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Aspirations of Grandeur; The Vainglory of an Empire

Author's Note:
Welcome! This is my new project i've concocted as of late being absent for several years from the AARland. I am very hopeful for this project, most of all that it will bring interest to whom ever will read this. This wont be my first foray into writing an AAR but the previous ones several years ago left much to be desired. I do hope that over the years I've learned a thing or two. I've played this gem of a game that is Victoria II ever since it war first released, I even owned the hard copy (maybe i still do, not really sure), and though that everything from the game to the mods have matured over the games 10 year life span.

Now for a little disclaimer. Since I am playing in the Divergence of Darkness modification, which is a alternative history mod with a point of divergence around 1450-1500, the history of the countries and the world is not as detailed as if it were our real history (which is to be expected). I will take liberites in the history up to 1836 for the things I do not find any lore about so that I can spice things up. If anyone finds I have diverged from the Lore please inform so in which case I can correct it. If you are interested about the mod and the history then check out their mod thread over in the mod section as well as their history thread and their fandom wiki (links to all those are in their mod thread here on the forums). No specific style have been considered for this AAR, I will simply write in ways I feel will convey the history the best, so maybe expect a little bit of everything.

without much further ado,

Table of Contents:

Prologue 1790 - 1838
Prologue I: Sic Semper Tyrannis
Prologue II: The Liberal Revolution
Prologue III: The Great German War
Prologue IV: Peace is but the Absence of War

A Dream Realised 1838 - 1849
Chapter I: The Elbian Crisis
Chapter II: Die Wacht am Rhein
Chapter III: Caesar, Pompey and Brutus
Chapter IV: Lords of the Empire, Unite!
Chapter V: The League War
Chapter VI: Phantoms at the Opera
Chapter VII: Noticeable European Events

Addendum I: The Evolution of Bohemian-Hungarian Relations During the 1840s

Manifest Destiny 1850 - 1866
Chapter VIII: The Dawn of a New Empire: New Mindsets and Cultural Conflicts.
Chapter IX: The Early Imperial Colonial Empire I: Privatized Gung Ho Ventures
Chapter X: The Early Imperial Colonial Empire II: Burgeoning Imperialism
Chapter XI: One Empire Above All: The Economic and Military Foundations of Imperial Hegemony
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Prologue I: Sic Semper Tyrannis
Prologue I
Sic Semper Tyrannis


Death of Wenceslas V "the Lion of the North"

Berlin, 12 September 1821.

It was a bright sunny day with skies blue as diamonds stretching as far as the behold could see without a cloud in sight. Wenceslas sighed heavily, it was just a little over a year ago that he had defeated the Scandinavians at Magdeburg and yet he still couldn't forget that day of blood. With the current military exercises around Berlin he had rode off and visited the battlefield where he had saved the remains of his empire; He had paid his respects for his fallen soldiers, just as he did every day but especially on the field of their graves, and said a prayer to the lord to safeguard their holy souls who had stood against the faithless heretics of the north.

“Your majesty?” A voice rang out from behind.

Wenceslas looked to his side at the man riding next to him. “What?”

“Is everything alright? You looked awfully troubled by something.”

“Simply reminiscing about days long gone Karel.”

Karel looked at his monarch and simply nodded quietly. The clattering of hooves increased as they entered the city of Berlin and the formation of riders tightened to fit into the small streets. Wenceslas felt a anger creep up as he looked at the city. Berlin had taken massive amounts of damage from many and prolonged sieges carried out by the Scandinavians during the Great German War. Large parts of the city had been rebuilt or restored but there still remained significant scars from the decades long war. His anger was guided against the enemies of his people and the german nation - the hated Scandinavians and Burgundians who constantly meddled in German affairs; The anger stretched to Austrians and Bavarians who had the audacity to demand the title of kings for themselves while the war raged at its fiercest. Because of this betrayal he had not been able to finish the war in a more favorable position than he had. Even now the effects were felt as the budget of the kingdom had to focus on rebuilding his army, devastated by long decades of conflict, instead of rebuilding his kingdom.

“You know Karel… Even after all those brave soldiers sacrificed their lives for the empire, it still led to nothing. You were there that day and saw all those dead bodies upon which we hoisted our victorious banner.”

“It was indeed a bloody day but we saved what we could of the realm with their sacrifices.”

“All in vain.” Wenceslas looked at the people cramming the side of the streets, bowing before they went on with their day. “I don’t even know how many of my people might harbour enmity towards us. Even if the revolution was crushed and the war that followed barely won… Ideas don’t die by the point of the sword.”

“You should not ponder too much my lord. After all the peace we have is just a temporary setback. When we are ready we will strike again and the people will surely rise to the occasion!”

“I hope you are correct on that Karel.”

Ever since the German revolution started in Frankfurt in 1790 there had been seeds of doubt in Wenceslas mind about the unity of the empire. The lower classes had risen up against their feudal lords, killing many by the guillotine, and ran rampant across the empire. Only through a unified effort of Bohemia and Burgundy, the unholy alliance, could the revolution be defeated by might of arms after around 5 years. His efforts after the war to bring unity to his empire only led to the intervention of Burgundy and Scandinavia in the Great German War. All this tragedy had convinced Wenceslas that only by might of arms could he unify the empire as it once had been over 1000 years ago when it was first created.

“We should only have one goal in our mind going forwards, the unification of the empire. Everything we do, all our actions must be for this one goal. These exercises today are just the beginning.”

“By your will my king we will succeed!” Karel shouted as he closed his fist over his chest with the rest of the royal guard doing the same.

“By the will of god.” Wenceslas replied.

Suddenly commotion stirred, a rider appeared at the rear of the column waving a letter in the air. “Your majesty! I bring news from Marshall Czernin.”

“Let him through!” Wenceslas shouted and the guard opened a path for the messenger to deliver the dispatch.

In the same moment as the messenger handed over the dispatch, a man stepped out from the crowd, pulled a pistol from beneath his coat, and aimed at Wenceslas. Karel, who noticed the man at the last second, grabbed the king and pulled him as hard as he could away from the man.

“Get down you majesty!” Karel shouted.

The shot rang out and the entire street fell silent. Everyone stared at the man for a few seconds before several soldiers descended upon the man who had pulled the trigger. Karel fell from his horse along with Wenceslas but managed to land beneath him.

“What happened?” Wenceslas wondered loudly as he stood up with Karels help. Then he noticed a red patch on Karel white uniform. “Karel! you have been shot!”

Karel touched his shoulder and rubbed the blood. “No, it appears it is not my blood.”

Wenceslas grabbed his chest at Karels words and fell forward into his friend. “It appears it was I who was shot…” He managed to breath out.
“Your majesty!” Karel shouted as he tried to support Wenceslas. “Someone get a doctor!”

The Soldiers gathered around the two men looking horrified each man feeling the guilt of not being able to defend their monarch. The perpetrator tried in futility to get away but with several soldiers around to hold him down to the ground it would in the end amount to nothing.

“It is too late Karel…” Wenceslas whispered as he placed his hand on Karels shoulders. “I shall leave Sigismund and the empire in your hands.” His hand fell to the ground lifeless after the words were uttered.

“MY KING!” Karel shouted. The king became heavier and Karel could feel the heat leaving the body. “Damn it all to hell!”

Karel laid down the king, stood up, and promptly marched over to the perpetrator. The soldiers holding him had beaten him heavily to the point he was bleeding from his mouth, nose and ears. They held him up so that Karel could see him face to face. Karel grabbed his pistol and pointed it straight to the face of the perpetrator.

“Sic semper tyrannis.” the perpetrator uttered glaring at Karel.

Karel pulled the trigger and the second shot rang and another man died on that street that day…

Prague, 20 September 1821.

Sigismund couldn’t help but awe at the spectacle that played out before his eyes. Even though he was at his fathers funeral it was still a father that had never really been there as the empire had been at war for almost Sigismunds five year short life. Every important person in the empire still under the emperor's control had journeyed there to pay their respects. There was gold and candles all over the church shining a golden light along the light coming from the colored windows of the cathedral. In the middle stood the great golden coffin beneath a huge cross with the lord Jesus upon it.

“Focus your majesty.” Karel whispered to the young boy. “All eyes will be upon you now.”

“There are so many people Karel. Did father know all these people?”

“Not all of them. He had certainly met all of them but knowing each and everyone of them is something no person would be capable of.”

Suddenly a man appeared next to the two. “Good day your majesty, and good day duke Schwarzenberg.”

“Good day archbishop.” Karel replied happily. “I was starting to wonder where you were.”

“Who are you?” Sigismund asked the man.
“There should be no rushing a ceremony like this duke.” The man told Karel before turning his attention to Sigismund. “Your majesty, I am Archbishop Pavel Janos, pleased to meet you like this. Last time I met you was when you were baptised.”

“Oh… I see. Then you are the one who will send off father?”

“Yes your majesty. I will present him onto the lord.”

Pavel walked up to the altar and began the funeral of the late king Wenceslas V. Countless nobles and holy men paid their respects to the man who had fought for the empire most of his life but had ultimately been unjustly robbed of his deserved achievements. Now he could do nothing more and the empire laid in the hands of his son and his counselors. Never again would the Lion of the North roar. He was later buried in a grave in the cathedral alongside his ancestors and upon his tomb was inscribed:

Wenceslas V

Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and the German Nation, King of Bohemia, Duke of Moravia, Brandenburg and Saxony, Count of Prague.

The Lion of the North
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Prologue II: The Liberal Revolution
Prologue II
The Liberal Revolution


The citizens of Frankfurt build barricades to defend their city from Imperial forces.

“The great tragedy of our time”
General Gotthard von Botha, 1790
General of the imperial punitive force defeated at Frankfurt

It was for all intents and purposes inevitable. Society had remained stagnant for far too long while at the same time changing at an unprecedented rapid pace never seen before. The age of enlightenment brought the great dichotomy in the empire to its breaking point. Following the religious war and subsequent freedom of worship, the empire was divided in faith between protestantism and catholicism. The former flourished in the north and west whilst the latter reign in the south and the east. The catholic Jagiellon emperors on the Bohemian throne stood for a catholic absolute monarchy steeped in tradition while the protestant parts of the empire embraced the enlightenment and rejected the religious-absolutist doctrine of the empire. Especially the enforcement of religious uniformity in the Bohemian heartlands was a nightmare for the protestants in the empire showing a possible future should the Jagiellon emperors reign supreme over the entire empire.

Following the reign of Ludwig VII, 1780-1790, many reforms following the principles of the enlightenment were enacted, much due to the fact that the kings of Bohemia were absolute monarchs. The foremost reform was the abolishment of serfdom which set the peasants free from their feudal overlords. Not surprisingly when Ludwig passed away all reforms were reverted, save for serfdom as it was seen to not be worth the effort. However, these reversals of enlightenment policy only resulted in sowing seeds of fear in the protestant parts of the empire as it was widely known that the new emperor Wenceslas V saw it as his goal to unite the empire. Fear spread that the ideals and values that reigned outside the catholic heartlands of the empire would be lost.

In the year 1790 there stood an empire divided. Protestantism against catholicism, liberalism against absolutism, science against religion, reason against faith. It is perhaps just human nature then, that those who are haunted by fear, would do what they could to change their future into something they themselves could shape. This division sparked a conflict in the city of Frankfurt which escalated into a full conflict between the two sides. As the guns fell silent in the streets, a Protestant, liberal majority had taken power. This triggered similar events in nearby towns and cities. Now as this conflict spread it was sure to trigger a response by the empire.

The response from the empire came in an army marching forth to quell the upheaval. Hastily assembling a fighting force to defend themselves, the people of Frankfurt with allies from the surrounding area, managed to defeat the imperial army sent to quell them. Outside of Frankfurt the first battle of the revolution would see an overwhelming victory for the liberals. This event fanned the flames and soon the entirety of central Germany were embroiled in a conflict between liberal sympathisers and the supporters of the empire.

As the conflagration spread, yet another divide appeared in the region, that between the aristocracy and the people. As Frankfurt was a free city in the empire, it ruled itself, having a governing body made up of more or less wealthy citizens.To contrast this the aristocracy, was influenced by the enlightenment, was more in line with enlightened absolutism as they did not want to give up their power to the commoners. So when the ideals of liberty spread across Germany, many nobles sided with the empire actively trying to subdue and reverse the spread of what they considered dangerous ideals. This meant that as the conflict entered ever more regions it would evolve from along the lines of protestants against catholics to more of liberalism against absolutism.

As for the empire this conflagration was both a blessing and a curse. It was never good for the empire to be at war with itself as it had been many times before but on the other hand, Emperor Wenceslas realised that it was an excellent opportunity to bring the empire into the fold. The more chaos the rebels brought with them into the regions which were resistant to the rule from Prague would inevitably be under his direct rule once he liberated said region.
From 1791 onward the Empire sought a policy of regional integration in the regions that they liberated, instituting governors appointed by and answerable only to emperor Wenceslas himself. With the governors also came the counter-reformation, even if there existed freedom of worship in the empire, under the pretense of hunting down revolutionaries the Bohemian inquisition would seek to root our enemies of faith as well as reversing the gains of protestantism.


Radicals in Braunschweig decapitating local noble with the guillotine

With protestant nobles siding with the catholics, the catholics in the provinces started to side with protestants and gradually the religious side of the conflict petered out. In 1792, as the violence escalated and rebel armies invaded new regions, in Frankfurt a German republic was proclaimed and called for all sons of liberty to take to arms, rid the land of enemies, and to defend the revolution. The resulting radicalisation of the conflict led to the revolutionaries starting to send all members of the aristocracy that they could get their hands on to the gallows, or rather, the guillotine to be executed for crimes against the revolution. Even women and children were executed in the, later named, great decapitation.

Europe was shocked when news of this trickled out from regions controlled by the republic. Most shockingly was that Burgundy, the long archnemesis of Bohemia, announced its support for the empire and the catholic league. The Burgundian monarch feared the same events would unfold in his own domain if the radicals were not stopped. Not long after the great decapitation Burgundian soldiers and coins started entering the regions of the empire bearing down upon the radical republic.

Now assailed from both the west and the east, the rebel armies began to falter in face of ever increasing imperial/burgundian pressure. As the situation began to worsen the radicals began calling for the people to purify the lands from counter-revolutionary elements and massive mobs of people began attacking anyone and anything they saw as a representative of the empire. Regular people who didn’t wholeheartedly support the revolution were dragged out to the guillotines, tried in makeshift tribunals and then executed. With every city the empire reconquered hundreds of citizens were executed by radicals, even within their own armies there were witch hunts looking for anti-revolutionary behaviour and anyone found guilty were shot on the spot.

By early 1795 all but the region of Hessen remained in the hands of the republic. With their power crumbling total anarchy reigned in the region with uncontrolled mobs looting everything they came upon, brigands pillaging the countryside and armies marching back and forth taking whatever they desired. With all the might of the empire now aimed at one small region it took but a few months before all fell apart. When the last banner was torn down and removed, the last revolutionary leader shot and all cities had opened the gates to the empire the revolution was finally over. However one can kill men but one cannot kill ideas it is said, but the empire at least tried rooting out every last leading element of the revolution from anywhere they might be hiding. The Bohemian inquisition appeared where people least expected them.
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Uh oh. I’ve got a bad feeling about how far the counter-revolution is going to push things.
Uh oh. I’ve got a bad feeling about how far the counter-revolution is going to push things.

Such fervor is certainly going to make people of the opposite side uncomfortable.
Prologue III: The Great German War
Prologue III
The Great German War

The last Cry of the revolution
Former revolutionaries are executed by the imperial army

The five years of bloodshed and ideological confrontation that was the Liberal Revolution of the early 1790s would only herald an even bigger conflagration that would consume even more men from ever more nations and add more to the suffering of the common folk that had but one wish, that of peace. The year that followed the victory over the revolution would see an effort so monumental that it was inconceivable just as it was utterly horrifying for those that it affected. It was all by the will of one man, the Emperor Wenceslas VIII, and by his sheer force of will he would unite the divided empire and while at it, break it and mold it in the shape he desired.

The tip, reaching throughout the empire, of imperial policy was the inquisition. In its nature anti-revolutionary and herald of the counter-reformation, it would tirelessly and viciously seek out elements of the failed revolution as well as suppressing any open profession of any non-catholic worship. Enabled by the chaos of the revolution more and more people suffered at their hands and the executions increased in number which rivaled that of the radical republic. The new governorate of the regions enforced harsh martial law by using the imperial garrisons that was left for them to command, terrorising the citizens they increased taxes to the point of taking almost everything just to fill their own coffers and enforced worse labour taxes almost making the conquered into serfs in the process.

Pressured by religious, social, political and economic persecution, those in the aristocracy that still clung to the anti-catholic faith sent their lamentations to the kings of Burgundy and Scandinavia in hopes that their torment could be ended and their power restored to pre-1790 conditions. Horrified at the treatment of their religious brethren and with a fearful realisation of what a complete hegemon a unified empire would become, the allied kingdoms of Burgundy and Scandinavia formed a united front to counter the empire's ascendency. Thus in 1796 a coordinated invasion of Imperial lands, Scandinavia into Brandenburg and Burgundy into the Rhineland, would mark the beginning of The Great German War and the impact it would have on an entire generation of men.


The Battle of Magdeburg 1820
The final decisive battle of The Great German War

As the protestant powers marched into the empire, the catholic league began to muster its forces and the empire gathered its armies. Prioritizing the Scandinavians because of the proximity to the Bohemian heartland, the emperor himself led his armies north and struck the Scandinavians forcing them back. Ever acting on the opportunity, the empire launched its own invasion of Scandinavian holding in northern Germany. Because Scandinavia's heartland was not connected by land to the empire, seizing their holdings on the continent would really hinder Scandinavia's future war effort. As the empire advanced through Pomerania and Holstein supported by polish troops, the war looked bleak for the protestant alliance.

Fearing reprisals and persecution after a failed war, the protestant lords of the north mobilised the resources available to them, gathered their armies, and went to war no longer just leaning on the shoulder of the north. Together with Scandinavian troops, a long grueling campaign to stop the empire in Holstein and retake Pomerania began. The northern alliance would soon gain the upperhand as the Poles had to recall their troops to defend against a Muscovite invasion of their eastern territories. The Catholic league became seriously pressured and began to give ground as they were now effectively fighting a three-front war.

Faced with several setbacks, a second invasion of Brandenburg and a Burgundian incursion into Bavaria, the catholic league had to take drastic action in order to regain the initiative. Across imperial controlled regions, a massive conscription of men was ordered. Every ten households would be responsible for 2 soldiers going to the army and every village 1 cavalier. In catholic heartlands men answered the call to arms with religious fervor while in former rebellious regions, certain persuasions, had to be carried out by the inquisition.

With the massive mobilization of the population the empire’s army swelled to rival that of their foes combined forces. Scandinavia was pushed out of Brandenburg a second time and Burgundy forced to retreat from Bavaria. Here after the war would go back and forth with one side pushing forward only to be forced back by the other. Almost the entire empire became a battlefield, save for the fringes, for two decades bringing untold death, destruction and misery to the people and the land.

Negotiations at Frankfurt 1820
Where The Great German War ended and brought order and peace to Europe.

Even though locked in bitter conflict for decades, absurdity managed to take hold of history, when the Hungarians and many other people declared their independence from the Ottoman Empire the empire was quick to send forces into Hungary to help reforge the long gone state. The absurd; Burgundy did the same. While fighting one another in Germany, Burgundians, Czech and Germans fought side by side with the Hungarians against the Turks for several years. In the end Hungary managed to gain its independence, but not before the empire had stolen the very crown of Hungary that was the symbol of the Hungarian Monarchy and the emperor now claimed the title as King of Hungary but never enforced it. The ancient house of Hunyadi, now kings of Hungary again, did not dare anger the empire with demanding or asking for it to be given back to them.

Impoverished and war-weary after decades of war took a toll on both sides. Burgundy and Scandinavia lost several colonies, most notably the seven republics and Vinland in Arcadia as well as having a stagnated economy. The empire however by 1820 faced impending economical, social and political collapse as more and more people had been conscripted. The economy suffered from a severe shortage of working males, all households in the realm were lacking a relative or several relatives, the inquisitions repression grew more and more resentment in the territories under the empire’s control and the population as well as the lords of the empire were losing their faith with the monarchy as the war endlessly dragged on.

All this led to the penultimate event of the war; the lords of Austria and Bavaria negotiated a separate peace with Burgundy and Scandinavia in exchange for being recognised as kingdoms by said powers. With two of its allies out of the war and the third fighting for its life against Muscovite aggression, it seemed only a miracle could save the empire. The emperor, Wenceslas VIII, now called “the Lion of the North” for his brilliant tactical skill as an army commander, launched a final offensive to secure for himself a better position at the now inevitable conclusion of the war. With the Bohemian forces clashing with the Scandinavians at Magdeburg, the emperor managed to secure the most brilliant victory in the war as well as liberating Brandenburg.

When the final gunshot rang out across the battlefield, diplomats would meet to negotiate a settlement between the powers of Bohemia, Scandinavia and the Empire. After half a year they came to an agreement that could be accepted by all parts. Burgundy would gather the western princes of the empire hegemony while Scandinavia retained its holding in northern Germany leaving the Empire to consist of only the eastern parts. The regions which the emperor tried to integrate were to return to the status from before the revolution and the Bohemian inquisition was to be abolished. Burgundy and Scandinavia were forced to recognise the sovereignty of their breakaway colonies. Bohemia had to recognise the kingdoms of Bavaria and Austria. Burgundy and Scandinavia would join Bohemia in efforts to push on Muscovite aggression in Poland which led to their troops being forced to abandon all their gains and return to pre-war borders. Finally the Reichstag would be axed and only perform a ceremonial role, the electorate of the empire dissolved and the Bohemian kings would only be Emperors of the German Nation in name.

Peace was signed 1820 in the city of Frankfurt after 24 years of exhausting conlict. Before the ink was dry however, there were few people who thought this peace would last. The only question left was, for how long?
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An eerily status-quo-type peace for such a terrible amount of fighting. I think I agree with our dissenting few: nothing seems to be settled once and for all quite yet.
An eerily status-quo-type peace for such a terrible amount of fighting. I think I agree with our dissenting few: nothing seems to be settled once and for all quite yet.

War is never the solution to end more wars as OTL learned.

Hooray, I love Bohemia in DOD- let the glories of the Empire dominate the world, Direct Rule from Prague!

Welcome aboard! Just as the glory of Rome never faded so shall the empire's glories shine bright upon the world.
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Prologue IV: Peace is but the Absence of War
Prologue IV
Peace is but the Absence of War

The shot that felled the emperor in 1821 marked the end of an era. Wenceslas VIII had come to personally define the period that would be named The Thirty Years’ War, as it was his policies that brought down the revolution and became the spark for yet another religious war on German soil. Consequently the people of the empire would face radical changes to the political, social, economical and religious landscape within which they lived their lives. What would follow after this conflict was not so much of a peace but more that of a truce; the peace of Frankfurt (1820) seemed to have finalized the division of the empire, but had merely set the stage for the 19th century’s great dramas.

It was not before the death of the emperor that Bohemia started to fully recover from the war. Being of a militaristic nature, the emperor had continued to spend almost all the budget on a standing military, as well as forcing the lesser nations in the remaining empire to do the same; It was hinted that he planned another war in the not too distant future. With his passing and the reign passed on to the regent and the council ruling alone for 10 years until 1830 when Sigismund V came of age.

The first act of the regency was to axe the military, keeping the few elite regiments and the most apt officers, enabling men to return and work the fields returning some semblance of the period before the war. No longer would the lords and princes in the empire need to keep their armies, a move much popular, legitimizing the new regency’s reign. Having freed up the empire's budget the regency could now reconstruct the empire and alleviate the ailments caused by the war.

The different spheres created by the dismemberment of the empire.

Inspired by the late king's one and only lifetime wish, all the actions of the regency would take was in preparation of a final unification of the empire. During the first 100 days of the regency a never ending stream of reforms poured which would change the essence of the entire nation. The society would transform from an agricultural, religious, complex and inefficient nation to one of industry, rationalism, efficiency and unitary. This was the prime opportunity to do so as apathy was the thought of the day and the war had imparted a religious scepticism into the populace, in no small part thanks to the repressive actions of the inquisition.

Eyeing the world's dominant power, The Dual Monarchy of England and France, the regency started to import knowledge and experts to start up the first factories and railroads in Bohemia and their spherelings. As the industrial revolution had originated in the Dual Monarchy, it had immensely increased its power and prestige from an unmatched economical growth. The plan was for the empire to do the same and expand its economical means to wage their future campaigns. The idea was also to improve the life of the people with the thought that it would ease future liberal aspirations if the lifestyle of plenty would be sacrificed in the process.

The most surprising reform of them all was a separation of church and state; No longer would the empire fund and use the powers of the catholic church and the inquisition, the latter being banned outright in the empire. This caused uproar in other catholic nations outside the empire, except the D-M who had undergone a similar transition. Never mind the international condemnation, the entire law code of the empire would be rewritten and constructed along policies of enlightenment, rationalism and logic, as well as enforcing the code in all of Bohemia. Along the code came a standardization of measurements, weights and lengths as these would differ all across Bohemia.

The complex bureaucracy that had evolved in the nation during the past 400 years was defenestrated (a tradition in Prague) and a new model of government order took shape. Newly formed departments of Economy, Law, War, Foreign affairs and Internal affairs would streamline the bureaucracy centralizing the responsibilities of the state to a few organisations. Their modus operandi was to enforce the orders of the monarchy and provide expert advice to the government. Based entirely on merits this system would prove effective, and so much so that it would be adopted around the world as the standard for structuring each nation's bureaucracy.

The heavy handedness of the regency would cause stirrings in society as all the new policies took effect. But as people gradually improved their life situation and the nation began to prosper almost everyone fell in line behind the government. The world was stunned at the incredible recovery of the empire as its opponents lagged behind, focusing instead on colonial ventures to make up for their losses during the great war instead of strengthening their heartlands.

Sigismund after his coronation in 1830 with the laurel wreath around his head to symbolise connection with the Roman emperors of old.

When Sigismund V was officially crowned in 1830 upon his 15th birthday would mark a change in governmental policy; The empire's newfound wealth would now start to be focused on the army, as well as remodeling it all at the same time. Strict meritocracy was enforced and the army was organised through the corps-system where every corps would function as a small army with infantry, cavalry and artillery, an experimental system used during the last campaign of The Great German War and ultimately led to the victory at Magdeburg. By the end of the 1830s the army would compose of around 120.000 soldiers the emperor's remodeled army.

As two decades of peace entered its final years tensions rose on the continent. In the west, dissolution of colonial empires and a rise in nationalism threatened several nations' very existence. In the south, unified by nationalism new states would rise to claim their place in the world. In the east a behemoth was awakening to the weakening of its traditional rivals hungrily eyeing it’s surroundings. In the middle, a young new emperor fueled by ambitions of greatness planned to upend the old order and reforge the continent.


Authors note: This is the end of the prologues.
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a young new emperor fueled by ambitions of greatness planned to upend the old order and reforge the continent.

Well, that’s not ominous at all…

Looking forward to seeing the game start!
Chapter I: The Elbian Crisis
Chapter I
The Elbian Crisis

Ever since Scandinavia first acquired lands in Germany, they had been ruled as provinces outside of normal governance. The monarch appointed a governor-general acting as the royal long-arm, controlling everything in the province; Enforcing laws, collecting taxes, raising and organizing armies to name a few. It was a system set up to keep the monarch of Scandinavia from being subservient to the emperor of the HRE. Now that the empire was effectively dissolved, this organisation of Scandinavia's holdings in Germany became obsolete.

Immediately after The Great German War this situation was not realised. The provinces were ravaged by war and would take some time to be rebuilt and having a deep economic crisis kept the focus from the provinces. In the summer of 1838 after colonial ventures and a resurging economy, the question of the German provinces were bickered about in the north. It was announced that they would legally be integrated under the normal Scandinavian government going forth. This caused massive criticism from the German lords of said provinces who opposed it relentlessly.

As the summer went on and the crisis worsened with the German lords publicly opposing the decision actively; Not paying taxes and throwing out Scandinavian officials from their lands. In late August of 1838 a Scandinavian army landed in Lübeck with the mission to quell the unruly lords. Meanwhile these events had not passed unnoticed in Prague. With preparations two decades in the making, the young emperor ordered his armies to converge in Brandenburg, ready to march at a moment's notice. When news arrived that the Scandinavian army had besieged Hamburg for refusing them access, Sigismund ordered his army into Pomerania and beyond.

The downfall of Scandinavian presence in Germany

On September 4th, with a proclamation of liberation, four Bohemian armies crossed the border into Pomerania. The Scandinavian army outside Hamburg quickly broke the siege and rushed east to try and stem the tide, however it was too little too late. Outside Schwerin they entered combat against the Bohemian 2nd army but failed to achieve anything and were forced to pull back. A week later outside of Neustrelitz, the Bohemian 1st and 3rd army brought battle upon the Scandinavians and routed them from the field. The latter now having lost more than half their strength retreated north and over to the Danish island, protected by the Scandinavian navy.

As Scandinavia's military presence vanished, Bohemian armies marched on unopposed, only partially hindered by garrisons in cities still loyal to Scandinavia, taking cities along the way. The last decades of preparations were now visible as Scandinavia's response to Bohemian aggression failed to materialize. After several months only Pomerania had been liberated as Bohemia prepared for a counterattack. None ever came so by late spring 1839 the armies marched on taking over Holstein in the same manner as Pomerania and then into Jylland. Outside of Esbjerg on the western coast of Jylland, a mobilized army of local volunteers and militia made a stand against the Bohemian armies but were utterly crushed being outnumbered 3:1 and lacking any artillery whatsoever.

Mid-1839 all of Scandinavia's German provinces are controlled by Bohemia

As Bohemian soldiers marched through the streets and in the fields, old fears awoke in much of the nobility in Holstein and Pomerania. Having been subject to The Great German War and the repressive occupation by Wenceslas, they did not act in favor of the Bohemian armies who came to aid them. Instead, emissaries from the leading families of each region converged in Berlin to meet with the young Sigimund and his advisors, with the mission to figure out the goals of this new actor on the European stage. Hopefully their fears would be alleviated through this audience.

For the empire, the only goal to realise was that of incorporation of the northern lords into the fold of the German nation once again. Hopefully in the process also restore the prestige of the monarchy after failing to keep it together after The Great German War. As it would turn out, for now, the goals of both sides did not contradict each other and as the meeting went on a deal could be made after not too long negotiations. Upon peace with the Scandinavians, the two duchies of Holstein and Pomerania would be created as members of the German nation again and nominally subservient to the emperor. The autonomy of the duchies would be great however and the monarch in Prague would have no say in the affairs of the duchies, save for foreign policy matters where each noble had to consult Prague before doing anything.

With the agreement printed and stamped, the emissaries returned home to their various lords bringing the news of a secured future where they would, at least for the foreseeable future, continue on living and operating their estates as they were before this whole affair. With the full support of the local nobles proclaimed the Bohemian demand on Scandinavia were thus; To concede authority over Holstein and Pomerania to Bohemia and recognise the newly created duchies of Pomerania and Holstein as well as relinquish any and all claims on those regions. A final thorn in the side, Scandinavia would withdraw completely from the duchy of Oldenburg leaving it completely reliant on Bohemia. With no prospect to end the war favorably, Scandinavia acquiesced to the demands and ended the Scandinavian dream of turning the Baltic sea into their own Mare Nostrum.

The two new duchies of Holstein and Pomerania in the HRE

The Elbian crisis changed German politics forever. No longer would religious boundaries matter as the new duchies, almost completely protestant, did not suffer beneath Bohemian boots as had been the case decades earlier. Bohemia had shown a new side to the world and the estranged princes of the dismember empire; That it was not the same single-minded, repressive entity of Wenceslas. Overnight the views on the entire idea of an empire changed from what it had been for several hundred years. Yet again foundations to the european order were uprooted in a most surprising manner.
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I think this will, in the long run, be a positive step for the empire. Demonstrating so publicly that the former religious intolerance seems to be fading is a wise move.
The Emperor has shown himself to be a force for liberty against the vile Vikings- now the time has come to punish the usurpers of the Rhine!

(ill sneak in a joke about TNO Burgundy some day)
I think this will, in the long run, be a positive step for the empire. Demonstrating so publicly that the former religious intolerance seems to be fading is a wise move.

Considering that the previous policies led to a decades long war, reversing one's stance should be a rather smooth affair.

The Emperor has shown himself to be a force for liberty against the vile Vikings- now the time has come to punish the usurpers of the Rhine!

(ill sneak in a joke about TNO Burgundy some day)

As long as such an image is maintained then no problems should arise but with the memory of his father not so distant, carelessness would certainly provoke a reversal of the image.

(Streng Geheim!?)
Chapter II: Die Wacht am Rhein
Chapter II
Die Wacht am Rhein

The cry resounds like thunder's peal,
Like crashing waves and clang of steel:
The Rhine, the Rhine, our German Rhine,
Who will defend our stream, divine?

First stanza of the poem “Die Wacht am Rhein” written by Max Schneckenburger

The Elbian Crisis would be a powder keg that sparked a renewed German nationalistic movement which this time staunchly rejected liberalism, and instead, rallied around the idea of an Empire to dominate Europe and beyond. Even though the empire was inherently German, it had been ruled and led by the royal dynasty of Bohemia who many in the movement considered to be quasi-German. This inherent contradiction would define this movement for the next decade: The German people needed the might of the empire to create a German empire but said empire was not wholly German. For now this did not matter as the goal of unifying the German people took precedence above everything and it seemed to the movement that the empire championed the same course.

As the Bohemian armies marched through Prague in triumph, German firebrands started agitating, and promoting, the idea of liberating the Rhineland from the Empire’s judas and arch-nemesis: The kingdom of Burgundy who had for several centuries cause upheaval and disunity inside the empire. The western bank of the Rhine had felt the Burgundian boot for long, long years and, quite not as potent as in imperial Germany, had grown their own nationalistic movement. However as they had not suffered under the failed republic in 1790s, this nationalistic movement centered around the very same, old, liberal ideals of a free Germany where her people could chart a course for their own future by their own decision.

As Europe entered the 1840s, liberal movements sprung up around the continent where people cried out for freedom and the right to decide their own fate.

However as Burgundy, abhorred by any and all nationalistic movements within their borders as it threatened the very existance of their kingdom, cracked down harshly on any such movement. Many nationalists from the Rheinland fled across the river to escape persecution. With them they brought their different ideology which began to spread its wings inside of imperial controlled Germany. The idea of liberalism was reintroduced into Germany where it had been almost non-existent, no small thanks to the, very, thorough work by the imperial inquisition. This “Rhenish nationalism” as it would be dubbed would take hold along the Rhine and the Danube, and consequently it was here the strongest opposition to imperial unification would be mustered.

In Prague, the increase in nationalism in the wake of its successful campaign in Pomerania and Holstein, caused a divide amongst those who wanted to use this movement for the empire and those who saw it as a dangerous element which would eventually rip the nation from beneath their boots. Bohemia having been a crossroad between the east and west for centuries had much of its nobility germanised by the 1840s and some even considered themselves wholly of the German nation despite their Czech roots. It nonetheless understood that it was seen as a counter to the German nation having fought The Great German War, not for the Germans but, despite the Germans, trying to fulfill the will of its monarch who happened to also be the emperor of the German nation.

An unknown philosopher of the time would make the dry remark around this time that: “The greatest export of Germany has for the last half-century been the idea of life, liberty and the rights of man.” Every event in Germany would have repercussions outside of its borders, as liberalism had spread after the chaos of the liberal revolution of the 1790s, to make one example. The momentous events that would resound through the world were yet to happen, but as seen in Germany in 1840-41, the idea of Liberty had survived.

In Early 1841, with the rise of liberal nationalists in the German states under Burgundian control, the queen of Burgundy would order troops into the smaller states to continue the hunt after those that had fled the Rheinland. With loud protest from the western princes, that they had now finally traded one tyrant for another, the beginnings of a war in the Rheinland were felt by many. Though few would see the truly ironic with the coming events that unfolded before their eyes.

As Burgundian troops crossed the bridges over the Rhine, the german states had to choose to acquiesce to Burgundy and did in practice relinquish control over their lands to Burgundy who garrisoned the cities and took control of the armies. One could say that Burgundy in one fell swoop almost integrated the german princes into its kingdom under the pretense of hunting down rebels who had fled Burgundy.

At the notice of these actions, the drums of war were sounded in Prague once again. The order to mobilise the troops were sent with the fastest couriers as the emperor proclaimed the empire at war with Judas and that it was finally time for the empire to be free from foreign yoke. Two decades after The Great German War had ended, another decade of war loomed over Germany once again, the irony this time that the roles were reversed: Burgundy trying to impose its will on smaller German states through force of arms and Bohemia marching to their aid to prevent such tyranny. History repeats itself though not quiet in the same ways.

The tragedy that would be Germans fighting Germans in a war to free Germans from Burgundian control
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