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Girkmand saw radical changes after the turn of the 17th century. Corruption, inflation and other socioeconomic hardships severely weakened the military as its funding and resources were now directed elsewhere. Many discontent soldiers deserted in search of greener pastures. The army was fighting the people it had sworn to protect: angry mobs of starving workers flocked to the streets to riot and were subsequently cut down by soldiers. The ill Republic was left completely open for attack from foreign powers. Through 1601-1657 the Republic was struggling to fend off the combined Jugenile, Kerlian and Luwidgian invasions and as a result, lost much of its territory and resources. The Republican Navy was almost entirely destroyed during the Battle of Goodwill (1647) when the army of Luwidgian general Karl Danzig burned down the Kimberly harbor. The Republican Army lost some 27,000 men in the battle. The loss was devastating and morale plummeted in the ranks. Field Marshal Hans Geralt continued the defense of the country despite the infighting and the harsh odds, becoming a popular figure in the minds of the people through his bravery of fighting in the ranks with his soldiers. Several Girkmandian near-wins halted the utter destruction of the country; Field Marshal Hans Geralt's famous 1655 "Letter to the Council" read as such: "...through key Girkmandian near-wins, we continue to dominate the vital war of nerves". The Republican Army successfully defended the sovereignty of the Girkmandian Republic long enough for acceptable peace terms to be made. The following decades would be used to recover and recuperate from the devastating human and economical losses. During the Second Girkmandian Empire (1857-1897) of the last elected prime magistrate John H. Beyer, the Republican Army saw great change in leadership and organization: officers who had proven to have no willingness dealing in matters of war and were merely chosen for their social status rather than skill were liquidated and replaced by men who had proven their ability to lead. The army received greater funding and modern equipment for the upcoming war effort. The shackles of the oligarchy were broken and corruption in the ranks hit an all time low. A draft system was devised to build up the army's manpower pool; mass production of military equipment, uniforms and supplies was achieved through the rapid industrialization of Girkmand through revolutionary new economic policies. Backed by a surge of patriotism among the general population, the self-proclaimed Emperor set his sights on the territories lost to the Luwidgians, Kerlians and Jugeniles. A series of bloody wars followed during which the three kingdoms fell: the First Liberation War (1867-1875), the Second Liberation War (1879-1883) and the Third Liberation War (1888-1897). At the start of the First Liberation War, the Girkmandian forces began making furious marches into enemy territory, taking them completely by surprise. Vital strategic resources were immediately seized and the rapid advance sought to lower enemy morale so much that the governments would capitulate and agree to premature peace terms. The initial assault against Luwidgian positions during the First Liberation War proved successful: several enemy units were encircled and either annihilated or taken prisoner. The retreating Luwidgian army garrisoned and fortified large important cities which resulted in years of brutal siege warfare that caused great loss of life between both sides. The exiled Luwidgian government fled to Kerlia in 1876 when the last besieged city surrendered to Girkmandian troops. The Second Liberation War was sparked when the combined armies of Kerlian and Jugenile forces made a preemptive attack on Girkmand in 1879. Faulty intel had suggested that the Girkmandian army was still recovering from its first war in 1875. However, much of the army was still mobilized to the advantage of the Girkmandians, who put up fierce resistance at the border. The army retreated some 150 kilometers before it was reinforced by the reserve line. The defensive began in June 1880 along the heavily fortified southern border. Field Marshal Franz Munich ordered the 1st and 2nd Corps to intentionally expose the eastern flank with the Kerlians to try and lure the enemy into pushing past their defenses, effectively entrapping themselves behind Girkmandian lines. Miraculously, the ruse worked: the Battle of Bric commenced on 14th August 1882 during which the entrapped Kerlian army was dispatched by the 4th and 6th Reserve Cavalry Corps. The ensuing chaos between Kerlian and Jugenile communications resulted in a complete breakdown of situational strategic understanding. The Jugenile 17th, 2nd and 3rd armies to the west were pushed back in the September offensive of 1883. A fragile ceasefire followed by a peace treaty commenced after casualties on both sides rose to the hundreds of thousands. Men were reportedly tripping over bodies during the brutal melee. The realities of war had finally reached the Girkmandians at home, many of whom had lost their homes, loved ones or businesses in the war. Girkmandian public officials began to report on the war as a "defensive victory" to try and cull the growing anti-war sentiment in the country. In 1888, the Republican Army would embark on its final offensive against the weakened Kerlian capital. The home front of Girkmand was thoroughly exhausted by the continuous wars of their emperor and took to the streets in protest. Anti-draft riots broke out that were violently put down by auxiliary militias. Many veterans in the army were replaced by newly recruited youths with little experience in matters of war. Nonetheless, countless young men marched to Kerlia. Kerlian forces were still suffering from the Battle of Bric, during which they lost an enormous amount of experienced soldiers and equipment. The Battle of Harz resulted in a full-scale retreat of the Kerlian forces, who were pursued to the capital Corenz and subsequently besieged. Girkmand's long supply lines severely hampered the efforts of the besiegers who would go on for days without food, coupled with frequent night raids by Kerlian forces. Several failed attempts to assault the city were made from 1888-1891. In 1892, the Jugenile Kingdom sent the Second Girkmandian Empire an ultimatum: cease all hostilities against the Kingdom of Kerlia at the threat of war. Although hesitant, Emperor John H. Beyer refused the ultimatum. The Jugeniles declared war on Girkmand on December 13 1893. Girkmand was now fighting a two-front war. Several auxiliary divisions and reservists were sent to defend the western border against the Jugenile invasion. Recent innovations in the arms industry led the Republican Army to purchase several thousand recoil-operated machine guns in 1890, which it used to successfully stop several Jugenile attacks during the Battle of Wunder, in which 12,000 Jugenile soldiers were killed, 13,000 wounded and 5,000 captured. The frontlines remained virtually the same until 1895. The Kerlian capital Corenz was finally captured in January 1896 in the Third Siege of Corenz by Field Marshal Martin Hautzkopf. The city was nearly razed to the ground after some 700 artillery guns were brought to bombard the town. The Girkmandians lost 10,714 men in the assault while the defenders lost some ~8,000 soldiers. The tired armies on the Kerlian front were reorganized on the undermanned Jugenile front. The Battle of Rhynz began early in the morning on October 1 1896 at around 6:00 AM. After initial clashes the previous day, the main Jugenile forces began to march straight into the entrenched Girkmandian positions with over 18,000 men. Girkmandian machine guns opened fire on the exposed units. An estimated 2,500 Jugenile soldiers died during the first hour. Girkmandian positions suffered from some enemy artillery fire, although few casualties are reported to have been caused by the shelling. The 12th and 15th Corps of the Republican Army advanced, forcing the Jugeniles to break. The Girkmandian main line began its assault against the Jugenile forces camped 20 km away. Supported by indirect artillery fire and machine guns, the army managed to inflict enough casualties on the enemy to push well past the Jugenilian borders. Field Marshal Martin Hautzkopf arranged his divisions into separate columns, anxious to cut off the retreating Jugeniles. The separate columns engaged in a pincer movement, trapping the Jugenile armies between themselves and the main line. Concerned about enemy reinforcements, Field Marshal Martin Hautzkopf sought to finish off the entrapped armies as quickly as possible. No prisoners were taken. Field Marshal Martin Hautzkopf's armies fought light skirmishes on their march to the Jugenilian capital Juge. The Girkmandian armies besieged the capital city until its defenders' eventual surrender on November 20, 1897 following a peace treaty demanding the full annexation of Kerlia and Jugenile into the Second Girkmandian Empire.