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Field Marshal
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Sep 18, 2011
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Prussian Prince Otto von Bismarck is remembered as the architect of the German Unification of 1871. His strategic and pragmatic view of diplomacy, alliances, and war allowed him to lead his Prussian liege to achieve dominance of the various small German states of the 19th century. For some he was genius, for others a ruthless warmongering Chancellor. Nonetheless we cannot disagree that he knew when (and how) to make war and when to sue for peace. One glorious example was the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 where Bismarck advised his King not to continue a winning war for more gains, as that would have meant a bitter revanchism from Austria later, when Prussia went against France and needed a neutral Austria.

The Nazi leaders of World War II on the other hand were not so smart (thank God). Their hate for the Communist ideology put them against more than what they could chew, effectively repeating the two-front war of the First World War. I bet if Bismarck was at the helm, this absurd move would have never happened. In other words, although Germany needs to find its expansion in the East, this should not happen before Germany had defeated the Western Allies.

I started this campaign in 1936 and, with much hindsight (admittedly), I tried to put Germany into condition to do as Bismarck might have done:

  • play low until ready: delay the war until the preparing armed forces can win it
  • keep sentiments and ideologies at bay: no rush to defeat the Bolsheviks
  • make the others appear the real threat: use propaganda to make Germany appear "friendly"
  • fight one-front wars with steadfast allies: keep the flanks secure

I played from 1936 to 1940, using diplomacy to win all the claimed areas (Austria, Silesia, Memel, etc)... Now I am at the last instant before a late-starting World War 2 which is the scope of this AAR.


Chapter 0: The Carefree Years (1936-1940)
Chapter 1: Preparations for a World War (May 1940)
Chapter 2: An Ultimatum to Poland (August 1940)
Chapter 3: The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (September 1940)
Chapter 4: Rupprecht Plan (November 1940)
Chapter 5: Operation Swiss Cheese (February 1941)
Chapter 6: Towards Paris! (March 1941)
Chapter 7: France Surrenders (May 1941)
Chapter 8: Thor's Hammer: Securing Germany's Iron Supplies (July 1941)
Chapter 9: Impero Romano (August 1941)
Chapter 10: Operation Sealion (November 1941)
Chapter 11: The Soviet backstabbing (January 1942)

Chapter 12: The last Europeans join sides (February 1942)
Chapter 13: Ireland is ours! (March 1942)
Chapter 14: The Fall of the British Empire (March 1942)
Chapter 15: A Fascist World Order in the making? Norway's Downfall (April 1942)

This is Germany's situation currently, including money, armed forces, resources, etc:


This is the world map in 1940, Italy and Japan have already concluded their initial expansions:


These are the goals of the Axis, as set initially. As you see, I tried to leave the Soviet Union out of it, as if Germany convinced its allies to deal first with the Western Allies, before claiming anything Russian. Nationalist Spain and Portugal were convinced to join the Axis. Switzerland, a predominantly German-speaking country, has been decided it should fall. I am entertaining the idea of moving to France through Switzerland, instead of Belgium...


It is now 3 PM, May 15th of 1940 and Germany is gearing up for the unavoidable conflict. I chose this hour as the hour that the German Supreme Command decided for war (the dice is cast). In the next posts I will present screens and explain most of the events that have lead to the current standoff, including war plans and how I will deal with the enemies, as well as some personal house rules.
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I'm not really sure whether the occupation of Czechoslovakia happened if Germany was all that nice and kind, but that would've probably screw up the event chain without some modding...

I'm not really sure whether the occupation of Czechoslovakia happened if Germany was all that nice and kind, but that would've probably screw up the event chain without some modding...

I agree, same as with Memel etc. but let's not spoil the fun Ikar ;).

Chapter 0: The Carefree Years (1936-1940)

You are both absolutely right. There was no "kindness" in this, but cutthroat politics. Remember that this was part of the First Vienna Award. Bismarck would have probably done the same as long as he could avoid the war. This is Nazi Germany I am playing. Bismarck's spiritual contribution is only in the pragmatism of the strategic goals and feasibility of the war plans.

From 1936 until 1940 Germany had changed various ministers but it has settled with this setup for the beginning of the war. Hitler and Hess cannot be changed as they are the "leaders". Von Ribbentrop, the historical Foreign Minister, is present as well. Although this makes Germany a little bit more threatening, it gives a hefty support of the party at home. Göring as Armaments Minister is gearing up our manufacturing for a powerful Luftwaffe, this relatively new weapon will be quite handy in the blitz wars that await us. Göbbels is another one, as Security Minister he makes sure everything works perfectly, psyching up the population with his rhetoric and propaganda. Leadership bonus here, needed for the Reich's R&D. Intelligence Minister Schacht makes sure we see what our rivals are doing in their industrial progress.

Regarding the Chiefs of the Armed Forces: I chose Ministers with doctrines that provide bonuses for elements in a war requiring attack and speed attributes, much needed in the initial stages of the war with contiguous regions of enemies. Germany is gearing up with armored land forces and light aircraft, as well as an ambitious fleet program to rival the inevitable British blockade. The late start of the conflict has allowed us to complete more units.

The party's organization and popularity is secured. A three-year draft is the norm since 1939, when the clouds of war started appearing...

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Apart from the reason you gave for Göring as armament minister, I am curious what made you decide to ensure a more powerful luftwaffe over a better overal IC with Schacht would provide? I am wondering because I usually have a terrible airforce and let the infantry/ armor divisions take all the hits, and this might give me a new insight.
I kind of believe that a strong Air Force is the future (2013 with hindsight here)... :p

OK, as you might have noticed both the Armaments Minister and the Chief of the Air Force are giving a big practical decay bonus which is compatible with my plans of researching and building many multi-role fighters and interceptors (including naval, more on that later). I don't really need the extra IC for two reasons: (1) as Germany a huge IC is not required as it might actually be counterproductive in finishing the rare resources and metal required to do what needs to be done and (2) I have been building my industrial capacity in various German cities since 1936. I don't know what is the "ideal number" as the war starts, but I reckoned a value of 200+ (becomes effectively 300+ with laws) is more than enough.

In this alternate reality, my "historical justification" is that the German High Command decided to include German entrepreneurs (von Siemens) and military men (Göring) to do whatever is possible to protect the German cities and armies from above, as well as destroy the enemy's will to fight. Göring convinced Hitler that this war can be won with fast-moving columns of armored vehicles and nimble air fighters!
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Sounds interesting. I will be following.
Great idea, I like this kind of not too-far fetched alternative reality a lot. I am wondering however what the state of the Royal Navy will be when you encounter them. You'll need a very powerful Kriegsmarine to compete!
Well, heh, I guess the other powers will have had more time to advance their own armed forces as well. A later starting date of the war does not work only for Germany. Erich Raeder was a great proponent of rebuilding the Kriegsmarine with many surface ships. The game gives his political bonus accurately. Although I have not been able (even starting from 1936) to match the United Kingdom in battleships, I have had the opportunity to create a small yet formidable navy. But more on that on a later post.

Thanks everyone for following. :)
I like your idea, but don't think the Reds are going to wait the war until you finish off the West... I'm afraid they will attack before you can achieve a total victory over the Allies
I like your idea, but don't think the Reds are going to wait the war until you finish off the West... I'm afraid they will attack before you can achieve a total victory over the Allies

With Poland still in place?

In that case, it wouldn't be a bad idea to guarantee Poland, whether Stalin gets too greedy :)
I will probably partition Poland and keep my part of the deal with Stalin, ie giving him the half of it. We have already signed the non-aggression pact as you can probably deduce by the first screenshot. ;)
Indeed, the Soviet Union might attack Germany at its own comfort, but I will try to be ready. I am planning for a huge defensive line with entrenched troops, artillery, and static fortifications at my border with the Soviet Union. Even if they attack me and break me, it will be much costly and will probably give me time to mobilize troops from other parts of the Fatherland for the defense of the Reich.

Nonetheless, it is my (Bismarck's) firm conviction that Russia should NOT be attacked before the West has been defeated. A two-front war should not be repeated.
It was not necessary. Plain old influence, but Spain had to join the Axis before this is possible. But now that you brought it, let me tell you about my Bismarckian diplomatic policy these past 4 years. From 1936 to 1940 I simulated a Germany playing it "victim". I invested much leadership to diplomacy and spies (even if that meant that I had less officers and R&D produced) to show the world that Germany's claims are "justified" by the harsh WWI conditions. In order to abstract this in game I maximized my spy activity to the 3 bigs (Great Britain, France, Soviet Union) with the unique mission to increase threat.

Thus imagine my spies infiltrating the governments and societies of said nations in order to sabotage the world view other countries had of them. This might be considered gamey, but it could have actually worked, as it is the same thing the other countries do to Germany. I did not care at all about other countries or even USA, and I even decreased my own counter-espionage. This activity continued up to 1939, where the infiltration had convinced many other nations that Germany is not the bad guy in the room and they should fear more of the motives of UK, France and the Soviet Union. Obviously, many nations moved my way in the ideological triangle. By 1939 on, the priority to increase threat decreased and I started infiltrating said nations and almost all neighbors I plan to invade to have scouting/sabotage missions.

In the diplomatic front Germany tried to influence many neighboring nations into joining the Axis. Although this was not successful for many cases (Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark) it really kept them far away from the Allies too. Spain was convinced after seeing the combined threat of Great Britain and France rising. Portugal followed a couple of months ago (I believe late 1939). Italy and Japan came into the Axis in their historical dates: Italy managed to puppet Ethiopia and Japan was quite successful in her Asian endeavors. Now, Hungary has also joined and Romania is ready as well. Since I don't plan to invade the Balkans (Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece) anytime soon, I do not care of Bulgaria's requests on Romania.

Most nations are quite convinced of the Reich's plans and although Germany's threat has risen considerably these past months over the various "requests" of Lebensraum, we are still looked upon as the "nice guys". (terrifying, I know)

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Are you trying to steal technology from Allied countries?