Like Arrigo's war scenario.
I'll call my previous post "Chapter 1: History Breaks (pre-1991)"...
Those events would activate a lot of the events that we've discussed in multiple threads before the Alpha — how the "End of History" policies are not introduced, how Western politicians do not start cashing in on the "Peace Dividend", how development and introduction of new systems does not hit a brick wall, how perfectly good systems are not scrapped prematurely...
And for this second part; it is really just off the top of my head, my fingers sort of just continued typing... So, if the previous was a rough sketch, then this is really little more than semi-coherent rambling. I haven't even begun thinking about the simultaneous global or even European scenario. As before — there are people I'd need to confer with to turn it into something sensible.
But I ... think there may be a grain of something in there, somewhere:
So, for my "Chapter 2: Prelude to War (1991-1997)":
In spite of Jaruzelski trying — somewhat half-heartedly, in retrospect — to impose a harder regime and revert from some of the liberal reforms introduced during the mid-80's without interfering with too many of the economic ones, Poland continues to be the enfant terrible of the Communist Bloc. The massive economic crisis breeds widespread dissent, despite food and industrial aid programmes from the Soviet Union (who themselves are fighting similar problems) and draconic measures to quell the kleptocracy and black markets that siphon resources from the State's central planning.
The elections of June 1989 had taken place, with Solidarity as clear winner, but almost immediately afterward, the results are overturned and Solidarity again outlawed, with Walesa put into prison for three years. However, the leading Solidarity candidates elect to go underground, and form a "Shadow Government" that purports to be Poland's "only legal Government". Many countries formally recognise it as such.
In the meanwhile, Soviet complaints about the "blatant imperialist aggression evidenced by the illegal annexation of the DDR by the BRD" grow in volume and intensity. Voices in the Presidium and Central Command talk increasingly about "liberating" DDR. No formal decision is made to do so, but in 1994 plans are nevertheless drafted, based on a swift push that would (so it is thought) take NATO by surprise and reclaim at least 85% of DDR's territory, presenting the West with a fait accompli. Being inherently divided and therefore weak, NATO would obviously whine about it, but not take further action. The plans are quickly put into a drawer, as most recognise the strong whiff of rhetorical wishful thinking emanating from it.
Back in Poland, Walesa was freed from prison in 1992, and promptly joined the rest of the underground Government as its President. In 1995, the Solidarity Shadow Government decides to approach the West and seek support for an intervention to liberate Poland from its "illegal" government and Soviet oppression. The Soviet-recognised government gets wind of this, and redoubles its efforts to hunt down the Shadow Government. With the Brezhnev Doctrine firmly re-established, the consequence of such an action are all too clear. Poland goes back to indefinite martial law.
In 1996, the Warsaw Pact moves substantial forces into Poland. The formal reason for this is to quell any secessionist tendencies, but in the background also lurk the plans from 1994 that someone dusted off. With the economic difficulties escalating and war seemingly at the door, several Warsaw Pact countries, among them the USSR and Poland, switch to war economy.
Knowing that the Soviet Union and the rest of the Warsaw Pact countries don't recognise the German reunification, NATO begins reinforcing its forces in Central Europe as a precautionary measure when they receive intelligence of these developments.
The Polish Shadow Government's talks with the West haven't really led anywhere substantial — minor clandestine aid from intelligence services that has enabled them to stay underground is pretty much the extent of it — but when they learn through back channels that NATO is moving forces toward the Polish border, lacking the bigger picture and feeling the pressure of the intensified manhunt most acutely, they interpret it as a positive sign. This misapprehension spreads as a rumour outside the circle, and eventually reaches the ears of the security services. As a result, the formal government, and then Moscow, find themselves unable to ignore the possibility that the NATO deployments actually are preparations for an invasion.
Thus, when 1997 dawns, Europe is one big, dry powder keg, just waiting for a spark.
When Pact aerial surveillance shows an American tank battalion advancing in formation (they are on exercise) and report this, it is interpreted as the launching move of the invasion. In response, elements of the Soviet tank brigade guarding that sector are deployed toward the border to intercept. Joint STARS detects this rapid redeployment, and this is immediately interpreted as an offensive.
And up goes the balloon.
After the initial exchange, with the US President on the Hotline assuring them that this was a misunderstanding, the Warsaw Pact leadership decides to formally declare war on NATO. Misunderstanding or not — at that point, with the risk of Polish secession, a civilian economy about to fall apart, the need to repair the prestige loss of the illegally annexed DDR, a population desperately in need of having its ire directed somewhere other than its leaders, and the ever overarching imperative to move Russia's sphere of influence closer to the Atlantic, the Pact perceives it has more to gain by fighting the war they had prepared for, at last. And thus the first offensive is launched.
[i]Before[/i] clicking that response button — [i]are you sure you actually [b]read[/b] it?[/i]
...[i]and[/i] checked if something more was posted on the subject [b]after[/b] it?