Milites

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Haha! That should certainly teach the British a lesson or two! A very nice, albeit alternative payback for 1801 and 1807.
 

Salik

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Hah, back to start for Great Britain. Good work.

Edit: Bad times ahead apparently with Frederik's grandson at the helm. What are his stats? Something along the lines 4/4/4?

5/4/3, actually. And just when I was in a position to take Militia act. Damn it! With all the wars that have been going on, a bad diplomat is not what the realm needs.

nice work dealing with the English, and nice tactic used to reclaim the land occupied by the Poles.

hopefully Harald IV will not ruin the progress made by his grandfather

Harald IV is a spoiled brat. But you'll see.

I love the reinstatement of the Scottish and Irish states. You must guarantee their independence and ensure they remain!

Done! The Irish are my vassals, though, so they are safe.

Well, it seems this new king should lead a lot of battles in overwhemling oddss......... :rofl:

He would probably see him self fit to do that.

Good AAR. Well written, entertaining and kept realistic. Danka ;)

Thanks a lot. Glad to have you on board.

Haha! That should certainly teach the British a lesson or two!

Yes. Such as, never let the Danes alone long enough to build a fleet.
 

Montague

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Yes. Such as, never let the Danes alone long enough to build a fleet.

I thought it was never leave the French alone long enough to build one, but even when they do it just gets sunk in the Channel so...
 

Salik

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I thought it was never leave the French alone long enough to build one, but even when they do it just gets sunk in the Channel so...

Yes, that's the first lesson- don't enter the Channel. Second is, don't mistake the Danes for the French.

Nice job smacking the brits down, now with a new...challenged ruler you'll have to face the poles again i'd imagine

The Poles among others
 

Salik

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Chapter XXII: The Special Relationship

Gyldenstjerne.png


Coat of arms of the House of Gyldenstierne

Harald IV of Denmark-Sweden and Haakon IX Rosenkrantz of Norway were first cousins. Both had been raised to rule, Haakon being crowned king at the age of nine and Harald being chosen as heir to the throne by the Common Rigsråd at age ten. Both had spent part of their childhood in the open minded, but still highly aristocratic Danish heartlands of Skåne and Copenhagen, Haakon as a fosterling to Christopher Gyldenstierne and Harald at his grandfather’s court after the Dalby Skov murder. Likewise, both had spent years in the more narrow minded, highly Sehestedian Catholic environment at Akershus. Harald had been tutored by Sehested himself in Copenhagen, while Haakon was surrounded in Akershus by courtiers who believed in the divine authority of the young king. Both believed themselves to rule by the grace of God alone, and thus to be entitled to absolute power. Both were extremely ambitious and self confident.
However, one thing set them apart. Haakon was endowed with many of his father’s best qualities. He was generous, strong, a good general, knew how to play the diplomatic game and carried out an ambitious, but successful, restructuring of his kingdom. Harald was the complete opposite. He had mainly been left in the care of Sehested, who had filled his head with great, Catholic thoughts and the idea of his divine role as God’s chosen vessel. However, he had not given him any of the knowledge or tools he would need to fulfil that role.

The relationship between the cousins has been the subject of many learned works, due to the significant impact it would have on the fate of their kingdoms. It is perhaps one of the few cases that truly support the “Great Man Theory”, even if neither of the two really deserves to be called “Great”. As mentioned above, both were very self confident. Harald in the sense, that he knew himself to be the chosen heir to the throne. God had created him to rule, and in all his limited capacity, he acted as though his mere presence was the greatest grace that anyone could aspire to. He surrounded himself with men of as limited intelligence as himself, men who would adhere to every word he said and every order he gave. These people, young noblemen of questionable character, lived only to confirm him in his supremacy. Haakon was self confident in the way that very intelligent people tend to be. He knew that he was more intelligent than most other people, in his own mind probably all other people, and would often interrupt others before they were done speaking, believing himself capable of guessing the rest of the sentence. In this way he came across as a rather arrogant, but extremely bright young man. It is unclear how many times they met during their youth, but the meetings they did have gave both of them a deep sense of loathing towards the other. Harald regarded Haakon as an arrogant know-it-all while Haakon regarded Harald as a brutish fool. Both were probably right.

Since the Joint Rigsråd and the dissolution of the Union of Kalmar, Denmark-Sweden and Norway had lived as neighbours with a so called Special Relationship. Frederik III Gyldenstierne had accepted full Norwegian independence, protected by Denmark-Sweden, in exchange for an act of alliance, which would ensure mutual support in future wars.
The Special Relationship was based on the close diplomatic, political, religious, cultural and historical relations between the two states, and on the close ties of friendship and intermarriage between the Houses of Rosenkrantz and Gyldenstierne, but it was also clear to most people at the time, that the alliance in fact meant that Norway was under the Danish sphere of influence. The only real military threat to Norway was Denmark-Sweden, so the entire notion of a “protective alliance” would only make sense in so far as it ensured that Norway would remain a sovereign state, as long as Denmark-Sweden was guaranteed not to be attacked by larger powers operating from Norwegian soil
But by 1588, When Harald rose to the throne, the official explanation that the alliance was based on a deep, lasting friendship between two equal states, was taken at face value by many younger people, including the two young kings. And with their very tense relationship in mind, neither of them saw any reasons for trying to keep up an alliance based on a friendship of which both parties had grown tired.

Harald was 28 years old when he was crowned in Copenhagen by the archbishop of Lund. The title he got at the coronation was “His most Catholic Majesty Harald IV, by the grace of God king of Denmark-Sweden, duke of Estland, Kurland, Pomerania and Mecklenburg-Ruppin-Magdeburg, Prince of Danzig, Bremen and Hamburg, Lord of Greenland, Vinland and adjoining territories”. In his coronation speech, the first such speech to be recorded in its full length, he set out the overarching goal of his reign: The conquest of Norway. In the speech, which one renowned historian in the 1850’ies described, perhaps a bit harshly, as “the incoherent, raving madness of a megalomaniac”, he asserted his claim to be the true heir to the Norwegian throne through his descendance from Haakon VII Rosenkrantz, and through the, by then legally annulled, Treaty of Kalmar. The invited dignitaries from all over Europe were chocked, as Harald officially added to his title “True king of Norway”. Haakon IX had built up a host of strong, diplomatic ties in the courts of Europe, and his cousin Harald was soon known as an aggressive power monger. But Haakon was not much better himself. In response to the speech, he declared his cousin to be delusional and unfit to rule. In consequence, he, Haakon, was the only male descendant of the Union kings truly fit to rule all of Scandinavia.

It was only through the discrete, but effective work of the diplomatic corps that outright war was avoided, but the Special Relationship was over. As desperate courtiers in Akershus and Copenhagen tried to talk some sense into their sovereigns, the Alliance was revoked and renegotiated numerous times before being finally annulled in 1591. Haakon IX built an alliance with Poland and Scotland, but could not get support from the larger powers, as Great Britain, France and Castille all prepared for the inevitable wars for control of the New World, that were looming in the horizon. None of them wanted to be bound on committing troops, ships or money to the protection of a far away kingdom, even if it was against Harald IV, the power monger of Northern Europe.

Still, a war at this point could have been catastrophic for the kingdom. A two front war against Poland and Norway, with the possibility of a Scottish invasion of Orkney was unlikely to lead to a victory, but would have meant heavy casualties on both sides, and a definite end to strong ties that still existed between the people of the two kingdoms. The reason that war was avoided was the very close collaboration between a small circle of courtiers and diplomats on both sides, who hoped to maintain the status quo until the kings could be calmed down, or die, which ever would come first. It was these men, calling themselves “The Kalmar Society”, who convinced Haakon IX that he should build up an even stronger alliance in support of his mission to oust his crazy cousin. It was also them who convinced Harald that as true lord of Norway he should guarantee the territorial integrity of that country. Thus, Haakon would concentrate on gaining more power for the final battle, while Danish support in the case of war could possibly mend the broken relationship. However, this plan would backfire in a quite spectacular way, as the first Rosenkrantz war unfolded.
 

unmerged(81979)

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*whew* "It was only through the discrete, but effective work of the diplomatic corps that outright war was avoided..." Sounds like they'll be doing a lot of that... :D
 

Qorten

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Dark times are ahead for all of Scandinavia, that's sure after reading this update. We can only hope that Harald either goes to war himself, dies quickly and that Haakon inherits Denmark-Sweden (though in game terms not possible as you play with Denmark so things are bound to end reasonably well for Denmark) or that Harald has some good generals that can make porridge of the Norwegian and Polish armies before they turn the Danish-Swedish serfs into porridge.
 

Salik

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*whew* "It was only through the discrete, but effective work of the diplomatic corps that outright war was avoided..." Sounds like they'll be doing a lot of that... :D

They will have to try, anyways.

Dark times are ahead for all of Scandinavia, that's sure after reading this update. We can only hope that Harald either goes to war himself, dies quickly and that Haakon inherits Denmark-Sweden (though in game terms not possible as you play with Denmark so things are bound to end reasonably well for Denmark)

Ah, but then you are assuming that the next post will not be one of the last.
 

Salik

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Chapter XXIII: The First Rosenkrantz War

Gyldenstjerne.png


Coat of arms of the House of Gyldenstierne

Poland and Norway were allied in their common fear of Denmark-Sweden, but in fact their relationship was never very strong. As will be remembered from Factbox: Rosekrantz and Gyldenstierne, one of the underlying reasons for the Constitutional Crisis and the Joint Rigsråd was the widespread resentment of the alliance with reformed Poland in Norway. At the court in Akershus, Poland was still viewed as a kingdom of heretics who should not be trusted too much. In Poland, many felt that an alliance with the deeply Sehestedian, Counter Reformist Norway was a disaster waiting to happen. Sooner or later, Poland would be forced by this alliance to fight the smaller Reformed countries of Northern Germany. Even though the prospect of expansion westward was not completely unwelcome, joining in a religious attack on brothers in faith still spelled internal problems. So in both countries, strong forces were pulling against the alliance.

In 1598, this tense relationship erupted in what is now known as the Rosenkrantz Wars. The king of Brunswick had died in November of 1597 without surviving sons. In stead, the throne would go to his grandson, Haakon (X), the oldest son of Haakon IX. Brunswick was the cradle of the Reformed faith, which had been started there by Pedro de Toledo, and a Catholic king was not welcome. “We have not fought the Pope to be ruled by his puppet”, as one of the many pamphlets circulating the kingdom put it. Prominent nobles from Brunswick negotiated with the court in Oslo, but neither side was willing to give the necessary concessions to reach an agreement. The original Brunswickian proposition that Haakon should convert to the Reformed faith, was completely unacceptable to the Norwegian court, as Haakon was heir to the throne of Norway. Instead a compromise was suggested, that would allow full religious freedom in Brunswick, but that was believed by the Brunswickians to be a clever way of importing German Catholics to the country in order to take over power. Haakon’s younger brother Olav was proposed as a new candidate, but the court in Akershus retreated from the previous stand, that it was Haakon’s position as heir that prevented him from converting, and claimed that no Norwegian prince of the blood could renounce the Pope. It has been suggested, that both sides were wilfully delaying the negotiations, as both were aware of what was going on in Warsaw. Here, an unofficial Brunswickian delegation was making an underhand offer of the crown to the king of Poland. This would obviously be desirable for the Brunswickians, but also for the Kalmar Society (see Chapter XXII: The Special Relationship) as well as for the hardcore Sehestedians, both of whom loathed the Polish alliance, and had no scruples in provoking its end.

In January 1598, king Zygmunt of Poland officially assumed the title of King of Brunswick. This was an outright declaration of war against Norway, but could hardly be considered a threat to its independence. Still, Harald IV had claims on the Northern part of the Brunswick, and was easily convinced to declare war on Poland. So far the plan of the Kalmar Society was working splendidly. The breakup of the Polish-Norwegian alliance was an unexpected, but welcome side effect. However, as soon as Denmark-Sweden got involved in a war against Poland, old enemies saw their chance to regain some of that which was lost in previous wars. In March, Lithuania and Great Britain declared war, followed by Novgorod a week later. Haakon IX saw no reason to aid his cousin in these wars, but preferred to see him weakened before the inevitable war for power in Scandinavia.

With Great Britain severely weakened by the hard blow suffered in the London treaty (see Chapter XXI: Kirkwal and Beyond), and Lithuania never having recovered from the nine year war (see Chapter XVIII: All Things Must Pass), that war was mostly carried out in Vinland, were Danish and British armies fought back and forth across the Sehested River. The Polish war remained the main focus, as several large battles were fought around Warsaw and Danzig, and the Muscovite armies made a brave stand against Novgorod in the East. In July 1599 Warsaw fell, and the garrisons in Podlasia and Plock were overrun by the local, Catholic populations who hoped being united with Denmark-Sweden as a new, Polish duchy. However, Haakon IX struck up a deal with Zygmunt, who renounced his claims on Brunswick. Haakon (X) was crowned king of Brunswick, and Harald had to reluctantly retreat his armies from Poland.

This is when Haakon IX made his defining move. Surveying the situation, he saw his cousin’s armies standing in Eastern Poland, preparing to fight Lithuania and Novgorod, and meanwhile being at war with Great Britain. He saw himself having won a war against the formidable Polish king, and having installed his son as king of Brunswick, on the border of the Danish-Swedish realm. And finally he saw himself standing with a large army near the Eider, the kingdom of Denmark lying virtually undefended at his feet. A quick march on Copenhagen, combined with a force moving south from Norway into Västergötland and on to Skåne, and he could rule all of Scandinavia. The 17th Century could well belong to the House of Rosenkrantz.

On the 30th of July 1599, one of the largest forces to be raised in Norway for decades crossed the border. 5000 infantries, supported by 1000 cavalrymen and carrying artillery poured into Västergötland, leaving a trail of plundered barns and downtrodden fields. Before September, the Norwegians controlled the province and were moving towards Halland. Scottish armies landed on Orkney in October, quickly overcoming the garrison and starting yet another of the occupations that had grown to be a mildly interesting, if insignificant, break in the plain everyday lives of the islanders.

When Harald learned of the attack, he immediately withdrew all forces from the Eastern front, furious to be stabbed in the back by his scheming cousin and determined to teach him a lesson at all costs. The Finnish guard was sent across the Bay of Botnia, while Harald himself led the occupying forces out of Warsaw. Forcing the most rapid march through the Baltic region in many years, he met Haakon in a battle outside Bremen. A battle that would determine the future of Scandinavia.

And so, the plans of the Kalmar Society came crashing down into the flames of the last major war amongst the Scandinavian nations. The Second Rosenkrantz War.
 

King_Richard_XI

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Scottish armies landed on Orkney in October, quickly overcoming the garrison and starting yet another of the occupations that had grown to be a mildly interesting, if insignificant, break in the plain everyday lives of the islanders.

Orkney Islanders have no life.:D
 

Salik

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boo cliffhangers! haha

I know you like them ;)

Orkney Islanders have no life.:D

Depends- do you consider fishing and being invaded by the Scottish a life?

GAAAAHHHH!!! Must...know...how...battle...ended! :eek::rofl:

If you tell me how it goes with Mega-Pomerania and Poland, I'll tell you how the battle went;)

On a side note: The thread is now above 10,000 views. Thanks to all my readAARs staying on, and I hope you'll enjoy the remaining 211 years. (Yep! We're halfway through)
 

King_Richard_XI

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Salik, I have thoroughly enjoyed this first half of Danish imperialism. Here's to the next 211 years of Denmark!

I hearby award this AAR the second ever Irish Shamrock Cookie!

Congratulations Salik!:cool:
 

Milites

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This is by far the finest Scandinavian AAR this forum has seen in many moons and amongst some of the best history book styled AARs I've read ;)
 

unmerged(81979)

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If you tell me how it goes with Mega-Pomerania and Poland, I'll tell you how the battle went;)

GAHHH! You drive a hard bargain, and I'll take it within the week... :D