a revived Austria-Hungary under a Non-Aligned German Empire, or form the Central European Alliance with the nations of the Low Countries and all sovereign nations between Germany and the Soviet Union (under a Democratic German Empire).
  • Nazis with Gnarly Weapons
  • No Swastikas: Averted by some user-made modifications, though discussion of them is generally penalized on the official forums and After-Action Report writers often pixelate them if they're using such a mod. Played straight in "vanilla" II & III (which uses the Imperial tricolor) and Darkest Hour & IV (which uses a variant of the war flag with the Iron Cross in place of the swastika).
  • Rightful King Returns: Should Mackensen's Military Junta defeat the Nazis in the Civil War, they will choose to restore the monarchy. In what manner the monarchy can shape however differs. They could opt to establish a British-styled Constitutional Monarchy under the returning Wilhelm III, (who can create a defensive alliance in Central and Northern Europe to contain and eliminate communism in the Soviet Union and possibly France) or opt to restore the German Empire of old with either Wilhelm III or his father, the rather infamous Kaiser Wilhelm II as ruler (the latter being a more straighter example, this option allows for the restoration of the Central Powers, with the chance to restore German territories lost in World War I in full, or opt to placate the British, going so far as to join the Allies, and direct their attention to defeating the Soviet Union, and possibly France.)
  • Space-Filling Empire: Multiple Examples:
    • If Germany remains fascist and controls their core territories, while having control of Paris and France having capitulated or surrendered, then having conquered the states of Leningrad and Stalingrad, you can proclaim the Greater Germanic Reich, fulfilling Hitler's plans (in name at least) of forging a German nation spanning from the Low Countries to the Ural Mountains.
    • The Holy Roman Empire (which historically was disestablished in 1806 during The Napoleonic Wars) can also be formed exclusively by Germany, but requires a lot of convoluted requirements to recieve the decision, some of which would require a lot of luck to achieve. note 
    • It is also one of six potential countries note  that can form the European Union should Germany choose to become Democratic.
  • State Sec: In III and IV, Nazi Germany can recruit Waffen-SS divisions which function as Elite Mooks.
  • Submarine Pirates: Germany is the only country in the game to start out with the Trade Interdiction Naval Doctrine, which can be best described as this (with support also from a powerful surface fleet.)
  • Tank Goodness: The only country in the game to start out with the Mobile Warfare Land Doctrine, which prioritizes tanks for the purpose of Blitzkrieg.

    Italy 

Kingdom of Italy

Initial Leader: Benito Mussolini
Initial Ideology: Fascist
With the rise of Fascism, Italy has entered a new glorious era. Its forces are currently in the process of adding Ethiopia to the growing Italian colonial empire, but Mussolini's ambitions do not stop there.

Dominion over the Mediterranean has always been Italy's destiny, and a new order of things is taking shape in Europe. When the tidal wave of change arrives, Italy must find a place at its crest or risk being swept away.


  • Elite Mooks: The Alpini in Their Finest Hour.
  • Epic Ship-on-Ship Action: Starts with the "Fleet in Being" Naval Doctrine.
  • Fascist Italy: Naturally.
  • The Leader: While Italy could join the Axis with Germany (as it did historically) you can also opt to form your own fascist faction, Novus Imperium Romanum, which can consist predominantly of fascist and non-aligned nations that were a part of the Roman Empire of old.
  • New Roman Legions
  • The Roman Empire: Can be reformed as Italy should they conquer all territories historically held by Rome at roughly its greatest extent.
  • The Strategist: Starts with the Grand Battleplan Doctrine.
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    Japan 

Empire of Japan

Initial Leader: Emperor Hirohito
Initial Ideology: Fascist
The Empire of Japan stands at a crossroads. Hokushin-ron, the Northern Expansion Doctrine, is favored by the Army and calls for an advance into Siberia. Nanshin-ron, the Southern Expansion Doctrine, is supported by the Navy and has the rich European colonies in Southeast Asia and the Pacific as its target.

And then, of course, there is always China. Japan possesses a formidable military, but its industries are starving for resources and time is running out. Which path to choose?


  • Alien Space Bats: Downplayed - While it doesn't involve aliens or the supernatural, to call the Japanese communist path implausible is something of an understatement and it requires many people to act wildly out of character to happen, which is emphasized by the focus that starts it being called "The Unthinkable Option". Appropriately to its wild implausibility, actually making it happen is one of the most difficult things any major can do, on the level of trying to survive while going it alone as Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, or Poland, and the resulting Japanese People's Republic is in a much weaker position than Imperial Japan begins in due to the loss of about 2/3 of its army and navy and the loss of all territories outside of the Home Islands. Just getting back their starting territory and replacing their lost military is a difficult challenge.
  • Civil War: Going down the Communist or Democratic branches of the Political Tree will inevitably start a Civil War with the Fascist supporters in Japan.
  • Elite Mooks: The Imperial Guard in Their Finest Hour.
  • The Emperor: Hirohito, naturally.
  • Epic Ship-on-Ship Action: Japan starts with the Fleet in Being naval doctrine and further encourages ship-on-ship combat with the Supremacy of the Battlefleet and Ultimate Battleship focuses, which respectively give Japan a unique naval design company with even bigger boosts to capital ship armor and firepower than standard Atlantic Fleet Designers and the technology for superheavy battleships and puts two of them, one at 75% completion and the other at 50% completion, in their queue.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • From the Allies' perspective, the Democratic route is this, as they put aside their visions of conquest and pursue global stability.
    • From Communist China's perspective, the Communist route is this, as Japan can go from their worst enemy to their greatest ally and ensure that the Chinese Communists successfully unify China into the People's Republic.
    • From the Axis' perspective, the fascist route is this, purging the Kodoha faction and doubling down on their imperialist ideals instead of uniting asia under the guise of self determination
    • From Japan's own perspective, Following the Kodoha Faction is the extreme change from Chinese aggression to focusing on the Soviet Union
  • Imperial Japan: Unless it goes Communist of course.
  • Katanas of the Rising Sun
  • The Leader: Three of the four branches of the political tree can lead to Japan creating an alliance with it being the leader. Depending on the branch it can serve as the leader of the Great East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (as it did historically), the Asian Communist Solidarity (as a Communist Japan) or the West Pacific Treaty Organization. (as a Democratic Japan)
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Follow the Kodoha faction and you (as an Asian empire) can join the Berlin-Rome Axis.
  • The Strategist: Start with the Grand Battleplan Land Doctrine.
  • Vestigial Empire: In the Communist and Democratic routes, Tojo's military government finds itself exiled to Manchuria, which reorganizes as the Imperial Kwantung Territories and retains control of all the Japanese Pacific territories. However, in a bit of Gameplay and Story Segregation, the Imperial Kwantung Territories can't actually pursue the goals of the Japanese nationalists and instead simply functions as an independent Manchukuo pursuing the Assertiveness branch.

Comintern

The major powers of the communist bloc in The Great Patriotic War
    Soviet Union 

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Initial Leader: Joseph Stalin
Initial Ideology: Communist
When the dust settled after the Russian Civil War, the U.S.S.R. had emerged as the undisputed ruler over most of what once constituted the Russian Empire. Rapid industrialization and collectivization followed, often at a great cost in human lives.

The Soviet Union is now faced with the threat of a resurgent Germany to the west, and a belligerent Japan in the east. Of course, there are also internal threats within the ranks of the Communist Party to contend with...


  • Epic Ship-on-Ship Action: Starts with the "Fleet in Being" Naval Doctrine.
  • Mighty Glacier: If the Player chooses to focus on infantry instead of tanks, they can use massed infantry to slowly (but steadily) roll back invading armies
  • The Purge: Naturally. A 210-day focus is dedicated to the Great Purge, forcing the Soviet Union to either purge several officers (resulting in a hefty debuff) or face a civil war.
  • Reds with Rockets
  • State Sec: The NKVD, especially if the Soviet Union goes down the NKVD Primary route.
  • We Have Reserves: The Soviet Union has massive amounts of manpower on Default Conscription combined with low research and production. In addition they are one of two nations (the other being Nationalist China) who start with the Mass Assault Land Doctrine, which gives bonuses for doing just this. note 

Minor Nations

The nations of the world, great and small, are not all content to hold their breath awaiting the outbreak of another global conflict. From major powers on the brink of civil war to the many nations formed and transformed by the Great War, all will have to make difficult decisions and balance ideals with pragmatism to have an impact on the future of the world.

    Poland 

Polish Republic

Initial Leader: Ignacy Mościcki
Initial Ideology: Non-Aligned
After centuries in which the Polish nation has been divided between three empires, Poland now stands independent once again. But its position is not an easy one.

In the east, the Soviet Union has not forgotten the humiliating defeat in the Polish-Soviet war.

In the west, German Führer Adolf Hitler makes no secret of his desire for more "living space" - and that the former German areas now under Polish control will be the first step to achieve it.


  • Butt-Monkey: Being in eastern Central Europe, Poland is surrounded by major powers and most minor neighbors gain cores on them through focuses.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: If a player decides to align with a major power, they still have to deal with the others, e.g align with Germany and deal with the Comintern and Allies, align with the Soviets then deal with the Axis, follow Britain and deal with the Axis AND the Comintern.
  • The Leader: Can form the Międzymorze (Polish for Intermarium) with the Baltic Nations.
  • Poles with Poleaxes
  • Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth: Can form this as Poland (Lithuania can form it as well, but it is much, much harder.)
  • The Strategist: Starts with the "Grand Battleplan" Land Doctrine.

    The Commonwealth of Nations 
The Commonwealth of Nations is Britain's client states that are either self-governing Dominions or (in the case of the Raj and British Malaysia) semi-self governing colonies.

  • Epic Ship-on-Ship Action: All members of the British Commonwealth have the "Fleet in Being" Naval Doctrine.
  • The Strategist: All members of the British Commonwealth have the "Grand Battleplan" Land Doctrine.

Dominion of Australia

Initial Leader: John Curtin
Initial Ideology: Democratic
Australians earned their place in the history books of the Great War in blood. The sacrifices made in the Gallipolli campaign have not been forgotten - and neither were those who ordered it.

Australia now stands at a crossroads: should she stay with her colonial master, about to be drawn into yet another conflict in distant Europe, or should the focus be on the threats that are appearing closer to home?

Dominion of Canada

Initial Leader: Mackenzie King
Initial Ideology: Democratic
Canada entered the Great War as a mere colony and left it as a nation. Born in the mud of Passchendaele, Canada now takes its first few uncertain steps onto the world stage.

Hobbled by the Great Depression and with internal divisions between Anglophones and Francophones, the future of this new nation looks anything but secure.

British Raj/Indian Empire

Initial Leader: Lord Linlithgow
Initial Ideology: Non-Aligned
The crown jewel of the British Empire, the Raj of India is a strange combination of imperial power and imperial powerlessness. A tiny elite of British civil servants rule over a vast subcontinent filled with hundreds of millions of subjects. From their ranks recruits the Indian Army, which fought bravely in the Great War.

Indian leaders hoped that the sacrifices made in the last war would help India gain her independence from Britain, but so far, that hope has been disappointed. With a new war looming, many believe that the time has come to take that freedom - by whatever means necessary.

Dominion of New Zealand

Initial Leader: Michael Joseph Savage
Initial Ideology: Democratic
The tiny nation in the South Pacific fought bravely in the Great War, suffering high casualties in the bloody battles at Gallipoli and on the western front. Nearly half the men of fighting age had served in the fighting overseas, and many had not returned.

Some twenty years after end of the Great War, the people of New Zealand look anxiously at the world stage, for this time, the threat of war seems to draw ever closer to their own home...

Union of South Africa

Initial Leader: J. B. M. Hertzog
Initial Ideology: Democratic
When the Great War began, many in South Africa refused to take up arms for their British masters. The South African military spent most of the Great War chasing around German forces in their African colonies, with limited success.

Now a new war looms on the horizon. Then as now, there are some in South Africa that think the country shouldn't be fighting against the Germans at all. Some even believe that the time has come for the descendents of the Boers to make their bid for the liberty that was denied to their forefathers.

British Malaya

Initial Leader: Shenton Thomas
Initial Ideology: Democratic

  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: British Malaya is the only British colonial possession that does not receive a focus tree in Together For Victory.

    Hungary 

Kingdom of Hungary

Initial Leader: Miklós Horthy
Initial Ideology: Non-Aligned
One half of the late Austro-Hungarian Empire, Hungary was treated as a defeated enemy by the victorious Entente after the Great War. In the Treaty of Trianon, the country lost almost two thirds of its territory. Millions of ethnic Hungarians found themselves living outside its borders, and its economy was left in ruins. Harsh restrictions on rearmament were supposed to ensure that Hungary could never again threaten the peace in Europe.

But with the political climate in Europe shifting, the time may have come to finally right the wrongs of the past, and regain the former glory of the nation.

  • Nazi Nobleman: Should Hungary elect a fascist king, the throne will given to Friedrich Franz, Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. He was also this in Real Life, seeing that he served in the Waffen-SS.
  • Offered the Crown: There are a total of three candidates who can be offered the Crown of Saint Stephen.
  • Regent for Life: Horthy, unless somebody is crowned as the King of Hungary, or if the communists take power.
  • Rightful King Returns: Hungary can invite, among other candidates, Otto von Habsburg to take the Hungarian throne. Otto is the son of Charles I & IV, the last Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary.
  • The Sound of Martial Music: Should Otto be crowned as the King of Hungary and reform the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

    The Little Entente 

Czechoslovak Republic

Initial Leader: Edvard Beneš
Initial Ideology: Democratic
During the Great War, Czech troops fought alongside the Entente forces all over Europe in an effort to secure recognition for their nation. Their efforts were successful and Czechoslovakia rose from the ashes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Since their explosive entry into statehood Czechoslovakia formed the 'Little Entente' alliance with Yugoslavia and Romania with the aim of suppressing Hungary's efforts to restore the Austro-Hungarian Empire, although as resurgent German power grows the political landscape of Europe is rapidly changing.

Kingdom of Romania

Initial Leader: Gheorghe Tatarescu
Initial Ideology: Non-Aligned
Romania found herself on the winning side of the Great War, and as a result gained new territories and people - not all of whom were Romanians. To guard against the revanchionist desires of the countries that were forced to cede land, Romania has created a web of alliances all across the Balkans. In recent years, however, the country has concerned itself mostly with domestic matters, and the government of King Carol II has allowed these alliances to lapse.

As the political situation in Europe changes, Romania may well find herself standing alone - and vulnerable.

  • The Bite of Dracula
  • The Hedonist: A whole national spirit is dedicated to highlighting King Carol II's decadent lifestyle, and the scandals that it causes.

Kingdom of Yugoslavia

Initial Leader: Prince Paul
Initial Ideology: Non-Aligned
Yugoslavia came into existence after the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes merged with the formerly independent Kingdom of Serbia in 1922. Initially Yugoslavia joined both the Little Entente and the Balkan Pact to secure their independence, but recently the assassination of King Alexander combined with growing internal pressure from nationalists and external pressure from Italy and Germany has caused drastic upheaval and reevaluation of their political and strategic position.

    Chinese United Front 

Nationalist China/Republic of China

Initial Leader: Chiang Kai-shek
Initial Ideology: Non-Aligned
Following the revolution that deposed the last of the Qing Emperors, the young Chinese Republic has struggled to survive. Warlords rule much of the land on the periphery. In the heart of the country, the Communists have set up a base area in a remote mountain valley. Just beyond the borders, the Japanese have created a puppet government under the last Chinese Emperor and will try to reunite the country under his rule.

With many enemies threatening it, the government of Chiang Kai-Shek will have to make hard choices if it wants to survive and rule supreme in China.

  • Face–Heel Turn: It's possible for China to join Japan's faction in the end of the war and beat its former allies.
  • The Other Chinese Army: Though the game primarily takes place in the era before they were the "other" Chinese army.
  • Magikarp Power: Starts off with a large (but poorly equipped and trained) military and vast territory, but has almost no navy or air force, little industry, and many negative modifiers. The Second Sino-Japanese War is often very difficult and the AI in particular often loses it. However, if you win the war and unite China, the country's vast manpower and natural resources allow you to become a great power in just a couple of years.
  • We Used to Be Friends: With Germany, should the Germans align with Japan as they did historically, and in doing so put an end to over a decade of Sino-German cooperation.

Communist China

Initial Leader: Mao Zedong
Initial Ideology: Communism
A mere two years ago, the Communist Party of China faced utter annihilation. To survive, it engaged on the epic journey that would become known as the Long March. With only a fraction of the army surviving the rigors of the march and little industry, the prospects of victory in the Chinese Civil War are slim indeed.

But in time, the population may be swayed to the Communist cause, new armies be raised, new base areas established, and, when the time is right, the revolutionary struggle will be renewed again, until final victory is achieved.

Warlord States (Yunnan, Sinkiang, Guangxi, Shanxi, Xibei San Ma)

The weakness of the Central Government may yet provide the opportunity for a sufficiently ambitious man to rise to power. At the periphery of the country, local leaders have carved out their own little fiefdoms, caring little for the orders of the Central Government.

War is on the horizon, and each of these Warlords faces a difficult choice: Collaboration with the Central Government or an alliance with the Communists? Either option promises a chance for a seat at the table, but there is a third possibility - to take China all for themselves.

  • The Starscream: Siding with either the Nationalists or the Communists eventually ends in the warlord attempting to displace Chiang or Mao as the leader of the faction they picked.

    Manchukuo 

Empire of Great Manchuria

Initial Leader: Aisin Gioro Puyi
Initial Ideology: Fascist
Evicted from the Dragon Throne at the age of six, Puyi, the last Chinese Emperor, has been biding his time. While his former realm tore itself apart in the Chinese Civil War, Puyi found new allies in Japan.

For Puyi, the establishment of the Empire of Manchukuo in 1932 was but the first step in the quest to reclaim his ancestral birthright. For the moment, he is dependent on the Japanese Army to keep his rule, but in time, an opportunity might arise to cast off the shackles of servitude and become what he was born to be...

  • Puppet King: Puyi is this to the Kwantung Army, and by extension, Japan. This can be changed in the Assertiveness path, in which Japan can be thrown out of Manchuria by force.
  • Dynasties from Shang to Qing: Puyi is from a Qing dynasty and can restore the Chinese Empire in the Assertiveness Path.

    Mexico 

United Mexican States

Initial Leader: Lázaro Cárdenas
Initial Ideology: Non-Aligned
Mexico faced two decades of civil wars after the overthrow of the tyrant Porfirio Díaz. Centralizers fought regionalists, peasants and socialists rallied against hacienda landlords, and battles over the role of state versus religion came out of the annals of the Enlightenment to terrorize Mexico.

The secularist government insists that it won these battles, but it is seated on a throne of debris. After Mexico is rebuilt, perhaps a different victor will have emerged.

  • Church Militant: Going down either the Christian-Democratic or Synarchist political paths will allow Mexico to re-mobilize the Cristeros (Catholic guerrillas who fought against Mexican dictator Plutarco Calles in the 1920s), giving you several free infantry divisions.
  • Scylla and Charybdis: With the 'MTG' Expansion, Mexico has to tread the path between the Catholic Church, warlord generals and other internal affairs on top of the narrow path between the major ideological alliances.
  • Mexicans with Machine Guns

    Netherlands 

Kingdom of the Netherlands

Initial Leader: Hendrikus Colijn
Initial Ideology: Democratic
The Dutch government eyes the mounting global tensions with concern. Between an ailing economy, a powerful pacifist movement, and a firm belief in neutrality to the point of driving potential allies away, they are unable to poperly prepare their defenses.

At the same time, the importance of the Netherlands as a gateway of trade into the continent means that both the British and the Germans desire Dutch 'cooperation' to thwart the other, and may take rejection as a reason for hostility. Perhaps withdrawal to the colonies is the only possible means to resist such an invasion...

    Brazil 

Brazil

Initial Leader: Getúlio Vargas
Initial Ideology: Non-Aligned

    The Iberian Peninsula 

Republican Spain

Initial Leader: Manuel Azaña
Initial Ideology: Democratic

  • Anarchy Is Chaos: Subverted Trope - the Anarchists trend inevitably towards zero stability, but it's more that stability in the sense of conventional states doesn't really concern them, and mechanically, they get a special economic law that is equivalent to war economy plus offsetting the penalties of low stability and baking in the industrial bonuses for 100% stability, save for the political power generation penalty, which they still get. In effect, they are always at 100% stability and nothing can actually bring their stability down from there.
  • Magikarp Power: Going in line with the example below, the Anarchist focus tree will be Early Game Hell, what with starting out rather weak after the war's end as well as foreign nations being inherently hostile to you from the start, but the fact that you can start anarchist revolutions in foreign countries to expand your borders as well as having the ability to core literally any province in the game (potentially making them the nation with the single highest manpower count in the game at their peak), they have the ability to snowball absolutely out of control if not taken out early.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class: Being the only nation with a national focus branch explicitly representing anarchy, Republican Spain has the possibility to play a lot differently from all normal ideologies. For starters, a constant drain on stability is not only expected, but also encouraged, since Anarchist Spain also gains bonuses depending on how low their stability is. They can also spark anarchist uprising in foreign countries to grow their borders even more that way since the anarchist movement has moved away from the idea of Spain as a nation-state and more as a global movement, at the cost of making literally everybody else on the planet hate your guts.
  • New Spanish Armada
  • We ARE Struggling Together: While nominally represented as either Democratic or Communist in-game, Republican Spain is in fact represented by at least four ideologically different factions, two of which representing two radically different schools of communism, with a Democratic and and Anarchist faction working very loosely with the others.

Nationalist Spain

Initial Leader: Francisco Franco
Initial Ideology: Fascist

Portugal

Initial Ideology: Non-Aligned

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