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Thread: The Torch of the Mediterranean: A Socialist Republic of Italy Kaiserreich AAR

  1. #21
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    The First Congress of the Third International

    Quote Originally Posted by portion of L'Internationale
    So come brothers and sisters
    For the struggle carries on.
    The Internationale,
    Unites the world in song.
    So comrades, come rally,
    For this is the time and place!
    The Internationale,
    Unites the human race!
    With the major affairs of the Third Congress of the Greater Italian Union settled on April 15th, the government set out to prepare for first congress of the Third International [1] that the Commune of France would host in the first week of May. It was an ambitious project- while the Third International had been formed between the Socialist Republic of Italy and the Commune of France all the way back in 1921, it remained an irrelevant organization until the revolution in the United Kingdom that led to the creation of the Union of Britain. In the succeeding 10 years the International still found itself a fringe group- Germany’s new world order had essentially squashed revolutionary sentiment and apathy had set in among many of the socialist groups.

    By the mid-1930s though, the Commune of France found its prestige increasing the world, in time overshadowing the government-in-exile in North Africa. The lack of reforms in the new world, and in many cases a roll back of reforms, led to an increase in discontent among the working class. With their lack of faith in social-democratic parties to achieve anything, many chose to join radical organizations that looked to the Syndicalists in France for guidance.

    An economic crisis and potential signs of weakness in the aristocracy and bourgeoisie were present- for the Commune France, this was the perfect opportunity to make its intentions known.

    The Socialist Republic of Italy went about setting its affairs in order before departing for the Third International. The first major decision was to increase the research and development of new technologies in Italy. With the expanded industrial capacity and efficiency gained from the last Congress, it was decided that research in new agricultural machinery and techniques was necessary in order for Italy to back its industrial growth. Aided by cooperation with agricultural scientists from the Commune of France, the R&D wing of the Ferrovie Repubblicane Italiano [2] were given the task of developing new machinery, farming techniques, and more importantly to integrate it with the existing railroad networks to deliver produce to market and relevant factories and ports.

    Improvements in agriculture would also help to make more efficient use of existing land and thus a smaller plot of land could grow a lot more food. Labor in the countryside would be freed up for the growing factories and the military as well, where the Republic was looking to expand. Moreover, more food meant it was possible to sustain population growth as well.

    With new reports of resources present in the republic, the government began the construction of factories in the Campobasso and Syracuse provinces, to gain valuable rare minerals and oil respectively. These two would be necessary for more advanced industrial applications and could provide a better trading position with the Commune of France in the meantime after their completion.

    The Socialist Republic of Italy also saw the creation of a new paper, La Repubblica, set up as a competitor to Liberazione, to comment on global affairs and power relations in the Republic. La Repubblica also allowed commentary from “progressive”, though not necessarily socialist, commentators- a break from the positions of Liberazione. To that end it carried columns from the Italian philosopher Benedetto Croce and the “leader” of the Futurist art movement, F.T. Marinetti.

    In the German Empire, economic conditions made themselves more damaging on the vast population of neglected workingmen and women. The Freie Arbeiter Union Deutschlands [3] grew strongly in the past few years and got a massive boost with the ongoing economic crisis in Germany. The FAUD was influenced in particular by Anarcho-Syndicalist thought and in turn looked to France as a guiding light. As its activities became more radical, the German Empire saw it as an organization bent on the destruction of the monarchy and a potential fifth column in the event of a war with the Commune of France. It took the move to shut down the organization and arrest what leaders it could while driving the entirety of its operations underground.

    This was a clear sign of the German Empire’s war against the working class, the papers of Italy and France declared in its pages. Contact was lost with many of the leaders however, and reports came out from communication networks that many were executed in an extrajudicial manner. The German Empire made its position clear- the workers should appreciate its paternalistic governance, but avoid asking for more “handouts” like spoiled children, as the pro-government papers declared.

    As developments in Europe began to reveal the conflict that was building up between the Commune of France and the German Empire, the Ottoman Empire found itself dealing with discontent with agitation from its Arab population. In particular, notions of a pan-Arab state of some sort gripped the imaginations and hopes of the Arabs in the empire, who looked to either Egypt or Hashemite Arabia as the center of this new Arab state. The situation was exacerbated with the crash of the Berlin Stock Market. Egypt, sensing a potential for it to make inroads into the core of the Middle-East from this wave of Arab nationalism, announced that it would host an “Arab Conference”. While touted as a cultural event for “Arab Identity”, much of the world knew it was more or less a declaration of Arab independence from the various colonial powers in the region- among them the Ottoman Empire, the German Empire, National France, and the Kingdom of Spain.

    While disappointed that there was no socialist power in the Middle-East, the Italian papers saw it as a sign of resistance against the imperialism of the great powers in the Middle-East. It would certainly frustrate efforts of the old aristocracy and bourgeoisie in their attempts to exploit the region.

    On May 1st, the International Workers’ Day was marked by large civil parades in Naples as well a day off for the citizens of the Republic. During this time France officially sent out its invitations to relevant socialist nations for the First Congress of the Third International. On May 4th, General Responsible for Diplomacy Pietro Nenni received a telegram from Paris asking for the Socialist Republic of Italy’s participation in the Congress, which he accepted.

    President Togliatti and General Responsible for Diplomacy Nenni, along with an entourage of members from the Chamber of Commons drawn the different ideological platforms, boarded for Paris on May 5th. They arrived with delegates of other nations- the Republic of Mexico, the Democratic Republic of Georgia, Centroamerica, and the Bharitya Commune as well as delegates from socialist organizations within other countries, notably the Kingdom of Spain and the United States of America.

    After an opening ceremony to mark the First Congress, the delegates gathered in the chambers of the General Labor Council to discuss the pressing concerns for all the major socialist nations. Daniel Guérin, the chairman of the Committee of Public Safety, opened the Congress on May 8th with a speech regarding the international situation and the potential for an international revolution. He proclaimed that the global economy led by Germany was showing signs of weakness and emphasized that the members of the international should use “any means available to them” to overthrow the “international bourgeoisie”. The speech was greeted by applause by the delegates in the Congress, though it had essentially made public the positions of many of them regarding the international revolution.

    The German Empire chose to use the speech as a way to further spread the danger the Commune of France and the International shows for the existing world order. Even going so far as to reach out to the members of the Entente, the German Empire warned of the hostility shown by the International and the disorder they would bring.

    While discussions regarding party organization and trade unions were under way, the delegates were interrupted by an update by the Commune of France’s Delegate to Foreign Affairs Sartre, who announced to all present that the people of Bolivia had overthrown the government, and the socialist and trade union movement of Alfonso Gumucio Reyes assumed control.

    The delegates of Mexico and Centroamerica welcomed the news of another socialist nation in Latin America. The Socialist Republic of Italy saw it as a useful blow to the Italian Federation’s sphere of influence in Latin America. All involved knew it would be a great boon to revolutionary movements across the region, notably in Brazil where agitation by trade unionists and socialists were becoming more and more pronounced.

    Delegates from the Kingdom of Spain took the stage on May 9th describing the massive state repression of trade unions and socialist parties, and imploring the nations of the International, in particular the Commune of France, the Union of Britain, and the Socialist Republic of Italy, for help. All the nations implied they would, though Spanish delegates would have to meet with each nation individually to hammer the specifics.

    On May 10th, presidential candidate of the Combined Syndicates of America John “Jack” Reed took the stage and described the challenges facing the unions and socialist groups in the United States. He described the “decay” of capitalism in the United States and the increasingly desperate moves by the bourgeoisie to retain control. He gave a moving account of the collapse of industries in the Midwest and Pennsylvania while the bosses that controlled them lived in luxury, and contrasted that with the dire situation of the workers in the “rust belt”. He also exposed the “insulting” luxury of the wealthy west coast centered in California, in startling contrast to the rest of the country. He proclaimed that the workers were apathetic at lack of progress in labor reform and were aware of the completely failure by the bourgeoisie to address their concerns. To this end he raised the success of the Combined Syndicates in rallying and organizing the workers, building a presence in the House of Representatives, and hoped for success in the elections and on the streets.

    John "Jack" Reed- leader of the Combined Syndicates

    Reed’s speech was welcomed by the Union of Britain and the Commune of France who promised cooperation with the Combined Syndicates in the event of a victory at the polls. Mexico too promised their support for the Combined Syndicates in their quest to help the workers by promising to do what it could among Mexicans living in the United States. While Italy was not consulted, there were already networks open between the Socialist Republic of Italy and the Combined Syndicates, particularity due to Italy’s influence among unionized Italian-Americans [4] and the two’s opposition to the mafia’s influence in Italian-American communities.

    On May 11th, France opened the floor to delegates from Centroamerica and Mexico, who discussed the potential for syndicalism among the working and rural poor across the region. They described the promising growth of trade unions and class awareness among the people. Mexico discussed its challenges in creating socialism and asked for delegates to have a moment of silence in remembrance of President Emiliano Zapata.

    Centroamerica discussed its efforts to unify the workers of Central America under one banner and highlighted its struggle with the “bourgeoisie” in the United Provinces. To that end it described the belligerent behavior of the Untied Provinces in the region after the assassination of President Madrid of Panama. The United Provinces in turn began to occupy Panama to “restore order”, which the government of Panama saw as an attempt to annex the country and resisted the move. The United Provinces entered into war against Panama, and made its intentions clear on integrating the nation into the federation.

    All the delegates from Latin America however reiterated the problems the Roman Catholic Church was causing them- to which the Italians proposed greater cooperation against the Church by forming popular cultural groups to counter that of the Church. France promised full aid in helping form unions and political training to interested groups.

    The next major discussion was over the role of women in the syndicalist and socialist states, and more importantly what role that should be in the International Revolution. Women had the right to political participation in all the member nations of the International, though there was still a long ways to go. The stage was taken by the Russian émigré living in the Commune of France and Bolshevik Alexandra Kollontai on May 12th with a speech regarding feminism and the revolution.

    Alexandra Kollontai

    She had gained a lot of respect from the delegates due to her position as one of the few surviving Bolsheviks, but had become a radical feminist herself, encouraging the growth of the Congregationalists in the Union of Britain. She again emphasized that women needed to break free of social norms, of the traditional family, and break free of the constraints of the old world. The speech was greeted warmly by the delegates, though special attention was paid to how the delegates from the Bharitya Commune would react. Luckily, the Indians also accepted the role and promised to tackle the old social order still present in its rural communities.

    Following Kollontai’s remarks, the delegates took debated the fall of the Soviet Union as the fifteenth anniversary drew near and its importance. Radio Paris during the time played a series of special segments of the significance of the Soviet Union and recollections from the few Bolsheviks that survived. Seemingly to counter this, the publication of “Mein Kampf”, a collection of diaries and accounts by German soldiers from the Great War and in particular from one “Adolf Hitler” [5], was released at the same time to high sales. Of all of the accounts, Hitler’s was the largest and provided the most nationalistic and “patriotic” sentiment at hat the German Empire desired in an attempt to recapture the patriotic feelings from after the Great War as a means to sweep class war under the carpet- already two movies were being created to herald the life and sacrifice of the young Imperial war hero Hitler.

    On May 15th, delegates from nations outside of the International described the massive state repression against worker movements in fighting for labor reform. The accounts out of Spain in particular disturbed the delegates as accounts came out of violent break ups of rallies and assassinations of union leaders by paramilitary groups operating outside of the government. It was indeed a “White Terror”. The Union of Britain and the Commune of France were the first to condemn such actions and asked other nations to help where they could with aid requests from union leaders.

    On May 16th Togliatti took the stage to discuss the progress and challenges of the Socialist Republic of Italy. He felt that like all the members of the International, Italy was striving for a world where “no man can exploit another man”. He raised the issue of the Church’s influence in their populace and emphasized the importance of battling and countering its influence by any means- a position that the Latin American delegates and the French agreed too. He also raised that in order to solidify the position of syndicalism in Europe, the Italian unification would serve as a great boon in providing a solid opposition to Mitteleurope by removing the Italian Federation as a buffer to Germany’s weak spot on the south, and obviously avoid the risk of France fighting a force entering through its Mediterranean regions. He asked for help from the International when the drive for unification came, to finally end the oppression of workers in the north. France agreed and urged others to follow suit.

    The real discussions however were done between Nenni and his counterpart Sartre over French aid in the event of a war with the Italian Federation. These meetings took place outside of the Congress and its occurrence was not known until sometime later [6]. Like Cavour before him [7], Nenni offered to recognize French claims on lost territory- notably Nice, Corsica, and Savoy- that were ceded by the Third Republic to the Austrian-controlled Italian Confederation after its surrender in the Great War.

    French claims on the Italian Federation

    This deal was accepted by the Commune of France, who in turn offered full aid for Italy when the time came.

    On May 17th the Congress was wrapped up by a final speech by Makhno over the ongoing economic crisis and the International’s role in it. “The time is now”, he began, “for the proletariat to free the peoples of Europe and the World and end the tyranny of old order! The Congress was closed by a singing of L’Internationale by the delegates in their respective languages.

    The plane carrying Togliatti, Nenni, and delegates from the House of Commons touched down on Naples on May 18th to a clear afternoon in the city. They proceeded out on the tarmac and were relieved to feel the warm Mediterranean breeze from the Gulf of Naples- nothing beat home. This good aura was shattered when they saw Gramsci, waiting with a rather stressed look next to a car. The Chief of Staff of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Military, Camillo Berneri, was in car behind Gramsci, speaking into a radio set though none of them could hear what he was saying. Gramsci walked up to meet Togliatti and Nenni, and after a few brief words welcoming them back, then abruptly told them to get in the car.

    The car bounded away from the airport and made its way towards the Congress of the Republic. Gramsci turned towards Togliatti and Nenni in the back row and told them: “Since you were away at the International, certain events have developed rather quickly beyond our control. We might be on the verge of war with the Italian Federation if we do not watch our steps”.

    “What!? How did that happen? Why did you not inform us back in Paris?” asked Togliatti, shocked.

    “We were not comfortable with sending a telegram that would have to go through French intelligence. We would rather not have them involved, yet “, said Gramsci calmly, “you will need to be brought up to speed on the events of the past week while you were away at the Congress. It shouldn’t take but a moment”.

    The car raced down the street, and the Congress of the Republic loomed ahead. The returning delegates did not feel so consoled by the Mediterranean breeze anymore.

    __________________________________________________ ___________

    [1] The “Third International”, or the Syndicalist International (often abbreviated to the Syndintern), was formed between the Commune of France and the Socialist Republic of Italy as a successor to the “Second International”. The Second International was a similar body of socialist parties that existed before the Great War, though was ripped apart by divisions between Reformist and Revolutionary Marxists, as well as pro-war and anti-war positions.

    [2] Ferrovie Repubblicane Italiano, or the Italian Republican Railways, was the nationalized train system in the Socialist Republic of Italy. It had largely been built up from nothing to an impressive network, at least for a country like the RSI, and was under the directorship of the General Responsible for Transportation Benito Mussolini. The organization also ran an research and development wing that helped further advance the train network but also other machinery- farming technologies included.

    [3] Freie Arbeiter Union Deutschlands, or the Free Workers Union of Germany, was formed as an independent trade union founded on anarcho-syndicalist ideals. Unlike the other existing trade unions, it had no connection to the Social Democratic Party, and also took a position of opposition to the German government. It had experienced rapid growth and in time was able to hold its own against the traditional trade unions.

    [4] While divided politically like their brothers back home, the RSI found the greatest amount of cooperation by Italians affiliated to more radical oriented trade unions. Working the connections here, the RSI got a healthy degree of support from some sectors of the Italian-American community- many of whom were from the south of Italy. Political figures like Congressman Vito Marcantonio who was affiliated with the Combined Syndicates and trade unionists like Arturo Giovannitti were public in their support for the RSI and socialism. The Church and Mafia also worked their connections in the Italian-American community, which often led to violent confrontations and divisions among the community.

    [5] As far as archives show us, Adolf Hitler was born to a German family in Braunau am Inn in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1889. Hitler had always felt more kinship and attachment to the German Empire than the Austro-Hungarian empire, and refusing to enlist in the multi-ethnic Austro-Hungarian divisions, petitioned the King of Bavaria to be allowed to enter into a Bavarian division of the German Imperial Army. Hitler went on to serve on the western front and lived to see the surrender of Paris in 1919, much to his joy. He had been able to go on despite receiving leg wounds in 1917 and complications from chemical gas in 1918. He was promoted to Feldwebel and received an Iron Cross, second class (1914) and an Iron Cross, first class(1918), despite his lowly ranks, in recognition of his efforts during the war against France.

    In 1920 he and his division were moved from occupation duty in France to fight in the German intervention in the Russian Civil War. According to official papers, Hitler died later the same year during a gas attack unleashed by the Red Army, though recent evidence indicates that it was possibly an accidental deployment of gas by the German military, unaware of the presence of Hitler’s division due to the chaotic and rapidly shifting front lines in Russia.

    Hitler’s possessions- his diaries included- were sent back to a sister along with his Iron Crosses. The diaries lay virtually unknown until a half-niece sent them in to a Greater German Party-backed publication of accounts by war veterans, “Mein Kampf”. Hitler’s accounts of patriotism, German pride, and anti-socialism were precisely what the Party wanted, and the Imperial throne gave its approval to the publications.

    [6] When the details became known, the national-Syndicalists in particular, due to their subscription to “Italia Irredentia” beliefs, blasted the protocols as a betrayal to Italians.

    [7] Camillo Benso, conte di Cavour was the prime minister under the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont as it embarked to unify Italy under its banner. In July of 1858 Cavour and Napoleon III met in secret to discuss French support for Sardinia-Piedmont against Austria. France’s conditions were the territories of Nice and Savoy (the namesake of the ruling House of Savoy) in order to guarantee Sardinia-Piedmont aid. This was accepted by Cavour and France indeed came to Sardinia-Piedmont’s aid during its war with Austria in 1859, though France prematurely halted the war and only allowed for Sardninia to gain Lombardy, fearful of a strong Italy. Unification occurred afterwards, though Venice still lay beyond Italy’s grasp. Cavour felt betrayed and resigned from his post as Prime Minister.
    Last edited by MercZ; 24-05-2011 at 21:41.
    Torch of the Mediterranean, a Kaiserreich-DH AAR, Weekly AAR Winner 6/19/11, Character Writer of the Week 2/26/12

    This is where I put some quotes

  2. #22
    The Revolution seems to be progressing in Latin America. Weakest link in the chain.

    Now, to war with the feudalists in the North!

    The Internationale, unites the human race!

  3. #23
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    The Anzio Crisis

    Quote Originally Posted by An America First Party editorial written by Father Coughlin, published in the New York Times, May 20th
    If the people of America could see this, anyone with a sense of decency would be outraged. These people, whose only desire is to worship God, chose to escape from the shackles of socialism to places where they could simply live their essential human desire to pay reverence to our lord! Like Moses and the Israelites before them, they gathered courage and left the evil Pharaoh in Naples to make their way to the embrace of the Holy Father in Rome. They know the true, twisted face of socialism, yet here we have people who support the Combined Syndicates’ position of socialism- despite the freedoms they enjoy here! Such blind people- they need only talk to these poor, huddled souls to know the real face of the so-called “democracy” they often praise.”
    Gramsci had seen the delegates off on the plane as they flew to the Congress on the morning of May 5th. He was of course, chosen to remain at Naples to “watch after the fort”, as Togliatti joked to him in the Congress of the Republic. It was not a problem to him- Gramsci had long known that as a public speaker his skills were lacking. He could debate fine in political matters among his peers, but the kind of oratory skills that were demanded from the International he could not match.

    The problem was of course, there was no one he could rely on. His closest contacts were Togliatti himself and Bordiga in the House- both were now in a plane streaking smoothly over the Bay of Naples. Among the anarchists in the joint- Anarcho-Syndicalist platform he had not really developed much contact beyond acquaintances and political connections. Piero Sraffa was the only friend in Naples Gramsci had at the moment to socialize with, though there opportunities for meetings were limited.

    He tried to push the thoughts out of his head. Every time he thought about his friends, he thought about his family still living in Sardinia. Like many Italians, he had to deal with the country and family split in two. His entire family however was stuck in Sardinia in the Italian Federation, and there was obviously no way for him to stay in contact with them. The last time he had seen his family was in 1919, shortly before he left to the Kingdom of Two Sicilies for the revolution. His thoughts weighed most heavily on his mother, who he knew was suffering from having to deal with having a son that was declared an “enemy of the state”, and the humiliation she had to deal with in the community.

    After a series of talks with dissident groups in Sardinia, the government had attempted to fund secessionist groups in the mid 1920s. Using these connections, he had tried to send her a letter in 1926 through the rebels, one that he never got a reply back for. It was presumably intercepted by the government- but he was not sure. He was unsure of her fate for a long time, as well as the rest of his family. It was only when a functionary in the Congress of the Republic showed him a copy of a Federation newspaper, Tempi Cristiano, in 1934, that he got the first word of his family in 15 years. He had however hoped the news would have been in a different form though.

    A picture of younger brother Mario was on the front page Tempi Cristiano, and an article written by him was the highlight of the newspaper. He had seen that his brother had become a respected local politician in Sardinia and on good terms with the King of Sardenia-Piedmont. In the pages Mario denounced his brother as a “heathen” and “fraud” who brought “immense suffering” on their mother. He went on great detail to describe her distress at her son’s absence and the “shame” he was bringing to the family by being a leader of the RSI. He said that their mother had died in 1932, two years before, something Gramsci had no knowledge of. Mario went on to describe the depression and sadness she had over Gramsci’s actions and “neglect” of the family. Mario continued to denounce his brother for “tearing Italy asunder” and becoming an oppressive dictator, who served the “satanic” rites of socialism and dividing the people of Italy to further that.

    He saw why the Federation had the article printed. It was a strong statement for a family, particularly in Italian circles, to denounce a son and disown him as Mario had done. It caused quite a stir in foreign presses – with Gramsci’s reputation poor as it was abroad [1]- as newspapers ridiculed his position. Gramsci was most disturbed by the news of his mother's death. Was she really ashamed of him? What of his father? He could still remember his stern face. And the rest of his brothers and sisters- What of them?

    His family in Sardinia was long gone. What he had left was his wife, Julia Schucht and their two sons, Delio and Giuliano [2], though his contact with them was limited to a few hours a week if he was lucky.

    He had found himself at his desk. Of all the objects in his life, this desk had become the most familiar, the most “home” like. There was no easy life for people like him and for the rest of the leadership in the RSI. They had an upward battle to fight, one that would demand sacrifices out of everyone involved.

    The duty of managing the republic in Togliatti’s absence fell on him, but it was a job he had no trouble with. He was used to the intricacies of politics and governance; it was second nature to him. In many respects it was often said that Gramsci was the glue that held the current government together. His attention however was focused on near hourly reports from General Responsible for Police Grieco regarding the mafia’s actions in the country.

    Contrary to the rantings of Mussolini and his followers in Il Popolo, Gramsci was deeply involved in the fight against mafia. It was a troublesome process- the Mafia was too deeply intertwined with the social fabric in the country. Their economic damages were more concerning to him though- the French were in particular angry over the issue. True socialism, they argued, should be able to remove criminal presences like the Mafia. They had, of course, been an outgrowth of the conditions created by the socio-economic fabric in Sicily exacerbated by the progress of capitalism. One that socialism should solve, yet, as the French sent in many angry communiqués, the failure to do so demonstrated a “disturbing” lack of pursuit in the goal. A communiqué from the office of the BGT three years ago read, “Your ‘Spaghetti’ Socialism shows its failures with the mafia. Ditch these remnants of Marxist thought”.

    It frustrated Gramsci in particular. It got everyone angry. Of all the problems in Italy, the mafia was the most glaring mole on an already homely face. It was the most glaring failure of socialism to effect the social changes in Italy to eradicate the Mafia from the conditions it was birthed from.

    He felt they had been making progress. The mafia no longer killed members of the government and local councils as they had done in the early 1920s. Their unholy alliance with reactionary rural petit-bourgeoisie was destroyed in 1928 when land reform was finally completed despite their violence against peasants who worked with the government to achieve it. It was the black market and human smuggling they fell back on, and it was here the RSI struggled the most. The black market was in response to the conditions formed in the availability of consumer goods as heavy industrialization and railroad construction was produced. Human smuggling naturally found a market among the religious who wanted nothing to do with the RSI and its ambitions for the future.

    The last few weeks however, as Grieco had been showing him, showed odd movements within the Mafia. Informants reported that they had seemingly been receding more in to the background while occasionally engaging in random smugglings of foodstuffs into the country- a ruse as the informants explained.

    “A ruse for what?” Gramsci wondered as he looked over the charts and documents Grieco provided him, “What could they possibly be doing right now?”

    That was the big question for everyone in the Congress of the Republic. Many of Gramsci’s days were spent huddled over his desk looking over documents or participating in meetings of the House of Commons. The affairs of the country were being run smoothly at any rate, though the mafia issue lay at the front of his mind.

    On May 7th, Gramsci received another update from Grieco, this time detailing a raid on a convert human smuggling port. Something disturbed him though- unlike previous cases where only those with the money could afford the rates charged by the mafia- typically high-ranking clergy and the remnants of rural gentry who sold off most of their possessions- the people seemed to be regular peasants.

    “Grieco, do your men have any idea how these people even afforded the prices charged by the mafia ordinarily”, he asked Grieco during his hourly update.

    “No”, said Grieco, “It has frustrated us as well. We have noticed this in other ports in Sicily as well and our informants seem to indicate the same thing. We are not sure what is going on; it is doubtful the Mafia has lowered their normal asking price.”

    Gramsci looked out of his window over the Piazza Della Rivoluzione, across to the large Hall of the Risorgimento [3], where he saw the people of Naples gathering. It was about six in the evening- many of them were in the Plaza, walking with family and friends. He saw youth from the University of Naples playing football, passing it to one another as they ran down the plaza, breaking through people and receiving angry yells from the elderly sitting on the steps of the Hall of the Risorgimento. He raised his eyes to the top of the dome of the Hall, where a statue of Mazzini and Garibaldi looked over the plaza.

    He remembered during the revolutionary fury against the monarchy, anarchists had ascended the Hall- then the Cathedral of San Francesco di Paola- and knocked over the crucifix which sat on top of it. The move was poorly received by the populace, many of them deeply devout and disgusted by such an act of desecration. The clergy in particular riled up the people, calling for a fight against both the Austrians and the Socialists. It was a tricky situation they had to diffuse, and a reminder of the Church’s influence in the populace.

    The Hall of the Risorgimento

    “The Clergy”, said Gramsci abruptly

    “What?” asked Grieco, looking up from his folder “What do you mean?

    “Have you been checking on what the clergy have been doing in their services?” asked Gramsci

    “Yes, they seem normal”, replied Grieco, “according to reports from informants, at least”

    “What of the Vatican-aligned Clergy that had their property seized?”

    “I… don’t know”, responded Grieco, “Our security forces have only kept track of their movements, but not much else”

    “Watch them”, replied Gramsci, “I think our puzzle might be solved if you see what they are doing. Particularly this upcoming Sunday”

    The next two days were uneventful for Gramsci. A debate had broken out in the House of Commons over plans to “electrify” the Republic during a debate on Monday, May 11th, with divisions arising over whether that or improving on the old sewage system should take precedent. Gramsci was not paying total attention- he only snapped out of it when a fight nearly broke out between a Social-Reformist deputy and National-Syndicalist deputy, and he promptly brought the chamber to order.

    He slumped back in his desk after the meeting. He had gotten some time to himself on the Sunday evening before back at his home, catching up with his wife and children and writing some thoughts on political matters in his personal notebooks. He had been hoping for an update from Grieco, none came on Sunday.

    A knock at his door roused him from his thoughts, and he saw that Grieco had let himself in with another folder.

    “Gramsci”, Grieco started, “you were right. We have found some interesting things from Sunday sermons”

    “Good”, Gramsci replied, “what of it?”

    “With what our informants gathered, it seems that across all the Vatican-aligned clergy there was references to the “exodus” of Moses and the struggle of the Israelites against the Pharaoh. This was consistent across the board and we believe it might be indicating something larger”

    “And what do you think it is?”

    “Fortunately for you, we don’t have to guess. During a raid on a mafia smuggling center, we found a half-dead clergyman in one of their closets”, said Grieco, flipping through the folder to produce a three paged document, “we brought the clergyman to a local guard station and interviewed him. According to his accounts, pro-Vatican clergy had approached the mafia for an offer to conduct a mass movement of them and their congregations to the Italian Federation after the Encyclical mess. They offered in return many of the private accounts and gold the clergy had managed to hide before the raids on their churches”

    “A desperate move”, sighed Gramsci, “and how did the good father end up on the wrong side of the mafia’s graces?”

    “He states that naturally there was opposition to the move by some of the clergy, especially after they went so far as to meet with Don Cascioferro. They were not comfortable about handing church property over to them. He said that he and other clergy were abducted for the purpose of being killed- he claimed the mafia believed he was an informant for the government”

    “Between you and me, was he?” asked Gramsci

    “No, in fact he’s been on our observation lists after calling the government some rather unsavory things I would rather not repeat here”, said Grieco.

    “Fair enough”, said Gramsci, “and what else did the father reveal to you?”

    “He stated that there was a plan to use ports in Sicily and covert smuggling routes on the mainland to converge on some position. He could not tell us where though- he claims he was abducted before those details became known”

    “I think then the course of action here is known now”, said Gramsci, “Find that position”

    Three days later on May 14, Gramsci walked with Sraffa in the Library of the Republic [4] listening to proposals regarding the expansion of the library. Sraffa had provided him a list of books to acquire in order to better diversify the material in the library, and Gramsci agreed whole heartedly with the recommendations and offered his own additions.

    The Library of the Republic

    While discussing significance of Machiavelli’s The Prince with Sraffa, Grieco interrupted the two by running into the library, much to the annoyance of citizens in the library. Gramsci excused himself from Sraffa and apologized to the patrons in the library, and took Grieco with him outside the library by a statue of Marx outside the front door.

    “Sorry Comrade”, said Grieco, “but we managed to find where they are converging on!”

    “Good”, said Gramsci, “Where in the country?”

    “That’s the problem though”, said Grieco, “It’s not in the country”

    “What?” said Gramsci, “There aren’t converging somewhere inside the country before they leave?”

    “No, it appears they are heading directly for Anzio in the Federation”

    “How did they establish the proper connections work for that?” said Gramsci surprised, “I thought the Mafia had the same amount of trouble operating up north that they do down here!”

    “I thought that too”, said Grieco, “and to that end I employed the help of our intelligence networks in Anzio. It appears the Federation is aware of the moves of the clergy and mafia in their so-called “Exodus”. Our contacts in Anzio indicate rather cordial meetings between mafia men in the docks and Federation authorities”

    “It would appear then all this is happening with the blessings of Rome”

    “It would appear that way, yes”

    “Grieco, during the meeting of the House of Commons tomorrow, I am going to interrupt the proceedings and open discussion on this pressing issue. I want you to be there to brief the deputies on what has happened”

    The following day on May 15th during proceedings of the House of Commons, Gramsci called an end to the regular session of the House of COmmons and brought up Grieco to inform the deputies of a “matter of grave importance to the republic”.

    Grieco proceeded to disclose their findings thus far regarding the “exodus” and the mafia involvement, as well as the Federation’s potential encouragement of it. The revelations caused the chamber to explode into anger as they argued over what position to take. Gramsci calmed down the chamber and went back up to the podium.

    “Comrades, we must be aware that any move we take to halt this might be construed as a sign of war by the Federation. On the other hand we cannot let this so-called “Exodus” succeed and embolden the bastion of reactionaries in this country. We cannot let the Federation dictate the moves of this game. To that end I am going to authorize that the Republican Guard and military begin to build up the presence on the border with orders to catch anyone attempting to leave the country. The Navy will also be deployed in the waters to intercept any craft attempting to make for the port of Anzio. I ask that none of you leave the chambers for now- no word of this gets out to the presses”

    There was little opposition to the suggestion. Gramsci made the orders for mobilization along the border. Police raids were carried out on suspected safe houses of the Mafia to halt the movement of people making their way north. At the militarized border with the Federation, people were prevented from crossing over and mafia men arrested.

    On May 16th, while President Togliatti was giving his speech regarding the RSI to the International, an incident occurred on the border. While attempting to halt a movement of people across the border towards Anzio, a firefight broke out between the Guard and mafia soldiers. As the bullets were flying sporadically and across the border towards where Federation soldiers had mobilized opposite the Republic, the Federation soldiers fired back in self-defense and struck a number of the Republican Guard. The ensuing confusion led to a crazed rush across the border as the masses of civilians rushed into the embrace of waiting Federation soldiers.

    When news of this came to the House of Commons on the same day, Gramsci had a decision to make. The Federation now painted themselves as protectors of the “refugees” fleeing from them. According to the latest estimates, the “exodus” at best numbered 5,000 people, though was construed as a “large portion” of the population by Federation and global press later.

    He could not let this blatant infringement on the RSI’s sovereignty continue. So it was on the evening of May 16th when Gramsci issued a special order from the Council of the Republic to occupy Anzio.

    He called in Camillo Berneri, the Chief of Staff of the republic’s military, to inform him of the action. Berneri was told to coordinate actions with the Chiefs of the Army, Air Force, and Navy. The army was mobilized and stormed across the border to Anzio, aided by naval and air bombardments on the port. Fierce battles took place between Federation soldiers stationed in Anzio and the strike force that came across the border.

    The Port of Anzio

    Gramsci stayed the night and the next night in the House of Commons receiving updates from the progress of the army across the border. Curious citizens of Naples gathered outside the Congress, wondering exactly what had occurred. On normal days, they could see the deputies leaving at night- yet they were all still in there. By the morning of the 18th, Berneri informed Gramsci that the forces had made their way to the outskirts of Anzio and were proceeding to seize the port. Berneri also produced photographic surveillance which indicated the Federation was massing forces to reinforce Anzio.

    That afternoon, Gramsci left with Berneri in a command car to pick up the returning delegates from the International. The crowd of people that had gathered outside the Congress saw Gramsci and called after him to explain what was happening.

    As he expected, the returning delegates were unaware of the crisis. The French had clearly not been observing developments in the country, so that probably meant the Germans were not either. He explained to Togliatti and Nenni the situation in Anzio and its potential for war. They huddled into Gramsci’s chambers in the Congress of the Republic- hastily converted into a command room- and watched as updates came back from the front.

    Berneri produced a report from the front-lines which indicated that the republic’s forces had successfully seized control of the port and city center of Anzio, and pushed out the Federation’s forces. However a significant build up occurred on the outskirts of the city as Federation forces attempted to take back the city, and Berneri informed those present in the room that their men were making ready for a counter-attack.

    Soon, Gramsci’s room was filled with the major figures of the republic. Togliatti, Netti, and the rest of the Council of the Republic were all in the room along with major deputies from the House of Commons, such as Bordiga, Mussolini, and Matteotti. They watched as reports came in from the fierce counterattack by Federation forces and the carnage that was being wrecked upon Anzio by artillery bombardments on both sides. War could be declared at any moment- forces massed across the border on either end, staring down each other as the Battle of Anzio proceeded.

    Aside from the members of the “Exodus” that had made it into Anzio or was still stuck on the border, there were of course the civilians of Anzio who had little warning to evacuate the city. Many of them were stuck in the basements of the city as shells rained down around them and gunfire ringing through the streets.

    The ruins of a manor owned by a local noble

    On the morning of May 19th, Gramsci received a telegram from Rome. It simply read:

    “Leave Anzio now or face the wrath of God”.

    Gramsci simply responded: “Come at us, Father. We’ll be awaiting the freak thunderstorms and floods with much anticipation”

    The counter-attack fizzled out by late afternoon. The Italian Federation chose not to intervene or declare war- indicating to Gramsci that the Federation had potentially exaggerated its military potential. Like the Republic, it too was unsure about the prospects of war at that time. It chose to evacuate completely out of the Anzio area and dig in on its borders. War was narrowly averted.

    Cheering erupted from the room when reports came that the Federation backed off on Anzio. Bordiga and Togliatti both likened the situation to a high-stakes game of Scopa [5], and Sraffa, who had made his way in during the celebration, complemented his “bluff” and joked why Gramsci never played Scopa if he clearly had played the most dangerous game of all.

    The task remained to tell the people what happened. It would be hard to keep this under wraps considering the sheer number of people involved in the operation. Gramsci knew that the celebration of defeating the Federation would be cancelled out when people found out about the “Exodus”. It would be a trying summer to keep the people under control. However, the Italian Federation no longer dictated the rules of the game. The Vatican gravely underestimated the strength of the Republic, and the Republic overestimated the strength of the Federation. However, Gramsci and others felt that the Republic was the real winner here- it was a rare feeling, one they had not experienced since the revolution.

    __________________________________________________ ___________

    [1]Gramsci’s short stature was often the subject of ridicule by papers criticizing the RSI, similar to British portrayals of Napoleon (who we know of course was actually average height). The pro-Crown Canadian Times ran a political cartoon showing Gramsci as a dwarf jester drinking a bottle labeled ‘socialism’ and forcing everyone around him to drink it. A hateful editorial in the New York Tribune written by an “Italian Émigré” accused Gramsci of engineering crop failures so that “all Italians would in time end up as short and unhealthy as he was”. These accusations were often more sensational than true- something they had come to expect from bourgeois media.

    [2] Julia Schucht was an émigré from Russia who fled to the Commune of France after the defeat of the Bolshevik revolution. Schucht was a violinist from the French National Orchestra, and met Gramsci in 1922 during a tour in Naples. The two married and had two sons, Delio and Giuliano, in 1924 and 1926 respectively.

    [3] The Piazza del Revolution was renamed from the original Piazza del Plebiscito after the proclamation of the RSI. The original name was made in recognition of when the people of the Two Sicilies “voted” to join the Kingdom of Italy. The “Hall of the Risorgimento” was originally the Cathedral of San Francesco di Paola.

    [4] The Library of the Republic, originally the National Vittorio Emanuele III Library, was a section of the Congress of the Republic. It was open to the public and hosted the third largest library in the peninsula, and the largest of its kind in the SRI.

    [5] Scopa is an Italian card game based off fishing rules. The game itself involved a lot of bluffing and often heated exchanges between players.
    Last edited by MercZ; 08-06-2011 at 09:15.
    Torch of the Mediterranean, a Kaiserreich-DH AAR, Weekly AAR Winner 6/19/11, Character Writer of the Week 2/26/12

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  4. #24
    What a great update!

    The exchange between the Pope and Gramsci has to be amongst the most awesome pieces of political brinkmanship ever.

    Its a very interesting idea to see how the SRI deals with the influence of the Mafia in the country and that's definately a storyline that will be intruiging to see how it develops. I wonder if the Mafia can be defeated, or atleast sent into the shadows over the course of the game.

    A nice little look into how Gramsci's personal life has been destroyed by his committment to the revolution. It reminded me a Lenin in a way. I know Lenin never really was one for a personal life and lived for the revolution - working himself to death in the end. Gramsci seems to have to deal with a similar amount of hardship here, but he appears to be starting to feel it quite badly. Nice story.

    I've been becoming quite interested in the IRL Gramsci of late and have been considering getting his prison diaries. I know you like him, good choice to get to know his ideas?

    Why don't more people comment on this?

  5. #25
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  6. #26
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    I really like it, please continue. DH is still a rather new forum, but eventually people will peer in more often.

  7. #27
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  8. #28
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    @Attack: I guess it's a bit of a mess for him in that in real life, he ended up wasting away in prison, but despite the solitary there and the worsening conditions of the maladies he had since a child, he had a lot of strength to be able to write what he did. In our time he was isolated from everything- from his own family and his wife and children. Even in our time Mario had become a fascist- wholly opposite to what Gramsci was, as he is here being a servant of the federation.

    So in both worlds it's not really desirable. Cruel fate

    If you decide to read his stuff, make sure you get the Prison Notebooks. There's a nice edition called "Selections from the Prison Notebooks" translated by Quintin Hoare- you should be able to find editions of it in libraries and cheap second hand usually. It's an interesting read: lots of discussions on history, society, and so on. Refreshing change from talks on economics. His discussions on "Intellectuals", Italian history, the State and Civil Society, "Fordism", and the "Modern Prince" are pretty interesting to me. If you are interested, try to find it in the library.

    And whether you want to know his ideas, well, they are good in understanding the relations between state and the civil society, and what tasks the "party" has to deal in facing with that. Though lot of his stuff was bastardized into eurocommunist tactics, and others derogatorily refer to him as a "stalinist" stooge, so it's up to you.

    @10Faeelin: Thanks

    @Milities: Yeah, DH isn't the most active AAR forum, though I hope it'll get traffic soon. People are reading it, or at least viewing it if the numbers are correct. I think part if the issue too comes with playing a nation that isn't exactly the center of Kaiserreich either or has much opportunities to strike it alone.

    @Viden: I plan on posting the next update sometime tomorrow. Most of the major, upcoming events in Kaiserreich though deal with civil wars in Spain and the United States, and the potential disorder in the far east. This means I'll probably be discussing more stuff outside than inside- though this'll give me time to industrialize and build up a proper army.
    Last edited by MercZ; 27-05-2011 at 05:20.
    Torch of the Mediterranean, a Kaiserreich-DH AAR, Weekly AAR Winner 6/19/11, Character Writer of the Week 2/26/12

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  9. #29
    Amazing story so far, I like the depth you give to figures like Gramsci and Grieco and their narratives. It gives a better feel for the game ... keep up the good work


  10. #30
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    The Fall of a Giant

    Quote Originally Posted by an article by Eric Blair for the Daily Worker in the Union of Britain, reprinted by Liberazione, July 4th 1936

    Today, for the Americans at least, is “Independence Day”. We see large parades and celebrations by the populace, but the world knows this is merely a respite from the chaos engulfing the United States. For the past 20 years we have experienced the slow, painful decline of the United States. From people versed in history, we saw a nation in the closing years of the 18th century become a true republic and encourage similar developments in France. Across the 19th century it defeated the institution of slavery and began to rapidly industrialize, harnessing capitalism much better than the old monarchies of Europe. Watching the events in Europe spiral out of control into the Great War, the Americans chose a path of isolation, but at the cost of finding itself shut out from the new world order of the German Empire. With protectionist measures high within the rump United Kingdom and the government-in-exile of France, it could not find the markets necessary to feed its expansion and entered into a prolonged period of economic decline.

    The idiotic problems of overproduction, uneven development, and unresolved labor revealed to the world the decay of capitalism. The former center of the bourgeoisie, their pride and joy, to them the image they hoped to project into Europe and the world, was now collapsing before their eyes. The ambitious liberal and enlightened thought of the “Founding Fathers” that once lit a beacon to republican movements everywhere is now about to fickle out.

    Readers may wonder why this sounds like an obituary. I personally think the United States is on its way out. The social framework of the country is collapsing and along with it state authority; cracks are emerging in its foundations that are irreparable. Something bad will happen soon- it is not a question of if but a question of when now.

    The socialists should realize that we now hold the torch of progress. The bourgeoisie have failed in changing the world, and have either regressed into the fold of monarchies or reactionary thought. The old aristocracy is becoming stronger and solidifying their positions. The workers of the United States however have a chance to relight the beacon and spirit of 1776, and present hope to the oppressed masses of the world.

    The Anzio Crisis was resolved and the RSI now looked to transform Anzio and its surroundings. Most of the nobility, clergy, and the rest of the political-economic structure of the Federation had fled with the retreating military. Party cadres were now deployed into Anzio to begin the land redistribution and reorganization of industries within Anzio and integrate it into the republic.

    A significant blowback occurred from the “Exodus” however, and presented some visible signs of dissent against the regime. People were relieved to hear in an official speech by Togliatti that the Republic had defeated the Federation in the Battle of Anzio, but the details of the civilians attempting to leave the republic made them angry at the regime. The image of the Republic acting in such a manner to prevent the departure of civilians was criticized in columns of both Liberazione and La Repubblica, as well as criticisms of the operation itself were soon printed in both Avanti! and Il Popolo d’Italia.

    In the meantime, the RSI continued its industrialization, military improvements, and research. It turned its attention to foreign affairs as the world continued to present opportunities to the International.

    The first event presented itself in the form of the CNT-FAI. With increasing repression at home, the organization moved to send leaders and cadres outside the country to other socialist states- chiefly the Union of Britain, the Commune of France, and the Socialist Republic of Italy. A group of CNT-FAI activists smuggled themselves onboard a trade vessel en route for the RSI and disembarked in the ports of Palermo, where they were apprehended by dock security. A communiqué was sent out from the police station in Palermo to Grieco in Naples, who relayed the message to the Council of the Republic. The matter was taken to the House of Commons for debate.

    “I do not feel comfortable with providing the aid they ask”, said Togliatti, “They have an upward fight against both the Crown and the reactionaries supporting the Carlists. Those resources can be better used at home with our own military and the police, not thrown away in a pointless effort.”

    “I met with their delegate back at the Congress”, started Nenni, “and I assured them we would provide what they needed when the time came. It is not good on us to go back on that promise.”

    “And you never consulted me or anyone else on that decision, Comrade Nenni. I am not saying we should kick them out- we should shelter them here. Full aid though? If we wanted to throw away goods we could just open a warehouse to the mafia”.

    “Full aid should be given to comrades where ever they be”, interjected Chief of Staff Berneri, “I for one, and the rest of the military, will not mind aid being given to our Spanish comrades”

    “You only say this because they are anarchists, Cormade Berneri. I doubt you would be singing the same tune if they were not”, cut in Bordiga.

    “Yes Comrade Bordiga”, said Berneri, “I do prefer the anarchists over the Marxists. What will you do? Enlighten us with one of your oh so exciting speeches on Marxism? We all know that discredited philosophy died a long time ago in Russia with your Bolsheviks. I would not have to worry about Marxists in Spain- they have ceased to be a revolutionary force!”

    “I believe in internationalism, Berneri”, said Bordiga, “And the working class. I support full aid to these revolutionaries – regardless of my ideological bent. I however reserve the right to criticize the shortcomings of them, because I would rather see this support put to good use”.

    “Comrades”, said Gramsci pounding his gavel on the podium, “I ask that we keep these ideological matters out for now before we go off track. Let us put the matter to a vote”.

    The House voted to give the CNT-FAI men and women full aid. They were dispersed throughout the country for political and military training by different officials. France followed suit a few weeks later when members of the CNT-FAI managed to sneak across the border. The Union of Britain however refused similar aid, but allowed the Spanish asylum in the nation. In the meantime, the Kingdom of Spain continued to be wreaked by mass protests by supporters of the monarchy, of Prince Xavier and the Carlists, and the workers organized by the CNT-FAI ahead of the national elections- which would seem to be all but cancelled.

    Prince Xavier seemed to be able to escape the same kind of scrutiny the CNT-FAI was receiving however. With his influence among the landed gentry particularly strong- who formed a significant part of the economy- he proposed to Crown a trading agreement between all the Catholic nations of the world. In particular he focused his efforts on the Republic of Ireland, the Austria, the Italian Federation, and Portugal. Only Ireland refused, owing to its isolationist nature and not wanting to enrage the Union of Britain any further after the incident involving the Grand Fleet [1].

    With the Italian Federation’s involvement in the economic block, the RSI found it difficult to choose to take a more non-committal position on Spain. It would have to make sure the Federation could not out maneuver it on affairs on the continent.

    The relative success of Xavier in increasing of his standing within the Kingdom of Spain and allowed his organization even more freedom to operate while the CNT-FAI continued to be harassed by both the government and Carlist paramilitaries. The government chose to even ignore Xavier’s blatant insult of King Alfonso after arguing in a speech that he had shown the skills expected out of a King after dealing with Austria, Portugal, and the Italian Federation. Xavier’s Carlists would be another significant threat to other CNT-FAI, but to the RSI in particular due to its close ties with the Vatican.

    Meanwhile in Russia, the country’s slide into reactionary tendencies continued. The first major event was the news of the passing of Maxim Gorky, author and political activist with sympathies to the Bolsheviks, on June 19th. He had avoided the purges and repressions against Marxists in the post-revolution Russia, and was critical of the Kerensky’s government’s failure to place the republic on a firm footing. He established a friendly rapport with Nikolai Bukharin, one of the few Bolsheviks still remaining inside Russia.

    Maxim Gorky

    Denikin fell back increasingly on the Eastern Orthodox Church to compensate for the loss in support from the Kadets. He finally agreed to recognize the Russian Eastern Orthodox Church as the State Religion of Russia and began a relationship between the two to further their interests in an executive decree on August 7th. The first such sign of the new relationship manifested itself in “Patriotic Ceremonies” to boost support for the state.

    In revolutionary India the progress towards a new order continued. Avoiding the temptations of Fabian-influenced thought from the social-democrat faction that advocated for a more “administrative” socialism, the Bhartiya Commune decided to go in a more radical position and begin the creation of communes and set out to reorganize the rural communities along socialist principles.

    The International was especially pleased with this. The Bhartiya Commune was the most ambitious and challenging socialist state the world had seen. The imagery of a former colonial holding of the United Kingdom freeing itself through socialism was not lost on the international, and they hoped with a success of the Bhartiya Commune would send a strong message to the oppressed masses in Africa and the Far East.

    Meanwhile in the Arab Conference, Egypt and Hashemite Arabia announced their claims on Arab lands still held by the Ottoman Empire. Seemingly dividing the Arab territories within the Ottoman Empire between themselves, Egypt announced claims on the Levant while Hashemite Arabia declared claims on both Iraq and areas of the Red Sea controlled by the Ottoman Empire.

    Needless to say, the Ottoman Empire reacted poorly and sent official complaints to both nations, reminding them of the need to respect the Caliph’s “order” in the Middle-East. Moreover the Kurdish delegation to the Arab conference was frustrated with the refusal of either nation to recognize a Kurdish state in the Middle-East. The international took note of both the frustrations of pan-Arab supporters and Kurdish agitation shut out by the two monarchies.

    In Poland, the effects of the economic meltdown manifested itself in the form of political chaos. Socialist agitators emerged into street battles with nationalists, while the central government struggled to maintain order. A nationalist demagogue, Adam Doboszynski, organized a local group of the “Patriots for Saving Poland” and proceeded to march across Poland- in both the rump state and in the Austrian holdings of Galicia-Lodomeria to show the “demands of the people”. After a scuffle with supporters of a local syndicalist organization, Doboszynski led his paramilitary into the town of Myślenice in Galicia-Lodomeria and forcibly disarmed or killed police that opposed them. The town was occupied by the paramilitary who went on to make attacks against all those who “destroyed Poland”- in particular Jews and socialists they deemed guilty of this.

    The Polish military was asked to help intervene by the government of Galicia-Lodomeria, which also sent in their own forces. The situation never threatened the stability of either state, but it demonstrated a breakdown in the political climate of Poland that could potentially unravel the order that the German Empire had painstakingly created out of Eastern Europe. Germany and Austria’s attention would be further occupied on the events of the eastern nations- more room for the International to breathe.

    On July 14th, the British intellectual and author H.G. Wells completed his ambitious project, the World Encyclopedia [2]. He presented an early version to the Union of Britain authorities and made the case for the government to fully endorse it and spread it to the world as an alternative to “bourgeois” or aristocratic encyclopedias. His proposal was accepted in full and copies were sent to many nations, including those that were not socialist, such as many of the states in East Asia.

    The Socialist Republic of Italy also received a few copies to add to its growing libraries. Gramsci in particular found this a good move in their fight against the “hegemonic influence”, as he put it, of the bourgeoisie in intellectual circles.

    In the Pacific, two events of note took place that concerned the International. The first concerned events in the Empire of Japan. On July 21st, the “Niigata riots” spread and continued despite earlier attempts at police control. The working classes in Japan were clearly unsatisfied with the Empire’s economic policies, and their strike became a clear sign of opposition against the government. With the failure of police increases to immediately resolve it, the Japanese government chose to declare martial law and forcibly disband the strikers.

    The following August, long time Prime Minister Inukai died leaving the potential for government reform. Liberals within the diet moved to reform the structure of Japan into a more “democratic” structure, as well as making the moves towards economic liberalization, scoring a key victory for the bourgeoisie against the old nobility in Japan. This was also an attempt to try and resolve the Niigata riots as demands of the strikers were incorporated into the new government.

    In the Australasia Confederation, Billy Hughes continued his strong handed repression of dissent against the regime. On July 27th Dockworkers once again went on strike, but found their demands met by a police beat down and the strike was brutally broken apart.

    There was agitation for labor reform in many nations outside the International, but the fear of syndicalism taking root in their nations provoked places like the Australasia Confederation into harsh treatment of their labor unions. Attempts to “put Marx in the attic”, as a politician in Canada put it, was becoming increasingly common. Later in October, an order was signed for the arrests of the organizers of the strikes, and they too were thrown in jail with other reformers.

    In August, Ukraine began to show the effects of the economic meltdown with a spike in food prices. Ukraine had traditionally relied on Germany as a market for its agricultural produce, but with the economic crisis Germany focused on protectionist measures on its own farmers. This left Ukraine with problems with its produce, and much of it got destroyed when much of it was not bought. The peasantry was in particular vexed with this behavior- the food could have gone to better use feeding the people, but the government and businesses were leaving to rot what could not be sold.

    The economic crisis in Ukraine exacerbated the conflicts between the peasantry and their nobility landlords, and tensions became more apparent as peasants and workers began to accept more radical propositions to solve their problems. One agitator in particular was Nikita Khrushchev of the small Social Democratic Party in Ukraine. The man wielded much influence among the peasantry and excited their minds with the potential for land reform and a more equitable distribution of wealth. During a speech in the Ukrainian Rada on August 15th, Khrushchev challenged the government to implement land reform, to expand the electorate to all peoples of Ukraine, and ending the monopoly of power by the old, landed gentry.

    These proposals were popular among the vast working poor, but threatened the power the Ukrainian monarchy wielded over the state. On the advice of Skoropadskyi, the King issued a royal decree dissolving the Rada and restoring the Hetmanate [3]. Khrushchev was arrested despite his parliamentary immunity and confined to jail.

    Ukraine showed its backwards slide by restoring the Hetmanate, a form of governance better suited to the politics of a reactionary monarchy. It remained to be seen if this move would allow it to buy time until the economic crisis subsided.

    On August 21st, the research for basic machinery tools was completed. The new tools were soon produced throughout the republic and in time found in all the workplaces, helping to increase to overall efficiency of the economy. The next area of improvement was the military- the RSI’s weapons were still crude rifles from the Great War, and it was necessary to upgrade the weapons used by the infantry to something more acceptable and modern. With cooperation from the Commune of France, the research for new rifles and its use was started.

    This was followed up a few weeks later with the completion of research on basic agriculture. The government decided to invest further in this tract to better optimize agriculture in the RSI, and began research into agrichemistry.

    On August 22nd, the Commune of France hosted an international art festival in Bourges, specifically geared towards artists in socialist nations. The RSI sent its own delegation to Bourges to participate, though a difference in style was seen between them and the French ones. While the French artists were encouraging the new “syndicalist realist” pieces over other French artists by the BGT, the Italian artists were given free reign over what they wanted to create with no preferential treatment by the republican government- giving a host of futurist, realist, impressionist, surreal, and even cubist paintings. Indeed the Italian works proved to be more intriguing to the international presses that were present than the new syndicalist-realist pieces.

    September was mostly occupied by events in the Union of Britain with the meeting of the Congress of the Trade Unions. Like the Commune of France and the Socialist Republic of Italy, the Union of Britain had a delegate system where workplaces sent delegates to represent them at the CTU. While officially not affiliated to any party, the platforms attempted to argue for their positions across the Union of Britain so that they might be able to get the government when voting on key issues of government took place by the new delegates of the CTU.

    Going in the Federationists looked to preserve their government against the challenges of the upstart, but popular Maximists and Oswald Mosley. The “Authonomists” and Niclas y Glais’s position of autonomy for the home nations also proved to be a concern for the Federationists. In short, the Federationists had to fight against both the centralizing tendencies of the Maximists and the decentralizing drive of the Authonomists. The Congregationalists, a radical feminist group, was close to the positions of the Federationists though also drew inspiration from Christian socialist tracts- but for the most part close to the positions of the Federationists and thus could be worked with.

    With the atmosphere as it was though, it was expected that the race would be mostly between the Federationists and the Maximists; the results from TUC voting indicated as such.

    The voting showed that while the Maximists secured victories in the economic organization and military structure of the Union of Britain (much like their National-Syndicalist counterparts in the RSI), the Federationists maintained the overall political structure of the Union of Britain as well as the close ties with the Commune of France and the International. However this meant that power was split between the Maximists and Federationists- neither could find the majority they sought. The situation was further complicated with the resignation of Philip Snowden, the 72 year-old Chairman of the CTU. With both the Federationists and Maximists seemingly hell-bent on nothing short of total dominance in the government, and the sides could only agree to the aging, unaligned trade unionist Tom Mann [4] as a compromise.

    The most significant event for the RSI, and indeed the world, was the developing situation in the United States. The Americans had been going through an extended period of economic depression and political instability for quite some time, and with the presidential elections coming up in November, tensions were particularly high.

    On June 28th, prominent anarchist Alexander Berkman passed away at the age of 66 due to complications from a prostate condition. This officially passed the torch of the socialist movement to John “Jack” Reed, who was now the uncontested leader of the Combined Syndicates movement.

    Movements by both the Combined Syndicates and the America First supporters began to present the United States long-running Democrat-Republican dominance over Washington with a significant threat. More over, the two also presented threats to the very foundation of the American state with their proposals for government. Indeed papers and accounts from that time show the months leading up to November to be particularly heated. By late August, the US had reportedly lost authority in some parts of the country.

    Even in the west coast utterances of secession began to be heard, egged on by business and social elite who felt California could handle itself fine alone. Fearing a possible mutiny, the US government began to recall its naval forces from the Pacific and West Coast to the Norfolk Naval base and others along the East Coast.

    The RSI proceeded to work the connections it had among the Italian-American community to drum up support for the Combined Syndicates. Radical Italian-American politicians, trade unionists, and agitators became common place in the “Little Italy’s” across the Midwest and Northeast as they attempted to get the significant working class communities to throw their support behind the Combined Syndicates. The Vatican on the other hand used its power over churches to direct support for the America First Party, despite previous shortcomings with Father Coughlin. The Mafia too got itself involved in helping “convince” people to support the America First, namely to hamper the RSI’s attempts to squash out the mafia.

    The end of the heat wave of the summer of 1936 did little to alleviate the dissent from the masses. Social and political order seemed very likely, so much so that the Monarchy of the United Kingdom in Canada got itself involved with the internal workings of the United States. Though unknown to the International at the time, a secret communiqué between Ottawa and General MacArthur was discovered. Ottawa had declared its intentions for a “democratic” transfer of power in the elections but indicated that it would not be opposed to a military intervention if it meant keeping the forces of socialism at bay.

    On September 20th, MacArthur was “invited” by the government to have the military “save” the country.

    While officially it was stated the government consented to MacArthur, it was later known that he had essentially pulled off a coup in Washington and forced President Hoover at gunpoint to sign the emergency decree handing over executive functions to a military junta. For the first time in American history, presidential elections were cancelled. It cannot be said if MacArthur had genuinely felt threatened for the safety of his country or had capitalized on an opportunity for power- he did however move swiftly in attempting to combat the dissent in the United States.

    The crown in Canada issued an official statement regarding the sudden change in power, indicating their full support for General MacArthur. Canada was deeply worried about of a potential syndicalist or otherwise anti-British sentiment from sweeping the United States and creating instability on its most vulnerable border. It promised full support for MacArthur in his campaign to “restore America to stability”.

    On October 3rd, MacArthur presented to Congress the Emergency Security Act. It was designed to root out organizations that threatened the very foundations of the United States. While MacArthur had hoped to target both America First and the Combined Syndicates, he could not find enough support in Congress to get both. While technically he did not need Congress, MacArthur knew the message of passing it without Congress would simply feed into the opposition’s propaganda. To that end he promised southern Democrats who were affiliated with the America First that the Emergency Security Act would only target the Combined Syndicates.

    It was passed with no problem- Congressmen affiliated to the Combined Syndicates did not number enough to pose a significant opposition to the measure. The ESA laid out the ability of the government to crack down against so-called “seditious activity”, organizations posing a “significant threat” to the Constitution, and organizations that had links to “foreign entities”- essentially fashioned against the Combined Syndicates.

    The following day a massive crackdown took place across the United States. Police began to pour into cities and settlements, mostly across the Midwest and industrial towns of the north-east, armed with arrest warrants of “wanted individuals”. Trade union organizers, journalists, and politicians of the Combined Syndicates were rounded up and dispersed into various federal prisons. For the RSI, it found that Vito Marcantonio, Congressman from New York City, was arrested and put into military detention for “conspiring with foreign powers”.

    Even people not affiliated to the Combined Syndicates found themselves targeted- notably “progressive” types with pro-labor sensibilities. The most notable incident was that involving the New York City politician Fiorello La Guardia who was accused of “dangerous activities” due to previous affiliation with the American Labor Party- an outfit that many Combined Syndicates politicians in NYC also ran in. It was known that in these cases that political machines were active in eliminating rivals- La Guardia had crossed both the Democratic Tammany Hall and the Republican Party machine in NYC and this was the perfect opportunity for the removal of a rival. Similar fates awaited other politicians as red-baiting became fierce.

    America First organized “Minutemen” to aid the government in arresting Combined Syndicates men, mostly by discovering hiding spots used by the Combined Syndicates. Mob violence was also used by the Minutemen to break up attempted strikes in textile mills in the South and notably in one incident burn down the pro-Combined Syndicates Appeal to Reason printing press.

    However, MacArthur’s prize of Jack Reed lay beyond his grasp. Police had raided Reed’s workplace and residence in Chicago but could find no trace of him. It was only a few days later when a piece published on the New York Times from Reed appeared, laying out his opposition to the “unconstitutional” nature of the ESA. When approached for a comment by journalists, MacArthur stated that they were doing what any sensible, patriotic American would do to save the country. He pointed out that the Combined Syndicates would probably “trample all over the constitution” and enact a terror on level or greater to what the world saw in France, Britain, and Italy.

    By mid-October the government began to experience both civil disobedience and armed resistance from segments of the populace where the Combined Syndicates held the most power. The midwest in particular began to see unemployed factory workers rise up and resist attempts by police to serve arrest warrants on fellow workers or union members. In a neighborhood of South Chicago, an attempt by the police to a Polish-American member of the Combined-Syndicates resulted in a massive riot that engulfed the Polish-American neighborhoods that spilled into surrounding parts of Chicago. With similar tensions brewing in other cities and vigilante violence by the America First Minutemen paramilitaries, the government took the controversial move to enact martial law on October 18th.

    The declaration of martial law meant now the government could deploy elements of the army and National Guard to crack down on the Combined Syndicates and any other sort of “seditious” behavior by “un-American” elements of society.

    Rumors began to spread in the working communities of a General Strike being considered by the Combined Syndicates. Speaking again in a statement later carried by American newspapers, Jack Reed declared the United States was in its death throes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Reed
    …Clearly, with this blatant trampling of all the civil liberties the constitution guaranteed to the citizens of the United States, it is hard to deny our country is in its death throes. MacArthur has revealed to the world the desperation of the American ruling class- the business elite- in maintaining their privileged positions. They have denied for the past 20 years any sort of reform for the working class in America- they have reaped what they sowed. MacArthur attempts to deflect attention from his unconstitutional activities by raising the banner of patriotism- as my dear friend Eugene V. Debs said a long time ago ‘in every age it has been the tyrant, the oppressor and the exploiter who has wrapped himself in the cloak of patriotism, or religion, or both to deceive and overawe the people.’. I will paraphrase the thoughts of the Italian Gramsci, who has stated that we are witnessing the death of the old world but the new world struggles to be born; now is the time of monsters. What better way to describe the phenomenon MacArthur represents?
    Jack Reed was now elevated to one of the most wanted criminals in the United States and a reward placed on his head by the government. The workers became increasingly restless and began to enter into street violence with police and private security. The military began to mobilize for a massive operation in the Midwest- the civil governments of the region were dissolved and military governments were placed during the duration of the “state of emergency”.

    On November 1st, a General Strike erupted across the cities of the Midwest- Chicago, Miluawakee, Detriot, Cincinatti, and Cleveland in particular virtually shut down. “Workers’ Councils” were set up in the cities to begin running the affairs of public life and the work place, ignoring both factory owners and the military administration.
    The military was ordered to intervene where they could. Strikers met with the army in tense showdowns, some with the military refusing to fire, while others erupted into bloodbaths.

    Strikers facing down soldiers

    The situation was spiraling out of control. In the west coast, the first crack in the US’s foundations appeared as the states of Washington, California, and Oregon seceded from the Union.

    The elite of the west coast were troubled of the government’s handling of the strikers and were worried that the instability would spread into their states. Having long been the opinion that the west coast could do fine without the rest of the country, the decision was made to secede from the union. Not comfortable with a civil government however, the newly founded “Pacific States of America” decided to entrust its powers to a military government.

    With the presence of secessionists on the west coast, MacArthur attempted to decisively end the Combined Syndicates by a military intervention in Chicago on November 4th. Fierce street battles erupted between workers and soldiers, but eventually the workers won out due to their use of urban warfare that the military was not prepared for. A sizable amount of National Guard defected to their ranks as the army began to retreat out of the area. Reed, emerging from hiding in Chicago, proclaimed from the site of the Haymarket Affair the declaration of a “Workers’ State” on November 6th. Borrowing from Lenin long ago, raised the slogan “All Power to the Workers’ Councils!” [5] as the foundation of the new order. Reed became the president of the country while Max Shachtman was chosen by delegates to become the Speaker of the Continental Chamber of Syndicates, the legislative arm of the Combined Snydicates of America.

    The United States was tearing apart at the seams. The Combined Syndicates’ move was followed by the secession of Hawaii. Huey Long, sensing an opportunity, declared the end of the “corrupt” United States and declared the “American Union State” formed from southern states.

    This move came as a surprise to MacArthur, who had hoped that by giving America First freedom from the ESA provisions, they would aid him in eradicating socialists from the country. The RSI papers later proclaimed that such infighting was expecting from the “bourgeoisie” and that it only furthered the cause of the workers in the United States. The populist strongman and Louisiana politician Huey Long became the president of the republic, and appointed Minuteman leader Fritz Kuhn to organize the American Union State into “strong bastion against liberalism and socialism”.

    Canada, or at least the crown, found itself with a mess on its hands. Propositions for an invasion of the Combined Syndicates was also considered though ultimately rejected, fearing the unpopularity of the war might increase the gulf between Canadians and the British exiles, as well as potentially give the Combined Syndicates something to better unify their war effort with. Even though MacArthur was friendly to them, they could not take any chances with their border security. The “Defence Scheme No. 1” was enacted- Candian forces moved in and occupied the states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and the entirety of upstate New York- and with the pleading of elite in those states formed the state of New England, with Nelson Rockefeller as president. Canada also occupied Alaska and the Panama Canal to prevent them from falling into dangerous hands.

    And so the “American Civil War” started, into one of the more brutal conflicts of its kind and in time even surpassing the first Civil War in its scope. The eyes of the world looked upon the United States. The Entente poured in aid and volunteer for MacArthur while the International backed the Combined Syndicates. While the American Union State was fiercely isolationist, the German Empire saw that the AUS would be more favorable to the German Empire’s ambitions and would frustrate both the Entente and the International.

    The American Civil War at the outbreak of hostilities

    The RSI began to mobilize aid and volunteers on the call of the Commune of France to form “International Brigades” to aid the efforts of the American revolutionaries. The Combined Syndicates was at a disadvantage militarily- most of the professional military had either sided with the United States or the American Union state. The sole advantage was of course its control of the industrial centers of America. The International desired a strong partner in the western hemisphere and one that could even the odds in a future war with Germany- the Combined Syndicates was at the core of that. For the RSI, it also meant the battle with the mafia could finally be resolved.

    __________________________________________________ ____________________________

    [1] Earlier in the year following the completion of the RNS Rebecca, the Union of Britain made naval maneuvers to demonstrate the strength of its navy to European powers. It chose to send these ships right off the coast of Ireland, which prompted Ireland to seek German assurances of its protection. This harmed the already uneasy relations between the British and Irish.

    [2] The World Encyclopedia is still published today. Most, if not all libraries, carry recent editions. Wells envisioned the project as a force to unify the thought of all mankind and to appreciate our common experiences.

    [3] The Hetmanate was a political system where in the king of Ukraine entrusted governmental power to a “Hetman”, a high ranking military official, in this case Skoropadskyi. Its roots can be found in the old Cossack Hetmanate.

    [4] Tom Mann was a prominent trade unionist born in April 1856. By the events of the revolution in 1925, he had already been largely withdrawn from active organizing though was a recognizable name in the socialist movement. By 1936 Mann was probably the oldest member of government, being 80 years old by the time of his appointment to the head of the CTU. For the Maximists and Federationists, he was a compromise candidate who would not prefer either side too much, and thus give them room to operate until then to better secure a governing majority.

    [5]The original remark by Lenin was “All power to the Soviets!”. While more of a tactical slogan, it was an important none all the less, one that made a powerful impression on Reed when he was covering the outbreak of the Bolshevik revolution. Reed stayed in Russia until 1921 when the White Army captured Moscow. See his most well-known work, Ten Days Which Shook the World for Reed’s glowing accounts of the revolution and his feelings after its destruction in 1921.

    -Just a side note- the borders in the ACW look screwy because provinces that were controlled by partisans did not go to either the AUS or CSA where it was applicable, but stayed with the US. Oh well, makes things more chaotic. I might have to move images to a different host too- what are some good ones?
    Last edited by MercZ; 29-05-2011 at 21:42.
    Torch of the Mediterranean, a Kaiserreich-DH AAR, Weekly AAR Winner 6/19/11, Character Writer of the Week 2/26/12

    This is where I put some quotes

  11. #31
    I look forward to the adventures of the International Brigades in America, the Syndacalists in Spain and the progress of the Revolution at home in Italy.

  12. #32
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    The Battle of New York City

    Quote Originally Posted by Theodore Dreiser on New York City, 1932
    The thing that impressed me then as now about New York . . . was the sharp, and at the same time immense, contrast it showed between the dull and the shrewd, the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor, the wise and the ignorant . . . the strong, or those who ultimately dominated, were so very strong, and the weak so very, very weak-- and so very, very many.
    New York City was a vital component in the Combined Syndicates’ war effort- it was their sole port to the outside world, and the only place where supplies could be readily received. MacArthur was aware of this and made a furious push northwards to break the narrow Pennsylvanian corridor that connected the industrial regions of the Midwest to the Atlantic. Cutting off access to New would mean the Combined Syndicates would eventually collapse from no access with the outside world.

    By December of 1936, United States forces managed to sever the Pennsylvanian corridor, capturing Philadelphia and the entirety of New Jersey in the process and surrounding Combined Syndicates forces in New York City. Among them was the entirety of the Italian component of the International Brigades, having arrived much later than the French and British contingents that were already deployed along battle lines in the Midwest.

    The following is a selection from “The Garibaldi Brigade in America” [1], a collection of war accounts of veterans from the International Brigades in the American Civil War. This piece is written by Niccolò Gallo, a native of Taranto. Gallo recounts his experience in a period of roughly December 1936 to March 1937 during the Battle of New York. Only portions of the significantly longer chapter are taken.

    The situation in New York City entering into December, 1936

    I remember when Armando called us up on deck as we neared New York City. This was a place that had until that point only existed in our imaginations, in the movies we watched back home, our modern-day magical kingdom. The deck was crowded with fellow countrymen and women like myself, trying to tiptoe over people infront of us to see the sight. Seeing some attempting to climb the fixtures, I made my way up as high as I could until I saw the sea. Ahead I saw signs of land, but the city was nowhere to be seen. I could hear sounds from others who had made the same discovery as I did- where was this city?

    A sound of something clanging against the metal startled me and I heard screaming and shouting from below. Far away I could see something coming towards our ship quickly, and saw that it was an airplane. An airplane! The child in me looked at it astounded- this was the first time I had seen one! It did not quite occur to me then that this plane was shooting at us, it was making the “clanging” noise I was hearing earlier.

    Snapping out of my stupor, I dropped myself back down to deck and rushed below on the stairs. The loud sound of the plane roared over us as it flew across, followed by the shots of our escort craft. Poking my head out the door to the deck, I saw people lying on the floor. Some injured, some dying, some dead.

    The only thing I was grateful for was that we were all awakened quickly to what we were getting ourselves into, that this was not some stupid sightseeing tour but a war. And it would not be one we could stroll into like white knights to the rescue.


    We arrived at the “docks”- or at least they were called the docks. It appeared to be a hastily converted beachfront to receive the naval vessels from fellow allies. Our craft was small enough to navigate fairly close to the beach- our escorts however were too large to approach. We were received at the docks by the first group of Italians who had arrived maybe a day or two ahead of us. They got us offloaded and assigned equipment to us, while directing us to a very crude canteen. We were given some simple food- some potatoes and small cuts of chicken- then introduced to our “guides”- or rather, members of the Italian-American community who could speak Italian.

    I was directed towards a man on the far end along with some of my comrades. He was of average height and a somewhat strong build, dark hair and tanned skin. He looked like one of us, but clearly talked like an American. He began to proceed down the line, asking something in English and then switching to Italian to ask our names. He got down to me and his green eyes stared into me for what seemed to be an eternity.

    “What’s your name?”


    “Niccolò eh? Just like my uncle!”, he laughed, and then switching to English, “And an ugly one like him too!”

    I gave him an angry look and he laughed.

    “Well whatdaya know, this cousin from back home knows a bit of English!”, he said slapping me on the shoulder, “Tell you what, since you’re the only one in this shipment that knows any English, you’ll be my assistant!”

    I cringed a bit. He just seemed to be part of the Combined Syndicates militia, while I was a lieutenant in the Republican Guard! Technically, I outranked him. All in all, he should have been MY assistant! Cooler heads prevailed though, and I accepted his offer.

    Switching back to Italian he informed the rest of the men that I would be his liaison for the squad. I could tell some of the men I knew tried to repress a laugh, though Armando let out a snort. Telling them to be ready in the next hour, he turned away and pulled me with him.

    “Niccolò”, he said, “If you don’t mind I’m going to call you Nick. It’s easier on me and much quicker. Capiche?”

    Capiche? What did he mean? Understand? It sounded like it. I nodded anyways.

    “Alright then”, he said, “and you can call me Mark. Not Marco, Mark.”

    I nodded and he responded by simply saying “Alright!”, and then looking at my identifier laughed out a little.

    “And your last name is Gallo? Like a damn rooster? Well, let’s hope you’re like a rooster and not a hen, Nick!”

    Our convoy cruised along the path towards New York City- I didn’t know exactly where we were going to fight though. I looked around and was astonished by the amount of snow. We had seen snow sometimes in Taranto though it was rare- occasionally the rural communities closer to the mountains would get it but still, it was not a common occurrence in our part of Italy. I was confused though- was this small collection of houses and neighborhoods the New York City I had heard so much about? I leaned over to Mark and asked him.

    “This, New York City? Pssh, they wish. This, my friend, is one of the many neighborhoods of Long Island- we’re getting close to New York City though”

    I looked at some of the houses I could see- they were much different from the crammed city houses and apartments most city dwellers like me were used to. Occasionally I would spot an exceptionally large house- on one occasion I wasn’t the only one to notice it and Mark explained to us:

    “That, comrades, is what you would call a “bourgeoisie” dwelling. No one is home though- they fled upstate to that ‘New England’ country the damn Canadians made”

    The convoy rolled by the neighborhood and we could spot children playing in the sidewalks around us, some chasing after us and waving, some even throwing snowballs at us. I could see some of the more adventurous ones had scaled over the fences of the empty manors and were causing mischief within.

    I leaned over to Mark and asked him why we could not land in New York City to begin with.

    “Well Nick”, sighed Mark, “to put it simply we fucked up. We could not hold back the army and now they have us holed up in New York City, split us up from the fighting in the Midwest…”

    “What? What do you mean they’ve cut us off!? I thought we were going to the front lines?”

    “Yes, you are going to the front lines”, said Mark, “that’s in New York City”.

    He saw that I was confused.

    “Shit, didn’t they tell you anything?” he asked

    “No, no they didn’t”, I said, “we thought we were landing in New York and deploying from there. Some of us to go up on deck wanting to see how New York looked, but…”

    I stopped. I remembered the airplane. Mark seemingly knew what I was thinking.

    “Then you probably saw firsthand why you couldn’t get to the city. Originally you guys would disembark at Brooklyn and New Jersey- but the bay is too dangerous to get near. The military thugs control the other side of the bay making it damn near impossible to run anything by the Brooklyn docks without it getting shot up to hell.”

    I craned my head upwards to look up at the sky. I could tell the sun was setting and the weather was getting even colder. Mark sighed.

    “Well, it seems you guys came a bit too late. We’ll have to stop at Brooklyn- the bridge is too dangerous at night”

    The rest of the trip- about an hour- turned into a conversation between Mark and me. Mark explained to me the boroughs of New York City and how different the neighborhoods were from each other. I found that Mark lived in Brooklyn, which he explained to me was a city across the bay from “Manhattan”, the place we would stay the night in. We eventually entered into Brooklyn- far more dense than the small neighborhoods before- and reached what seemed to be a dusty construction site converted into a camp. We offloaded and were shown to our tents, where other Italians had already gathered including much of the officers such as Comrade Vidali.

    A picture of the Construction site in the summer of 1936

    As I was getting my gear unloaded and taken to my bunk, Mark asked if I was willing to go for a walk. Seeing as I had nothing else to do and Armando had already fallen asleep, I figured it would be a good use of time. Mark took me down a street, explaining to me the neighborhoods and the streets- unfortunately I have forgotten many of them since then. One thing that stuck out to me was how dark everything was- Mark had explained to me before that energy supply had virtually been severed when MacArthur’s forces surrounded the area, and what little energy was available was committed to help with the war effort. Much of the civilian areas were pitch black, with many of them resorting to using gas lamps to get by the night.

    Mark led me to the edge of Brooklyn, right up on the bay where the river emptied into. He told me the river running by was simply known the “East River”, and then pointing across the river he gave me my first glimpse of New York City.

    It was not lit up like in the movies obviously- the power cuts made itself the most apparent on the city proper. One could only make out the silhouettes of the large buildings. Some searchlights were cutting across the night sky from Syndicate camps in the city, occasionally lighting up some of the buildings they crossed over. We would sometimes hear gunfire go off, an explosion erupt from somewhere, though overall it was a rather quiet night. I saw directly north was a bridge, the “Brooklyn Bridge”, as Mark called it, that ran across the river from close to where our camp was to the other side in Manhattan.

    Mark walked me over to the very edge of the dock, and producing some binoculars gave them to me and pointed me towards the southwest.

    “You won’t see it too well right now, but you just might be able to make out the shape of the Statue of Liberty far off. Neither us or MacArthur’s goons have been using the island for anything however”

    I could barely – just barely – make out what seemed to be an object in the bay though I could not tell its shape. Still, I gained an appreciation of the scope of the city- it was far larger than anything I had ever seen- Mark told me that the United States was filled with similar, sprawling cities though New York was the largest. I asked him about the crossings into the city- he told me there was the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges that the syndicates used the most. Further up there was the Williamsburg Bridge and even further was the Queensboro Bridge- though he explained that the bridges further north were too dangerous to use and had already been hit by artillery, effectively rendering them useless for transit. Connecting the island to the US’s end was the Holland Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge further up the Hudson River. Most of the fighting focused on Manhattan proper- there was not much worth to the northern edges as it was too close to the border with the New England state. With that he concluded the story, told me it was getting late and that I should catch some sleep before our deployment tomorrow.

    A metro map of New York City and its surroundings printed in the mid 1930s, showing major roads and crossings

    The Italian brigades were crammed into barges the following morning and sent across the river to lower Manhattan. Use of the bridges was forbidden that day much to our misfortune due to bombing hazards- barges were thought to be safer The sun was just beginning to rise over the city and I could make out the scenery a lot better than the previous night. I could finally see the Statue of Liberty, though it was far away. Turning back towards the city proper, I saw that smoke was rising from some areas and the occasional sound of explosions would come to our ears. We were getting close to the edge of the city. I began to lean back, and heard a peculiar sound- everything went black.

    When I awoke I found myself being dragged through the water by someone. Turning I saw that it was Armando; looking around I saw that our barge was destroyed, sinking into the river. People were swimming around us trying to swim to the other side- we were all confused as to what hit our barge. Was it an airplane? A lucky artillery shot? What was it? I never found out.

    New York City in 1933

    It was either December 26th or 27th. I couldn’t remember- but it definetly wasn't the 25th. I knew we had probably been in New York City for at least a week. We were encamped in an old building some 10 or so blocks north of New York City Hall- which had become a command center for our forces in the city. Mark told me we were near the intersection of two streets- Center and Canal.

    The fighting I had seen so far was unlike anything we had ever expected. Even our hardened officers from the academy in Naples were dumbfounded- this urban combat was unlike anything they had really been told to anticipate. There was no real parallel to a city like New York they could ever be trained for. I was glad for Mike showing us around for once- his knowledge of the cities was well beyond anything we could do- I had to resort to a map most of the time.

    Speaking of the city, I never could get over the damn streets. They seemed to run off for ever into the distance, with buildings lined up on either end. We constantly looked up, to the sides, around us, paranoid that somewhere in one of the multitude of windows the enemy was watching. It almost seemed like we were rats scurrying down a hallway, constantly watching for predators and humans. Armando in particular was paranoid, constantly freaking out when a civilian emerged out of the windows to look at us.

    All around us we could see the signs of fighting from previous days. Broken glass, wrecked cars, overturned streetcars, litter, and even bodies were strewn across the empty streets. Some buildings even showed signs of direct impacts from explosives. Snow had accumulated to high depths, gathering in the city as no one was clearing them, so our trek through the streets was much slower than it should have been.

    As we sat down to rest in an abandoned deli after our patrol, Mark sat down to explain to us the rioting before the civil war, the martial law and the resistance against the military. He told us on how when the General Strike was called the vast underclasses of New York City took to the streets and got into violent confrontations with the military, with riots breaking out as looting and violence gripped the city. Somehow they had pushed out the contingent of military in New York City, and for a few weeks they seemingly had New York City secure. That illusion was broken when the military made a risky gamble and rushed northwards. It was an effective one though- New York City was cut off and with it the lifeline of the Combined Syndicates of America.

    I looked out the window and saw the street running off into the distance, with other streets cutting across it perpendicularly.

    “The City of Right Angles”, as Mark referred to it as. I couldn’t think of a better description.


    We got into a fierce conflict where two of the major streets of New York- 7th and Broadway- in what Mark called Times Square. The intersection was once one of the most popular places in New York, but the depression had taken a significant hit on its grandeur, to the point it was considered a dangerous area before the war began.

    We didn’t fail to disappoint that illustrious reputation. For whatever reason we got into a fight with the military here, and to think it had started off rather innocently. Mark was leading our division down alleys running alongside Broadway to show us a pizza place when he ran smack into another person that was coming alongside a parallel pathway. We first thought it was a civilian- but they were dressed as elements of the US Military. Mark quickly shot at them with his pistol and told us to run back down the alley. We quickly scurryedback to where we could find cover, we got into a running fight with the division. We eventually found out they were scouts for a larger group that was coming up our direction- and eventually the pieces came into place for what would become the largest fight in the city.

    My brigade barricaded themselves into a building overlooking Times Square as we fought along other Garibaldi Brigades and eventually reinforcements from the Red Guards of the Combined Syndicates. It was a violent fight- many of did not leave Times Square. Armando, poor man, found himself on the wrong end of an artillery strike that leveled the building he and some other Italians were holed up in. Even armored vehicles began to show up as the day went on, which made our fight particularly more difficult and forced us to be more mobile among the buildings.

    Times Square in 1935

    One of the odder “inventions” I remember the Syndicate Red Guards were using were balloons. It was almost comical seeing them use the balloons in an attempt to make crude “bombings” on American positions- not the most effective (nor safe) means of fighting the enemy, but we were getting desperate.

    By sheer will we managed to hold back the tide and eventually the military dropped back to their positions on the western end of the island. It was a heavy toll though- we had lost a good 150 Garibaldi volunteers and the Combined Syndicates took nearly 1,000 across the whole upper Manhattan. As we collapsed against the wall, Mark conversed with some members of the Red Guards, was given a box, and returned back to us.

    “Well boys, if it’s any consolation, you guys just kicked off the New Years with a bang. Biggest New Year’s Eve this place has seen since its glory days” he said, opening the box. He brought out some coke bottles and handed them out to us:

    “Ordinarily custom would dictate some champagne or something, but I hope you guys will at least accept this in good spirits”

    January was notoriously cold. The snow came down with much more volume and had begun to make it difficult to enter structures. The gear we were assigned was nowhere adequate to deal with the weather. Logistics were hell and we often had to resort to raiding stores and houses- empty or not- to get our supplies.

    Mark and I sat down during the evening, both of us having trouble falling asleep. He began to pry about Italy, about where I lived, and my thoughts on the country. I told him I was mostly pleased about what we had in the republic, though food was difficult to come by at times as was modern entertainment. He seemed interested in Taranto, being a much warmer port city than New York was. He admitted that he was not sure where his family came from exactly, though believed that both ends of his family were from Sicily and left at some point in the early 1900s.

    I explained to him the troubles we had in the republic- the food shortages I mentioned earlier, the conflict between the new and the old, the near isolation we had from international events. I expanded our issues with the Italian Federation and the Church, and after all this he laughed.

    “Let me tell you Nick”, he started, “it’s almost like the nonsense we put up with here. Save that we probably have more fun down here than over there, it’s nearly the same. We got some moneybags upstate who think they are better from us- like your issue with North Italy. We got self-righteous priests thinking they know how the world should be run and how we are all bad sinners. And just like you, we got some damn wise guys [2] causing trouble left and right”

    We had gotten into small skirmishes across January- for the most part we avoided casualties. The Italian Brigades became well-known among the Americans who began calling us as “red caps”, referring to the red Garibaldi caps we wore as a part of our formal uniforms. Our flags became more recognizable too, being much more recognizable than the Americans’ designs.

    A replica of one of the Garibaldi Brigades’ standards

    I had no idea of our progress against the military. In some days it seemed we were pushed back to the East River and on others we were pushing them towards the Hudson River. Artillery strikes from both the US became more frequent, and many time reckless- pounding into the tall buildings over us. The large streets became too dangerous to patrol down and we began to use the alleyways more and more.

    One day American planes flew high over the city, their engines drowning out all other noises. We took cover in a subway entrance, but were surprised when the planes simply flew by and turned back around towards the direction of Newark. A few moments later large numbers of leaflets began to shower from above and fell upon the snow-blanketed ground. Mark made his way out of the subway and we followed, watching as he stooped over to pick up one of the leaflets.

    Translating into Italian he began:

    “The United States Military is giving all civilians in New York City two days to evacuate across the Holland Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge. Relief personnel are standing by with food and supplies. Note that after two days we can no longer be responsible for your safety and will see this as a sign of collaboration with the enemy.”

    The following hours we began to see people leaving, making their way west towards the exit points the military had designated. Some civilians stayed with us- particularly those with nothing to lose- and were quickly formed into militias.

    At the end of the two days, we saw exactly what the military had intended. The roar of aircraft engines began to fill the air and Mike rushed us all down to the nearest subway engine. I was the last one in- just long enough to see a bomb impact two kilometers down the road.

    For an hour we huddled around a small lantern in the subway, kicking rats away that were scurrying through the dark tunnel. The impacts of the bombs could be heard from where we were, and pieces of the tunnel began to drop to the ground.

    After the bombing stopped, I volunteered to see if it was safe to leave. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw above- many of the buildings lining the street were destroyed or left barely standing. Rubble and chunks of buildings littered the streets and some fires broke out from ruptured gas lines and burning pieces of wood. Hell had came to New York.

    February or “Blood February” as we came to call it was simply one, long undignified slugfest across the burned out ruins of New York. There was no real coordination- we simply tried our best to keep together as a group and fought against Americans where we happened to collide with them. Our stockpiles were getting stretched thin and we had to make every bullet count. We began to use improvised weaponry- notably alcohol we set on fire- in addition with the balloon nonsense.

    It was hard to tell where we were sometimes. Even Mark was lost- much of his “street wits” relied on familiar landmarks and sights, many that were now gone. For the most part the streets began to look the same- just rows upon rows of blasted buildings and rubble. Snow was still piled on the streets along with the corpses of men entombed under the mess. We began to use the tall skyscrapers that had escaped mostly unscathed as landmarks to give us a rough indication of whether we were on the west or east part of the island.

    The city was a shadow of itself. I never saw it lit up in all its grandeur, but even I could gain an idea of how much the city had been destroyed by the fighting. The wrecked buildings and debris almost made the New York look like a large, forgotten city hit by some calamity in the distant past. It was simply a large ruin now, a microcosm of the rest of that sad country.

    One confrontation I recall was in Battery Park. We had received some indications of distress from that line and moved to aid the Americans that were fighting there. We had expected just another skirmish, but we instead walked into what appeared to be the US military’s attempt to make a beachhead in Manhattan.

    We saw that our comrades were holed up in Castle Clinton and pinned down by some sort of armored vehicle. We took cover behind benches and trees and fired at the Americans, attempting to lure them away from the old structure. We began to fall back towards the streets and made our way towards the alleys- but I had lost track of Mark in the progress.

    I then saw a ball of fire erupt on the top of the vehicle and the gunner stopped firing at us. I saw that the soldiers began to shoot into the building near us, and knew it was Mark who had saved us. I could imagine the expletives he was yelling as bullets tracked him through the building.

    Towards the end of February the military made a large push into Lower Manhattan. It was clear they were attempting to seize the command center, or at least what was left of it under the rubble of the New York City Hall.

    After nearly a half hour of bombardments from artillery and aircraft, our outer defenses began to report contact with the enemy. The Garibaldi Brigade defending the approach from the southwest reportedly managed to take down a tank in their bold defense, but at nearly a total loss of its division.

    My division was assigned to defending the command zone itself. We got our action soon enough as the military began to surround us from all sides. My position was constantly shifting- I was originally assigned to manning the hastily constructed trenches, then I found myself in a machine gun nest, and then helping move ammunition to the front lines. Our men were beginning to get stretched thin.

    It was more problematic when vehicles came along. There was a handful of anti-armor ordinance but not enough to hold back the progress of the American push into the command center. Only the snow and rubble piled up on the wrecked streets helped us funnel the vehicles into more favorable positions.

    And then it happened- as the Americans began to cross over Broadway and mere meters from the headquarters, the ground under them began to explode. Far off in the southwest artillery began to ring out and pounded positions all over the rest of the island. We began to push the advance back, and soon reinforcements arrived from across the Brooklyn Bridge and joined us. The Americans were now pushed back to Battery Park and the Holland Tunnel.

    We learned that the Syndicate command in Prospect Park had just gotten their hand on shipments of artillery from the Union of Britain, and had finally gotten them ready to fire on enemy positions. The newly arrived reinforcements were however at a loss to answer if command knew we were still there when they began bombarding positions.

    The Garibaldi Brigades I later found out had lost nearly 500 men in the course of the defense of City Hall, while the Syndicalists had lost nearly 1200 men. We were paying a steep price for New York City. Our next objective was the Holland Tunnel.

    Fighting near the Holland tunnel was especially fierce. The Americans were evacuating the last of their forces on Manhattan across the Holland Tunnel and through barges. The tunnel was a key objective and we rushed to secure it. I did not see the result though- I was wounded in fighting along Canal Street when a grenade went off near me. Looking back at it, I wonder if it was really all worth it in the first place.

    I was in the makeshift hospital in a wrecked hotel near Manhattan command for nearly three days until I could become remotely conscious. I had received wounds from the shrapnel that they had thankfully been able to remove, though to this day I still have issues moving my arm. Mark arrived a few hours later to check up on my progress and informed me that the battle for the tunnel had been a pyrrhic victory. They had secured the tunnel entrance- but it was worthless. The Americans had of course thought a step ahead and sealed the tunnel once it became obvious the Syndicalists were close to securing it. American forces were pulling out across New Jersey, but had bought time by forcing larger Syndicate convoys to redirect themselves towards the George Washington Bridge.

    Mark informed me that the bulk of the Garibaldi Brigades had already relocated to positions in New Jersey and in their foothold in Pennsylvania.

    "To think I'd actually be glad to see Jersey for once", sighed Mark, "At any rate, we seem to be close to reestablishing firm contact with our comrades in the Midwest. We did a good thing here, though the American press is actually blaming us for wrecking the city. Imagine that".

    Patting me on the shoulder he wished me well and said that I would be reattached to them once I got better. "For now, he said, “Just enjoy the free accommodation in New York City”.

    Battle lines outside of New York after the breakout

    __________________________________________________ ________

    [1]The Garibaldi Brigades was the designation given to the Italian elements of the International Brigades. It was officially formed by Pietro Nenni in his capacity as General Responsible for Diplomacy with cooperation by Berneri and the military. Most of the members were drawn from the military itself- it was hoped to be used as a means to build up experienced soldiers and officers.

    [2]The total deployment of Italian volunteers numbered at about 5,000. The figure is rounded, but 500 casualties would be 10% of the original total force. Along with the previous number of 150 and an additional number of other casualties from the long battle- including the large bombardments in January, “Bloody February”, and the final break out, the Garibaldi Brigades lost at least 1,000 volunteers- a staggering 20% of the total deployment, during the Battle for New York. The syndicalist death total peaked at nearly 6,000. The total casualties from the United States is not known, but was probably significantly lower.

    [3]A “Wise Guy” was the term applied to members of the mafia by Americans.
    Last edited by MercZ; 01-06-2011 at 18:43.
    Torch of the Mediterranean, a Kaiserreich-DH AAR, Weekly AAR Winner 6/19/11, Character Writer of the Week 2/26/12

    This is where I put some quotes

  13. #33
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    This is great history! I like it! Do me a favor when the revolution is over: liberate the socialist republic of Québec!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by General_Hoth View Post
    This is great history! I like it! Do me a favor when the revolution is over: liberate the socialist republic of Québec!!!!
    That would all depend of course if the Combined Synidcates win the civil war, join the Synditern, and beat Canada. Then you would have to have the dice roll your way and hope the CSA doesn't decide to liberate Canada as one big happy family or decides to eat it, as opposed Quebec being formed.

    Let us see your luck with the AI
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  15. #35
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    Ah, Pennsylvania. The Achilles Heel of the Syndicates in almost every Kaiserreich game. Whilst Garibaldi didn't fight in the last civil war, his successors seem to have a tough fight in for them.

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    Aren't all of the troops on the East coast out of supply?

    An excellent piece.
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    Great War: The American Front: Can the United States defeat Britain and its Confederate Lackeys? Or will the CSA defend its freedom against the Yankee Menace?

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  18. #38
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    Aren't all of the troops on the East coast out of supply?
    The CSA AI has a bad habit of letting itself getting encircled like that by the US.

  19. #39

    Onward Comrades! To victory in America!

  20. #40
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    Thanks for comments everyone. I've never really seen the Syndicate AI prevent itself from getting wrecked in Pennsylvania like that for reasons that Milites already said. Not much they can do anyways with having nearly all militia save any infantry they got from the support events.

    I meant to get this piece out earlier- it's really more of a transitional update if anything. Just some highlights of certain KR events that occurred. The big deal will come with the Synditern events, which will be the update after this one.

    I might have a miniupdate regarding specifics on the game end- military standings in the game currently, IC, current sliders, etc. Anyways, next chapter:

    Is it almost that Time of Year Again?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Twain
    Loyalty to petrified opinions never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world — and never will.
    While the war in the United States was raging, the RSI found itself faced with a problem in the form of the mafia. It may be recalled that the Mafia in Sicily maintained connections with families in the United States, and saw that country as a potential haven for its operations to continue if the RSI chose to intensify its anti-criminal operations.

    Needless to say the Mafia found the United States an appealing location. It allowed them to own the businesses it desired and build lavish estates, such as those that existed before the Great War. A promised land of sorts; but its value represented different things to the peasant underclass and the figureheads of the Mafia. Whereas the peasants of Southern Italy fled the region for decades preceding the Great War in hopes of escaping the grip of the families and the latifunida, the families themselves saw the United States as a place where those customs could be preserved.

    It was no surprise then that the mafia was very concerned about the outcome of the American Civil War. A Combined Syndicates victory would be the worst possible scenario for the mafia, due to its close ties with the RSI and committed stance against the mafia. The mafia had already gotten into fights with Combined Syndicates agitators before the Civil War due to their efforts of cutting into various construction and dockworkers unions where the mafia had strong influence in- there was a lot of animosity between the two as a result. A Combined Syndicates-ruled America would mean like Sicily, they would find themselves losing control of the lucrative businesses and estates they had established.

    MacArthur was no friend of the mafia either, representing the entrenched American order to which the mafia had given a great deal of trouble to. Considering his complete disregard for the law in order to pursue “subversives”, MacArthur’s victory would certainly not be a desirable outcome.

    So it is not surprising then that of all the factions in the Second American Civil War, the mafia chose the American Union State as its hope. Despite much of America First’s ‘tough on crime’ attitude, they found the mafia to be a useful ally in combating the influence of socialists within the cities. The mafia lacked what the American Union State needed, and that was influence in the north. It was precisely this that the American Union State chose to ignore its usual stance on “criminal” activities and saw the mafia as an ally in eradicating the socialists. If they went on to win the war, the mafia would certainly come in handy in pacifying northern cities, particularly from dissent by the trade unions.

    By late November, as scores of volunteers from Italy joined the Garibaldi Brigades and departed for the civil war, the mafia chose to get involved in the war as well. Departing through their covert lines, mafia from Sicily joined ranks with the families in the United States and chose to fight for the American Union State.

    The departure was not unnoticed by the RSI. There was a debate over the exact approach of the republic towards the matter. Should they simply ignore the departure of the mafia, seeing it as a perfect opportunity to get them killed off in the Civil War? Or should they step in and prevent such departures that could potentially harm the efforts of the Combined Syndicates in the United States?

    A debate over the topic took place in the House of Commons, with varying opinions on the matter.

    “Why should we care what they do?” said Mussolini, “They would be doing us all a favor in getting themselves killed in that war”

    “I do not ordinarily agree with Comrade Mussolini”, said Grieco, “but he is correct in saying that they are doing us a favor by going off to get killed over there. However I must also remind anyone on this line of thinking that these are merely the grunts, not the leaders, of the mafia who are going off to die”

    “They had made their choice”, said Bianchi rushing to Mussolini’s aid, “It matters little if they are at the top or the bottom- they are enemies of the state”

    “It says a lot when commoners choose to support the mafia as a means to get by”, said Mattetotti with nodding approval from Turati, “I do not think that letting them go to their deaths is a concisive way to solve the problem. Again we raise the Social-Reformist position of better social services and gearing the economy towards consumer goods rather than industrialization”

    “That is nice, Comrade Matteotti”, sighed Togliatti, “but do at least stay on topic. What is your position on the matter?”

    “We should prevent any further departures of the mafia from the island”, said Matteotti, “it would be an insult to our comrades in America if we were to let them freely go to the United States. We must remember that we have our own men volunteering there. Why put them in any more risk?

    “For our part”, said Nenni, “my talks with the government in Chicago have shown concern that we let the first batch of mafia men leave without any resistance. They are not pleased with this and are asking us to prevent any more support for the America First”

    The debates proceeded in much the same way. After about two hours of deliberation, Gramsci called the matter to a vote. The deputies voted to prevent the departure of any more mafia to the United States.

    The move was not taken well by those who had felt the decision indicated “sympathy” for the mafia. It was however warmly received by the Syndicate government in Chicago and the International at large who appreciated Italy’s commitment to the American Civil War.

    As December rolled along, the delegates were busy with the matter of the Battle of New York, which was fast turning into a potential death kneel for the Combined Syndicates. More over it appeared nearly the entirety of the Italian Garibaldi Brigades was stuck in New York City, fighting a particularly pitched battle right off the boat. Chief of Staff Berneri, with updates from Commander Vidali, pushed for greater support for the brigades.

    January came along with promising developments out of New York as the so-called “Battle of the New Year” was won thanks to Italian participation. Research on new infantry weapons was also completed, and in its place further research into better machinery tools was chosen.

    This was followed up in February with the completion of agrichemistry research. With both machinery and chemicals researched, the republic began research into completely overhauling its agricultural works and making it more efficient with hopes of getting better population growth.

    January however also brought depressing news for the republic- Luigi Pirandello, prominent playwright and artist, died on the 11th at the age of 69. Pirandello was a prominent figure in artistic circles in the RSI, and well respected by the government due to his decision to move from Rome in the Italian Federation to the then new revolutionary republic.

    Pirandello was also a matter of pride for the RSI, being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in literature in 1934, a great boon to the RSI’s standing in the world and a great deal of pride for its populace.

    Pirandello chose not to take a committed position to the political factions in the republic, though he maintained ties with many of the prominent figures in political circles, such as Gramsci and Mussolini [1]. His plays were encouraged throughout the republic as explorations into Italian culture, but conversely banned in the Federation due to the Vatican’s concern of its content sometimes involving more “pagan” aspects of Italian folklore. His death also meant however that the cinema industry in Italy, which had until then been entrusted to Pirandello, was open to a new generation of Italians.

    Luigi Pirandello

    Meanwhile, outside the Republic:

    In the Far East, Japan was beginning to show signs of a change in direction for its ambitions in the region. One of the most surprising turn of events was granting independence to the people of Korea, a nation it had conquered in 1910.

    Japan had largely treated Korea as a colonial outpost, one that would eventually be fully integrated into Japan proper. It had long been dealing with Korean separatists, and it was feared within some circles in Tokyo that a potential revolt would arise. The subsequent negotiations on November 21st with the self-declared “Korean Government –in-Exile” resulted in the recognition of a new, Korean state. The Koreans in turned agreed to enter into an alliance with Japan and work towards the common goal of a “Free Asia”.

    Japan had taken a radical change from its previous government’s stance on a more Japan-centric approach. It now, in a pragmatic move, chose to rather place itself at the head of a movement to capitalize on anti-German sentiment in the region. One place in particular where it hoped it would reap great rewards was within mainland China. Many intellectuals, particularly among the liberal Republican strand, felt disgusted by the Qing Empire’s apparent “sell out” of China and its collaboration with western powers.

    Seeking to capitalize on this, Japan granted independence to the island of Taiwan, which it hoped to use as a potential predecessor to a future China. The move was warmly received by Republicans of all shades within China, some of whom chose to depart for the new nation.

    Free elections were set to be held on March 26th. The Japanese expected the Taiwanese People's Party, a nationalist organization, to easily secure the polls. Against all odds though, the Taiwanese Syndicalist Party won, shocking the Japanese Empire.

    The new government was led by Xie Xuehong, the leader of the party and now the first female head of state in the world. Her prime minister was Sha Sekko, another prominent figure in the syndicalist party. With their power secure, the Syndicalists looked outward for support, particularly to the Commune of France, the leader of the Syndicalist movement, and the Bhartiya Commune, the nearest socialist nation.

    Both France and the Indians established formal diplomatic ties with the new nation, promising it whatever aid it needed.

    The Syndicalists quickly enacted their radical economic agenda, focusing in particular on the large swath of agricultural land and blighted urban buildings occupied by squatters. It chose to “compensate” the squatters in exchange for the land, and set out on a bold reorganization of Taiwanese society and economy.

    Japan was not pleased with the outcome of the election, but chose not to pursuit the point any further. In turn the Taiwanese, not wanting to enrage the Japanese, did not join the Syndintern and allowed for Japan to use its territory for what it needed.

    In the Commune of France, the Makhno government recognized that war with Germany was on the horizon. With tensions becoming increasingly higher with the Commune of France making public moves to challenge the German Empire’s control of the continent, the French knew that the economy had to be ready to enter into war.

    The German Empire in the midst of this continued to deal with dissent arising from the economic crash. In December, groups of working-class youths referred in the press as “Halbstarke” began to cause problems in the major cities of the empire.

    The economy had taken a strong hit on working-class families across the empire, many of whom were not able to care for their children. In this environment many of the youth, with a complete pessimism about the future they were heading into, indulged themselves in criminal acts- sometimes for fun, sometimes to get the food and shelter they needed.

    To the French, such actions represented the toll the economic crash was having on the social fabric of Germany. Inside Germany however, the matter was treated more as failures on behalf of parents to look after their children and by a complete disregard for the government of Germany and German culture. The issue found itself into political discussions in the Reichstag, where the parties present had different ideas to tackle it. The final choice that came out was to organize a state-backed youth program to get delinquents off the streets and into education programs to learn trade skills and become potential recruits for the military. Funding for the Pathfinders, the German scouting organization, was also increased.

    It would take a while however for the effects of the program to be noticeable. In the meantime the Halbstarke continued their actions on the streets and it was a hot button issue for the political parties in the run up to the Reichstag elections. The party that found itself to gain the most benefit out of it was the Großdeutsche Volkspartei - or the Greater German People’s Party.

    It was a surprise for all the existing parties- the GDVP was a relative newcomer to the German political scene that seemingly rejected the “socialism” of the SDP, the “liberal” thought of the Zenstrum and Liberal Democrats, and the “bankrupt” thought of the Conservatives. It positioned itself mostly on the shortcomings of the other groups rather than a concrete platform of its own- it mostly blasted the previous governments for not being “tough” on the Syndicalist in France and advocated for a pre-emptive war to protect its borders. It also sought to ban the Social Democratic Party, of which it accused of “anti-German” activities due to adhering to socialism. It singled out the Halbstarke as an example of “light handed” approach of the government to social problems that troubled all hardworking Germans. It desired the creation of a far more centralized state and the creation of a “People’s Community” to promote class collaboration. More controversially, it also desired the union of the German Empire and the German-speaking lands of the Austrian Empire.

    The Kaiser would have been able to work with the Zenstrum-Liberal Democrat Block or the Conservatives- it was not expecting a GDVP victory. In order to hamper their strength in parliament, the Kaiser chose to keep Von Papen as his Chancellor.

    For the Internationale, this mainly meant that the Germany they would eventually face would be dominated by fiercely anti-Socialist rhetoric, more so than before.

    In nearby Austria-Hungary, the Ausgleich was successfully renegotiated between Austria and Hungary. This came as a relief to the German Empire, which had feared that the Austrians might attempt to re-centralize the empire into a tight federation or the Hungarians who might have thought of completely disassociating with the empire.

    The RSI had hoped that the Ausgleich negotiations would have presented some sort of chaos, one that that it could use to settle accounts with the Federation while the attention of Germany and Austria were occupied elsewhere. The chance of such a chaos occurring though was slim to begin with- the RSI did not count on it happening.

    In Norway, the Union of Britain’s attempts to create close ties with the Kingdom of Norway paid off handsomely when the Norwegian parliament voted to enact socialist legislation. While it was doubtful that the country would experience a total transformation, for the Union of Britain this meant a close relationship with the other major power along the North Sea, and more importantly one that would remain neutral and not cooperate with Germany in the event of a war.

    With tensions still growing between the extreme nationalists of the "Patriots for Saving Poland" on one hand and the Syndicalists on the other, Poland’s government decided to reorganize itself into a constitutional monarchy in hopes of averting the political chaos by having monarchists and liberals join together.

    The reasoning was that by allowing a consensus between liberal and monarchist thought, the political chaos would be reduced to those on the fringes of the political spectrum. Moreover, elections could allow for a greater segment of the population to be involved in political life. The German Empire had long been pushing for the Poles to create a monarchy, though was not as enthusiastic about its creation of a liberal constitutional monarchy.

    In Brazil a major revolution took place. Astrojildo Pereira, a major trade unionist, was arrested of charges of treason after announcing in a mass rally that he would unseat the current government if they did not listen to the demands of the people. Arresting Pereira however resulted in mass rioting from the vast underclass of Brazil among whom Pereira had a large following. The rioting and demonstrations reached epic scales and the military refused to intervene and shoot on the people- it was then they surrendered to the Brazilian Workers' Party. Pereira, released from jail, became the leader of the new nation and publicly announced that he would orient towards the Commune of France and the International.

    In the American Civil War, March saw the end of the destructive Battle of New York in the Combined Syndicates’s favor and a great boost to Italy’s reputation in the International. The breakout was aided by the United States’s trouble with the America First, who had a number of military regiments defect to it, notably a tank brigade led by one “George S. Patton”.

    The breakout by mid-April resulted in the restoration of the Combined Syndicates link to the outside world, and the entrapment of an American division at Erie.

    The most significant event that occurred in early 1937 happened in Russia, which had been ruled for at least a year by Marashal Denikin under the guise of a “State of Emergency”. With affairs mostly stabilized, Denikin made the final move and hammered the last nail into the coffin of the Russian Republic.

    On March 19th, Denikin formally declared the restoration of the Tsar’s throne in Russia, and recognized Kyril Romanov as the Tsar of All Russias [2]. The Russian Republic was dead, and in its place the Russian Empire emerged. In his first formal speech to the Russian populace, Tsar Kyril declared his intention to make “Russia respected once more”, in an apparent bid to reunify the former lands of the empire.

    This was certainly a blow for the liberals, progressives, and socialists in Russia. Nikolai Bukharin, in one of the underground newspapers for the Menshevik party, declared in his article:

    Quote Originally Posted by Nikolai Bukharin in the pro-Socialist Iskra newspaper
    With the Tsar and his cronies once again in control of Russia, the complete failure and betrayal of the Kerensky becomes apparent. In an opportunistic bid for power, he joined his party with the Kadets and the reactionary forces of the White Army to destroy the revolution, and then justified it by stating that a more “peaceful” transition from the old to the new was necessary. And here we are, just about 16 years later, and we have completely fallen back into the fold of reaction. Shame on the Socialist Revolutionaries and the Kadets in their misguided alliance with the forces of reaction- what has it landed us with? Hardly the republic they hoped for, much less the 'gradual transition' into the future.

    It is as such that I, along with the Mensheviks, Left Socialist Revolutionaries, and remaining Bolsheviks announce the formation of the Novye Bolsheviki [New Bolsheviks], a party open to all revolutionary socialists, be it Marxist or Syndicalist…

    Nikolai Bukharin

    The French were worried with developments in Russia- the new nation was obviously anti-Socialist, but it was worried of the possibility that the nation might ally with the German Empire. There was certainly the possibility that Russia might come into conflict with Germany over Eastern Europe, though it was also possible Germany could find a way to bring Russia into agreement with its objectives in Europe.

    In the Balkans, the region also showed signs of trouble. The uneasy peace that existed in the Balkans was shattered when a war broke out between Serbia and Albania. The war occurred after the Congress of Belgrade, which Serbia hosted, invited various powers in the region to discuss the cultural borders in the Balkans. Serbia’s intentions to reunify all Serbs under one flag became more and more apparent as discussions went on and ultimately declaring its claims on all of “Greater Serbia”. The first target of this was Albania with its control of Kosovo, which the government in Belgrade felt was rightfully Serb and not Albanian. On April 17th Serbia declared war on Albania and caused a chain of events which eventually saw Bulgaria intervening on behalf of Albania, while Romania and Greece both joined with Serbia in order to claim back territory from Bulgaria.

    The Balkan War

    On April 2nd, the Union of Britain formally announced that it would be hosting the Second Congress of the Syndicalist International in London in May. Britain had indicated a desire to do so at the closing of the First Congress- and now showed that it would indeed go through with it.

    The Union of Britain sent out its invitations to all the socialist nations of the world. The RSI accepted eagerly and set out to prepare for the conference. Like the previous years, a collection of major figures from the House of Commons would be chosen along with certain members of the government itself. However, President Togliatti chose not to go feeling it would be better for Gramsci to represent the RSI this time around.

    The rest of April went by rather quickly for the RSI. There were no pressing matters to take care of, and the American Civil War seemed to be showing promising gains for the Syndicalists. On May 30th, Gramsci and the rest of the delegation loaded a plane in Naples and departed for London- the Congress would certainly be an interesting one this year.

    __________________________________________________ _____________

    [1] Pirandello declared himself an apolitical man, but had reasonable warm ties with many figures in the government. Gramsci had been an enthusiastic supporter of Pirandello’s plays in the years before the Revolution, citing them a fine example of Italian culture and folklore and was essential in getting support within the government to back Pirandello’s cultural plays. Mussolini on the other hand reportedly enjoyed unofficial support from Pirandello, reportedly due to Pirandello’s feeling that the National-Syndicalists were the only ones who were concerned for the fate of Italians first and foremost.

    [2] The designation was chosen intentionally. The new government in Russia had full intentions to rebuild the broken empire, and using the designation in the Tsar’s formal title was indicative of that.
    Last edited by MercZ; 08-06-2011 at 04:06.
    Torch of the Mediterranean, a Kaiserreich-DH AAR, Weekly AAR Winner 6/19/11, Character Writer of the Week 2/26/12

    This is where I put some quotes

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