Part 8: Lisenia and World War I (1910-1920)
First part of the 1910s saw strong economic growth for the country fueled by the increasing trade with Japan, Europe and the Americas. It was during this decade that rubber and petroleum products began to add important value to the economy. The nationalized ENPAL oil company carved modest gains in the local Asian market but never managed to make much headway against the true heavyweights like Shell and Standard Oil. Nonetheless, the petroleum trade with Japan was increasingly lucrative and much of the revenues was reinvested in drilling technology and increasing production.
The outbreak of the First World War took the Lisenian government largely by surprise, despite the rumblings of the world press following the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian archduke. The war also caught the Lisenian government flat footed, since the rapid pace of developments meant that important decisions had to be made quickly. The government's policy and the public's opinion was for neutrality and that was to be the course of action for most of the war. Despite this, the threat posed by the possible appearance of the German East Asia Squadron in Lisenian waters or against Lisenian shipping made the Lisenian government order that the regular neutrality patrols be carried out by the Lisenian navy.
This task was begun in late September and by 1918, despite the usual reports of mystery German raiders being sighted and the occasional false alarm, the Lisenian Navy had undertaken more than 800 patrol missions escorting shipping to and from Lisenian waters without incident. The war itself was largely beneficial for the country. As demand for food and raw materials increased around the world, the traditional suppliers were largely occupied with fighting the war, which meant that Lisenian companies made good gains supplying all sorts of commodities to countries around the world. This demand in turn caused further growth in the industry, as immigration increased, especially from European countries as people fled the devastation of the war or of famines and settled in Lisenia, which was in dire need of cheap labor. The number of factories tripled during the war and the export demand led to rapid development in the agricultural sector. The war also helped to revolutionize the banking sector. Although Lisenia's banks had been performing well but not spectacularly so before the war, the sudden and urgent demand for credit around the world meant that Lisenia's banks were now in an enviable position. By war's end, Lisenia was well on its way towards becoming a creditor nation, having loaned nearly half a billion dollars to countries around the world and its foreign trade having quadrupled in size, the United States and Japan being the biggest trading partners.
The end of the war left the Lisenian country in a rather enviable position. Economic prosperity and growth had made the country quite rich for its size and standards. The nation had benefited greatly from the war, with its territories, industry and citizens untouched by the ravages of that most terrible conflict. It had also revealed some deficiencies. The lack of educated labor was hugely important, and the government invested good money towards improving education and universities began to receive more funding. The armed forces had thankfully been spared the reality of combat, which they were woefully prepared to meet. The navy had been in better shape than the army but it was clear that it needed significant investment if it was to be the first line of defense in the future. Aviation also had made a great impact on strategists in Lisenia, and supporters of this new technology were many in number and found a willing partner in the government which provided funds and support for development of that technology.
The protected cruiser Fugaz
in new naval gray camouflage and neutrality markings. The casemated 1-pounder QF guns have been removed, and the 3-pounder Hotchkiss guns have been replaced by 47-mm QF anti-torpedo boat guns. A new wireless set has been fitted as well as an optical rangefinder.