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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

DensleyBlair

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HIMDogson

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This is the latest thread in the sequence. The United States of First Nations aren’t the focus, and thanks to the constraints of the Vicky engine they end up doing a load of coloniser shit anyway, but still very amusing and the timeline itself well worth a read. :)
I wouldn't really call that the constraints of the vicky engine but rather what any group tat finds themselves in command of an industrialized nation does. The Japanese didn't balk at colonizing their fellow Asians, nor did the Incans or Aztecs with their fellow native Americans. That doesn't justify European imperialism, of course, but it also doesn't mean that Native Americans, in similar circumstances, wouldn't do similar things.
 
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DensleyBlair

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I wouldn't really call that the constraints of the vicky engine but rather what any group tat finds themselves in command of an industrialized nation does. The Japanese didn't balk at colonizing their fellow Asians, nor did the Incans or Aztecs with their fellow native Americans. That doesn't justify European imperialism, of course, but it also doesn't mean that Native Americans, in similar circumstances, wouldn't do similar things.
I mean, I’m not essentialising colonialist behaviour as somehow exclusively European. But I do think it is …odd to imagine that Native American society would somehow magically evolve into a nationalist-imperialist industrial capitalist project at some point in the 19th century without some pretty hefty outside intervention (as in the Japanese case). Sure, there’s no reason you couldn’t have an American empire with a native political class instead of a white settler political class. (In the sense that, viewing history as contingent, I can’t say it would be impossible.) But I would heavily challenge any conception of history that didn’t question why in the first instance the Native American peoples had come to form an industrialised nation state according to the very specific possibilities available in Vicky. (Which, after all, is a game that simulates a very specific set of Eurocentric historical phenomena. It’s working as designed.)
 
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I mean, I’m not essentialising colonialist behaviour as somehow exclusively European. But I do think it is …odd to imagine that Native American society would somehow magically evolve into a nationalist-imperialist industrial capitalist project at some point in the 19th century without some pretty hefty outside intervention (as in the Japanese case). Sure, there’s no reason you couldn’t have an American empire with a native political class instead of a white settler political class. (In the sense that, viewing history as contingent, I can’t say it would be impossible.) But I would heavily challenge any conception of history that didn’t question why in the first instance the Native American peoples had come to form an industrialised nation state according to the very specific possibilities available in Vicky. (Which, after all, is a game that simulates a very specific set of Eurocentric historical phenomena. It’s working as designed.)
I mean, in the case of RedTemplar's AAR the outside intervention was that the Celts colonized much of North America and built up an industrial apparatus, which Blackfeather's people inherited, probably (though the AAR doesn't go into detail) along with much of the state apparatus after the rebellion succeeded. Plus this is a world that diverged from our own sometime in the 8th Century, so there was plenty of time for butterflies to slowly build towards that outcome. Though, we are splitting hairs; I do agree that Victoria 2 does have a Eurocentric idea of modernity, particularly with regard to East Asia; I was mainly disputing the idea that it's unrealistic for Indigenous people to ultimately become imperialist colonizers. After all, race is a completely made up thing, so there's no reason why brown people can't just choose some other made up thing to justify treating other brown people like shit, if they profit enough from it.
 
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I mean, in the case of RedTemplar's AAR the outside intervention was that the Celts colonized much of North America and built up an industrial apparatus, which Blackfeather's people inherited, probably (though the AAR doesn't go into detail) along with much of the state apparatus after the rebellion succeeded
You're right, I'm forgetting my "history" in this particular case.

Still, in this timeline I'm very excited to hear more about Islamic America and all the fun things that produces further down the line.
 
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1893-1896 – We Are The People, And We Say No

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The Brusilov Crisis reached its climax in the 1893 election as an unprecedently large electorate was called upon to decide the fate of the empire in a bitter and angry contest. Despite the stalwart work of Prime Minister Petr Orlov over the past year, his party suffered one of the gravest electoral massacres in Polish history. Beset by the National Liberal defectors and their conservative allies on the Right, a series of confident challengers on the Left and the difficulties of extending their appeal to the poor, the Constitutionalists’ vote share dropped by two fifths and they shed nearly two thirds of their seats. Even Orlov himself was unseated in his constituency in Smolensk by a Trudovik challenger.

Indeed, the most damaging aspect of the result for the liberals were not their losses, but the socialists’ gains. Benefitting from concentrated backing from urban workers, while also developing a sizeable rural base of support, the Trudoviks overtook the Constitutionalists to become the Duma’s second force, more than doubling their seat tally. Elsewhere, the Democrats also made strong gains in popular support – although this only translated into four new seats. Among Tatar electors, the promise of a reformed Polish state had drawn a sizeable number of separatist voters back towards the Hindu-Muslim Block – although results in the Jewish imperial core would frustrate their ambitions yet again.

Although only winning a minority of the vote, the Right’s decision to present a single list to the electorate proved decisive. All 42 National Liberal defectors held on to their seats, running under the umbrella of the National Alliance, while the National Conservatives and Agudah Yisrael both made modest gains to top the Alliance to a fragile parliamentary majority that doomed the effort to abolish the Brusilov Line. Twelve years after last relinquishing the office, Yildilz Kazimzade was the premier once more. This new ministry would not have the same reforming zeal and ideological energy of his previous government in the 1870s. After inviting the National Liberals into the fold, the National Alliance had become more ideological diffuse – united by the need to protect the existing constitution, rather than a grand vision of Poland’s future. This left the government more constrained in its actions, while fate would see it lurch from one emergency to another.

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In the east, the popular response to yet another frustration of Tatar ambition was immediate and inevitable. Throughout the empire, Tatars and Mongols rallied in protests led by both the Congress and more mainstream groups. Many of these bitter demonstrations fell into violence, as angry crowds attacked symbols of Jewish power and the Polish state alike in chaotic riots. Most concerningly, around the Aral Sea a local Emir proclaims an independent Emirate and led gangs of armed men in pogroms against communities of Russian settlers that had migrated to the region over the past few decades – massacring thousands. The government came down on the Aral rebels harshly – sewing yet more unrest among the Tatars of the empire. It was in response to these events that small elements of separatists on the fringes of the Turanian Congress formed the Brotherhood of the Wolf – a paramilitary force named after the great symbol of Tatar nationhood.

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The Tatars lands were not the only area suffering from violent ethnic tensions. In the far north, the areas traditionally inhabited by the Ugric peoples had seen large scale inward migration from Muscovite Russians, and to a lesser extent Tatars, since the middle of the century. By the 1890s, the incomers narrowly outnumbered the indigenous Ugric tribes who were forced away from the most profitable areas onto more marginal lands by the migrants. Starting in 1894, bands of Ugrian fighters descended from the tundra and the forests to launch fierce raids into Russian and Tatar communities – burning their villages and killing scores of settlers. While the imperial army would soon arrive in the area to oppose the insurrection, the Ugrians would simply melt away into the desolate parts of Permia from where their raids would continue for years.

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The fates of Europe and Africa had been closely intertwined since ancient times. Although Europeans had dominated significant parts of the continent since the Middle Ages, it was only in the 19th century that Europe set out to totally conquer the Dark Continent. From the middle of the century, the Europeans had pushed their influence ever deeper into Africa – beginning rapidly annex huge swathes of African territory in the 1870s and 1880s. The greatest winners of the Scramble for Africa was the Holy Roman Empire, which conquered Algiers and an enormous contiguous domain in the heart of the continent stretching from the Rift Valley to the Atlantic Ocean and from Natal in the south to equatorial central Africa. The Andalucians expanded outwards from Morocco into the Sahel and much of Nigeria, and from centuries old Indian Ocean enclaves across eastern Africa. Similarly, the Italians and Skots struck inland from existing ports, the former state with much greater success. By the mid-1890s, the only indigenous African states with non-European ruling elites were in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Somalia, the latter themselves a colonial power with holdings in the East Indies and Arabia.

While the Empire had secured the King’s share of Africa, it had left a sea of ill-feeling in its wake. The Dutch and the Danes, who had both controlled lands around the Cape of Good Hope for centuries and possessed their own ambitions in southern Africa, seethed with resentment after being left out in the cold entirely, while the Skots were deeply dissatisfied with their paltry gains in West Africa. The Papacy had gained nothing the Scramble but saw their decades-long dispute with the Empire over influence in Templar Sudan heat up in the aftermath of German territorial gains to the south. The Holy Roman Empire was quickly emerging as the world’s hegemonic power with an empire spanning much of western and central Europe, the largest share of Africa and much of North America – in doing so, it was gaining new enemies.

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While Poland had avoided embroiling itself in Africa, it had its own colonial machinations far to the north. The first of these was in Greenland in 1894. The vast frozen island had been the subject of European interest for centuries, particularly from the Nordic powers of Scandinavia and Britain and the Holy Roman Empire from their bases in Iceland. However, for all that time it had never been subject to a lasting European settlement – remaining firmly under the thumb of the indigenous Inuits well into the modern age. As the European powers struck out across the world in the late 19th century, Greenland attracted attention once more. Unexpectedly, Poland emerged as the most interested party in the island’s fate – establish a permanent scientific and military base at Nuuk in 1887, which became the starting point for the first expedition to reach the North Pole in 1893.

It was in the aftermath of this great feat that the Polish government reached agreements with the Danes and Skots that saw both parties agree to surrender any claim to the island and recognise a Polish annexation of Greenland in 1894. The Poles’ move caused fury in Vienna, and the Germans deployed a gunboat to menace Nuuk, threatening to fight to defend the Inuits’ independence – an incredible irony considering that the Empire had spent the past two decades subjugating millions of Africans. It was a sign of the shifting sands of European diplomacy that the Germans found themselves wholly isolated in this dispute and, fearing an escalation, were forced to back down and accept Polish sovereignty over Greenland.

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In an ironic twist of fate, Yildilz Kazimzade, the great symbol of 19th century Jewish Nationalism, was the premier who led Poland into its most thorough entanglements with the Christian West for more than a century. Fears of German world domination had simply grown to great for Poland to maintain the policy that it could stand aloof from the affairs of the continent, same behind its mighty army and unshakeable faith. Building upon existing anti-German sentiment, the Polish government stretched out its hand to sympathetic states across the continent. Between 1894 and 1896 the Polish government signed a series of pacts and alliances that offered gauruntees against German aggression to Denmark, Skotland, the Netherlands and their existing allies in Crusader Anatolia. For better or worse, Poland had cast her lot in with the disgruntled middling powers of Christian Europe.

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Kiev’s diplomatic tentacles spread out through cultural, as well as more traditional, channels – most importantly in the religious sphere. The origins of this religious diplomacy were in a quite unique event held in 1891, during the time of the Vlaslov ministry. On the initiative of the Archbishop of Krakow, a number of intellectuals in the Catholic University of Krakow and the Chief Rabbi of Warsaw, the Conference of the World’s Religions was held. This event sought to build interfaith dialogue across all world religions – increasing understanding. In practise, the majority of the delegates were from Polish – drawing upon the empire’s incredible diversity to bring Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu religious figures to Krakow. However, some Christian and Muslim leaders from the West did make the journey, alongside a scattering of South and East Asians. While quite the spectacle, the Conference also had a more practical effect in that it stimulated wider debates over interfaith religions – more pointedly within the Catholic and Jewish Orthodox churches.

As these ideas matured through the 1890s, and dovetailed with geostrategic fears of German power, they facilitated a stunning rapprochement between the religious heads of the world’s two greatest religious institutions. In 1895 Pope Luke VII travelled to the Jerusalem in an unexpected state visit to Israel, where he met with the Kohen Gadol Elijah IV. The two prayed together and made statements celebrating the friendship and shared heritage of the Christian and Jewish peoples, with the Catholic Church being offered greater control over Christian holy sites in Israel. This remarkable visit was more than a religious excursion, offering the first clear sign that the Great Game, the long Papal-Polish rivalry over the Middle East and Central Asia that had loomed over much of the past century, was coming to an close.

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Domestically, the return of the Right to power in 1893 coincided with the beginning of Poland’s most severe economic recession for at least half a century, if not longer. After decades of rapid economic growth, the Polish economy was riddled with speculative bubbles, over-leveraged financial institutions and under-performing investments. So long as growth continued and investor confidence remained high, these issues could be overlooked as progress kept rolling on. This train would come to an abrupt, and devastating, stop beginning in 1893 by something as mercurial as the Indian cotton harvest. After unexpectedly poor yields in India, the price of cotton soared. High costs pushed many Polish mills, who operated on tight margins of profitability in the face of strong competition, into bankruptcy. Textile production dropped by 10% between 1893 and 1894, failing to recover until the end of the decade. With textiles forming the backbone of the Polish industrial economy, several major financial institutions were driven into bankruptcy – seeing depositors who had intrusted them with their savings ruined. As consumers surged to withdraw deposits, credit dried up as banks sought to protect themselves from further damage. With loans hard to come by, investments in new factories slowed significantly. Steel production dropped by 5%, alcohol by 15% while smaller industries like machine parts and shipbuilding saw expansion grind to a halt. Only arms production, fuelled by the accelerating Polish-German arms race, saw significant growth during this period.

While the urban economy slowed down, rural-urban migration continued at an unrelenting pace – leading to a huge surge in unemployment throughout the towns and cities of the empire. With this reserve army of unemployed undermining the value of labour, employers took the opportunity to force through pay cuts and demand lengthier working days in an effort to ensure profitability and protect their own industries from collapse. In response, the trade unions led the workers into battle, leading to a lengthy period of industrial militancy that reached its high point over the winter of 1895 to 1896 when much of the Polish economy was completely shut down by strikes.

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The period of industrial turmoil shifted the focal point of Polish politics away from the constitutional and the Brusilov Line, towards the issues of class conflict and social reform. The union movement was very closely tied to the Trudovik party and was imbued with its socialist and labourist ideology. The unrest therefore offered the Trudoviks the ideal opportunity to cement their position as the leading opposition to the National Alliance. It also presented the opportunity for the party’s first leader of genuinely national stature to step forth – Daniil Chernov. Coming from a middle class Moldavian family, Chernov had been joined the party soon after its foundation and was given a quick route to the Duma as a result of his social background, seen as more suitable for the parliamentarianism than the gruff union leaders of the grassroots.

Despite this, he proved himself equally comfortable with the street politics of rallying striking workers and the unemployed as he was in the parliamentary chamber. Chernov and his colleagues would put forward a radical set of solutions to the empire’s ongoing crisis – demanding legislative support to protect pay and the length of the working day, unemployment subsidies to combat the miserable poverty the recession had caused, state support for industries to fight unemployment, land reform to improve peasant conditions and slow the migratory flow into the cities, and, of course, the end of the Brusilov Line to ease Jewiah-Muslim tensions.

As these troubles overshadowed the government, its parliamentary majority was evaporating as by-elections saw it fall into a minority in early 1896. Concerned for the stability of the government at such a testing time, the Tsar demanded that Kazimzade either bring the Constitutionalists into his government to support his majority or call a new election. Faced with this choice, the premier chose to go to the people once again.
 
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Tommy4ever

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After a bit of a hiatus - we're back! I'm not sure if we will get back to the fast pace of an update every 2-3 days for a while yet. But they will keep coming :).


The absolute boy Petr Orlov!

Also, alternate universe Iberian Muslim America is as much fun as RedTemplar's Actually Indigenous America.
Something of a shame that his bold moves to try to bring down the Line and give the vote to the masses end up backfiring on him - ending his career, seeing the liberals sink into third place and putting the Right back in power. He will be remembered as a huge figure in Polish history nonetheless!

Muslim Australia and America are probably my favourite foreign nations we've seen develop in this AAR. And we will certainly hear more about the Americans as they play a bigger role in things going into the 20th century.

Down with the Brusilov line!

Ok, my colours being now firmly tied to the mast this was always going to be a hard hard fight. I hope that this effort does not expire at the finishing line, because if it does I fear a revolution. Not now, not soon - but the clamour for equality will not be denied.
The Tatars ended up being let down yet again, as Jewish voters shifted Rightward to defend the Line. It is notable here that, with the Constitutionalists committing themselves to the anti-Brusilov camp, we saw a strong majority of voters clearly vote for parties backing the abolition of the Line for the first time in 1893, even if they were not efficiently distributed to win a majority.

We will have to see if how badly the relationship with the Tatars has been damaged by all this though.

We love to see the splitters getting what’s theirs. Now all the defeated schemers can go off to become consultants, or whatever it is they do with themselves in their spare time. :p

A true Bennite, in the sense of somehow getting more radical once in power.

All very stirring stuff, Tommy. Has a very credible air as a long-fought crisis finally bursting out into open warfare. The Tsar’s intervention at the last moment seems justified, as obviously disappointing as it may be. Now here’s hoping the anti-Brusilovians can galvanise the country (or the voting segment of it, anyway) – else those denied their rights may soon consider taking them by force.
As its the 19th century, the equivalent of consultants is surely colonial governors in the east, no? :p

Indeed, and he was something of a reluctant radical at the - pushed towards backing huge reforms by events and necessity rather than inclination.

Glad you enjoyed the struggle! :D

The Tsar has stolen the vote from his people east of the line! A new election will show these reactionaries what's what!
Well, the reactionaries weren't put back in their box - but will they manage to hold their electorate together now some of the passion has left the Brusilov debate in light of all the other problems facing Poland three years on?

Well, "universal" male suffrage is good.

Again, keeping the Brusilov Line could destroy Polish hegemony over Siberia - the Tsar may yet regret his decision.
We shall get to our debate on female suffrage in time, I always found it odd that V2 tends to start bombarding you with events about it from about 1860 :p.

If keeping the Line leads to Tatar independence in one form or another you would have the Russian majority regions of Siberia marooned from the European part of the Empire, and no clear way of holding onto it. They perhaps have more to lose than anyone else from the Russian core of the empire from the failure to accomodate the Muslims and Hindus.

To be fair to the Tsar he just demanded a more certain vote. In and of itself that is perhaps not unreasonable. But a lot will depend on the result of the vote.
I also really don't think the Tsar did anything wrong. Pushing through such a transformative bill on such a slim majority would clearly backfire, and with universal male suffrage it's clear that the Conservatives won't exactly do better in this election. The momentum is with the reformers.
It certainly would have been very hard politically to make such a fundamental change with such slender backing, not least when one considers how the other side of the country could be brought to accept the new reality without a strong mandate.

Of course, as this is alternate history, a dynamic such as this would have no chance of happening in any real life jewish states
Of course ;) :p.

As with a few others, I've noted that the rise of a predominantly Muslim United States of America in this universe has a certain ironic tinge to it ;)

The Brusilov Line is beginning to come down, but it looks like the struggle might well bring the Polish state down with it -- or, at least, the present form of government. Either way, given how tense the situation is, I can see the losing side being perfectly willing to resort to extreme measures once the votes are all cast...
We did have the Mujahedeen leading the fight for American independence earlier :D :p.

We're already seeing the signs of those extreme measures, with some radical tatars founding their own paramilitary organisations, and other simply taking the fight straight to Jewish settlers in historically Tatar lands.

So, it seems Orlov can do it when he really wants to :)

Now, after his latest meddling, I'm not only advocating abolishing the Brusilov line but maybe the Tsardom altogether! Next stop: Republic!

d'Hondt heavily disfavors spread out votes, if the left and minority parties made an election alliance to circumvent that, they'd have earned a lot more seats

the only step left is the women!
He brought the empire to the very brink of this big reform, but fell short - the defection of pro-Brusilov liberals to the Right and the rise of the socialists proving too much for Poland's oldest party to withstand.

Republicanism! :eek: What a world this modern age brings! I will reveal that Poland will have at least one major Republican political party within the next two decades - but will say nothing else :p.

Oh, yes, same! Let's abolish the Tsar and rule ourselves as free people in a free land!
Sir, this is treason! :eek:

The traitors have come out of the woodworks it seems, democracy was an utter mistake.
Indeed! We may need to restore the autocracy if this continues :eek:.

It always annoys me when the USA arises in AARs. It reeks of historical railroading. Great update otherwise, though!
Well, it is certainly a very different America to the historical one :p. While it probably would have made more sense for them to have had a different flag and name, keeping more of their New Andalucian character - this will certainly make using illustrations easier for our 20th century segments ;).

I wonder if we'll have to start fighting wars against the US to keep our Alaskan colony.
The Americans are still fairly distant from Alaska - although all that separates our borders at this point is a single native american state. The most immediate threat (as it is everywhere) is the HRE - which has Dominions ruling over most of the OTL USA west of the Rockies.

Having not read RedTemplar's AAR - I decided to stay out of that side of the discussion :p.
 
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The line shall fall. This denial shall like the line itself be erased by the tides of history.

Right - Greenland is a curious place for a crisis, but more curious still is indeed Poland's sudden diplomatic overtures. A war is, I feel, inevitable.
 

Cora Giantkiller

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Trying to imagine being a young Tatar who sees the Tsar intervene to prevent a successful vote to end the Brusilov line; and then, in the following election, sees an anti-Brusilov majority frustrated by a more efficiently distributed minority. I would find it very hard to imagine that the established order would ever give my community their natural rights.

Sir, this is treason! :eek:
I believe you mean "Ma'am, this is treason." :p And what I meant to say was, the tsar will be lucky if all we do is abolish him.
 
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HIMDogson

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I'd like to reiterate that none of this was a problem under the Tsar's enlightened absolutism. All were equal under his wise gaze. Democracy has caused an artificial inequality between Jew and Muslim, Russian and Tatar, that would not have existed had we stayed with absolutism.
 

diskoerekto

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why oh why while the right forms an election front the left does not do that? in this election method that's too great of an advantage to leave on the table (I know it's RP and not a game mechanic to form an election front, but still :D. in fact, this has been one of the very few AARs that I'm following the story more than the game mechanics. normally for me, the RP part would just be a nice coloration on the game itself. well done, very well done!)

Despite this, he proved himself equally comfortable with the street politics of rallying striking workers and the unemployed as he was in the parliamentary chamber. Chernov and his colleagues would put forward a radical set of solutions to the empire’s ongoing crisis – demanding legislative support to protect pay and the length of the working day, unemployment subsidies to combat the miserable poverty the recession had caused, state support for industries to fight unemployment, land reform to improve peasant conditions and slow the migratory flow into the cities, and, of course, the end of the Brusilov Line to ease Jewiah-Muslim tensions.
a new star is born!

Republicanism! :eek: What a world this modern age brings! I will reveal that Poland will have at least one major Republican political party within the next two decades - but will say nothing else :p.
well, the tsar's behaviour asks for it :D
 
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diskoerekto

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Hey I just saw this photo from Samarkand/Uzbekistan circa 1910 of a group of Jewish children with their teacher
 
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Yaitz331

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Why not establish a bicameral legislature as a compromise? One branch is elected by everyone, and one by only those within the Brusilov Line? That seems like an amiable compromise to satisfy the Christians that they won't lose their say in government, the Jews that they won't lose their overall control, and the Tatars that they'll get representation.

Or, you know, just give the Tatars independence (or at least autonomy). That gets them out, keeps the Christians and Jews in control, and satisfies the Tatars. I wouldn't be surprised if a sizeable faction on the right advocated for this solution.
 
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DensleyBlair

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Why does it feel like every last thing in Poland is a time bomb of one sort of another? 19th century politics are breaking down, Europe is dancing around the flames of conflict and the Tsar is getting more and more involved in the workings of his governments. The fact that this of all times is the moment for interfaith dialogue between the Jews and the Christians feels idyll astonishing, but then this is a world where the Reich feels it’s strategic interests threatened by a Polish Greenland so who’s to say what’s normal. :p

Good stuff Tommy, and glad to see another update. Onwards to a better Poland!
 
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HistoryDude

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War is coming.

Rapprochement with the Papal States was unexpected...

Again, the Brusilov Line will be problematic. With the Socialists, I wouldn't be surprised if WW1 led to the fall of both Poland and the HRE...
 
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Cromwell

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I have high hopes for comrade Chernov! It seems he couldn't have rose to prominence at a time with more opportunities for a socialist leader to advance his cause.
 

Brisingr

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So I recently finished reading this entire megacampaign, and I am completely drawn in. I love all the worldbuilding you've done outside the game, and I can't wait to see where this goes next.
 
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