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Papa Bear
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Sep 13, 2008
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Welcome to Here Dwells God - the story of Jewish Poland. After three games and a thousand years of megacampaign we have arrived in the venerable old Darkest Hour forums for our concluding section. If you need to catch up, you can read the first, second and third parts here, here and here (or through the images below).

I didn't believe we'd make it all the way here when I started out! And I'm excited to show you all what we have in store :D. As has become tradition, we will start with a couple of fresher updates summarising the previous Part before jumping into the main of the story.




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A Brief History of Late Modern Poland
A Brief History of Late Modern Poland

Modernity Knocks 1821-1858


In the middle decades of the nineteenth century, Poland lurched forward into the modern world. Having fallen behind the rapidly developing societies of Central Europe from the end of the previous century, there was a clear effort to catch up. Poland became involved in the Great Game, facing down the Papacy for influence and territory across Central Asia and Iran, while also locking horns with its old enemy in the Holy Roman Empire. Poland initially strained under competition from the more advanced nations of the west, yet by the 1850s the seeds of its own industrial revolution were being planted as the first factories and railroads began to appear across the empire and efforts were made to spread education to the masses. Politically too, the empire looked towards the new world. Aping the style of the Europeans, the Tsar surrendered his absolute power to civilian government – appointing the first Prime Minister, Mikhail Brusilov, in 1831. Brusilov oversaw the transition towards constitutional government – establishing an elected Duma in 1840, albeit under a very tightly controlled franchise and, infamously, limiting representation to the predominately Jewish and ethnically Russian European portion of the empire. By the late 1850s political life in the empire was truly beginning to take off with the formation of its first political parties – with the liberal Constitutionalists in 1856 and the clerical-conservative Agudah Yisrael in 1857.

Reform and Reaction 1858-1881

After the 1858 shook the staid conservative dominance of the Duma, robbing them of their majority for the first time, a decade of liberal ascendancy took hold as the Constitutionalists pushed forward with the first extensive attempt to reform the constitution since 1840. The slavery of the Moldavian gypsies was abolished, soon to be followed by serfdom, a degree of local autonomy was granted to minority communities while the franchise was extended to the upper middle classes in 1867. Through this time the Polish right coalesced into the National Alliance that united conservatives and reactionaries into a powerful coalition that swept the liberals from power in 1872 and proceeded to put religion at the heart of education, and Judaism in the soul of the state, at the expense of the empire’s vast minority populations. At the same time, they set off a social revolution in the countryside by establishing a Land Bank that, over the course of decades, allowed millions of former serfs to rise to become peasant smallholders in their own right. Internationally, Poland continued its great rivalry with the Papacy – expanding deeper into Asia and then decisively defeating an alliance between the Pope and Serbs in 1873-74. All the while, it was during this period that the industrial revolution truly took hold – transforming society in a core territory around Moscow, Minsk and Kiev and having feinter echoes across much of European Poland, driven above all by a thriving textile industry.

Rise of the Masses 1881-1901

The final two decades of the century witnessed the arrival of the masses into the forefront of Polish history with the advent of mass politics, communication, labour and conflict. After the fall of the right from power in 1881, Poland entered into a period of political instability in which it alternated between weaker liberal and conservative administrations, each dependent on strained parliamentary coalition. The ability to negotiate these alliances was held back by the increasing assertiveness of minority political leaders – most pertinently Belegunutists, Tatar-Mongol reformists, who pushed the issues of minority rights and the abolition of the Brusilov Line to the centre of national affairs, a movement soon followed by the separatist Turanists. At the same time the rapidly growing urban working class the ongoing industrial revolution had created offered a new challenge to the existing order in the form of organised labour and the socialist movement. Warfare acted as a further catalyst for Poland’s ongoing transformation as the Beijing War of 1883-1886, that pitted Poland against first the Papacy and later the Holy Roman Empire as well, saw mass mobilisation and death on a scale not seen in Europe since at least the Fifty Years War of the eighteenth century, if ever. It was in the aftermath of the war that the 1886 Reform Act dramatically expanded the vote to the majority of the adult male population before a further Act in 1892 extended it to universal manhood suffrage. While economic growth slowed in the 1890s, the decade was overshadowed by the angry politics of identity arising from the Brusilov Crisis. Conservatives harnessed the powers of the crowd, mass media and traditional parliamentary manoeuvre to scupper liberal attempts of abolition in 1893, only to lose power to a socialist-led government in 1896 sworn to reform. Only the outbreak of the Great War in 1897 suspended the struggle. The conflict, that pitched a Holy Roman Empire at the pinnacle of its power against a broad European coalition led by Poland left millions dead, much of the continent devastated and definitively broke the might of Kiev’s ancestral German enemy.

The Golden Decade 1901-1912

Poland emerged from the Great War as the world’s hegemonic power, militarily, economically and diplomatically. At home, this period was dominated by coalitions of progressive parties that governed continuously between 1902 and 1912, with an interlude of liberal-conservative cooperation between 1906 and 1908. These parties drastically changed Polish society – establishing a welfare state, introducing secularising reforms to education, granting woman the right to vote on the same basis as men, supporting the rights of ethnic minorities and, most prominently of all, abolishing the Brusilov Line to offer representation to all subjects of the empire equally. For all these grand reforms, economics overshadowed the period. The decade after the Great War was defined by a tremendous economic boom that drastically improved living standards across Poland. Already beginning to taper off by the last years of the 1900, the period of expansion was cut painfully short by the 1909 crash – as a rural financial crisis brought the wider economy crashing into recession. In the hard years after 1909, the progressive postwar consensus came under concerted attack from a right wing movement committed to destroying it.

The Radical State 1912-1931

In the 1910s Poland’s vibrant democracy fell into the abyss. In 1912 a radicalised conservative government came to power committed to tearing up the changes of the postwar era and closely allied to the far right Radical Republican Party and their leader Boris Makarov – most importantly by reinstating the Brusilov Line. Over the course the next two years the Radicals overtook the conservatives to become the leading force behind the political right – winning a plurality of votes and seats in the 1914 election. With the Radicals alongside an increasingly extreme Trudovik party achieving a majority in the Duma, the Tsar attempted to organise a coup d'etat to install a moderate government. This effort collapsed as the Radicals seized power following the March on Kiev, as blackshirts descended on the capital, the Tsar was captured and Poland fell into a civil war pitting the Radicals against recalcitrant Tsarists and revolutionary socialists. After achieving victory, the Radicals consolidated a dictatorship moulded in their own image – abolishing the Tsardom and establishing the Russian Republic of Poland in 1917. Over the next decade and a half they strived to construct a totalitarian regime in which the state dominated society, and Russian supremacy was guaranteed. The most overt expression of state and ethnic power was the Felaket of 1926-1929 that saw the regime forcibly expel around 15,000,000 Tatars and Mongols from the European portion of the Republic, attempting to resolve centuries of struggle between Slaves and the peoples of the Steppe over these lands. Growing internationally isolated, the regime was badly shaken by a new economic crash in 1929 that was followed by widespread industrial dissent and a major Tatar rebellion – gravely undermining faith in Makarov’s dictatorship.
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If I had a nickel for every active Russia alternate history AAR in the DH section, I'd have two nickels. Which isn't a lot, but it's weird that it happened twice.
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Jumping aboard the fash train nice and promptly. Let’s see how this baby ends. :D
Can't wait to see what happens next.
I've never read an AAR where I've rooted against the protagonist, but there's a first time for everything, I suppose.
I mean to be fair the HOI4 era has plenty of evil countries to pick from, but few AARs there go into the atrocities actually committed by the protagonist nation. Honestly I think this is the darkest megacampaign ever; the only two that come close are Wiz's Germany one, where Germany becomes an absolute monarchy, and Hisham's Al-Andalus run, where Al-Andalus becomes a totalitarian socialist state under Andalusi Beria- both on Something Awful. I'm really glad the mods bent the rules and gave this megacampaign the opportunity to really explore the consequences of Fascism.
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subscribed and waiting for the horrors to be unleashed upon us. I still hope there's a turning point before the crap hits the fan even more, but we'll see.

also, I'm very happy this is HoI3 and not 4. That's a good game too, but I've never warmed to it as much as 3.
As always, here for the ride. And I appreciate the tightrope you're walking with writing this well. As @InvisibleBison said, it's uncommon to be hoping for the protagonists to lose, but that's what we seem to see here.

As for the list of dark megacampaigns, I'd also include the Ynglinga sagas. Not only were the lands of the first timeline's Ynglingas horrifyingly dystopian, there was also the destruction of Italiapolis.
I'm just watching the trainwreck that is sure to follow with some popcorn. It would be a super dark ending should they win. And rooting against the protagonist, was something I would never see in an internet thing much less an AAR.
It's a very dark path Poland's going down now, and certainly not one I'd like to see, but the thread has its way of drawing me in.
I'm not sure I wish to wish Poland-Russis good luck, but I'm in for the ride!
The Great Men of Late Modern Poland
The Great Men of Late Modern Poland

Mikhail Brusilov 1787-1869

Brusilov had his feet in the pre-modern traditions of the Polish aristocracy – resentful of centralisation and monarchical power, devout in his Jewish faith and Slavic roots, distrustful of foreign influences and grounded in ancient tradition. He came from a family that had long been at odds with the absolutist monarch of eighteenth century Poland – his father being involved in a major anti-Zvenislava revolt in the 1790s. His selection as the Poland’s first Prime Minister in 1831 by Tsar Vasiliy IV was part of an effort to heal a longstanding divide in the Polish elite between secular, centralising, modernists on one side and pious, localist, traditionalists on the other. It was through an effort to build a permanent structure through this peace among the elite could be maintained that the Duma was established in 1840, and with it, Polish democracy was born.

Brusilov’s left a long shadow over Polish history not only through the creation of her seedling democratic institutions, but also through his decision to limit access to this representation to millions of minorities living in the non-European parts of the empire through the implementation of the Brusilov Line. Ironically, after the creation of his greatest achievement, his fortunes began to flag as in the mid-1840s he lost the confidence of his parliamentary supporters through his support for the abolition of Roma slavery and then court after the death of his patron Vasiliy IV. After another change in sovereign, he was granted the opportunity to make a comeback in 1850 and duly served for another six years before an unlikely sex scandal brought an end to his political career. Unfortunately for Brusilov, during his retirement he saw the conservative movement he had led for so long fall into infighting and division, and his vision of moderate Slavophilism fall out of favour.

Boris Zhakov 1802-1884

Zhakov was the founder of Polish liberalism, moving it away from its origins as the inheritor of a modernist absolutist tradition towards a set of ideals based upon democracy, secularism, the free market and the rule of law. Becoming the first leader of the Constitutional Party after its foundation in 1856, he brought an end to Slavophile dominance by robbing them of their majority for the first time in 1858 and then forcing them into an uncomfortable liberal-conservative alliance. This coalition achieved long sought after liberal goals with the abolition of Roma slavery and, in 1863, the emancipation of the Polish peasantry from serfdom. The question of serfdom served a valuable political end as well, splitting the conservative movement and sending it into existential crisis – allowing Zhakov to rise to the premiership in 1863 and achieve the first ever liberal Duma majority in 1866. With even greater political capital, he broaden the franchise to the middle classes with the 1867 Reform Act, and won a further majority in 1868.

The resurgence of the right under the banner of the National Alliance ended his first spell as Prime Minister in 1872, and after a particularly stinging defeat in 1875 he stepped away from the leadership of the Constitutionalists in favour of younger heads. He made a short lived come back at the end of the decade – intervening to prevent liberals from coming to an arrangement with that would keep the conservatives in power in 1880, and returning to the premiership after winning a liberal plurality in the 1881 election. Sadly for the ageing liberal hero, his second spell in office was extremely short lived as, following a spate of violent industrial unrest his preference for a harsh line involving a ban on trade union and socialist organisations led to his own party forcing him out of power. Zhakov chose not to stand again in 1883, and went to his family estate to live out the last year of his life.

Yildilz Kazimzade 1829-1919

In many ways the flip side of Zhakov, Yildilz Kazimzade was the grand old man of Polish conservatism, dominating Polish political life for a generation. Prime Minister three times in 1875-1881, 1893-1896 and, if only for a matter of days, in 1914, Deputy Prime Minister in the wartime coalition of 1897-1902 and a key minister and political player Israel and Vlasov ministries of 1872-1875 and 1887-1892 respectively. Incredibly, he played served in government for 22 of the 30 years between his election to the Duma in 1872 and the electoral defeat of 1902 that sent him into semi-retirement. In doing so, he forged a conservative movement in his own image and indelibly shaped late nineteenth century Poland.

Born into the comfort of the upper middle classes in the ethnically-mixed Don Valley, the son of a Rabbi, Kazimzade’s first passions were faith and business. Unusually for a member of the Polish elite of the nineteenth century, he was neither Russian nor Ashkenazi but hailed from the third Jewish ethnicity in the empire – the Khazars. He made his fortune in the 1860s in coal mining, but was drawn to politics through outrage at the liberal reforms of the era that gave Muslim Tatars in his home region a significant say over local administration for the first time. He joined the Agudah Yisrael and played a crucial role in pushing it away from being little more than a Hasidic pressure group, developing a more ideologically focussed philosophy that sought to imbue Judaism throughout Polish life and the state. In time, this ideology would consume the wider conservative movement as well.

Immediately upon being elected to the Duma in 1872, Kazimzade was thrust into government and made responsible for extensive reforms of education that both expanded coverage and placed Poland’s schools in the hands of religious institutions – Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Hindu. After moving from education to the foreign ministry, he led negotiations that ended the war with the Serbs and Papacy in 1874, but it was the following year that he was thrust into the centre of national politics as following the assassination of sitting Prime Minister David Israel, he secured the premiership for himself. Under his stewardship, Polish conservatism reached its electoral peak – securing its largest ever vote share at the 1875 election, and coming agonisingly close to repeating the feat in 1880. His government was active and sharply ideological – centring all of its activities around faith and nation. The alienation of the minority parties was his ultimate undoing, as they aligned closely with the liberals – making governing after 1880 impossible and leading to an electoral defeat in 1881 that sent him into opposition.

The following decade were Kazimzade’s wilderness years. Losing favour within conservativism to moderates, he idled in opposition until 1887, and served as a minister in, rather than leader of, the Vlasov ministry of 1887-1892, even as the conservative grassroots continued to idolise him. His brand of politics was brought back to the fore by the Brusilov Crisis of the 1890s. Skillfully marshalling a mass movement in defence of the Brusilov Line, he pressured the Duma and facilitated the National Liberal split in the Constitutionalist Party to scupper Prime Minister Orlov’s attempts at abolition in 1893 and secure his return to power with a narrow majority. Faced with a tempestuous political situation, his second ministry was not as effective as his first, and he lost power after just three years. That might have been the end of his political career had the Great War not intervened – with the Trudoviks inviting the right to join them in a national coalition in late 1897 as the conflict grew more dangerous and entrenched, giving Kazimzade the role of Deputy Prime Minister. After dutifully and ably serving the war effort, he had a final shot at averting the abolition of the Brusilov Line in the postwar vote of 1902 but fell to a clear defeat at the hands of the progressive parties. Now in his 70s, he fell back into the ranks of the Agudat Yisrael backbenches while a new generation sought to define conservativism in a post-Brusilov world. In his dotage he was drawn back into the fray by one last act, criticising the right wing premier Igor Gaidar for his cooperation with the Radicals after 1912, as a Khazar being rankled by their racial ideology, before agreeing to be the figurehead of the Tsar’s post-election 1914 coup. After the putsch collapsed, he was arrested by blackshirts, spared from execution owing to his age and respect on the right, he was sent to live out his in internal exile in a Siberian village, where he penned a seven-volume memoir recounting his remarkable life.

Tsar Nikolai 1823-1907

Through an era in which Poland and the world transformed so thoroughly and at such great speed, Tsar Nikolai was a constant source of calm and stability. He perhaps most valued in what he didn’t do rather than what he did, taking a less activist approach to the governing of his empire than his predecessors. He generally favoured cooperation between conservative and liberals over the involvement of minority and leftist parties, but was happy to appoint Tatar and Christian ministers and the world’s first socialist Prime Minister. Perhaps his only truly divisive political decision was overruling Petr Orlov’s effort to abolish the Brusilov Line in 1893, after the Prime Minister secured a plurality of Duma votes but failed to muster even half of the chamber in favour of his proposal. Nonetheless, the Tsar lived long enough to ratify the Line’s eventual abolition in the last years of his life. Over the course of his reign, Nikolai fostered an imperial cult that revelled in the Tsar as the embodiment of the empire’s imperial splendour, democratic constitution and righteous ideals. This respect helped to hold the realm together in testing times and, to the great misfortune of the Poles, was not successfully transmitted to his successor.

Daniil Chernov 1855-1927

Considering the breadth of his influence on Polish history, outside the confines of the political left at the very least, Daniil Chernov can often seem to be the forgotten man. Coming from a middle class provincial background, he was an early adopted of the new socialist movement – entering the Duma alongside the first cohort of Trudovik Deputies in 1887. Able in front of crowds, in the press and on the floor of the parliamentary chamber, Chernov became the leading figure within the socialist movement and oversaw its explosive growth through the 1890s that saw the party shoot to its electoral peak in 1896 with a plurality in the Duma, almost a third of the popular vote and the chance to form a government. With grand ambitions to reform society, no least by abolishing the Brusilov Line, Chernov was instead destined to become his country’s wartime leader – inviting the conservatives he had spent his career battling against to join him in a wartime national coalition.

After four steely years at the helm, following victory over the Germans, Chernov sought to reignite the left’s grand vision for the future – winning a second plurality in 1902, albeit with reduced support. Heading a progressive coalition with liberals and minority parties, the Chernov ministry gave birth to the Polish welfare state and, finally, did away with the Brusilov Line. Although falling behind the conservatives in support in the first post-Brusilov election in 1906, Chernov had every reason to expect to remain in power only for the Constitutionalist leader Ivan Tymoshenko to betray him and form a centre-right government – leading to a long personal feud between the two men.

After liberal-conservative cooperation broke down in 1908, Chernov led his Trudoviks – a party by then in clear decline in the face of far right competition – into an unstable progressive alliance under Poland’s first Christian premier Leonas Mironas. This coalition was deeply unpopular within his own party, and under pressure from the left Chernov broke with the government in 1911, eventually surrendering the leadership of his party entirely after another disappointing election in 1912. As Polish democracy entered its death throws, Chernov went into exile in the early days of the 1914 civil war – spending the rest of his life among various left wing groups of exiles across Europe and North America, always dreaming of one day returning to his homeland. Sadly, this was an ambition he would never have the chance to fulfil.

Boris Makarov 1872-X

From humble origins would grow a monster. Boris Makarov hailed from the idiosyncratic province of Pomerania – a heavily industrialised Jewish and Russian enclave surrounded by Germanic and Baltic Christian lands, on the very edge of the Polish empire, and proud of its status as the only Samaritan-majority region on earth. As a young man Makarov worked as a shipbuilder in his home region, before travelling to the coal fields of the Don Valley – becoming involved in trade unionism and joining the Trudovik Party. In 1897 he was conscripted to fight in the Great War, earning decoration for his bravery over four years of service. After the return to peacetime he threw himself into politics and was elected to the Duma in 1902 as a Trudovik. He quickly found himself at odds with his party leadership over the issue of the Brusilov Line, and his party’s positive stance towards ethnic minorities, yet retained immense popularity with the rank and file.

After being expelled from the party in 1905 he formed the Radical Labour Party – securing re-election and 1.5 million votes in 1906, but failing to trouble the major parties. This changed after a merger with the Veterans League, a rightwing populist association lobbying for Great War veterans, to form the Radical Republic Party, and his movement’s embrace of violent street politics. Thereafter, powered by ethnic grievance at the reforms of the Golden Decade, effective organisation and his own charismatic leadership, the party gained ground rapidly. Between 1912 and 1914 the Radicals propped up a rightwing conservative government, and maintained pressure on it to ensure that it carried through on its extreme promises included the reimposition of the Brusilov Line. After winning a plurality in the 1914 election, Makarov seized power in the aftermath of the Tsar’s botched coup attempt and, following a bloody year-long civil war, established a brutal dictatorship. Over the following decade and a half the Vozhd would go about constructing a totalitarian regime built around his leadership – committing numerous violations of basic humanity. However, with the Russian Republic wrought by instability in the aftermath of the 1929 crash his position appeared less stable than ever before.
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Welcome aboard one and all! I'm glad to see so many of you coming over from the previous threads, I can't wait to get stuck in with the next part of the story. :D Even if you will all be hoping I don't play well. :p

For information in terms of modding for this part. I just took the base game of DH and shifted around borders to fit where we were in V2, changed map colours and flags and some but not all army sizes. So industry mostly matches base game rather than how economies developed in V2 - which is good for the likes of Skotland and Japan (weak powers in V2 but a big deal here), weakens us industrially (V2 Russia/Poland being an industrial titan and DH Soviet Union much more middling). I also edited in a few other things that will come to light when we get into the story with the next update.
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To say this is an interesting story would be an understatement of the millenium.

This ancient DH AAR section now received power boost like if old Norse god suddenly reappeared in 21st century throwing lightnings.
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