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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Kurt_Steiner

Katalaanse Burger en Terroriste
Feb 12, 2005
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Yeah! The Republic of England is on the making!
 

Captured Joe

The bullet is a fool...
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During this trip he meets many past monarchs of England and the United Kingdom, all of whom take it in turns to slap him about for being an idiot, except for Queen Victoria who headbuts him and then hoofs him in the gentlemen's area.
So like that scene from the Gathering Storm where Churchill sees his ancestor Marlborough; Inspiring to be sure, albeit in a slightly different manner.
 
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Bullfilter

Old Boardgame Grognard
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A single pic & quote teaser and so much resulting speculation and comment! The Cad to get the comeuppance of all cads and bounders?
 

Le Jones

Protect and Survive
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1.png


Chapter 35, Berlin, 1 August 1936

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Sir Robert Vansittart felt completely and utterly out of place in this weird little city; but, he allowed, this visit was a timely one, and with perfectly plausible cover. He looked over as his wife was deep in conversation with one of the younger Embassy staff members, his wife being, of course, the sister of Sir Eric Phipp’s wife who had (conveniently for all) taken ill. And so, it was as an ‘unofficial official’ visitor that the professional head of the Foreign Office was in Berlin for the Olympics. Much to his irritation, he was enjoying this visit. He and the senior Embassy staff were sitting down to a late and gloriously English breakfast before the glamour of varying receptions (dependent upon one’s rank) and then the likely ordeal of the Opening Ceremony.

“So who, precisely, do we have over from London?” Vansittart asked this casually but the interest was real.

Sir Eric Phipps tutted as he sliced the top off a boiled egg in an oddly warlike manner. “Hard to tell Robert, exactly. The names we have to worry about are, from the Government, Monsell and Channon.”

“Channon?” Sir Henry Channon was a Conservative MP, notorious bohemian, and scathing diarist.

“Oh yes, he’s over here. Our SIS man filched him out of the Sherbini Bar last night. In quite the state, he was.” Phipps shook his head at the memory of the bedraggled MP.

“Sherbini Bar?” Some of the younger Embassy staff giggled.

“Jazz, Robert, Jazz. And more besides,” Phipps said wryly. “Was found practically in the gutter, comparing Germany to Nero’s Rome or Louis Quatorze. Anyway, he’s spent the day writing passionate letters to you and Eden about how heavy-handed my people were. We’ve a busy role here,” he said, pointedly, “without dealing with these high-profile tourists. I realise that in our free society we cannot stop Mayfair from heading Hitlerwards, but if some of the visitors could be choked off it would be a good thing,” he said very directly.

“I agree Eric,” Vansittart said as he bit into a delicious kipper. He was hungrier than he realised. “I’ll deal with Eden. Anyone else?”

“Oh, the usual fans of the Fuhrer,” Phipps said lightly, pleased with his alliteration. “Rothermere, the Beaver, Kemsley, Camrose,” he listed, “poor Monsell I’ve mentioned, although he was originally supposed to be coming as First Lord so now the Germans aren’t interested, the Aberdares, that ass Barnby, ah yes Jellicoe, as well as the Mitfords.” He said that last word with awe and utter contempt. “Chadwick, anyone else?” He said this to one of the Embassy staffers.”

“The Marquess of Clydesdale,” Chadwick said with a frown, “and from the Commons, Kenneth Lindsay, Harold Balfour.”

“And,” Phipps said brightly, “from the FO, you.”

“Yes well, I’m here to show that I don’t hate them entirely, Eric,” Vansittart said dryly. “I also wanted to come, instead of Eden or Baldwin. I’m not sure that either is up to it.” Phipps nodded, knowingly. Vansittart changed the subject. “How are the natives?”

“Oh they’re playing ball, alright. Buildings have been repainted and adorned with flags; lest they spoil the effect, the city’s residents have been banned from drying laundry on their front balconies. They’ve also swept some of the uglier features of life here under the carpet, though. There’s a nasty little publication called Der Stürmer; full of the darker side of the Government’s views normally. At the moment I half anticipate reading nursery rhymes in it.” There was a chuckle from some of the Embassy staff; Vansittart could see that the Ambassador was popular.

“Any Royal silliness?”

“Well,” Phipps said dramatically, the word hanging, “there was talk here, more hope than anything, of HM coming out. But a full Head of State visit would give the Germans more of a headache than it would a propaganda coup. But they’re intrigued by all this talk of Mrs Simpson.”

“Any of our people being loose lipped?”

“Channon,” Phipps replied immediately, “was apparently pretty loyal to our young King, and the Beaver is out to cause trouble for the Prime Minister, and his inner circle.”

“But nothing to worry about?”

Phipps shook his head. “No, we’re not Washington or Paris here. The Germans like it at we’re discomforted by this scandal, but that’s all. They’re interested, but they’ve got other things going on here.”

“Good, good,” Vansittart said brightly, forcing a smile. “If,” he said with false indifference, “a crisis was to erupt at home, what would they do?”

Phipps thought about it. “They’re still under the impression that the old aristocracy exercises real power,” he saw Vansittart almost interrupt so spoke up quickly, “proper power, Robert, rather than patronage and influence. I believe that they will be amazed if Baldwin were to prevail over the King.”

Vansittart noted the point with a nod. “And, if Baldwin was to force a confrontation?”

Phipps shrugged. “My instinct, but instinct only, is that they wouldn’t do much, beyond, I suppose, try and bolster the King through favourable media reports. He’s popular here.”

“So what’s the plan for today?”

Chadwick, given ‘the look’ from Phipps, spoke up. “The cars will take you and Sir Eric to the Chancellery for the lunch reception, while the rest of the Embassy delegation go the Olympic stadium. It’s not far from here, Berlin isn’t a sprawl like London, and then after your lunch you join us and the rest of the VIP officials with whom you’ve been lunching.”

Vansittart caught the slight inflection in Chadwick’s explanation. “Officials?”

Phipps nodded. “The senior Nazis, Robert. It’s a game of take your pick. Champagne with Ribbentrop or being sat next to Goering?”

“Goering,” Vansittart said immediately. “I had a bellyful of Ribbentrop back in March."

Phipps chuckled at Vansittart’s obvious passion. “I surmise that we’ll bundled in with our senior Olympic types.”

Vansittart nodded, viewing the lunch as an ordeal to be endured. “How are the British competitors?”

“They’re well, I’m sending my younger chaps over to the village a couple of times today to look out for them. They’ve all been thoroughly briefed.”

Vansittart looked knowingly at Phipps. “Did you go ahead with the lists?”

“Ah the lists, I wondered when you’d mention that. Yes, we’ve done it. Every British competitor will be invited to ask the Germans about the prisons, the secret instructions to the porters and staff, the political oppressions that go on, the lack of unemployment pay. More to embarrass ‘em than find out anything naughty.”

Chadwick, wary of venturing a question in the presence of two of the Foreign Offices most senior members, nevertheless spoke up. “From what I have seen,” he said very carefully, “the German hosts at the village are all military, and carefully prepared military.”

Phipps smiled his approval of the point, and looked to Vansittart. The Permanent Under Secretary looked thoughtful.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The Chancellery was bedecked in a jarring, to Vansittart, blend of Nazi and Olympic banners. The attire of the attendees was similarly a cacophony of uniform and business wear. After being introduced, formally, to Lords Burghley and Aberdare from the British Olympic delegation, noting with wry amusement their truly hideous neckties (he had been tipped off about this by Phipps, in a diplomatic despatch no less, before he’d even left England) and reassured by their emphatic assertions that the ‘Huns were behaving themselves’, the real business, of meeting these Nazis and their Germany, began.

After an inauspicious beginning with a rather boring General (in the same drab uniform; Vansittart, who believed that foreigners should be interesting, regretted the lack of Ruritanian whimsy) he found himself confronted by a figure that, from the SIS reports, he knew to be Goebbels. He was a fascinating little character, whose snappy quick energy reminded Vansittart of an entertainer. He had heard, of course, much of this master manipulator and his schemes. He even knew, thanks to Phipps’ colourful reports, that he was an erratic but effective manager. But instead of the capable minister he faced a Goebbels seemingly annoyed about something, and wondered what it could be.

1597302035173.png


“Ah,” the German said in passable English, “Sir Robert Vansittart of the British Foreign Office. Come to see the beastly Hun?”

Vansittart offered his best diplomat’s smile, “you’re not all beastly,” he said in a slightly mocking tone, choosing to be interesting through resistance instead of pliant.

Goebbels was indeed intrigued. “All?”

“Why yes, since I arrived at this reception I think you’re a wonderful people. You’re doing very well with these Olympic types.”

Goebbels’ eyes rolled at the mention of the Olympic officials. “The things that we must suffer,” he said, his voice tailing off. “You are here, er, alone, with, I mean.” The irritated tone was there, again.

So that was it! He’s having trouble with the wife! Vansittart couldn’t resist the opportunity. “Indeed I am,” he said brightly, “here with my wife. Well, not here, she’s at the Embassy, but.”

“Yes,” Goebbels snapped. He went to say something, but the Englishman was quicker.

“And your wife, Herr Goebbels, I look forward to meeting her. We in England have heard great tales of her charm,” he said this in the sweetest, ‘matey’ way possible.

“Enjoy Germany,” Goebbels said, extricating himself with undue haste.

The table settings added to Vansittart’s mischievous amusement and Goebbels’ irritation; Vansittart was afforded a place of importance near the centre of the enormous horseshoe-shaped table while Goebbels, to his thinly veiled fury, found himself at one of the ends hosting the tedious Greek representative (Bolanchi, Vansittart recalled from one of Phipps’ notes) as well a Frenchman, Glandaz; Vanisttart was certain that the energetic Goebbels would find them stultifying. As if aware of the Englishman’s interest, Goebbels looked in Vansittart’s direction; their eyes met very briefly and the joke was exchanged, the German rolling his eyes as the fussy Glandaz took his seat. Vansittart was on the edge of the centre; to his left was a Leonhard Kaupisch, a hawk nosed Lutwaffe officer who was carefully (and dully) steering the conversation away from unpleasant revelations about the Nazis but to his right was Avery Brundage, head of the US Olympic delegation. Vansittart felt a similar distaste to Goebbels; the American seemed to be preening himself in the presence of these senior Nazi officials.

On Brundage’s other side was Henri Baillet-Latour, the Belgian President of the IOC and opposite him was the excitingly close figure of Adolf Hitler. Hitler stared once at Vansittart, and aide whispered (perhaps informing the Fuhrer who the Englishman was) and there was a flicker of understanding. The Fuhrer of all the Germans looked quickly away, and Vansittart found himself obsessing over the smaller details, such as how the German eschewed the rich delicacies in favour of what, to Vansittart, seemed like a pile of leaves.

There was a polite cough and this most disciplined of gatherings fell to a hush. Baillet-Latour seemed to roll out of his chair, and in heavily accented English began a speech.

“Herr Fuhrer,” he began, slowly, (to Vansittart ‘Mr Leader’ didn’t seem right, but no one else seemed concerned) “I feel certain that the stupendous preparations which Germany has made for the Olympic Games and which are particularly obvious in the excellent organisation of the Festival will constitute a permanent monument to the contribution which she has made to human culture in general. All those who appreciate the symbolism of the sacred flame which has been borne from Olympia to Berlin are profoundly grateful to your Excellency for having not only provided the means of binding the past and the present, but also for having contributed to the progress of the Olympic ideals in future years.”

There was polite, muted applause. A young officer (although to Vansittart’s untutored eye he could, just as easily, have been either a Field Marshal or a concierge) was whispering into the Fuhrer’s ear, presumably translating. When this was done, the German leader rose unsteadily to his feet. In a high pitched voice, he spoke, in German. A young officer’s head suddenly appeared between Brundage and Vansittart and translated the German’s words.

“The Fuhrer is thanking the President,” the officer whispered, “and is saying that he is grateful to the Committee for having allocated the Festival of the Eleventh Olympiad…”

Vansittart had stopped paying attention; Brundage had to listen to this carefully scripted nonsense, the Briton did not. He found himself staring at a small character with steel rimmed spectacles, a man he knew to be Himmler, who wore a tight, knowing little smile on his face. He saw the gloriously pantomime caricature that was Goering, joyfully basking in the attention. He saw a distracted, shifty looking character that he imagined was Hess (he wasn’t, really, sure on this) and of course, discreetly hosting Italian and Japanese diplomats, the every fussy, prissy, rather tedious Neurath.

Hitler was, mercifully, wrapping up now. The officer was struggling to keep up but was managing, just managing, to get the Fuhrer’s point across. “He hopes that Germany has already contributed to the strengthening of the principles of international understanding upon which this Festival is based.” There was polite applause. Vansittart’s ‘mental scorecard’ ticked off another event safely effected.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Phipps and Vansittart had a frenetic pace, after a German flunky, in uniform (to Vansittart everyone in this bloody country wore the same drab uniform) suggested (with all the grace of a Prussian cavalry charge) that obviously the senior Britons would be changing before the ceremony. The Embassy staff, determined to show off to their PUS and Ambassador just how efficient they could be, had promptly arranged for their clothes to be delivered to the stadium where, after much arguing and gesticulating, His Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador to Germany and the Permanent Under Secretary of the Foreign Office changed in the gentlemans’ lavatories. But it had worked, they were only ten minutes late, and were quickly scurrying to their seats. Vansittart had to squeeze past (actually, he rued, ‘grapple’ would be a better term) a generously caparisoned German matriarch whose contempt for foreigners, late people and gentlemen was made obvious and took his seat. There was a low, weirdly threatening drone overhead, and the light suddenly dimmed as the stadium was cast into shadow by the flypast of a German dirigible which Vansittart vaguely recalled was the Hindenburg. Vansittart found himself daydreaming of a fantasy where the bloody thing crashed, with everyone on the international stage whom he found annoying (as well, he chuckled, Wallis Simpson – she was even haunting his daydreams) on board. Snapped out of his reverie by a comment from Phipps, he found himself concentrating on his surroundings. The Olympic stadium, Vansittart was prepared to admit, was well done. He and Phipps had no idea what one wore to an Olympic opening event and so they had agreed to dress as one would for Wimbledon or another Summer event. Both wore light blazers, complete with smart hats and club ties. It was more or less fitting as the senior Germans, arriving now, were managing, as Vansittart craned his neck to see, to not look like raving German brutes (although the waves of Germans all raising their hands in salute as Hitler arrived had annoyed him). The Germans in the crowd, suitably briefed, broke into ‘Deutschland uber alles’ as everyone tried to glimpse Hitler.

The teams were coming out now, and both Vansittart and Phipps craned their necks to see the British Empire team. The French were ahead of them, and at the sight of the German leader made what looked like a German salute.

“It’s not, though”, Phipps confirmed. “It looks like an Olympic salute.”

“These chaps don’t care,” Vansittart said, waving a hand around the crowd.

The British were next, sporting a Union Flag and, thankfully, an absence of saluting, they merely made an almost British Army ‘eyes right’ at the Fuhrer in well-drilled unison. The senior British diplomats, swiftly followed by their delegation, leaped to their feet and cheered like schoolboys. The effect was magnified by the lack of noise from their neighbours in the stand. To the Germans, the lack of a salute was disrespectful. The Embassy crowd aside, the applause was muted.

1597302436635.png


There were teams from other countries, and then Vansittart spotted a huge American flag accompanied by forty men and women strolling languidly through the stadium. The contrast with their hosts could not have been better made.

“They look confident,” Vansittart said chattily.

“Yes Robert,” Phipps, very much on duty, replied automatically. “Will they salute?”

They didn’t. The Americans ambled past the dais in a very loose-gaited walk. Their only concession to Hitler was to remove their hats; their flag wasn’t lowered, not an inch. The muttering that accompanied this defiance exceeded the reception given to the British.

“I’d say,” Vansittart said wearily, “that the Americans are with us on the naughty step. Will this cause you difficulty?”

“It might,” Phipps said carefully, “if it is accompanied by us outperforming the Germans.”

With the teams out the ceremony proper began. Hitler remounted the dais and began addressing the crowd. There was hushed silence as the man’s oddly squawky seemed to shout at them in German.

“Any idea what the old chap’s saying?” He asked Phipps.

“I proclaim the Games of Berlin, celebrating the something, possibly tenth, or is it eleventh, Olympiad of the modern era, to be open,” Phipps translated.

“That’s it? Oh well then,” Vansittart said sarcastically, flicking through the brochure, “no war tonight then.” The ceremony itself, so far, had been designed to show off the regime, with the entertainment (Vansittart wasn’t sure that was the right word) on a grand scale. Every demonstration, every spectacle seemed on a mass scale, reducing to the individual to nothing more than a worker ant, a cog in a machine.

There was a sudden commotion, and Vansittart found himself tensing, but relaxed as he saw thousands, tens of thousands, of what appeared to be doves flying into the air.

“Doves?

“Pigeons,” Phipps chided, “pigeons, Robert.”

There was a terrific bang, a thunderous crescendo, as an artillery salute was fired. The effect upon the pigeons was instant and, to Vansittart, glorious. Pigeons are not known for their ability to learn the programme and so twenty thousand birds, scared witless by the cannonade, did what nature commanded and, lavishly and in unison, voided themselves. As bird excrement fell from the heavens, the Permanent Under Secretary of the Foreign Office and His Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador to Germany giggled like schoolboys.

“Any idea who it fell on?”

“Well Robert,” Phipps said, staring at the chaos through opera glasses donated by a member of the Embassy team, “our chaps look unscathed. I’d say that it hit the Americans.”

“Ha! Even shitting pigeons are discriminating,” Vansittart said happily.

1597302547811.png


Next to him, Sir Eric Phipps was looking decidedly bemused as the Olympic flag was raised to the accompaniment of some vaguely Germanic music and dancing girls and boys making the Olympic rings.

“That music,” Phipps said loudly, leaning over to Vansittart.

“Well what about it?”

“It’s by Straus?”

“What Johan?”

Phipps rolled his eyes. “Richard Straus. There’s a good chance that if the IOC types like it tonight it’ll become the official Olympic Hymn.”

Vansittart pulled a sour expression. At the other end of the stadium, he thought he could see a man on fire. “What on Earth are they doing now? I didn’t fly out here to watch a burning, Eric,” he said sarcastically.

“The torch relay,” Phipps said matter-of-fact.

“The what?”

“Oh for God’s sake,” Phipps snapped at his boss, “Chadwick?” A head bent down from the row behind, between Phipps and Vansittart. “You know about this. What’s the tale on this torch stuff?”

“A relay, Sir,” he half shouted. “Carrying the Olympic flame from Greece to, well, here Sir.”

“Why?” Vansittart was spectacularly underwhelmed.

“To get everyone on the route supporting the games, Sir. The torch has been carried by thousands of people across Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and finally of course Germany.”

“Thousands?” Phipps wondered if Chadwick was overegging it.

“At least three thousand, Sir,” Chadwick responded emphatically. “Oh, and, Sir Eric.”

“Yes,” Phipps snapped.

“That torch is not Greek. It’s German.”

“German?” Vansittart looked highly amused.

“By Krupp, Sir.”

Vansittart laughed. “The steel people?” Chadwick nodded, which made Vansittart laugh again. “Maybe we should overwhelm them with sports orders,” he said in jest. “It might stop ‘em making tanks and aircraft!”

Vansittart looked at his watch, he had survived the first ordeal. And he had seen Goebbels irritated, a fleet of panicked, excreting birds and a torch symbolising peace made by a German arms manufacturer. He would endure…

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

GAME NOTES

The famous (infamous?) Berlin Olympics open, seen through the senior credentialled Briton, Sir Robert Vansittart of the Foreign Office. In truth this a palate cleanser of an episode, written to gently introduce Part Two and prolong your agony before the chaos to come (and you’re right, he’s going to do, well, perhaps not quite it, but something). This is also, perhaps, one of the last ‘written largely according to OTL’ updates; Part Two is structured around the POD being more overt, more crucial.

I've focussed on, frankly, that which I find interesting. So I have merely hinted at the amateur diplomats that so typify this period, the waves (and I don't think that I'm exaggerating) of Britons who flocked to Germany in this period. But they're largely very dull, so I have had Phipps mention it and move on. Vansittart and Phipps are largely written according to OTL and they did, both of them, attend the Opening Ceremony. Writing about the Olympics is laced with risk of a Moderator descending and pointing out an (unintended) transgression; I have no wish to earn judicial opprobrium (I get enough of that in the real world) so it must suffice for me to say that it was a carefully prepared Germany that was presented to the world. The British were, genuinely, not naïve to the reality of their surroundings and the athletes were indeed given very pointed suggested topics of conversation (naivety? Perhaps, but at least, for once, they actually tried) with which to ‘pin down’ or even embarrass their hosts. The evidence for the origin of this is scant; I doubt that Eden had either the inclination or capacity (both in our and the real 1936 he was, as the Royal Navy might put it, ‘bows under’ with work) so I think that it was something that the wily Phipps would concoct. I accept that it is indeed ‘thin gruel’ taking heart from a set of crib notes, but it’s a start.

There was much heart, also, to be had from the gloriously awkward lunch reception that Hitler held for the dignitaries and senior Olympians. It is not known, other than Aberdare and Burghley (complete with their apparently hideous ties), who attended for the British but it is highly plausible that Vansittart attended; in any event, with Britain not unlike a roller coaster about to tip over the precipice, it is likely that the British would push hard for Vansittart’s visit to be as wide ranging and successful as possible. Vansittart was indeed fascinated by Goebbels, who was ‘off his game’ that lunchtime, (allegedly all was not well between him and Magda) and who hated having to host a rather tedious end of the giant horseshoe table. The speeches were as plodding and tame as portrayed, and while the ‘Van meets Adolf’ trope would have been too predictable, I’ve suggested that they least saw one another.

And then to the ceremony. If much of it felt familiar then it should, as the Nazis, in a manner that I still find astonishing, gifted us much of the ceremony and features of the modern opening ceremony. The torch relay, complete (and you couldn’t make this up) with steel torch made by Krupps. Yup, at the same time that they’re churning out the Panzerkampfwagen, they’re also working on a symbol of universal peace. Thankfully Straus’ efforts at an Olympic anthem didn’t catch on, and by the 60s we’re back to the traditional (and uniquely awful one). The British and American teams were met with faint praise when they failed to salute (definitely both), marched badly (sorry America, you’re on your own there) and didn’t dip their flags (the US definitely, the British probably). Some nations deliberately made the Olympic salute rather than the Nazi one (there are similarities) but I am actually rather proud of the British; the ‘eyes right’ is such a muted, almost grudging acknowledgment, and is precisely what a marching platoon of soldiers or ratings would do to all dignitaries from local mayor to secretary of state (Royals of course would get a royal salute from the OIC).

And there we are; I’m mulling another Olympics update, and have one sketched out around the sailing events. As ever I’m trying to show you things from a slightly different perspective (and apologies for the photo, it's from far earlier than August, but shows a Berlin adorned with flags without my getting into trouble with a mod). We shall see...

Chamberlain could hardly be more blatant; it's quite telling of Baldwin's situation how he just goes along with it.
And the thing is, I'm not making it up (well I clearly am with a significant POD, but the ambition and his conduct around this period is true).

Baldwin may be PM, but from the point of view of me as a reader this is very much Neville's show. He is everywhere, and people react to him more than Baldwin. I do wonder if he may be overplaying his hand - his apparent brazen-ness seems more American than British, just the sort of behaviour to rile others up. Of course, it is hard to see where the likely opposition would be. Even opponents might wish him to endure what they believe could be a poisoned chalice, especially if Baldwin is forced to whilst the consequences of this matter rumble on.
So yes, I think you're right, this was Neville's show and largely will be going forward. I think that your point about Chamberlain's almost American forwardness is interesting, but I struggle to think of Chamberlain as a Briton, there is just something alien to him, I find him very difficult to write about.

Also, I have to presume the choice of words in this line was deliberate: "he appeased Chamberlain with a smile " - it certainly brought a smile to my face.
I'm glad you pointed that out Stnylan, I am ashamed to admit the play on words wooshed over my head in first reading. Lord knows how. o_O
Yes, I couldn't resist!

It is very difficult to relax when everyone at the table is trying to eat you. Or lovingly lick you, in Chamberlain's case.
I do not envy Baldwin one bit. After a brief resurgence he seems once again a thoroughly defeated man, and Chamberlain is being more than a little obnoxious in trying to capitalise on it while not appearing too obvious. He truly is coming across as a grubby little coat-tail rider.
So I am leaving Baldwin's level of awareness of Neville's actions (hopefully) opaque, but there is a balancing act here. Chamberlain has to appear, to his Cabinet colleagues, to be halfway, already, into acting as the PM while not offending the (increasingly erratic) incumbent.

Slippery slope time! Arranging for the accident of Simpson and Chamberlain dying tragic and drawn out deaths would be nice but would lead to someone like Churchill going too far with it and murdering all the enemies of the state.
I love the idea of someone utterly humble and inoffensive going nuts. Perhaps Stanley, or Inskip. There is more pathos to that than Churchill.

Poor Baldwin, a short rest was never going to cure his underlying decline for long. The old bull is gradually falling back from the herd, trudging on more from instinct now. He will soon keel over and become food for the carrion crawlers. :( On a story note, his departure from the scene will have as big (or bigger) an impact on the narrative than external game events will, at least until 1939 (if indeed that remains the point of conflagration in this run).

But first there is a royal crisis to plough through and as you imply, we come to the steepest part of the slippery slope. It will do Baldwin in, one suspects. The key question of course is how will it fall out and will the outcome be significantly different to OTL. The ‘so what’ being the denouement’s effect on the Empire/Commonwealth and Britain’s ability to weather the coming storm.
You're right, and this is where I'm padding out an area in which the game is very light. Baldwin is still key but is weaker, imho politically as well physically, than he was OTL (where he'd had a huuuuuuge summer holiday).

Austen was the only good Chamberlain, and even then it required daddy going six feet under for him to become so.

It certainly looks like push is about to come to shove. For everyone's sake, I hope Edward realises the jig is up.
I'm agonising over Austen, I want to include him but lack an 'in'. And I'm running out of time...

I hope he blows his brains out to be honest. Him sticking around in Amercia was a nightmare for everyone and it's still up for debate how much of a nazi collaborator he was.

Honourably taking his licks and living quietly somewhere in Canada is the best we can hope for, and honestly I would not fault the goverment for arranging an accidental drowning on his yacht type occurrence for him and his wife.
Slippery slope time! Arranging for the accident of Simpson and Edward dying tragic and drawn out deaths would be nice but would lead to someone like Churchill going too far with it and murdering all the enemies of the state.

(Guillotine > yacht accident anyway)
...shut up.

Then again, it is different if he really does commit suicide. Or is suitably convinced...
So, hilariously, and astonishingly, there were muted comments suggesting variations of the sort of stuff that you suggest above. As the Royal Household shedded staff (and most of them the old George V staff who hated Wallis Simpson). Even at the highest level (Baldwin), there were slightly jokey, slightly wishful comments that it would all be convenient if Simpson / The King were to have a horrid accident.

It is not easy to have that many characters and personalities in a room and still make the update clear and entertaining, yet you seem to do it effortlessly (given how fast you are pumping these out) and with consummate aplomb. Dazzling is the only word to describe it.

As you say a real milestone. For all the hedging in the final cabinet statement the die has been cast. It is now abdication or governmental resignation, because as Duff-Cooper should know (and everyone else does) there is no rabbit Walter Monckton can pull out a hat here.
Thank you, I am rather oddly a benificiary of the chaos gripping my particular area of work through COVID.

Someone should compile a list. There's been quite a few.
Mr Hitler, we shall duel in Parliament Square!

Somehow, Hitler agrees... and is struck by a car while crossing Westminster Bridge to get to the duel.
It actually ends up being a great benefit to GB because all the 'bad people' are gone, Churchill provided the impetus to try to restore the empire and then immeidatly got distracted on his quest, leaving Eden and increasingly Macmillan to do everything home and away.
Big Godfather refs - nice! :D All we need is for Churchill/Corleone (cue one of those German “the big three are gangsters“ posters) to be supported by a devious Cabinet Secretary as Consigliere (cue Sir Humphrey) and Britain will murder and obfuscate its way to world hegemony, in one climactic scene. Because not only do all the murders need to be done simultaneously, as part of an insanely complicated plot. They need to be explained away by a glib and urbane mouthpiece.

”Your ex-Majesty, you broke my heart!”

”What the Prime Minister actually meant was ...”
Genuinely, we need to make a list of these mad ideas.

Dun dun duuuhhhhhh!
Well, that's certainly ominous enough.
Next chapter, dear boy!

Oh, God. He's actually going to do it. The mad man's going to bring down 1,000 years of tradition and constitutional development over Wallis bloody Simpson.

If you're going to risk this much to get the biscuit, at least have the biscuit be more than this.
Edward has already ruined himself, but this time he's gonna ruin the whole Empire his father had worked so hard to maintain, just over Wallis bloody Simpson.
So I kinda agree, and I think that this caused a lot of the rancour - as Bill Bryson would later write, "even as a fellow American she strikes me as a frankly poor choice of shag."

A republic!? Or a new dynasty perhaps.
Patience, dear boy, patience.

That is a title that promises much excitement, and much hair-pulling by certain characters!
Here's hoping I live up to it...

House of Spencer-Churchill, anyone?
A slip and Churchill becomes holy roman emperor, as he is when time stops in Dr who.
Oh god, I remember that one. Despite my best efforts.
No. Not happening, I can be mad, but not that mad.

Alternate, more cheerful, Story Lines;

"The Collapse of the Crown" - Due to the Beefeaters refusing to co-operate King Edward is unable to get access to the Crown Jewels for his coronation and is forced to use a cardboard crown coated in gold foil. As Archbishop Lang refuses to crown him a junior lackey has to do it and they cock it up, their nervousness meaning they accidentally crush and collapse the cardboard crown. Unable to take the shame of the farce he has created, Edward runs away crying. This is taken as abdication and everyone agrees to never speak of it again.

"The Collapse of the Crown" - Due to excessive stress and rage King Edward's teeth grinding gets out of hand and the crowns of his teeth collapse. An unfortunate mix-up at the Royal Dentists means he is given psychotropic drugs not novocaine and so ends up on a psychedelic trip during the dental work. During this trip he meets many past monarchs of England and the United Kingdom, all of whom take it in turns to slap him about for being an idiot, except for Queen Victoria who headbuts him and then hoofs him in the gentlemen's area. Suitably chastened the King awakes a new man, dumps Simpson, and becomes the model Imperial monarch.

"The Collapse of the Crown" - While inspecting the newly built Ramsgate narrow gauge railway tunnel there is an unfortunate accident and the crown of the tunnel collapses, killing the King and the royal party. Everyone is secretly relieved the issue is solved, but mildly disappointed at such a deus ex machina resolution.
Add them to the list!
What about Edward not stepping down and forcing people to chose between parliment and George, and the actual current monarch?

Given the choice, it only takes a portion of the public, parliment or the dominions to say screw it, keep the crown but we'll be a republic now for the moanrchy to be in serious trouble.

Again, as many have said, I don't really mind the monarchy collapsing but it's a little sad it was brought down by one imbecile and their plaything
This is not a bad stab, and while that's not what's going to happen, it's close and sums up some of the potential catastrophes.

Yeah! The Republic of England is on the making!
Is one (extreme) option.

So like that scene from the Gathering Storm where Churchill sees his ancestor Marlborough; Inspiring to be sure, albeit in a slightly different manner.
I do love that scene. Beautifully shot and acted so lightly.

A single pic & quote teaser and so much resulting speculation and comment! The Cad to get the comeuppance of all cads and bounders?
I know - maybe I should post a flyer every week?
 
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I'll work on a list today.
 
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I've watched various bits of Olympia - and I think it is a fascinating historical resource, both from the point of view of a slice of history, but also from the point of view of the history of film-making and of sport itself.

The poor opinion Vansittart holds of Olympic officials I am sure is one many of our comtemporary government officials share to this day :)

There is a pervading sense of rudderless-ness though to the British situation. The oxygen is being sucked up by the domestic spectre of the King's marriage and the foreign spectre of the Spanish War. One can sense it surround Vansittart like a fog, getting him wet without even raining.
 

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I have to say, I rather liked that. An amusing portrait of bored dignitaries doing the rounds. And I'm growing to like Van, as well. He's delightfully unimpressed by it all.

I had no idea that much of the Olympic pageantry is a Nazi inheritance. I suppose the whole "celebration of youthful athletic glory" schtick does fit quite well with the fashier elements of 1930s Europe.

There was a low, weirdly threatening drone overhead, and the light suddenly dimmed as the stadium was cast into shadow by the flypast of a German dirigible which Vansittart vaguely recalled was the Hindenburg. Vansittart found himself daydreaming of a fantasy where the bloody thing crashed, with everyone on the international stage whom he found annoying (as well, he chuckled, Wallis Simpson – she was even haunting his daydreams) on board.
Ho ho ho.
 

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I am pleased to see you did indeed 'go there' with the Hindenburg overflight. Excellent. :)

As others have said Vansittart is a joy in this, though in part this may just be because I agree with his views on future events so am pre-disposed to like him. In any event he was the perfect choice to observe the Olympics and the fluff and ceremony around it.

With Jessie Owens yet to come, and the darkly funny parallels between the US and German official reactions to him, I do hope your mulling produces another Olympic update. Even if it is not Van I am confident you will find another interesting and different perspective to show us.
 

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It may have been 1936, but there were still plenty of drones around. Enough perhaps for them to form a club, with Bertie Wooster there to brighten things up? I can almost imagine him competing in some obscure sport at the Olympics as one of those gentlemen members of the British team (think supporting characters from Chariots of Fire), entertaining the team with songs accompanied by the banjolele, and getting into some horrid scrape with the local constabulary - stealing a Stormtrooper’s hat or some such.

There would also be a run-in with some Mosely-type leader of the Blackshorts, sporting an angry face, Hitlerian moustache and a pair of awful black ‘footer bags’. A Jeeves type from team management will then figure out some way to extract him, rescue him from the mad plan Bertie had concocted with a brash American hurdler, embarrass the German officials, expose the Blackshort bully as a seller of women’s lingerie, and getting back in time to win a bronze medal in the 4x100 metre hat-snatch relay. All at the cost of getting engaged to Vansittart’s daughter! :D
 
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Someone really wants to write Rupert Bear books. But with Nazis...
 

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A great update, the Olympics gives a lot of opportunities to an author, it seems a good opportunity to insert a few spies into Germany after all...

Also is the pigeon thing OTL? Those poor yanks...
 
The Butterfly Composer's "The Great Big List of Madhouse AAR prompts and Ideas (from A Royal Prerogative)"

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The Great Big List of Madhouse AAR prompts and Ideas
(from A Royal Prerogative)

Okay so the first few pages aren't prompts as such but we do have a big old discussion about cults, old boy networks and edward being dropped right in it from the off (thus all of us being briefly very sympathetic to his plight). This leads on to a discussion of HOI4 intelligence departments and the idea of them in general, which leads to:

My favorite conspiracy theory I've ever invented is the one where Enigma was never actually cracked, Himmler was actually an Allied agent and that's why they whacked him.
Which has potential, I must say. And following the King's speech, we all worried about whether or not he was a secret socialist.
Which led to the immortal line:

Of course, I forgot that this is HOI and becoming fascist gives you superpowers.
The first crisis comes up next with Germans entering the Rhineland. Everyone wishes everyone else would do something about it. Leads to a discussion on French gold and French insanity, and @El Pip provides his first prompt:

This could be Eddie's great service to the nation, on a trip to Paris he could meet Gamelin and then bring back to Londond the vital intelligence that the French High Command is riddled with VD. I imagine that as a great philanderer he was adept at spotting the signs, if only to avoid it himself.
Near the top of p. 8 @Le Jones first decides that one of the prompts is a good idea for an AAR. Unfortunately it's my recommendation for how to play as Italy in HOI4, which involved swiping Austria as early as you can and taking down the axis yourself.

P.11 sees pretty much everyone fall out of love with Edward and start hating both him and his bitch of a sex partner. It is also where the now infamous concept of a Berlin Olympics airship disaster first floated:


Still not sure where the Divergence is going to be. Ethiopia gone. Ruhr gone. Is there going to be a plane crash at some point during the olympics?
An airship crash, you mean?
The Hindenburg did famously fly around the site during the games, if it were to burst into flames and crash into the Olympic stadium, taking out the entire Nazi leadership in the fireball, that would be a novel POD and I for one would read the hell out of it.

Alas I fear it is an idea too magnificent for this world and will never see the light of day.
I might actually write the Hindenburg crash, given that whilst I would quite like to give an account of some of my crazier HOI games, I don't actually (as many can attest) know or care much about this period of history. So having absolutely everyone of importance OTL die in several unfortunate and spectacular accidents sounds quite appealing, and makes what the AI and myself did afterwards make a kind of twisted sense.

I'd probably roll a die or flip a coin for HOI AAR favourites. So the like of Churchill and Halifax probably wouldn't die right away but are doomed to sooner rather than later. And I'd keeping a tally, so the longer they last, the more horrific death they've earned.

Actually I don't even need a game account for this do I? HOI4: Lets kill Hitler...and then everyone else.
What, Baldwin has a thunderclap heart attack, dies and the cabinet is thrown into chaos, parliament is deadlocked, the marriage goes through and suddenly there's a huge public political crisis with the Kings side full of popular orators and the government more looking pathetic?
Who knows what will happen? Frogs falling from the sky? Cats and dogs, living together? A sharknado at Brighton Pier? Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of A Royal Prerogative!
Maybe there shall be a terrible accident at the 36 Olympics...
Lang attempted to bully, humiliate and cower him. Nope – he’s an arse. Can I ask that he be put on the Hindenburg, please, @the Butterfly ?
My list of people to put on that dammed zeppelin is growing with each update…

And then completely out of nowhere:

We need Hitler having one of his well-known "brain farts" and, after considering that Baldwin and Chamberlain are far more dangerous for him than Stalin, sends Skorzeny to kill them :cool:.
Which may well prove interesting if anyone gave it a try.

After that, we have several moments where @DensleyBlair and @El Pip look poised to fall and fight in various bear traps I dug but they were too polite. Once again we spoke on espionage, especially electronic stuff. This thread might be on a list now.

@Director then starts off a corker of an economic discussion and AAR prompt:

I do have a question to put to readers from Britain. Were the deep austerity measures of the day necessary or could other policies have succeeded?
Such are the magical properties of debt. Used properly, it's basically, to use a horrible phrase, a magic money tree. There are of course, some horrible drawbacks to the system but if you happened to have an empire made up of economies also in the debt game, you could lend and borrow from each other, and because the whole economy of the empire was growing, and managed if not controlled centrally, deficit financing make a lot of sense for the empire.

In fact it makes so much sense that I suspect there is a horrible nasty hole in the centre of such an idea that several people are bound to drop kick me on. Still, it would make for an interesting AAR idea to have a group of accountants from modern times dropped into the 1918 Treasury and told to make it run 'properly', what would happen?
I am just about the furthest one can get from understanding how finance works, but reading this I do get the sense of watching The Big Short. And now I'm thinking that this 1918 Treasury AAR probably has to star Christian Bale...
That said a hypothetical group of accountants dropped into 1918 would probably do fine, they'd get on well with the Treasury and probably not change much. Because they are accountants and so don't do grand economic theory. You could try it with economists, but they'd just fight amongst themselves and achieve nothing, as is traditional for their caste.
It's difficult to argue however that GB should have done anything differently, since they didn't really do anything wrong with their recovery and managed to rearm fairly promptly when they needed to...I suppose you'd have to really like british industry and want it to be boosted back up to the numbers it was at in the 1870s, comparative to the rest of the world. But, the OTL 30s industry base was pretty good, the british didn't have much trouble rearming with home-grown stuff so far as I know.
Just so. It's actually one of those scenarios which sounds good but wouldn't change much because by post-war November 1918, it's all far too late for the big changes you would probably want to make in an AAR. Probably more beneficial to have this team sent back earlier and instructed to make sure all the what-if machines invented in the 19th century but didn't get off the ground until after ww2 actually got made properly. Stuff like the difference engine.
To me the Empire never really ‘got it’s groove’ on in the 30s and exploited that it was, as TBC has mentioned, a massive cartel. I agree with El Pip that the UK didn’t really have it as bad as others, but demoralised and pessimistic administrations seemed to have concluded that it did. And rearming your way out of trouble is, as El Pip has commented, slaying one dragon to create another.
As distasteful mercurial as the brits were in the 19th c. you can't help but feel sorry for the old folks watching their hard work crash and burn because the current crop of administrators and politicos are too weak to rodger the empire for all its worth while they still have it. They could have done so much better than they did, and I doubt the dominions would have done much to stop them (King might try, and Canada was always the strongest of the bunch, but I think that if the empire came knocking most of them would pick mother england over the struggling US, at least until the early 40s and by then they were at war).

There's probably a story in there somewhere. An AAR where GB gets struck by lightning and they pull out all their dirty old tricks and have a good go at imperial preference. Then having rode out the depression on a cash possitive high, safely ignore the fires in europe until the nazis regime inevitably collapses and sweep in to rebuild and meddle afterwards. Might have to do a few time skips to avoid being too dry...
doing it seriously (and within the constraints of good old fashioned Westminster democracy) would be an interesting ride. We can add it to the wish list after the fatal zeppelin fireball Nazi AAR.
Yeah I would prefer to do the everybody's dead dave aar first. It'll keep. Hopefully hoi4 has some better economy stuff in it by then.
I'm coming round to the view that Halifax was just a man out of time. His judgement remains appalling and his personal faults numerous, but had he hit his prime say 25 years earlier things would have gone better for all involved. Making strenuous efforts to stay out of WW1 might have worked and certainly would have been better for Britain than actually fighting the damn thing - Imperial Germany was at least a rational(ish) country you could work with. Alas it was his fate to take that attitude against the Nazis.
That is the most positive (or rather least negative) opinion on Halifax that you've ever expressed! I think that it's very fair, actually; he was by any measure a late Victorian rather than a man of the 30s and had he risen earlier he might have found his moment.

Then for some reason, I and @El Pip come up with a plan for saving the French Empire, giving GB all the gold in the world and potentially stopping the Great Depression...and also Churchill's well diaries:

Well, y'know...money. The french can't afford anything in this period, with even inaction being incredibly expensive in the long term.

Probably should get a new financial advisor. And take away all sharp implements before showing them their situation.
Technically France can afford to do things and did so, sadly the things it spent on did not work out (where 'work out' means "Not being defeated by Germany in the next war"). A lot of money was spent on nationalising large chunks of the the defence industry, then more was spent on modernising the industry and then even more on nationalising the railways. And of course the whole 'Trying to make Paris the world's financial capital by buying up all the world's Gold' plan was quite pricey.

Stop any one of those and quite a lot of funds are available for other things. Hell just go off Gold right now, as opposed to September, and the earlier start to the recovery would fund a reasonable Spanish intervention.
A full on naval blockade of Spain by the RN and MN would keep out basically all German, Italian and American Aid (Franco's army ran on US oil that was sold on credit). If the Republican government asks for British and French assistance then legally it is fine, they are just supporting the legitimate government of Spain to secure it's borders. Trading rights for neutrals only apply to governments not rebels, and who is going to risk the escalation by recognising a bunch of failed coup leaders? (This assumes UK/France act relatively promptly and can set the terms, if it is scene as 'just' a bad revolt not a civil war things are automatically much better for the Republicans).

Take away all the foreign support for the Nationalists and have the 'Moscow Gold' used to actually buy weapons and not just enrich the USSR and the Republic has a decent chance of victory even without any British or French troops being committed on land (though the navies will be busy).

Not a guaranteed plan, and it requires a lot more commitment and confidence than Paris or London ever displayed inter-war, but it's certainly doable. And if the Spanish Republic isn't salvageable all the better, major reform was required in any event so maybe 'doing a France' and starting a new Third Republic to replace the old broken one isn't that bad a consequence.
Still, it is a wonderfully Victorian master plan that is truly ludicrous in scale and hubris. Of course if they actually did go someway to gaining a huge pile of gold, they'd be in a never ending spending spree of buying more from the gold producing colonies, many of which weren't owned by France...

Wonder if the british could make some money tricking france into spending a fortune buying their gold they just dug up so they can put it back in the ground again (but in Paris this time)?
There is an IMF research paper that argues the Great Depression is France's fault. Their great gold buying spree was the early 30s, i.e. after the Wall St Crash and Credit Anstalt bankruptcy, so a recession was going to happen but not necessarily a depression. Instead as the French sucked gold out of the market and into their vaults they reduced the money supply for everyone else (because everyone was on the gold standard, so less gold meant less money in circulation) and this caused the deflation that made it the Great Depression not just a bad down turn. The paper states this also explains why the Depression hit France later than everyone else, they didn't experience the contraction in the money supply as they had plenty of metal to back the currency so didn't (initially) experience the deflation everyone else did.
I think my point is that had all the gold gone to Paris and the weapons been brought on the open market, the Republicans would have got a lot more weapons for the same money. In fact just the threat of being able to do so would have forced the Soviets to be a bit more fair with the pricing, but once the gold was in Moscow the Spanish lost a lot of leverage.
There's an AAR idea in there, somewhere. This thread seems to be good at throwing out those...
That would need someone to an Interwar mod for a game (could be late Vicki 2 or very early HOI), but they are vanishingly thin on the ground. Best I've seen is the Great War mod which attempts to cover the post-WW1 period, certainly actual late game Vicki II is utterly unsuitable for such a work as it is so rebel happy.

Plus of course Churchill falling down a well, Britain not going onto Gold Standard and then bestriding the world like an economic colossus is, while a beautiful thing, not an particularly long lived subject for an AAR.

I suppose one could do a narrative "Lords of Finance" style work on central bankers and traders playing games with the Gold market during the Depression period. From a certain, very specialist, perspective it was an interesting period and certainly full of opportunities for a more confident Britain (or indeed France) to engineer a very different outcome. Still hits on the problem of the lack of a game to base it on, so you would be inventing it out of whole cloth. Which is fine obviously, but it does stop being even slightly an AAR at that point.
I'd be interested in Churchill's down the well diaries.
A three part epic, with how those days transformed international relations for the next century.
That’s the format sorted for our nineteenth Royal Prerogative Hypothetical Spin-off AAR (TM) then

This then evolves into a most excellent 'Allo 'Allo rip off:

I am shuddering at the idea of an ARR with every protagonist being either a French treasury official or a bullion trader...
Thats the prequel where everyone is a french pirate trying to steal a gold hoard directly.
Now that is a high concept AAR I would absolutely love to write. I'm thinking outrageous French stereotypes for the narrative scenes, interspersed with history book economic updates about the Gold Standard.

It would be beautiful. No-one would read it, it may in fact be unreadable, but it would nevertheless win several literary awards.
Allo allo with bankers would be surreal. Potentially highly entertaining. Everyone would be completely insane and drunk on wine and power. No one understands written French yet insist upon writing everything in that tongue. And they're classical econommists, so they read classics at university and have spent most of their lives bullying the underclass of their own country and natives in colonies.

If push came to shove, they could not find europe on a map and think Belgium is a bar in the doldrums of Paris (and thus is to be avoided at all costs). They have a massive army and military budget, and are terrified of using it. Obsessed with wine and cheese, and carjacking.

To round it all off, and this is most important, the rest of the world must never come into the picture, except in jokes. Absolutely nothing outside the borders affects France and vice versa. Except, perhaps, in one episode, possibly the last one, where the gang are convinced that electing the last bonaparte (or whoever) is a good idea, hijinks issue amongst everyone until the last few minutes, when the coronation is about the begin and the rest of europe shows up and kills everyone except the would be monarch (who got lost) and steal the huge pile of gold the economists have managed to gather the whole series through before setting the set on fire and leaving.
Oh my Lord - beyond my talents, mon brave...
But who would write this - I mean, it would be brilliant, but, just, who?
I do like Top Gear Maths.
sigh...I'll add it to the list.
*zeppelin looks forlorn in background*
*nervous laughter*
Indeed, who could do such a thing?

*tucks away file with two completed episodes*
If I ever do find the time to write L'or, L'or (because what else could you possibly call a French gold bankers based pastiche of Allo Allo?) he will be the model for the City of London based gold trader who semi-regularly ruins their plans to smuggle tons of gold into Paris, the gold being hidden inside several rings of onions or inside the shells of giant African land snails being imported for a Bastille Day banquet, that sort of thing.
Coming next Fall...

"TREES!"

A groundbreaking new series on the dangers of finance.

"Er...Francis, where 'as all de money gone?"

Heads will roll in the new phenomenon that is:

L'or, L'or!

"You British FUCKS!"

Waving the white flag, November 2021

And now time for a quick fire round of Slippery Slope Time! (copyright TBC):

I do not envy Baldwin one bit. After a brief resurgence he seems once again a thoroughly defeated man, and Chamberlain is being more than a little obnoxious in trying to capitalise on it while not appearing too obvious. He truly is coming across as a grubby little coat-tail rider. Are you sure there's no prospect of Chamberlain accidentally doing himself a grief while shaving and Stanley being elevated as a compromise candidate? :p
Slippery slope time! Arranging for the accident of Simpson and Chamberlain dying tragic and drawn out deaths would be nice but would lead to someone like Churchill going too far with it and murdering all the enemies of the state.
I hope he blows his brains out to be honest. Him sticking around in Amercia was a nightmare for everyone and it's still up for debate how much of a nazi collaborator he was.

Honourably taking his licks and living quietly somewhere in Canada is the best we can hope for, and honestly I would not fault the goverment for arranging an accidental drowning on his yacht type occurrence for him and his wife.
Slippery slope time! Arranging for the accident of Simpson and Edward dying tragic and drawn out deaths would be nice but would lead to someone like Churchill going too far with it and murdering all the enemies of the state.

(Guillotine > yacht accident anyway)
...shut up.

Then again, it is different if he really does commit suicide. Or is suitably convinced...
Finally, it appears we will have to add a new AAR Idea to the list generated by this thread. This one is "Slippery Slope - A serious of tragic accidents" The tale of Churchill going to far with it and arranging accidents for all the enemies of the British state;

"Hitler is dead. So is Mussolini. Franco. FDR. Stafford Cripps. Today I settled all the Empire's business, so don't tell me you're innocent. Admit what you did." Churchill growled.

De Valera started sobbing and begging for mercy.

"One day, and that day will definitely come, I will call upon you to do a service for the Empire. But until that day, accept being Governor-General as my gift." Churchill sat back with his cigar and nodded.
Or have it be Churchill desperate to murder everyone, only to be unable because there genuinely are tragic accidents at every turn. Eventually devoles into him desperately trying to end someone to say he helped restore the Empire.

Everyone in the High Church died in Mass when the roof caved in. Northern Irelane disappeared into the sea. FDR fell off a ship. Edward fell on a gun. Halifax burnt himself to death trying to fix his own cooker rather than pay for service. Chamberlain died attending to chamber business. Etc. etc.
Mr Hitler, we shall duel in Parliament Square!

Somehow, Hitler agrees... and is struck by a car while crossing Westminster Bridge to get to the duel.
It actually ends up being a great benefit to GB because all the 'bad people' are gone, Churchill provided the impetus to try to restore the empire and then immeidatly got distracted on his quest, leaving Eden and increasingly Macmillan to do everything home and away.
Big Godfather refs - nice! :D All we need is for Churchill/Corleone (cue one of those German “the big three are gangsters“ posters) to be supported by a devious Cabinet Secretary as Consigliere (cue Sir Humphrey) and Britain will murder and obfuscate its way to world hegemony, in one climactic scene. Because not only do all the murders need to be done simultaneously, as part of an insanely complicated plot. They need to be explained away by a glib and urbane mouthpiece.

”Your ex-Majesty, you broke my heart!”

”What the Prime Minister actually meant was ...”
A slip and Churchill becomes holy roman emperor, as he is when time stops in Dr who.
Oh god, I remember that one. Despite my best efforts.
Alternate, more cheerful, Story Lines;

"The Collapse of the Crown" - Due to the Beefeaters refusing to co-operate King Edward is unable to get access to the Crown Jewels for his coronation and is forced to use a cardboard crown coated in gold foil. As Archbishop Lang refuses to crown him a junior lackey has to do it and they cock it up, their nervousness meaning they accidentally crush and collapse the cardboard crown. Unable to take the shame of the farce he has created, Edward runs away crying. This is taken as abdication and everyone agrees to never speak of it again.

"The Collapse of the Crown" - Due to excessive stress and rage King Edward's teeth grinding gets out of hand and the crowns of his teeth collapse. An unfortunate mix-up at the Royal Dentists means he is given psychotropic drugs not novocaine and so ends up on a psychedelic trip during the dental work. During this trip he meets many past monarchs of England and the United Kingdom, all of whom take it in turns to slap him about for being an idiot, except for Queen Victoria who headbuts him and then hoofs him in the gentlemen's area. Suitably chastened the King awakes a new man, dumps Simpson, and becomes the model Imperial monarch.

"The Collapse of the Crown" - While inspecting the newly built Ramsgate narrow gauge railway tunnel there is an unfortunate accident and the crown of the tunnel collapses, killing the King and the royal party. Everyone is secretly relieved the issue is solved, but mildly disappointed at such a deus ex machina resolution.
What about Edward not stepping down and forcing people to chose between parliment and George, and the actual current monarch?

Given the choice, it only takes a portion of the public, parliment or the dominions to say screw it, keep the crown but we'll be a republic now for the moanrchy to be in serious trouble.
I love the idea of someone utterly humble and inoffensive going nuts. Perhaps Stanley, or Inskip. There is more pathos to that than Churchill.

And we are now up to date. As you can see, already an extensive and impressive list of madness.
 
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El Pip

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Excellent work TBC. Please be sure and keep it updated as more ideas develop.
 

Cromwell

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Will there be a prize for the most outrageous and unreasonable idea that could still feasibly work as an AAR?
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Bravo all round I say.
Excellent work TBC. Please be sure and keep it updated as more ideas develop.
Will there be a prize for the most outrageous and unreasonable idea that could still feasibly work as an AAR?
Umm...possibly? Especially as I think some of these might actually end up written at some point, even just as one shots in a collected edition. Something might happen on that score when I have reliable Internet again.

I quite enjoyed doing the collation though, very similar to the summaries of Butterfly Effect done months ago...as for keeping it updated the old practice was to put it on a forum blog post but I think pd killed them in the last grear sweep.

Everyone just remember comment #512.
 
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El Pip

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Umm...possibly? Especially as I think some of these might actually end up written at some point, even just as one shots in a collected edition. Something might happen on that score when I have reliable Internet again.
The main thing stopping me doing L'Or L'Or as my post King Haakon project is the horrible realisation I would have to buy HOI4 and some DLC to get a 1930 mod to base it on.

Of course I could just make it all up completely with no reference to any game at all and hope no-one notices or cares. But that sort of thing is not quite cricket for an AAR forum, so I am reluctant to take that path.
 

Director

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@El Pip - On the contrary, it is an old and honored AAR-Land tactic. I'm not sure if it has been used lately, but I know of a number of classic works that hang 'very loosely' upon a game.

As music depends on rules to close off possibilities, so does writing. If you are told you can write absolutely anything you might stare at a blank page, overwhelmed by possibilities. But if you start making choices (and eliminating others) then the shape becomes much more perceptible and writing (and plotting) becomes easier.

A Paradox game, for our authorial purposes, can be a construct around which we form a narrative and whose events we may use as plot-points. It would be perfectly possible to write such a perfect simulation that no-one would guess the author's creativity had replaced the game underneath - it was done, at least once, that I know of.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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The main thing stopping me doing L'Or L'Or as my post King Haakon project is the horrible realisation I would have to buy HOI4 and some DLC to get a 1930 mod to base it on.

Of course I could just make it all up completely with no reference to any game at all and hope no-one notices or cares. But that sort of thing is not quite cricket for an AAR forum, so I am reluctant to take that path.
Well I do have everything for hoi4 (because someone else got it me) so I can certainly do an up to date france game. However, I'm not an expert at this period of history in general and french fiance in particular. So I can play the game and write the funnies, but someone else would have to write a postscript essay after each episode explaining what is actually going on:):D

On the contrary, it is an old and honored AAR-Land tactic. I'm not sure if it has been used lately, but I know of a number of classic works that hang 'very loosely' upon a game.
That is true, and Pip knows of at least one aar like that because Little Dux has so far been completely original material with exactly two characters that actually exist in ckii found within.

So it can be done. Then again, half the fun of HOI aars is trying to explain the hilariously wrong things paradox says happen in the game.

Tell you what, why don't I play a test game focusing on french fiance and the metropolitan area and let you know what happens?
 

DensleyBlair

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A Paradox game, for our authorial purposes, can be a construct around which we form a narrative and whose events we may use as plot-points. It would be perfectly possible to write such a perfect simulation that no-one would guess the author's creativity had replaced the game underneath - it was done, at least once, that I know of.
That is true, and Pip knows of at least one aar like that because Little Dux has so far been completely original material with exactly two characters that actually exist in ckii found within.

So it can be done. Then again, half the fun of HOI aars is trying to explain the hilariously wrong things paradox says happen in the game.
Not to be too shameless by using my own work as an example, but, well, it is an example. Echoes is a 175,000 word (and counting) opus based off exactly seven years of Vicky 2 gameplay. I went into the game knowing what scenario I wanted to play out, then I stopped playing as soon as the infamously iffy late-game Vicky engine started doing things I wasn't a fan of.