Guo Guotai

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Grand Marshall

Guo Guotai
Yan Xishan.jpg
Supreme Ruler of Kodeshia
In office
12 October 1932 – 19 June 1964
Succeeded by Emperor Xuanyi
(Emperor of Kodeshia)
Personal details
Born July 15, 1889
Chenghai, Empire of Kodeshia
Died June 19, 1964 (age 74)
Songhari, Kodeshi State
Cause of death Stroke
Political party Grand Unity Party
Education Naval Academy of Chenghai
Military service
Allegiance  Kodeshia Empire of Kodeshia
Kodeshia Republican forces
Kodeshia Kodeshi State
Years of service 1909–1964
Rank Admiral of the Navy
Commands All
Battles/wars Grand Campaigns
Kodeshian Civil War
Great Kesh War

Guo Guotai (Guoyu: 郭國泰; born July 15, 1889) was a Kodeshi admiral who led the Republican forces in overthrowing the old regime of Kodeshia during the Kodeshian Civil War and thereafter ruled over Kodeshia from 1932 to 1964 as a dictator. Despite the fact that he never officially proclaimed himself Emperor or Person of Heaven. Guo Guotai remains a controversial historical figure he is often portrayed as a cruel and merciless tyrant, but he has also been praised as a brilliant ruler, military genius and philosopher. Under his rule, the Empire increased in power, becoming one of the world's preeminent nations, and his legacy remains controversial as the nature of his dictatorship changed over time. His reign was marked by both brutal repression, with thousands killed, rapid industrialisation and economic prosperity, which greatly improved the quality of life in Kodeshia. Guo was also very successful in restoring public order and rebuilding the economy as the Grand Marshal.

However, his manipulation of Emperor Qinghuiguo as a puppet and figurehead was heavily criticised, as state affairs were effectively controlled by Guo Guotai instead of the Emperor himself. During his years in power, he oversaw the Empire's go to war in the Great Kesh War. During the course of the war, Guo presided over numerous war crimes, including the massacre and starvation of civilians and prisoners of war. After the war's tide decisively turned against Kodeshia, his popularity took a hit this was greatly compounded by the atomic bombing of the Kodeshi city of Wujin in 1959. This led to opposition gathering around the Royalist factions, whom Guo Guotai was unable to quell and is often considered the primary reason for his death and downfall.

Early life and career[edit | edit source]

Born on July 15, 1889 in Yu'an Province in a small fishing village on the outskirts of what is now Chenghai, at the time the Empire of Kodeshia, to the family of a fisherman, he entered the Navy at the age of 16. Graduating from the Sea Cadet Corps in 1909 at the top of his class and served as a midshipman on the cruiser Huangyuan. A brilliant officer and natural leader, he participated in the Grand Campaigns, and distinguished himself during the Siege of the Jade Sea in 1919. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant commander and awarded the Order of Distinction. As a senior officer, he was the flag captain of the 2nd Battleship Squadron. He also served on the Naval General Staff, helping draft a shipbuilding program, a training program, and developing a new protection plan for the ports of Chenghai and Songhari. In November 1924 Guo was appointed to command the battleship Guangshui. In February 1926 he was summoned to Kodeshi general headquarters to explain directly to the Emperor, the causes of disturbances in the Kodeshi fleet. Guo then was made commander of the destroyer division of the Gonghai Fleet, and later was then promoted to Rear admiral in the Gonghai Fleet of the Imperial Kodeshi Navy in the autumn of 1926 and was also made the Navy's Deputy Chief of Staff.

The Gonghai fleet descended into political chaos after the onset of the 1927 Revolution. Guo was relieved of command of the fleet in June and travelled to Songhari. On his arrival at Songhari, Guo was invited to a meeting of the Provisional Government. There he presented his view on the condition of the Kodeshi armed forces and their complete demoralisation. He stated that the only way to save the country was to re-establish strict discipline and restore capital punishment in the army and navy. During this time many organisations and newspapers of a conservative inclination spoke of him as a future dictator. A number of new and secret organisations had sprung up in Songhari with the goal of supporting the newly formed Republican Government from the dismissed Imperial Parliament and removal of the extremist members of Imperial government. Some of these organisations asked Guo to accept the leadership.

When news of these plots found their way to then Naval Minister of the Imperial Government, ordered Guo to leave immediately for Modrovia. Guo left for the newly established naval command at Zhuhai on the Yuhai Islands. He met with liaisons from Tiperyn and Modrovia and together they managed to establish a sizeable force of the remaining Gonghai Fleet to defect to the Republican side during the Kodeshian Civil War and was a Vice admiral in the Republican Kodeshi naval forces. He helped the peaceful handover of many vessels at the naval port in Zhuhai. On September 10, 1928 he became the Admiral of the Kodeshi Fleet and was responsible for the training of the new naval forces, Guo took part in a number of conferences on the issue of the defection.

Around 1927 Emperor Qinghuiguo was evacuating Songhari under the escort of Imperial Guard and Alvakische Ostkorps troops they escaped to Jiankang. Guo's forces were able to catch up and isolate the Emperor and Imperial entourage from their Imperial Guard who has mostly been wiped out while the Alvakische Ostkorps had already been given leave to return to Alva some hours eariler. Guo convinced the Emperor to move back to the capital as suggested by some of his Imperial advisors. Guo was appointed Minister of War and General-in-Chief. While some viewed the Emperor as a puppet under Guo's control, Guo adhered to a strict personal code until his death that he would not usurp the throne. But generally during this period the Emperor's role became little more than a ceremonial figurehead under the nominally constitutional monarchy. Despite the Imperial system remaining this new period is often referred to as Guoist regime or the Kodeshi State.

Guoist Kodeshia[edit | edit source]

The Guoist regime, officially known as the Kodeshi State is the period of Kodeshi history when Guo Guotai (郭國泰) ruled Kodeshia as dictator with the title Grand Marshal (大元帅). However Emperor Qinghuiguo remained nominally in power just effectively having all his powers removed and considered by some to be little more than a puppet or figurehead to provide legitimacy for the new regime. The Guoist regime is noted for having restored economic prosperity and ended mass unemployment using heavy spending on the military, while suppressing labor unions and strikes. The return of prosperity and decree which merged all parties supporting the rebel side, led to a Nationalist Kodeshia becoming a single-party regime under the Guoist Party which saw enormous popularity, with only minor, isolated and subsequently unsuccessful cases of resistance among the Kodeshi population over its years of rule. The regime undertook a period of massive industrialization and internal struggles between 1930 and 1940 as Guo Guotai established near total control over Kodeshi society, wielding virtually unrestrained power. Guo was ready to put a radical programme of industrialisation into action.

Great Kesh War[edit | edit source]

Selengeria launched a full-scale invasion Kodeshia on 30 October 1955. The primary targets of this surprise offensive were the oil fields of southern plains, Malipo and Zhuji, with the ultimate goal of capturing the capital of Songhari and ending the 1955 campaign near the Dazhong-Guangshen line, from the Tethys Sea to the Great Kesh Dividing range connecting into central Alvakalia. Suudriin's objectives were to eliminate Kodeshia as a military power, exterminate its native people, and restore the lost territories from the Grand Campaigns and guarantee access to the strategic resources within the southern plains region needed to defeat Selengeria's remaining rivals. The war took a heavy death toll on the Kodeshi but forced Selengeria and its allies to sign an Armistice, after Tiperyn dropped an atomic bomb over Wujin, killing over 100,000 people. This was the first nuclear attack in history.

The war left Kodeshia devastated, with the total death toll standing at between around 38-40 million Kodeshi deaths (estimates vary) making it perhaps the deadliest conflict of the era and had devastated the Kodeshi economy in the struggle. In addition, thousands of major cities, towns and settlements were destroyed by the war. Liberated occupied territories suffered from the ravages of Ündserkheg occupation and deportations of slave labor by Selengeria. The perceived failures of the government led to backlash and decline in popularity of Guo Guotai and maybe royalist and democratic partisans who had supported the war efforts now erupted into mass demonstrations, leading to a violent government crackdown. Guo refused to personally sign the 1959 Armistice and sent only lower officials to the final agreement.

Final Years[edit | edit source]

From the 1959 to 1964 was a period marked by political turmoil is uncertainty. Guo's health was very poor and the nation's economic situation was dire with most of the country still ravaged from the war. Compounding this issue was a succession crisis beginning in 16 April 1964 when Emperor Qinghuiguo died at the age of 75. The widespread public outpouring of grief which his death provoked in Songhari turned to anger at the Guo Guotai, leading to the 1964 Incident. Guo Guotai was reluctant to allow the official appointment of the next Emperor fearing they might try to overthrow his regime so he postposed the enthronement and declared a national period of mourning. Despite this the next Emperor Xuanyi formally ascended to the throne on 16 April 1964 and began consolidating his powerbase beginning the Xuanyi Restoration. Guo grew mistrustful of his doctors and staff; Guo's personality changed in his final months, for he became paranoid, angry and fearful. He feared that both the Selengerian secret police and Tiperyn intelligence were watching him. As he weakened, he became a dictatorial ruler who began to abuse his powers in his later years. For his final weeks, he would yell at his staff when he got mad, finally, on June 19, 1964, Guo Guotai had a stroke and he died shortly after. Although it is widely reported that Guo was murdered. His close aide has been suspected of murder, although no firm evidence has ever appeared. The Alleged claim was his wine was poisoned as his security aide was secretly working for the Imperial factions with lingering suspicions remain over Beifang and Alvakalia's role in the Xuanyi Restoration and potential murder of Guo Guotai. Other sources claim Tiperyn and Selengerian spies assassinated him and threw the body off a mountain. But no real evidence has ever been put forth on these claims. As time passed, Tiperyn officials claimed that Guo's death was the result of natural causes, his body having only been discovered with a small amount of blood left in his body.

Legacy[edit | edit source]

Biographers stated that Guo should be considered an outstanding and exceptional politician; his legacy remains controversial as the nature of his dictatorship changed over time. His reign was marked by both brutal repression, with thousands killed, rapid industrialisation and economic prosperity, which greatly improved the quality of life in Kodeshia. One biographer called Guo Guotai "a hero for his times", while the National Imperial Museum of Kodeshia cited that "Guo was a great wartime leader." Others claim his brutal murders and oppression only worsen the situation compared to reforming the Monarchy. WGuo Guotai's legacy is very valuable. Under his rule, the economy of Kodeshia boomed and the quality of life for the people of Kodeshia was greatly improved until the war broke out.

In popular culture[edit | edit source]

Guo Guotai is a key figure in the historical novel "Jiaxuan" by Feng Xiaogang. He is one of the main characters in the novel.