Salik

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War so soon? Ehhh... this will be interesting :eek:

Yes. Poland has grown into a real threat since the days of the triple alliance. Talk about being stabbed in the back.

So long as Poland isn't using Siberia as a corridor to pull Ming's troops through to Denmark, you ought to be ok. :p

Just make sure that Poland is busy with the Turks, otherwise their entire forces will be against you.

Poland is a formidable enemy, but the Scandinavian forces are not weak either.

Poland in Siberia?
Push them into Siberia and keep them there. :D

Nah, I'd rather keep them as a barrier between me and the Ottomans.

Attacking Poland might lead to weakening them so much that the Ottomans take advantage and grab large parts of the Balkans.

That has already happened. My main concern is for them to expand all the way up to my borders. As is, the Austrians are already having serious problems containing them.
 

Salik

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Okay, I have officially given up...

Not on the AAR, though. But there is no way I am going to be able to write about that Polish war, it is draining my creativity. Once I get this midterm project done, I'll write a neat little piece to work around it, and then go on to the parts that I actually find interesting. Should be up... well, I won't make promises I can't keep, but maybe some time next week.
 

King_Richard_XI

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Okay, I have officially given up...

Not on the AAR, though. But there is no way I am going to be able to write about that Polish war, it is draining my creativity. Once I get this midterm project done, I'll write a neat little piece to work around it, and then go on to the parts that I actually find interesting. Should be up... well, I won't make promises I can't keep, but maybe some time next week.
Good to hear. :)
I knew you wouldn't abandon us. At least your AAR looks more hopeful than mine at this point. :p
 

Salik

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Chapter XXXV: Es wird noch ein mahl wie es war

Gyldenstjerne.png


Coat of arms of the House of Gyldenstierne

The reformed kingdom of Poland had seen a rapid bloom in the 1560’s century after balancing on the brink of destruction for years, stuck between the hammer and anvil that was the Bohemian-Hungarian alliance to the South and Lithuania to the North-East. When these three enemies all fell to Austria and Denmark, respectively, the kingdom expanded greatly at the expense of the many weak successor states to Lithuania. Within a few decades, Poland had become one of the strongest powers in Central Europe, posing a serious threat to Danish possessions in the Baltic. The relationship with their former allies, Denmark, turned sour after the failed Polish invasion of Danzig during the Third Baltic War (see Chapter XXI: Kirkwal and Beyond) and a very unsteady peace was kept only by the fact, that both countries had other, more pressing wars to fight.

During the early 17th century, however, Poland was ravaged by constant warfare against the Ottoman Empire, which stretched ever further to the North. Seeing the country he had been brought up to think of as an enemy in such a weak state, Christian III decided to attack Poland in the Spring of 1650. This move, which was taken against the advise of Peder Griffenfeld, lead to the short and successful Poznan war. The Polish armies were easily overrun by the stronger, larger and better equipped Danish forces, and within a year, peace had been concluded, with Poland ceding Poznan and the former Brandenburgian province of Neumark. These two new possessions were the first gains in Europe since the conquest of Norway, and heralded an end to the more or less accepted consensus, that the natural borders of the realm had been reached. Though Neumark became the first possession South of the Eider to be incorporated directly as lands of the crown, rather than as new duchy, Poznan was transformed into the Duchy of Poles, a name which was rightly seen in Poland as an indication of Christian III’s intend to expand further to the South.

At the court, Peder Griffenfeld was being increasingly sidelined by the Kruse family, the king’s brothers in law, who had been edging their way into power again since the death of Christopher III (see Chapter XXVII: The Kruse Regency). His objection to the war against Poland did nothing to further his position. Even though Griffenfeld’s main argument was, that a weakened Poland was an invitation to the Ottoman sultan to expand right up to the borders of Denmark, the victory in the war was used by the Kruse family to make the king question his judgement.

In the wake of the war, the king started to ponder religion, and much like his father, he immersed himself in readings of religious texts, including Sehested, the theologian of the counterreformation. As the king sank deeper and deeper into his own world of thoughts and meditations on his divine right and on sin, the Kruse family once again started to pull the strings of the state apparatus. On October 16th 1653, Griffenfeld was arrested for conspiring to abuse the royal power, and on New Years Morning, 1654, he was beheaded outside Copenhagen, and his parted body put on a stake for all to see. So intense was the hatred of the Kruse family against the man who had once ousted them from power, that they did not grant his wife and old mother the privilege of burying his body, but let it sit out for ravens to eat.

And so ended the influence and life of one of the most transformative figures in Danish history. In his place, the Kruse family and their noble allies swarmed the administration that he had created. Though they could not roll back all of his reforms, the move towards a greater role for the burghers was stalled, and noble birth once again became a prerequisite for attaining the highest positions in the state. And while the king still had not produced a legitimate heir, the way lay more and more open for prince Harald, the youngest son of Harald IV and firmly embedded with the Kruse camp, to eventually take the throne.
 
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Salik

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Why not a noble republic? :p

The Kruse family still only has a strong influence on the king, but they have no chance of repealing the Kongelov. The nobility's only way to exercise real power is to rule as puppetmasters. But with Griffenfeld out of the way, that should not be any problem...
 

Salik

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Source: Opening scene of “Kejserkrigen”

September 13th, 1655
Stendal Castle, Duchy of Mecklenburg-Ruppin- Magdeburg

The door bursts open and Friedrich, the valet of Jørgen Brahe, enters the room almost in a run. The count looks up from his cards, baffled by this highly unusual breach of etiquette.
”Your grace!”, the boy says in Low German.
“Danish!”, the count yells back at him.
“Your grace“, he stutters in a badly accented Danish. ”Your grace die troops of the Kaiser...“
„The emperor, boy. If you want to amount to anything in this world, you will speak Danish, like a civilized person.”
"Ja, your grace. The troops of the emperor have crossed De Ilv"
Elben!
“Have crossed the Elbe, your grace, and are pillaging through the duchy.”
“And for this, you interrupt my cards?”
“I beg your grace’s pardon. As I said, the troops of the emperor have crossed the Elbe, und are bound to reach Magdeburg any day now.”
“Frederik, you must learn to control yourself. A young man of noble birth like your self can surely not be shaken by such trivialities. This Austrian Rainier may be a German, but he is surely no savage. He will lodge some troops in the village and some farmer’s daughter might get offended, but surely, he will not harm members of the nobility. And when this whole ordeal is over, as I assure you it will be as soon as the army of His Majesty the King, your duke, reaches us, any loses will be repaid in full.”
“But your grace, perhaps it were better if we relocated North…”
“Enough, Frederik, we are busy. Tell the kitchen, that dinner will wait another hour.”
Bowing deeply, the boy leaves the room.

This opening scene from the play “Kejserkrigen”, “The Imperial War”, probably paints a fairly accurate portrait of the relationship between Danish nobles and their local servants in the duchies during the 17th century. Although Swedish and Norwegian had equal status to Danish, both German and the many Slavic cultures were only regarded with scorn by most Danes. In the play, the count is first proven right, when the imperial troops of Rainier I of Austria merely occupy the Duchy, leaving the Danish nobles to themselves. However, help from Copenhagen never comes, as the royal armies meet the Imperial forces at the battle of Bremen, and are severely beaten.

After the peace of 1657, when Magdeburg, along with Lüneburg and Pskov, is released as an independent state, a revolt breaks out amongst the peasants. Friedrich, the protagonist of the play, ends up opening the doors of the castle to a riotous mob led by the brother of Sophia, his girlfriend who was raped by Bavarian mercenaries.
In the closing scene, the count is taken away to be lynched, while Friedrich in a monologue details how the many little daily insults from the count has led to his demise.

The play is from the 19th century, when the relationship between Danes and Germans was hotly debated.
 
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dinofs

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What a wonderful surprise. :)
 

Salik

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Oooh, an update

And with a play even! More, I daresay:).

What a wonderful surprise. :)

Yes, I finally did get something written. And, even better, this time I've almost got the next chapter finished, which should mean a less than two month wait for another update- YAY!

Damn, I can Swedish and German, but not Danish.
Just between those two languages. :p

More like Swedish with a potato in your mouth ;)
 

Salik

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Chapter XXXVI: Great Expectations

Gyldenstjerne.png


Coat of arms of the House of Gyldenstierne

During the Kruse regency in the early 1620’ies, much hope was put in the eventual ascension to the throne of Christopher Gyldenstierne. After seeing the long reign of Harald IV being spent on wars against Poland and Norway before slowly degrading into a puritan nightmare with fundamentalist nobles running the country over the head of an insane king, the common people put a lot of expectations on the shoulders of the young prince in the tower (see Chapter XXVII: The Kruse Regency). After his coronation, Christopher reformed the kingdom in ten hectic years, with the help and advice of Peder Griffenfeld and Hans Tausen. When he died at the age of 27 (see Chapter XXXI: Sheep die, kinsmen die), he was not only the first truly post-feudal king, he was also the head of an independent church, the church of Denmark. Using conscripted men, he had transformed Copenhagen into a European metropolis, where trade and culture flourished.
The untimely death of the young king transferred most of the high expectations unto his younger brother, Christian. Since Christian had been in captivity with his brother in the tower during the regency, his reign was expected to be a continuation of Christopher’s.

For the first ten years of his reign, this mostly held true. Christian focused more on external affairs, starting the colonization of the Mississippi delta around the city of Dansborg, and finishing the incorporation of Norway into the Union, but also found time to prepare Danske Lov, which was passed in 1648 (see Chapter XXXIV: The Land Is Build By The Law). However, in the early 1640’ies, the king reached reconciliation with his brother Harald and with his cousins, who were the sons of members of the Kruse regency. These young men were all deeply religious, but also encouraged the warlike streaks of Christian’s personality. Much against the advice of Peder Griffenfeld, the kingdom was thrown into a series of wars, starting with the unsuccessful Oldenburg war 1644-47. Rapidly after this, two swift and victorious wars were fought against Brandenburg and Poland, expanding the European borders of the kingdom for the first time in decades. The king’s increasing interest in religion, and his ever closer association with his brother and cousins, led to a return of the Kruse family to the inner circles of power. The execution of Peder Griffenfeld in 1652 was the result of this association, and was followed by the appointment of Harald Reventlow, the king’s cousin, as president of the Rentekammer and the Statskancelli, the two advisory bodies that dealt with day to day administration of the state.

The return of the Kruse family also led to a less tolerant attitude towards the non-Scandinavian peoples of the duchies. The nobility had long fostered a strong preference for Danish culture and a certain disdain for the German and Slavic people, who they only encountered as humble peasants or servants on their manors in the duchies. The remaining local nobility of the duchies began to fear for their position, as an increasing number of Danish nobles were awarded large fiefs in exchange for lending money to the state.
The grandduke of Austria, Rainier I, was elected Holy Roman Emperor in 1653, and was the first German emperor in decades. In 1655, encouraged by a small group of German nobles in the duchy of Mecklenburg-Ruppin-Magdeburg, he led a coalition of German states in declaring war on Denmark, aiming to expand Imperial authority to Northern Germany. The Danish armies were not prepared for that scale of warfare. In the days of Frederik Gyldenstierne and the early reign of Harald IV, the army had been well organized into three large, standing armies in Northern Germany, one in Denmark and one on the Scandinavian Peninsula. This organization had been annihilated during the Oldenburg War, and the many newly recruited troops were not nearly as well organized, mainly due to the loss of officers in the war and the inexperience of the administration. Compared to the well drilled German armies, there was little that could be done against the invasion. After losing the battle of Bremen in 1657, the administration was forced to sign a peace treaty, by which the three independent states of Magdeburg, Lüneburg and Pskov where created. Though there was some pressure from Rainier, neither Lüneburg nor Magdeburg joined the Holy Roman Empire.

With this humiliating defeat, the Kruse family lost some goodwill with the king. Harald Gyldenstierne, the king’s younger brother, and son of Vibeke Kruse, who was next in line to the throne, died in 1659, and his son Frederik took his place as heir, much to the relief of the king. Frederik, who was very liberal compared to his father and cousins, quickly became closest confidant of the king, and was given the both affectionate and sarcastic nickname Lillekongen, the little king, at court and in Copenhagen in general.

Under the de facto reign of Frederik Gyldenstierne, Novgorod was vassalized in the short Kexholm war of 1660, and in 1662 the reforms of Christopher and Griffenfeld were continued with the School Establishment act, which instituted schools for commoners throughout the realm. The schools were all build according to the same plan, and some illustrious examples of these buildings can still be seen to this day, most notably the school of Christianopel in Västergötland, which still functions as a school.

Christian III died on Christmas Eve of 1662, and Lillekongen was now the actual king. His two uncles, Christopher and Christian, the princes in the tower, had had great expectations to live up to. To some extend, these expectations had been met. The feudal state was permanently put to an end, the Pope no longer had any influence and the Counter Reformation was over, all of Scandinavia was united as one country and the common people had seen many improvements in their standard of living and in their possibilities to succeed. On the other hand, the reforms had come to a standstill during the long sickness of Christian III. Foreign policy had been a disaster. Dansborg and surrounding areas in the New World had been lost, along with parts of Northern Germany, and the army was decimated. Meanwhile, the successful war against Poland had allowed the Ottoman sultan to extend his power all the way to the Danish border.

The acts of Frederik IV during his regency had put great expectations on him as well. Expectations which he would have a hard time living up to.
 
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Qorten

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Happy to see you are continuing this excellent History Book, Salik!

I'm very happy to see the Kruse family finally out of the picture, hopefully forever. They'd rather take Denmark back in time. I hope Frederik IV restarts colonization in earnest instead of focusing on the North German princes. That will earn Denmark more profit in the long run I think.
 

King_Richard_XI

Duke of Miža
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Long- and eagerly-awaited, here at last. And of the same high standard seen throughout the AAR. How will the Little King deal with the Turkish menace? and shall he avenge the war with Austria? Go and retake your southern fiefs, and drive the Germans as far south as possible!