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Tommy4ever

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It's a shame you said "he", I've been hoping for an earlier version of Rosa Luxemburg, that'd be awesome.
I'm a big fan of Rosa and she will of course play a major role. But I'd rather see her dominate in the early 20th century than the late 19th century.
 

Raph

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I'm a big fan of Rosa and she will of course play a major role. But I'd rather see her dominate in the early 20th century than the late 19th century.
That's awesome enough :)

EDIT: And when Liebknecht was introduced I was like "WTF, already, and where's Rosa?" until I realised it was his father.
 
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LordTempest

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Tommy4ever

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The VSVR 1870-1875 (Part 1)

Engels’ 2nd term as Chairman marked a coming of age period for the Republic. It was during this half decade that the VSVR finally came head to head with a Great Power, it was during this period that the unstoppable Communist economic model showed its first signs of strain and it was during this period that the Republic started to receive the respect of its non-socialist neighbours as one of the world’s four superpowers (the others being Britain, France and Russia).



In this highly charged atmosphere many historians neglect the significance of the explorer Eduard Vogel’s great expedition to find the source of the Nile. Vogel was by this stage in his 40s, born in Krefeld (in the original territory of the VSVR) he had taken part in both the Rhineland Revolution and the Deutschkrieg. He then went on to found the Republican Geographical School which funded VSVR explorers and scientists around the world. At the head of a major expedition he found the source of the Nile in the year 1870 and the following year returned home the Republic where he found himself to be a folk hero. However the successful expedition cast a much longer shadow than simply instilling pride in the Republic. This was the first time Socialists had really taken a close interest in Africa, regarded by many as too primitive for socialism, and was the first time socialist ideologies really penetrated into Africa as Vogel’s expedition spread the word of his Republic throughout his journeys. In the coming years the fascination Vogel had created of the Dark Continent would play a very important role in the VSVR’s future. Moreover as he returned to Europe the Royal Geographical Society (one of the great institutions of Victorian Britain) offered Vogel both a cash prize and honorary membership of the Society. Whilst declining both Vogel did go to London to deliver a presentation on his journeys, unsurprisingly the presence of a major figure from the VSVR elicited the interest of the British press and Vogel found himself to be a celebrity during his short time in London. The explorer charmed the British public and helped dispel the old fear of the Communist monster across the North Sea. His visit was followed by a general warming of relations between London and Cologne and by extension a cooling of relations between Cologne and Paris – these diplomatic changes would become very important in the coming years.



Yet the most important event of Engels’ second term was the arrival in the Republic of the enigmatic, unconquerable, Communist revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov – better known as Lenin. Born in 1844 he had got involved with Marxist revolutionaries whilst studying Law in his teens. By the time he was 20 he had joined the recently formed Revolutionary Social Democratic Party of Russia (RSDPR). He was a key figure in pushing the Party from independence to being a member of the Comintern and used the funds this brought to help modernise the Party, transforming it from a party of middle class intellectuals with little to know influence to a force that actively supported the working classes and actively fought against the Tsar. However after a major crackdown on revolutionary activity during the late 1860s Lenin was eventually forced to leave his Russian homeland. In January 1871 he crossed over Russia’s Western border and entered East Prussia in the VSVR.

From his arrival in the VSVR he would launch a new revolution, not against the government of the Republic but against the crumbling Marxist faction which seemed to be in terminal decline and had abandoned its revolutionary traditions. Unlike most Leftist émigrés who came to the Republic he did not instantly flock to the congested capital of Cologne but instead travelled about the often neglected proletarian cities in the provinces far from the Rhine. He visited Konigsberg, Berlin, Hannover, Hamburg, Bremen, Kiel, Stettin, Kassel, Brussels and Brugge before he even arrived in Cologne. During this tour of the Republic he had gone about building up a substantial base of support not just with the Party membership (which was usually clustered around the Ruhr) but with the common workers themselves. He would enter the capital in June 1871 and instantly threw himself into the internal politics of the Marxist faction.



Lenin recognised the importance of the presses in the Republic and quickly formed his own newspaper – Spark. Ever since the institution of press freedom in 1865 the media of the VSVR had changed greatly. The Anarchist Zeal had benefitted greatly and quickly established itself as the number one paper in terms of circulation if not quality of journalism. The state paper, Truth, was not abolished but was transformed into a neutral body that attempted to tell the news in the most unbiased fashion possible and was the second most circulated paper. The third paper was Unity, a pro-United Front paper that was noted for its high quality journalism but lacked the ability to connect with the common man. However there was no single major pro-Marxist newspaper, instead various smaller ones squabbled amongst each other over the true Marxist position. Spark would change all this, its writing was of a very high quality but was easy for everyone to understand. It was cheap, talked about the issues people cared about and most importantly of all was dominated by the political opinion of Lenin.

The upper echelons of the Marxists could only ignore the upward pressures from their supporters for so long before they were forced to deal with Lenin. He was given various jobs, none of them terribly important, but all the while his popularity ballooned. Lenin was the greatest theorist on how to accomplish a revolution since Blanqui and the greatest writer on how to achieve socialism after seizing power since Marx, there was no stopping his upward surge.



In July around 150,000 Socialists rose up across the Austro-Hungarian Empire in an attempt to overthrow the Habsburgs. With their strength concentrated in Silesia and Bohemia the rebels outnumbered the K.u.K Army and looked to have a realistic chance of victory.

Lenin instantly called for military intervention to ensure the revolution’s success. He described Austria-Hungary as the weak link in the Imperialist chain that encircled the VSVR and believed that if Vienna fell then a domino effect would cause a wave of revolutions to sweep away Europe’s old order. However the leaders in the Central Committee did not agree. Engels was afraid of the French whilst Bebel, the leader of the Marxists, tried to shut up Lenin and Spark. As thousands marched through the streets of the Republic’s major cities calling for a war to save their Comrades to the South the government refused to intervene.



Within a couple of months the revolt was brutally crushed. It is estimated that around 100,000 people were killed in the Summer Rising whilst all socialist organisations were made illegal following the conflict. From this period on the tense relations between the VSVR and Austria-Hungary would be placed clearly on a trajectory towards war. However Lenin did not remain in Cologne throughout the conflict, in mid-August he was bundled off to Bavaria where he was given the responsibility to lead the Bavarian revolutionaries.



In Bavaria Lenin found fertile ground for revolutionary activity as the tyrannical rule of ‘Mad’ King Ludwig II had left tens of thousands without work, millions without freedom and the vast majority of the nation against their ruler. After swiftly reorganising the Bavarian revolutionaries Lenin began to whip up support amongst the people, arms his men and plan for the takeover.

On November 2nd Lenin took advantage of one of King Ludwig’s trips to the countryside and launched an armed takeover in Munich. In a little over a day the capital and the vast majority of the Kingdom became secure territory for the Communists. As Ludwig fled across the border into Austria-Hungary the Bavarian Social Republic was proclaimed on November 4th.



The following day after a landslide vote in favour of union by the Bavarian Council of Workers Bavaria was annexed into the United Socialist People’s Republic. With around 40,000 urban workers without jobs the economic stimulus provided by the Republic was a massive boon whilst the promise of a garrison eliminated any fears of a counter-revolution.



Lenin returned to Cologne an even more popular figure than he had been before. He had caught the mood of the people in relation to the Summer Rising in the Habsburg Empire and had successfully overthrown a German tyrant in just a few months. The Central Committee was now no longer able to ignore him and in early December Marx’s much reviled son-in-law Lafargue was demoted from his role as Commissar for Justice and replaced by Lenin.

Yet things did not stop there, now within the Central decision making body of the state Lenin had the power to manoeuvre more aggressively against his opponents. He was not happy to simply be a major figure in the Marxist movement, he wanted to take it off its path towards moderate socialism and return it to its radically left wing position it had once occupied in the days of Marx.

His hopes of achieving this aim would be further strengthened by events in Southern Germany. Following the Bavarian revolution both Württemberg and Baden’s Monarchies had liberalised and allowed for elected parliaments in hopes that they could avoid a similar fate. However this move would eventually backfire for both as the leftists became powerful forces in both states.



In Württemberg a pro-Lenin Communist Party secured electoral victory and quickly hurried through union with the VSVR, this left only Baden under Habsburg influence in Germany and even they were becoming increasingly isolated from their Vienna masters. In the Republic the unification was again popular and off the back of this Lenin launched a bid to secure the leadership of the Marxist faction.

It was a bid that he would win as his popularity amongst the lower ranks allowed him to oust the much more moderate August Bebel. However Bebel and the right of the Marxists refused to simply be brushed aside and line up behind Lenin and, admittedly with the encouragement of Lenin himself who favoured a more homogenous faction, they split from the Marxists who would hence be known as the Marxist-Leninists. These moderates – Bebel and Iglesias being the most prominent figures – created a new faction known simply as the Moderates. The Moderates supported a more traditional Marxist line in regards to the revolution (it would have to occur in an industrialised country and should come about through more democratic processes than Lenin’s revolutionary antics), in the economy they were comparable to the United Front in mixed Union-state control, and they supported freedom and more gradual socialisation of the Republic. In essence they were a liberal faction in socialist clothing. However this new group seemed to occupy the same ground as the ever collapsing German Socialist faction, after weeks of talks Lassalle decided to disband the faction that produced the Republic’s first Chairman and joined the Moderates to present a more united from for moderate socialism.



At the same time as all of this the once unstoppable United Front economic machine had run into serious trouble. Whilst industrialisation continued unabated factories had started cut dangerously large losses. The fabric factories (which employed 50,000 men in the Ruhr alone) which had once been the driving force behind Republican industry were no longer making money and were instead costing the state huge sums just to keep running. The problem was over production which had driven down the price of fabric, raised the cost of its raw materials and left a lack of demand and therefore large surpluses. There were similar, longer standing, problems in ship building and the arms industry but as these industries expanded the problems were only becoming more apparent. To make matters worse the steel factories which provided the very bed rock for German industry were make half as much profit as they had been barely 5 years before. The government had attempted to ease the problems by expanding into new industries by producing luxury consumer goods which increased demand for fabrics and made significant profits. However the burgeoning furniture industry required vast supplies of timber which simply weren’t on offer in the VSVR – however in neighbouring Russia they were plentiful.

In truth of all the world’s great powers the Republic was most friendly with the most autocratic – Russia. Whilst the presence of hundreds, even thousands, of prominent Russian revolutionaries might be seen as a frictional point by sum it actually benefitted both states. The VSVR got the highly intelligent person who had been exiled from Russia to work in their state whilst Russia used the VSVR to vacuum up unwanted individuals. The likes of Kropotkin and Lenin were simply not nearly as dangerous to the Tsar in Cologne as as they were in St Petersburg. Russia also saw the VSVR as an important counter the influence of Europe’s strongest military power and Russia’s nominal ally – France – as well as the long term Russia enemy in the Habsburg Empire. The two countries were also economically linked as VSVR steel and consumer goods flooded eastwards and Russian timber went the other way.

The tensions between the VSVR and the Habsburg Empire had been on the rise for years. The Summer Rising, the VSVR takeover of Southern Germany, the oppressive backlash the Habsburgs unleashed against their leftists and working classes and VSVR friendliness with Vienna’s Russian rivals all created intense friction. War would eventually break out on May 28th 1873. Two weeks before the Socialist Worker’s Party had secured election in Baden and the Party were strongly pro-union with the VSVR. However Habsburg pressure had kept Baden from joined the Republic. This had left the two countries on the brink of war, they final push came when Habsburg troops killed around 40 Communist demonstrators in Prague on May 27th. Faced with a mass public call for war and the seeming inevitability of such a conflict the VSVR declared war upon the Habsburg Empire on May 28th promising to liberate the oppressed Czechs of Bohemia. The so called Bohemian War pitted the VSVR, Denmark and (nominally) Bhutan against the Austo-Hungarian Empire, their allies in the Ottoman Empire, Baden and the Netherlands. The conflict would later suck France and Spain into the mix. It was to be the defining conflict of the mid 19th century ....
 

Enewald

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Hail Anarchy!
Kill the aristocrats, unleash the Proletariat!
Ride the storm, hear the thunder of the artillerie, watch the old ones bleed!
A man can die in a war, but sucht nach freedom can not die.
 

J. Passepartout

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Interesting. I think the absorbing of Bavaria and Wurttemburg (yet again the natives pull their own weight instead of having revolution imposed) is indicative of my thinking that war is not necessary to expand socialism, but merely at most moral support and granting of supplies and so forth to the local revolutionaries. Interesting that a self-described Marxist works for the sort of socialist expansion I endorse. Pity we were unable to do this with what seemed like a very promising movement in Austria-Hungary, so let us see what happens.
 

LordTempest

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Interesting. I think the absorbing of Bavaria and Wurttemburg (yet again the natives pull their own weight instead of having revolution imposed) is indicative of my thinking that war is not necessary to expand socialism, but merely at most moral support and granting of supplies and so forth to the local revolutionaries. Interesting that a self-described Marxist works for the sort of socialist expansion I endorse. Pity we were unable to do this with what seemed like a very promising movement in Austria-Hungary, so let us see what happens.
I'd say three inherit state events in one update would be a little too gamey, no? Besides this way we get to have an exciting cliffhanger!
 

BigBadBob

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Hooray for Comrade Lenin! With a new, dynamic leader, the time has come for the Marxists to take center stage again.

PS. Yay for big wars!
 

Seek75

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I say that we encourage the Austro-Hungarian workers to rise up once more! Silesia should be re-taken for the VSVR, whereas the rest of the Empire should either be split into different socialist republics, or kept together as an Austro-Hungarian republic!
 

keynes2.0

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What of the treatment of the monarchs of Bavaria and Wurttemburg? Methinks that if they wisely bowed to the wishes of their people and allowed for a peaceful union with the VSVR, they deserve dignified treatment. Perhaps we could find a couple of ambassadorship posts for these two? Karl Alexander of Wurttenberg could probably be trusted with the duties of ambassador to Denmark or Switzerland while Ludwig Wilhelm might be very useful indeed as an ambassador to Greece. Neither of these men are counter-revolutionaries, by treating them with respect we can increase our standing abroad.
 

KomodoWaran

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unmerged(140907)

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Lenin has arrived! Now we can get this revolution booming :D. Annex Silesia and liberate a Socialist Republic of the Czechs!
 

enf91

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Free the oppressed Czech proletariat! And the people of Baden yearn to join us. Crush the army, which follows its Austrian puppeteers! They have a hand in the oppression, for they would not let the people join our republic!

The evil foreign bourgeoisie are overworking their proletariat, forcing them to produce more than the world will consume! Thus they can avoid paying the workers their fair share. While it is not worth fighting a war over, spreading the word of the workers' paradise to the foreign proletariat should make them rise up against their oppressors and join our revolution. Much as it pains me to say it, Comrade Marx was right: capitalism is inherently flawed and will lead to socialism.
 

Dyranum

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Heh, it was kinda obvious that it was gonna be Lenin IMO.

So, maybe the revolution in Asia will be in an Indian Minor?
 

unmerged(140907)

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With Bhutan behind us there's nothing we can't accomplish! :p
 

Raph

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Ah, Comrade Vladimir Lenin has arrived! This will herald a time of even stronger progress for the Republic! And I love that you've named his paper after the IRL Iskra. And now I'll feel even more confident voting Marxist, knowing that they have a strong leader in place of the capable but uninspiring Bebel. Having had Marx, Engels and possibly Lenin as chairmen of the Party and the Republic would be a really awesome track record!

"From a spark a fire will flare up!"
 
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