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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Bullfilter

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And here we have the problem in its most condensed form. Everyone expects the King to follow along with a program laid out by them beforehand, where every motion is carefully choreographed and every contingency is (or seems to be) accounted for in advance. Edward VIII is not a man who likes being confined to a set program, leading to a distressing habit of going off-script -- in this case, quite literally.
That’s what he gets for being a constitutional monarch. The price of all that privilege and deference. He’s not meant to go off script in policy terms - personal behaviour is another thing, but if that is viewed through a prism where it blurs with policy or national interest and stability at a time of great threat and international stability ... well, abdication was probably the best thing, if not for poor Bertie (KG6). Going off-script when Hitler & co are on the loose? Just not acceptable. ;)
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Again though, just to reign this all back in, the king is a security risk and is sleeping with a married woman (and others). His actual interactions with the public though have been pretty good, his speech touches the growing and valid concerns of the labour movements of the day without promising anything in particular...

Still strikes me as more of a 'get your affairs in order' rather than 'we must shove him out at all costs'.
 

El Pip

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Again though, just to reign this all back in, the king is a security risk and is sleeping with a married woman (and others). His actual interactions with the public though have been pretty good, his speech touches the growing and valid concerns of the labour movements of the day without promising anything in particular...

Still strikes me as more of a 'get your affairs in order' rather than 'we must shove him out at all costs'.
The problem is he is 42, people very rarely change personality at that age. Maybe a large shock would do it, the revelation of quite how many other people Wallace is sleeping with as well as him perhaps, but even then he was so under the thumb it probably wouldn't.

Well King George V had written him off at least as early as 1934, if not before, and you can imagine the Royal Household felt similarly, as did much of the Establishment. His famous "ruined in 12 months" quote was pretty much bang on, so I dread to think what horrors our authors "earth shattering events" will unleash.
 

Bullfilter

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Again though, just to reign this all back in, the king is a security risk and is sleeping with a married woman (and others). His actual interactions with the public though have been pretty good, his speech touches the growing and valid concerns of the labour movements of the day without promising anything in particular...

Still strikes me as more of a 'get your affairs in order' rather than 'we must shove him out at all costs'.
Fair enough, though I was referring more to off-script not so much as in that innocuous speech ad lib, more in cozying up to Fascists and working against government policies. How this goes in-game will be interesting - being pretty much a novice re HOI4. I’ll be hoping it’s not another of those England turns fascist under a restored absolute monarchy scenarios. But with the Royal Prerogative ... if it’s Edward, I can see things going decidedly ugly. :eek::(
 

TheButterflyComposer

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I’ll be hoping it’s not another of those England turns fascist under a restored absolute monarchy scenarios. But with the Royal Prerogative ... if it’s Edward, I can see things going decidedly ugly. :eek::(
I never really got how going down that path was helpful to the UK or fun as a player unless you wanted a real challenge. I mean, the empire disintegrated as soon as you take the first few focuses. How on earth are you supposed to get it all back, and then defeat japan, annex the USA and defeat russia?

Of course, I forgot that this is HOI and becoming fascist gives you superpowers. Every former dominion has a massive rebellion focus that gives you the realm back usually for free. Then with near absolute control over that quarter of the world, you can do magic fascist things like declaring war on whomever you like. Middle east falls, china falls, take down russia and japan from five different angles at the same time. Smash europe like an egg you don't want to eat. Then take the US. British Empire achievement complete, world conquered, somehow only 5 million people died.

So clearly edward staying king is the best option because the world basically just gives up and bows down before him.
 

Specialist290

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That’s what he gets for being a constitutional monarch. The price of all that privilege and deference. He’s not meant to go off script in policy terms - personal behaviour is another thing, but if that is viewed through a prism where it blurs with policy or national interest and stability at a time of great threat and international stability ... well, abdication was probably the best thing, if not for poor Bertie (KG6). Going off-script when Hitler & co are on the loose? Just not acceptable. ;)
Agreed; wasn't meaning to imply that Eddie was necessarily the hero in all this skulduggery. I do have a tiny modicum of sympathy for him as a tragic figure, but like all such tragic figures his fate is something he largely brought on himself.
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Agreed; wasn't meaning to imply that Eddie was necessarily the hero in all this skulduggery. I do have a tiny modicum of sympathy for him as a tragic figure, but like all such tragic figures his fate is something he largely brought on himself.
There is something almost classically Greek tragedian about him. Hubris is a powerful thing.
 

Bullfilter

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Agreed; wasn't meaning to imply that Eddie was necessarily the hero in all this skulduggery. I do have a tiny modicum of sympathy for him as a tragic figure, but like all such tragic figures his fate is something he largely brought on himself.
And I was largely agreeing with you ;). Just reinforcing the point that a constitutional monarch’s ad libbing options are strictly limited, for very good reasons. I suspect Edward in OTL was (by then anyway) like a company going bankrupt. Better off liquidating than investing more time, effort and political capital, throwing good money after bad. In TTL of course we are going to get a different approach which, with the style and accomplishment of our authAAR, should be an entertaining ride, even if it does get politically unpleasant along the way. OTL wasn’t exactly a picnic either! :eek:

There is something almost classically Greek tragedian about him. Hubris is a powerful thing.
Very true.

So clearly edward staying king is the best option because the world basically just gives up and bows down before him.
Will see if that’s where this one is going.
 

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Two great new chapters. I particularly enjoyed the espionage focused one, I hope you treat us to a few more of those at some point in the future.

King Eddie seemed to enjoy his change to his broadcast, I don't want to but I'm finding myself liking him a little, at least your portrayal.
 

El Pip

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There is something almost classically Greek tragedian about him. Hubris is a powerful thing.
There is also a sense of self-fufilling prophecy about him. Everyone in the Establishment could see a disaster coming, but because of the fundamental personality clashes (and Edward's petulant streak) the more they intervened the more likely that disaster became.

I am half convinced that part of Edward's initial pursuit of Simpson was just to spite his father and the Establishment because even he could see she was so unsuitable. If no-one had made a fuss, maybe he would have looked elsewhere?
 

Le Jones

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upload_2020-4-22_21-56-35.png


Chapter 7, Eastleigh Aerodrome, Hampshire, 5 March 1936

upload_2020-4-22_21-57-3.png


They fussed over every detail of the aircraft, proud of their beautiful prototype and the potential that she represented (there had been some discussion, but they all agreed that she was most certainly a ‘she’) and that was that. It was a gorgeous spring afternoon. The prototype of the ‘Type 300’ fighter lay waiting.

The pilot was no ordinary pilot; they had assigned this task to Joe “Mutt” Summers, Vickers Aviation’s chief test pilot. He walked around the plane one last time, his eyes sweeping over her flaps, her rudder, the strength and position of her undercarriage, everything that could effect her performance. Nodding, he took his flying goggles from a technician and, with a focussed grimace, climbed into the cockpit. After a few minutes, the engine roared into life, the 1000 horsepower Merlin ready and waiting for Summers’ command.

With the chocks removed, Summers steadily increased the power and K5054 bumped gently along the cut grass apron. Summers used the approaching runway as an opportunity to test the rudder controls, it was bumpy but responsive, in fact it felt over-sensitive (but he accepted that all aircraft are ungainly on the ground). After a sharp turn to port lined him up, he paused, checked the instruments a final time, checked the wind direction, and gave the Merlin engine the throttle it seemed to crave. Leaping forward, K5054 seemed like a Derby winner released, seemingly screaming along the runway. He had decided to take off twenty-three degrees into wind, and wanted to check if she would swing to left or right during take-off; she did swing, but slight correction on the rudder (not too much, as it was over-sensitive) resolved the swing. And then he was airborne. She was responsive, he could tell; Mitchell’s elliptical design had created an incredibly tight turn rate and he was in awe of her incredible turning circle.

upload_2020-4-22_21-57-42.png


He flew her out past Hamble, full as ever with yachts, even in the early Spring, and down toward Sarisbury and Fareham. In the distance, he saw the dull grey battleships alongside the sprawling Portsmouth Naval Base. Portsdown Hill, crowned with the Victorian forts of Fort Nelson and Fort Southwick, loomed large. As ever in this brief flight, she was a beauty to fly, Summers smiling to himself at the old airman adage ‘if it looks right, it flies right.

After a few minutes assessing her performance, Summers circled around and began a steady descent, banking low; he could Eastleigh railway junction, the railway a grimy smear across the landscape, and at the airfield he could see a knot of Vickers engineers clustered around their shed. Easing up on the engine, he gently, softly, turned her downwind and bounced K5054 onto the runway. When he had slowed her down, pulled off the runway and onto the apron he guided her back to the Vickers shed. Finally, he choked the engine and K5054 was still. The time was 4:43 p.m.

Summers allowed himself a smile to himself, before his pilot’s composure was restored and he climbed out and onto the apron.

“I don’t want anything touched,” he said to the engineers. Hanging at the back of the small group of observers he saw the frail frame of Reginald Mitchell. He gave a solemn, respectful nod at K5054’s designer; a lot was exchanged in that small moment between the dying designer, who had seen his creation fly, and the man entrusted with delivering the first flight.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

“Sir Robert,” one of the engineers said quietly to Mitchell, “would like the aircraft to be called the Spitfire”.

upload_2020-4-22_21-58-46.png


“Well that is just the sort of bloody silly name that they would give it” he said caustically. “That was that they gave to the Two Two Four prototype. This links us to that project. They’re different planes.”

The engineer was used to Mitchell’s increasing tetchiness; they could see his frailty and his discomfort. “So, what’s next?” He asked this to shift the conversation onto something easier.

Mitchell stared at his creation. “More tests,” Mitchell snapped, “and we present the findings to the Board meeting on April. April the second,” Mitchell, a precise man, added.

Another Supermarine executive hovered by. “And cheaply, too,” he said warmly to Mitchell.

“We don’t know that, yet,” he said in a correcting voice.

“Fourteen thousand, six hundred and thirty-seven pounds,” the executive said; Mitchell’s eye for detail had a pervasive effect on the rest of the company.

“No no,” Mitchell said fussily, inadvertently puncturing the executive’s confidence. “That’s from last week’s estimate. It will be more than that, by now, and by April.”

The engineer chuckled discreetly. “Do you think that the Air Ministry will take it up?” He squinted through the fading light as the team wheeled K5054 into a hangar.

“I hope so,” Mitchell said, gazing at his masterpiece. “I hope so”.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

GAME NOTES

Forgive me, dear readers, but this is a bit of a ‘love letter’ update. Think of this short update as a break from London events, a palate cleanser between domestic concerns and international crises (on their way) with a brief look at the first flight of the Spitfire. The flight took place much as I have described in this update, and although Summers’ route is not known (well, I couldn’t find it) I have surmised a few minutes’ flying East towards Portsmouth before turning back to Eastleigh.

You may feel that I am overdoing it, but even in this simple late afternoon tale there is uncertainty. Summers’ words after the flight have gone down in history; it is unclear whether it was an empathic endorsement of the plane or something more matter-of-fact, in that he simply stated that the aircraft needed no re-trimming or adjustment before the following test flight. Much more flying time and alterations lay ahead before the full assessment of the Spitfire’s flying qualities could be made; but what is clear is that this was a good beginning.

Further uncertainty, wonderfully, occurs over the date of the flight. Later memoirs of one of the team involved placed the date of the first flight on 6 Mar, not 5 Mar. I believe that Summers’ logbook is a crucial point of evidence here, and he was emphatic that it was 5 Mar. I used to work with a former helicopter pilot and his logbook had an almost religious importance; I cannot believe that Summers got it wrong, and an explanation offered for the confusion is that 1936 was a leap year, and it may be that the author had simply forgotten that there was a February 29th.

Reginald Mitchell was indeed turning up on these occasions to watch his new creation fly, even though by this time he was already very ill with the cancer that would soon claim him. Although his health was rapidly deteriorating and he was fully aware of the short time left to him, he was still very much in charge of the project, even to the point of getting angry when he heard that the Vickers board of directors under Sir Robert MacLean proposed the name “Spitfire” for the aircraft. As I have described, that name had already been used to promote an earlier unsuccessful prototype in 1934. His attention to detail, including over the finance of the project was legendary; while his rebuttal to the (fictional) executive was a fabrication, both the cost and Mitchell’s awareness of it are not.

@TheButterflyComposer : You’re right – it could be misconstrued, and that is why Royal broadcasts are heavily scripted (and approved by the Government).

@DensleyBlair : Thank you, Sir. This will take time…

@Bullfilter : Well, we’ll see. Having played the game up to 1941 Edward has a dramatic few years ahead of him.

@stnylan : A very good point, and the early modern Kings (basically KGV onwards) all had to adapt to this new world; but it terrified them!

@Specialist290 : I agree – and this is what so frightens the Establishment; and added to that, he is very, very charismatic.

@Captured Joe : (doesn’t mention the ‘something must be done’ speech).

@El Pip : Well old friend, we’re in agreement – the idea of a mentor started off farcically (Duff-Cooper) and was just never really pursued with any enthusiasm by Baldwin. As has been discussed, he had pretty much already written off King Edward by early 1936.

@Bullfilter : That is Baldwin’s argument in a nutshell.

@TheButterflyComposer : I do wonder if, as I say above, it was already (in the Cabinet’s eyes) too late for that.

@El Pip : Agreed, as we discuss above.

@Bullfilter : I want to tell you, I really do. Rest assured there’ll be nothing completely insane, and as (hopefully!) El Pip and the old guard will testify, I try and do what I think is reasonable at every POD.

@TheButterflyComposer : Ha! I agree, the focus system following “a change of course” is just bonkers.

@Specialist290 : I agree. And have the challenge, dear reader, between trying to make him a cartoonish villain and a cheated hero.

@stnylan : Agreed, and well put.

@Bullfilter : Agreed, Sir.

@Cromwell : Welcome back, am glad that you’re enjoying it. Butler will be back, I promise.

@El Pip : I think that initially it was a “look! Look what I have brought back!” but latterly I have come to believe that he did, really, love her. Whether that was the initial feeling, or whether it grew, I’m not sure.
 

DensleyBlair

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The other week I was watching the Miyazaki film The Wind Rises, about the Mitsubishi engineers working on the A6M at about the same time as this update takes place. You'll forgive me for imagining Summers, Mitchell and co with some of the same playfulness – but as you say this is a love letter of an update, I'm sure there's no trouble here. As Miyazaki points out time and again, it's a great tragedy how the only real excuse for developing these feats of engineering is war. Not to get too far ahead (and I sense this might be quite far ahead indeed), but I wonder whether the POD will eventually account for any change in the rearmament process and the lead up to the War – or as much of the lead up is left, anyway.
 

stnylan

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A lovely little interlude. I had an idea almost as soon as I started reading, and was pleased to be proven correct.

It is a good reminder that whilst the powerful are preening and plotting so much else is going on.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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You may feel that I am overdoing it, but even in this simple late afternoon tale there is uncertainty. Summers’ words after the flight have gone down in history; it is unclear whether it was an empathic endorsement of the plane or something more matter-of-fact, in that he simply stated that the aircraft needed no re-trimming or adjustment before the following test flight. Much more flying time and alterations lay ahead before the full assessment of the Spitfire’s flying qualities could be made; but what is clear is that this was a good beginning.
I believe it was said he wanted to fly the plane again soon afterwards, nothing changed except the conditions (might have been a night flight or just different weather). Makes sense I suppose.

It seems everyone fell in love with the spitfire when they flew it. It must be said this seems to have been the case with the hurricane too, especially after they gave it a bubble roof. Before then it had a flat canvas one that meant taller pilots were quite tightly packed into the cockpi with their heads on the ceiling. For some reason the Air Force of the time apparently never had a height restriction for new pilots, so this was a bigger problem than you might expect.
 

Specialist290

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If ever any aircraft deserved a "love letter," the Spitfire would certainly be an excellent candidate :) As stated above, it's good to see that there are matters of import moving forward other than the impending royal scandal.

Before then it had a flat canvas one that meant taller pilots were quite tightly packed into the cockpi with their heads on the ceiling. For some reason the Air Force of the time apparently never had a height restriction for new pilots, so this was a bigger problem than you might expect.
I recall a similar story about the Mustang as well, incidentally. Also it seems that the bubble canopy improved visibility to the rear, which is certainly not a small consideration for a craft intended for dogfighting.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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If ever any aircraft deserved a "love letter," the Spitfire would certainly be an excellent candidate :) As stated above, it's good to see that there are matters of import moving forward other than the impending royal scandal.

I recall a similar story about the Mustang as well, incidentally. Also it seems that the bubble canopy improved visibility to the rear, which is certainly not a small consideration for a craft intended for dogfighting.
Well the hurricane pilots just pulled the roof down in flight when they wanted to. Given that it was most,y in use in Greece and Egypt, this wasn't too much of a problem. In the battle of Britian, rain made this a less nice method.
 

El Pip

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Ahh the Spitfire, marvellous to see something properly British after some time around Eddie.

My perception of Mitchell is utterly shaped by Leslie Howard in The First of the Few, which is a shame because it's not right at all. Yet it is what my brain first jumps to.
 

Bullfilter

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Endorse heartily all the Spitfire love being shown here! <3 It was of course my first Airfix model built and lovingly painted as a youngster - which at the time was only about 30 years after it’s wartime heyday. :eek: My mother was a girl in Portsmouth during the war and remembers how impressed she was by the fighters when they roared past (the Flying Fortresses later, too).

Listening to her describe it, it’s exactly the same vibe as if you see the absolute latest jet fighter do a fly over now: then, it (and others like it) was the cutting edge of speed, power and technology. Not just a quaint, small, graceful but whimsically old-fashioned museum piece.

Something to be loved, feared and respected! Very much enjoyed the interlude. :)
 

Le Jones

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upload_2020-4-25_6-36-56.png


Chapter 8, Wilhelmstrasse, Berlin, 7 March 1936

upload_2020-4-25_6-37-20.png


The British Ambassador had decided to dress as ‘English business’ as possible; that meant, for him, a properly collared shirt with a modest blue stripe, a sober tie with a respectably tight knot, and a well cut, sober suit. Nothing gaudy, just impeccably well set. He could have been a senior civil servant, or even a banker, off to business. There was no fuss to his appearance, nothing showy. He had decided not to wear a wing collar nor a more formal suit for this allegedly unremarkable summons.

The Ambassador was genuinely not sure what this was about. There had been rumours of some form of revisionist activity for some time, specifically a German move against the Rhineland. He knew that, virtually everyone did now. The rumours had been flying around for days and the ‘invasion’ (or, the Ambassador allowed, the ‘reoccupation’) was welcomed by a German populace eagerly believing the Government press. London had sent no instructions, so the Ambassador would listen, and wait.

Arriving at the Foreign Ministry the Ambassador noted that his French counterpart, André François-Poncet, had also just arrived. “André”.

“Sir Eric,” the French Ambassador greeted him with some warmth. Despite the not-so-secret nature of Germany’s possible actions they hadn’t had much of a chance to ‘compare notes’. “You bring instructions from London?” That was typical of the Frenchman; blunt and incisive.

upload_2020-4-25_6-37-57.png


Sir Eric Phipps, His Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador to the German Reich, gave the slightest, an almost imperceptible, shake of the head. The almost whispered 'ah' from François-Poncet showed that he had registered the point. “It is much the same from Paris. I warn, they, what is the English word,” he twirled a finger, looking for the right word.

“Ignore,” Phipps offered wryly.

“Ah! Yes, they ignore. They bury their heads in the, er, “

“Sand,” Phipps said quickly, amused.

“Just so,” François-Poncet replied with equal warmth. “I presume that you will remind them of the violations of the Treaties?”

Phipps nodded. “It’s all we have,” he agreed.

They were interrupted by the arrival of the Italian Ambassador, Baron Attolico. Both the Briton and Frenchman tightened at his arrival; French and British wariness of the Italians after the Ethiopian fiasco were slow to diminish. The Italian offered a vague bow at both of them, they replied and were led by a uniformed flunky into an office.

upload_2020-4-25_6-38-37.png


Typically, Konstantin von Neurath, German Foreign Minister, had chosen to meet them wearing his party uniform; Phipps couldn’t help but roll his eyes at this obvious display of party loyalty above nuanced statecraft. Pointing to three carefully positioned chairs with a precise, almost prissy display, he waited while another flunky breezed by with coffee. Phipps and François-Poncet both politely declined, Attolico greedily grabbed at a cup.

von Neurath began, as Phipps suspected he would have to, proceedings. “Your Excellencies,” he said stuffily, “just after dawn this morning German infantry forces entered the Rhineland. As we sit here German soldiers are on the west bank of the Rhine.” He finished, the opening moves in the dance completed.

Phipps and François-Poncet then engaged in a ‘you first’ manoeuvre which Phipps ended with only mild irritation. “His Britannic Majesty’s Government is grateful for this notification,” Phipps said in as businesslike a manner as he could, “and it is my duty to inform you that I regard such a move as a violation of Articles forty two and forty three of the Treaty of Versailles, and Articles one and two of the Treaty of Locarno. I urge the German Government to reconsider this action and would anticipate further communication between our governments”. Phipps was determined to signal some measure of protest, and the ‘I’ rather than ‘His Britannic Majesty’s Government’ was a message; he was letting von Neurath know, subtly, that he had no formal guidance on this point.

Next to Phipps, François-Poncet shifted uncomfortably. “The French Republic will share the interpretation of international obligation of our British friends,” he said wearily. “This is an unfortunate prov-” he stopped himself from saying ‘provocation’, “gesture”.

von Neurath nodded and turned to Attolico. “What is the position of the Italian Government?” Phipps and François-Poncet followed von Neurath’s gaze to stare at the Italian; the British and French responses were predictable, but the Italian position was a great unknown of this little drama.

“Gentlemen,” Attolico began in a musical, melodic voice, squirming under the gaze of the other three, “I have no instructions from Rome on this matter. Can I ask the size of the force?”

Phipps wondered where Attolico was going was this question. He and François-Poncet exchanged quizzical looks, both wondering if Attolico was trying to shift attention away from his evasive response.

“Nineteen battalions in the operation,” von Neurath said, very carefully, very precisely. “Three battalions on the west bank”. Nineteen battalions, while not a mere token force, was not an Army. Three battalions was palpably a token force. Phipps, a clever man, suddenly grasped the point, and interjected.

“What is your interpretation of the Locarno element of this?”

The German was prepared for this. “The German Reich was forced to respond to the pact signed between the French and the Soviet Union,” von Neurath said, with some force. “Three battalions are hardly a flagrant violation of the Locarno provisions, and I believe that any reasonable government would agree with us in this assessment,” he concluded.

That was the point. The Germans were claiming that Locarno didn’t apply, as Britain and Italy were only committed to intervening against a ‘flagrant violation’ of the provisions. Phipps felt that the treaty was badly drafted. When is a violation a flagrant violation, he wondered. If it comes with an Army corps, looting and pillaging, and a marching band? He forced himself to sit carefully still. Unfortunately, none of the ambassadors seemed particularly keen to say anything. von Neurath stretched the silence until it was painful, before softening with a tight little smile.

“The Versailles settlement was especially strict in its provisions on the Rhineland,” von Neurath said, trying to sound as reasonable as he could. “Where else would a nation state be forbidden from moving troops within its own borders,” he continued, offering outstretched palms in a ’c’mon, let’s be reasonable’ way. “All we want is an equal status with our European friends.” Phipps wasn’t sure, but he could have sworn that there was a vague hint of menace in the way that von Neurath said ‘friends’. “This blatant provocation by France and the Soviet Union should allow us to adopt defensive measures for Germany,” he looked at Phipps and Attolico at this, to the obvious exclusion of François-Poncet. “We would look, if you supported this,” he paused as he considered the appropriate word, “rebalancing of the agreements, to reconsider our participation in the League of Nations”.

The audience was dragging on, Phipps felt, although he noted the point on the League. “Thank you, Herr Foreign Minister,” he said quickly, “I will consult with London and seek further instructions,” he rose from his chair as he said this. François-Poncet and von Neurath also rose, Attolico following them. They all shook hands, and then Phipps and François-Poncet walked to their cars together.

“He’s right, you know,” Phipps said to his French counterpart, “it was a formidable part of the treaties.”

“For sure,” François-Poncet replied, “but that is not the point.”

“I agree with you there. They have explicitly violated two international agreements. And if we do not vigorously oppose them, the tempo of their advance will increase. What will Paris do?”

“Nothing, without Great Britain.”

“Ah”, Phipps breathed heavily. “You may find yourself on a sticky wicket, there. I agree that German militarism will not be placated by mere cooings, but will only be restrained by the knowledge that the Powers who desire peace are also strong enough to enforce it. But London does not, yet, agree”.

Deep in thought, Phipps was parted from François-Poncet and clambered into the Embassy car.

“Your Excellency? The Embassy? Or the residence?”

“The Embassy, thank you. I need to talk to Whitehall”.

upload_2020-4-25_6-39-55.png


__________________________________________________________________________________________

GAME NOTES

So we had the ‘remilitarisation of the Rhineland’ event. Rather than focus on troops walking very slowly across Germany, I though to focus a bit on the diplomatic circuit in Berlin. I based this heavily from my books at home / internet articles on the remilitarisation; I intend to next focus on the Foreign Office and then (British) Cabinet response, this is going to be a little sub-arc to show the world in which our characters live and operate. I apologise for sticking to script a bit, and for focussing so much on one event; I was determined to show this, the first real German challenge to the established order (that could be covered in this AAR) in some detail.

The remilitarisation and diplomatic discussion happened more or less as described here (other references are available…). The Germans used the opportunity presented by the Franco-Soviet agreement to do something that had been mooted for years, and did so in a way that would give the British and Italians a way out of having to respond militarily (‘though I doubt that this would have been even a remote possibility for the British – we’ll explore this in the next two chapters). The remilitarisation is often described as the obvious way in which Hitler could have been checked fairly painlessly. We’ll look at this, but from a German perspective it was a gamble; von Neurath appears to have played a leading part in strengthening German resolve amidst ‘wobbles’ from a number of senior figures. I quite liked writing von Neurath as a character – I decided to portray him as he looks, a prissy, slightly over-precise character who nevertheless has a grasp of his brief (and he did here – he prepared the German justification on the pretext of the Franco-Soviet pact) and make him just a bit irritating. But the gamble, for now, has paid off. None of the Ambassadors can do more (at this stage) than offer a formal protest.

This is a British focussed AAR and so Phipps had to be the central character to this chapter. I find him an odd one – his last comments to François-Poncet are slightly edited versions of his opinions in 1935 and 36 and he is often held to be an ‘anti-appeaser’. I think that this is simplistic – he certainly believed in the League of Nations (at least early on) and was not hostile to making a deal; he just had a much lower threshold than Baldwin and (later on) Chamberlain for what was acceptable, and believed that the Western powers should approach German ‘rebalancing’ from a position of strength. But he has acted as well as could be expected in this chapter, given that London was yet to formulate the British Government’s response. I also may have been too kind to him; the sources appear divided on whether or not he was surprised by the Rhineland move, hence my ‘fudging’ of making it a bit of an open secret.

More on that, next. But hey, two chapters not about Edward VIII, that can only be a good thing…

@DensleyBlair : There will be war: I’m up to 1941 in the game and it’s utter chaos (not helped by the AI almost entirely falling over). To get there though, is, I have found, fascinating.

@stnylan : Thank you, and you’re right, there is a lot going on in early 1936.

@TheButterflyComposer : The point is that no one knows for sure, which I just love.

@Specialist290 : Ah, the Mustang. If the Spitfire is a good representation of the UK, then the Mustang is surely one of the most iconically American aircraft ever produced.

@TheButterflyComposer : True, and superbly put.

@El Pip : So I too weirdly kept having flashbacks to that (wonderful) film, which I think has done Mitchell a lot of good. In truth he was more, well, vinegary and terse.

@Bullfilter : You’re right, of course. What we view as a heroic piece of our history was cutting edge back in ’36.
 

Bullfilter

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You may find yourself on a sticky wicket, there.
I've actually batted on a few sticky wickets - and they are definitely not easy at all! :eek: Far better to be bowling than batting on. ;)
this is going to be a little sub-arc to show the world in which our characters live and operate
Interesting and welcome. Diplomacy in practice is very uncertain and presents moments demanding judgement and not a little personal fortitude and moral courage on matters that sometimes have to be decided or responded to in a moment. Being on top of one's brief - and having both prepared responses but also the ability to decide how much you use and how far you go, especially when it's a multilateral situation - is indeed paramount. Not nearly as easy as it appears in retrospect.
But hey, two chapters not about Edward VIII, that can only be a good thing…
:D It's your Authorial Prerogative! ;)