What is this: This is an AAR (After Action Report) of a game called Hearts of Iron 2. Any political idealogical or persons do not represent my personal view or that of the forum. If you get wound up over the mention of certain aspects of the second world war (I will not, I stress this not, be commenting on any racial views as perused by the Nazi government, terror bombing, or the mass slaughter of people), don't just post saying “sUx0r” or anything. As I said, I will not be writing on any controversial topics as previously mentioned. This is not a historical recount, and I am going to take some artistic licence in some of the characters (some will be fictional). I hope you can all enjoy this.
3rd January 1936
The British empire had come out of the great war larger than ever before, with gains carved out of the defeated Central power's empires during the great war. Parts of Africa, the Near East and the Pacific had been carved up along the boarders drawn up by the victorious European powers in 1918. When the great wall street crash occurred in 1929, the world was sent into a global economic recession, and not even the British empire was left untouched by this great economic disaster. In order to pursue economies, the defence of the Empire was cut to the bone, in a desperate attempt by the government to save money. By 1930, with a resurgent Germany under the leadership of Herr Hitler, and the internal political fighting with her traditional ally france, and the machinations of a resurgent Italy, what can lie in store for Britain and her Empire in the future?
It was still quite cool for early January, but with the new naval white paper due for propagation in the coming weeks, the uppermost echelons of the British government were meeting in an informal meeting before the next session of parliament was due to commence. The Right Honourable Stanely Baldwin MP, the Prime Minister, first Lord of the Treasury, Minister of the Civil Service of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Leader of the House of Commons was holding a meeting with the rest of the inner cabinet in the lavish cabinet room. Along with the Prime Minister was the Lord President of the Council, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for the Home Office, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the Lord Privy Seal, the Secretary of State for War and the First Lord of the Admiralty. As the radiator blazed away, the room began to slowly fill the fumes of burnt tobacco, as the members of the cabinet steadied themselves into the chairs that would comfort them for the next hour at least. As the First Lord of the Admiralty, it would be Sir Bolton Eyres-Monsell who would begin the meeting.
'Gentlemen, it is with great regret that I have the most seriousness of news. What we have feared over the past few months has materialized in such a form that it makes our course of action unavoidable, and in consequence little room to maneuver, however as First Lord of the Admiralty, and as I have consulted with the Chief of the Imperial General Staff Sir Archibald Armar Montgomery-Massingberd, he, along with the heads of his departments, and our Chief Scientific advisor Sir Hugh Sinclair, we [The British Government] have found a viable alternative that will make the chancellor cringe.” A few light laughs were heard around the table, however the Neville Chamberlain took the matter rather more seriously.
'In the proposed white paper gentlemen, and with the information that we have at hand from the Secret Intelligence Service, and the Daily Telegraph, they are both essentially saying the same thing.'There is a brief pause as Sir Bolton receives a throat full of malt scotch from his glass.'As I was saying, the Japanese are pulling out of the naval agreement. They claim that [ruffled though a folder for an an ominous seeming paper] “although the best intentions must be made, we are finding it difficult to embody the essential and most fundamental aspects of the first committee, and although we agree in principal to the aims of the committee, we cannot subscribe to the current or future policy of this committee unless our previous conditions are met...” and so on.'
Stanley Baldwin interjected. 'Rubbish, they have been looking to get out of the naval agreement for ages. The SIS have already reported that they are breaking tonnage limits anyway. What would be another treaty thrown onto their montage of broken agreements?' A few muffled laughs were heard emanating from around the table. 'Tell me Anthony [Eden, Foreign Secretary], what have the Americans to say about this little fact?'
Eden prepared to speak with his carefully refined voice. 'The Americans are pursuing peace as usual, forge discussion, best for the world and all that rubbish. They are concerned with the Japanese more so than what we may be, as they are the Americans main rival in the Pacific. Roosevelt speaks of isolation, but from what I gather from our ambassador in Washington, he is eager for the Japanese to sign the treaty on tonnage. Our ambassador in Tokyo will meet with the Japanese foreign minister next week, so we may just hold our cards close to our chests on this one.'
Stanley Baldwin, after waiting for Eden to finish, finally got a word in. 'Whats happening in Abyssinia? I read the Foreign Office telegrams and is it true that Emperor Sallassie is making a plea to the League of Nations?' He enquired to Eden, who immediately began shuffling through another folder.
'He's making a plea to start a committee. We are supporting his claim, yet the committee will never report, and if it was anything like the Manchuria fiasco, it will take years to start up. At the rate the Italians are ploughing across East Africa, the Emperor may not have much of a country to rule over. There is little that can be done on the matter.' The rest of cabinet seemed neither willing to show interest or care in the slightest way about Abyssinia or its people.
Sir Bolton Eyres-Monsell was about to speak as he took a sip from his slowly empting glass. 'If we may, can we get back to the white paper?' He seemed slightly more tense now. 'With the Japanese prepared to exceed treaty tonnage, this white paper aims to counter that with a new series of ship building, especially for battleship tonnage. As you know, the tonnage ratio was established, but with that increasing, we are being left behind in the great naval game. Would Neville care to look at the front page summery?' The summery was passed around to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and as his eyes read down the paper, his face turned from a pasty white to a creamy colour. 'How on earth do you expect to pay for all this lot? The British people are not going to spend millions of pounds on new battleship tonnage when we are pursuing cuts. This is almost outrageous.'
Stanley Baldwin began to speak. 'New tonnage? That would give the Japanese a perfect excuse to leave the treaty talks. No, we shall not pursue this white paper at the moment. I am sorry.' The First Lord of the Admiralty was on the point of Heart break, that was often the case in politics.