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Prufrock451

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"Yesterday." The rich voice, the nuanced tones that captivated even through the tinny filter of a million radio sets. The voice a generation of Americans had grown to associate with authority, and compassion, and leadership.

The President.

"Yesterday, September 1, 1939- a date which will live in infamy- our brave allies in the Republic of Poland were suddenly and deliberately attacked by land and air forces of the German Reich.

"The United States and our allies were at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Germany, were still in consultation with the government and its Fuhrer looking towards a peaceful resolution of the Danzig issue and the maintenance of peace in Europe.

"Indeed, one hour after German infantry crossed the border, the German ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

"It will be recorded that the number of troops moving into Poland makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the German government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States and the Alliance by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

"The attack yesterday on Poland has caused severe damage to Allied military forces. The lives of over a hundred American military advisors have already been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between London and the North Sea coast.

"Yesterday, the German government also launched an air raid against Strasbourg.

"Last night, German artillery attacked Colmar.

"Last night, German artillery attacked Mulhouse.

"Last night, the German navy attacked Allied shipping throughout the North Sea.

"Germany has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout Europe. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

"As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

"Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.

"No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated attack, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

"I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

"Hostilities exist. Our brave Allies in France, Britain, and the Commonwealth have already declared war. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

"With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

"I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Germany on Friday, September 1, a state of war has existed between the United States and the German Reich."
 

The Yogi

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Yay, a Prufrock AAR!

Interesting, with America taking an interest in European affairs since even before the outbreak of war. How on earth did the President (Roosevelt? Perhaps not!) manage to sell the alliance with Britain, France and Poland to the American public?
 

Prufrock451

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January 15, 1936

"The Second Neutrality Act," drawled the President, tapping his cigarette into the engraved ashtray at his side. "That sorry lot in the Senate will put it before me next month, I imagine."

Harry Hopkins nodded. "I agree, Mr. President. From what I hear, the Nye Commission's report is going to say that we got duped into the Great War and that'll raise enough stink to let the Neutrality Act sail through."

President Roosevelt snorted, jabbing his cigarette in the direction of the Capitol. "The only thing over there raising a stink is the bullshit those boys are shoveling."

Hopkins paused. The silence stretched out. He knew Roosevelt well enough to know that he wouldn't get an explanation at this meeting, let alone Roosevelt's ultimate goal. Roosevelt played his cards close to his chest. The best Hopkins could hope for was an assignment. Something hinted at, of course. Roosevelt never committed a decision to paper until no force on earth could stop whatever he wanted done.

Roosevelt stubbed out his cigarette with one hand, reaching with his other hand for a fresh one. He squinted into the distance.

"Harry," he said, "I'm thinking that the world is getting more and more dangerous by the day." Hopkins turned around, his eyes involuntarily widening. The tone of Roosevelt's voice was something he rarely heard; the man was revealing something. "Italy's mucking around in Africa, Spain's about to fall apart, Germany and Japan are about to throw off the League of Nations and pile up guns for, for God knows what... and here is the Senate this- damn- close- to tying my hands completely." Roosevelt leaned forward, gripping the rails of his wheelchair tightly enough to make the metal creak. "Neutrality Act. It won't stop a war, it'll just stop the war we can win." Roosevelt wheeled around to face Hopkins.

"Harry. Once this act passes, it'll pick up momentum. A year from now, two years, God only knows what it'll take to make us poke our heads out of our shells." Roosevelt leaned forward. "We've got to do something."

Hopkins shifted uneasily. "You're telling me there's a war coming, and we're going to be in it. I'm supposed to go to Capitol Hill and convince ninety-six men of that? Before the Neutrality Act gets out of committee next month?"

Roosevelt grinned. Hopkins caught his breath. The mask was back up. Roosevelt, the damned fox, was miles ahead of him. "Now, Harry. I know you haven't got the time to convince ninety-six politicians to go along with us." Roosevelt wheeled around, off the portico and into the White House. Over his shoulder, he shouted, "You only have to convince one."
 

Prufrock451

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January 30, 1936

Hopkins rubbed his eyes blearily. He'd just returned from Europe and the whole world was out of joint. According to his body, it was 10 AM. It was still 2 AM outside, in Washington. Hopkins lifted his head from glancing at the watch and set the room spinning. He took another gulp of coffee.

President Roosevelt wheeled into the room, grinning.

"Harry, I just lost six hundred dollars at poker to a passel of Senators."

Hopkins sighed, knowing his role was to play the straight man. "Then why are you grinning, sir?"

Roosevelt laughed, as much at the cliched banter he'd trapped Hopkins into as anything else. "I paid them with personal checks! They'll never cash those things. They'll keep 'em as souvenirs. This is from the time I beat the President at poker, they'll tell their grandkids." Roosevelt wheeled over to a sidebar and started mixing a martini. "So Harry. Tell me about your trip."

Hopkins shook his head. "It didn't work, Mr. President. I gave Ribbentrop your message, word for word." Roosevelt had made Hopkins recite the letter like a schoolboy. Boiled down, it was a veiled threat to join the Franco-British alliance if Germany stirred up trouble. The note was just polite enough to be insulting, but it was backed by nothing. The Senate would never agree to the measures Roosevelt was hinting at.

Hopkins bit his tongue to stifle a yawn. "Frankly, sir, I don't understand why I had to fly to Europe to deliver it. It's a feeble threat without any backing, and it's on a level with a protest message the ambassador could easily have delivered."

Roosevelt took a sip of his martini and splashed in more vermouth. "Exactly, Harry, exactly." He took another sip. "Ah. Perfect." Roosevelt splashed in more vermouth. "The thing is, Harry, it was meant to fail. It was meant to get under Herr Hitler's skin and provoke him. Now, he's thinking, the Americans, they're showing backbone. No, wait- it's only Roosevelt. The American Senate, they're spineless cowards. All I need to do is push a little, and show them that I'm in charge." Roosevelt sipped his martini and stretched like a satisfied cat. "So now Hitler is going to do something rash, to show that the French and British don't scare him. To show me that it's pointless to bother lining up against him."

Hopkins blinked. "But the Senate-"

Roosevelt laughed. "Well, the Senate doesn't care much about Europe. But they care about the U.S. being insulted. Tomorrow, we'll put it out quietly that Hitler's stirring up trouble to influence the upcoming Senate vote. At the same time, I'll make a bad speech saying how much I'm for the Neutrality Act." Roosevelt leaned forward. "Then you, Harry, get to go down to Capitol Hill and say to them, kill the Neutrality Act. Kick some sand in Roosevelt's face. Show you're independent of the White House. And show that foreign bully he can't push around the U.S. Senate."

Hopkins blinked. "Tomorrow?"

Roosevelt nodded. "Why, Harry, we have to do it tomorrow. Hitler moved troops into the Rhineland just an hour ago." Hopkins stared wide-eyed. "Oh, and Harry, make sure to point out that my budget proposal asks for another six infantry divisions with engineering brigades." He gestured grandly with his cigarette. "Let it be widely known that those who vote against the Neutrality Act will get those fresh divisions to start building lucrative dams in key districts." Roosevelt wheeled out of the room, whistling a Stephen Foster song.

Hopkins stared after him. It took him a full minute to remember that he was exhausted.
 

Atruejedi

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Generally I don't like story-driven AARs, but this is nice! I really enjoyed reading this, Roosevelt's personality is dead-on! :)
 

Amona

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A new AAR by you, thats, uuuhh... wonderful. Looking forward to more :)
 

elbasto

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Excellent, another Pufrock AAR...


That Roosvelt is surely a fox... awsome character so far.

The best part was: Roosevelt laughed, as much at the cliched banter he'd trapped Hopkins into as anything else. "I paid them with personal checks! They'll never cash those things. They'll keep 'em as souvenirs. This is from the time I beat the President at poker, they'll tell their grandkids."
 

Stuyvesant

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[Suspicious]Are you truly writing a new AAR, or are you just dabbling in some scenes?[/Suspicious] Not that there's anything wrong with dabbling in some scenes (I never had a bad opinion of Roosevelt, but this version is perfectly charming! Cynical manipulation is SO much fun!), but it seems almost too good to be true that you are writing a new AAR... Christmas coming early, or something like that?

Anyway, slight suspicions aside, I'm glad to see you writing again. Even if it's only a tenth as good as To Stand Against The Night, then it will still be the most entertaining read I've had in a while. :)
 

Prufrock451

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Yes, it's a new AAR. HOT DIGGITY, GENTS.

November 4, 1936

Harry Hopkins slumped over the banister, listening to fireworks and shouts in the distance. The news was official. Roosevelt had won.

The year had been a tough slog. At the year's beginning, Roosevelt had played the rest of the world like a banjo, forcing Hitler to show his hand in Europe (and waking up the dozing democracies) while checking the spread of isolationism at home. After that, though, things had gone downhill.

The Supreme Court had dealt serious blows to Roosevelt's New Deal. ("And with six months until Election Day," Roosevelt had muttered.) Roosevelt had rearranged his cabinet, a move that backfired badly. He'd shuffled Ickes out of Interior to put new focus on research. (And speaking of that, there were rumors about the new massive military complex outside Boulder, Colorado that made Hopkins' head spin.) Ickes had been a poor sport, publicly railing against the move and driving a wedge between Roosevelt and Ickes' following of progressive Republicans. Roosevelt had ordered a massive construction effort which had quintupled the amount of shipping tonnage the nation's fleet could carry. He'd called it a jobs program, but people were quick to note that the country hadn't needed a mothballed shipping fleet that size since the last war. It hadn't helped Roosevelt any in the landlocked states, either.

The Gallup Poll had Roosevelt down 49-51 on Election Day, but the polls were dead wrong. Roosevelt had actually won 55-45, with a crushing 509-22 edge in the Electoral College.

Hopkins stubbed out his cigarette. Officially, of course, he was returning to his job as federal relief administrator. In the dark (and how much of Roosevelt's planning would never make it into the history books), Hopkins knew he had serious planning to do. There were two months before Roosevelt's next inaugural speech- and Hopkins needed to come up with the next big surprise...
 

Prufrock451

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February 3, 1937

"Of course, I can't speak for the government. But I think you know how I feel about this latest move." Charles Lindbergh spread his arms apologetically.

Across the table, Herman Goering nodded grimly.

"Herr Lindbergh, I understand your feelings and I appreciate your candor." Goering sipped at his brandy. Lindbergh suppressed a mild shiver of distaste- it was barely nine in the morning! "Believe me when I say no one in the German government wants or expects a war. The only person who seems to believe we are destined to collide is your President." Goering slapped at the globe on his desk, setting it spinning. "So Franco has won in Spain. How does this affect Roosevelt? How does this affect America or her interests? It does not. It absolutely does not."

Lindbergh shifted. He got the feeling that he was being used. This little speech was obviously practiced- he was supposed to pass it on. But to who? Was this going to be something official, or just something Goering wanted off his chest, or was it meant to dupe someone on the American side? Did Goering in fact want this kept secret? Was he trying to woo Lindbergh, or mislead him, or just see if he talked about this meeting?

God, I despise politics, thought Lindbergh. Goering was still talking, and Lindbergh suddenly realized he wasn't listening.

"...so Roosevelt announces that he will commit the United States to act if the Soviets or the Italians or, Heaven forbid, us, should intervene again. And of course, it will be watered down in the Senate and of course, there will always be room to negotiate, and so forth and so forth." Goering gulped at his brandy, forgetting in his excitement to pretend he was merely sipping. "But the end result is to take America a step closer to intervening in conflicts where she has no business. No business," repeated Goering, jabbing with his cigar.

Lindbergh grunted politely, recrossing his legs. Goering seemed satisfied and leaned back in his chair.

"But I see I have let myself get carried away. As I was saying before I began to wax rhetorical, I thank you again for coming to see our progress. I hope your report to the Army Air Force will be complimentary."

Lindbergh nodded. Back on safe ground! "Of course, Herr General. You've done admirable things, and made some very exciting innovations."

Goering grunted. "Yes, we have. I look forward to perhaps traveling to America. I would very much like to see what your Air Force is doing these days."

Lindbergh waved his hand. "Well, much of what we're doing is still basic compared-"

"I would especially like to visit your new base at Boulder."

Lindbergh's heart skipped a beat. He'd heard rumors about the new base at Boulder, as anyone with connections had. Ostensibly, it was a proving ground for the new class of tactical bombers Boeing was developing. The budget, though, was far too large to be justified by that. Carefully leaked secrets hinted that Boulder was where the US Army was going to test all of its new planes- a massive research complex and airplane factory. But Lindbergh knew there was a secret behind the secret- and apparently, so did Goering.

"Well, Herr General. From what I understand, it's simply a proving ground for bombers."

Goering smiled. "That is what I understand as well. That is why I'd like to see it." The smile grew wider, shoving fat cheeks into Goering's narrowing eyes. "I'm sure the gadgets you're testing there are the match of anything we're building."

There was a dramatic pause. It lengthened uncomfortably. Either the Germans have a sense of drama as ponderous as their opera, thought Lindbergh, or this man thinks I'm an idiot.

The meeting drew to a close with more formalities and pleasant conversation. Goering presented Lindbergh with a box of fine cigars. Lindbergh tapped his fingers worriedly on the box as his car drove to the airport. The politics were a red herring. He knew what Goering what hinting at.

The Nazis were building rockets too.
 

Prufrock451

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Some game notes as of 2/1937:

At this point in the game, I've moved the US two points towards Interventionism. Manpower isn't an issue, and neither is industrial capacity. No- I think I'll just go straight to the main course, thanks.

I've got trade deals set up to pour money and rare materials down the US gullet. Japan would apparently really like some oil. Well, we'll just see about that later on.

Technical development is focused largely at the moment on "dual-use technologies", industrial and computer techs.

I spent 1936 developing a huge merchant marine, along with some more transports. Other highlights: six infantry divisions with engineers, and my very own rocket testing range. kapow! This "gee, I really don't know what I'll do with all these ships" building program continues into 37.

Pause for comments before we get back to the story!
 

Carthade

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Hermann Goering has such a fat ass.
 

Prufrock451

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March 13, 1938

AUSTRIA ANNEXED BY GERMANY

The newspapers blared it in hundred-point type, trumpets blasting down the walls of the League of Nations.

German troops poured over the Austrian border, and the Austrian government meekly opened the gates. In London and Paris, the teletypes chattered out a deluge of anxious notes. It was too little, too late. The momentum had shifted to Berlin, and no leader of the democratic West could find the will to take back the initiative. No leader but Franklin Roosevelt, still hamstrung by a recalcitrant Senate and a growing backlash against the policy of increasing readiness for war.

Roosevelt had kept his opponents off-balance. His rearmament projects were masterpieces of political calculation. New bases were constructed in Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, and California, large electoral states. Huge orders of steel for the new transport fleet and merchant marine buoyed the economies of Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The economies of the solidly Republican Rockies were boosted by the erection of new test ranges and bases, especially the Boulder Proving Grounds. The aging destroyer and submarine fleets were augmented by stronger, faster ships.

Still, Congress was wary of the increasing rush to rearm, as it became increasingly apparent that the planned increases to the Armed Forces were aimed at the projection of force, instead of the protection of the continental United States. Roosevelt had unleashed the unions, who had no interest in stopping the rush of government orders. Tensions rose across the country, between the well-off and war-weary who wished only for peace and the growing, restless, job-hungry urbanites, whose wishes were aimed at more concrete goals. Congress refused to grant half of the military budget Roosevelt wanted for the 1939 fiscal year. They did compromise, however, by passing Roosevelt's minor War Powers Act of 1938. Again, a miniscule amount of tax revenue was diverted to military production, an increase in real dollars of only a few percent over the 1938 fiscal year.

The War Powers Act of 1938 did, however, repeal some of the strictures placed on the Presidency by the Neutrality Act. At this point, only Roosevelt and a few of his closest advisors knew what Congress did not- in the long run, this small compromise would mean much more than a few divisions.

In the 1936 campaign, colored by the Rhineland Crisis and Roosevelt's timely attack on the proposed Second Neutrality Act, Alf Landon had denounced Roosevelt, saying "he'll take us into Hell by the back door, but I bet good money it's hot any way you go in." Time would prove Landon right.
 

Amona

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Do I sense Lindbergh in a more favourable role than in history here?
Great read, I enjoyed "To stand against the night" immensely, and as expected, this is just as good and gripping.
Keep it coming, Sir!
 

Stuyvesant

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Politicking and (one assumes) eventually all-out warfare, what more could I ask for in a story? Yay! Very happy to see you using those writing skills of yours in a fictional setting once again. :)

That's some deft mixing of politics and rearmament:
Roosevelt had kept his opponents off-balance. His rearmament projects were masterpieces of political calculation. New bases were constructed in Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, and California, large electoral states. Huge orders of steel for the new transport fleet and merchant marine buoyed the economies of Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The economies of the solidly Republican Rockies were boosted by the erection of new test ranges and bases, especially the Boulder Proving Grounds.
I know it happens in real life as well, but it's still a nice way to add meat to the game play bones.

Go Roosevelt Go! The only thing still needed is a good degree of wariness towards Uncle Joe and then he could well be... <Fat-comics-bookstore-guy- from-the-Simpsons-voice> Best. President. Ever.