For many years prior to this, the state of North Enaria in Dorland, and the province of Enarrace in Palissan, had been home to the Enarese ethnic group. In both nations, tensions existed between the Enarese and the rest of the country; Dorland sought to maintain a balnce between giving the state autonomy and keeping it in line with the central government, while Palissan generally kept a hard line. Nonetheless, no separatist movement developed until the early 4th century, when the Order of the Black Star was created in secret in North Enaria. Within a decade of this, more liberal and intellectual Enarese began calling for independence from Dorland - or, at the very least, a new constitution that guaranteed the rights and autonomy of the Enarese.
At this point, the Order of the Black Star began expanding operations into Enarrace, carrying out terrorist attacks which met at first with harsh reprisals, until public outcry led to the fall of the government. The newly elected president of Palissan, Edith Parks, publicly refused to negotiate with terrorists; however, it was widely suspected that she made a secret agreement with the leaders of the Order of the Black Star to withdraw from Enarrace in exchange for relaxing the laws that restricted Enarese expressions of culture and providing regional autonomy. Shortly after this, the Dorlese government launched a campaign that effectively destroyed the Order of the Black Star in North Enaria, killing or imprisoning most of its leaders.
The tension between Dorland and Palissan continued for some time after this. Both the Enarese lands and the Dorlese state of Mezelia acted as a frontier between the two nations; they had fought a series of wars over the previous centuries, in which Palissan's greater population and wealth was balanced against Dorland's ability to use its metahuman population more effectively in battle and other operations. The issue was compounded by the fact that each nation saw itself as the protector of the Enarese population in the other.
In the beginning of the 36th decade, a new Order of the Black Star was formed, that began secretly providing military training to Enarese on both sides of the border. At the same time, an economic recession and a military defeat to Solaria led Palissan to reduce many of the autonomies that Enarrace had to that point enjoyed. This led to the Order of the Black Star openly acting in Palissan, striking against federal authority both inside and out of the province. Palissan accused Dorland (not without justification) of supporting these attacks. Tensions built between the two nations, finally erupting into all out war.
As in many of the previous wars between the two, fighting was at first inconclusive, although bloody. Dorland maintained initial air supremacy in the border regions, and mounted an invasion of Enarrace. However, it quickly became apparent that the Order of the Black Star was more powerful than initially supposed, and did not intend to be a passive observer. Dorlese occupying forces found themselves in sometimes open conflict with the Order, which had armed civilians and claimed to be the legitimate authority in the region.
At this point, Palissan was able to mobilize its war industries, and began to push back against Dorland. Its air force began to take a major toll on the Dorlese and even to undertake bombing campaigns in Mezelia. It also led several incursions that recaptured parts of Enarrace. However, any hopes among the Order or the Enarese population as a whole that this was a better state of affairs was quickly dashed; Palissan took even harsher measures to crack down. At this point, the Order of the Black Star officially declared the Republic of Enaroland, consisting of the territories of the state of North Enaria and the Province of Enarrace. In many parts of the region, the Order represented the only consistent military authority, and had a great deal of control over many civilian institutions such as municipal courts and government. However, they found themselves vying for control of these institutions with other separatist groups, such as the Enarese Liberation Movement and the Free Enaroland Coalition, some of which were less extremist than the Order.
Seeing that the existence of an independent Enarese state would serve as a buffer between the two nations and reduce future conflict, Dorlese diplomats began suggesting to their counterparts in Palissan that they make a joint recognition of Enaroland. Both militaries agreed to hold off on major operations while details were worked out, although no formal cease fire was called. It was decided that the Order of the Black Star was too dangerous to be given a major role in an independent Enaroland, and further, that both nations wished to enforce the idea that independence was granted from them, rather than taken by force. To that end, a group of Dorlese metahumans infilitrated the Order of the Black Star and assassinated its leader, Peterson Gardner. They were able to discredit the organization in the eyes of most Enarese civilians, allowing the more pliable Enarese Liberation Movement to become the major force for independence.
However, a great deal of disagreement still existed between the Palissanic and Dorlese on the exact terms of Enarese independence. Negotiations began to drag out, and the Palissanic military warned that if terms were not reached, it would recommence hostilities. These warning were not heeded in Dorland, which still trusted in its army (although its air force had been battered, and its army had struggled in occupied Enarrace, it had not been defeated in open battle.) Eventually, Palissan struck; a massive air campaign against Dorlese troops in Mezelia, followed by an invasion, led to the occupation by Palissanic troops of all of Mezelia, the capture of thousands of troops, and an open road to Hallerton itself.
At this point, Palissan found it easy to dictate terms to Dorland. The Treaty of Port Eve was signed in that city by both nations in [357?]. It decreed that the borders of Enaroland would include not only Enarrace and North Enaria, as originally proposed, but also the Dorlese state of South Enaria - which even the Order of the Black Star had not claimed, as it had a population that was less than 50% Enarese. Both nations would pay an indemnity to Enaroland.
Palissan also claimed all of Mezelia. They hoped to use these gains to pay for their indemnity, but in reality discovered that the cost of reconstruction in the region far outstripped any immediate gains. Nonetheless, the increase in industrial output caused by the war lifted Palissan out of their recession. At the same time, the people of Karlingsaw - another semi-autonomous province dominated by a foreign ethnic group - hoped that they would be able to follow in the footsteps of Enarrace and gain independence; however, over the ensuing years and decades, Palissan pursued a policy of assimilation in both Karlingsaw and Mezelia, leading to many residents of both regions to flee to Dorland.
For Dorland, the war - especially the sudden crushing defeat in Mezelia - was humiliating. Everything that had defined them in their relationship with their more powerful northern neighbor - their ability to use the powers of their metahuman population effectively; their ability to guard their frontier; and their claim to protect the Enarese population of Palissan - was swept away in a matter of weeks. The poor showing by their military (which was due to several factors) cast a pall over the entire organization that would persist decades later. Even those not directly affected would see changes; the "Golden Age" of metahuman superheroes who safeguarded the civilians of Dorlese cities came to an end. In its literary output, a greater sense of pessimism and fatalism defined the era, and this was reflected in popular culture as well. However, there were parts of Dorland that saw positive effects; particularly, Bridgewater became the new home for thousands of Karlingseen and Mezelian refugees, which led to a flowering of culture in the city (as well as an increase in ethnic tensions).