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LordTempest

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I hired an Austrian painter the other day, and boy, is he on the extreme side of the political spectrum. Imagine what would happen if he started spreading his ideas.
Why on earth would you hire an eight year old painter? :D
 

alxeu

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I think I'll keep him as my personal artist, then.
 

alxeu

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DensleyBlair

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Awww hell no! There's no good German that would let this country fall to a bunch of steaks (brown on the outside, red on the inside)
*Cue drum sting*

I fear it may not be any case of good Germans letting it happen, Herr Zzzzz... These people will seize power regardless f whether they have our permission.
 

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1896-1898
The End of the Beginning, Part Two

Although the political chaos across Europe in the years that followed the Great War delayed the final agreement to the peace treaty until 1898 broadly speaking the situation changed little between the Armistice and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles an entire year after the conclusion of the war.


In Europe Germany and her allies faced dramatic and crushing losses.

1: Despite being arguably the most important Allied partner during the Great War, her losses being unmatched by any power aside Germany and her victories far more numerous than any other Allied power, France gained relatively little in the peace settlement. However, for her, Alsace-Lorraine represented everything. A series of catastrophic military defeats during the 1860s and into the 70s had seen France fail to prevent German and Italian unification and lose Alsace-Lorraine to the German Empire. Since that defeat France had scarcely recovered as she was reduced to a second rate Great Power and left in economic stagnation. The reclaiming of this province saw France exercise her demons and restore her national pride under the Third Republic.

2: Prior to German unification with Austria she had been inseparably allied to Italy for more than two decades. During that time the two nations won victories over France, Austria and Russia together – ensuring the unification of both states. However, German rule over irredentia following unification with Austria coupled with colonial disputes between the two powers in East Africa saw the alliance end dramatically with war between the powers – a conflict won by Germany. With Germany’s defeat in 1897 the Italians were able to claim the lands they had long desired as Dalmatia, all of Istria and South Tyrol were annexed.

3: The Czechs had lived within a German dominated political entity for 1000 years under the Holy Roman, later Habsburg and finally German Empires. In 1897 an independent Czech nation was proclaimed – the Kingdom of Bohemia and Moravia. Although its King was to be foreign, an imported Russian Prince, and the state remained under foreign domination in the form of Russian rather than German influence the new independence of Bohemia remained extremely popular amongst the Czech community. Yet with around 30% of the new nation’s population being German that was wracked with instability, relying upon Russian military aid to prop itself up.

4: The final European concession of Germany was perhaps the most painful of all. Konigsberg was the historic capital of the Kingdom of Prussia – this mystical city now lay under Russian occupation. The traumatic loss of Konigsberg and around half of East Prussia was to cause long lasting fury on the part of Germany’s traditional Prussia elites, even if other parts of the German nation mourned the loss of Elass-Lothringen and Bohemia more sorrowfully.

5: Of Germany’s military Allies in the Great War only Belgium and the United States were spared from harsh concessions – Belgium because the French were denied in their desires to annex Wallonia by their allies and the US because she remained undefeated on the field. In the North Atlantic Denmark was forced to grant independence to the Republic of Iceland and Greenland.

6: Anglo-French efforts to stir a rising in Norway were latterly successful as in the closing stages of the war an insurrection in Oslo allowed Anglo-French forces, until then trapped in a largely static struggle in South-West Norway, to advance all the way into Sweden proper. As both a punishment against Sweden and a reward to the Norwegians the Kingdom of Norway was proclaimed by the victorious Allied powers.

7: Hungary lost more than any other power in the Great War as a full 1/3 of its territory was stripped from it – Slovenia going to Ruthenia and Transylvania passing to Romania. Hungary was only spared the loss of Croatia due to Italian opposition to an independent Croatian state that might lay claim to its new lands in the Adriatic.

8: With the fall of German power Montenegro passed under Italian and Serbia under Russian domination – the monarchies of both states being replaced with Anti-German rulers.


Overseas the effects of the war were similarly dramatic.

1: In West Africa the British annexed the entirety of Dutch West Africa and 2/3s of Germany’s colony in the region. The German settler state in Senegal was left to Italian domination whilst a German settler state was created in the remaining third of German Ivory Coast and left to the British.

2: In Equatorial Africa the Spanish annexed ½ of the colony with a German settler state coming under their influence in the remaining half.

3: In Germany’s large and wealthy possessions in East Africa another settler state was created under the joint influence of the Spanish, British and French.

4: In the Far East Germany was forced to relinquish ties with Southern China and grant independence to Taiwan – effectively ceding control to the French in this region.

5: Whilst Germany lost its entire colonial Empire the Dutch were only shorn of substantial parts of its Empire. Aside from the loss of their African colonies the Dutch were forced to cede Malaya to the British and grant independence to the fabulously wealthy island of Java whose resources were opened up for British, Spanish, French and even Russian exploitation.

6: It is notable that the War greatly effected Britain Zealand had autonomy and there British domination was greatly resented. Indeed a civil war broke out in New Zealand as early as November 1896 between pro and anti-British forces which would roll on for years. In Australia, the continent’s great contributions to the British war effort in the form of resources, ships and tens of thousands of men who fought in the East Indies against the Dutch ensured that Australia was granted dominion status at peace in 1897.

7: Canada’s story in the Great War was very different to both New Zealand and Australia. Here British power had collapsed as early as March 1896 with the last British resistance to American occupation falling by the end of the summer. Spending an entire year occupied by the US army Canadians lost confidence in Britain’s ability to protect them in future conflicts – their European ambitions having brought Canada into an unnecessary and unwanted war. At peace in 1897 Britain agreed to grant Canadian independence – the North American country seeing both Britain and America compete for influence.

8: Finally, Morocco was annexed in its entirety by Spain – completing the long desired unification of the Sultanate under Spanish rule that had been an object of Madrid’s fascination for decades.


As the precise terms of Germany’s surrender remained unknown, within the fallen Empire itself the contest for power was well underway. As the military attempted to prop up the shaky regime of Chancellor Hertling, restored to government following the Kaiser’s abdication, Germany was swept by the waves of social revolution. Across the countries councils of soldiers, sailors, workers and peasants known as Räte appeared to challenge the authority of the Hertling-Prussian regime with the overwhelming majority rejecting it and calling for a democratic and social Republic. With these Räte electing Social Democrats, Independent Socialists and Populists (Free People’s Party supporters) in large numbers these three parties came together to form the Democratic Provisional Government which called for the resignation of the Hertling government and the formation of a democratic Republican regime. With the invitation of Liberals and even the Centre party to join the DPG causing division amongst their ranks it appeared certain that Hertling would be forced to cede power to the Revolution.


On July 21st Germany’s experimentation with a civilian government under Chancellor Hertling came to an abrupt and dramatic end. Fearing that Hertling’s fall to the DPG was imminent the bright young General, Erich Ludendorff –a man who had shot through the ranks during the War – launched a coup d’état with the aim of ‘restoring order’. Raising some 60,000 men, part of the tattered remnants of the German Army, in rebellion in Pomerania Ludendorff marched into Berlin and brought down Hertling – proclaiming a new military controlled Government of National Security. In response to the Ludendorff Putsch the leaders of the DPG called upon the workers of Berlin to General Strike in order to bring down military government. From July 21st until July 26th the capital was paralysed as hundreds of thousands responded to the call – inevitably the episode descended into violence and the GNS attempted to use the army augmented by the Prussian police to bring an end to the strike – resulting in a series of pitched battles as the strikers resisted.


Over the course of the next few months of terror the increasingly dictatorial Government of National Security looked to violently squash the Revolution. Ludendorff’s claims that the insurrection represented not just an attempt to implement a democratic but a social revolutionary regime were added credence by the proclamation of Socialist Republics in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Vienna whilst the threat to the continued existence of the German nation was supplied by an attempt to proclaim Bavarian independence. With tensions seething and the German state falling apart the military were granted assistance from the unlikely figure of the Europe’s greatest Republic – France. With Germany descending into apparent civil war the French intervened by occupying both banks of the Rhine – removing one of the most militant regions of the country from the GNS’s responsibilities and negotiating for the release of prisoners of war by both France and Italy. As thousands of former soldiers returned to a Germany at war with itself the ranks of the paramilitary Freikorps swelled tremendously as the counterrevolution grew immensely in numerical strength. At the same time the force of the counterrevolution weakened the strength of the parties of the Democratic Provisional Government – facilitating an upsurge of dozens of hyper-revolutionary sects which pushed many democrats of 1896 into the arms of reaction. By early October openly insurrectionary resistance to the military government appeared to be dying down. To many it seemed that the Revolution was over.


Revolutionary period at the end of the 19th century in Germany cannot be wholly understood outside of its international context. Just as the forces of democratic and social revolution did battle with reaction in Germany so too were revolutionary movements stirring from Atlantic to the Urals. Following defeat in the Great War Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark all fell into Civil War as largely working class and socialist movements attempted to wrestle control from autocratic monarchical regimes – through 1898 the workers’ movement was to be victorious in all three states producing a series of very different regimes. To the South and East Bohemia and Moravia was involved in a many sided civil war – the Russian backed monarchy relied upon nationalist sentiment and counter-revolutionary fervour as it fought against a revolutionary Czech labour movement, German nationalists seeking reunification as well as social revolutionary German groups – all of these rebel groups in turn competing with each other. In Hungary, Romania, Ruthenia, Serbia the Ottoman Balkans a peasant revolution was well underway with in various parts of the region nationalist groups attempted to achieve independence. In Italy the country was gripped by the challenge of a revolutionary labour movement grasping for power. To the East the Russian Empire, victorious in war, was at the brink of collapse. The War had been deeply unpopular across the Empire, despite the hopes of the elites that it would galvanise public support, and in late 1897 the Empire descended into civil war. Around the periphery of the Empire national democratic movements tinged with social revolutionary elements struggled for independence whilst in the Russian core lands both peasant and workers revolutionary movements reached out for power. Even in Western Europe old regimes were being challenge with rebellion breaking out in Ireland, massive waves of militant strike action affecting Britain, France and Spain. This was an international movement, and it appeared that the Revolution was winning.


The problems faced by Germany in the aftermath of the Great War, even beyond the political sphere, were quite extreme. Germany’s industrial base had been reduced to ruin by the war – and the situation only worsened in the civil strife of the months afterwards whilst the states need for hard currency to avoid a bankruptcy (a highly likely scenario with interest repayments alone equivalent to around 1/3 of tax revenue) led to stranglingly high rates of taxation as well as high tariffs. On top of this the country was afflicted with apocalyptic levels of unemployment (in proletarian districts there was on average three men out of work for each one who was employed), widespread destruction of infrastructure and in cities (a situation that only grew worse in light of a failure of the state to adequately begin reconstruction and its use of the military in urban areas), worse yet famine and shortages of all manner of goods left vast sections of the population in extreme poverty. In this situation of social collapse the German government struggled to amass a significant degree of civilian backing. Having initially rallied at least elements of German Conservatism, Liberalism (especially National Liberalism) and Centrism around itself in opposition to the Revolution the Ludendorff regime saw its support begin to drift away rapidly from late 1897. As it failed to address Germany’s pressing issues (unemployment actually increasing as industrial production continued to fall until February 1898) or offer up control of government to a civilian regime many turned away from the counterrevolution. At the same time the Democratic Provisional Government, forced underground in the summer, continued to exert a powerful influence and proclaim itself as a genuine alternative.


On May Day 1898 the Democratic Provisional Government proclaimed a national day of insurrection calling for all Germans desiring an end to military rule and a democratic Republic to come into the streets. The effective General Strike led to the military government turning on itself – Ludendorff and his hard line supporters were arrested as government was turned over to a coalition of Centrists, Liberals and Conservatives.

Germany was once again divided between the Revolutionaries who drew legitimacy from the Räte and the establishment. However the majority factions of both groups were now willing to work together. On May 5th, still jubilant from the overthrow of the military government, the SPD and Free People’s Party agreed to join the German government on the condition that they move to disband the Räte and work against another social explosion as had been seen the previous year. The USPD refused these terms – still demanding social revolution in Germany – whilst a large faction of Conservatives, assorted reactionaries, National Liberals and even Conservative Centrists refused to share power with the Revolutionaries and formed the German National People’s Party (DNVP), in essence a regroupment of those who had unconditionally supported the Government of National Security. Elsewhere, whilst the Centre Party continued to exist under its former banner the government Liberals established the German Democratic Party.

With this new government formed elections were called for June 20th to elect a constituent assembly that would be tasked with writing a constitution for the newly proclaimed German Republic. With scarcely six weeks separating the Republican government from legitimising elections it appeared that Germany might finally have established a stable regime following the turbulence of the past year, things were not to be so easy.


Red Dot – Revolutionary Workers’ Government
Orange Dot – Revolutionary Democratic Coalition Government
Black Dot – Civil War or Rebellion

By the fall of the military regime in Germany both Belgium and Denmark had fallen under the control of workers government with Belgian Communists nationalising all industries – taking over large tracts of German owned industries, something which the Berlin government felt unable to challenge – and the Danes proposing similar measures. In the Netherlands a coalition of Socialist and other democratic forces held power following the overthrow of the Monarchy whilst a similar regime had emerged in West Galicia (now proclaiming itself the Republic of Poland!) Elsewhere half of Europe was at Civil War as the future direction of world history remained in the balance.


In Germany, as elsewhere, the Belgian revolutionaries inspired ultra-leftists who regarded the USPD’s primarily legalistic and non-violent attempts to resist the rollback of the Revolution as unsatisfactory began to act independently. Derided by some as Left Ludendorffs and praised by others as the true Revolutionaries these groups launched an attempted insurrection in Berlin from June 5th until June 10th as government efforts to close down the presses of Die Rote Fahne (the leading ultra-leftist newspaper) escalated into violent clashes several groups called for working class insurrection. This latest outburst of violence shook the working class movement as the government – including two of the three largest working class parties – turned to the Freikorps who had only recently served Ludendorff to put down a proletarian rising. Following the June Days the government unleashed its own suppression of ultra-left elements seeing hundreds of arrests and the closure of all newspapers in sympathy with the rising – with the USPD acting as the lone voice of protest, although against the rising the party stridently opposed the repression. It was in this atmosphere of distrust across the political spectrum that Germany entered her first elections as a Republic.
 

Tommy4ever

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I edited the timeline slightly so that the Republic's first elections shall take place in June 1898, so now we're in a situation were just a little over 5 years ago you lot voted out Eugen Richter's Liberal government and appointed Hertling's ill fated Centre-Conservative coalition. The world seems a long way away now... :eek:

Oh, and about people talking about our navy. I was actually at the naval supply limit at the start of the war with a small but very modern fleet - although good enough to defend my coast against most when the Royal Navy arrived with a doomstack three times my size the fleet was destroyed so I neglected to mention it.
 

LordTempest

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Bring back the kaiser!
 

Enewald

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Now that is some ugly Europe... about to get uglier with commies rising. :(
 

unmerged(211960)

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Well, Atleast the commies didn't get Germany. Too bad about Königsberg though..God damn ruskies. :I Atleast we have now the German Republic, rather than the Empire. Could've been worse, we could have had the Commune of Germany. :p
 

LordTempest

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LordTempest

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unmerged(271387)

Field Marshal
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People are talking about the love for communists and socialists voters seem to have in Interactive AARs,yet what I see is a weaker than historical german socialist movement and a strong love for reactionary and fascist elements among the voters.
 

unmerged(211960)

Corporal-Private
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People are talking about the love for communists and socialists voters seem to have in Interactive AARs,yet what I see is a weaker than historical german socialist movement and a strong love for reactionary and fascist elements among the voters.
Reactionary and Fascist elements on a German AAR, surprised?

Guess this AAR is special then. :D
 

LordTempest

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People are talking about the love for communists and socialists voters seem to have in Interactive AARs,yet what I see is a weaker than historical german socialist movement and a strong love for reactionary and fascist elements among the voters.
Look around you. That's because of the love for left-wing movements in other AARs, not in spite of it. ;)
 

Harpsichord

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I see two options. Far-leftism or far-rightism. There is no longer a middle ground (and that's coming from a long time Zentrum voter!)
 

Scrapknight

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After indescribable amounts of blood and treasure lost, perhaps we can finally start again - with a democratic government that can live in peace with its neighbors, united under a single national banner, and guarantee freedom for all. Long live the German Republic!