For every enemy defeated, an ally is gained. Sooner or later the Russians will fall - the odds they have to fight are just too much.
For every enemy defeated, an ally is gained. Sooner or later the Russians will fall - the odds they have to fight are just too much.
i finally managed to read it all it a really awesome AAR
what are your plans for the belgrade pact? are you going to DoW them soon, or wait till it's more clear that russia will collapse?
as you consider the balkans to be italian sphere of influence you might want to deal with them earlier so that the french won't try to meddle with your plans. btw make bulgaria part of yugoslavia!
Sorry for the late update guys. In between semester starting up again and, as much as I hate admitting it, Fus Roh Dah too much, I was slow in forming this. As the game goes beyond what the Kaiserreich team put in as far as events go in, it's fallen to me to try and form some appropriate events to try and get some things rolling. Thanks for the comments.
@Taylor- we will see. The problem I'm having is France seems to have simply run plum out of manpower. This is again with both an older version of KH and DH, where manpower grew a hell of a lot slower and drained alot more quickly. I'll have to peek through the save files to see if Russia is in the same boat though- from what I'm seeing they have fully reinforced divisions versus France's under-reinforced ones. Maybe the Americans will provide the necessary push? Germans seem to be producing a good amount of divisions but they are partying in Berlin. Might have to do something about that.
@gooy: Read it all? Glad to hear. As to the Belgrade Pact, we will see. Truth be told I'm not sure how long past the Second War I want to take this aar. The Belgrade Pact will definitely factor in any post-war politics though.
Anyways, without further ado,
The Eastern Front turned into a big problem for the war effort in the Commune of France, where what had been initially strong support for the war against Germany was turning into exhaustion and frustration. The war against Germany had one and only one saving factor, and that was the experience of the Great War on the French. There was no such animosity or desire to fight with the Russian Empire, despite being arguably even more reactionary than the German Empire before it.Originally Posted by Report on the Eastern Front, correspondent from L’Humanite, August 2nd 1945
Yet the Commune of France began to realize the crutch that holds back all great powers: exhaustion on the home front. The Commune of France had essentially been in a warlike state since its creation in the great revolution after the Great War, and people felt that with Mitteleuropa utterly destroyed, that the Syndintern could finally turn to peacetime concerns and allow people to live normal lives.
The other member nations of the Syndintern were not immune to this either. The Union of Britain already had an extraordinary Congress of the Trade Unions called that completely shook up the major positions of the government, bringing in a new wave of British politicians who were an embodiment of much of the frustration of the various councils in the Union of Britain, from the factories to the frontlines. The Combined Syndicates entry to the war was a controversial one in the country, everywhere from the streets to the Continental Chamber of Syndicates to the Central Committee itself, as the people had already become tired from the Civil War, more so as it neared its 10 year anniversary. The Combined Syndicates had been able to bring fresh troops and much needed supplies to the effort, though it was questionable whether it could be able to take the burden of carrying an increasingly tired Syndintern on its back. Spain suffered from the same drawbacks coming off its own Civil War only to get involved in an even greater war.
The Italian People’s Republic was no exception to this frustration. Along with the long time dominance of the same politicians within the government for a long time, Italy had already ‘achieved’ much fighting in the Balkans and in the Middle-East, and most of the people were fine with the unification of the country and the defeat of their arch-nemesis in the form of the Habsburg kingdom. The continued war against Russia proved to be unpopular among Italians, regardless of whether their soldiers were in the thick of the Eastern Front with the Russian Empire, or in the Caucasus with their new Middle-Eastern partners.
While not publically broadcasting its intents, the Syndintern High Command began to make fall-back plans in the event the Russian Empire would not fold. The plan was essentially a means to end the war with Russia through a peace while preventing it from getting a significant foothold in Eastern Europe.
Though they did not know it, Berneri’s assumption of Russia’s own internal problems proved to be true. Unknown to the Syndintern, Russia’s generals too were recognizing that they could not be able to make good on their claims up to the Oder River as a part of a new Russian Empire. Like their Syndintern counterparts, they instead hoped to move the Syndintern with defeats in the east to get them to relinquish parts of Eastern Poland and the Baltics to Russia’s control.Originally Posted by Declassified documents from a meeting of the Syndintern High Command, sometime in late July 1945
It was the Russians that struck first with a massive operation focused on the Baltics, coming off their success in Riga and focusing on dislodging Syndintern positions from Lithuania. The first such attack was on the predominately French garrisons occupying Wilno, which was already undermanned and running low on supplies. Freshly conscripted Russian soldiers were thrown against an increasingly dwindling presence in Wilno, creating a one-sided battle in which the Syndintern was forced to retreat from the destroyed city.
The battles that followed were marked by fierce fighting between the forces of the Syndintern, whose ranks were fast being filled by those from America, and the advancing waves of Imperial Russian troops. The fighting in Ukraine went on the defensive while the attention of the war turned to the Baltics, and Riga once again became a focal point for fighting between the two forces. Battlelines fluctuated such that it wasn’t uncommon for field hospitals to be filled with both Russian and Syndintern doctors working side by side who quit moving with their militaries as they retreated and retook cities, choosing to deal with the mass influx of wounded who would have otherwise been abandoned.
The front in the Caucasus was less fierce for the Italian-led effort there along with their new Arab, Kurdish, and Turkish allies. The fighting did not involve the back-and-forth that defined the war against Russia in Europe, mostly due to the mountainous terrain of the Caucasus. The Syndintern commanders in the region attempted an assault into the border regions of Russia, of what was once the Democratic Republic of Georgia. The attack ended at the city of Kutaisi in the interior of the country, and despite supply issues and a late take over by a Kurdish officer, the Syndintern forces finally managed to make their first step into the Caucasus in mid-October, 1945.
It was to be the last significant move on the Caucasus for the rest of the year though. With winter approaching and the mountainous terrain (not to mention poor infrastructure) proving even more troublesome for supply lines, the Italian command switched to a defensive orientation to hold their gains in southwest Georgia.
It was a different story for the Italian forces in the Eastern Front, who were now under the command of the French dominated Syndintern High Command. A counterassault opened up in late August aiming to take back losses from the Russians, focusing on the regions around Riga. The maneuver surprisingly worked, and by early September it appeared the Syndintern was on track to restore its former control of the Baltics. Anyone would be forgiven from that time from thinking so- many of the commentators in state-run presses in France, Britain, and Italy proclaimed the great success of the Syndintern in this feat. We, however, have the advantage of hindsight and can easily see the problem that was to come, the infamous “Riga Pocket” that formed in October, which essentially turned the areas around Riga into a hellish warzone that would become the subject of fierce and passionate debate for years to come.
The Riga Pocket
Taking a selection from one such recollection by a veteran of the war:
The Syndintern holdouts in Riga were finally relieved on December 15th when advancing forces from Klaipėda had linked up with those in Jelgava and from there made their way to the besieged city of Riga, bolstering its defenses and managing to repulse the Russians. It was of course not without great loss, but had prevented a nightmare scenario from developing among the nations in the Syndintern where Russia was in a position to threaten Poland and Germany. The disaster the soldiers faced in Riga was suppressed for some time though, and even the passage above was not published until nearly 15 years after when it was originally written in 1951, only seeing light after the relaxation of media laws during the 1960s in Italy. Even then, the name of the veteran was withheld out of fear he would be chastised by his fellow veterans for being a ‘coward’ , but like Gallo’s accounts helps us see a different side to the war beyond the version we receive in our ‘patriotic’ retellings.Originally Posted by Selections from “The Other War”
The Americans entering into Riga tell a similar story of exhausted battalions meeting up with them as they entered into the city, some of which had almost thought they were dreaming. Indeed, despite the constant connection and supplies through British supply lines by sea; a mood had set in among the soldiers that they were left to die. Had it been allowed to persist for a few more days, the results could have been catastrophic.
Riga’s rescue served to at least bolster faith in the war effort back on the home front, though there was still substantial exhaustion among the people. In Italy students in the universities had begun to stage small acts of protest against the continued conscription of their peers into the People’s Army, demanding that the current government begin looking into ending the war and returning their attention to the still relatively new reunited Italy. What would have been the perfect target for the SSDR operatives was ignored by the government, hoping not to exacerbate tensions In face of the coming elections as well as the marking of the 25th anniversary of the Republic. In private the Council of the Republic was sending almost daily requests to Berneri and the People’s Military to give them any updates as to when a feasible end of the war could be expected.
In the Caucasus forces still reported no progress beyond their capture of Kutaisi, and with winter already starting in the mountainous regions, it was not sure if any more could be expected. Thus the war now focused on securing the Baltic port cities and providing enough losses for the Russians to bring them to the table to end the war. There were still jingoistic voices in every country, from Mussolini in the National-Syndicalists to Mosley and his Maximists, demanding a ‘total war’ to destroy the remnants of reaction in Europe, but even their positions became untenable in time as people became less receptive to the years old war, and now yearned for some sort of closure to what had become a stream of dead names, those of their friends, family, and other close contacts.
Eastern Europe at the end of 1945
 Known as “Memel” in German-printed maps at the time
 It was not immediately clear who this Italian officer was. There was many Italian commanders of course, and the National-Syndicalists were quick to position Italo Balbo in this light, who was indeed present at the battle. Later evidence however suggests that the future Social-Reformist, Luigi Longo, may have been the man in question here. Why he never took credit for it is still unknown.
Hmm... with the Russians still undefeated, some kind of compromise will need to be found.
Maybe a neutral buffer state could be formed in Lithuania? And Poland's eastern border rounded off in some places, and pulled back in others? The Caucasus is worthless, and should only be treated as collateral for negotiations with the Russians.
Is the Internationale working on any strategic weapons?
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Still an excellent AAR.
THE CHANNEL TUNNEL DOES NOT WORK!
What is the situation in the Far East?
Wow. I wasn't expecting France to be so weak.
I am therefore officially rooting for a Franco-German strike on Russia, prompting the Soviets to strike back with their hitherto secret nukes. This will serve as a salutary lesson to all involved and leave everyone suitably chastened.-El Pip
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Sorry for another late update. Problem was trying to figure out a way to present this update and coding an appropriate event, along with other things popping up. But it's out... I'll try to get my next one out much more soon though I've said such things before
Chapter 14: The Riga Conference
[Editor’s Note: The following is from a historical novel set in the time, “The Proletarian Tribune”, concerning the personalities that worked as foreign ministers for the socialist governments that existed. This particular chapter deals with Pietro Nenni]Originally Posted by L’Unita, August 1945
Nenni looked up from the newspaper, shaking his head as he put it back down on the table in front of him. The paper was already some weeks old, so he had the advantage of hindsight in knowing the situation in the east was not as good. Looking out the window at the countryside rolling by, he wondered what would be the reaction of the citizens in France, in Italy, in Britain, even in America, when they find out that the war might be ending in a completely different way than they had expected. Not with flags flying over Petrograd, but a reluctant peace between two exhausted powers.
He sighed. People would think that he had seen this coming, had the inside scoop; He didn’t. Like many of the other nations of the Syndintern, Italy too had been hit with exhaustion over the war. The SSDR was busy in keeping tabs on student groups on the campuses back in Italy that the social-reformists were benefitting from, among papists in the north who were seeking to use the war’s controversy to their own ends, and even from the National-Syndicalist clubs within the military and other areas that felt the government had totally mishandled the war and was leading them to disaster.
The head of the People’s Military, Berneri, had told him the proceedings of the meeting in Berlin among the commanders of the major militaries in the Syndintern, but he was doubtful whether Tanguy and the rest of the French commanders could convince the Anarchiste government to end the war. This was their legacy, the final triumph over the Travailleurs and the destruction of the bourgeois society. They had to see this to the end.
And so the possibility of seeking a peace with Russia and ending the war was just that- a possibility. They had not considered it as the only path in meetings of the Council, so he was taken by surprise as was everyone else when Bordiga had announced to them that their counterparts in France had reluctantly agreed to try to pursue an end to the war. As far as the report from President Toglatti’s then-confidential meeting with Makhno would reveal, the French had begun getting worried about potential defections within the militaries of liberated zones in the former German and Austrian Empires turning against them if Russia managed to beat them in the Baltics. After the costly Battle of Riga and continuing problems from bombing raids launched from North Africa on France’s industrial centers, there was even more of a reason for France to realize that battles deep in Russia would be even more demanding and ever stretching the fronts further. Additionally, industry in Germany, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and elsewhere had yet to be repaired, leaving these regions to deal with serious problems in supply shortages and industrial disruption.
Ruggero Grieco had also informed them of the proceedings of a meeting with the various intelligence and security wings of the different Syndintern states. In Germany, the former realms of the Austrian Empire, and in North Italy reactionary groups had been busily organizing their groups, benefiting from opposition to the war that was channeled into a broader campaign against the socialist order. It was clear for everyone to see- unless a victory was produced, the war had to be stopped for the recent revolutions to be protected.
Nenni snapped out of his thoughts to look around the train carriage he was in. It was a simple carriage, requisitioned by the new government from the multitude of railcars left behind by the companies whose owners had either fled the country or were made to accept the nationalization of the railways. All things considered, with much of the roads and cars damaged in the west of Germany, Nenni was pleasantly relieved to see the almost pristine state of the railroad network. Throw in people, and it would have looked like everything was normal; hopefully it will get to that point again.
Outside the window, the plains of Pomerania rolled by as the train lazily made its way through, with the faint impression of the Baltic in the distance. The train was due to go to Königsberg where he was to go along with a military convoy to a meeting with other notables from the Syndintern where they would then proceed to Riga itself where they would hold the conference with their Russian counterparts.
In front of him, his impromptu work desk formed from a crate seated opposite him was filled with papers. Folders on important figures he could expect to meet from their contacts in the Baltics and their Russian counterparts were scattered about his booth. A copy of l'Unitŕ was laid against the wall of the train along with the German paper Die Rote Fahne. Admittedly, he was not fluent in German, but he understood enough to read the headlines and briefs. The young country was dealing with a host of problems- what to do with the Junkers and nobility who remained behind, how to smash the old structure and build up a new socialist one in its place, the long-term health of the joint FAUD-Spartacist alliance, and what the designs of the Socialist Unity platform are for the country.
There was a conundrum for the German Union when it came to the status of the Baltics, which contained a sizable amount of Germans who were settled there in larger numbers during the days of the United Baltic Duchy. A visible tension between these settlers and the nobility with the more native Latvians, Estonians, and Lithuanians was apparent and continuing to grow, and it was difficult to effectively resolve the dispute. Inevitably the Syndintern began to support the native movements in the region, who viewed the German settlers and the nobility as exploiters who were occupying their lands. It was difficult for the German Union to justify to the population this practice, many of whom would understandably be more sympathetic to their German kin. Such a sentiment was being manipulated by those opposed to the new order, and it was rumored that the Socialist Unity platform had begun to champion the cause as a part of their call for the German Union to withdraw from the Syndintern military agreements.
He looked at L’Unita’s second page which dealt with events outside of Europe, which had unsurprisingly been taking up much of the paper’s space on the front page detailing the victories of the Syndintern in the east, in the Caucasus, and in Africa. The most interesting one was that of South Africa, where the syndicalists in Brazil had finally made a breakthrough in the long, static conflict with La Plata. Undoubtedly this had to have resulted from the shortfall in supplies and ammunition La Plata faced with the end of the German Empire as a major military power in the world. No one had expected this to occur, and in fact some Syndicalists had feared Brazil would buckle in the face of relentless La Plata assaults.
The reporter was enthusiastic in his details of the fall of Buenos Aires to the invading Brazilian forces, of their previous liberation of Montevideo and their reception by the gracious citizens of the city that had long been oppressed by the machinations of the military dictatorship of Justo.
Nenni had expected the Brazilian syndicalists to present peace agreements to La Plata after the fall of Buenos Aires. Those that he had presented was in line with what the Syndintern had formulated before- Montevideo and Paraguay to be reformed as ‘autonomous’ republics with the rump of La Plata being reconstituted as a friendly Argentina. Brazil had apparently decided against this move, choosing to instead continue the war towards an unconditional surrender. A waste, though understandable considering how much time and resources had already been poured into the war with little results until then.
As South America had surprised observers, so too had events in South Asia. The Bharatria Commune had received significant aid from the Syndintern to industrialize and strengthen itself, and yet when the time came to exploit instability in the Princely Federation, it was not able to affect a revolution and instead got a war with the government. A war that should have been completed inn a matter of months was now taking years with no signs of letting up, though the Princely Federation was less isolated in regional trade than the Bharatria Commune had been; and then the Delhi Kingdom watching the two like a vulture, waiting for the most opportune time to strike.
Their comrades in Vietnam had survived the war against Germany, but now had to be faced with yet another colonial power in the form of Japan, which occupied much of the south of Indochina. Their contacts with the Vietnamese revolutionaries indicated the Japanese were preparing to liberate a client state to counteract the syndicalists in the north. It was not clear whether the Japanese would create a republic or a monarchy, but it mattered little- the Syndintern would have to deal with the question of Japan and its hegemony over East Asia in the future.
Inevitably his mind drifted to the question that plagued all in the governments of the Syndintern- where would the world be in the future? Was it something they could be comfortable with, something that would ensure the longevity of their revolution? Was it practical for their system to ‘coexist’ with the capitalism that had yet to be squashed in the rest of the world?
The ugly realities that would arise from the war would probably lead to problems for the Anarcho-Syndicalists in Italy. Hell, who was he kidding- it will cause problems. The social-reformists could now argue that the war had been too taxing, too draining on the country and emphasis needed to be brought back to consumer goods. National-Syndicalists could argue that the Synidntern war policies had been hindered by ‘anarchist’ interference in war policy that Totalism would have been able to transcend and effectively obliterate all enemies to socialism.
They too could point to the failures in the domestic realm. The leader of the Papal regiments in North America was never found nor identified, proving to be a poor reflection of the young SSDR agency’s capabilities and level of professionalism. The Pope was in exile in Ireland, an odd place for the Pontiff, but considering the nation’s cooperation with the Catholic Church and the only remaining ‘Catholic’ nation in Europe, it was the only possibility for him. The Catholic Church was still able to operate within the new Italy, though without the impressive resources or structures that the Vatican provided, but the problems of trying to fight back against the influence of the Church among the people would prove to be a problem they would have to face for many years to come.
Deep in thought, Nenni did not notice the arrival and departure of one of his aides who politely deposited another folder full of documents and papers on his table. Taking a look inside the folder, he saw that it was a summary of the events in the Eastern Front. The massive counterattack had paid off which had, along with the movements of the Union of Britain Republican Navy in the Baltics, resulted in the retreat of Russian forces from areas they had just recently occupied.
The most notable battle took place in the outskirts of Wilno on March 3, where a French-led force managed to push out a Russian force, catching them off-guard and unprepared. On the heels of that victory the Syndintern drove north towards Tallinn and maintained a strong defensive line against any further progress of the Russian military into Poland.
An operation into North Africa was launched concurrently with the counterattack in the Baltics in order to relieve the strains faced by the British in the southwest areas of the National French territories. A naval invasion targeting Tunis was launched from Italian bases in Sicily in March, successfully ejecting the defense garrison there and coming close to the administrative heart at Algiers.
The pressure on National France was also tied back to Russia itself. While the National French government in Africa was not formally tied to the British monarchist-led Entente, its fate could potentially lead to a successful end of hostilities with the whole of the Entente, as it would effectively eliminate the last, original member of the group.
Soon enough, Tallinn itself was captured by advancing Syndicalist forces, moving battle lines close to Petrograd itself. When that occurred and the first bomb raids began to arrive over Moscow and Petrograd, the Syndintern High Command soon got a request for ceasefire negotiations from their Russian counterparts.
Eastern Front in the Summer of 1946
To the observer nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary. Russian and Syndintern forces still took up their positions in the Baltics, giving the impression of a continued conflict. In reality the two were merely holding at positions while negotiations took place for a conference. Those who were wise to this fact took opportunity to use the Baltics as a corridor to slip from Russia to the Syndintern, and the Syndintern to Russia. From the new socialist states the remnants of the nobility and sympathizers from the populace streamed eastward, hoping to settle in the Baltics or offer their services to the Russian Empire. From the Russian Empire Poles, Jews of all sorts, intellectuals, and former members of the New Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, and the Socialist-Revolutionaries came westward, settling where they could.
Looking outside his window how could see a small convoy of civilians, probably those who were fleeing the recent Russian annexation of White Ruthenia and its subsequent imposition of Russification policies. He was sure he’d see the other types of people too; those who rejected the new socialist order and chose to flee to Russia. On both sides the stories of atrocities and oppression were given, and their new hosts spread it to blast their rival. Of course he would be predisposed to the opinions of the Syndintern, but Nenni felt that the Syndicalist bloc would be better suited to the development of all mankind, as opposed to the self-centered and chauvinistic policies of the Russians.
He would however have to put on his mask of courtesy when talking to the Russians in the meeting. They would, of course, do the same.
The train arrived at Königsberg early in the morning, and from there Nenni entered into a convoy led by Italian forces moving towards Riga. The environs around Königsberg were relatively unscathed, save for a few signs of visible damage from air raids by Russian bombers. The entry to the Baltic warzones occurred once they had passed Klaipeda, which served as one of the main checkpoints into the Baltic warzones.
Seated in the back of one of the armored vehicles, Nenni took a look through the dossiers provided to him on the political situation in the Baltics. The political grouping being formed by the Syndintern was a big-tent party for all ‘socialist’ groups in the area under the banner of the Baltic Social Democratic Labor Party. While ostensibly a party open to all, it was by and large mostly formed from Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians with Baltic Germans only a rarity in the group. Those had largely affiliated themselves to the various conservative outfits in the country which were more independent as was the case of the largest group the Liberal Party, which favored a non-aligned path and closer ties with Finland and the neutral Scandinavian states of Sweden and Norway. The last was the so-called “Patriotic Party”, formed from elite nobles of both local and German extraction, which was more pro-Russian and fiercely anti-Syndicalist.
The elite Baltic Germans in particular were a source of problems for the Syndintern, especially those who had held positions of power under the United Baltic Duchy. They had recalled an earlier time when they were in service to the Tsar and accordingly saw the revived Russian Empire as something they could work with again. Better than going back to the new Germany where their titles would not be recognized, at least. The Russian Empire, for its part, also saw the Baltic Germans as an established class they could work with in reintegrating the Baltics into the Empire.
He did not envy Liebknecht’s job of having to try and deal with any potential fallout from the position towards the German settlers in the Baltics, who were undoubtedly going to be at the center of attention for the Baltic groups’ agitation, for their ‘independence’ from both German and Russian rule. They would try their best though to encourage cooperation and coexistence, as they had done in Yugoslavia.
In the meantime, the battle lines in the Baltics established a currently French-occupied region which was closely working with a body claiming to represent a Baltic government.
Riga was tabled to host the negotiations between the Syndintern and Russia. Or at least a community on its outskirts that avoided the carnage and destruction that the fighting had brought to the region. He was not entirely sure where it was, but his aide had informed him that it was taking place in an old palace of a noble who had fled to Petrograd when fighting approached the region.
He quickly reviewed the notes to make sure he was familiar with the representatives from the Baltic community and the Russian foreign ministry; names he had heard many time but had never met before. He had an interpreter with him to translate from Russian and German, as well as the languages spoken in the Baltics when the need arose. The rest would be up to him to work closely with his counterparts from the Syndintern in formulating an appropriate agreement between the two parties to end the fighting.
He looked outside as they made their way past the checkpoint into the warzone, and saw a caravan of people trying to follow behind them, hoping to take refuge in the region. He was surprised that even without a formal announcement of what would occur in the region, the ‘refugees’ were certain they could use the yet-to-exist polity as a transit point to Russia and beyond. He shook his head, reminded of the attempts by the clergy in Italy to lead an exodus out of the old republic to the Italian Federation by way of Anzio, a crisis that nearly provoked an early war with Northern Italy, Austria, and very well Germany. One that the late Gramsci had resolved on his own as much of the government was away in the First Congress of the Third International in Paris.
Thinking back on the times Nenni realized that the 25th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic had passed by quietly in the country. The headlines on April 25th that year had marked the occasion, with Bordiga giving the same speech he had done in 1921 over the radio declaring the republic and lauding the achievements they had made sense then in the second Risorgimento. The war had occupied much of Italy’s attention, and the celebration was delayed to later that year- potentially November- to also commemorate the revolution of 1917, of Lenin and his Bolsheviks so long ago.
And yet here they were many years later (almost 30, amazingly!), unable to rekindle what Lenin had done in Russia. An utter betrayal to their comrades in Russia who awaited their revolution that was so cynically stolen by the Germans to come again once more, red flags unfurled over the palaces, the prisons emptied, and the people freed…
He shook himself out of the remorse. It was not healthy to think like this, especially ahead of a meeting with the Russians. He looked across him to some younger men playing scopone, absorbed so deeply in the game that they had seemingly forgotten why they had been there in the first place. He asked them for their names and where they hailed from.
“Mario, from Bari”
“Alessandro, from Messina”
All young men from the south of Italy; when he asked them for their age, they had all answered that they were younger than 25. It was almost disarming to Nenni- these were men who had never known anything but the Republic, having never lived under the Kingdom, or born in the Federation. They had so far only known the revolutionary republic, the socialist republic.
More embarrassingly, save for the brief tenure of G.M. Serrati, he among the other members of the Anarcho-Syndicalists are all they have ever known as a government. It was sobering to think that he had already served the entirety of some of these young adult’s life spans. The matter was brought up before the Congress in 1941, and it was decided that in the 1946 Congress regardless of the outcome, new blood would eventually be brought in to replace the old guard. Togliatti and Bordiga had selected their own pupils, their own followers as potential successors. And a first, as embarrassing it was to them, there would be finally women in the higher positions in the government. Indeed one of Togliatti’s candidates for the position of Chairman- or rather, Chairwoman- was an up and coming partisan who operated in the underground in the Federation before unification. A young woman to boot, only having just turned 26 in April. The name escaped Nenni at the moment, but it was a reminder that their time was almost up.
The checkpoint was behind them, and the plains of the Baltics lay before the convoy. Nenni went back to reading his papers.
The arrival in Riga presented Nenni with a firsthand view of the devastation in the city. Much of the old city was damaged, its medieval charm giving way to an urban waste. Somewhere in the city he was told some Baltic notables were holding a Constituent Assembly of sorts to decide on a constitution and the first parliament of their body, which was allowed to proceed without interference by the Syndintern military administrators. Nenni had found it interesting that the conference was allowed to go without any apparent rigging by the French, despite the Russians clearly not in the position to do anything about it.
Nenni arrived at an old hotel where he met with many familiar faces- Floyd Olson of the Combined Syndicates, Karl Liebknecht of the German Union, Ernest Bevin of the Union of Britain (who replaced the old Niclas y Glais during an extraordinary meeting of the Congress of the Trade Unions), Sartre from France, Andres Nin of Spain, and several others representing observing nations of the Syndintern. It would be up to them to talk with their Russian counterparts as well as the representatives of the British monarchy in exile arriving from Australasian to agree to an end to hostilities between their blocs.
Debates took place through the night when many of them should have been sleeping to prepare for the conference. Few of them could shake off their nerves and chose instead to share and argue over the political trends of the Syndintern. The major issue seemed to be Totalism, which bothered all of the delegates equally. Nenni could sympathize, he had long been apprehensive of the National-Syndicalists in Italy despite Mussolini’s role in the early days of the Republic . Olson’s reports from the Combined Syndicates were concerning to Nenni- President Reed was reportedly getting worse in health and the battle in the Central Committee was evolving into one between the Totalist William Z. Foster on one end and the more orthodox Benjamin Gitlow on the other.
Before he knew it, the meeting with the Russians came. They were escorted by a Syndicalist column to the abandoned palace where they were meeting with their Russian counterparts, who they saw arrive under a similar arrangement. With their guards taking up positions throughout the building and on the grounds, the delegates proceeded to the reception chamber to begin their meeting. Nenni took note of the dusty interior, which had surprisingly survived looting. There was a painting that caught his eye, a grandiose depiction of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s grand speech to the people of Berlin of the great victory in the First World War, the promise of a new order, the end to the hell of 1791 in France and its bastard offspring of 1917 in Russia. Fittingly, the obnoxiously bright painting was dim and dark now, just like the promise of those reactionary times.
Hopefully a similar repeat would not occur with the Syndicalist new order.
Nenni had expected the deliberations to be long, but not to the extent that it was beginning to take after three days into the conference. There was still little progress on the exact borders of Poland with Russia, as the Empire demanded that certain parts of White Ruthenia and Galicia-Lodomeria be integrated into Russia. The matter of the Baltic States did not proceed smoothly either, with the Russians demanding the new polity be subservient to it in a manner similar to the United Baltic Duchy and the German Empire.
The Russians were clearly more determined to salvage their eastern border and hoped to use the Baltic States as a bargaining chip. The Syndintern in turn wanted to retain those eastern territories to be annexed into the Polish syndicate. Admittedly, the Russians had no grounds to argue that the Baltics should be given to them as they had been pushed completely out of the region, and indeed much of their western ramparts were occupied by the Syndintern.
At the same time though, such a situation was not likely to last long. The Russians had a larger pool of conscripts than the Syndintern could hope to muster from their own drafts, and Syndintern attacks had been unable to reach their industries in the interior of the country. Nenni and the rest were responsible for ensuring that the Russians were not wise to the fact that the Syndintern were not as strong as it seemed at that moment.
What was uncomfortable for Nenni was that being the most ‘senior’ of the foreign ministers, he was unwillingly put into a position of ‘leadership’ on the part of the Syndintern in the negotiations. His Russian counterpart was Prince Vladimir Galitzine, an old Russian who had lived through the first kingdom, the Republic, Denikin’s transitional dictatorship, and the resurrected monarchy. The man was only a few years older than Nenni himself, but appeared to be much older than he indicated.
Nenni used the man’s nobility to his advantage. The man had of course only been in his position in a light of blind luck, having seen Denikin not only decide to restore the monarchy but many of the nobility’s privileges that the Republic had restricted. It was unlikely to occur to begin with- why bother pursuing a war when they had more pressing matters to work with at home?
Some could accuse him of being heartless in trying to manipulate the Russian noble to repress his population at home, but from Nenni’s point of view the lack of a revolution to appear in Russia as the war turned against the country made it unlikely something to the scale of Lenin could occur once again. All contact had been lost with Bukharin in the past year, and it was unsure whether Bukharin had perished or not. The best hope would be for Bukharin to escape to the Baltics and meet up with Syndintern forces there.
But back to the concern with the detached prince; Nenni would later recount his surprise at the Prince’s near total lack of concern for the war. As Nenni told him one thing after another, the prince shrugged it off. Nenni had almost forgotten that the nobility in these countries were intrinsically self-serving and rarely ‘sacrifice’ as much as the peasants and workers they threw into the front lines. Admittedly Nenni had never so much ‘fought’ himself, but he had been on the frontlines many times. As far as his aides told him, the Prince had rarely left his apartment in Petrograd, making only occasional trips to his palace somewhere in the outskirts of the same city.
The prince only reacted to his arguments about domestic turmoil, so Nenni continued to press on that. He reminded him of the implosion Austria had faced after the fall of the Habsburgs, with Vienna being sacked by revolutionary red guards- would he want the same thing to happen once again in Petrograd? Nenni reminded the Prince that Italian forces were progressing slowly through the Caucasus and soon would enter into the Volga plains in the south- then a two front war would become a reality. And what of the designs of Japan? Could Russia expect their ages-long foe to ignore the opportunity?
“You would be suicidal to continue this war” was the message Nenni essentially presented. Hopefully they did not know that the Syndintern was also in similar, dire straits with their industry and manpower stretched to the limit.
The Russian camp eventually recognized the desired borders set with Poland after being assured that their gains in White Ruthenia would be recognized. The Baltic States took longer, with several days passing until an agreement was reached over the status of the Baltics. The first agreement was that the Baltics would be created as a confederation of three states- Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia that would have a government formed along Republican standards, with no significant expropriation of nobility land titles in the region. However, the right to trade union organization would be recognized, as would essential working rights.
The important part of the agreements on the Baltic States came over its allegiance; with neither being able to agree to who would form the government, it was decided that the Baltic States would effectively be neutral, aligned to neither the Syndintern or Entente . Both parties were to sign non-aggression pacts with the Baltic Confederation and recognize its independence, as well as rights to transit for Russian, Polish, and German Union trade to the ports.
The Baltic Confederation
The specifics were hammered out over the course of the following weeks, but by the beginning of September, an agreement was reached. The hostilities between the Syndintern and the Entente would cease, though National France would fall outside of that agreement.
Nenni felt that the prince would smugly claim that he had preserved the territorial integrity of the Empire; he knew though that he would read one day the Prince would be put out to pasture in favor of another member of the nobility. The lack of direct control over Baltic Ports would prove to be very infuriating to the Tsar- but at the end, was there really any other choice?
The Commune of France in particular took a sigh of relief. Though Makhno was not pleased with the inability to liberate his comrades in Ukraine, as were the other Russian émigrés living in the Commune, the time had come for peace and reconstruction of the new order in Europe. The war against the remnants of Germany and National France continued, but peace on the continent was secured. And so the long task of reconstruction and creation of the socialist order could begin unimpeded.
And for Nenni, that meant the delayed Congress of the Greater Italian Union was going to be put back on the table, more than likely after the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the republic. However, the nature of the ‘peace’ agreement with the Russians in Riga would mean that their enemies from the Social-Reformists and the National-Syndicalists would have ample fuel to use against them.
It was going to be a long trip back to Warsaw where the Italian regiments in Europe were gathering before deploying back to Italy itself. In a way Nenni was unsure what he would do with the busy requests from the news agencies across the world over the negotiations. It was not something he looked forward to, not at all.
On his way back to his lodging, Nenni was met with one of his aides who informed him that while he was away, a group of New Bolsheviks delivered a substantial cargo to them before disappearing back into the woods. Nenni naturally inquired if Bukharin was among them- the aide was not sure. Shrugging, Nenni took a look in the box and was surprised by what he saw- rare manuscripts preserved from the Bolshevik archives from the brief revolutionary periods: voluminous texts from Lenin, Plekhanov, translations of Karl Marx and Engels, Karl Kautsky, and much more; texts that certainly would have been forgotten if not destroyed had they not been taken out of Russia and with it all its history. It would be a great addition to the libraries in Italy and give a reason for travelers to come to the central archives being formed at the main archives in Rome and Naples.
He looked through one of the books that looked newer than the rest- a manuscript of something called the “ABCs of Communism” that Bukharin had wrote in his younger years. It would certainly be kept protected by the Italians, and would probably be greeted with joy from the remnants of the Marxist period in the Anarcho-Syndicalists, like himself, Togliatti, Bordiga, and others.
At least he could say that he did something good for the Russians.
 This was removed from the publication run at the time due to concerns of war exhaustion among the populace. The cited document is from an unedited document available from the archives of L’Unita.
 Nenni forgets to mention of course, that he had supported entry of Italy into WWI along with Mussolini. His opinion of Mussolini only soured afterwards for a variety of reasons, still debated among historians to this day as Nenni never explicitly stated why he grew cold towards Mussolini.
 Of course this did not mean that both powers did not try to influence the politics of the country. To the contrary both were busy as soon as the agreement was reached trying to influence the results of the first parliamentary elections at the beginning of the following year, and for years afterwards.
I was hoping Poland would get their eastern border pushed a little more into Russia. It seems like the Syndicalists didn't gain much at all, except making Russia weaker.
Russia was strong and good! One against all those syndie dogs. Hope next war Russia will nuke back fairly
Vox populi - vox Dei
could you show the rest of the new borders ?
What of the Damocles Project? I'll have to check and see if either Britain or France, even the CSA, had worked towards developing nukes if not had them completed already. My AI in here's been a bit wonky, but I am using an older version of KH and DH.
the polish border might be tricky because it depends what are your conditions for an area to be within a country. in OTL the border regions were usually totally mixed ethnically and could go either way. i have no idea what are the numbers of poles outside of poland in kaiserreich. i would guess that since there was a rump polish state, a number of poles would emigrate to poland from the neighboring countries (germany, lithuania, belarus).
i would probably leave the border with germany as it was in 1936 in OTL plus danzig for poland. this way there would probably be a huge german minority in poland, as the western provinces were probably heavily germanized between 1918 and 1940. as for the eastern part it depends wheter or not you want to release belarus and/or ukraine. i think you have enough land to create belarus. i also think that since makhno is the HoS in CoF a small west-ukrainian republic would make sense.
on the other hand you can just integrate whatever leftovers you have into poland to have a stronger ally, but this would create another yugoslavia with possible nationalistic tensions in the future.
The matter of Polish borders has caused a problem for me due to what the dynamics may or may have not been as a result of a Rump polish state formed after WWI ITTL, with some potential population centers being divided up among Germany, Austria's Galicia-Lodomeria puppet, and White Ruthenia. I want to try and avoid making a Poland to the size of the one IOTL, but I'm not sure as to how far east it can go without it doing that.
I did not think about a potential Ukrainian state made up from some of the western chunks though. I may very well do that and do a slight retcon of the previous update- where would be a logical capital for this "Free State" of sorts to be based in if it were to be made in the West? I guess a potential Belarus buffer might work too.
I'm personally, when reaching this stages of the game, when you can easely push whenever enemy with your allies or even alone, i just editing save file to give'em manpower and reducing troops building time by 10 times or so (for land powers) and air/naval building time for naval powers, USA japan etc. That when fun starts, and total conquest scenario fading away quickly
Vox populi - vox Dei