The Red Spring was a series of protests, riots, and revolts that spread across the Earth Federation during the Ascension War, and was a key reason the Federation lost the war to the Holy Terran Empire.
After the Caal Invasion of 2264 triggered the collapse of the Earth Federation, on several star systems it was the local units of the Light Infantry that maintained law and order, and by default took up the reins of government once central authority collapsed. About a quarter of all human systems subsequently joined together to form the Ministry of Public Safety. But while many in the Ministry never saw the organization as anything but a temporary expedient to maintain law and order on a local level pending the return of such order to Human space as a whole and a return of central authority under the Federation, others saw it as a chance for real Democracy or greater local autonomy, both of which had been scarce under the Federation in general, and almost non-existent during the long reign of Arthur Clarke as Grand Council Chairman. When the Ministry leadership under Chief Minister Aisha Ramirez signed a treaty reuniting the Ministry territory with the rump Federation led by Admiral Joseph Smythe, many factions within the Ministry were not happy with the arrangement.
Almost immediately after signing the unification treaty, however, Aisha Ramirez, the Chief Minister of the former Ministry, was assassinated by a Sabbat hit squad led by William Bishop, a serving member of the Federation military, under orders from Mordred himself. Although Bishop managed to frame a pair of yakuza werewolves for the killing, many citizens, suspecting Federation Chairman Joseph Smythe had ordered the hit to eliminate any competition to his authority, distrusted the Federation and began organizing demonstrations and protests pushing for the reestablishment of the Ministry of Public Safety, or to secede and become independent systems as the Wilke's Star Free State had done.
Around the same time, the Cult of the Emperor on New Tokyo (supported and financed by Anshin Heavy Industries and the Yasuyama clan) declared open rebellion. After a long and bloody revolt, they finally managed to seize power and unify New Tokyo with the Holy Terran Empire. Inspired by their success, Imperial Cults on other Federation systems rebelled as well.
Making the problem worse was that the Federation had transferred many of the Light Infantry forces off the former Ministry worlds to fight in the Ascension War, leaving a depopulated and underequipped civil police force to maintain order, contain the riots, and fight the rebels.
The Red SpringEdit
All these factors combined in an escalating series of demonstrations that swept the former Ministry systems from March through August of 2265. When an understaffed Light Infantry tried to disperse the protestors, it often turned into a riot. Attempts to put down the rioting through force escalated things further to a state of open revolt and civil war. The movement was named the "Red Spring" after the number of Imperial Cultists involved in the rebellions, who all wore red as it was the official color of the Cult of the Emperor.
By June, San Angeles, Arnheim, and Beowulf, the three "core" systems of the old Christian Federation, successfully broke away from the Earth Federation. Unfortunately, the collation of Cultists, Tremonties, Ministry patriots, and freedom fighters that had been unified by the goal of ousting the Federation began to unravel, as each faction had different goals, and within a month another three-way civil war had broken out over control of these planets. This, sadly, was to become common among the systems that did manage to break away from the Federation during the Red Spring.
With four systems now having broken away, Federation Chairman Joseph Smythe shifted tactics from fighting the rebels to negotiating with them. In an effort to address the insurgents' concerns, Smythe agreed to hold new elections for the Federation Senate in six months' time, at the start of the new year. At the same time, however, a small flotilla of Earth Fleet warships, fresh from a victory in Sarma, were heading into the former Ministry systems to support the Light Infantry battling the insurrections. This carrot-and-stick approach proved somewhat successful, and rebel fighters in Phoenix (the former capitol of the Ministry), and the Abel, and Seth systems (vampire-populated systems wanting independence) agreed to a cease-fire until the elections were held. Systems where the revolts were led by the Cult of the Emperor, however, refused to negotiate and continued fighting.
The Red Spring sapped the Federation's fighting strength, interfering with industrial production, disrupting military supply lines, and siphoning off badly needed manpower. The Red Spring came to an end shortly after the Holy Terran Empire finally defeated the Federation and won the Ascension War. In star systems with ongoing rebellions, the Light Infantry defenders lost hope and sued for peace or surrendered outright. All human star systems were eventually absorbed into the Empire, with the rebel leaders often becoming the new nobility of their systems.