The Black Terror. A historical analysis of the darkest period in recent Martian memory.
By John Whitberg
No overview of recent galactic history, let alone Martian history, would be complete without an examination of the period since dubbed “The Black Terror,” so named for the uniforms worn by its enforcers. Yet, this period is seemingly always overlooked by galactographers, due to its darkness. But such a rosy and incomplete image can be of no benefit. Let’s examine “The Black Terror.” The events leading to it. Its consequences. Its legacy. And finally, what happens now.
The Black Terror is generally defined as having started on May 28th, 1945, and to have concluded on March 3rd, 1990, with the signing of the Olympus Mons Treaty. The Black Terror itself is the period between those dates, during the planet- wide illegal German occupation, which was marked by constant sectarian violence, civil war, both hot and cold, and planet-wide martial law, resulting in mass rioting and severe food shortages in some provinces.
The background of this period leads, as all SSP roads lead, to WWII. After the German humiliation, the aristocracy decided to relocate off planet for good. While a great many missions had been already undertaken already, the true Interstellar Colonial era had not begun. The first permanent Lunar colony was established on April 23rd, 1945, in the final hours of the war. In mid May, a large fleet was sent to Mars. On May 28th, 1945, the German fleet reached Mars and annexed the planet in its entirety. They announced their arrival by dropping neutron bombs on the indigenous cities on the surface, and began placing settlers in strategic and favorable locations. So began the civil war.
Initially, the new administration was marked by confusion and severe bureaucratic inefficiency. Despite the new German occupiers considerable technological superiority over the indigenous, they had arrived on unfamiliar ground, and with such hostility that retaliation was inevitable. Military leaders on both sides were assassinated with such frequency that it was often difficult to know who was even in charge at any given time. Settlements were also frequent targets of attack, to the point that most Martian indigenous peoples became nomadic. Prior to the war, the Martian raptors and indigenous humans had built cities on the surface. All were destroyed in the war.
The war also sparked racialized violence. The Martian indigenous humans, Mars Ant Beings, and Martian Raptors, who had previously coexisted with relative peace, all had German propaganda inserted into their communities via V2K and spies. They disseminated racial propaganda, to make the 3 indigenous communities divided. However, this created many problems for the Germans also, as it caused numerous partisan guerrilla groups to sprout, most of them anti-German.
The Black Terror is considered to have reached its peak in the 1970s, when corporations entered the fray, and began supplying all sides with better weapons, and, most alarmingly, surveillance tech. Due to its rickety political situation, corporations had previously had a limited presence on Mars. However, the Germans invited them more, beginning in 1972, in order to end the conflict in their own favor. The corporations instead began selling weapons to all sides, greatly escalating the conflict. However, this also marked the beginning of the end of The Black Terror.
After the corporate involvement, and the following escalation and equalization of forces, the Germans began to see a need to end the civil war. Many ceasefires were called, then immediately broken, throughout the 1980s. The conflict ended at last on March 3rd 1990, with the signing of the Olympus Mons Treaty, at the newly built German diplomatic compound in the area. All 4 official recognized governments of the conflict signed, and the few remaining partisan groups were quickly defeated or capitulated.
The terms of the treaty were perhaps as fair as could be expected. The Germans agreed to cede large parts of Mars to the indigenous groups, in exchange for untouchable territory. This allowed them to build their new capital of Neu Berlin in the lava tube system directly under Olympus Mons. They did this also in exchange for apparent transparency between the 4 powers, as well as all 4 powers being granted galactic amnesty for their war crimes against each other.
The Black Terror has left a tremendous legacy in the history of Mars. All sides took severe losses. As many as 5 million Germans were killed, a fraction of that suffered by other communities. An estimated 30% of the indigenous Martian communities were killed. Among indigenous human Martians, this number rises to as much as 70%. Numerous cities, towns, villages, and religious and historical sites were destroyed. Many of the indigenous dialects also went extinct, as did countless other pieces of intangible heritage.
In conclusion; The Black Terror was a dark and recent chapter of the history of our galaxy. However, it must not be erased due to the darkness of it as a subject, as many galactographers are known to do. Like the Holocaust and Armenian Genocides before it, it must be remembered and taught, and its victims and heroes honored, so that it may never happen again.