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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Scrapknight

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Fantastic! We finally managed to save the Republic and democracy!

Thank you, Tommy, for making such a great AAR. I may not have been the most active on it but I hope I could contribute a little bit. It was a fun ride all the way through, and I can't wait for the next one!
 

NikoHoI3

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Democracy has prevailed!

Thank you, Tommy, for another delightful and amazingly-written AAR! I hope there will be another one on the horizon, no pressure. ;)
 

unmerged(271387)

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Although I am a little bit late,I want to thank you Tommy for this wonderful experience!
 

SacredDatura

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Bummer about the strong presidency and conservative constitution. I would have preferred a liberal constitutional monarchy. With the DVP still lurking strong at the sidelines I am worried for the future of this Germany.

In any case, this has been brilliant. Looking forward to the overview and your next AAR (interactive or no), Tommy!
 

Tommy4ever

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Okay, looks like this update is going to be very long indeed - its already reaching towards 5,000 words and there is still much more to write. So might not get released until later tonight or even tomorrow at this rate.
 

DensleyBlair

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Okay, looks like this update is going to be very long indeed - its already reaching towards 5,000 words and there is still much more to write. So might not get released until later tonight or even tomorrow at this rate.
Is serialising it an option?
 

Tommy4ever

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Is serialising it an option?
It's split between a first part which is just a broad overview and a second part where I look at each ideological 'tradition' in detail, including brief biographies of prominent individuals. So if I don't get it finished before my classes start at 3 today I think I'll post the first part and then give you the 'traditions' tomorrow.
 

DensleyBlair

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It's split between a first part which is just a broad overview and a second part where I look at each ideological 'tradition' in detail, including brief biographies of prominent individuals. So if I don't get it finished before my classes start at 3 today I think I'll post the first part and then give you the 'traditions' tomorrow.
Godspeed!
 

alxeu

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In the end, I still prefer republic over Hapsburg.
 

Tommy4ever

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Blood and Iron – Germany’s road to modernity
1861-1929
-Part One-​

In the 68 years between the twin inaugurations of Wilhelm I as King of Prussia and Max von Forchenbeck as the country’s first Liberal Minister-President in January 1861 and the first New Year of the Second Republic in 1929 Germany changed almost beyond recognition. The process of German unification (1861-1887) saw Prussia bring first Northern Germany and then the Southern states under its domination during the 1860s before the triumphal 1887 unification with Austria completed the process. The unification period, itself fraught with political conflict, was followed by a turbulent era as the horrors of the Great War and continent wide Revolution at the end of the 19th century saw the Kaiserreich swept away in favour of a Republic which was in turn brought down in 1920 only to be restored in an altered form in 1928.

Behind the backdrop of political turmoil Germany went through even more striking economic changes as the industrial revolution transformed society. Living conditions, population and the importance of Germany to the world economy grew at an unprecedented rate – the late 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th being en economic golden age for the country. As industry supplanted agriculture as the beating heart of the German economy there were spectacular demographic shifts as Germany became a primarily urban society – regions like Brandenburg, the Rhineland and the territory between Vienna and the Rhine in particular being dominated by sprawling metropolises. As the social structure changed, so too did the class structure as Germany became the epitome of the Marxist conception of class society under capitalism. As the last vestiges of feudal economic relations were swept away the nation was polarised between a sprawling proletarian population, both rural and urban, and a powerful property owning bourgeoisie – reinforced by the presence of an ageing but still politically significant aristocratic caste. To an even greater extent than other comparably developed states, Germany witnessed the destruction of the ‘middling classes’ of petite bourgeois small property owners – the strength of heavy industry in the country making artisanal production utterly unsustainable. By 1929, German society was scarcely recognisable as the land Germany’s oldest generation had grown up in during the mid-19th century. Politically, socially and culturally it had become an alien realm.


Germany’s complicated political history during the period is perhaps best understood divided into a series of manageable chunks as the struggle between competing forces regularly altered the situation.

The Hurrahs! 1861-1869​

1861 was a watershed year in German history. As a new, largely apolitical yet ambitious, King rose to the throne of Prussia, Liberals took power in Germany for the first time since 1848 (an event that was conqueringly recent to the minds of conservatives). The German Progress Party’s sweeping electoral victory over the Conservatives in the Prussian Landtag opened Germany up to the era of unification. A little over a year after taking office the Liberals led Germany into a major conflict as Prussia faced down French efforts to oppose both German and Italian liberation movements – the defeat of France in 1863 allowing both North Germany and Italy to firmly secure their respective unifications.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Progress Party fell out of power in 1863 as new elections in the recently formed North German Federation saw a coalition of pro-unification Conservatives and the right wing of the old DFP form a new ministry under the towering figure of Otto von Bismarck. Within the new Federation reforms were introduced that would begin the gradual process of weakening the tradition powers of the autocracy in the political sphere and transform the Prussian army into the most feared fighting force on earth in the military sphere. At the same time, Bismarck, ever the master diplomatic spider, pinned France into a renewed conflict in 1868 in which Germany and her Italian allies were faced with an alliance that did not include Austria but did feature a Russian Empire exhausted from conflicts with the British and Turks in the Balkans. The war was a resounding success for Germany and resulted in the formation of the German Empire with the Northern Federation being fused with the newly annexed province of Elass-Lothringen, Baden, Württemberg and Bavaria. Germany was a new superpower.

The Crown and the Mitre 1869-1887​

The two decades after the birth of the Kaiserreich were perhaps the most stable of the entire period. During this era Germany acquired a colonial Empire, exercised worldwide power, witnessed its strongest rates of economic growth and maintained the balance of power in Europe – despite its own excessive strength.

The period was also one of political polarisation within Germany. The conflicts that defined the period have often been wrongly characterised as a personal battle between the two dominant political figures – Otto von Bismarck and Ludwig von Windthorst – or between Centrism and a Liberal-Conservative axis or even between Catholicism and Protestantism. Whilst elements of these views can be seen to be true, all are inadequate as a proper description of the period. After all, Bismarck’s 1878-1883 Conservative ministry relied on parliamentary support from both Liberals and Centrists, the Centre Party expanded far beyond its Catholic base during the period to capture a vast Protestant and even Secular electorate and the Centrists frequently appealed to both Liberal and Conservative factions for support – entering a coalition with the then radical DFP in 1873-1878.

The best definition of the conflicts of the period is one between a Centralising, Prussian-Supremacist and Secularising (in practise anti-Catholic) movement embodied by the National Liberals who sought an unquestionably unified and modernised nation state, always maintain a certain suspicion of democracy, and the ‘Progressive Centrism’ of the era that was defined by support for religious institutions and minorities, democracy, support for the poor, regionalism and the belief that the project of unification remained incomplete without Austria. In the end the Centrists emerged triumphant. German Liberalism would never fully recover from its decline during this period as it faced successive defeats in the repeal of the Kulturkampf and Anti-Socialist Laws, the move of Germany’s Conservatives away from close alliance with the National Liberal project, the rejection of tight centralism, the abandonment of laissez faire economics by the political mainstream and finally the unification with Austria in 1887.

Iron Rusts 1887-1896​

The period between the unification with Austria in 1887 and the outbreak of the Great War in 1896 was one of stagnation and even relative decline for Germany. Gone was the vibrancy of old, with the great political disputes of the 1870s and 1880s resolved, a colonial Empire acquired and the process of unification complete Germany appeared to lay back in smug self-satisfaction.

Many had hoped the rise of a Richter’s Liberal alliance to power in 1887 might bring new energy to Germany, and in a sense it did. The return of laissez faire economics, although having less impact in the highly developed North, was a disaster for the recently annexed Austrian lands were industries were far less productive and the country was only just adjusting to a heavy Prussian occupation of the country. Internationally, Richter’s regime accelerated the ongoing process of alienating Germany from the other Great Powers. The annexation of Austria had made the breakdown of the long lasting Italian alliance inevitable, yet the government’s Chinese adventure (during which a vast territory in South China was brought under German influence) only worsened relations with other Great Powers involved in the Far East whilst colonial disputes (notably with the Spanish over Morocco) were handled with little care and the continued expansion of Germany’s military caused ever greater concern amongst the governments of Europe. With the economy performing uninspiringly, the country’s diplomatic situation rapidly worsening and none of the hopes for political reform being fulfilled the Liberals were voted out of power in 1893 and replaced with a deeply conservative DZP-DKRP coalition under Georg von Hertling. The new government, if anything, appeared even more devoid of ideas than its predecessor and failed to do anything to avert the slide of Germany into the Great War.

It is Always Darkest Before the Dawn 1896-1898​

In 1896 the old world came to an end as the Great War began pitting Germany and her allies (notably Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Belgium and the Netherlands) against a monstrous coalition featuring all of Europe’s other Great Powers – Russia, France, Italy, Spain and even Great Britain.

Although a few early military victories raised hopes that Germany might vanquish her foes, defeat was inevitable but the manner in which it came brought Central and Eastern Europe to the brink of destruction. The invading armies laid waste to large parts of Germany whilst parts of East Prussia (including the historic seat of Prussia power at Konigsberg), South Tyrol, Istria, Elass-Lothringen, Bohemia and the entire colonial Empire were separated from Germany. In the aftermath of the conflict Germany, like most of its neighbours entered into a period of political chaos – by the end of 1897 Germany’s cities were home to hundreds of thousands of unemployed as 2/3s of the country’s industrial base had been destroyed.

The pugnaciously Anti-Revolutionary military dictatorship of Erich von Ludendorff that ruled Germany for several months after the conclusion of the Great War successfully defeated attempts to usher in social revolution, in the manner that was experienced in Belgium, the Netherlands and Scandinavia in the immediate Post-War years, but failed to address any of Germany’s other major concerns. A broad coalition of Socialists, Populists, Centrists and Liberals then proceeded to overthrow the Ludendorff dictatorship in May 1898 – proclaiming the Weimar Republic.

Vive la République! 1898-1919​

For the first 21 years of its existence the First Republic provided Germany with democratic stability, prosperity and a gradually rising role in international diplomacy. With the exception of the ‘bourgeois coalition’ of 1901-1905 (in which the Liberals and Centrists allied with the Monarchists in response to Populist and Socialist radicalism), German government was totally dominated by the alliance between the Free People’s Party and the Centre. Having emerged out of the radical wing of the DZP and its labour movement in the years before the Great War, the FVP grew to national significance after the War – grouping together Radical Christian Democratic, Social Liberal and even Moderate Socialist thought into a vibrant ideological current known as Populism. With the Populists inseparable from their alliance with the Social Democrats throughout the period it was the terms of collaboration with the Centre Party that were always the most significant factor in the dominant coalition. Although initially, the First Republic’s Populist led governments were noted for their radical commitment to social reform, modernisation democratic institutions at home and abroad and an economic interventionism committed to both growth and equality the coalition gradually lost much of this reforming zeal – by the late 1910s it had grown pragmatically conservative within Germany and undeniably imperialistic in foreign affairs.

Unlike during the Kaiserreich, where the anti-systemic forces of the likes of Social Democracy were always comparatively muted, a very significant portion of the German population retained a fierce opposition to the existence of the Republic itself. In 1903, 38.1% of the electorate voted for parties in opposition to the constitution with both the Communists and Monarchists securing impressive tallies, even after the collapse of the Communist movement in the first years of the 20th century Anti-Weimar parties continued to securing around 30% of the vote through the rest of the period – with the rise of a powerful Fascist movement, along with its infamous paper hat militias, giving Anti-Republicanism impressive social weight. The presence of this powerful threat to the democratic Republic helped solidify the alliance between the Populists, Centrists and Social Democrats.

A sense of security in the impregnability of their coalition seemed to set in over the Populists in the later years of the Republic. The turn of the DDP towards free market fundamentalism and the Austrian School badly damaged relations between the Liberals and the Populist led regime – the governing parties happily jettisoning the Liberals from the Republican camp, eventually leading them to make tactical alliances with the Anti-Republican Right and weakening the stability of the regime in the long term (even if the policies of the DDP saw its electoral support dwindle). Likewise, the fall of the Communist movement was not properly addressed, as the government failed to predict the radicalising effect the fall of the Far Left would have upon their Socialist allies – the intake of radical cadres at a time when the regime was growing more conservative causing a deep rift between the Socialists and the coalition, eventually leading to the abandonment of the Populist-Socialist alliance in 1918 and the subsequent divisions in the Republican camp that facilitated Hindenburg’s capture of the Presidency.

The Final Struggle 1919-1929​

In 1919, after 14 years as President, Adam Stegerwald stepped down from the office he had come to define and the Anti-Republican Right seized its opportunity to strike against the hated Weimar regime. The divisions within the Republican camp that had emerged during the years of Stegerwald’s admittedly prosperous Presidency were to have a catastrophic impact upon the result. Hindenburg, officially an Independent candidate – although one heavily influenced by the DNVP, united the backing of Fascists, Monarchists and the DDP leadership (if not the rank and file) behind his candidacy. However, the two Republican candidates – the Socialist Arthur Crispein and the Centrist Wilhelm Marx – were expected to defeat him. However, a perfect storm caused by the rebellion of Franz von Papen’s monarchist leaning Centrist deputies and a strong showing by Crispein meant that the divisive Socialist candidate went on to face Hindenburg in the run off – where the aged General shaved a close victory.

Hindenburg moved immediately to undermine the existence of the Republic, dismissing the previous government and bringing in a temporary government led by the DNVP’s Gustav Stresemann. The key to the assault on the Republic did not lie with the tradition Anti-Republican constituency – a body that remained largely stable in size and composition – but with the rise of Papen’s Monarchist Centrists and their vision of a conservative constitutional monarchy. In the elections of 1920 the traditionally dominant force of the Weimar Republic, the non-Socialist Republican parties, were utterly crushed as Liberals, Republican Centrists and Populists all faced humiliation at the polls (even as the Socialists reached new heights of popularity). The main beneficiaries of this shift were the Papenite Centrists who promptly entered into a dangerous pact with the Anti-Republican Right.

The troubled Papen government of 1920-1925 saw constitutional issues go unresolved; the paper hat militias run rampant as the state relied upon their power in their conflict with the Left; and a vicious struggle between the Socialist aligned labour movement and the state bring the regime to the brink of collapse. During 1924 the Habsburgist Centrists, alongside a recently reorganised National Liberal movement, looked to turn away from authoritarianism and finally establish the democratic constitutional monarchy they had promised, effectively promising to end their alliance with the far right.

Days before new elections were scheduled to take place in January 1925 the military launched a coup d’état – restoring the deposed Kaiser Wilhelm II to his throne and pursuing an autocratic regime. However, the military dictatorship proved deeply unstable and totally incapable of resolving any of Germany’s pressing issues (even if Bohemia was finally reintegrated into the Reich). With the regime cycling through the governments and refusing to commit to either full blown Totalitarianism or condone any move towards democratic reform it remained deeply unpopular with the wider population. Following mass demands for change Gustav Stresemann was appointed head of a provisional government in May 1928 – by the end of the year he had played a central role in the transition from military dictatorship to democratic rule, acting as Chancellor before becoming the first President of the Second Republic having cooperated closely with the Socialists and forced significant concessions. After decades of conflict Germany had finally established a lasting, unified and modern regime. The road to modernity had reached its final destination.
 

Enewald

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Ah yes, so much bad stuff happened because the leadership of the DDP betrayed the republic. :(
 

LordTempest

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Ah yes, so much bad stuff happened because the leadership of the DDP betrayed the republic. :(
Blame its voters. ;)

Now hurry up and get to the resolution of the Contravarius=Howard-Enewald love triangle already! :p
 

Contravarius

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Blame its voters. ;)

Now hurry up and get to the resolution of the Contravarius=Howard-Enewald love triangle already! :p
((Actually, now that you mention it... I have something relating to that.))

The Whispers of the Bleeding Trees III


Anticipation. Determination. Bloodlust. A sip of whiskey. He felt great. Actually, he felt better than ever before in his life. This was most certainly a good day to die.
Buttoning his old black cavalry jacket, memories rushing through his veins he almost felt alive again. Almost. His sabre, his good old paper hat stylishly tilted on one of his ears. He was ready. No, one more sip of whiskey, now he was ready.
It was a beautiful summer day, the sun was shining, the sky was almost cloudless and so-so blue. Calm wind caressed the bushes that bordered the road to Contravarius mansion.
The courtyard was much emptier, quieter than usual. Mrs. Contravarius had left a few days ago, taking her servants with her. He missed her, at least he thought he did. Now it was most certainly too late for anything anyway.
Old Konrad Maximilian Xavier Arcadius dom Contravarius-Don'Paulus y d'Alatriste-Erebus heaved himself on top of his old warhorse. It wasn't certainly in it's prime anymore, many winters had passed since their last warpath together. Snowwhite from nose to tail, it was not one the fastest horses around, but tough and trustworthy, Terror, dom Contravarius used to call it.
And so they rode out, for one last time, past the rustgreen iron gates, glorious death waiting for them.
Dom Contravarius knew he was a bastard, an incurable, manipulative, magnificent bastard. He was most probably a sociopath, but never really cared enough to actually find out. But now he felt like a hero, a knight in a shining armor, dreaming the impossible dream, fighting the unbeatable foe. He knew that this was just another lie his brain had created, similar to those he had told every single day to hopeless idiots ready to believe him, follow him to the depths of hell.
He grinned.
"...To reach the unreachable star."
 
Last edited:

GreatUberGeek

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Great job, Tommy! Cannot wait for the next part! :)
 

unmerged(211960)

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I had completetly forgotten almost half of the things being mentioned, but I do the fierce anti-catholicism, AH good times. Can't wait for part 2~!
 

FellowNerd

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Good times, good times
 

Terraferma

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Good stuff