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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

slothinator

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Peace is not long for Europe, then. Will a big war over Poland provide the Holy See with the cover it needs to gobble up the rest of Italy?


If there is one person a temporally-powerful Papal States would not want directing the show in Britain, it would be Gladstone.

No, Gladstone is not the ideal choice here, he will have to be dealt with in the next years...

Cardinal Andreano seems a remarkably relaxed sort of chap and certainly has the diplomats ability to lie through his teeth.


I suppose this is technically not a lie. But only because the Pope had all the Greeks who attempted to raise such a resolution arrested and tortured to death by the Inquisition.


I am delighted that Marx has started the left wing tradition of splits, schisms and in-fighting this early. If he keeps this up he may yet manage to declare parts of himself as "not a proper communist", not in a multiple-personality disorder way but full on shouting at his left knee for being a right wing devaitionalist and accusing his spleen of forming an anti-party faction.
I am sure you’d never be able to stomach doing the reading yourself, but there is a rich pre-Marxian tradition of splits and schisms among the European left. Mostly among the anarchists, being then the only group with anything like a real theory, who would go on to receive most of Marx’s own ire in the high 19th century. The proportion of Marx’s oeuvre consisting of lengthy letters to people whom he disagreed with is prodigious indeed.
I think we really need to focus on the most pertinent matter in your retort, which is of course, that it is not a lie.

Clearly the honesty and integrity of the papal states knows no bounds, and the Italian peninsula would be lucky to find itself wholly under our benevolent and holy care.

The Greek issue can be rather summed up as "nobody cares enough to listen to any requests". As you have seen, there have been plenty of internal demonstrations but that which filters out is not too newsworthy. After all, if oppressing a cultural minority were frowned upon, then the British Empire would melt like snow in summer.

I've been looking into the Russian Revolution recently and it's glorious to see how much these anti-capitalist movements fight each other almost as much as their declared enemies. And the deluge really comes when there are no capitalists left to distract them.
 
Chapter XXX: Bella Horrida Bella

slothinator

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From the personal diaries of Pope Callixtus IV

Sunday 3rd of May 1874
I have finally come to accept the unacceptable, bloodshed is necessary for the survival of the Papal States. I tried to bring peace to my country, but it seems that the world does not wish to leave us alone. I have already committed two wars that have caused the death of tens of thousands of my subjects and more than twice as many rivals. Despite this carnage, I have decided that, if we are to resist Piedmont's advance, we will need to bring the Two Sicilies into the fold. Apulia would be a good start since the region contains a significant amount of their population and industry and would provide welcome ports towards Greece. I have sent out agents to stir up tension in the region and build local support among the peasants and minor nobility. I expect that we shall obtain the necessary justification for the occupation within a few months.
These cynical and impure thoughts are painful to write but I must remember that my actions are for the greater good. I can only hope that the new French Republic will perceive the scene in the same way as I do, I don't think I could bear another vicious war on my soul. I want the struggle to be over before it has had the chance to draw too much blood.
For now, I will not think of such things. I will take a long walk as I wait.

e5WRcG3l.jpg

Monday 2nd of November 1874
My initial regrets about the coming conflict are building with every piece of news I receive from the Two Sicilies. The agents I sent lacked discretion and word of their presence started to spread, with France, in particular, having sent a formal complaint with a warning against further action. I almost broke down then, but I still hold out hope that an election might change their position. The Duosicilians themselves have tightened their security on the border and have been spotted executing military exercises in Apulia and off the coast of Sicily.
I sent orders for extreme caution with the agents already present but today I felt the nauseating sting of disappointment once more. One of my men was arrested during an attempted meeting with some aristocrats in Bari and was found to be carrying forged documents and leaflets to be distributed to the citizenry.
The shame I feel is immeasurable.
I do not know if I should continue with this venture. It is wrong in the eyes of the international community and blunder after blunder has shown that I am not striving for peace in the region. That said, I know well why I started this whole sordid business. Piedmont encroaches every day more and even now they whisper into the ears of King Francesco that a referendum for annexation would be the best option. I wake up every morning and wince at the thought that it may be the day that I find myself surrounded. Maybe this is what Urban was thinking in his time: an unjust war to ensure the survival of the Church.
Will I create another Greece? With its endless cycle of bombings and protests matched by brutality and suppression? I cannot know. Lord, why have you chosen such a poor servant to guide your people? I am not worthy of this great burden you place upon me.
I cannot let these thoughts get to me. I must reach the end of the path I have begun. Posterity may damn me, but this is what I must do.

Tuesday 23rd of February 1875
Everything was ready for my final act of war, but this long-suffered plan has fizzled out into nothing. We had received assurances and a formal request from local power brokers in Apulia to come and rescue them from the Duosicilian misgovernance, but this spark was drowned. Due to the blunders of last year, both the Two Sicilies and Piedmont had begun to amass troops on our border, in reaction I wrote letters to France and Sicily with entreaties to join in the fight and preserve the balance of powers in Italy. The responses were similar enough that I suspect the French had a good hand in writing both of them and the verdict was as I had feared. The balance of powers was not in their interest as long as war stood upon the scales. The declaration by the Apulians was certainly not as spontaneous as the Piedmontese referenda but had been forced upon gullible people by unscrupulous Papal agents who had been caught in the act several months ago. Any act of aggression on our part would be met with a breaking of the French alliance.
I suppose that's that then. The conflict has been averted despite all my attempts to the contrary. I would be lying if I said I am not relieved but there is a bitter taste in my mouth. I have appeared as an unscrupulous warmonger on the world stage without even reaping the rewards that may come with such a judgment. I could take this as a sign that I had taken the wrong path and peace is the best option after all, but I don't know if I believe that entirely. I am now left to wait for the next opportunity to present itself while I fight off those who would welcome Piedmont as overlord to the Peninsula.
It is so tiring.
I think it will do me well to retire to the countryside and rest for some time. Cardinal Lisi was my choice for Pope, and he has served me with unwavering loyalty all these years. He will govern in my stead as I recover my strength. I cannot step down from the cross, but some vinegar will do to sate my thirst for now.
 

DensleyBlair

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The problem with the Evil Warmongering Papacy, it strikes me, is that it is very bad at its job. But then I don’t think I’d rather see a version that were good at its job.

Either way, Callixtus is not long for this world by the sounds of it. No doubt there will be a warm welcome for him in the afterlife. Fiery, even.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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The problem with the Evil Warmongering Papacy, it strikes me, is that it is very bad at its job. But then I don’t think I’d rather see a version that were good at its job.

Either way, Callixtus is not long for this world by the sounds of it. No doubt there will be a warm welcome for him in the afterlife. Fiery, even.
This. Exactly this.

If you must be evil, at least be competent. Mind you, the truly competent will make themselves at least appear not too evil to their own subjects, and as many outsiders as possible.

This papacy seems determined to be viewed as wickedly as possible, whilst also not cleansing themselves of all scruples that hold them back from actually getting anywhere. After decades of blackening the Catholic Church across the world, they've managed a bit of northern Italy, and a small Greek colony.

Certainly not God's chosen...need to take notes from Ged's Papacy. Or the Irish themselves.
 

El Pip

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my actions are for the greater good

Posterity may damn me, but this is what I must do.
As DB says it is not just posterity that will damn him.

Or maybe Callixtus is trying to be cunning about this? The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions, he knows he has entirely bad intentions, so clearly the road he is on cannot lead to hell. This is terrible logic and I wish I could see his face when he works out he is still going to hell.

Certainly not God's chosen..
God never specified what he had chosen the Papal States for. It could be he intends them to be "A warning to others", "A guide of what not to do" or a shining example of "Why Luther was right". After these most recent escapade there can't be that many Catholics left outside Italy, or least not any Roman Catholics, so I'm leaning towards the last one.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Why Luther was right
This was all just a massive batman gambit by God to recreate the Holy Roman Empire with Protestant Lutheran Prussia in the driving seat.

Can't believe that it isn't the damn balkans that are causing all the trouble, but the damn Italian states and those bloody Catholics.
 

slothinator

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Well that went about as badly as it could possibly have went.
Yep, an unfortunate sendoff for Callixtus but perhaps his successor will be more fortunate.
The problem with the Evil Warmongering Papacy, it strikes me, is that it is very bad at its job. But then I don’t think I’d rather see a version that were good at its job.

Either way, Callixtus is not long for this world by the sounds of it. No doubt there will be a warm welcome for him in the afterlife. Fiery, even.

This. Exactly this.

If you must be evil, at least be competent. Mind you, the truly competent will make themselves at least appear not too evil to their own subjects, and as many outsiders as possible.

This papacy seems determined to be viewed as wickedly as possible, whilst also not cleansing themselves of all scruples that hold them back from actually getting anywhere. After decades of blackening the Catholic Church across the world, they've managed a bit of northern Italy, and a small Greek colony.

Certainly not God's chosen...need to take notes from Ged's Papacy. Or the Irish themselves.

As you both point out, the problem with Callixtus is that he at least tries to do the right thing while still needing to be a 19th-century ruler. This has clearly made the unification process more than a little troublesome.
The new papacy can choose if to shed the scruples or the war, you get one guess as to which it will choose.



As DB says it is not just posterity that will damn him.

Or maybe Callixtus is trying to be cunning about this? The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions, he knows he has entirely bad intentions, so clearly the road he is on cannot lead to hell. This is terrible logic and I wish I could see his face when he works out he is still going to hell.


God never specified what he had chosen the Papal States for. It could be he intends them to be "A warning to others", "A guide of what not to do" or a shining example of "Why Luther was right". After these most recent escapade there can't be that many Catholics left outside Italy, or least not any Roman Catholics, so I'm leaning towards the last one.
I'm sure I don't know what you mean. Our band of hooded figures chanting about the greater good in clouds of incense is totally legitimate.
This was all just a massive batman gambit by God to recreate the Holy Roman Empire with Protestant Lutheran Prussia in the driving seat.

Can't believe that it isn't the damn balkans that are causing all the trouble, but the damn Italian states and those bloody Catholics.
God...uh finds a way.
The Balkans haven't been too troublesome so far but, now that the Ottomans have been pushed back to Thrace, things will start heating up a bit.
 
Chapter XXXI: The Conclave of 1875

slothinator

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SdM5Gvtl.png

Callixtus IV Exit

Callixtus IV died on the 29th of September 1875 after having guided the Church to become the preeminent power in Italy. However, as he himself realized, this had not come without cost as the rest of Europe was forced to take a side on the issue of Italian unification under a theocracy. In France especially, those of republican inclinations often voiced their opposition to the Papal alliance and contributed to the fraying of this relationship that had lasted for half a century.
Another factor for which Callixtus’ papacy is remembered is that of his industrial policy and the expansion of this sector from a small operation of about twenty thousand workers in 1860 to one hundred and twenty thousand in 1875. This exponential increase can be understood in terms of the pope’s expansion into the heavily industrial region of Lombardy, but this would only provide a partial answer. Callixtus had long had an interest in the potential of the new technology in his younger years and there is ample evidence for serious investments made in the sector to keep the fledgling state competitive with its more established neighbors.
However, the main legacy of this pontiff will always be his extensive social reforms and the First Vatican Council which, despite modifications from Vatican II and Vatican III, remains the bedrock of the modern Catholic Church. The embracing of modernity in a time when traditional religious institutions were seeking stability was unexpected and widely commented on in the circles who understood its implications. A Church that embraced innovation rather than merely choosing to tolerate it is one of the factors that saw foreign observers prefer the Papacy to some of the more conservative Italian powers of the time.
The institution of a partial conciliarism on the model of the Council of Constance was revolutionary in Catholic theology with the end of a religiously autocratic Catholic Church and the inauguration of what some call the “Papal Principate”. Though the research is still inconclusive, it appears that this decision convinced many protestants, especially in Mitteleuropa, to convert in numbers not seen in recent memory.
This is to say that Callixtus is often indicated as the architect of Papal Italy and, though he was not wholly successful, he features frequently on lists of the most influential popes in history.
The conclave succeeding his death is characterized as a rather mysterious affair where even those closest to the Curia did not properly understand how the election moved, but what is certain is that backroom deals were the order of the day and had a monumental effect on the future of Italy.

fpccrhal.jpg

From the personal diaries of Cardinal Annibale Lisi

Wednesday 13th of October 1875
I still need to get used to the idea that Libero is gone and now, without him, the spotlight is on me alone. I passed from confusion to elation during the election today since I have been entrusted with a simple majority of the votes. I don't maintain any illusion that the election is over, but I know I need to now dedicate myself to the consolidation and expansion of my lead.
Felicetti is second at the moment and he appeals strongly to those that want reform to slow down and return to a style of government more in line with their memories of Gregory. In the meantime, I stand in an opposite political position with the promise to build on Callixtus' legacy and propel the Papal States into the world of tomorrow. In the middle lie a couple of minor candidates with few votes and these are the people that I must rally to my side. I know that reform has not sat well with everyone and many are tired of war so I have to remind them of the great prosperity that a Callixtine agenda has brought and my preparedness for the job. For goodness' sake, I was acting Pope for the last six months and a close collaborator for almost a decade; if anyone is qualified that is me.
But I need to be careful to not overstate my role, lest the cardinals think I already had my papacy and others should take the position now. I must prepare for a protracted conclave and make my moves with careful precision to ensure that another Callixtus might rise to the throne of Peter. In the morning I will approach the supporters of Formica and Andreano, the other two candidates appointed to the Curia in recent years, and see that they wish to maintain the current course.

From the personal diaries of Cardinal Giulio Felicetti

Thursday 14th of October 1875
Today's counts have gone according to plan and we've managed to reduce Lisi's lead to nothing at all. Andreano accepted our little deal and has agreed to elevate my chosen cardinals upon his election in exchange for my share of the votes. In fairness, after a pontiff like Callixtus, it was always unlikely that I would be chosen as a successor but Andreano is traditional enough to be accepted by my followers while appealing to those cardinals who feel uneasy with Lisi's quasi-heretical ways.
I pray to God that he may lead the Church away from the spiritual tribulations that it has faced in these years just as I endeavored to reverse the damage. I know in my heart that my efforts in this conclave will be successful, but I also understand that the Lord is showing us how hard we have to fight to ensure that the Church is not corrupted and cast into modern obscurantism.
I take special care that this lesson is learned by any like-minded cardinals that they may understand what a great responsibility they are faced with. Some may have been seduced by Lisi's honeyed words, some by his heterodoxy while some merely by his experience. This last largest group is the one I must focus on. They need to see that a young shepherd is a much better choice than an experienced wolf who has shown in every one of his actions that he is no friend of the Church and just wants to bend it to the will of Socialists and atheists. We only need a third of Lisi's supporters and we can greet a new righteous pope, fewer still if we can crush little Formica and his non-entity voters. These, perhaps more than the radicals, are the greatest cancer within our mother Church because they join us only when they can achieve nothing with their noble status while they care little for faith or even God. The new pope will have to burn away this corruption and return the clergy to its true vocation.
Sicut in caelo etiam in terra.

From the personal diaries of Cardinal Patrizio Formica

Friday 15th of October 1875
I have gone to sleep every day more exhausted than the last. All of this politics really saps my strength with not much to gain on my side. I was ready to throw my weight, such as it is, behind Felicetti but then some mysterious backroom deal happened and now Andreano, young and green as he is, is the man against Lisi. Yesterday was a stalemate between the two but today a couple of the members of the Aviary Association shifted their votes to the long-serving grey eminence. Seeing how that shift has begun to take place, I see no reason to hold my pool in reserve anymore and I will move to endorse Andreano so that we may try the unknown moderate rather than the familiar radical. However, if each of my supporters chooses to follow my lead, Andreano will only have a paltry majority of one and that can change in a heartbeat. I'm sure Lisi is deep in the games he has invented in the past decade and will not give up the fight easily while I have no idea what the newcomer is thinking. Perhaps it is unwise to merely vote against someone without being sure upon whom we are deflecting power.
I cannot deal with so much uncertainty for such an important position, I pray that this conclave will emerge with a strong victor and a Papacy that will do the least damage to the Papal States by allowing us to live in peace. And, who knows, it might not matter at all with Lisi either sitting on the throne or pulling the strings from behind the scenes regardless of the opinions of cardinals. That, at least, is mercifully out of my hands.

From the personal diaries of Cardinal Luca Andreano

Saturday 16th of October 1875
Another inconclusive day. When this started, Felicetti offered his support in the hope that it would be a quick victory, but the election has dragged on since then with only a couple of votes changing hands. I fear that my moderation is tainted by Felicetti's aid and even moderate partisans of Lisi will be difficult to sway at this point.
Despite how gloomy this might seem; I still firmly believe that I can break this deadlock and win the election. Though it has taken me an impressive amount of time, I have conversed with the most influential cardinals in detail to understand what they would want from me as pope and why they are still supporting Lisi. It turns out that many of them expect a short papacy to wrap up the loose ends that Callixtus left behind with his reforms and not a great leap ever forward. I did my best to remind them that Callixtus was a moderating influence on Lisi and if he were elected, he would not be content to curate someone else's legacy but would cast us far into the unknown.
I felt a spark of hope when I managed to make some of them waver in their conviction and ask me if I would collaborate with Lisi if I were to win the election. I, of course, remained noncommittal but I need to weigh that option carefully: the man is fifteen years my senior and is unlikely to outlast me, it could be an acceptable sacrifice. I will think on this in the night, and I must make sure that Felicetti hears nothing of this, the last thing I want is for him to squander all this hard work.
 

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I’m amazed that amongst all this we have mass conversions of Protestants “back” to Catholicism. Personally, I don’t really see a Europe whose biggest threat to peace is the Catholic Church in state form as a hotspot for Catholic enthusiasm – but I suppose this world shows us that absolutely anything is possible.

In the meantime, this really is a fractious race to crown the new pope. Either way it goes, the pontiff will have one hell of a challenge to overcome.
 

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What a mess. I think the biggest winners of this whole affair have been the Austrians, given that everyone is focused on Italy and not the balkans, and the only possible balakan country with outside friends (Greece) is split in half and already contentious.

And Catholicism as a whole, it seems. Everyone is converting back now that the church seems to be on a 'winner' and destined to unite Italy together. Can only imagine what this is doing to the US and other colonial nations with Catholic and protestant roots.

But imagine an incredibly wealthy Italy right from the getgo, with an enormous church income and an industrial country's economy as well...with supporters across the globe, absolutism mixed with weird voting rules, a chance to actually make Italian nationalists (using faith as well as culture)...

This Italy could be very powerful indeed and punch well about its weight. Problem is getting there without stepping on France or Austria Hungary too much...
 

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The world holds its breath... Rome really needs to move carefully if it wants to expand now. Italy must be one and it must be the papacy to do it not some foolish upstarts!
 

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I’m amazed that amongst all this we have mass conversions of Protestants “back” to Catholicism. Personally, I don’t really see a Europe whose biggest threat to peace is the Catholic Church in state form as a hotspot for Catholic enthusiasm – but I suppose this world shows us that absolutely anything is possible.
I'm assuming that statement is just Papal Propaganda, or as it also known a big pack of lies. That or they are playing tricks with the definitions;

"10,000 mittleeuropans have converted to Catholicism, delighted by the Pope's policy of blood for the blood god. That's numbers unseen in recent memory!" Meanwhile 250,000 non-Italian catholics leave the church, to avoid their souls being further damned. But you just report the gross figure not the net.

The Conclave does show the dividing line in the church, between the reactionaries who still pretend to believe in God and the reformers who don't even bother with that. I do wonder if Lisi has thought that through, if he stops doing God he is going to hack away what little legitimacy he has, plus of course people will start asking why his 'reforms' don't include any form of democracy. Why are only blokes in red dresses allowed to run this allegedly modern and forward looking country?
 
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slothinator

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What a mess. I think the biggest winners of this whole affair have been the Austrians, given that everyone is focused on Italy and not the balkans, and the only possible balakan country with outside friends (Greece) is split in half and already contentious.

And Catholicism as a whole, it seems. Everyone is converting back now that the church seems to be on a 'winner' and destined to unite Italy together. Can only imagine what this is doing to the US and other colonial nations with Catholic and protestant roots.

But imagine an incredibly wealthy Italy right from the getgo, with an enormous church income and an industrial country's economy as well...with supporters across the globe, absolutism mixed with weird voting rules, a chance to actually make Italian nationalists (using faith as well as culture)...

This Italy could be very powerful indeed and punch well about its weight. Problem is getting there without stepping on France or Austria Hungary too much...
The Austrians have been remarkably stable in this timeline but the composition of their empire alone will cause some problems for them in the future.

Catholicism is also doing quite well overall, it has shown itself able to bend without breaking and it is more attractive to liberals than the more fundamentalist Sola Scriptura sects.

There will be more detail on Italy's industrial capacity later on but the papal investments in the field have certainly put central Italy far beyond the standards of OTL. If you have to have a bloody Risorgimento, it might as well improve the state of Italy overall.
The world holds its breath... Rome really needs to move carefully if it wants to expand now. Italy must be one and it must be the papacy to do it not some foolish upstarts!

All that was needed it the last push of the election and the next chapter has some pretty significant developments.

I’m amazed that amongst all this we have mass conversions of Protestants “back” to Catholicism. Personally, I don’t really see a Europe whose biggest threat to peace is the Catholic Church in state form as a hotspot for Catholic enthusiasm – but I suppose this world shows us that absolutely anything is possible.

In the meantime, this really is a fractious race to crown the new pope. Either way it goes, the pontiff will have one hell of a challenge to overcome.
I'm assuming that statement is just Papal Propaganda, or as it also known a big pack of lies. That or they are playing tricks with the definitions;

"10,000 mittleeuropans have converted to Catholicism, delighted by the Pope's policy of blood for the blood god. That's numbers unseen in recent memory!" Meanwhile 250,000 non-Italian catholics leave the church, to avoid their souls being further damned. But you just report the gross figure not the net.

The Conclave does show the dividing line in the church, between the reactionaries who still pretend to believe in God and the reformers who don't even bother with that. I do wonder if Lisi has thought that through, if he stops doing God he is going to hack away what little legitimacy he has, plus of course people will start asking why his 'reforms' don't include any form of democracy. Why are only blokes in red dresses allowed to run this allegedly modern and forward looking country?

The alleged conversions (yes the historian is Italian but they at least try to be an objective researcher) are explained on the one hand as seeing Catholicism as the Christian faith more willing to accept the shifts of the 19th century while maintaining the familiar face of Christ. On the other hand, there are quite a few scheming reactionaries in the shadows waiting to take advantage of the new influx and go back to the good old days.

You could say that Lisi either believes too little for attempting to reform or too much for attempting to actually help the meek. He certainly believes the latter but views may vary. In fairness to the papal system, they're not the least representative government in Europe at the time. After all, many more people are eligible to become Pope than to become Kaiser.
 
Innocent XV

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Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: habemus Papam! Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum Lucam Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Andreano, qui sibi nomen imposuit Innocentem Quintum Decimum
 
Chapter XXXII: King of Kings and Lord of Lords

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From the personal diaries of Pope Innocent XV

OTW77Wbl.jpg

Friday 12th of January 1877
I had agreed to today's meeting mostly out of curiosity for why Kings Girolamo and Francesco wanted to meet with me in Terracina of all places. Now I can't believe how well it played out! Through covert and explicit signals, it has become clear that the king of Sicily finds himself alone and set adrift without his imperial cousin to support him while the king of the other Two Sicilies is in an enormous amount of debt and with some form of revolution at his door. I've also managed to find old reports directed to Callixtus that indicate that he had gathered significant support among Apulian magnates for a Papal invasion of the region. With all of this information into account, I expected that there might be a request for an alliance guarantee or some large loan, but things became clearer when they knelt for a bit too long upon meeting me. The suppliant kings did nothing less than offer their countries as an addition to the Papal States on a few limited conditions. The first one is that they would be able to maintain a degree of authority within their former borders, a fair enough request and something I can get Lisi to work on for me; secondly, they asked to have a say in the laws of the new state and finally, they asked for help in stamping out the rebellions and paying the debts they had accrued.
Of course, I had to make a big show of humility and the usual, without letting this opportunity pass me by. In the end, I accepted the heavy burden they placed upon me with the required grace as soon as my own conditions were set. While I would happily embrace them into the Papal States, they could not seriously consider being treated as full equals of the pope and as such, they should accept that the sitting pope should have veto authority over any resolution passed in the new state, although the kings would be consulted in any important matters that come up. I did not continue too far into the minutiae of our agreement, but I simply gave them my word and my signature that their initial conditions would be respected as long as they respected my own. A more formal and binding constitution will have to be written up and, since this is not my strong suit, I can think of no better person for the task than Cardinal Lisi. He can see it as something to make up for the lost papacy, a gilded capstone to an already brilliant career. I'm sure he will enjoy himself.
As for me, I invited my new subjects to a grand feast where we could eat, drink, and be merry before the inevitable discussions on technicalities ruin the atmosphere. I am quite impressed that despite the amount of wine that flowed there were no insults flung between the two kings about the rightful ownership of the island of Sicily; no, they were the image of propriety and never stepped out of line once. They must be truly desperate to set aside even the pettiest of differences. Speaking of which, I must talk to Francesco about the name of his kingdom: it was fine when he could hope to take back the island but now it's just ridiculous, he should call it Naples and be done with it so that we can start this state without meaningless names adding clutter to the already verbose constitution that Lisi will put out.
Only little more than a year and I have already been blessed with this incredible boon. I admit that I was a bit worried about this role, but it seems that it suits me quite well and, after all, it's simply a matter of choosing the right people for the job and I certainly know people. I know that Victor Emmanuel will be livid at this news, he had draped himself in all the paraphernalia of a king of Italy and now he finds himself in a minority with vain claims to a realm much larger than his own. I pity the man, but I hope we can obtain some deal, there is plenty of space for kings under the papal tiara.

v4kt6JLl.png

Saturday 20th of July 1878
The die has been cast and the army is on its way to Turin with the French on their way. I almost regret the Republic's involvement in the war since I don't want to give them any reason to presume that they might have some leverage on the new Italy, but I suppose that their armies will help us end the war before any other foreign powers have time to disagree with our unification.
To think that it could have been so much easier. Victor Emmanuel had agreed to negotiations on the status of Piedmont-Sardinia in the greater Italian realm and we had almost reached an agreement with him having one third of the seats in whatever legislative assembly we would conjure up. The official treaty was being checked for loopholes by those so inclined when that fool decided to go out on a hunt and caught his death in cold. The newly minted Umberto IV of Savoy decided to inaugurate his reign by ripping up the deal we had obtained with such effort and proclaiming to all members of the international community that he would not submit to any foreign power.
I tried to deal with my frustration by spending a pleasant evening with my fellow kings visiting in Rome and it soon became quite obvious that they were enthusiastic about the Savoyards joining the fold. I presume that this is more due to their desire to appear wise in their submission rather than a real belief in the Italian project though. I also feel that Francesco blamed them for his kingdom's economic woes, although I believe he can safely take responsibility on that front, given that Apulian industry is flourishing under the Papal umbrella. In any case, I ended the evening secure in the knowledge that annexation should be one of my chief options if I want Italy to succeed. Since I hadn't ever taken a decision of this magnitude before, I thought it prudent to converse, separately of course, with Cardinals Lisi and Felicetti. Here I received an enthusiastic endorsement once more with Felicetti urging me onwards and making allusions to Austro-Hungarian lands while Lisi's eyes glazed over as he salivated at the idea of writing an even more extensive constitution.
As such, I decided to issue a proclamation that Umberto could not be considered a just ruler if he was so eager to break treaties and, according to the words of the Vatican Council, it is the Pope's duty to take stewardship over the Western parts of Italy and bring order to the region. In the last few days, the Savoyard clergy has agitated for annexation but were brutally suppressed by the king which gave me no choice but to issue a stark response. In light of these recent events, I was forced to declare war on the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont to ensure the security of all Italians.
And so, I have declared my first war and I just hope that the excitement of it peters off lest I become addicted to the thrill. I don't expect the conflict to be difficult especially with the newly recruited Army of the South and its fifty-thousand men added to our previous forces. I have given orders to take Tuscany first and only then to aim for the capital. This will be a long few months reading battle reports but I'm sure that the end result will be worth it.

Monday 25th of November 1878
Today was a hugely eventful day and I am left dazed and pressed against my chair by stale anxiety. The morning was extremely pleasant to start with since I received reports of the fall of Tuscany to our forces and general Caraga's occupation of Alessandria which brings us only a couple of days' march from Turin itself. With this success added to the pile, I can think of nothing ill to say about this endeavor. So far, we have won three major victories against the enemy and each at a reduced cost in lives and Armando Caraga has revealed himself to be an excellent addition to our armed forces despite his youth. The day began to sour when I received a report that the French had beaten us into Turin and, despite that, they managed to let the king escape with the government all the way to Sardinia where we will be forced to give chase. Despite this shift in focus, I have still ordered Caraga to place his own garrison in Turin to make sure that there are no surprises during the peace talks as has happened before with the French.
As soon as I had finished these provisions, I received a formal letter from the Austro-Hungarian embassy with a message from the Emperor himself filled with threats against us if we are to continue with the war. I hoped for a nice relaxing afternoon, but I saw it shatter before me and I had an aid call Cardinal Felicetti to discuss our next steps. His reaction shocked me a little as he made a big show of how glad he was that we had been threatened. He explained that he could not think of a better way to prove ourselves on the world stage than swatting away the pretenses of a Great Power on its way out. So, far from aiming for conciliation, we wrote a response that can be loosely summed up as "You wouldn't dare and even if you did you would regret it" but fortunately Felicetti had a more formal way of writing it up.
And that is the current situation, given the rapid collapse of the Savoyards an Austro-Hungarian invasion could be promptly met but I do hope that we will manage to end one war before another has to start. Now my eyes are heavy, and my mind is lost in fog so I shall head to my sleep and hope that the world will be clearer tomorrow.

Friday 27th of December 1878
Cagliari has fallen and the war is almost over. There is nowhere left for Umberto to escape and we are in talks with Prince Amedeo, who seems to have some negotiating power, while his brother still evades us. This means that in the early days of January we will be able to ratify the final unification of Italy. Of course, the post-war situation is a bit in the air right now since we have not yet made a final decision on the status of the former Sardinian territories. Lisi is working day and night on a solution to that but, for now, I need to turn my gaze to the East and take control of the Alpine passes. Clearly, Franz was not bluffing and has sent us a final ultimatum to leave our newly occupied lands or they will force us to do so.
The day was taken up by discussions with the French ambassador who brought me the news of Cagliari and it was a painful discussion throughout. He let me know in no uncertain terms that President MacMahon was on his way out and soon there would be a much less favorable government in place. He could only guarantee support for Italy in a defensive war that would not result in any territorial annexations. I tried to protest that the Austro-Hungarians hold many lands that are populated by a majority of Italians, but he would not hear of it. I had no choice but to accept his conditions; however, something must be done about France's flagging support for our cause. Cardinal Felicetti has long advocated for German overtures and I think it is time that I finally give him the satisfaction, he certainly won't be happy about the no-annexations clause.
But now is a time for celebrations, I will summon the other kings for a triumphal banquet and let others worry about the future while we enjoy our victory.

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TheButterflyComposer

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The suppliant kings did nothing less than offer their countries as an addition to the Papal States on a few limited conditions.
Holy shit. Literally.
I know that Victor Emmanuel will be livid at this news, he had draped himself in all the paraphernalia of a king of Italy and now he finds himself in a minority with vain claims to a realm much larger than his own. I pity the man, but I hope we can obtain some deal, there is plenty of space for kings under the papal tiara.
Looks like Italy is soon to be.

And it is! Victory at last!

The french are starting to shy away from further aggressive wars now we are whole (to be expected really) but we still have a defensive alliance. Good, because austria is certain to attack us if we do not attack them...

But at least the peninsula is united and France is still vaguely friendly. One border secure. The foundations are now laid.

Time to reclaim the few bits of Italy left? Or build a colonial empire?
 

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That all went very well. Will God be satisfied with Italy alone? Somehow I’m not so sure…
Well...it will depend on whether God wants to piss off France by going after North Africa, or the british by going after the Mediterranean, or Austria by going after the balkans.

Let's be honest, as God seems a little shaky right now, he's probably plumping for the target that seems easiest to get at the present time. So I imagine a strange garbled version of all three, instead of consistent campaigning for one in particular.