+ Reply to Thread
Page 2 of 123 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 12 27 52 77 102 ... LastLast
Results 21 to 40 of 2441

Thread: Crossfires, a French AAR for HoI2 Doomsday

  1. #21
    "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 5 : THE FINE ART OF DEMOCRACY






    The National Assembly, stage of the play which is about to begin...



    Paris, the Assemblée Nationale, February the 6th 1934, 8:00 PM

    More than ever, France's National Assembly was a mess - this time for a good reason. Speeches, insults, hushed conversations and rumors were swirling madly around the Hémicycle, the semi-circular room where the country's parliamentary debates took place. The Congressmen had been trapped by the protests a few hours after having convened in an emergency session about the Stavisky scandal. The death of the businessman - more like a con man, actually, albeit one with powerful protectors - had plunged France into chaos, and was now threatening to tear down the democratic fabric three generations of Republicans had patiently woven.

    For most of the day it had been nothing but scathing attacks on the government, both from the Left and the Right, punctuated with vitriolic comments from the main speakers.

    What is keeping them, for God's sake?

    Sitting uncomfortably in the Right part of the Hémicycle, Congressman Etienne Riché looked at his watch for the thousandth time, half listening to a Congressman from Languedoc who was trying to harp on the scandal du jour to secure some subsidies for local winegrowers.The circumstances couldn't have been better : many seats were empty on the Left's benches, largely because Communists leaders had wanted to give public speeches to their partisans outside, when they hadn't been leading columns of protesters themselves. Even the Socialists and the Radicals were lacking some of their best speakers. For the first time he could remember, Riché was looking at an Assemblée Nationale which, with the right impulsion, would give a strong majority to a Conservative governmental program. Inside the red folder Riché had put on the empty seat next to him was precisely the kind of program that could wake France from her 15-year slumber and stop her continuous drifting to the left.

    "Mr Congressman?"

    Riché, deep in thought and lulled into slumber by the droning and accentuated voice of his Languedocian colleague, hadn't noticed the usher that had come to his bench. The elder man, his black vest barred by a golden chain, respectfully handed him a folded note Riché barely looked at, for it was the message he'd been waiting for all afternoon. The congressman took a deep breath, casting a meaningful look at his colleagues. The moment they had hastily prepared over the last few weeks had finally come. In a few hours, France would be changed forever - or the Croix de Feu would disappear.

    As soon as the Languedocian speaker sat down, and without waiting for the usual answers and comments to follow what had clearly been a purely agricultural matter with no relation whatsoever with France's most pressing issues, Riché rose.

    "Monsieur le Président, I demand the right to speak!"

    "Order! Order! Let us hear Monsieur Etienne Riché, Congressman from Paris" replied the Président de la Chambre, who thought it was the best way to prevent more agricultural digressions when Paris was indeed burning.

    "Monsieur le Président, dear and esteemed colleagues! While this assembly has been debating the latest consequences of our parliamentary folly and governmental ineptitude, the French nation itself has taken to the streets of Paris. For those who want to listen, our citizens are telling us clearly : no more! No more governments falling because some congressman - no disrespect to the esteemed colleagues who addressed this assembly earlier today - couldn't secure some undue advantage for whatever lobbying group actioned him. No more ex-Prime Ministers selling their name, their fame, and often their honour, to help some expert "traders" whose main trade is usually taught in our prisons instead of our schools or banks! No more politicians using their honorability to help some embezzlers who lure citizens into investing a lifetime's savings before closing shop and heading for the Riviera! No more police officials looking the other way when a mayor, a Congressman, or a Senator, are caught the hand in the proverbial cookie jar!"

    Approving comments rose from both wings of the Hémicycle, giving Riché more momentum.

    "Yes, my dear and esteemed colleagues, France is exasperated! France is through with the little games that have marred the work of this Assembly since the end of the Great War! France is tired of seeing its elite undoing what was accomplished by a million and a half dead soldiers! And, as is always the case when a large and hitherto silent majority finally reaches the point where it can bear no more outrage, there are people, shrewd people, ambitious people, who think they can use it to their advantage. There are those who, enjoying the comfort and safety of their own position, think they can push the poor, the destitute, the suffering, into rejecting the institutions, into rejecting morality, and finally into embracing blind sectarian violence. I swear, gentlemen, now is the time to tell these self-serving Rastignacs : no more! It is our duty to tell them : no more!"

    Again, congressmen smelling governmental blood shouted their approval. If nothing else, this was good political show, and Riché was expressing feelings that many harbored in the secret of their conscience. His scathing attack gave voice to the never-formulated question in parliamentary politics : "what if we went too far this time?"

    "And " added Riché, in a softer but venomous tone, "indeed we could address these people, in this here assembly, in this very room, if the worst offenders like Mr Thorez or Mr Duclos hadn't seen it fit to be absent today, if they hadn't seen it fit to ignore their democratic duties so they could preach violence to the workers, violence to the employees, violence to the jobless!"

    A concert of shocked protests rose from the Communist benches, but soon petered out in face of taunts and heckling rising from Conservative congressmen. The Communists particularly were in deep trouble. Their most prominent leaders had gone away without giving clear instructions, and they hadn't expected today's debate to take that kind of direction. To their immediate right, they could see by their closed faces the Socialists weren't in the mood of helping them out. As for storming off the building in a huff, another of their favorite tactics, it lacked considerable appeal since there were armed Camelots du Roy out there who would like nothing more than catch Communist congressmen and test their underwater capacities in the Seine river.

    "My dear colleagues, as we spoke today, me and my colleagues received report after report showing that every city and town in France is, by and large, experiencing some unrest. Lyon and Marseilles, Nantes and Bordeaux, Lille and Clermont-Ferrand, all of France has taken to the streets. All of France is watching us closely. All of France has heard of the murderous mobs that now roam Paris. All of France has heard of our feeble attempts to pass laws while the country is burning. But there is also hope, for all of France has also heard this very building would have been taken by storm an hour ago, and put to the torch with this here Assembly, if it hadn't been for the bravery and dedication of a particular group of citizens. I say brave, because these veterans of 4 long years of conflict, despite their greying hair and the often grievous wounds they received in the trenches, haven't feared to face armed mobs many times their numbers. I say dedicated, because these men, who have already done their duty and beyond for France , have once again come to the rescue of the Republic."

    Mumbled protests began to rise to the Left. It was no secret, after all, that Riché was a Croix de Feu, and so the identity of the "brave and dedicated men" he was talking about was quite obvious.

    "My dear colleagues! My dear colleagues!" bellowed Riché, his voice rising to cover the ruckus. "We have heard an hour ago our distinguished and eloquent colleague Léon Blum, speaking for the Socialist group, who told us how dangerous and undemocratic the Croix de Feu were! We have been told in no uncertain terms by Monsieur Blum how the Croix de feu were fanatical Fascists, ready to hop in Hitler's or Mussolini's bed! We have been told by Monsieur Blum, who admires Lenin and often finds his inspiration in Josef Stalin's Soviet Russia, that the Croix de Feu - men who have fought for France in 4 years of trench warfare - were petty criminals, the scum of the earth, a stain on France's honor! Well, Monsieur Blum, my most esteemed colleague, please know that while you were busy tarnishing their honor these men were, along with the police, protecting you and this very building - just like they did in 1914! While you were busy telling us what threat they posed to the Republic, these men were protecting the Elysée Palace along with the Republican Guard and police forces! While you were busy telling us what criminals they were, these men were protecting the public's property and the public's life!"




    A confident Léon Blum arrives at the Assemblée Nationale on the morning of 2/6...


    "Mr Blum," concluded Riché, finally winding down as the distinguished Socialist leader was white with rage, "please do not tell us who the Croix de Feu are. These men are close personal friends of mine, the kind of friends you can only make on the frontline, in life-and-death situations. You, Léon Blum, do not know these men. And to tell you the truth it doesn't surprise me you don't know them, Léon Blum, for I sure don't remember seeing you in the trenches. My dear colleagues, I must now appeal to your sense of honour, to your sense of justice, to your common sense actually ! Regardless of what misguided commentators might say, blinded by their own prejudice and oftentimes by their own selfish ambitions, we have all seen today who were the real enemies of the Republic, and who were those who put their life on the line to defend it. I say : let us hear those men, dear colleagues. Let us hear how men who fought for France yesterday, who fought for France today, now propose to fight for France tomorrow."

    When he sat down amidst applause and insults, Riché knew he had won the day, regardless of what arguments a clearly shaken Blum could muster. When they arrived this morning, most Conservative and Centrist congressmen had only been ready to topple the government over the Stavisky affair. Small potatoes. Now he had raised the stakes considerably higher, and he was sure they would follow his lead as soon as they realized they were enjoying an overwhelming majority.

    Just like Richemont promised, mused Riché, still intrigued at why so many opponents hadn’t showed up that morning. That’s not important. Focus, Etienne. Focus.

    In a few minutes, Colonel de La Rocque would appear in front of the Congressmen - at their own request of course. Along with whatever police officer he'd have recruited on his way, he'd describe today's events and describe the Croix de Feu's efforts to maintain civil peace.

    The government falling, the Conservatives would call for general elections, and the Croix de Feu - under the name of the Parti Social Français, its political wing - would most probably win big, as every sign showed this time it had been a close call for the French Republic. The PSF program, a mix of much-needed social programs and of even more crucial institutional reforms, under a firmly Republican basis, would be next to irresistible to the French middle-class. In a few months, a wholly new State would emerge.

    Let's hope it emerges in time thought Riché, thinking about the somber intelligence reports the Assemblée Nationale's Defense Commitee had been given the previous week.
    Last edited by Atlantic Friend; 09-10-2010 at 16:37.

  2. #22
    "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
    Quick historical notes :

    The character of Etienne Riché is real, and this man really was a Croix de Feu congressman. Historically, French Conservatives DID try to topple the government that had been hastily put together in the aftermath of the Stavisky affair and the 02/06 riots. But they failed against a coalition of Socialists and Centrists who had rallied under a respected and relatively new man from the Radical party, who had never been involved in any scandal, Edouard Daladier.

    It is also historically true that Communists joined hands with the Royalist action Française and the Croix de Feu (and other unsavory groups) during the 02/06 riots. Stalin hadn't edicted his policy about Popular Front (which he hoped would enable Communist Parties to both enjoy the advantages of power and to gobble up Socialists), and the Communist party was more about protesting governmental policies than about devising them.

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Atlantic Friend
    Quick historical notes :

    The character of Etienne Riché is real, and this man really was a Croix de Feu congressman. Historically, French Conservatives DID try to topple the government that had been hastily put together in the aftermath of the Stavisky affair and the 02/06 riots. But they failed against a coalition of Socialists and Centrists who had rallied under a respected and relatively new man from the Radical party, who had never been involved in any scandal, Edouard Daladier.

    It is also historically true that Communists joined hands with the Royalist action Française and the Croix de Feu (and other unsavory groups) during the 02/06 riots. Stalin hadn't edicted his policy about Popular Front (which he hoped would enable Communist Parties to both enjoy the advantages of power and to gobble up Socialists), and the Communist party was more about protesting governmental policies than about devising them.
    Yes Daladier I noticed was conspicously absent...

  4. #24
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
    Hearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIDeus VultEuropa Universalis: ChroniclesFor The Glory
    Hearts of Iron IIIHearts of Iron III CollectionEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's AmbitionVictoria: Revolutions
    Victoria 2Victoria II: A House DividedVictoria II: Heart of DarknessMount & Blade: WarbandEU Rome Collectors Edition
    EU3 Collectors Edition500k clubEuropa Universalis IVEUIV: Wealth of NationsEUIV: Conquest of Paradise
    EUIV: Res Publica

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Taunton, UK
    Posts
    17,317
    Blog Entries
    7
    Quite unscrupulous really - but then plotters are not generally well known for their political morals.
    To view is human, to comment is divine.
    "Be not afraid" - John Paul II
    "The Christian way has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found to be hard and left untried" - GK Chesterton.
    Current AAR: Stories of King Sean CK2 4.1
    Completed AAR: In Memory of France EU2
    View my full AAR list at The Inkwell
    My library and My blog
    Ask not what AARland can do for you, but what you can do for AARland.

  5. #25
    Lt. General TheExecuter's Avatar
    Europa Universalis 3Victoria 2500k club

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Shuttling back and forth between work and that someone special...
    Posts
    1,678
    Nice work with the speech. It seemed quite plausible and capable of generating a few rousing "shouts of approval" from a parliamentary body.

    I know next to nothing about French politics, so if the government change is obvious to every one else, I am still in the dark. Which, actually, is not a bad place to be. From here, I have no idea what is coming next! Continue with the story!
    The Last Mission A Love Story

    There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

  6. #26
    Old Person GeneralHannibal's Avatar
    Hearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Baltimore
    Posts
    4,889
    Quote Originally Posted by Atlantic Friend
    Quick historical notes :

    The character of Etienne Riché is real, and this man really was a Croix de Feu congressman. Historically, French Conservatives DID try to topple the government that had been hastily put together in the aftermath of the Stavisky affair and the 02/06 riots. But they failed against a coalition of Socialists and Centrists who had rallied under a respected and relatively new man from the Radical party, who had never been involved in any scandal, Edouard Daladier.

    It is also historically true that Communists joined hands with the Royalist action Française and the Croix de Feu (and other unsavory groups) during the 02/06 riots. Stalin hadn't edicted his policy about Popular Front (which he hoped would enable Communist Parties to both enjoy the advantages of power and to gobble up Socialists), and the Communist party was more about protesting governmental policies than about devising them.

    Ah, Daladier, the French Chamberlain. I wonder how the rest of the radical party will react to this, since the party was by no means a unified body. Also, if France stays democratic, the left won't be able to campaign about them being Fascists. Finally, how will the popular front form in 1936 because I doubt this government will last for that long.
    "How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct." - Benjamin Disraeli


    "Morality may consist solely in the courage of making a choice." - Leon Blum

  7. #27
    "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 GeneralHannibal
    Ah, Daladier, the French Chamberlain. I wonder how the rest of the radical party will react to this, since the party was by no means a unified body. Also, if France stays democratic, the left won't be able to campaign about them being Fascists. Finally, how will the popular front form in 1936 because I doubt this government will last for that long.
    The Popular Front was largely made possible by the fact French Communists received instructions from Moscow, where some were worrying about the rise of Fascism, telling them to ally with the Socialists. The two parties had been at each other's throat since the creation of the Communist Party in 1920, during, the Tours Congress. Without Communist votes, the French Socialist party was too weak to defeat a Centrist-Conservative alliance, just as the Conservatives could not defeat a Leftist-Centrist alliance. That's what made small parties so essential to governmental coalitions, as losing a single vote at the National assembly could spell a government's end.

    My non-historical spin in the political events is that, instead of merely reacting to the Stavisky affair, the French Conservatives are quicker than the Socialists in engaging talks with the Centrists and notably in striking a deal with the Radicals.

    Proposing general elections to the French citizenry in 1934, after the big 02/06 scare, and after having measured up the contempt most citizens had for the nearly-impotent parliamentary system made sense politically, as the country was ready for a big change. Proposing deep institutional reforms in the aftermath of a major national crisis would have been a bold move indeed - but it was more or less what the Parti Social Français tried to do in 1937-1938, what a "grand alliance" did in 1946 albeit very modestly and what General de Gaulle finally pulled out in 1958 with the support of a large part of the population.

  8. #28
    Old Person GeneralHannibal's Avatar
    Hearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Baltimore
    Posts
    4,889
    But now that "Fascism" is taking hold in France, they communists might be quicker to ally with the Socialists. Also, could a snap election be called because I was looking online (thinking of doing my own French AAR in a long long long time) and elections were always every four years. Hope you don't mind my nitpicks/questions (they're not really nitpicks since I don't know the answers to my questions).
    "How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct." - Benjamin Disraeli


    "Morality may consist solely in the courage of making a choice." - Leon Blum

  9. #29
    "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 GeneralHannibal
    But now that "Fascism" is taking hold in France, they communists might be quicker to ally with the Socialists. Also, could a snap election be called because I was looking online (thinking of doing my own French AAR in a long long long time) and elections were always every four years. Hope you don't mind my nitpicks/questions (they're not really nitpicks since I don't know the answers to my questions).
    Quite the contrary, as they force me to think more about the political dynamics of that era. Here's what I came up with :

    True, the French Communists will be forced to make a choice. They can start an alliance with the Socialists without waiting for instructions from the Komintern, at the risk of being denounced by Moscow. Or they can wait for Moscow to give the green light, and risk finding the situation is less favorable for a Popular Front.

    The Third French Republic was a peculiar regime, as there was no written constitution, but a short series of "constitutional laws". To be frank, this regime, when it was established in 01875, was seen only as a stopgap before France would revert to a monarchy (as Royalists were then the majority). As a consequence, the Republic wasn't exactly firmly established. Its President - dubbed "the Hidden King" by some political commentators - was at the same time completely cut from the general population (so he could not organize a referendum, for example), but had the possibility to dissolve the Parliament, provoking general elections. He also had the possibility to propose laws and to propose changes to the constitutional laws. Paradoxically, while the conduct of governmental affairs is the responsibility of the Prime Minister, called the Président du Conseil, the constitutional laws do not say one word about this very important position.

    In 1934, the President of the French Republic was Albert Lebrun, elected from the Democratic Alliance, a very loose centrist alliance whose members sat on the Left or Right benches. Lebrun was a fundamentally honest and moderate man, but not a leader. For example, he was opposed to the Armistice in 1940, but was talked out of doing any public gesture showing he would have preferred taking the French government to North Africa and to continue the war from there. It is also rumored that, learning of the riots of February, 1934, Lebrun's first reaction was to burst into tears. In his war memories, de Gaulle said cruelly that two things were lacking for Lebrun to be France's head of the state : that there was a state, and that Lebrun had a head.

    In my next update - which is currently delayed by some technical difficulties, as despite of my best efforts the game does not keep the Social Conservative Cabinet I devised in the Croix de Feu scenario - I'll make a brief summary of Lebrun's position after the emergency parliamentary session of February 1934. The general idea is that, faced with turmoil in the country, and urged by various political figures, Lebrun accepts to dissolve the Parliament as he sees no other way to give the regime a renewed legitimacy.
    Last edited by Atlantic Friend; 06-12-2006 at 08:51.

  10. #30
    Corporal Gumzab's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Working in Germany
    Posts
    25
    Nice AAR.

  11. #31
    Wonderful start... As storyteller.
    Anxious to see whish changes would take place.

    And, yes, take France's destiny is a good thing to be ridicule. Only hope you will continue after 1940! Good luck, comrade!
    A good French is a dead frog.

  12. #32
    Old Person GeneralHannibal's Avatar
    Hearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Baltimore
    Posts
    4,889
    Quote Originally Posted by Atlantic Friend
    Quite the contrary, as they force me to think more about the political dynamics of that era. Here's what I came up with :

    True, the French Communists will be forced to make a choice. They can start an alliance with the Socialists without waiting for instructions from the Komintern, at the risk of being denounced by Moscow. Or they can wait for Moscow to give the green light, and risk finding the situation is less favorable for a Popular Front.

    The Third French Republic was a peculiar regime, as there was no written constitution, but a short series of "constitutional laws". To be frank, this regime, when it was established in 01875, was seen only as a stopgap before France would revert to a monarchy (as Royalists were then the majority). As a consequence, the Republic wasn't exactly firmly established. Its President - dubbed "the Hidden King" by some political commentators - was at the same time completely cut from the general population (so he could not organize a referendum, for example), but had the possibility to dissolve the Parliament, provoking general elections. He also had the possibility to propose laws and to propose changes to the constitutional laws. Paradoxically, while the conduct of governmental affairs is the responsibility of the Prime Minister, called the Président du Conseil, the constitutional laws do not say one word about this very important position.

    In 1934, the President of the French Republic was Albert Lebrun, elected from the Democratic Alliance, a very loose centrist alliance whose members sat on the Left or Right benches. Lebrun was a fundamentally honest and moderate man, but not a leader. For example, he was opposed to the Armistice in 1940, but was talked out of doing any public gesture showing he would have preferred taking the French government to North Africa and to continue the war from there. It is also rumored that, learning of the riots of February, 1934, Lebrun's first reaction was to burst into tears. In his war memories, de Gaulle said cruelly that two things were lacking for Lebrun to be France's head of the state : that there was a state, and that Lebrun had a head.

    In my next update - which is currently delayed by some technical difficulties, as despite of my best efforts the game does not keep the Social Conservative Cabinet I devised in the Croix de Feu scenario - I'll make a brief summary of Lebrun's position after the emergency parliamentary session of February 1934. The general idea is that, faced with turmoil in the country, and urged by various political figures, Lebrun accepts to dissolve the Parliament as he sees no other way to give the regime a renewed legitimacy.


    Ah, but from what I know, the president was a pretty ceremonial position after the attempted legal coup in '77 I think. Though the law was never changed so it could happen. Just trying to keep you on your toes .
    "How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct." - Benjamin Disraeli


    "Morality may consist solely in the courage of making a choice." - Leon Blum

  13. #33
    "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 GeneralHannibal
    Ah, but from what I know, the president was a pretty ceremonial position after the attempted legal coup in '77 I think. Though the law was never changed so it could happen. Just trying to keep you on your toes .
    Indeed the President in the Third Republic was meant to have basically a constitutional monarch's kind of power (or lack thereof), and the 1877 crisis showed that he couldn't try to play the citizens against the Parliament - or, more to the point in 1877, against the Government.

    So the President remained some neutral and moral authority, but still with an ace in his sleeve if he chose to use it : the right to dissolve the Parliament, which was never used and thus never questioned, to the point it survived two more constitutions and was used (albeit not very wisely) in 1997.

    All right, I've met some success in my attempts to make my computer accept some Social Conservative cabinet : I'm still stuck with François Auriol as head of Government, but the rest of the cabinet has (finally) decided to veer to the right ! So the next update is (at long last) coming, be afraid, be very afraid...

  14. #34
    "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 R. 2 la R. Team
    Wonderful start... As storyteller.
    Anxious to see whish changes would take place.

    And, yes, take France's destiny is a good thing to be ridicule. Only hope you will continue after 1940! Good luck, comrade!
    Ah, but to a Frenchman France's history reaches epic level precisely AFTER 1940. War, turmoil, despair, honor, a desperate quest for freedom, traitors, frightful foes, noble allies, it has it all !

  15. #35
    "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 6 : THE PLAYERS (Part 1)






    The Hôtel Matignon, new seat of the French Government, January the 1st, 1936


    "Gentlemen," said de La Rocque, sitting at the high end of the table, "I raise my glass to salute the work accomplished by the Patriotic Front government over the past two years. I know it has been two challenging years. I know it has been two dangerous years. But I also know that, thanks to your dedication, it has been two years of progress, two years of success. Thank you, gentlemen, thanks to every one of you. May 1936 see even greater success for us, and above all for France !"

    Raising their glasses with muttered thanks or polite nods, the ministers of what the nation's newspapers now called the "Patriotic Front" government allowed themselves a little pause. As the ushers brought some canapés and some more champagne, each of them took a moment to reminisce.

    For Roger Salengro, it had been two very surprising years. Born and raised as a Socialist, he had quickly gone away from the utopic Communism of his college years, preferring a more pragmatic approach of reformist Socialism that seemed not only more attainable, but more desirable. His professional experience as a journalist, and four years of war and captivity definitely convinced him neither French workers nor French farmers would ever have much truck with collectivism or a Soviet-style society, and his election as Mayor of Lille in 1925 had done little to unseat that newfound conviction. Like Blum, he now thought one had to take what was best in both socialist and capitalist utopias, and adapt it to the many specificities of France, however difficult that last part might be in a country that loved today what it had loathed the day before, and would loathe tomorrow what it adored today.

    His rallying to the Croix de Feu-led government had been a result of Royalist intrigue, of all things. Furious at the way they had been "had" by de La Rocque's partisans, and seeing bitter in-fighting engulfing the ever-fragmented Action Française political base, Maurras, Daudet and the other Royalist leaders had tried in April 1934 to unite their feuding sympathizers by launching a series of vitriolic attacks against Jews, Socialists and Communists in their newspapers. Discovering that Salengro hadn't been allowed to join the Army in July 1914 because of his Communist views, Charles Maurras, the most prolific columnist of the Royalist cause, had launched scathing attacks against "Salengro the traitor" and "Salengro the deserter".



    Roger Salengro, the first French neo-Conservative ?



    Even though Salengro had joined the Army later in 1914, fought with distinction, and suffered several years of captivity, he found himself deeply affected by the defamation. Especially distressing was the fact some of his Socialist colleagues, afraid that their party, already weakened after the 1934 elections, would suffer from the Royalist press campaign, had put as much distance as possible between them and Salengro, who began sinking into a deep depression. He had thus been extremely surprised when Etienne Riché, the Croix de Feu congressman who to many Socialists was now the arch-enemy, had turned up at his mayoral office in Lille. Riché had been short and to the point : "M. Salengro, you know we Croix de Feu give a particular importance to how a man behaved in the Great War, and also to how war veterans are treated. The fact is, we are profoundly disgusted by the repugnant way the Royalist resort to mud-slinging, innuendo, and outright lies to bring you down. I am here to tell you Colonel de La Rocque shares this feeling, and condemns the vicious attacks you find yourself under. He also wants you to consider, very seriously, becoming his Work and Industry minister. Colonel de La Rocque feels like social reforms are very urgently needed if France is to make a rapid transition to a fully industrialized economy, and he'd like you to help him prepare them, no strings attached. We'll understand if you turn our offer down, of course."

    Three weeks after Riché's surprise visit, Roger Salengro had arrived in Paris, where he had divided his time between supervising the building of the new Work and Industry Ministry, near the Invalides, and blackening reams of paper to devise the most ambitious reforms of France's social laws ever to be written. On March the 5th, 1935, after strenuous negotiations, he and the country's major unions signed the Triple Agreement which established the rights and responsibilities of workers, employers, and government in the application of new work regulations that, among other things, granted three weeks of paid leave to every employee.

    Four months later, as millions of Frenchmen and women boarded trains, drove cars, or rode bicycles to sunny beaches, Salengro told Riché his biggest worry was now to find out how one could run a Ministry with only half its staff present.

    "You too ? Hah ! Serves you right, Roger, serves you right !" had chuckled Riché, who faced similar problems leading the Information Ministry. "Remember, a good deed never goes unpunished !"

    Since then, Salengro had tackled the problem of trying to boost France's industry on a very tight budget, working in close association with Jean Fabry, France's War Minister and as such one of the major customers of French industries. Their first decision had been to scrap all the projects of extension of the Maginot Line to the North Sea, which threatened to make France's national debt grow tenfold. This move had only been moderately well received both by Army generals, of course, but also by local officials and businesses who had hoped to be able to reap some benefits from the construction program. Their second decision had earned Salengro a stormy meeting with Admiral Darlan, as it concerned canceling the planned construction of the Dunkerque-class of battleships. Fuming, screaming, trembling with rage, Darlan had made so much noise an aide had discreetly opened the door to Salengro's office to see if his boss was still alive. In the end, however, Salengro had held his ground. It was either new battleships or new factories, and the factories would both employ more people and prove more essential to the security of France in the long run. As some kind of compensation, and because the last thing the government wanted was a general strike beginning at the shipyards, Salengro had promised Darlan he would meet with the War Minister to see if some other fleet modernization program could be put together, and if new Navy facilities could be developed on the Atlantic coast.

    ************************************************** ********


    [Game effect : Roger Salengro, Social Democrat, is now Armaments Minister with the Administrative Genius trait (in effect replacing Vincent Auriol, who I didn't feel would fit in a Conservative cabinet). Dissent has been raised to 6%, to represent hostile groups ranging from the Left (Communists, Anarchists° to the Right (Royalists, Fascists) as well as dissent from unions, businessmen, and military leaders. A new technical team (the "Ecole Polytechnique") is added, with a "3" level in managing and engineering skills. To reflect quality of historical aircraft a little better, the Dewoitine tech skill is raised to 6, while the Morane-Saulnier tech skill is lowered to 3.

    The Dunkerque battleship is scrapped, and replaced with a new factory under construction in La Rochelle. The Upgrade slider is set to cover 10% of the needs, while the production of Consumers Goods is raised. The car-making firm Renault works to develop new production systems, while Professor Joliot (with a skill level raised to 7 to reflect he was a Nobel-Prize winner) supervises a team trying to develop new Machine Tools. ]
    Last edited by Atlantic Friend; 09-10-2010 at 16:42.

  16. #36
    "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

    The Players (part 2)

    CHAPTER 7 : THE PLAYERS (Continued)



    The Hôtel Matignon, seat of the French Government, January the 1st, 1936

    At the mention of "even greater success", Pierre Laval couldn't help but wince.

    Bon Dieu, please spare me "greater success", he thought. I have trouble enough with the situation as it is.

    Contrary to Salengro, Laval had had no trouble joining the Croix de Feu as soon as Riché had finished his scathing attack on Blum. Used to political manoeuvers, and actually deeply enjoying it, Laval had quickly assessed the situation at the Assemblée Nationale. Outside, without even knowing it, Frenchmen had moved from a mass demonstration to a full-fledged revolution, or at least had paved the way for such a move. Now power hung in the balance, along with the future of the Republic. If enough politicians fought the flow, then the Republic would stagger, but recover. If on the contrary the same politicians moved with the flow, then the regime was doomed to collapse and a new order would rise from its ruins. Laval was no Fascist, and he was confident Riché and his comrades weren't either. That meant some form of status quo would remain, while most of the power would be redistributed amongst those quick enough to ride the powerful wave of discontent that rocked the country.

    Never one to miss the bus, particularly when said bus led to Matignon, Laval had struck a deal with Riché almost as soon as the Croix de Feu congressman had sat down, securing the Foreign Affairs for himself.

    Still, the last two years had required all his diplomatic skills, and that had barely been sufficient to preserve the country's most vital interests. To France's east, Germany had once again grown into a monster. The war reparations had completely failed to slow down Germany's economic recovery, largely thanks to American investors sensing their dollars could quickly multiply with German exports, and the Reich's government was now using a seizable chunk of the Reichsmarks thus generated to modernize the Wehrmacht way beyond what the Versailles Treaty authorized. That treaty was, as far as Laval was concerned, dead as a dodo, and twice as stinky. Keeping Germany at bay had thus been the logical strategy recommended by Colonel de La Rocque as soon as he was made head of the French government.

    Strangely enough, Germany didn't seem to mind too much, and the French government was regularly informed of German openings to strengthen the economic ties between the two countries. France's "reindustrialization program" initiated by Salengro may be a long-term threat to German exporters, but it also was a short-term boon for German firms as it required tools, machines, electricity France had trouble providing on her own.

    Instead, danger had raised its ugly head from a totally unexpected direction. In the spring of 1934, a series of incidents pitting French and Italian fishermen had resulted in growing violence at sea, each side accusing the other of disregarding territorial waters and sabotaging each other's boats or nets. Both countries, wanting to flex some muscles, had dispatched Navy vessels to make their presence felt, but that had accomplished nothing except emboldening some fishermen hotheads to raise the stakes even further. On June the 24th, a group of French fishermen numbering more than 20 boats had surrounded a small flotilla of Italian trawlers operating beyond French national waters, and proceeded to board them, their leaders wanting to capture the boats and take them to Marseille as some sort of spoil of war. The action was under way when an Italian seaplane had shown up, and had signaled the act of piracy to a nearby light cruiser. The Italian cruiser had sped up to the hot spot, dispersing the French fishermen with a few warning shots. Things would eventually have died down if a small French squadron, which had left Toulon for Indochina, hadn't stumbled upon what looked like an Italian ship trying to sink French trawlers. The impromptu naval engagement that followed had, fortunately, failed to cause any death, but had driven yet another wedge between Italy and France who were already at odds over colonial matters.




    Pierre Laval, professional cat herder...


    To make things worse, Great Britain had struck a deal with Italy over the Ethiopian affair, reassuring the Duce that Italian conquest of the Abyssinian kingdom would be seen by Whitehall as a very trivial affair. That had left France isolated, both on the diplomatic stage and the colonial scene, with a Horn of Africa that was next to undefendable should the country ever be at war with Italy. In a quiet meeting at Matignon, it had then been decided to discreetly evacuate the bulk of the French forces stationed in Djibouti, and to relocate them in Indochina where tensions were also mounting between France, Siam and the warlords of Yunnan. Italy had yet to move or even make threats against Djibouti, but the whole affair had left a lot of bad blood between Great Britain and France, and the relations between the two countries had considerably cooled off as a result.

    Belgium, which had been approached with a proposal of reinforcing military ties with France, had also been particularly cool to French overtures. Its most senior officer, General van Overstraeten, was know to be extremely hostile to France for a variety of reasons. While some of them were entirely unrational, some were all too understandable. Van Overstraeten suspected, with a considerable degree of reason, that the French war plans would be to fight Germany in the Belgian plains, so as to spare France's industrialized eastern regions the devastation that usually followed extensive military operations. As Laval knew, van Overstraeten was now trying to convince his monarch that Belgian troops - and Flemish ones if possible - should be deployed on France's border to prevent French troops from entering the country.

    To Belgium's south, the situation was simpler - and much friendlier. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg had reacted very favorably to French proposals of alliance, and had also agreed both countries should coordinate coal and steel production in such a way that would benefit both their industries. The Grand Duchy had also told the French government, albeit in a very discreet way, that should the need for such drastic measures ever arise, French troops would be welcome to take position within Luxembourg and conduct operations from here as long as the Grand Ducal government was kept informed. In the meantime, the French and Luxemburger amies would establish liaison officers and organize some common training at the regiment and division level.

    Finally, there was Spain. Laval had great hopes for Spain, as he thought traditional Catholicism would more than compensate for the young Spanish Republic's most leftist partisans and allow the consolidation of a regime that would, in many ways, resemble France's. Sure, there were militants from the Left, and some from the Right, that were equally unsatisfied by the current Republic and ready to act against it, but Laval hoped they would neutralize themselves until the moment the Spanish government would be strong enough to dispose of them both. What was needed there was a little prodding, a little time, and a little luck. The prodding Laval was eager to deliver himself, and the time could be bought in some degree.

    As for the luck, I sure am entitled to some after two years of eating shit, thought Laval as La Rocque ended his New Year speech.

    ************************************************** ********


    [Game effect : Pierre Laval, Social Conservative, is now Foreign Minister. France is no longer part of the Allies, and its relation with the United Kingdom is set as + 149. France enjoys a local alliance with Luxembourg, no trade deal in effect, with military access and full military control. Franco/Italian relations are at - 70, Franco-Yunnan relations are set at - 150.]
    Last edited by Atlantic Friend; 09-10-2010 at 16:43.

  17. #37
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
    Hearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonCrusader Kings IIDeus VultEuropa Universalis: ChroniclesFor The Glory
    Hearts of Iron IIIHearts of Iron III CollectionEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's AmbitionVictoria: Revolutions
    Victoria 2Victoria II: A House DividedVictoria II: Heart of DarknessMount & Blade: WarbandEU Rome Collectors Edition
    EU3 Collectors Edition500k clubEuropa Universalis IVEUIV: Wealth of NationsEUIV: Conquest of Paradise
    EUIV: Res Publica

    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Taunton, UK
    Posts
    17,317
    Blog Entries
    7
    So everything is getting rolling. I think France would do well to find some more friends however.
    To view is human, to comment is divine.
    "Be not afraid" - John Paul II
    "The Christian way has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found to be hard and left untried" - GK Chesterton.
    Current AAR: Stories of King Sean CK2 4.1
    Completed AAR: In Memory of France EU2
    View my full AAR list at The Inkwell
    My library and My blog
    Ask not what AARland can do for you, but what you can do for AARland.

  18. #38
    "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 stnylan
    So everything is getting rolling. I think France would do well to find some more friends however.
    Indeed. Barring that, France needs to make sure she doesn't get too many enemies at the very least !

  19. #39
    Interesting changes... But France always so alone. And have you any problem to embark/disembark troops to Indochina with a fall of Djibouti? I would say with "the so far range" even with TPs alone (3000 km only if I remember right). Moreover now you could not use UK naval bases.

    Well, 1936 it's starting, have fun and good luck!
    A good French is a dead frog.

  20. #40
    Old Person GeneralHannibal's Avatar
    Hearts of Iron 2: ArmageddonEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Baltimore
    Posts
    4,889
    Will you help the Republicans in the civil war?
    "How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct." - Benjamin Disraeli


    "Morality may consist solely in the courage of making a choice." - Leon Blum

+ Reply to Thread
Page 2 of 123 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 12 27 52 77 102 ... 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