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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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KanaX

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Divided But United - Austria 1836-1920

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No cheats or mods.

In 1836, Austria was ruled by Ferdinand I, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia . The Austrian Empire had the largest land-area in Europe(not counting Russia). It was counted among the great powers of the world, but it had one crippling downside. Ethnic division. With 12 major languages, 5 major religions and various different issues between the ethnic groups, Austria was a house of cards, built on a shaky desk.

The Emperor wasn't capable of uniting the country. He wasn't regarded as a man of intelligence, even though he had a sharp wit. His epileptic seizures(he could have over 20 per day) severely restricted his ability to rule. The country was de facto run by a clique of ministers, with Prince Klemens von Metternich as the headsman.

Since there was considerable difficulty of keeping the country together, many ministers proposed that social reforms should be made, like improving the healthcare and unemployment subsidies. Metternich was completely against it, and more importantly, the treasury was nearly empty.

No social reforms took place, and Metternich rammed through his proposals of raising the taxes and tariffs to get some much-needed money on the state treasury.

This, of course, provoked violence, but since the crime-figthing budget was raised significantly, major criminal activities were almost completely wiped out from the Empire. Any revolts were violently surpressed and 2 new divisions were trained. A relative peace had returned, but it wouldn't last if changes were not made. At this point, the Emperor made one of his most clear-headed decisions ever.

The Emperor was not blind, even if some people questioned his intelligence. Seeing his people rioting in the streets of Vienna and hearing the news from the rest of the Empire, he decided to act. Since he was plaugued with constant seizures, he couldn't really march into the chamber of ministers. Instead, he wrote a letter.



In Vienna, 17th of May, 1839 A.D.

To Prince Klemens von Metternich and the other members of the Regent's Council

It has come to my attention that the people of my Empire aren't satisfied with the current economic policy and harsh laws that restrict their rights as citizens of the Empire. Since the Regent's Council is not able to handle the situation, I order by Imperial Edict, that all male citizens of the Empire after turning 24 years old have equal rights to vote for the members of the Regent's Council. The nominee for the position in the council must be a honourable citizen of the Empire, male, literate and well taught in governmental affairs.

I know this may shock you, since many of you are my relatives and personal friends. But make no mistake, all councilmembers will be arrested, should they choose not to comply to this Imperial Edict. I remind you that every single citizen of the Empire is bound by the Imperial Decree, and all opposing it are named enemies of the Empire.

The position of the Chairman of the Council shall not be elected by the people. The Emperor shall nominate the chairman from now on. Currently, I see no reason why Prince von Metternich shouldn't resume in his position.

The people know what is the will of the people.

Yours, Ferdinand I, Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia



Ferdinand had completely stepped over the authority of the Council and implemented a change that was very radical by any standard. Universal suffrage was only in use in the USA and parts of Italy and France.

The members of the council were, of course, furious. That didn't stop the Imperial Bodyguard of arresting anyone who went too far. Metternich, being the clever politician that he was, chose to shut his mouth and wait to see what the future would hold. He was as surprised as everyone else in the Council, but he was also smarter than many in the council.

The Emperor was praise everywhere, gaining unofficial titles such as Ferdinand V the Good in Bohemia. Ferdinand's decision was radical, welcomed and very risky. One cannot say that his decision unified the country, but it brought the people closer together. There were still many issues, like the seperatism in Northern Italy and Romania, but overall the chaotic situation of some months earlier was now nothing more than an unpleasant memory.
 

Khalep

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Nice, haven't seen a democratic Austria-Hungary before. It isn't the easiest country to play with, at least according to me. Will be reading with interest.
 

stnylan

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A brave move at the outset. It will be very interesting to see what follows.
 

KanaX

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Divided But United - Austria 1836-1920


Kaiserjaegers on the march

After the radical changes in the political atmosphere in 1839, a peaceful age of development ensued. Railroads uniting the great cities and industrial areas were built and the Navy was expanded with 2 transport flotillas. The people were, at least for the moment, busy either working in the railroads or campaigning for their candidates to the Council.

The Emperor had held a low profile after his sudden intervention in the govermental politics. He had a short vacation in Croatia, where he enjoyed the sun and the sea. Even on vacation, he had duties for his Empire and citizens. He inspected the 1st Croatian Army that was stationed in Dubrovnik. The presence of the troops there was because of recent seperatist activity fueled by the Montenegrian government. Relations between Montenegro and Austria were tense, and radical elements on both sides hungered for war.

The Emperor wasn't interested in dealing with the Montenegrian government nor the radical elements on the Austrian side. He focused on leisure-time activities in his summer mansion near Zara and left the Montegrian affairs to his generals to deal with. This wasn't a very wise decision.

The commanding officers imposed martial law on the areas south of Dubrovnik and executed anyone who had any dealings with the Montenegrian seperatists. This led to the enstrangement of the local populace from the Empire and the Crown. The seperatists were more popular than ever and it was not safe to walk alone in the streets if you happened to be a soldier. Loss of the southernmost regions of Croatia was almost a reality. When some Montenegrian soldiers found their way to the wrong side of the border, the stage was set. Austria and Montenegro were at war.


Of course, there was no way Montenegro would ever win a war without support from other nations. The Montenegrian leadership put high hopes on the Ottoman Empire's entry to the war. That never happened.
The Ottomans had their own problems with Bosnian seperatists and supporting a government that had supported seperatist actions in Austria would only serve as propaganda for the Bosnian seperatists. It wasn't long until the Austrian forces entered the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica. The battle was short, and the Austrians lost only a few hundred men.

The peace was nothing more than an outright annexation of Montenegro. The War Minister had said that "If there is no Montenegro to fuel seperatism, there is no Montenegrian seperatism". These words would be remembered, not the least in the minds of the former Montenegrian citizens.

The Emperor's sickness prevented him from travelling, and he was bound to his bedroom for the most of the time. He did, however, inform Metternich and the War Minister that no executions would take place in the newly acquired territories. "They are my children now, and I do not wish them harm anymore"
 
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Hmm, I hope that a more liberal Austria can hopefully sidestep some of the issues that the fairly autocratic administration had to deal with later on in it's history.
 

stnylan

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I think the Emperor should remember that children have to leave home eventually :)
 

unmerged(62752)

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Nice start, I'll be keeping an eye on this. I was thinking of starting an Austrian campaign after I finish my Prussian one.
 

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Thank you all for your comments, update shall follow shortly.
 

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Divided But United - Austria 1836-1920


Prince Klemens von Metternich

The war against Montenegro was not taken well in Croatia, but it was regarded as a necessity in the rest of the country. Montenegro was viewed as a rogue state, fuelling the flames of revolution in the Balkans. After the annexation, the opinions were divided between punishing the Montenegrians and assimilating them to the Empire with full citizen rights. This would become a burning topic in the election campaigns later the same year.

In Vienna, Prince Metternich was formulating his own plans. He had an audience with Archduke Franz Karl, the younger brother of the Emperor(and a former member of the Regent's Council).

- Your brother has changed much, Your Highness

- He has indeed, he has always been sharp witted, but now he has found the wisdom to rule, also. I cannot say I was overjoyed about his recent decisions, but I must admit that they seem to have worked out quite well.

- And yet I am troubled by his recent health problems. His seizures seem to be worsening and his ability to form coherent sentences is wavering.

- Really? I haven't heard of such things, and I even talked to his personal doctor just a few days ago.

- I assure you, I've seen the symptoms with my own eyes. At his worst, he is almost completely insane.

- How dare you speak of your Emperor in such manner?!

- I am only stating the truth. Now we must think of the future of the Empire. The Emperor has no children and you, Your Highness, are the next in the line of succession.

- Do not talk like my brother is already dead. He is stronger that many would think, even if it doesn't show on the outside.

- We can only hope that you are right. I am sorry that I've troubled Your Highness with such alarming news. I shall leave now.

- Please do. I must go visit my brother as soon as possible.

- Goodbye, Your Highness


But "as soon as possible" wasn't soon enough. While eating breakfast in Zagreb, just a day after the conversation with Metternich, the Archduke received the information of his brother's demise. The official date of death was the 5th of October, 1847.

The Emperor's body (it was tradition that the hearts of the Habsburgs emperors and empresses were stored in an urn and placed in the Herzgruft chamber in the Augustinekirche in Vienna) was buried to the Imperial Crypt in Vienna, like many Habsburg emperors and empresses before him. Maria Anna, the wife of the Emperor, was silent as a stone during the ceremony, but collapsed to tears when the coffin was closed with a bronze slab. The Emperors coffin bore the inscription "Wisdom comes in many forms, even when we might mistake it for foolishness"

The heated discussion regarding the heir to the throne began almost before the tears of the Empress' cheeks were dry. The conservative ministers, Metternich being the most vocal one, supported Archduke Franz Karl. He was the legal heir, being the closest male relative of the Emperor.
The military, on the other hand, supported the son of Franz Karl, Franz Joseph. He had served in the military since he was thirteen, and his most vocal supporter was Alfred, Prince of Windisch-Graetz, an influential Bohemian military commander.

The situation was solved when Archduke Franz Karl renounced his claims to the throne, much to the dissatisfaction of Metternich. "Let my son rule, so I can be the loving father instead of the distant Emperor", reasoned the Archduke in his diary.

Metternich was displeased, but he didn't show it on the outside. His plan had failed, but a new one was already brewing. The elections were coming up later on the year, which gave him the chance he needed to realize his ambitions.


Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria, Apostolic King of Hungary and the King of Bohemia
 
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stnylan

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Yes, Metternich does strike me as a man with more than one arrow in his quiver.
 

KanaX

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Mettermrck said:
Disappointing that Franz Karl renounced like that, wonder what this will bode for Metternich, not getting his choice as emperor.
Well, Franz will still play a part in Austrian politics, you can count on that.

I'm afraid no updates today, I got a busy schedule tonight. Probably tomorrow, or at the latest, Sunday.
 

KanaX

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Divided But United - Austria 1836-1920



Chambers of parliament of the Austrian Empire

In late November, Austria prepared for it's second ever democratic elections. The first elections didn't see that many changes, since there were practically no political parties and people voted whoever they felt like voting, resulting to only small changes in the compostion of the Regent's Council. Now, the situation had changed dramatically, for these were the first ever parliamentary elections, with several parties campaigning to get the majority of the seats. In the few years of democracy in Austria, the Regent's Council was transformed into a unicameral parliament of over 400 members, situated in Vienna.

The ethnic composition of the country had led to a multitude of parties, but the most dominant ones were the Conservatives(led by Metternich), the Federalists(liberals) and the Radicals(social democrats). Polls showed that the Liberals were the most popular party, but the popularity of the Conservatives was within the margin of error.

The Emperor was keeping a low profile, for he had little knowledge of politics. He spent most of his time in the palace, studying the necessary skills for ruling the country, like psychology, languages of his Empire and military tactics. Many party leaders thirsted to know what the Emperor thought of their party, so that they could use his statements in their respective campaigns. The Emperor wisely kept his mouth shut.

Metternich, on the other hand, was campaigning all over the country to get the victory he so longed for. He used various ways to get his message through, from the usual public speeches and flyer-propaganda to other, more direct methods. The Federalists were slandered in magazines, their public meetings disturbed and even some of their houses were broken into. Since there wasn't really any laws on how the campaigns were to be conducted, the Conservative methods were quickly copied and violent confrontations between the parties became commonplace.

This volatile situation forced the Emperor to make his first Imperial Decree, declaring that no violent methods may be used to furthen the aims of any political party. The police had the right to apprehend anyone provoking violence between parties in public. Party leaders were responsible for the possible violations of this Decree by their members.
(It has to be noted that even though Austria was a democracy, the Emperor still had the rights to issue Imperial Decrees, which had to be followed, or else be declared an outlaw. Still, Imperial Decrees had their limitations, set by Emperor Ferdinand I himself. They were not allowed to be in conflict with the constitution and the Emperor did not have the right to dissolve the Parliament)


Cavalry units were dispatched to keep up the peace

The Conservatives, immediately embraced this law(which was odd, considering their part in the political violence) They were not taking part with the violent clashes anymore, which were now occurring between the Radicals and the Federalists. They also started co-operating with the police to eradicate violence from the streets. This gave them the image of being the only ones strong enough to counter radicalism and violence, which was just the way Metternich had planned it from the start.

In the end, the elections were a smashing victory for the Conservatives, who got 214 seats of 410. The Federalists got 89 seats, the Radicals 57 and the rest went to fringe parties and independents. Metternich had achieved his goal of political dominance, using deceit and the public fear of anarchy to his advantage. Now only the question of what he was going to do next remained.
 
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stnylan

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Clever positioning by the right. Metternich's instincts are, for the moment, good.
 

KuzuX

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Khalep said:
Nice, haven't seen a democratic Austria-Hungary before. It isn't the easiest country to play with, at least according to me. Will be reading with interest.
well,i had one.it was abandoned before the first update :rofl: