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Ch.4 Where the World Stands.

With war now here its time to go over the various factions. Of the World's Four Factions Two are set against the Holy Roman Alliance or 'Allies'. The Allies consist of Primarily the Holy Roman Empire, It's dominions and it's economic partners and dependences. Since weve gone over the Holy Roman Empire in detail already we'll be focusing on the other nations.


The most powerful dominion of the empire is California. The Only American colony to stay loyal to the Empire during the early 1800's California has spent much of its history growing steadily in importance, first through the discovering of gold and now Oil, both critically important resources for the Empire. White the Americans are more populous and the Templar are more militarily inclined the resource rising and falling resource economy of California has given birth to the world's first motion picture industry housed near Los Angeles.


(Governor Arthur Macdunn in his prefered Uniform)
With the recent war in America and rising tensions in the East the Californians elected former General Arthur Macdunn as Governor to the dominion. The Dominant figure in Authoritarian Democratic politics the world over Macdunn had ruled the Californian Government not much differently than a Fascist dictator with vast Infrastructure projects, Anti Socialist government policy and threatening use of military force to ensure things run smoothly. Macdunn differed in his foreign policy, which as Governor was limited only to California's surroundings, Namely Canada, the United States, Mexico and Knight's Transient.


The United States also sided with the Holy Roman Empire almost immediately. Host to the largest Oil reserves on the planet the United State's support was Critical to the Allied War effort even if no manpower was sent to the front directly. The United States was the longest standing democracy in the world, having survived since its founding in the 1700's. While originally weak, immigration from China and Europe had strengthened and pushed the Fledgling republic to expand several times in it's lifetime leading to its current domination of the Northern Caribbean and southern Appalachia. The United States, was highly urbanized and had become quite powerful economically during the later half of the great depression while the economies of Europe continued to languish.


(President Jaime Ortega of the United States of America)
The President of the United States was Jaime Ortega, a Social Democrat and member of the established Ortega family which owned Ortega oil. Elected originally in 1932 on the promise of rebuilding the Local Community in America that had recently been broken by the recent war with Mexico Ortega found himself at least somewhat successful, having ascended during the Post War economic boom. in 1934 Ortega passed his Brainchild, The Continental Union, an extension of the old Continental Congress systems of old, this time with no Political power at all, the hope being that Economic incentive will keep the various members at peace, rather than sanctions and military posturing which had been proven to fail on the continent in the past.


The Knight's Transient, or newly named Republic of Avalon was the last major Allied Power in the Americas (Canada and Alaska also existing but being hopelessly irrelevant). In the years since it's Democratization the Republic of Avalon finally found use for it's vast sources of Appalachian Coal through foreign investment. Less regulation, taxes and worker protection laws had led to a massive investment in the Templar Steel and other low skill work. Outside of this however the Templar were a primarily rural country unique in that they held the largest military on the continent, almost double the standing militaries of California and the United States combined. Luckily however the Templar had remained firmly Anti Chinese throughout thier history, thanks to Chinese interference in America, and later Chinese Immigrants being the primary cause of the United State's dominance on the continent, despite continued Templar Military success.


(Grandmaster Harrison 'Harry' Eden)
The current Grandmaster for Life of the Republic of Avalon was Harrison 'Harry' Eden, a staunch conservative and before his election, a high ranking Templar General. Harrison's rule was for the most part fairly hands off allowing the elected council of Officers to do much of the actual governing of the Republic. Eden's focuses were primarily the military, as the old general was fascinating with the idea of armored warfare and tank combat. Eden often scheduled great war games for the military to test his favorite new imported toys, and had grudgingly signed on to Ortega's Continental Union on the condition that he alone could manage military contacts and expenditures and arms treaties for the new Pan-American policy.


Together the Three made up what was referred to jokingly as the United States of North America by it's critics for it's heavy American dominance. The organization however remained for at least the two years it had existed a primarily economic organization, something that was now providing adequate competition to the Holy Roman Dominated economic sphere's in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. For now the Americans all would be fighting against the Axis though where their armies and resources were best left to be deployed had not been determined.



Japan, Korea and Manchuria would make up the bulk of the Allies Asian presence. Japan and Korea together are populous and have a notable industry, though both are short on Natural resources such as Rubber and Oil. To better defend the Eastern Dominions and Formosa, Empress Octavia has agreed to send the outdated ships of the Holy Roman Fleet to Japan as well as the large surpluses of Great War era aircraft.


Outside of the Holy Roman Empire's Sphere of Influence was The indian Empire, The fledgling empire was now once again caught between a hostile China and a Hostile Eastern Roman Empire, this time however the Soviet Union was also against them, leaving supplies and aid from the Empire to come only by way of Africa, or the Malaysia straights. Worst still was the Anti War, Liberal party of the Empire had remained in control of the government up until 1938, only finally being ousted by the more Hawkish Mahat Patel, still however there was resistance to rebuilding the military, especially among the Holy Roman Empire's Warmongering. With the onset of war however there was no choice and the Empire's Massive population looked to be readying to mobilize again, India did have one saving grace in that it's Industrial might was second only to the Holy Roman Empire and if given enough time to properly mobilize the Indians could stand more than a chance against the radicals surrounding her.​


The Last of the major allied powers was the Unified Republics of Scandinavia. Born out of the firestorm of the first great War and resulting Danish Civil war, Scandinavia was born as the UNSR or Union of Nordic Socialist Republics. Pressures from the more conservative population centers in Norway and Denmark however pushed the country back into Democracy after a short and relatively bloodless coup that seated Johan Aesirling as the first president of the country. Aesirling would proceed to win a war against the North German Union to seize Stralsund and Holstein from the North Germanic Union.


(Erikr Skirstag's presidential photograph)
In 1936 Johan Aesirling shocked everyone and stated he would not run for reelection in 1936. The following election could only be described as a free for all as Extremist and more conservative candidates all vied for control of the fledgling government allowing Erik Skirstag, leader of the Nordic Conservatives to win with a mere 23% of the vote. Skirstag was a mild tempered man and inoffensive man and spent the next four years resolving his divided government and finding an ally in the Holy Roman Empire to the south. The Russians across the Baltic however were furious as not only had Scandinavia left the Socialist International but was now sleeping with the enemy. Skirsdag by allowing himself to align with the Holy Romans had unwittingly set the Soviets and the Axis onto the same side.

(Landsverk L/60 Tanks alongside Scandinavian Soldiers marching North into Lappland.)​

Still Scandinavia was not weak, it had the old Kingdom of Sweden's industry and infrastructure backing what would otherwise be a very fragile federation and had its own established armor and aircraft production lines. Skirstag during his radio address to the nation would later say "If the Russians plan to make war on us, I trust they be properly prepared to leave in a timely manner"​


The Nations initially fighting against the Holy Roman Empire were the Unified Chinese Nations of the Chinese Union State, The Eastern Roman Republic, The Free State of Mongolia and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The Chinese Union State which was the most powerful, industrialized and populous state in the entire alliance. Since it's founding the Chinese Union State has done nothing but expand and consolidate territory in the Far East, eventually growing past traditional chinese borders with the annexation of Southeast Asia and Mongolia.

Looking under the fascist curtain reveals the sad perversion of old chinese cultural traditions. The Union State had done everything to inject itself to be no different than the Wu or Ming Dynasty before it, and all aspects of civilian life from religion to the economy to cultural pursuits was always done for benefit of the state first.


(Chairman Hong Liao of the Chinese Union State)
Under the now aging Chairman Liao the Chinese Union State had grown to be an effective and domineering military power. Unrest, particularly in non Chinese areas was crushed with brutal efficiency. Such tactics could only go so far however and the Chinese Economy was now feeling the sting of a severe lack of Oil and Coal, both of which were in Abundance in the Holy Roman Empire's Dominions as well as Indonesia which always remained just out of reach of Liao's grasp. War with the Empire was something that had been a long time coming and now the Union State finally had it's chance at becoming the world's sole superpower, If only she could get the resources her population desperately needed.


The Eastern Roman Republic's issues were the complete opposite of the Chinese. Gifted with large amounts of Oil in Baku and more coming from the middle east, Coal in the Crimea alongside other materials coming out of Anatolia the once great roman Empire was in need of better industry and Population. Much like in the Chinese Union State, Fascist had infested the age old traditions of Greek Culture, done away with things that did not help party nor state and twisted others.


(Michael Anatolios I of the Eastern Roman 'Republic')
The Leader of the Eastern Roman Republic was Basilius Michael Anatolios. Anatolios ruled a Republic only in name, having absolute power no different than the Holy Roman Empire. The difference between the two being rhetoric, namely of Anatolios' fiercely nationalist followers who saw peoples of Antiquity to be Superior to that of those that came after, The Greeks of course being to to of the list. The Common narrative of all Fascist parties the world over was that of German Oppression, entitlement and fierce Nationalism, which stood in stark contrast to Holy Roman Principles of Multiculturalism, Tradition and Meritocracy. A conflict that would be most apparent in Israel, where Anatolios called the creation of such a state a monstrosity, as well as claiming the Roman Catholics and Jews that called the state home no better than cultists worshipping the pope alongside their 'Sun God'.​


The Odd duck of the Axis was member by convenience, The Soviet Union. While the Soviet Union and Axis despised each other and fought several wars in the past the opportunity to rip at the Holy Roman Empire like a pack of wolves was too tempting for the Soviet Leadership to resist. The Soviet Union, was communist though in more accurate terms, 'Stalinist' which had brought the regime closer to a Fascist one, only with a Soviet Red veneer instead of Black, Brown or Purple.


Following a prolonged struggle for Leadership, one Joseph Stalin had ascended to party Chairman and finally leader of the USSR after the death of Trosky. More pragmatic and authoritarian than the two deceased leaders of the Soviet Triumvirate Stalin saw the opportunity to establish a Socialist Republic in Scandinavia as well as potentially win allies in America and Asia by removing their only better alternative.

The Soviet leader however was fiercely paranoid and in the years leading up to the war had purged the Soviet leadership twice, and many suspected similar ideological winnowing was going on with civilians and lower military staff as well.​


The Remaining Fascist Power of relevance to the War was the Republic of Albion. While not in the war itself, Greater Albion was the longest running and most established Fascist regime the world over, even giving the ideology it's namesake following the great war. Many, including the Holy Roman Empire's own leadership were expecting a Albionite declaration of war any day, bringing yet another Hundred divisions at least, alongside the armies of Portugal and Spain into the war as well as opening a second front and effectively closing the Gibraltar to Holy Roman Shipping.


(Edward Mosley, Supreme Leader of Greater Albion)
For the few that escaped Greater Albion, the situation behind the border could only be described as a Nightmare come to life. The premise of the old Federal republic has been completly done away with, giving absolute control over to the state and Moseley's various pet secret police bureaus. However in recent years the Celtic Dictator broke with his Eastern Fascist brethren( Also bringing the Fascist regimes of Portugal and Spain along with him out of the Axis) on several issues after Liao and Anatolios refused Mosley's Ideas of a Single Authoritarian European State, which of course conflicted with Anatolios' dreams for a restored Roman Empire, and Liao's intent to keep the Europeans as weak as humanly possible. With war now finally here and the Celt's ramping up military production it was looking more and more like Ideology would take a back seat to Pragmatism just like it had with the Soviets.


Outside of the Major powers there still remained several key Neutral States. The most Important being Mali, The North Germanic Union and Sudamerika. The People's Republic of Mali being relatively politically irrelevant due to internal troubles, The North Germanic Union which despite a Fascist regime found itself surrounded by Anti German or Anti Fascist Powers and of course Sudamerika which was also German, and found itself diplomatically isolated. Sudamerika was of course the most relevant of the three due to it's vast quantities of Venezuelan Oil as well as Rubber which the Chinese Union State and Greater Albion desperately needed.


The Fuhrer of Sudamerika was Cosimo Von Brasilia. Moderate and conservative by Fascist Standards, Von Brasilia had managed to seize his position through connections in the Military. Once in power Cosimo had a handful of fellow party leaders arrested, tried as communists and executed if they didn't confess. In the following years Von Brasilia had put focus primarily on turning his Continent into a Fortress as well as connecting the Urbanized North and South of the continent with the more Isolate Peruvian and Amazonian countrysides.

Racial tensions within the new empire quickly became a very severe issue, mainly in the more immigrant heavy north where large Chinese, Slavic and Hispanic minorities had not properly integrated yet as well as African Americans which made up over a third of the country's population. To solve the 'issue' Sudamerikan leaders proposed several ways to remove the troublesome minorities, all of which were adamantly struck down by Von Brasilia who was fearful that any such action could lead to a costly and dangerous civil war.

Von Brasilia's decision would be widely unpopular with some of Cosimo's more ethnic minded underlings who staged several assassination attempts, all of them failing. With Cosimo's more moderate flavored leadership constantly getting in the way the the Unified Continent grew more and more akin to just a simple dictatorship than it's original creator's Ideal Fascist Utopia.
 
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zenphoenix

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Nice rundown of the factions of the world. Two things though. First, it seems like there are 2 Republics of Albion. And second, do you happen to read "The Crown Atomic"? Your Sudamerika flag looks very similar to Crown Atomic's Amerosul flag.

Edit: I don't understand where the meritocratic elements of the HRE came from. Is there something I missed in previous updates?
 
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Many thanks for the breakdown of the factions. The Soviet Union's position in the Axis amuses me, as it seems to be there out of lack for a better option in narrative. They don't like the other members, but it suits their needs.
 

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Nice rundown of the factions of the world. Two things though. First, it seems like there are 2 Republics of Albion. And second, do you happen to read "The Crown Atomic"? Your Sudamerika flag looks very similar to Crown Atomic's Amerosul flag.
The Black and Red Sudamerika Flag I gave them Ingame I cant find in my files anymore and its a recolor of the flag in the update that is just a generic flag you get by typing 'Fascist South America' into google images which is used for both Aerosol and Sudamerika. I tried to find an appropriate flag but the Black and Red Version looks cool, and that seems to be the general philosophy behind fascist flags.

As for Albion, The names are close, I'll have to look back in the update becuase I can see getting them confused. Its Greater Albion and The Republic of Avalon, In retrospect, Republic of Arcadia would be a better name as thats the name of an actual place in America and Avalon is a fictional Celtic Island.

Many thanks for the breakdown of the factions. The Soviet Union's position in the Axis amuses me, as it seems to be there out of lack for a better option in narrative. They don't like the other members, but it suits their needs.
Technically they aren't in the same war but they are still a Belligerent so grouped together. If the Soviets used thier CB on the Eastern Roman Republic to reclaim lost territory it'd be a three way war but AI Stalin decided he had better odds
 
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The Black and Red Sudamerika Flag I gave them Ingame I cant find in my files anymore and its a recolor of the flag in the update that is just a generic flag you get by typing 'Fascist South America' into google images which is used for both Aerosol and Sudamerika. I tried to find an appropriate flag but the Black and Red Version looks cool, and that seems to be the general philosophy behind fascist flags.

As for Albion, The names are close, I'll have to look back in the update becuase I can see getting them confused. Its Greater Albion and The Republic of Avalon, In retrospect, Republic of Arcadia would be a better name as thats the name of an actual place in America and Avalon is a fictional Celtic Island.



Technically they aren't in the same war but they are still a Belligerent so grouped together. If the Soviets used thier CB on the Eastern Roman Republic to reclaim lost territory it'd be a three way war but AI Stalin decided he had better odds
I added something about the meritocratic elements in the HRE in my previous post. Apparently I missed what the description of them in previous updates. Would you help explain what parts of the HRE's government is meritocratic? Or is it just part of the quasi-democratic system the HRE has?
 

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I added something about the meritocratic elements in the HRE in my previous post. Apparently I missed what the description of them in previous updates. Would you help explain what parts of the HRE's government is meritocratic? Or is it just part of the quasi-democratic system the HRE has?

Edit: I don't understand where the meritocratic elements of the HRE came from. Is there something I missed in previous updates?
Meritocratic by comparison really. House Anniona has always had a long tradition of mixing traditional appointments as well as rewarding skilled advisors, drawing from History like the regency of Gisela the Hammer. With the Fall of the Empire, the house became increasingly more paranoid of Rival dynasties seizing the Throne and Thus the Empire (In EU4, The Holy Roman Empire never passed from Austria's hands, not once which has led to Absolute Cognatic, Pure Catholic, Foreign Blood tolerating policies House Anniona practices in the interest of keeping the House strong) so once the Empire was reunified no time was spared removing as much power from the nobility as humanly possible to ensure the Empire stayed as centralized as possible. After all, who has more Merit to run the Country than a Divinely appointed Sun-monarch? :p

The Eastern Roman Empire by comparison is a two decade old dictatorship masquerading as both a Monarchy and a Republic so there's a fair bit of Spoils being passed around by Anatolios to keep his regime in power, lest the Communists come knocking again.

No real official policies to speak of though, so the argument could be made that the Empire has been getting really lucky, and people like Hoffenburg(Einstein) being appointed to key leadership positions is simply chance.
 
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Interlude 1: Easy Living

Snow whipped in from the outside and with it the cold, It was March and winter hadn't let quite let go Kempten yet and was giving one last little storm to keep the Schmitt family inside. The House was heated by fire and a new Stove, a nice Italian design with engravings put in the Iron.

Wilhelm Schmitt walked into the house, Much warmer inside, where is everyone he thought.

A moment later down the stairs came little Johan, followed by Gisela and Siegfried. Willhelm's children were Ten, 20 and 17 respectively, though Siegfried was about to turn 18. The Mother, Maria, looking like an older copy of her daughter appeared at the top of the staircase and started down as well, though Willhelm was already smiling at the sight of his children.

Gisela was in from Vienna, On Holiday for Easter, Maria's family would likely be due to arrive any day and so much of the house as been moved around to make room.

"Welcome home dear, How was it" the Wife asked, almost finished descending.

The Children scattered, Gisela the oldest staying and the two boys dashing off to the living room where they turned on the Radio.

Willhelm smiled and revealed a small bundled and wrapped Ham. "Heinrich gave me a discount, He said his wife loved the Pie"

"I'm Glad he liked it, Did he want the recipe?" Willhelm started to take off his coat, it was wet and dripping, the snow falling be more of a mix of rain than powder.

"He asked, but I didn't remember, you said Cinnamon right?"

The girls spoke at the same time "Vanilla"

the Husband Shrugged "Guess hes getting Cinnamon" Willhelm walked forward to the living room and turned and asked, walking backwards "How was Vienna?"

Gisela smiled and started to answer, though he was already out of the room, So she followed, Her mother hung the coat and followed.

"I've got new work as a Clerk for the University they are building" she said, entering the music filled room. Some sort of swing song was playing, new and american sounding.

"I thought they had a University" her father responding finding his chair and pipe. "Put on my channel Siegfried, would you?"

The eldest son started to tune the radio while Gisela spoke. "Its a New one, The ones they said they were going to build a few weeks ago in the papers"

"You sure about this, you don't need to run away to the capital you know, Siegfried turns 18 next Month, you can come back, live here and find someone local, besides it's safer here"

In came Maria "Don't even start again you two, you can talk next week, remember the neighbor came over to see what the yelling was about last time"

Wilhelm, puffed his pipe and snapped "I remember"

The Radio changed from it's music abruptly, then it crackled playing the chime of one State's radio addresses. Wilhelm looked over "Not another one of these announcements, That was a good song"

Johan raised the volume "I like these addresses" he said, not explaining himself further.

A familiar radio voice filled the room, "This is an urgent announcement from Empress Octavia Anniona First of her name, the Imperial Broadcast Agency live from the Imperial Palace please stay tuned, the announcement will begin in a moment"

"See! it's important" he continued. The room stayed silent, outside the competing sounds of the Fireplace and Radio no other sound was made. Maria walked over to the couch and sat quietly, Gisela stood and Johan and Siegfried sat near the radio.

The Radio changed from it's idle noise and spoke again, this time it was a Woman's voice, older though still practiced and more refined.

I send this message, to all of my Peoples, Both at home, and Abroad.

Yesterday, On March 27th 1940, Ambassadors from the Chinese Union State, Soviet Union and Eastern Roman Republic issued a Joint Declaration of War on the Holy Roman Empire, and all of it's peoples.

Over and Over again, we have tried, to find a peaceful, compromise so that we could find peace. Now, I speak to each and every one of you, with more resolve than I have ever felt before that no more shall our efforts go in vain.

For the second time in many of our lifetimes we have now been forced into a conflict against those that would like nothing more than to strip away the freedoms that we have struggled and fought to hard to create and preserve.

To all my peoples across the world, I will tell you truthfully, The fight will be long, It will be hard, and many of us will not return.

For we fight an enemy, fanaticized into thinking that our very way of life, and the blood in our veins deems us as subhuman and they will fight their false crusade with all the vigor and hatred that comes with such hateful and violent philosophy no more akin to the Barbaric doctrine, that Might Makes Right.

I challenge that doctrine, I challenge those that say that mercy given to those defeated is a mistake, I challenge those that say only through force of arms and the exploitation of others can a nation and it's peoples be successful.

My evidence I provide is the Empire, the very empire that those I challenge look on as such tempting a target to put Millions of their own people on the firing line.

To defend what is ours and preserve and spread democracy, and prosperity not only in the Empire but across the globe, I declare a State of War to the Chinese Union State, The Soviet Union and Eastern Roman Republic.

I usher the call to all of you, for one last crusade, To End the Tyranny of the East and defend the Empire. To defend your friends, your families, your loved ones. To defend your God, Your Country, Your Empress. But also to defend yourselves, For this War will be the End of all Wars, and the Front shall not only be on the battlefield but the Souls of all Living Men Women and Children in this world and the next.

"This as been an announcement from Kaiserine Octavia Anniona, from the Imperial Broadcasting Bureau. God Save the Empire."
The Radio finished.

Wilhelm had since put his pipe down, though the room stayed silent. He looked at his children before him, and quietly to himself he prayed.



 

zenphoenix

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Octavia gave quite an inspiring speech. Hopefully the people of the empire will unite against their common foes!

Oh, and some words of advice. Like the narrative you wrote, but it's a bit difficult to read with the random capitalizations. Also, when writing dialogue it reads much better if you end them with a punctuation mark "like this," or "like this."
 

TheAnguishedOne

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Octavia knows how to inspire her people. Got to know how to encourage that patriotism.
 

dragoon9105

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Chapter 5: Setting the World on Fire

(Holy Roman Troops marching to the Greek Front)
War with the Axis and the Soviet Union had each been continued and planned out in detail by Imperial Staff. The Soviet Plan, codenamed 'Ivan' was simply, involving a push to Dnieper River where the army would hold while Poland, Prussia and Lithuania were secured, Then if the Russian Government refused terms, a Second major assault this time for Moscow and St Petersburg. The Plans for the Greeks were named known under the codename 'John' and involved the practiced strategy of seizing Greece within the opening weeks of the war, Then attempting crossings into Anatolia while making a drive for Crimea. Troops at Suez, which was of vital importance would fortify Israel and wait for further reinforcements from Africa and Lindi to seize the middle east.

Plans John and Ivan were rendered obsolete overnight as the Russian's had Joined with the Axis. Worst still the Egyptians had refused all demands for military access and intelligence reports from the country had decreased to a trickle. Without Suez the Indians would effectively be on their own and now the very real possibility of the Entire Imperial Fleet being caught in the mediterranean while Sudamerika, the Chinese Union State or another power dismantled the Holy Roman Colonial Empire was terrifying.


Measures were taken almost immediately, If the Egyptians would not join the Coalition against the axis they would be occupied by force. Octavia also approved a preemptive invasion against the Celtic Union before the Empire would be forced into a two front war European war on Axis terms alongside the African and Asian fronts.


Fighting first began in Poland outside the city of Warsaw. The Russians, apparently expecting the Holy Roman Empire to back down over Scandinavia did not garrison the region beyond a few regiments, leaving a large area of the countryside open to an initial push by the imperial army.​


In Crimea things were less open, as the Greeks had prepared accordingly by sending soldiers into the region. What the greeks did not account for however was the deployment of almost twenty armored divisions and after an initial stalemate LPz 35 and Pz39's under command of General Herman Richter had crossed the border, punching holes in the greek defense and forcing a full retreat to the Crimean Peninsula.


In early april the Invasion of Greece was also proceeding well according to plan. Greek Border guard had folded leaving Imperial soldiers a straight run into Thracia and Macedonia. In fact things were proceding so well that the Siege of Constantinople had already begun as Light Armored divisions arrived from Wallachia. The Greeks responded with a massive troop deployment into Gallipoli. More than a hundred divisions strong the new troops were more than numerous enough to run the token invasion force out of the country if not for one factor. The Imperial Fleet.

(Artistic Interpretation of the Imperial Super Heavy Battleship 'Christopher' opening fire on Greek soldiers in Gallipoli)
Heavily concentrated and without Air or Naval support the peninsula became a shooting gallery for Holy Roman Battleships, and later Attacker Aircraft as the Peninsula was bottled up and fortified, and with no Supplies coming in from Anatolia medical supplies, and counter battery ammunition for the greek garrison ran out.


By the 20th, The Peninsula had become a wasteland and with next to no organization or supplies the Greeks in Gallipoli surrendered wholesale. Approximately one Hundred and Forty Four Greek divisions were captured and sent to POW camps in Pannonia. The defeat in Gallipoli had become a National Embarrassment on an unprecedented scale for the Eastern Roman Republic and a valuable new piece for the Holy Roman Empire in the Propaganda war.



Bad news followed quickly after from the Middle East. The Soldiers that had been meant for Israel had been diverted to the Greek front to prevent a breakout, and without troops or supplies the Israeli's were overrun wholesale by Eastern Roman Forces. Suez was now next, and the Egyptian government continued to be belligerent.


Seeing no other choice Octavia issued a declaration of war on Egypt. The Orders for the African front were clear, Suez must be held no matter the cost in Men or Supplies. When Initial progress in egypt began to look grim however things had only begun to look worse and plans for an Invasion of Anatolia were abandoned completly in favor of breaking Egypt and securing the canal.​


With the Empire at war all current military contracts were accelerated. The IAF in particular greenlighted several initiatives. The DB109 was already beginning to show it's age before the war. The new Celtic CAF-"Salamander' was both faster and more maneuverable and the Pan American P-40 Kittyhawk was proving to be not only more reliable but able to mount bombs and drop tanks on it's wings, making the fight more versatile than the basic german interceptor.


(The Proposed DB109-F40 designated 'Ik-36F')​
The Deutchland-Braun company revised the original DB design, streamlining the aircraft for better speed while also inserting a more powerful engine that house house an Internal 20mm Nose cannon. Designated the 109-F40 previous 109 Production lines were given the revised blueprints and production on the new 'Ik 40' began in by June. Production of the DB109-F40 'Ik-36' and later variants of the design would continue throughout the war, but in much lower production numbers.


(The Fe-40 designated the IK-40 'Blitz')​

Back from embarrassment in 1936 Ferrari had joined with several other Italian aircraft companies to produce the Fe-40. During testing the IAF found the Fe-40 to be the fastest military aircraft available, albeit with to little armament to be considered. Ferrari answered with the Fe-40D a desert warfare variant, modified to take higher octane fuel to compensate for increased armament. Convinced the Luftwaffe designated the Fe-40 the Ik-40 and ordered the aircraft into mass production overtaking the DB-109 in importance. For it's speed and heavy armament pilots began to call the Ik-40 the 'Blitz' or Thunderbolt.


In sharp contrast to the evolving European front of the war the Asian front stayed relatively stagnant. With Japan, Korea and Manchuria fortifying the border the Chinese made several attacks into Manchuria taking severe losses for only minor gains in territory. The Oil fields of Baku in the Eastern Roman Republic were considered far too important to lose however, and massive amounts of troops were diverted towards crushing India, and fortifying the Crimean line, rather than bleeding for the Manchurian hillside.


(Lend Lease P40 'Warhawk' Fighters Over Korea)​

Despite a showing lack of strength in Asia, Empress Octavia insisted on a Europe first war policy much to the frustration of Japanese and American Generals who saw more value in focusing on the Chinese Union State first. What was allowed however was the widespread strategic bombing of Chinese Industry, something the Continental Union also saw significant value in.


(Type 40 Yangtze Super Submarine)
And so the War in Asia turned from an expected bloody mess in Manchuria into war over the Yellow and East China Seas. Strategic Bombers such as the CB-17 were sent over to Japan, Korea and Formosa En Masse. The Chinese responded with the adoption of the J-8 Interceptor family. To try and stop the flow of fuel and essential supplies the Chinese shifted naval production away from coastal defense craft to submarines, which also had a dual purpose of threatening American Carriers that operated too close to Chinese waters.


Back in Europe the Fall of Istanbul followed Gallipoli in short order. While Southern Greece remained hostile, complete naval blockade of the Mediterranean looked to ensure that what little troops remained in greece were now effectively trapped. In the following months the region would be seized wholesale and a token occupation force left the guard it outside a more substantial garrison on the former Greek Capital.


In Russia, Poland had been effectively passed, leading to Prussia where the Soviets now were organized enough to present an effective resistance. Progress halted as the Soviets continued to dig in around Danzig and requests for armored divisions, currently occupied in the Crimea and Kiev to be diverted north were put in to break through the remaining defenders.


In Kiev Holy Roman armored divisions had ensured a relatively quick advance through the countryside. Soviet forces were now appearing on the front in greater and greater numbers however, diverted from Asia and rather crucially from Scandinavia as the Soviets needed to gain as much ground before winter as humanly possible.


The War in Africa continued to escalate as Egypt's continued resistance was now being backed by the Eastern Romans and Chinese as well as an Axis expeditionary force. As a provisionary measure, alternate supply lines from Mauretania and Lindi to Tunis were prepared in the event the Canal would no longer become safe for transit. The Continental Union would later sent an expeditionary force to North Africa alongside another twenty Imperial divisions with the express goal of holding the canal at any cost.

For the Greater Albion this put them in an awkward situation, as a large part of their bargaining power was it's ability to threaten Gibraltar. If the Holy Roman Empire could manage to secure Suez and open a front in the Middle East. A decision needed to be made and it was done so quickly, by midsummer 1940 Greater Albion began feeding the Egyptians surplus equipment, aircraft and volunteers. For the Holy Roman Empire it was be just the excuse it needed.

Upon the discovery and capture of Celtic Soldiers and pilots fighting in Egypt Octavia announced a full declaration of war alongside a preemptive strike into the heart of france. It was a Gambit, but if it would succeed it would mean an end to Breton Domination of Western Europe, Forever.
 
Last edited:

dragoon9105

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Octavia gave quite an inspiring speech. Hopefully the people of the empire will unite against their common foes!

Oh, and some words of advice. Like the narrative you wrote, but it's a bit difficult to read with the random capitalizations. Also, when writing dialogue it reads much better if you end them with a punctuation mark "like this," or "like this."
Ahh yes, grammar my arch nemesis, :p The random capitalization is a bit of a bad habit I have if you haven't noticed. I'll try to get better about it though.
 
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TheAnguishedOne

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The Holy Roman Empire is playing things dangerously, dragging more enemies into the war... but assuming everything goes as planned, you'll be exceptionally stronger after taking territory from so many nations.
 

EmperorofMordor

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Well, either this will work out beautifully and everything will be fine, it wont work out but not be a disaster and leave you in a very long war, or it will fail utterly and you will be crushed by overwhelming numbers from all sides. I personally see that as the least likely option.
 

zenphoenix

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Looks like the Axis is giving you a good challenge. But it shouldn't be long before you steamroll the ERR and your other European neighbors given how fast you took Constantinople (did I mention it feels a bit wrong for the ERR to call its capital Istanbul?).
 

dragoon9105

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Well, either this will work out beautifully and everything will be fine, it wont work out but not be a disaster and leave you in a very long war, or it will fail utterly and you will be crushed by overwhelming numbers from all sides. I personally see that as the least likely option.
Like I said, I intentionally made things harder on myself this time around. In the Test Game Only the Axis declared war on me and I took the Commonwealth Path so the Soviets Dow'd scandinavia without my intervention. As far as the numbers are concerned The Axis and my Alliance are about even in division count, Soviet Union and Celt's give them a numbers and industrial advantage.

Wiping those 144 divisions for Free was a gift from Heaven though. God the AI can be really dumb, I hope Paradox fixes it in the future.

Can I do a short story about the fall of Israel?
By all means go for it.
 

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"Let her go, you fiend!" Captain Empire, the most famous comic book hero in the Holy Roman Empire, brandished his famous eagle-emblemed shield.
"Never!" retorted his costumed rival, General Jacobin, cackling maniacally. The Russian super soldier held Captain Empire's girlfriend, Gisela Golzer, in from tot him, preparing his ray gun...

An explosion shocked Moshe out of the world of heroes, and into the here and now. The here and now, unfortunately, was less than pleasant. Moshe had drilled for the war with the Fascist menace for years. The Israeli army would just need to hold on, and Imperial troops would come to their rescue from Egypt. It would be so easy.

Then, Nasser had staged his coup. Egypt was Fascist, and, in a week, the Imperial Dominion of Israel has been reduced to one solitary, wretched hill: Masadah.

The irony, Moshe thought, was not left in the Division that currently made up the entire Israeli army.

He chuckled suddenly, prompting a "What's so funny?" from his friend Aaron.

"I was just thinking," replied Moshe, "that the entire history of Israel is a farce. I mean, think about it. We get expelled by the Romans. Then, thousands of years later, the Romans grant us this same piece of land. And now, some different Romans are going to take it away again."

Aaron, a history buff, could have pointed out that the Roman Empire of Hadrian was really, really different from the Roman Empire of Octavia, and, for that matter, the Roman Empire of Anatolios. He could have, but he figured that, what the hell, his friend was about to die. If he wanted to wax poetic in a historically inaccurate manner let him wax poetic in a historically inaccurate manner.

They sat in silence, watching the Eastern Roman battle lines forming up, a wave of black waiting to break against the fortress. The Fascist legions looked so small from up here. If only, thought Moshe, they would stay that way.

"You know," observed Aaron finally, "it doesn't have to end like this."

Moshe was, once again, pulled violently from the adventures of Captain Empire. "Wha?"

"It doesn't. We could lose the battle here, but the Empire could still liberate us. Last I heard we were about to destroy 1,000 divisions or something at Gallipoli."

"!,000?" Moshe asked incredulously. "There's no way that's accurate."

"Yeah," admitted Aaron. "You're probably right."

The ground shook. The black wave began to move.

"Battle stations!" an anonymous Colonel, now the highest ranking officer in the Israeli army, barked.

"Well," Moshe observed, "I guess this is it." He was shaking. Aaron pretended not to notice.

"Yeah. Let's send as many of them to hell as we can," he replied, attempting a smile which was really more of a grimace.

"Judaism doesn't have hell, dumbass." Moshe retorted.

"Ah, piss off."

The black tide broke on Masadah.
 
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zenphoenix

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"Let her go, you fiend!" Captain Empire, the most famous comic book hero in the Holy Roman Empire, brandished his famous eagle-emblemed shield.
"Never!" retorted his costumed rival, General Jacobin, cackling maniacally. The Russian super soldier held Captain Empire's girlfriend, Gisela Golzer, in from tot him, preparing his ray gun...

An explosion shocked Moshe out of the world of heroes, and into the here and now. The here and now, unfortunately, was less than pleasant. Moshe had drilled for the war with the Fascist menace for years. The Israeli army would just need to hold on, and Imperial troops would come to their rescue from Egypt. It would be so easy.

Then, Nasser had staged his coup. Egypt was Fascist, and, in a week, the Imperial Dominion of Israel has been reduced to one solitary, wretched hill: Masadah.

The irony, Moshe thought, was not left in the Division that currently made up the entire Israeli army.

He chuckled suddenly, prompting a "What's so funny?" from his friend Aaron.

"I was just thinking," replied Moshe, "that the entire history of Israel is a farce. I mean, think about it. We get expelled by the Romans. Then, thousands of years later, the Romans grant us this same piece of land. And now, some different Romans are going to take it away again."

Aaron, a history buff, could have pointed out that the Roman Empire of Hadrian was really, really different from the Roman Empire of Octavia, and, for that matter, the Roman Empire of Anatolios. He could have, but he figured that, what the hell, his friend was about to die. If he wanted to wax poetic in a historically inaccurate manner let him wax poetic in a historically inaccurate manner.

They sat in silence, watching the Eastern Roman battle lines forming up, a wave of black waiting to break against the fortress. The Fascist legions looked so small from up here. If only, thought Moshe, they would stay that way.

"You know," observed Aaron finally, "it doesn't have to end like this."

Moshe was, once again, pulled violently from the adventures of Captain Empire. "Wha?"

"It doesn't. We could lose the battle here, but the Empire could still liberate us. Last I heard we were about to destroy 1,000 divisions or something at Gallipoli."

"!,000?" Moshe asked incredulously. "There's no way that's accurate."

"Yeah," admitted Aaron. "You're probably right."

The ground shook. The black wave began to move.

"Battle stations!" an anonymous Colonel, now the highest ranking officer in the Israeli army, barked.

"Well," Moshe observed, "I guess this is it." He was shaking. Aaron pretended not to notice.

"Yeah. Let's send as many of them to hell as we can," he replied, attempting a smile which was really more of a grimace.

"Judaism doesn't have hell, dumbass." Moshe retorted.

"Ah, piss off."

The black tide broke on Masadah.
And so history repeats itself on the hill of Masada, where the brave Israelis gave their last stand. They may have been fighting on the wrong side, but their sacrifice will not go unnoticed.

Also, now I'm thinking about writing a short story on a random guy in China and/or the fate of the Hohenzollern family in this universe, would that be okay with you @dragoon9105 ?
 

dragoon9105

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"Let her go, you fiend!" Captain Empire, the most famous comic book hero in the Holy Roman Empire, brandished his famous eagle-emblemed shield.
"Never!" retorted his costumed rival, General Jacobin, cackling maniacally. The Russian super soldier held Captain Empire's girlfriend, Gisela Golzer, in from tot him, preparing his ray gun...

An explosion shocked Moshe out of the world of heroes, and into the here and now. The here and now, unfortunately, was less than pleasant. Moshe had drilled for the war with the Fascist menace for years. The Israeli army would just need to hold on, and Imperial troops would come to their rescue from Egypt. It would be so easy.

Then, Nasser had staged his coup. Egypt was Fascist, and, in a week, the Imperial Dominion of Israel has been reduced to one solitary, wretched hill: Masadah.

The irony, Moshe thought, was not left in the Division that currently made up the entire Israeli army.

He chuckled suddenly, prompting a "What's so funny?" from his friend Aaron.

"I was just thinking," replied Moshe, "that the entire history of Israel is a farce. I mean, think about it. We get expelled by the Romans. Then, thousands of years later, the Romans grant us this same piece of land. And now, some different Romans are going to take it away again."

Aaron, a history buff, could have pointed out that the Roman Empire of Hadrian was really, really different from the Roman Empire of Octavia, and, for that matter, the Roman Empire of Anatolios. He could have, but he figured that, what the hell, his friend was about to die. If he wanted to wax poetic in a historically inaccurate manner let him wax poetic in a historically inaccurate manner.

They sat in silence, watching the Eastern Roman battle lines forming up, a wave of black waiting to break against the fortress. The Fascist legions looked so small from up here. If only, thought Moshe, they would stay that way.

"You know," observed Aaron finally, "it doesn't have to end like this."

Moshe was, once again, pulled violently from the adventures of Captain Empire. "Wha?"

"It doesn't. We could lose the battle here, but the Empire could still liberate us. Last I heard we were about to destroy 1,000 divisions or something at Gallipoli."

"!,000?" Moshe asked incredulously. "There's no way that's accurate."

"Yeah," admitted Aaron. "You're probably right."

The ground shook. The black wave began to move.

"Battle stations!" an anonymous Colonel, now the highest ranking officer in the Israeli army, barked.

"Well," Moshe observed, "I guess this is it." He was shaking. Aaron pretended not to notice.

"Yeah. Let's send as many of them to hell as we can," he replied, attempting a smile which was really more of a grimace.

"Judaism doesn't have hell, dumbass." Moshe retorted.

"Ah, piss off."

The black tide broke on Masadah.
Alas poor Israel, If only Egypt allowed me military access you would still be alive.

And so history repeats itself on the hill of Masada, where the brave Israelis gave their last stand. They may have been fighting on the wrong side, but their sacrifice will not go unnoticed.

Also, now I'm thinking about writing a short story on a random guy in China and/or the fate of the Hohenzollern family in this universe, would that be okay with you @dragoon9105 ?
Hey if you feel inspired go for it, Dont let me get in the way.
 

zenphoenix

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Nanjing, China

Chiang Kai-Shek heard a knock on the door to his apartment. "Come in," he said.

The door opened, and a somewhat fat man walked in.

"Ah, Mr. Mao," said Chiang, "Nice to see you around here."

"Nice to see you again," said Mao, "How's the wife?"

"Oh, she's fine as usual," said Chiang, "She's leading another one of those blasted protests again."

"Hmm, I thought you liked those protests!"

"Shh," said Chiang in a hushed voice, "They could be everywhere."

"Right," said Mao, also whispering, "Now, it seems like with this war going on those protests won't go anywhere. We need to do something else."

"Like what?" said Chiang.

"I don't know, you're the general!" said Mao.

"I'm also a communist, nobody will listen to me!"

"One wonders how you managed to get promoted and not get purged, given Hong's paranoia these days."

"Hey, you're the right-winger here. You can do something."

"Like what? Demand more democracy? A return to that old republic? Please. That's only begging for another man like Hong to show up."

"Then we'll demand a constitutional monarchy."

"Under who? The Wu family is almost completely exterminated!"

"The key word is almost. Some of my contacts have located a certain young woman named Wu Zetian. She's currently studying law at the local university, and it appears the government has basically ignored her existence."

"Funny it's the communist who's suggesting a restoration of the monarchy. But there's no way the two of us can launch a coup against Hong at this point! Everybody's united around him against the Annionas!"

"We'll contact Vienna in secret and inform them of our plans. Then when they destroy Hong and his regime they'll put Wu on the throne. Simple."

"Something's probably going to go wrong with that."

---

Vienna, HRE

Otto von Hohenzollern and his friend, Otto von Habsburg, sat at a cafe just down the street from the Imperial Parliament building. Otto von Hohenzollern sipped from a cup of tea, while Otto von Habsburg sipped from a cup of coffee.

"Hey, Otto," said Otto von Hohenzollern, "What do you think of that declaration of war on Greater Albion?"

"Eh, they had it coming," said Otto von Habsburg, "That's what they get for deposing their monarch."

"Do you ever wonder if Austria's going to get out of this war in one piece?"

"What? That statement was borderline treasonous. You're lucky both of us are nobles. But yeah, sometimes I do worry a bit."

"So do I. This is the largest war the empire's ever fought. It's us against the world. Somehow I think the odds are stacked against us. But we'll prevail. I know we will."

"Yep."

"And then we'll assert our hegemony across the entire world, unite everybody under the Annionas' leadership, and then go meet some Martians..."

"Okay, I think somebody put something in your tea," said Otto von Habsburg.

A third man, also wearing a business suit, sat down at the table.

"Oh hey, Markos Angelos," said Otto von Hohenzollern, "How are you doing?"

"Could be better," grumbled Markos, "People aren't coming to church as much as they used to. However, something sort of interesting happened to me yesterday."

"Oh, do explain," said Otto von Habsburg.

He took out a small film reel and pushed it in Otto von Hohenzollern's direction. "Guard it carefully. The Annionas may be looking for it."

"What is it?" said Otto von Hohenzollern, looking over the reel.

"It's a really strange newsreel," said Markos, "Found it in my donations box one day. Played it over and it was...surprising, to say the least."

The bells of St. Stephen's Cathedral tolled, and Markos got out of his chair. "Well, looks like I have a prayer to lead right about now. See you around!"

He hurried off, quickly disappearing in the crowded streets.

"What was that all about?" said Otto von Habsburg.

"I don't know, but it sure sounds important," said Otto von Hohenzollern, "I'm taking this reel back to my estate and checking it out."

"Sure," said Otto von Habsburg, "Let me know what you find."

---

Burg Hohenzollern, a few hours later

It was a weekend, which meant Parliament wasn't in session. Otto von Hohenzollern had time to return to his family estates in Baden-Wurttemberg. The train ride took him a few hours, during which he looked over the film reel with interest. The reel had nothing on it except the actual film and a small piece of paper taped to the center. On the paper was written a short phrase: "The Grasshopper Lies Heavy." He assumed that this was the title of the film. Throughout the ride he constantly looked over his shoulder, making sure nobody was watching him.

When he finally got off the train, he rushed to his waiting car and asked his driver to drive as quickly as possible to the castle. The car sped off through the streets of the sleepy village of Hechingen, which despite being a modern village retained much of its medieval charm.

Hechingen lay at the foot of the Swabian Alps, just below Burg Hohenzollern, the ancestral estate of the Hohenzollern family. The castle loomed over the village imposingly, displaying to all below the grandeur of the Hohenzollerns. A pity that grandeur couldn't be displayed to the rest of the empire, Otto thought.

While the original medieval castle had been maintained in relatively good shape, no Hohenzollern had lived in there for centuries, with Otto and his family preferring to live in a second castle right next to it. This new castle was up to date and modern, equipped with the latest amenities and built according to modern standards.

After about half an hour of driving, the car pulled up in front of the new castle, and Otto hurried out before his servants could even hold open the door for him. He rushed to his small movie theater room, put the reel inside a projector, and switched it on.

Light spilled out of the projector, throwing images on the movie screen which Otto eagerly watched. The film appeared to be an old newsreel, depicting current events involving the empire, with a particular emphasis on the war, but everything was all wrong.

The year read "1940." A map showed up on the screen, but there were no borders he recognized. There was no Greater Albion. There was no Scandinavia. There was no North Germanic Union. There was no Eastern Roman Republic. There wasn't even a Holy Roman Empire. Instead, spread out over the entirety of Europe south of Denmark and west of the Soviet Union was a single nation, marked with an imperial eagle similar to the ones used by both the Annionas and the former emperors of the Greeks. The name read "Roman Empire."

"What the..." Otto said.

The map panned out, revealing more of the world. There were no Austrian colonies in the Americas, or even any countries that arose from Austrian colonies. He recognized the emblems of the Aztecs and the Incas, though the names were off and some were communist. It appeared that the Chinese Union State had taken a third of North America, with the rest under the control of Canada or the natives. How did the natives survive that smallpox epidemic? This was just plain wrong. At least Canada looked right.

Then the map moved to Africa and Asia. It appeared that Austria had been more successful with Africa than with the Americas. But why hadn't Mali been destroyed yet? The Annionas would have destroyed it a long time ago. And how did Abyssinia get its independence from India?

Asia was even more shocking. The Chinese Union State was even larger in this timeline, potentially the largest empire in the world. He gave up trying to comprehend how the Annionas allowed such a monstrosity to have gotten so powerful. India, meanwhile, was weaker, and there were independent Iranian and Turkish entities where Indian colonies should have been.

The map disappeared, replaced with actual footage. He saw armies marching across familiar and unfamiliar landscapes, wearing uniforms with strange symbols on them. Some wore a modified Anniona imperial eagle, while others wore an ERR republican eagle, though both appeared to have otherwise identical uniforms.

He saw an Indian dictator lead a fascist rally in Delhi. He saw the leader of the Soviets, who appeared to be Trotsky. Stalin was nowhere to be seen. He saw a man sitting at a desk, on which rested a Scandinavian flag. But Scandinavia didn't exist...or it formerly existed. What had the Annionas done to create such a strange world?

What was even more shocking was the footage from the Americas and Asia. Everybody looked like a native, except the Canadians, who looked like Scandinavians. Also, most of North America was full of communists, which was horrifying. He watched the footage from the Chinese Union State, seeing parades march down the main streets of Nanjing while thousands of Chinese waved flags. But these flags didn't bear the insignia of the Union State. Instead, they bore an imperial Chinese dragon insignia. The film cut to a session of the Chinese Parliament. Everything looked the same, except the Union State flag was gone, and Hong was replaced with another general that he didn't recognize. Then the film cut to a picture of the former Chinese imperial palace, where he saw the former Wu emperor himself sitting on a golden throne. There was no Chinese Union State. The Wu dynasty had managed to stay in power, he realized.

Next, the footage centered on the empire, which despite the complete loss of the American colonies was incredibly powerful. He saw a session of the Imperial Diet, where hundreds of senators, nobles, governors, and representatives were discussing a recent piece of legislation. Nobody appeared to be voting. Shots of the population didn't include any scenes of voting. Which meant Octavia hadn't implemented her voting reforms or had revoked them. And why?

There were only a few shots of Vienna, which looked just about the same as it he remembered it. However, there were more shots of Constantinople and Berlin, which looked even grander than he knew them to be. Berlin was especially grand, filled with imposing monuments, churches, synagogues, mosques, other unidentifiable temples, and palaces. The streets teemed with thousands of citizens, dwarfing even Vienna's population. And above it all fluttered the same slightly wrong Anniona eagle.

The film cut to a nearby palace, which despite being less impressive than the Anniona imperial palace still took up about half a minute of screentime. Inside, Otto saw some familiar faces, including the war heroes Ludendorff and Richthofen. But there were others he didn't recognize. Many of them were new faces to him.

Whoever was holding the camera rounded a corner, and Otto gasped.

Markos Angelos stood there, holding a glass of wine in his hand and waving to the camera. He was wearing a nametag identifying himself as the Chancellor of the empire. Next to him was Stalin, wearing the robes of an Eastern Orthodox priest. But that wasn't what surprised him.

Next to them was himself, wearing a crown he had only seen worn by Annionas and dressed in a military uniform he had only seen worn by Anniona emperors.

He blinked twice and looked away. Then he looked back. There was no mistake. That was him in the film. And the film showed him as the Emperor.

He was the Emperor.

Impossible.

---

He didn't remember what happened next, but he found himself in bed with a big headache.

"Ugh," he managed to say, "What just happened?"

"Oh, good," said Otto von Habsburg, standing in the doorway, "You're awake."

"Otto," said Otto von Hohenzollern, "What're you doing here?"

"Decided to drop in to see how you were doing, and then when I arrived your wife was screaming her head off," said Otto von Habsburg, "You watched that film, didn't you?"

"Of course I did, Sherlock!" said Otto von Hohenzollern, slightly annoyed, "And what I saw was hard to watch."

"What was on that film?" said Otto von Habsburg.

"You don't want to know," said Otto von Hohenzollern, "It's seditious, treasonous, and just plain wrong."

"And yet it caused you to faint," said Otto von Habsburg, "There's got to be something more to it."

"It's a joke, a cruel joke," said Otto von Hohenzollern, "Who would go to such lengths to make a movie like this? And how did I not know about it? How did none of us know about it?"

"Listen, Otto," said Otto von Habsburg, "What was on that film?"

Otto von Hohenzollern sat up. "You really want to know?" he asked.

"Yes."

He got out of bed. "Follow me."

They walked over to the movie theater, where the reel was still loaded in the projector. Otto von Hohenzollern reached for the on switch.

"Are you sure you want to watch this?" he said.

"We have to know what this film is," replied the other Otto.

Otto von Hohenzollern nodded, and flipped the switch.

---

Well, sorry for making it a bit long. I got a bit carried away there. Hope it doesn't present any continuity issues! Thanks for letting me do this!:D
 
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