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Thread: Der Aufstieg des GroBdeutschen Reich

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    Der Aufstieg des GroBdeutschen Reich

    Der Aufstieg des Großdeutschen Reich



    A History of the Rise of the Greater German Reich
    (A German Historical AAR)


    Though much has been written of the subject, few of the German-language primary source texts have been translated for foreign consumption. For the first time, the Reich's Education and Historical Ministry have flung open their doors to the premier students of the greatest conflict and allowed them to assemble in a cognitive work that will surely rank amongst the greatest historical works of the most famous authors of all time--Herodotus, Thucydides, Livy, Caesar, Mahan, Massie, and others.

    * * * * *

    Table of Contents

    1. The Twenty Year Armstice: The Interbellum Period and the Strategic Situation up to January 1936
    2. Setting Up for Success: The World and Germany, 1936
    3. Forging the Spear: Strategic Planning for the Wehrmacht, 1936
    4. First Successes, First Setbacks: Österreich, Spain and the Second Sino-Japanese War, 1937
    5. The "Cold" War: Munich, Vienna and the Influence Wars, 1938

    * * * * *


    Author's Note: This is going to be a mixed "Gameplay/Roleplay" Historical AAR. I, as the player, will not be doing (much) gamey stuff; I find it rather repugnant to min/max divisions or anything like that, but I do recognize the limits of the game. I will be avoiding talking about what my actual in-game choices are as far as diplomacy, technology and intelligence are when I make them because technically these sorts of events would not actually cause an effect until later (for instance, when a technology pops, or influencing public opinion overseas). Hopefully, I can keep people entertained and intrigued!

    Basic Game Info: HoI3-SF2.04f, Normal/Normal, CaptRobau’s Historical Flags Mod, Personal APP-6A Counters Mod
    Last edited by Wraith11B; 21-10-2011 at 01:03.

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    1. The Twenty Year Armstice
    Weimar Germany, The Interbellum Period and the Strategic Situation

    January 1936


    Upon being informed of the terms of the Versailles treaty, French Field Marshall Foch told the reporters nearby, “This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years.” Though the rise of the German NDSAP party is well-known, less well-known is how well the abortive Weimar Republic and Versailles Treaty prepared the Großdeustches Reich for the wars that followed.


    Generalfeldmarschall von Seeckt, founder of the Reichswehr and the reason that the
    Heer had such success.


    When Hitler assumed power in 1933, one of his first meetings was with a retired Imperial and Reichswehr Army officer, von Seeckt. Generalfeldmarschall von Seeckt had headed the Reichswehr in the immediate post-war period from 1920 until his forced retirement in 1926, due to political issues arising from a minor disagreement over the allowance of the former Crown Prince to wear a uniform and participate in an Army exercise. Von Seeckt had built the cadre of what Hitler wanted: the best trained (though not quite the best equipped, yet) and best drilled army in the World at the time. Hitler listened intently to what the old soldier had to say, and listened well. The first lesson was that he immediately digested was that the Army needed to be free of political control—on the field of battle there was no room for the politics. He pointed out that had the Army been politicized, Hitler himself might not have ever come to power.


    Adolf Hitler, Chancellor and future Fuhrer


    The second lesson was one that Hitler didn’t absorb as easily. Von Seeckt urged Hitler to ensure that whoever he chose to assist in the governance of Germany needed to be well-briefed, and there would need to be clearly-delineated chains of command and far more (and better) organized leadership mechanisms in the NSDAP party than what von Seeckt had seen. Though he didn’t immediately take it into account, by late 1935, Hitler recognized the truth of von Seeckt’s words, and began a reorganization of nearly half of the Government.


    NSDAP Nuremberg Rally, 1933.


    The final lesson was more of a plea than an actual lesson: Seeckt told Hitler that whatever his foreign policies, the positions of the United States and the Soviet Union would be decisive. There was nothing that Seeckt considered more important: he himself had developed the contacts within the Soviet Union that allowed the Germans to operate Armor and Aviation schools in Russia to circumvent Versailles. He pointed out the decisive nature of the Americans in the previous war, but also noted that though the Americans had fought against Germany, that they had been very much against the harsh nature of Versailles, indeed, he pointed out that Hitler himself had received much support from Americans—support that Hitler could not have done without.


    Heinkel biplanes in Lipetsk. This training center allowed the Luftwaffe to start with experienced aviators.


    These three lessons concluded the meeting, and Hitler—according to his diary—left feeling very much humbled by the old soldier. The next day he initiated a defense review, seeking to get a firm handle on the state of the Reichswehr and Reichsmarine. One of the primary concerns of these forces in the interbellum period was the creation of a center to analyze and digest the lessons the previous war gave. By 1935, nearly 400 officers were pouring over every aspect of the previous war; every campaign, every order and every decision was thoroughly analyzed, documented, and disseminated to officers at every level. The Reichswehr was far advanced in this compared to the British, who gave the task to a single young officer who had not been in the previous war, or the French who failed to even bother with a comprehensive review.


    Hitler's cabinet, 1933. Though still (ostensibly) under the leadership of Hindenburg, Hitler's cabinet
    had operational freedom over it's actions for the entire period.


    After his meeting with von Seeckt, Hitler immediately called a meeting of his cabinet to lay out the objectives of his Reich. He told the assembled membership the desired objectives of the Reich: recovery of all original German lands that had been lost to the Treaty of Versailles and a Union with the Osterreich and all other German peoples. Hitler laid out his plans in the order in which he believed that they should be completed, as well as what the likelihood of the international reactions to Germany’s moves that might lead to war.


    The map used to identify those areas that Germany needed to recover from other nations.


    First on the list was for an “Anschluss” with the Fuhrer’s homeland of Austria. This portion of the plan had already been initiated within the Abwehr. By surreptitiously funding the Austrian NSDAP, as well as causing low-level disruptions to various state organs, Hitler figured that within four years he could have Austria practically begging to be allowed into the Reich. This was a flagrant violation of the Treaties of Versailles and Saint-Germain-en-Laye; the texts of both of these documents had clauses that prohibited the union of Germany and Austria. It was generally understood by those in the Weimar government that Great Britain by this time viewed the Versailles Treaty as a failure anyways—their support to the Treaty of Locarno, which the British hoped would lead those nations that had gained territory at the expense of Germany to return it peacefully—and so they would likely not view any direct threat from Germany simply doing what she wished within their own territory as a serious threat.


    "The People Vote YES!" Pro-Anschluss propaganda poster for the Osterreich.


    The second territorial objective that would likely not result in a wider European war was over the Sudetenland. Though backed (ostensibly) by France and Poland, the Franco-Polish and Franco-Czech alliances were relatively inactive, mostly due to French indifference towards Polish and Czech industries and the lack of economic benefits. As it was, the Czechs would (hopefully) see the light once the economic recovery began in Germany and would be less likely to invoke their defensive pact with their Western ally. Hitler deemed the possibility of war with the Czechs as likely, but not as likely as some of the other territorial demands of his.

    Other low-level territorial demands were held against the Belgians over Eupen-Malmedy, who had essentially intimidated the local German-speaking population of the provinces into not voting against annexation by Belgium; the Lithuanians over Memel, who had—with French approval—annexed Memelland without even a rigged plebisicite; and against Denmark over the northern portion of Schleswig who had by far the most fair plebisicite, though Hitler desired the return of all German lands to the Reich. Of these three objectives, only Lithuania would likely not result in a war with the Reich’s neighbors; Lithuania wanted a guarantee against the rising power of the Soviet Union and Poland, a guarantee that they only viewed Germany as being able to provide. The Belgians—as in the previous war—were sure to be supported by France and Great Britain, and Hitler wanted to avoid that for as long as possible. The Danes would likely fight briefly and bravely, but ultimately would eventually cave to German demands.

    The last major demands of the Reich would center on those lands that had been subsumed by the Poles—Danzig and West Prussia—and the French—Elsass-Lothringen. Both of these were certain to provoke a war, though the scope and duration would likely differ depending on whether or not France and Britain would stand by Poland.


    [i]Propaganda Postal Stamps about Danzig. Bringing propaganda into every aspect of German life
    helped the Reich build a consensus for their later actions.


    To further these goals, it was plain to the assembled leaders of Germany that She would need allies. But where would they come from? Italy, though governmentally similar to the new Reich, was a signatory to Locarno; furthermore, few in the room believed that Italy was stable enough for inclusion. They did not fail to note, however, that the geography of the world was such that Italy was uniquely placed to control the Mediterranean. Portugal was an option: their bases in the Atlantic would assist in any naval actions in the Atlantic, but the nation was small and her overseas possessions were likely to be quickly subsumed by the British. Hungary, Romania and the rest of the Balkans were considered possibilities, but were rather weak. Scandinavia was viewed as largely better off kept as friendly neutrals.

    Moving into the Middle East and Asia, Turkey and Persia were considered, as both were in geographically helpful locations; their contributions would likely help disperse British focus from the main theaters of operations. Japan was a solid contender for an ally: she was already facing down the Chinese—it was only a matter of time before they were at war again. They had a massive and experienced navy, and could cut off the Americas from the Eurasian and African continents.

    The United States was not ignored. Indeed, if they could convince the United States that the Allies were the aggressors in any future war, they might even assist or enter the war on Germany’s side. At the very least, if the Allies declared war against the Reich, America was unlikely to involve itself in a European conflict.

    To these ends, Hitler gave his ministers several weeks to develop jointly a cohesive plan with regards to securing the aforementioned objectives. He required that all branches of government work together on the assumption that if the foreign and intelligence (that is to say, those ministries controlling the “short-of-war” options) failed, the operation would rapidly have to be turned over to the military.

    When the plan was presented to the Fuhrer three weeks later, the briefing material was nearly five hundred pages; the document, titled, “Zukünftige Ausländische Überlegungen des Großdeutschen Reich” (Future Foreign Considerations of the Greater German Reich) presented four different operational courses for the possibility of the expansion of the Reich. The over-arching concern was when it would be determined that Germany would be ready for the outbreak of war. Von Neurath had suggested that the temperament of the various nations that were considered to be likely enemies of the Reich would need to be tested by various means—mostly, in his opinion by the gradual repudiation of Versailles. By first gauging how the Reich’s neighbors and the world reacted to certain steps along the path to the reemergence of Germany, they could better tailor the future moves to the best outcomes for Germany.

    When prompted for a suggestion, von Neurath suggested that a withdrawal from the League of Nations was the first move in any of the four considered courses of action. Citing the abandonment of the League by Japan in March, the appearance of the international body was that of the toothless paper tiger. Given the current political climate in Germany, it was likely that few of the population would actually regret such a decision.


    Konstantin von Neurath, architect of the Reich's Foreign Policy.


    Concurrently, the German Intelligence Service, the Abwehr, was tasked with providing support for the foreign policies. The cabinet’s focus was given to three countries: Austria, France and Poland. Captain Patzig, a Reichsmarine officer who had been appointed head of the Abwehr in June 1932, recommended that the intelligence arm initiate several covert operations to counter the French attempts to reestablish the “Cordon Sanitaire”.


    Captain Konrad Patzig, Head of the Abwehr from 1932-1935.


    The briefing continued, but much of what was covered was speculative, especially considering that the NDSAP was still new in office, and was still under many restrictions from having other parties in the government, as well as the estimation from the Abwehr of dozens of enemy agents inside the country required the assembled ministers to consider that their options would have to be completely covert. A new service, staffed by several volunteers from the Abwehr, called the Geheimdienst. Most of the volunteers were officially retired from the Abwehr, and enrolled in various low-level civil service jobs in several different offices. They planned their operations in their local beer halls, to avoid the appearance of anything other than a group of men just discussing random topics.

    These first plans were immediately put into effect. On 16 October 1933, Konstantin von Neurath announced at a press conference of the intent of Germany to not return to any future meetings of the League of Nations. France and the United Kingdom lodged formal complaints, but refused to respond actively to the situation. For the Geheimdienst, they began acquiring the tools they would require for their planned operations. For weapons, they went to the United States; for explosives, they went to the UK. Anything they wanted to acquire, they did so from abroad to minimize any possible repercussions against Germany. By January 1934, the Geheimdienst had acquired nearly 100 Thompson submachine guns and ammunition; even several hundred pounds of high explosives.


    The League of Nations meeting hall, 1933. The atrophied body barely recognized Germany's departure.


    The next foreign ministry coup was the resigning of the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact. This document, signed 26 January 1934, was a shock to much of Western Europe. It was believed that Jozef Piłsudski had sounded the French out concerning eliminating the NSDAP from Germany; however, the construction of the Maginot Line and apparent political weakness of the French and British positions turned the Polish opinion of the West sour. The signing of such an agreement furthered hopes in the Reich that Germany would likely be able to get much of their lost territory back from the Poles without having to resort to armed conflict—something that would only serve to weaken both nations at the gain of the Soviet Union.


    German Ambassador Hans-Adolf von Moltke, Polish leader Józef Piłsudski, Joseph Goebbels and
    Józef Beck, Polish Foreign minister, a few months after signing the Non-Aggression Pact.


    The Geheimdeinst’s first operational victory wasn’t quite as clearly made as the Foreign Ministry’s. On 12 February 1934, prompted by intelligence provided by the Geheimdeinst, several of the various groups began a four-day series of clashes across Austria that only ended after the deaths of nearly 400 and the wounding of triple that number. This weakened the faith of the average Austrian in the government. This would play into the Reich’s hand in the future—a few months later in July 1934, the Chancellor of Austria, Englebert Dollfuss was assassinated by several officers of the Geheimdeinst. Italy’s Mussolini mobilized troops to prevent German intervention, but this proved unnecessary due to the threat of artillery fire against the government building that the putsch leaders had holed up in. Before allowing themselves to fall into the custody of Austrian officials, many of the operatives from the German secret service commit suicide.


    Osterreich Heer forces surrounding the February Putsch. Though a failure, it proved the concept of the Geheimdeinst.


    Paul Hindenburg, the President of the Weimar Republic, passed away in office. The same day, Adolf Hitler had himself proclaimed “Fuhrer” of the Reich, and thus the past covert operations became less covert from those in the Government.

    The Geheimdeinst’s second operational success occurred on 9 October 1934. In a bid to continue the development of the Cordon Sanitaire, French foreign minister Louis Barthou was planning on meeting with King Alexander of Yugoslavia to discuss an alliance—the foreign minister was a key architect of a planned Franco-Soviet Alliance. The Geheimdeinst, with assistance from the Abwehr, contacted a group of Croatian dissidents, who managed to get a young Croatian into Marseilles and equipped him with a Spanish-made C96 automatic pistol. He managed to get rounds into both targets, though the mortal wound of Barthou was from a French police officer trying to engage the assassin. This was one of the single most successful Geheimdeinst operations, as all of the blame was directed at the Croatians.


    King Alexander I and Louis Barthou just before they were assassinated.


    By January 1935, the Reich cabinet revisited the foreign policy directives of the previous year. Captain Patzig, head of the Abwehr, had opposed much of the tasks of the Geheimdeinst’s activities, he was therefore relieved of his posting and Captain Wilhelm Canaris was given the stewardship of the Intelligence organ.


    Wilhelm Canaris, head of the Abwehr 1935-1936.


    Talking the previous year’s successes over with the Cabinet, Konstanin von Neurath and Hitler seemed to agree that it was time to take another chip at the Versailles treaty; namely the rearmament clauses. This was chosen out of all of the other options due to the ability to appeal to the British as just a return to the status quo ante and the reemergence as Germany as a sovereign nation. This was chosen as the next test of the dedication of the former Allies, though a lesser test was a plebiscite in the Saarland, who overwhelmingly voted to return to Germany.


    Saar postal stamp: another example of the effective use of propaganda.


    The announcement of rearmament on 16 March 1935 brought several mixed messages from the rest of the world. France immediately condemned the move, but was unable to raise the domestic political capital to counter the announcement. Great Britain remained mostly quiet on the subject, feeling that it was a just decision given the harsh nature of the Treaty. Furthermore, they were in no position to militarily intervene to enforce their own desires. Little did the rest of the world know that they were already feeling out the Reich’s leadership to reach an agreement concerning the development of naval ships and armament. Given the United Kingdom’s limited funding of the Royal Navy, this was far more important to her than any piece of paper concerning ground forces—the Royal Navy would be in far better position to answer any future naval build-up of German naval power. These feelers were solidified three months later with the signing of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, giving the German navy a 35% allowance based on tonnage. This agreement led to a cooling in relations between the French and British, as the French believed the British had betrayed them.


    Hitler discussing the rearmament decisions with some advisors, 1935.


    With the announcement of rearmament, the old names for the army (Reichsheer) and the navy (Reichsmarine) were retired and the new Oberkommando-Wehrmacht was given command over the three branches: the Heer, Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe. This call for rearmament nearly immediately demanded the expansion of the Heer from a small seven infantry and three cavalry divisions to nearly 36 infantry divisions and three nascent armored divisions. Further changes were made to the chain of command: Oberkommando Heer oversaw four unified combatant commands (OK-Nord, -Suden, -Ost and –West). These commands were permanently assigned regular infantry forces; it was planned that the forces that would be more economical to train together (such as Mountain and Armored divisions) were held under the OKH.

    For the Luftwaffe, the organization was essentially all on paper. The plan was to group squadrons together in pairs of each type class. Then, from these wings four air groups would be formed consisting of two wings of fighters, a wing of tactical bombers and a wing of close-air support aircraft. It was planned that these four groups would be able to better support the ground forces—essential to the German concept of the “all-arms” battle. Not to ignore the home front (and the clear fact that Great Britain was focusing on developing their strategic bombing capabilities), the Luftwaffe planned for at least one air group (if not more) of interceptors. Further planning was made for the use of transport aircraft as well, especially given how it was assumed that they could keep the forward echelons of any future German counteroffensives in supply.

    Planning for the Kriegsmarine was the most contentious. Most of the senior officers had been junior officers in the Imperial fleet under the Kaiser, and they were mostly surface fleet proponents. The issue was that the post-war analysis demonstrated that the losses of surface combatants were not outweighed by the losses inflicted on the British merchant marine. The force that did pay for itself by the losses inflicted on the enemy was the U-boats. Though the need for some sort of surface fleet was obvious—to counter the fleets of the Poles, the Soviets or the Scandinavian countries and to pursue targets of opportunity provided by the Allies—a consensus was reached that the bulk of the Kriegsmarine would have to be centered in the U-boat-waffe.


    The Admiral Graf Spee, during builder's trials just prior to commissioning, 1935. She would
    be the last fleet unit the Kriegsmarine would receive for several months.


    1935 continued to be a quiet year until the beginning of October. On the second of that month, Italian forces—after numerous cross-border skirmishes and acrimonies of war crimes on both sides—crossed into Ethiopia. Much of the world reacted by condemning the actions of Italy, however this lack of support influenced Mussolini that his real future probably lay with Germany and her support. The stage was set for the rise of the Greater German Reich.

    * * * * *
    Last edited by Wraith11B; 03-10-2011 at 00:33.

  3. #3
    Field Marshal King50000's Avatar
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    Nice to see you wrighting a new one. I hope this one lasts longer than the old.

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    The Article Beggar Derahan's Avatar
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    This seems good

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    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    draws up an electronic chair and sits down to enjoy the ride. Superb opener, I'm always a sucker for AARs that meld history with the gameplay.
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

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  7. #7
    Digging in for good story -- more, please!

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    People's Commissar of the Navy Demi Moderator Avindian's Avatar
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    Looks awesome! I will follow.
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    Colonel Ulsterman's Avatar
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    Regarding the title:

    "Morgengrauen" may be the direct translation of 'dawn', but it also means 'horror in the morning' - which in this situation would be the more logical meaning. "Aufstieg" (rise) might be better.
    Either way it must be followed by the genitive "des Großdeutschen Reichs"


    Anyway, can't wait to read more

  10. #10
    Heading to the DANGER ZONE... Wraith11B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ulsterman View Post
    Regarding the title:

    "Morgengrauen" may be the direct translation of 'dawn', but it also means 'horror in the morning' - which in this situation would be the more logical meaning. "Aufstieg" (rise) might be better.
    Either way it must be followed by the genitive "des Großdeutschen Reichs"


    Anyway, can't wait to read more
    This is what happens when the person who volunteered himself to assist with translations doesn't respond to PMs... heh!

    Regarding the last bit: when I peeked at "Third Reich" on Wiki (though a good start, hardly something to base substantive research on), it said that the Nazi officials (starting in 1943, iirc) discouraged the use of "Third Reich" (Dritten Reichs) in favor of "GroBdeutsches Reich". Since I'm not a native speaker, I tend to defer to others and GoogleTranslate a lot. I'm assuming the difference between the -s and the -n is gender?

    Therefore, I'm going to request a mod (Loki? Care to give a hand again, please?) change the title to "Der Aufstieg des GroBdeutschen Reich".

    Also: I appreciate all of the votes of confidence. I'm storming through as much of the game as fast as possible so I can get the updates going.
    Last edited by Wraith11B; 04-10-2011 at 08:54.

  11. #11
    Colonel Ulsterman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith11B View Post
    Regarding the last bit: when I peeked at "Third Reich" on Wiki (though a good start, hardly something to base substantive research on), it said that the Nazi officials (starting in 1943, iirc) discouraged the use of "Third Reich" (Dritten Reichs) in favor of "GroBdeutsches Reich". Since I'm not a native speaker, I tend to defer to others and GoogleTranslate a lot. I'm assuming the difference between the -s and the -n is gender?
    No, it's the case. Unlike English German uses four different cases (which makes German so difficult for native speakers of English).
    Das großdeutsche Reich (nominative, the 'basic' form)
    des großdeutschen Reichs (genitive, shows possession (in a broader sense, in your case the Aufstieg "belongs" to the Reich).
    dem großdeutschen Reich (dative, certain objects)
    das großdeutsche Reich (accusative, certain objects).

    So much for grammar, now get your AAR started or we'll haunt you with German grammar for the rest of your life

  12. #12
    Field Marshal Baltasar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ulsterman View Post
    des großdeutschen Reichs (genitive, shows possession (in a broader sense, in your case the Aufstieg "belongs" to the Reich).
    You mean "des großdeutschen Reiches?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baltasar View Post
    You mean "des großdeutschen Reiches?"
    Old form, 'Reichs' is a valid spelling in modern German. Thanks to the 'Rechtschreibreform' many things are possible now

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ulsterman View Post
    Old form, 'Reichs' is a valid spelling in modern German. Thanks to the 'Rechtschreibreform' many things are possible now
    Yeah... words with three consonants in a row... pure madness! :P

  15. #15
    Field Marshal loki100's Avatar
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    ok, thread title changed per post #10, can I suggest that this fascinating discussion is carried on by PM or over on the OT forum
    Remember, whatever the question, the answer on 18 September is Yes ...

  16. #16
    A new beginning, always exciting.

  17. #17
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    Nice, good luck with this one!

  18. #18
    Colonel KLorberau's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIFor the MotherlandHearts of Iron IIISemper Fi

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    Great AAR.. Nice photos, Subscribed.

    KLorberau
    Bessie Braddock: “Sir, you are drunk.”
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    PM Winston Churchill

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  19. #19
    Heading to the DANGER ZONE... Wraith11B's Avatar
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    2. Setting Up for Success
    The World and Germany

    1936


    1935 had passed without the world challenging the Reich in any of her actions. It was time for the Reich to prepare herself to reach the foreign policy goals that her leaders had set out when they first came to power.

    I. Diplomacy


    Hjalmar Schacht, a prominent banker and industrialist. His work with von Neurath
    and German Industry helped the Reich rise in power.


    With the start of 1936, Hitler directed von Neurath and Schacht to work together to ensure proper allocation of force with regards to gaining the appropriate resources needed to power Germany’s economy. Schacht had already negotiated several trade agreements throughout South America and southeastern Europe, thus was particularly well suited to assist the foreign ministry in their negotiations. Their first customer was the Soviet Union. Recognizing that it was the largest producer of any material that mattered in Europe, they negotiated a trade agreement—signed on 3 January—in which the Reich would be supplied with 690 tons of rare materials per month in exchange for nearly ℛℳ437,000; though sounding impressive, it was only $104,000 in then-US Dollars. The Soviets, recognizing that this would bring in much needed foreign exchange, and on the approval of Stalin a week later, expanded the agreement to cover another 600 tons of rare materials, bringing in another ℛℳ370,000 (US$88,000) per month, bringing the totals to 1290 tons for nearly ℛℳ807,000 (US$192,000) each month. The agreement was further amended by the end of the month to include nearly 1290 tons of iron ore for Germany in exchange for ℛℳ387,000 (US$92,100) a month.

    These were not the only successes. Italy and Germany put together several agreements over 1936 giving Italy access to nearly 1714 tons of coal for ℛℳ180,300 (US$43,000). Germany procured an additional 150 tons of iron ores a month from Sweden for ℛℳ48,000 (US$11,400). Even France, the sworn enemy of the Reich, reached an agreement of 780 tons of iron for ℛℳ252,000 (US$60,000). The real victory was getting the United States to procure much of their supply needs from Germany; by selling nearly 1200 tons of material a month, Germany brought in ℛℳ945,000 (US$225,000). This covered all of the outlays for the material procured from the Soviet Union and Sweden with a little left over to build reserves. Though these negotiations bore fruit, not all did. Poland refused to even listen to the German offer for their iron. A Switzerland newspaper implicated the Reich in support of an opposition party; though there was no official investigation, the government refused to meet with the negotiators.


    Heer troops march over the Rhine, 1936. Germans leadership was cautious, but
    optimistic about the lack of French response to their actions.


    The foreign realm was not picture-perfect, however. On 4 January 1936, Hitler rode in a staff car at the head of a column of troops from Infantrie-Regiment 5, first brigade of 2d Infantrie-Division. At 0800, this column crossed the Schlageter bridge in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, thus violating the Treaties of Versailles and Locarno. Konstantin von Neurath had already been working since the announcement of rearmament on legal and other briefs to cover the eventuality, even though he had no orders to do so. Italy—having been supported (though secretly) after their invasion of Ethiopia—had already informed the Reich that they would abrogate Locarno; indeed, Mussolini told the German ambassador that should Germany find it necessary, they should work to bring the Austrians into their orbit. From the Abwehr, Germany had received intelligence to the effect that France was going to be in the grips of a economic crisis; the franc was having difficulty maintaining it’s worth relative to the Dollar and Pound—indeed, the Treasury had already told the French cabinet that they were bankrupt. This knowledge, combined with the belief perpetuated by General Gamelin that it would likely cost France nearly 30 million francs per day to mobilize their forces, deterred them from actually doing anything about the German incursion. They turned to the British, desperately seeking a ground force commitment on the scale of the Great War. The British House of Commons was rather pro-German; Lord Lothian claimed “it was no different than the Germans walking into their own backyard.” An Irish author, George Bernard Shaw said that it was no different than if Britain occupied Portsmouth. The Foreign Office was rather peeved that Germany had unilaterally taken an action that they had intended on negotiating; the cabinet said that though they opposed the action on principle, they had no capability—and certainly no public support—to oppose the German actions, or even to enforce their Treaty obligations. In Germany, Hitler made a speech announcing that the conscription period would be extended from two to three years after discussing the issue with his generals. Hitler reiterated this new policy again the next day when he was present at the commissioning of the Admiral Graf Spee, Germany’s newest heavy cruiser.


    Commissioning ceremony aboard the Admiral Graf Spee, 1936.


    Ethiopia capitulated to Italy on 16 February 1936. Though originally wanting to incorporate the country into the Italian Empire, the government quietly formed a puppet government. A month later, in a request received from the Italian government, the Abwehr withdrew it’s lone agent who had been assisting the Italians in gaining key political intelligence about the regime.


    Italian troops march past a billboard of Mussolini in Ethiopia, 1936.


    On 10 June 1936, King George V passed away; his four sons, Edward, Albert, Henry and George all mounted the guard. Edward would assume the throne as Edward VIII. Within months, however, Edward VIII agreed to give up the throne in order to marry Wallis Simpson. His younger brother Albert assumed the throne, using the regnal name George VI. The Reich Foreign Ministry was very disappointed, as it seemed to their ambassador that Edward VIII was a supporter of the Reich as a bulwark against the Red menace from the Soviet Union.


    King George V, succeeded by his son, Edward VIII. Edward was seen in the Foreign
    Ministry as supportive of the Reich.



    Edward gave up his throne to marry American socialite and divorcee Wallis Simpson. This loss was regretted in the foreign ministry.


    If there was one thing that 1936 would be known for, it was the sheer number of assassination attempts on various ministers in several European governments. They began in Holland (3 March), continued in Romania (2 April), Switzerland (8 April), UK (8 June), Czechoslovakia (9 June), Finland and Norway (13 June), and ending in Australia (2 July).

    II. Intelligence

    1936 was a good year for the Abwehr and it’s clandestine service, the Geheimdienst. Their primary mission—the elimination of enemy foreign agents inside Germany—was executed to perfection. In the month of January alone, 26 spies were captured. By the end of the year, nearly 101 agents had been found and neutralized. Things were not all good in the offices, however. After the loss of two German agents in the UK and Poland, combined with the loss of three more agents a few days later in Austria, France and Liberia, Hitler asked for Canaris’ resignation, assigning Wilhelm Frick in his place.


    Wilhelm Frick was reassigned to the Abwehr when Canaris failed to live up to
    Hitler's expectations.


    Though many operations were run by the Abwehr, they needed to run operations that could give their agents more experience with little risk to themselves. The first of these was planting enough evidence on a Belgian minister to cause a minor bribery scandal in the Belgian media and forcing the PM to expend political capital to limit the damage to the government. It was not the only scandal that the Abwehr was the source of. They managed to cause more scandals in Poland (9 June), Spain (6 July), Netherlands (2 August), and France (4 September).

    There was some backlash against the government in the form of a student group called “White Rose”. The group was implicated in the production of several fliers that were distributed around Ludwig Maximillian University of Munich. Though the Abwehr increased it’s efforts to track the offenders down, no arrests were made.

    III. Industry

    The Reich’s industry was not dormant in 1936. Much of their attention was directed to the completion of the autobahn system in the north and southeastern portions of Germany, as well as in Prussia. On 19 June, the Western Wall had been completed. Though really just a collection of counter-mobility sections to prevent rapid movement into Germany by a French offensive, it was symbolic in that it proved that Germany would not simply roll over again to the Allies. Further, though lower-key, were expansions to airbases in Bitburg, Tuttlingen, Dortmund, Neisse and Falkenburg.


    The West Wall under construction, early 1936. Designed to simply slow down any
    possible French advance into Germany, there were no plans to expand it to Maginot
    proportions.


    The Kriegsmarine was the first service to receive new units in 1936. During the course of 1936, they took possession of six flotillas of transports, which were immediately put into service bringing several Heer divisions from Kolberg to Konigsberg. The deliveries were not all auxillaries—a destroyer group and three U-boat groups were also commissioned. For the Heer, 37 brigade sets of artillery were ordered, with the first entering service later that year in mid-December.


    The Berlin, one of the newest transport auxiliaries for the Kriegsmarine. These ships would pay for themselves many times over during the war.

    * * * * *


    Author's Note: sorry that the AAR is taking so long to develop. I wanted to get a realistic historical perspective, and so have played to 1938 already... not to mention several intercessions of real life (unfortunately). Thank you for all of your support!

  20. #20
    Field Marshal Baltasar's Avatar
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    I like the narrative. Keep it up :-)

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