+ Reply to Thread
Page 101 of 123 FirstFirst ... 26 51 76 91 99 100 101 102 103 111 ... LastLast
Results 2,001 to 2,020 of 2441

Thread: Crossfires, a French AAR for HoI2 Doomsday

  1. #2001
    Major Ciryandor's Avatar
    200k club

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    In Werewolf HELL
    Posts
    758
    Quote Originally Posted by Karaiskandar View Post
    I hope that you're well paid by the PSF ...
    I believe in a Strong Republic.
    AAR Commentator and Werewolf Whackjob

    "Getting paid for reading is the best way to make a living."

    The best bit in that game is this PM from OY to his packmates:

    OrangeYoshi: ... I'll also put in a preliminary hunt order to Hunt Oky's replacement. (THE_SPLIT if I'm not mistaken). He publicly asked for a sub, and that is slightly more common in Lite if you have some sort of important role.

    This is OY putting in a hunt order on Oky's replacement, who is none other than OY.

  2. #2002
    Dauphinois à la Noix Karaiskandar's Avatar
    200k clubArsenal of DemocracyHearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonDarkest HourDeus Vult
    EU3 CompleteFor The GloryHearts of Iron IIIHeir to the ThroneVictoria 2
    Mount & Blade: Warband

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Grenoble, France
    Posts
    3,672
    Quote Originally Posted by Ciryandor View Post
    I believe in a Strong Republic.
    This the kind of answer I was expecting!
    Vive la République, Vive la France!
    Awarded Fan of the Week 10. April 2010
    Awarded the Medal of Services or Knowledge towards the betterment of Canada

  3. #2003
    "Look behind you Mr Caesar !" Atlantic Friend's Avatar
    HoI AnthologyArsenal of DemocracyDiplomacyHearts of Iron IIISemper Fi
    Victoria 2

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    At my favorite pub, swirling AAR ideas around...
    Posts
    2,083
    Quote Originally Posted by Faeelin View Post
    I have to admit, I'm afraid I don't understand why Britain is so passive.
    Britain's not exactly passive, but it certainly moves slower than the Axis (and a little slower than France, which cannot enjoy the insular splendid isolation) for several reasons :

    - Britain - just like France actually - is the champion of the preservation a certain order of things in Europe that could be described as "statu quo ante". For Downing Street and the City of London, tomorrow should look like yesterday, as it brings stability. Diplomatically, Berlin acts, while Paris and London react.

    - Britain - again, just like France - does not look eagerly towards another world war, not as long as there's a hope to contain Germany peacefully. Chamberlain doesn't share de la Rocque's Germanophobia.

    -Though it's rapidly rearming (under Chamberlain's government, the number of divisions has basically doubled, going from 13 in the Baldwin era to 24, and the increase is more spectacular with the RAF) the nation's armed forces are caught in a transition phase.

    - France is pursuing a more independent policy, making Whitehall's moves a little more complicated.

    - Italy is no longer a threat as it's now anchored to the French Alliance. London and Paris probably don't see eye-to-eye on many issues, but the two alliances have no quarrel with each other.

    - Japan's early Axis alliance threatens directly the colonial jewels of Britain's imperial crown, prompting some to urge more caution in Europe, either out of hope appeasement will work or to buy badly-needed time to be used in further rearmament.

  4. #2004
    "Look behind you Mr Caesar !" Atlantic Friend's Avatar
    HoI AnthologyArsenal of DemocracyDiplomacyHearts of Iron IIISemper Fi
    Victoria 2

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    At my favorite pub, swirling AAR ideas around...
    Posts
    2,083
    So, a British update, and a cultural update seem to be in order...

    I'll start writing this week-end. I'll probably start by the cultural update, as it is indeed an original theme, which promises to be fun. Thanks to Kaushikkarforma for having suggested it!

  5. #2005
    Lazy WritAAR Doge Robert's Avatar
    HoI AnthologyEuropa Universalis 3Europa Universalis: Rome

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    About three feet away from the screen
    Posts
    407
    Hmm.. I had forgotten about the Japanese entry into the Axis.. That ought to make even the boldest pro-war Brit sit back and take a deeeeep breath..

    Fighting both in Europe and the Far East at the same time, is a prospect both daunting and, very likely, economically disastrous in the minds of most politicians of that time..

    The Empire may be strong, but is it strong enough? That is the question they must be secretly asking themselves. And at the very least, I can see a much strengthened support for appeasement being the case here.
    HOI2 AARs:

    The Third Reich ~ Last Updated: October 29th, 2009 Twice!! (Ongoing) (SMEP 6.0 Mod) ~ Character Writer of the Week: 17//09/09 & 18/10/09
    Imperial Russia ~ (On Hold) (Kaiserreich Mod)

  6. #2006
    "Look behind you Mr Caesar !" Atlantic Friend's Avatar
    HoI AnthologyArsenal of DemocracyDiplomacyHearts of Iron IIISemper Fi
    Victoria 2

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    At my favorite pub, swirling AAR ideas around...
    Posts
    2,083
    Quote Originally Posted by Doge Robert View Post
    The Empire may be strong, but is it strong enough? That is the question they must be secretly asking themselves. And at the very least, I can see a much strengthened support for appeasement being the case here.
    Probably not appeasement for appeasement's sake, but definitely some concern about buying off time and using it to rearm.

    The way I see it, as of January, 1939, Britain probably sees Japan as a more pressing threat, while Germany can still hopefully be kept in check. France is bound, historically, to see it the other way around : Japan is not vitally important, German rearmament is. Both are right, both are wrong.

  7. #2007
    Field Marshal
    Crusader Kings IIDeus VultEU3 CompleteHeir to the ThroneVictoria: Revolutions
    Victoria 2

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Abandoned this account
    Posts
    7,729
    So they are probably not going to back Poland in the Danzig issue... unless things change dramatically in early-/mid-summer 1939...?

  8. #2008
    Major Ciryandor's Avatar
    200k club

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    In Werewolf HELL
    Posts
    758
    We can't really tell; but if push comes to shove, where can France/Britain intervene if Danzig is given up?

    Vote for De La Rocque!
    AAR Commentator and Werewolf Whackjob

    "Getting paid for reading is the best way to make a living."

    The best bit in that game is this PM from OY to his packmates:

    OrangeYoshi: ... I'll also put in a preliminary hunt order to Hunt Oky's replacement. (THE_SPLIT if I'm not mistaken). He publicly asked for a sub, and that is slightly more common in Lite if you have some sort of important role.

    This is OY putting in a hunt order on Oky's replacement, who is none other than OY.

  9. #2009
    "Look behind you Mr Caesar !" Atlantic Friend's Avatar
    HoI AnthologyArsenal of DemocracyDiplomacyHearts of Iron IIISemper Fi
    Victoria 2

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    At my favorite pub, swirling AAR ideas around...
    Posts
    2,083
    Quote Originally Posted by Leviathan07 View Post
    So they are probably not going to back Poland in the Danzig issue... unless things change dramatically in early-/mid-summer 1939...?
    Ah, but this is 1939, and the times, they are a-changin'....

    The Polish government, having played a role in the carving up of Czechoslovakia by seizing Tescen for itself, is none too popular by itself in Paris indeed. But there are traditional Franco-Polish ties to be taken into account, and it's not as if the Third Reich is seen as a reasonable "partner for peace" either. So the dust of Munich has only started to settle, ready to billow again at the next boot kick.

    The cultural update is 50% done, and it's a rather enjoyable one for me to write. Glitter, strass, the high and mighty, the rich and famous... Lots of emergencies at work, but I'll try to finish it for the coming week-end.

  10. #2010
    Sergeant pescifan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    94
    BUMP,

    Just making sure this thread didn't prematurely died

  11. #2011
    "Look behind you Mr Caesar !" Atlantic Friend's Avatar
    HoI AnthologyArsenal of DemocracyDiplomacyHearts of Iron IIISemper Fi
    Victoria 2

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    At my favorite pub, swirling AAR ideas around...
    Posts
    2,083
    Quote Originally Posted by pescifan View Post
    BUMP,

    Just making sure this thread didn't prematurely died
    It's not dead, it was, er, pining for the fjords while I was going through something that could be summed up as : "Hey it would be funny to put Reagan in it", "what if I added a scene where Goering suffers a stroke in the restroom after eating too much, a la Soprano, just describing how they manage to get the corpse out would be a riot", "Nah, the whole update should be about Danish cookies actually", "Wow they sure fired heavy flak at Clancy's the Bear and the Dragon on Amazon, serves the bastard right", "I wonder if I still have jelly in the cupboard", "Jeez almost got arrested last Friday" and "OMG Nathalie tried to take her goddamn life, what's the number to the hospital, no I'm not family but can you tell me if she's going to be okay, I'm going to mop the floor with her BF for good".


    But now that my fully-deranged mind has pieced together what might be a semi-decent scene, like a mighty Norwegian Blue parrot, this AAR is about to soar (or whatever parrots do) again!

  12. #2012
    Dauphinois à la Noix Karaiskandar's Avatar
    200k clubArsenal of DemocracyHearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonDarkest HourDeus Vult
    EU3 CompleteFor The GloryHearts of Iron IIIHeir to the ThroneVictoria 2
    Mount & Blade: Warband

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Grenoble, France
    Posts
    3,672
    Quote Originally Posted by Atlantic Friend View Post
    It's not dead, it was, er, pining for the fjords while I was going through something that could be summed up as : "Hey it would be funny to put Reagan in it", "what if I added a scene where Goering suffers a stroke in the restroom after eating too much, a la Soprano, just describing how they manage to get the corpse out would be a riot", "Nah, the whole update should be about Danish cookies actually", "Wow they sure fired heavy flak at Clancy's the Bear and the Dragon on Amazon, serves the bastard right", "I wonder if I still have jelly in the cupboard", "Jeez almost got arrested last Friday" and "OMG Nathalie tried to take her goddamn life, what's the number to the hospital, no I'm not family but can you tell me if she's going to be okay, I'm going to mop the floor with her BF for good".
    Your life seems to be a bit complicated !
    Awarded Fan of the Week 10. April 2010
    Awarded the Medal of Services or Knowledge towards the betterment of Canada

  13. #2013
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
    200k clubHoI AnthologyArsenal of DemocracyDarkest HourHearts of Iron III
    Europa Universalis IV

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    The Dalek Empire
    Posts
    9,057
    Quote Originally Posted by Karaiskandar View Post
    Your life seems to be a bit complicated !
    A wonder he hasn't surrendered to anyone yet.
    "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." - Carl Schurz
    Against all Odds: The British Empire in World War Two (ongoing) Last updated 12/16/14 Index - Index 2 - Index 3 - Knowledgebase -
    Inkwell Entry Visit the Dictionary!

    Possibly the world's most British German as awarded by El Pip here.

  14. #2014
    Dauphinois à la Noix Karaiskandar's Avatar
    200k clubArsenal of DemocracyHearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonDarkest HourDeus Vult
    EU3 CompleteFor The GloryHearts of Iron IIIHeir to the ThroneVictoria 2
    Mount & Blade: Warband

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Grenoble, France
    Posts
    3,672
    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    A wonder he hasn't surrendered to anyone yet.
    Yup
    Awarded Fan of the Week 10. April 2010
    Awarded the Medal of Services or Knowledge towards the betterment of Canada

  15. #2015
    Field Marshal Vann the Red's Avatar
    Europa Universalis 3Hearts of Iron III500k club

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    NC, USA
    Posts
    2,507
    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    A wonder he hasn't surrendered to anyone yet.
    I apologize, AF, but I actually laughed aloud at this one.

    Vann
    "Don't hit if it can be honorably avoided, but never hit softly." --Theodore Roosevelt

  16. #2016
    "Look behind you Mr Caesar !" Atlantic Friend's Avatar
    HoI AnthologyArsenal of DemocracyDiplomacyHearts of Iron IIISemper Fi
    Victoria 2

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    At my favorite pub, swirling AAR ideas around...
    Posts
    2,083
    Quote Originally Posted by Karaiskandar View Post
    Your life seems to be a bit complicated !
    Sometimes it doesn't take much to precipitate an avalanche.

  17. #2017
    "Look behind you Mr Caesar !" Atlantic Friend's Avatar
    HoI AnthologyArsenal of DemocracyDiplomacyHearts of Iron IIISemper Fi
    Victoria 2

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    At my favorite pub, swirling AAR ideas around...
    Posts
    2,083
    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    A wonder he hasn't surrendered to anyone yet.
    I'll either go down all guns blazing or go the Evil Overlord way, pledging revenge against my enemies.

  18. #2018
    Dauphinois à la Noix Karaiskandar's Avatar
    200k clubArsenal of DemocracyHearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonDarkest HourDeus Vult
    EU3 CompleteFor The GloryHearts of Iron IIIHeir to the ThroneVictoria 2
    Mount & Blade: Warband

    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Grenoble, France
    Posts
    3,672
    Quote Originally Posted by Atlantic Friend View Post
    Sometimes it doesn't take much to precipitate an avalanche.
    Alas...
    Awarded Fan of the Week 10. April 2010
    Awarded the Medal of Services or Knowledge towards the betterment of Canada

  19. #2019
    "Look behind you Mr Caesar !" Atlantic Friend's Avatar
    HoI AnthologyArsenal of DemocracyDiplomacyHearts of Iron IIISemper Fi
    Victoria 2

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    At my favorite pub, swirling AAR ideas around...
    Posts
    2,083
    CHAPTER 98 : ALL THAT GLITTERS




    Berlin prepares to celebrate the Day of National Reawakening


    Berlin, 30th of January 1939, 9:00 PM

    "Hermann Goeringstrasse-12", said the Kriminalinspektor in the emergency phone. “Munzer here. No, no incident to report. Nothing. Yeah, Heil”

    He hung up and slammed shut the special phone box attached to the lamppost, wishing this goddamned night could already be over. Checking his watch mechanically, Rudolf Munzer saw he was starting his thirteenth hour of duty - all spent outside, of course. While other inspectors of his division had been assigned to ply bodyguard for beauties like Zarah Leander, good ol' Rudi had, as always gotten the shittiest assignments. Munzer shivered - he felt light-headed from exhaustion and lack of sleep, something three quarts of black "muck coffee" had dismally failed to remedy. He walked back to the side alley where his partner Wencke and three blue-faced SA huddled around a street vendor's small stove, trying to get every breath of warmth that came from the small furnace. To Munzer, a city cop for more than fifteen years, the lot of them looked like a group of homeless beggars. The vendor, a rather amicable old man, sold hot soup and coffee ersatz, and by the look on his face he was well on his way to dry up the SA troopers' measly pay. Their uniform apart, the customers looked like ordinary men, and Munzer wondered what they normally did for a living when the Party didn’t summon them up for a rally. Röhm's elimination in 1934 had decapitated the SA, sometimes quite literally. Ever since, the Brownshirts had run – or rather, goose-stepped – like so many headless chickens. This was 1939, now, and there were only a few full-time SA. Those who remained usually were low-level Party officials without the brute rage of the old fighters. The SA facing Munzer could have been anything, actually. A fleshy man with deep-set eyes - a butcher? A barman? This younger man with the famished look - a laborer away from his farm? An insurance salesman? Munzer shook his head and took a deep, painful breath of icy air to clear his ideas. From time to time, another SA came with litter which he shoved down the stove - old movie and theatre posters, Munzer saw.

    "Any new instructions?" asked Wencke though chattering teeth as Munzer entered the circle.

    “Yeah, spill the beans, Munzer” snarled Kellermann, the SA squad leader. “Nothing like a little fireside chat between friends.”

    He and his men look every bit as tired as us, Munzer thought as he eyed Kellermann’s troopers, and they don't even have long coats to ward off the worst of that damn January night. I’d pity those bastards if they weren’t, well, those bastards.

    On top of assigning them night watch duty, Josef Goebbels, Germany's gifted Minister of Propaganda and the supreme Führer of the Berliner Gau, had ordered his old SA comrades with orders of picking up all offensive litter - old political leaflets, pictures announcing nude shows, anti-Nazi graffiti, posters for movies that did not reflect the new mental vitality of the young Reich. Munzer knew his Berlin, and wondered how such an order could ever be obeyed in full. There simply were too many sleazy bars, too many seedy cabarets, too many theatres and brothels, too many whores working the street. Trying to cleanse a city of millions from anything “offensive” was like trying to empty the sea with a sieve. But the SA had nevertheless done their best, bringing to the task their inimitable hands-on approach. That usually meant either beating up hobos into doing the cleaning, drafting Jews, or, like Kellermann's men, working in a patriotic frenzy of broomsticks, brushes and shovels that had left most streets for worse. Munzer stifled a smirk. A few years ago, the SA had probably dreamt of cleaning up the Reich in a very different manner. After all, they were the shock troops, the élite of the new régime, the ones who’d get the job done. The bourgeoisie trembled before them, the Red proles cowered at the sound of their jackboots, and even Reichswehr officers had to be careful of what they said within earshot of the Brownshirts. And now? Now they shuffled their feet in dirty streets, dealing with nine kinds of human refuse, including, if they were unlucky enough, the kind that wore black uniforms.

    Gutter trash picking up street litter, thought Munzer, watching another SA coming with an armful of faded posters. Isn't that grand? A place for each man in the Greater German Reich indeed, thank you mein Führer!

    “Hey, Munzer, snap out of it!” growled Kellermann. “Anything new? Instructions? Relief? Coffee? Big-breasted whores?”

    “Fuck no” said Munzer, shaking his head with a laugh. “It was all ‘Alles ist in Ordnung, gut, gut, sehr gut, stay there and keep it so, Heil Hitler, there's a good boy.’ I’m sure you get the idea.”

    He was now tired enough not to care too much about making that kind of comment in front of the burly SA man. And he didn't mind Kellermann too much, actually, having worked in the same sector of the capital for the past six years. Granted, the man was one bigoted bastard of a Nazi, who could rant for hours about the traitors of November and the Jews' malignant influence. On this respect, the man was just a talking edition of Der Stürmer, which he naturally read voraciously. But on occasion Kellermann also seemed to err on the side of common decency. He made sure his men more or less behaved, for example. He usually sent home “undesirable elements” after roughing them up, when some other SA leaders still enjoyed a little “Red-hauling”, as they called lynching those who had the misfortune to look at them the wrong way. Tonight, the fact Kellermann had made sure the street vendor got paid for his hot soup and roasted grains coffee instead of "requisitioning" the old man’s food and money made the SA squad leader, in Munzer's opinion, a member of the human race, if a somewhat reluctant one. Sometimes Munzer had the feeling Kellermann, like some of the SA middle-rankers since Röhm's downfall, was mostly going through the motions. The SA were losing steam. Once the party’s fearless vanguard, they had been bypassed by brighter competitors, men who were more efficient, more organized, and above all more connected. The time for beer hall brawlers had come and passed with the massacres of that night of June, 1934, leaving the surviving old hands like Kellermann frightened, bitter, and above all confused. Munzer looked at the faces of the freezing SA gathered around the vendor and shrugged. It could be worse. Working at the Alex, he had often met the kind of men that even hyenas would get embarrassed to be seen with - and more often than not, they wore a police uniform.

    Gutter trash, yeah, the sodding lot of them. But hey, y’think you're any better, Rudi? They owe your sorry ass as well. You arrest who they tell you to, take a dump where they tell you to, and if they said so you'd eat your own shit and claim it's caviar.

    "Fat cats - always the same" growled Kellermann with a puff of chilled breath. "They want to keep the likes of us from their cozy receptions. In case we'd smell up the place or something."

    Wencke nodded and spat in the snow. He sure wouldn’t have minded to provide close – oh so very close - protection to Miss Leander.

    "Boy, would you look at the crowd" marveled one of the younger SA, pointing at the renovated Reichstag.

    Despite of the bitter cold of this winter night, the Berliners had indeed taken to the streets by the tens of thousands. Packed tight along the sidewalks and garden alleys, stomping their feet on the snow-covered concrete, they cheered and gave thunderous applause every time of the luxury cars stopped in front of the monumental stairways. Policemen lined the streets, keeping an eye on the crowd for pickpockets or potential agitators. Not that they expected any kind of trouble, for in the previous week the Ordnungspolizei had raided the city’s cheap hotels, gambling dens and brothels in a systematic attempt to weed out Berlin's gutter trash before the great event. On every small street connected to the motorcade's route, other SA squads waited in Opel trucks, truncheons at the ready. In what was a rare call for restraint in the Third Reich, Berlin’s Police High Commissioner Count von Helldorf had warned his troops that they were to use firearms only in the most extreme circumstances, if there clearly was no other option, or if someone's life was at stake. Also, thieves, agitators and drunkards were to be subdued swiftly and with minimal violence, and then spirited out of sight. That was what the SA trucks were for. Ordinary criminals and other riff-raff would be brought to the nearest precinct, where the Orpo constables would teach them a lesson about the inadvisability of committing misdemeanors on certain official occasions. Political agitators and “unreliables”, on the other hand, would be brought to the Kripo’s Alexanderplatz headquarters. There, they too would be taught a lesson, albeit it would be, as Munzer knew, a very different one. Von Helldorf had supplied his department heads with thousands of blank “special administrative internment” warrants, waiting only a suspect's confession to be issued to “special arrest teams" composed of Kripo inspectors and SS muscle. Oh, it was going to be a special night for Berlin all right.

    And why not indeed? thought Munzer, rubbing his bleary eyes. For tonight, we celebrate our fifth year of rebirth, Sieg fucking Heil!


    *****



    Pennants flying, the creamy-white BMW was the sixth sedan to emerge from the Kronprinz Palace. Rejoined by two motorcyclists in shiny helmets and impeccable black-and-silver SS uniforms, it slowly turned into Unter den Linden in a barrage of camera flashes. As soon as the magnesium butterflies stopped dancing in his tired eyes, the man in the back seat took a long look at the avenue ahead and felt a shiver run down his spine. He had expected something similar, of course. Everybody knew the régime’s passion for staging grandiose events, but still, it was a shock.

    “Oh, Mein.... Gott...” he finally said, his mouth gaping for a second.

    Although Viennese-born, the man had been a Berliner once, actually for most of his life, and it had been with a heavy heart that he had finally left the city five years ago. But it had become necessary to get away from the daily violence that had griped the country in the weeks following Hitler's accession to power, particularly since his artistic oeuvre was being denounced as "cosmopolitan vulgarity" by colleagues anxious to jump on Hitler's bandwagon. He used to laugh about it, back then, saying that right after the Brownshirts the biggest Nazi shock troops were the Brownnosers. So he had left Berlin, which had been as much a privilege as it had been a heartbreaker. Not any of the régime's victims could walk out and live in a golden exile in Paris, California, or Monaco, after all. he had left Berlin five years ago, like a man forced to leave the woman of his life - but now that he was back, albeit for a few days, he could see for himself how much his past love had changed. Berlin felt different. It felt foreign. The worst thing was, this new Berlin felt more real than the one shaping up his memories. The young German Republic he remembered seemed so far away, so far ago that but for his own memory it could never had existed. Could Hitler affect the past as much as he weighed on the present? Could he cast his shadow over the Germans’ past as well as over their future? How many Berliners did remember clearly the days of the Republic? How many Germans clearly remembered the old Reich, the War, the Revolution, the putsches? And how many already saw their own History through the fumes of Hitler’s lies? In spite of the BMW’s heating system, the man shivered as he pondered the answers to the questions that assaulted him.

    “Isn’t that incredible?” said the woman beside him, squeezing his hand.

    He turned towards her, and caught sight of her profile. Unsurprisingly, her face radiated something like religious rapture. Her voice was barely over a whisper, almost inaudible. He was pretty certain she had known a lot more about this particular evening than she had actually told him, but by the way her eyes sparkled he could sense she was as awed as he was. Unter den Linden, which in his memories had mostly been a place for a bucolic walk on a sunny Sunday, had devolved into something different. Something out of this world, something dark and fascinating. Every ten meters, a big spotlight projected a blinding column of light at a slight angle that made the immaterial ‘pillars’ meet a solid 50 feet over the avenue. At regular intervals, other spotlights projected a perfect vertical beam, contrasting sharply with the buildings lining the avenue, where not a window was lit. The whole arrangement gave the impression the motorcade of luxury cars traveled not through the city’s most beautiful avenue, but within some colossal Nordic temple, something like the vast halls of Valhalla. Between each spotlight, immense banners unfurled in the evening breeze.

    “Oh, Fritz! have you seen that? It looks like something out of your movies!” said the woman, turning her head in all directions to see the effect.

    “Oh, no, Thea. It’s much better” the man said.

    And he was sincere. In the making of his every movie, world-acclaimed film director Fritz Lang had debated with the light operators about visual effects and ambiances, and even after actors and technicians had long gone home, he had tinkered with spotlights, and colored filters to create a dark or mysterious atmosphere. While the results had generally been remarkable, and had earned him the admiration of many in the movies industry, what he now contemplated was a real masterpiece. It was better than anything he had ever been able to create. It was eerier. And, he thought with a glance at the two SS motorcyclists flanking the sedan, also a lot more frightening. Even their escorts gave the impression they were actors on a stage. There was something simply not human in these two motorcyclists their shiny boots crushing the pedal, their impassible faces, their eyes fixed on a distant future that Lang fervently hoped would never come to life. The moves of the two men were so synchronized that one could for a minute imagine it was the same man on both sides of the BMW - another great special effect, Lang thought. And the way the SS uniforms seemed to come to life, their silver linings reflecting the glitter of each light pillar before reverting to a dark mass, now that too was brilliant. With that, world-acclaimed film director Fritz Lang shook his head in sheer disbelief. How could the National-Socialists, with their obsession about stamping out any form of modern art, could at the same time be so gifted at it? That little irony struck him as particularly unfair.

    You and the Nazis. A real love story.. You film a criminal mastermind, and they pick one as Führer. You film the scum of Berlin's criminals, and they make the worst of them Reichsministers. You invent an inhuman Metropolis and they’re building a real one. Out-staged by Hitler’s brutes at every step, how does that feel, Herr Lang?



    Fritz Lang, film director in exile.


    Another cry from Thea brought him back to reality. The BMW was approaching the Brandenburger Tur, draped in Nazi banners. Soldiers – SS, perhaps, though it was hard to tell from the distance – were gathered there, holding burning torches. Bathed in the dancing light of the flames, the monument evoked Lang an altar, erected for a primitive god in the dawn of time. At this point Lang half-expected a human sacrifice to take place as each car passed by, and he smiled at his own exaggeration. And then, he remembered what some of his fellow exiles had said at dinners, when the wives and children had left the men alone. What they had whispered about those bad places where "enemies of the state" had been sent to, never to be seen again. Maybe the human sacrifices were already taking place, after all, to the modern Moloch. And what of the threat of war that hanged over Europe like Damocles' sword? Except in America, where people felt unconcerned, everyone seemed to think another European war was inevitable. The European governments were becoming schizophrenic again, making frantic calls for peace and rearming as fast as they could. The Viennese cafés were abuzz with the latest news about the still-legal Austrian Nazis, and the now-clandestine Communists, as both kept agitating Vienna's industrial suburbs. In Paris, people shook their heads at the new German demands about Memelland and the free city of Danzig. At the Gare de l'Est in Paris, Lang had seen more soldiers in uniform than usual, kissing their sweethearts goodbye on the platform. In Berlin, he had witnessed the same young faces, the same tears of the young ladies, and the same hollow banter of the boys. If war really did came to devour Europe's youth again, Lang thought, then may whatever God have mercy on Germany if it was vanquished, and on all of mankind if the Nazis prevailed. For some reason Lang thought about Leni Riefenstahl. Leni the sweet, Leni the beautiful, so gifted when it came to portray this new Germany and its legions of athletic semi-gods. Lang pursed his lips at the memory of the young filmmaker – it had been an enjoyable if unimaginative affair. Thea, part two : a classic story of mutual interest leading to a romantic fling, leading to a more mundane breakup once the fun faded out and reality crept back in.

    Will she be there? Of course she will, you old fool. She’s their Muse. She makes them look glamorous, she makes them look inspired and generous. She’ll be the queen of our little soirée, surrounded by her cohort of admi..

    “Don’t they look like they walked straight out of Olympia, Fritz?” said Thea, engrossed in the contemplation of the guardian angel-motorcyclist riding his machine on her side of the BMW.

    Lang turned, surprised. Not for the first time, he reflected that Thea von Harbou knew him too much for his own comfort. Or for his own safety, given the kind of company Thea kept these days – in this respect as well, she had much in common with Leni Riefenstahl. But he had loved this woman, once, enough to share his life with her, enough to make her his wife. Even though the days of romance and marriage had long passed, he still respected Thea as a human being, and that, for Lang, had to count for something in this world. It just had to, even if Thea mingled with the very people who would never understand something this simple, and this essential.

    "A motorized version of it, perhaps, but yes" he said as the sedan turned into Hermann Goeringstrasse. Lang chuckled inwardly - who but the Nazis could think it appropriate to name the street leading to the Reichstag after the man who, according to many, had been the one who set fire to that building? His friends in Paris were right, he thought, show a Nazi an open wound and he’ll consider it his duty to pour salt into it.

    They’re insane, Lang thought. The Parliament convenes in the Kroll Opera, and they use the Reichstag to house an international film festival. What a madhouse.


    ******



    Berlin, the Reichstag, January the 30th, 11:00 PM

    "It is true!" said the woman, flashing a wistful smile at the small group of foreign actors facing her. The conversation had gone back and forth from German to English, with a few German nationals assisting their colleagues.

    The tallest man in the group, raising his eyebrows in an expression of amused disbelief. He was an elegant man in his mid-forties, with the kind of charm that was easily associated with wealth and stardom, but that also came from a kind if self-confidence that had been tried by war and duress. In his movies, he rarely required the assistance of a stuntman – in fact, his fencing prowess with every kind of sword was a little legend in itself inside the film industry, as was the fact he could drive a team of costumers mad by his attention to detail. Like many in the profession, he liked his personal life to be as close as possible to that of the characters he interpreted, which made him a difficult, if interesting man. It was often said that he always acted as if he was on stage, and in these last hours of January there were but a handful of men who knew that it was indeed the case.

    "Yes it is, Baz, you can arch to eyebrows to the Moon if you want! I’ll have you know, my good Sir Basil, that a gentleman should refrain from doubting the words of an honest woman. So, on my first day, the first thing my agent told me was that I needed to change my name, to make it shorter, more alert. I still can hear him saying 'My child, nobody in his right mind would pay to see a movie with Brigitte Schittenhelm - just think of how much it would cost to put it on a poster! But let’s give you a shorter, sharper stage name and I'll promise the tout-Berlin will flock to see you on screen!' So, yes, o ye of little faith, that is how I became Brigitte Helm!"

    "Amazing" said Basil Rathbone, raising his flute of champagne in mock submission. "Who knew you had the same agent as our good host Adolf Schicklgrüber?"

    As the cosmopolitan group heartily laughed to the deadpan joke, Kimmich cast a glance behind him to check if someone had heard Rathbone. There were dozens of Propaganda Ministry officials nearby, and a few were indeed looking in their direction. There was no telling if they had heard the joke, but Kimmich had no doubt that sooner or later someone would inform the authorities. One of the waiters who cruised the rooms, for example. They were so omnipresent that the guests rapidly stopped seeing them, and as the champagne loosened lips who knew what rumors or secrets these men surprised ?

    “If you will excuse me” said Kimmich, making it a show to appear offended.

    “Certainly, Herr Kimmich” said Helm.

    “Oh, most certainly” added Rathbone with a crooked smile that followed the retreating Kimmich. It was, alas, time for Rathbone to excuse himself as well and see if he couldn’t mingle with a more politically-minded group. The Service lads who had approached him the month before had asked him to keep his eyes peeled, and he intended to do just that.



    Sir Basil Rathbone, asked by the SIS to serve his country once again


    Fuming inwardly, Kimmich walked to the bar to get his flute refilled. If someone at the Propaganda Ministry had hoped the British actor could persuaded to share his fame and glamour with New Germany, as some of his most prominent countrymen did, that man had been sorely mistaken. And with Rathbone starting to crack that kind of jokes, it was best for a career-conscious man – not to mention a man with family ties to the régime - not to be seen too much in the athletic Briton’s company. Wasn’t there much better company to pursue anyway, as Kimmich well knew? Scanning the room that had once housed the debates of the German Parliament, Kimmich spotted one such items of interest walking idly by with a half-empty flute, apparently fascinated by the paintings adorning the walls. Quickly brushing his hair back in place, Kimmich moved towards the unsuspecting young beauty.

    “Fraulein Baarova, may I propose you some more of this delicious champagne, as a modest yet delectable tribute to your stunning beauty?”

    "Maximilian, always the charmer! Does a woman ever resist your compliments?”

    “My compliments, they resist quite easily, I assure you. This excellent champagne, on the other hand...”

    “I’ll succumb to that temptation, then, since that puts me in such a good company” said the young actress putting away her empty flute to accept the one Kimmich proffered. “So! Tell me, is it true, what they say? That you are preparing another movie? Will it be a musical?"

    The young woman’s smile shot right through Kimmich's heart, before stopping at less noble organs. There was little he enjoyed more in his work than having the rapt attention of beautiful actresses, particularly when they were beautiful actresses who understand that it was sometimes necessary to go a long way to land a role. Kimmich knew for a fact that Lida Baarova was particularly aware of the need to please, for it was a thinly-covered secret that Fraulein Baarova had won the attentions of Reichsminister Goebbels himself, after a few sessions on his famous “casting couch”. Under pressure from his wife and, rumor said, from Hitler himself, Goebbels had put an end to the torrid affair and had sent the young Czech away, but Kimmich was certain the two still managed to see each other from time to time. His flirting with that blond beauty was therefore not without danger, though he reasoned he could pretend it was a way to provide a suitable cover story to his diminutive brother-in-law’s little escapades.



    Actress Lida Baarova, Goebbels’ clandestine paramour


    “Well, it is true that I have a project in mind, my child, although not a musical. I enjoy a little tune as much as anyone, mind you, but I tend to prefer the thrill of adventure, not to mention, ah, the subtler touch of romance.”

    “A romance, how delightful! Nothing lifts my spirits as much as a romantic tale. The emotion, the abandon, the passion of it all! There’s so much gloom in the air these days, you’d think making more romantic movies would be deemed a priority.”

    “Dear Fraulein Baarova, you once again prove there’s no better disguise for a sharp mind than a beautiful face.”

    “What will the story of your movie be about?” asked Baarova with a coy smile. “Come on, I promise I won’t tell anyone!”

    “Well, in fact it’s going to b...”

    “Herr Kimmich, please?” said the man, popping out of nowhere. Kimmich recognized him instantly as Birnbach, Goebbels’ personal assistant.

    “Er, yes?”

    “The Reichsminister would like to have a word with you”

    “Er, yes, certainl…”

    “Now, if you please. If you will excuse us, Fraulein Baarova, I’m afraid it’s some tedious official matter. It’d be best not to wait for Herr Kimmich – you know how it is with Ministry business, it could take hours.”

    “I know all about Ministry business indeed” said Baarova bitterly. Birnbach had been the one to announce her that Josef Goebbels hoped she would gracefully accept the end of their affair – and of her special status at the UFA studios. “Good evening then, gentlemen.”


    *****



    “Ah, Herr Kimmich” said Goebbels, as Birnbach closed the door behind the filmmaker. He was sitting on the edge of a large table, running his fingers on the dark veneered wood as if to check for dust.

    “Listen Josef, I don’t know what you’re imagining, but we were just talking, for Christ’s sake!” said Kimmich anxiously. Goebbels was known to compensate his small stature and crippled foot with a merciless mindset. And as some of the more reluctant newspaper editors could attest, he still commanded enough authority within the SA to bring on muscle by the truckload when mere threats didn’t work anymore.

    “Spare me the familiarities. We’re only family by accident.”

    “Jo... Herr Reichsminister, think about it, the more people see me talking to her, the less they’re reminded of, you know...”

    “Watch your mouth!” snapped Goebbels, slamming his palm against the table. “We’re not here to discuss... her. But I’m warning you, don’t push your luck too much with that girl either. If you think I’m the kind of man to stand people snicker in my back about 'Kimmich’s sloppy seconds', or mock me and my family, then think again. You might end up as an extra in somebody else’s movie.”

    “I present the Herr Reichsminister my deepest excuses” muttered Kimmich.

    He looked down at his shoes, trying to calm down a sudden pang of fear. In one of his last movies, a rather stupid story about a travelling circus, he had urgently needed to hire several hundred extras for a couple of scenes showing several groups of gypsies, his arrangement with a Slovakian theatre company having fallen through in the wake of the Sudetenland crisis. He hadn’t been overly surprised to discover that in the Third Reich, there wasn’t that much demand for “ethnic” actors, and that the few German actors who specialized in such roles expected more than just a hot meal for their trouble. Lacking the money to hire Aryan actors and disguise them, Kimmich had been ready to just drop the scenes, which would mean a major rewriting of the scenario and costly delays. Just as he stood ready to call it a day and send comedians and technicians home, he had received a call from a SS official. The SS, the man had said, had learned about Kimmich’s plight, and for a very modest fee was in a position to offer him the services of up to three hundred extras, all real Gypsies. All the necessary paperwork would be dealt with by the SS, as would the question of the extras’ salary. Though puzzled by the SS’s unexpected offer, Kimmich had immediately accepted. The next day, twenty Opel trucks had brought the cohort of extras as well as thirty uniformed SS guards that had told him everything he needed – or wanted – to know about the provenance of the Gypsies. And, remembering their famished look, he certainly didn’t want to ever become one of them.

    “Gut. So, Herr Kimmich” said Goebbels, “You are going to work on another movie soon.”

    “Yes, Herr Reichsminister. Adventures in the Eternal South. As soon as the Schwabenland returns to Germany, We’ll use Kapitan Ritscher’s footage to...”

    “That project is cancelled as far as you’re concerned. I’ve already contacted Harlan about it, he’ll take the movie over. This way you’ll be spared some... distractions.”

    Kimmich looked at Goebbels, crestfallen. He had been looking forward to making Adventures in the Eternal South, and had invested a sizable chunk of his personal money in it. By snatching that project from him, and giving it to his protégé Veit Harlan, Goebbels had found the perfect way to remind Kimmich who was the boss. And as Kimmich well knew, there was little use to complain about it.

    “I’ve worked a lot on that movie” he said.

    “Excellent. I’m sure Harlan will be grateful, then” said Goebbels with a thin smile. “Now, Kimmich, if I only wanted to kick your little celluloid sand castles, I’m sure you realize I could have done it through a simple phone call. You are a prick, Kimmich, but at least you’re a National-Socialist one. And you’re ambitious, aren't you, marrying your way into power and influence. You crave influence, Kimmich, which means that I can trust you - to a certain extent - for a major project, one that justifies dropping everything else.”

    “A project, Herr Reichsminister? A different movie?”

    “Different in every respect, yes. A major project, Kimmich., the most important you’ll ever have worked on. It’ll be seen by millions. Millions!”

    “I’m honored by the Reichsminister’s confidence. Has this movie already been approved by the board of Cautio?”

    “No – and it will not be. Cautio’s role is to fund and develop commercial movies, and it does it admirably, but this is a different kind of project we’re talking about. But fear not, you’ll have help, be that for funding or for costumes. Now, do you think I’m a serious man, Kimmich?”

    “Naturally, Herr Reichsminister” replied Kimmich, confused. What the hell was Goebbels talking about?

    “Then remember this : everything we’re going to discuss tonight is secret, Kimmich. You can talk about it with no-one, except those who’ll come to see you in the next few days, sent either by me or by the Reichsführer-SS Himmler. He too is a firm believer in keeping secrets, Kimmich. Do you understand what it means?”

    Kimmich gulped. Again the images of the Gypsy “extras” danced before his eyes, climbing back on the trucks after the shooting. He nodded his agreement.

    “You are going to shoot a war movie, Kimmich. Aggression in the East!”

    “A movie about the Great War? About Napoleonic wars?”

    Goebbels laughed.

    “Better than that, Kimmich! Much better. You are going to shoot a movie about the war to come.”


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Writer’s notes :


    Filmmaker Fritz Lang probably doesn’t need any kind of introduction (I’ll just add that in OTL he left Nazi Germany first for France, and then for the United States), but scenarist Thea von Harbou is probably less well-known. Lang’s ex-wife, and a she also was Metropolis’ scenarist (and some attribute Fascist concepts of a miracle ‘mediator’ between labor and capital to her influence). While Lang, who had Jews in his ancestors, would probably never had been hailed by the German Reich as one of their “State artists”, I thought his fame and Harbou’s influence would make him a natural guest for the first international movie festival of Berlin.

    Filmmaker Max Wilhelm Kimmich began his career in the 1920s, but really emerged as a filmmaker in the Third Reich, possibly as a result of his marrying Josef Goebbels’ sister Maria. It seemed that Goebbels didn’t like Kimmich all that much, suspecting his interest for Maria was thinly-disguised ambition. As I played with the idea of a German “Wag the Dog” (BTW better read “American hero”, the original novel, as it is light-years away from that weak movie), Kimmich seemed a natural candidate to be the filmmaker approached to make a “Aggression at Gleiwitz”.

    Sir Basil Rathbone was in the late 1930s a rather famous actor, renowned for his roles in swashbuckling movies and his interpretation of Sherlock Holmes. During the Great War, Rathbone held a billet in the British Army as an intelligence officer, a domain where he apparently excelled, putting to good use his passion for disguise.

    Lida Baarova was a Czech actress that Goebbels had remarked, making her his protégée, and ultimately his mistress. In this respect it seems she meant more to Goebbels than the many other young women who succumbed to Goebbels’ “casting couch”. In fact, her relationship with the Propaganda Minister became so intense that Goebbels’ wife, Magda, appealed directly to Hitler, as Goebbels’ Führer and as their children’s godfather. Goebbels was ordered to stop seeing Baarova, who was even expelled from Germany.

    Cautio was the name of the holding created by Goebbels to support the development of the German film industry under the Third Reich. Consistent with Goebbels’ logic that movies had to do without state funds, Cautio’s funds were provided by private investors.

    Reichsminister Josef Goebbels aptly saw in movies another medium through which millions could be affected, and through which the National-Socialist régime could look more glamorous at home and abroad. He thus worked to create a German version of the Hollywood star-system, promoting them and making sure Party officials could be seen with the leading actors. He nevertheless steered clear of the idea of creating state-owned movie industry (forcing movies to remain profitable) and of turning German movies into a Nazifest. IMHO, Goebbels’ approach was much subtler and cleverer than that of the major movie companies of our time, who usually never think twice before adding some fake patriotic tripe any chance they get.
    Last edited by Atlantic Friend; 21-12-2009 at 20:22.

  20. #2020
    Detective Lt., Police Squad Eams's Avatar
    Arsenal of DemocracyDarkest HourEU3 CompleteHearts of Iron IIISemper Fi

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Gothenburg, Sweden
    Posts
    1,321
    As a reward for your new update, I shall post two excerpts from Nicholas Rankin's Churchill's Wizards.
    Both of them involves Sefon Delmer, a British journalist and propagandist born in Berlin as the son of a British professor of English Literature at Berlin University. The first one concerns him and Ian Fleming, that illustrious sexual deviant, returning from Moscow to Warsaw in March 1939.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Rankin, p. 310
    On the train back to Warsaw, heading for the border of Stalinist Russia, Delmer had memorised his notes, torn them up and thrown them away. 'Why don't you swallow them?' mocked Ian Fleming, 'That's what all the best spies do.' But at Negeloroje, the customs officials went through Fleming's luggage with a toothcomb, stripped him and searched him. A carton of Russian contraceptives made of artificial latex which he was taking back to London to have the formula analysed was opened and each condom held up to the light. Fleming was already blushing scarlet when Delmer whispered, 'You should have swallowed them.'
    Ian Fleming, the man who wouldn't swallow.

    The second quote concerns Delmer's involvement in convincing German soldiers and the citizens of the occupied nations that the British were capable of setting the sea aflame, should Seelöwe be carried out.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Rankin, p. 402-403
    On the BBC German Service, Sefton Delmer gave mock English lessons: 'Das Boot sinkt... the boat is sinking' with useful verbs 'Ich brenne... I burn, Du brennst... you burn, Er brennt... he burns... And if I may be allowed to suggest a phrase: Der SS-Sturmführer brennt auch ganz schön... The SS Captain is al-so bur-ning quite nice-ly.'
    I shall comment on the latest update as soon as I've read it.
    "Taking over the world with the USSR isn't a mission... it's just a passtime." -blue emu

    o=||==Official=Poet=Lauerate=of=Suenik==||=o

    Proud recipient of one phargle-O==|======-

+ Reply to Thread
Page 101 of 123 FirstFirst ... 26 51 76 91 99 100 101 102 103 111 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts