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    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

John Forseti

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Welcome to any intrepid and curious readers! Lately I've been doing a lot of AAR reading since my internet speed has been rather curtailed(1.5 mbs, it can barely handle youtube!) and it's inspired me to have a go at doing an(other) AAR myself. This isn't my first AAR of course, but I'm determined it will be my first completed AAR. As the title indicates I'll be playing with the Heart of Darkness expansion and the POP demand mod as an independent Finland from 1851 and trying to get in a full century of history, assuming I don't get annexed before then. Depending how things go I'll either extend the game end date past 1935 or write up the last years as a sort of epilogue.

The goals will be pretty open ended, beyond survival and climbing up the power ladder I'll try to direct the game according to world events and the people and parties in power. Also, though I won't be turning this into an interactive AAR, if you have some input or ideas please do share, there's only so much I can bring out of in-game events and my own limited research.

This won't be a strict gameplay AAR, but more of a history-book one. So while I won't be cheating and will try to avoid too many unrealistic and outlandish things, I'm not going to rule out save-editing and console use to smooth out some of the clunky results of it being a game(i've done quite a bit to set up my 1851 starting conditions) and maybe to make or keep things interesting if I think it makes for a better story.

This isn't my first AAR of course, but I'm determined it will be my first completed AAR. :)
 

John Forseti

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Thanks. I hope I can make and keep it interesting. :)

Also yes, I used to be very active in eRepublik but that was a long time ago, I don't think I've been on since 2012.
 

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Sounds like an interesting game, looking forward to this.
 

John Forseti

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PROLOGUE
Part ONE

Known as the land of a thousand lakes for it posseses over one-hundred and eighty thousand of them, and also as the land of the midnight sun since it's proximity to the north pole means that for half the year the sun does not set in much of the country, Finland is a harsh, rugged and beutiful land that has given rise to a hardy and practical people, remarked of throughout Europe. At the dawn of the Victorian Era the land of Finland was and had been for some years a part of the vast Russian Empire, having been conquered by Tsar Alexander from the Kingdom of Sweden in 1809 during one of the many byzantine actions of the Napoleonic Wars, in this case the appropriately named Finnish War. Sweden itself had ruled the lands since the twelfth and thirteenth centuries after invading during a period known as the Northern Crusades against the various pagan Finnic tribes that had lived in the area since time immemorial.



- A not uncommon Finnish landscape

After five hundred years of almost continual swedish rule and not insignificant colonisation it is little surprise that Finland at the time was dominated by an entirely Swedish aristocracy and had a substantial and wealthy minority of Swedes holding the vast majority of influence in the territory. A minority that still relatively speaking punches above their weight to this day. However unlike in many nations at the time, and while still leaving a lot to be desired by modern standards, the treatment of the Finns by their Swedish overlords was relatively benign. So long as they paid their taxes, worshipped at the right churches and got on peaceably with their lives, the Swedish elite was content not to interfere, at least to no greater extent that could be expected in the other nordic nations.

When Finland became part of the Russian Empire after 1809 the country was reorganised into the formal Grand Duchy of Finland(the title previously having little weight or bearing and used mainly as an honorific for certain members of the Swedish Royal Family) and the four estates convened at the Diet of Porvoo that year. Each of the four estates, nobility, clergy, the burghers and the peasants pledged their loyalty to Alexander and proclaimed him their Grand-Duke and Emperor. In return the Tsar was expected to guarantee the status quo, uphold the laws and privileges the population had enjoyed up to that point and not interfering in their religion, since Russia was Eastern Orthodox and the Finnish held to the Lutheran branch of Protestantism.


- A map commisioned by the Tsar of his new domain

Despite oscillating between liberalism and autocracy in the affairs within and without his enormous and diverse Empire, the Grand-Duke and Emperor Alexander upheld his promise to Finland given at the Diet, leaving the Grand Duchy largely autonomous in all its internal matters. With continual pledges and evidence of loyalty from the Diet, Alexander even rewarded the country with the return of territory lost by Sweden to Russia in previous wars, particularly Finnish Karelia and with it the city of Viipuri. Thus the people continued on happily or at least as content as before until the Tsar’s death in 1825.


- Alexander, Grand Duke of Finland 1809-1825 & Nicholas, Grand Duke of Finland 1825-1851

Having died without issue, at least without male ones, the next Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russians and therefore Grand Duke of Finland was Alexander’s youngest brother Nicholas. Enraged and disgusted at the liberal instigated Decembrist Revolt against him, after the middle brother Constantine refused to take the throne, Tsar Nicholas turned his back upon even the very limited liberalism enacted by Alexander. The rebellion of the Kingdom of Poland did not help matters and the Emperor would take a much more active interest in his various satellites afterwards, which also did not help matters. By the time the liberal revolutions of 1848 rolled around, better known as the Springtime of Nations, a greater supporter of monarchical collectivist autocracy could not be found than in the person of the Russian Emperor.

Even Prime Minister Metternich of Austria, credited with creation of the Vienna system or Concert of Europe, could only stand back in awe of the Tsar’s anti-revolutionary and anti-reform fervour. Thus it was to him and Russia, a political rival but ideological ally, that Austria would turn to for help when the Hungarian revolution spilled out of their control when the rebels occupied Vienna. With the concert of Europe having been dealt a mortal and echoing blow in Belgium a decade earlier and the other principal players of it locked in wars, France and Prussia were fighting each other in the Left Bank War and the United Kingdom was utterly distracted from continental affairs by the 48 50 War with the United States while neither the Netherlands nor King Carlos in Spain had the power to intervene even had they the inclination, there really was no other alternative. Only to happy to deal a blow against what he saw as decadent liberal individualism, the Tsar jumped at the opportunity though unfortunately for him to would prove his undoing.
 

Enewald

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Ah, lets see how fast the Finns breed in this universe. :)
 

John Forseti

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Ah, lets see how fast the Finns breed in this universe. :)
At the moment your virtual countrymen seem kind of shy, PoD has given me a growth modifier of 1.5 childen per couple which combined with emmigration to the new world means we're actually loosing population very slowly! I'm going to have make medicine research a priority soon.

Also, I'm writing the third part now, once that's done I'll format and post part two. I want to always keep atleast one complete entry in reserve. :)
 

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Subscribed, look forward to seeing this.
 

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This seems interesting, going to follow you. :)
 

John Forseti

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PROLOGUE
Part TWO



- Horace Vernet's 'Barricade on rue Soufflot', depicting the street fighting in paris that caused the downfall of Louis-Phillipe's
July Monarchy and the rise of the Second Republic under Napoleon III, it has become iconic of the Liberal Revolutions of 1848-1849

When the aforementioned tide of liberal and national revolution swept across europe, it seemingly stopped dead at the borders of Russia, like a wave breaking upon a cliff. This was for one simple reason, it’s nigh uncountable armies earning it the nickname the Gendarme of Europe, and the Tsar’s use of it as a club to beat down dissent and enforce steadily growing attempts at russification. Finland was not entirely spared either, when intellectuals and finnish-advocates such as the swedish-born philosopher Johan Snellman organised a small event in Helsinki to press for better conditions for the Finns the Russian government sent guards to disperse them by force, six people were injured in the incident including Snellman himself who suffered brain damage as a result and died several months later. With the blessing of Austria the Tsar's armies crossed Lodomeria and marched into Hungary ready to put down the revolt and strike a powerful blow for the ancien regimes. However instead of seeing his desired result was Russia was humiliated. Repeatedly. While the Hungarians and the Regency-President Kossuth had learned much they might still have failed if not for covert French backing and quite a lot of luck, particularly General Mikhail Kolchak's Carpathian blunder in which two thirty-thousand strong armies were practically wiped out in as many months by poor weather, terrible preparation and opportunistic Hungarian partisans. Even when Russian armies were victorious they suffered horrendous casualties especially as the war went on, a particular example being the battle of Uzghorod in which eighteen-thousand Russian managed to chase twelve-thousand Hungarians off the field at a cost of nearly half their own men.

Having been humiliated and chased out of Vienna, seen their ally and benefactor stopped dead and under threat from growing unrest in their other territories Austria finally capitulated. Hungary had won. When President, and later Emperor, of France Napoleon III immediately recognised and offered an alliance to the Kingdom of Hungary the Tsar knew there was nothing more to do and brought his armies home. However, his troubles had only just began. Inspired by their Hungarian counterparts and determined to free themselves from his absolutism a second and far larger Polish uprising began. The Springtime of Nations had at last arrived in Russia.


- The Battle of Vienna, where Hungarian forces overran the Imperial forces guarding the city on 4th September 1849

The Tsar’s response was predictably to crack down even harder than ever before. Yet for every Polish revolutionary that was killed, three more seemed to spring up in his place even more eager to carry on the fight for their freedom. Even Finland was not spared Nicholas’ wrath despite, with minor exceptions as detailed earlier, having been quite content to remain quiet throughout the whole ordeal. However the Tsar was desperate for more money and more men and with Finland his only untapped resource he ignored the pledge his brother had made so long ago and demanded that the Grand Duchy be brought in line with the rest of Russia. Taxes were to be raised severly having been left lax under Alexander, the indepednet Finnish army merged with Russian units, a draft carried out to conscript more men into his service and finally almost all powers be transferred from the Diet in Helsinki to the Emperor’s august personage in St. Petersburg. Meeting to discuss the matter in may of 1850 the estates had no intention of willingly acquiescing to such unjust demands but highly wary of the still quite powerful Imperial armies the Finnish instead ignored, mislayed, confounded and otherwise delayed as long as they could, meanwhile quietly upgrading the neglected army. The army previous to this was little more than a civil militia that guarded the hundred and fifty thousand square mile country of one and a half million people against smugglers and bandits with only six thousand men equipped with two thousand muskets and as many sharp sticks as they could carry. Over the next six months however the Army of Finland grew to twenty-one thousand men, each one carrying modern armaments and bolstered by six thousand horse and three thousand cannon. Tsar Nicholas then at last received a direct and clear response to his demands. No.


- A depiction of some Finnish soldiers of the 'new army' painted by Viipuri artist Aatto Ninonen in 1853

Outraged, the Tsar branded them all traitors and commanded his government to sweep them aside, when the army loyal to diet instead expelled the Russians the Tsar began to to gather men together for the purpose of invading the country in St. Petersburg. The Finnish army moved to Viipuri in preparation for the coming attack but it was not forthcoming. The uprisings had spread beyond Poland and now not only were the Baltic Governorates in open revolt also but several army units had mutinied and the liberal jacobins had gathered in the south and taken Moscow. There were even rumours of a Cossack upriusing and Ukrainian rebellions around the Black Sea. It seemed that all of Russia was collapsing around the Tsar and so the Finns could breath a sigh of relief as they were shuffled down the list of imperial priorities. Also shuffled down the list were of the Imperial army's targets as the Tsar decided to concentrated on the fights in Poland and Muscovy, the Baltics sensed victory and declared their freedom. November of 1850 saw the countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania born and they promptly joined together to form the Baltic Confederation, pooling their resources and manpower to defend against the possibility of future Russian resurgence. However citing civic and cultural differences Estonia left the Confederation in January and proclaimed itself a republic though it would still maintain an alliance with their former partners.

On February the 14th of 1851 the Diet of Finland approved the issuance of what is known as the Finnish Ultimatum. Essentially it was Finland's declaration of independence and was approved unanimously by each of the estates. The thirty paragraph document cited crimes carried out by and on behalf of the Tsar and Grand-Duke and his government, violations of the oaths given at Diet of Porvoo in 1809, failures in his sacred duty to uphold the rights and privileges of the finnish people, going on to declare that as a result the Tsar was stripped of all power and title in Finland with the Diet assuming the mantle and source of state power. It further demanded that the Tsar recognise the fact and peacably allow Finland to determine it own course free from interference of the Russian realm else a state of war would be declared to exist between the two. With the Jacobins marching on St. Petersburg and the United Kingdom returning it’s eye to continental affairs and deciding to get involved in what was being called internationally the Polish Crisis the undersiege Tsar felt he had no choice but to relent and accept the ultimatum, not desiring yet another hostile army at large in his territory. February the 14th became celebrated as the Finnish Independence Day.
 

Enewald

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So, force Russian to grant independence to Finland, Poland, Estonia, Baltic Confederation?, Crimea, Xacitarxan, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine... who else? :p
 

Kaisersohaib

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I hope you succeed and have time for this beautiful AAR, unlike some people *cough* me *cough*. I tried an AAR on Finland, and I recommend you to ally with powerful Prussia, just an advice ya know
 

John Forseti

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So, force Russian to grant independence to Finland, Poland, Estonia, Baltic Confederation?, Crimea, Xacitarxan, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine... who else? :p
I hope you don't find it too overboard. I havent caused any other new countries to pop up, Ukrainians and Cossaks were a bit of an embellishment... although Xacitarxan sounds interesting :) Initially I didn't even plan the baltic states at first I just saw their nationalists rise up and wove them in since I thought it'd be fun.

Now that i've got my divergence/alternate start set up though I hope Russia doesn't just bounce right back up and make it as though nothing happened. That'd be a lot of exposition wasted. :p

I hope you succeed and have time for this beautiful AAR, unlike some people *cough* me *cough*. I tried an AAR on Finland, and I recommend you to ally with powerful Prussia, just an advice ya know
Thanks. I'll definately look into alliances soon but everyone seems rather reluctant at the moment, overcoming that -50 base negetive is a pretty steep climb for us minor powers.
 

John Forseti

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Volume One: The Kingdom of Finland
Chapter ONE




- The Helsinki Diet just before the declaration of independence

When the Diet reconvened a single short week following word of the Tsar’s capitulation Finland was now a unified and sovereign independent nation for the first time in it’s history. The Diet itself, certainly compared to many of it’s contemporary peers in the various parliaments, assemblies and congresses of Europe was not a very modern institution and to the sensibilities of today it would likely be seen as an abomination. While every strata of the (male) population was theoretically represented by one of the four estates mentioned previously that made up the four chambers of the diet, it did not work out quite so equitably. Each individual noble family was entitled to a representative, each Bishopric also a representative and each of the cities and major towns had a representative while the peasants in each province were given a single representative for all of them, and even then only freeholding peasants(those that owned their own land) were entitled to stand. This had the effect of giving the nobility, only one in fifty of the total population at a generous estimate over half the representatives at diet, two-hundred and thirteen at the 1851 Diet, while the peasants at nearly nine in ten of the population received a paltry forty-two. The burghers while outnumbering the peasants, again contrary to their proportion were themselves also outnumbered by the clergy and given that the Diet was not a professional body, representatives having to give up their own time and resources in order to attend when it met, they and the peasants were often forced to return home to manage their own affairs. This necessitated many delays and brought about a high turnover of their representatives in lower classes' estates.

It soon became obvious to all, including the foreign observers arriving to establish relations and garner advice to the young country, that the Finnish majority of the population were marginalised and that the conservative and swedish speaking aristocratic minority were going to dominate proceedings, especially since in this unprecedented time the Diet had taken the unprecedented step of holding their proceedings in joint sessions. This gave even more difficulty for the peasant estate since so few of them were fluent in swedish it was trouble for them to simply follow the proceedings, on the other hand hardly anyone in the other three estates spoke a word a finnish. The return of the peasant's delegates and the relaying of these experiences would go on to stir the growing Finnish nationalism that had been awakened over the last twenty years. A nationalism that was incidentally accelerate by the nobles when they had exploited it in the build up against Russia. Having released the stopper there would be no getting it back in the bottle but for now the elite was firmly entrenched and there was no surprise then that as the Diet’s sessions wore on the matters brought up and settled were mostly minutiae designed to uphold or strengthen the status quo.

Of those issues settled were an expanded and greater role for the Finnish Senate. Despite it’s name the Senate was not a legislative chamber but merely a grandiose title for the country’s governing council, the cabinet or executive appointed by past Grand Dukes to manage day-to-day affairs, an understandable change now that the country was independent. There were some minor compromises enhancing the status of the lower classes made to placate one estate or another, usually in return for support on other matters. It was telling therefore that of all the proposals made and changes debated at that Diet the most radical was that of 'raising the rank' of the vacant Finnish throne, it was to be upgraded from a mere Grand Duchy to a full Kingdom. The issue of who would sit upon the throne of the new Kingdom of Finland then took up by far the greatest amount of discussion time of any single issue yet proposed.


- The vacant Finnish throne, awaiting a new incumbant

What became almost immediately apparent was that no internal candidate could garner enough support for the throne. While the nobles would happily cooperate when it came to defending their ancient privileges, the prospect of seeing one of their number elevated above the rest was anathema to them and they each backed their own kin to the hilt and no amount of bribery or threats could bring about a compromise. Unlike their peers in Hungary who had offered the throne of their grateful nation to the former regency-president Lajos Kossuth, there was no great and widely popular hero for a candidate to rally around since Finland’s independence had been won relatively painlessly. The closest equivalent was Lars-Gabriel von Haartman who, despite his earlier loyalty to Russia, had personally seen to chasing the governor-general Prince Menshikov from Helsinki and he achieved no more than thirty supporters. In a rare moment of strength amid the growing rancor from the noble estates the other three adjourned to each debate a motion banning an internal candidate and returned on March 2nd each having approved it. Glad for the opportunity to move on the nobles did not contest it and began to look toward the vast royal families and dynasties of europe, and the powers of the continent were only too happy for the chance to boost their prestige by placing one of their own on this new throne.

Accepting a foreign candidate would prove to be no simple matter however as the concord between the great powers of europe had been definitively shattered. Accepting one nation's candidate while surely winning their support and boost relations, would draw the ire of many of the others. For example while accepting a candidate from the British sphere, and two were presented, would have guaranteed friendly relations with the world’s foremost Empire but it would not be looked upon kindly by France their arch-rival and would even cool feelings from Berlin and Vienna who resented British interference after London elected to support the return to Europe of an independent Poland. Both Prussia and Austria possessing significant Polish populations. A Russian candidate was of course not even briefly considered, in fact the Tsar had not even bothered to send an ambassador or observer to Finland and likely would not even have done so had he not been embroiled in what had become a civil war at home. Though a Russian embassy would be opened the following year by Tsar Constantine after Nicholas’ abdication. It was therefore deemed that the major powers were too disadvantageous or even dangerous to get involved with and the diet widened their search for a royal candidate to lesser powers of the Continent. It was here the aristocrats saw another chance to enhance their position. Taking an unexpected direction, they looked to Sweden.