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LordTempest

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LordTempest

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Nobody would have believed in the last years of the 19th Century that the old order, of blue-blooded aristocrats and of great statesmen, which had sustained and upheld the balance of power in Europe for the past nine centuries hence, the order which had withstood countless episodes of war and calamity and even revolution, would have shattered so violently as it would, and become warped beyond all recognition in a timespan as short as a mere eleven chaotic years. Few men, either of wealth and means or of labour would have even considered the possibility of a genuine proletarian revolution, while some of the continent's finest literary, political and scientific minds went so far as to argue that the industrial revolution had made war between nations impossible.

One such mind was Norman Angell, a British journalist, who, in an age of great political pamphlets and polemics wrote what was perhaps the great polemic of the pre-war age: Europe's Optical Illusion. “Are we to continue to struggle” he wrote, in summing up his argument: “..as so many good men struggled in the first dozen centuries of Christendom — spilling oceans of blood, wasting mountains of treasure — to achieve what is at bottom a logical absurdity, to accomplish something which, when accomplished, can avail us nothing, and which, if it could avail us anything, would condemn the nations of the world to never-ending bloodshed and the constant defeat of all those aims which men, in their sober hours, know to be alone worthy of sustained endeavour?” To many intellectuals, dilettantes and other inclined men of letters and of newspapers alike, Angell's argument carried weight, and the literate continental masses took to his message with enthusiasm.

To men like Angell, war between powers had simply become too costly, too barbaric, too self-defeating and – to be quite frank – too moronic an act in the modern, industrialised world to be exercised on a Napoleonic scale ever again. Furthermore, did industrial workers in Britain or in France not have more in common with their fellow industrial workers in Germany or Austria than with their British and French foremen and bosses? Why should such men, if pressed, fight their brothers in class for the sake of a half-pence a day or some petty distinction of birth or of spoken tongue? Were not nations in the pre-war world so cosmopolitan in terms of ideology, religion and race that the very notion of one such nation fighting another for the sake of its religion or political belief – as say the Catholic Spanish fought the Protestant English during the time of Elizabeth or as the Republican French faced off against the masses of Monarchist Europe during the time of Napoleon – archaic and impractical to the point of absurdity?

Angell's ideas were certainly popular in their day, and Europe's Optical Illusion when published in 1910, won its author great acclaim throughout the continent, on both sides of the Atlantic and ultimately, helped contribute to him being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1933. On the question of war however, Angell got it catastrophically wrong. Europe would see not merely one, but two great wars in his lifetime: the workers of Britain and the workers of France, as it transpired, would sign up in droves for the chance to slay their fellow Germanic proletarians while the aftermath of first Great War would lead to socialist revolutions in Russia, Britain and in France, and from there to other countries throughout the world. Italy, once home to the greatest republic the world had ever seen, would be cleaved apart in two; a Papist north and a Syndicalist south. The great colonial empires which had spanned the globe and all but dominated social, political and economic affairs in the period before the wars would fissure and break, as colonies and peoples were exchanged as if plastic chips in a poker game. One of the oldest empires in existence, China, where the emperor of one dynasty or another had been an institution for at the very least some sixteen-thousand years before the birth of Christ, would too suffer a revolution, a German invasion, and ultimately, partition. Not even the United States would prove immune to the crises of the age.

Contrary to what Angell had predicted, the great nations of the world, it seemed, were just as polarised by doctrine and by political ideology as ever, and posterity would see to it that his argument would end up just as shattered as the brave new world he failed to predict. On at least one prediction however, history would prove Norman Angell right:

“God has made Canada one of those nations which cannot be conquered and cannot be destroyed, except by itself.”

In the years to come, Canada and its exiles – tyranny's exiles – would stand almost alone in the world as a bastion of the old world British ethos of liberty, free trade and the sovereignty of the individual. The Dominion of Canada, hitherto little more than a contemporary irrelevance, a living, breathing colonial accident of history, even, would become a focal point, the metaphorical “shining light on the hill,” for millions of oppressed masses all around the globe in an era where the values of collectivism, of violent revolution and class struggle – of tyranny even, were in the ascendant. The History of the British Empire in these dark times is thus not merely the history of one nation, but of three; not of one people, but of many. This history is dedicated to them, and to the world they left behind.
 

LordTempest

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Hello everyone and welcome to my latest AAR, Loyal We Began, Loyal We Remain. This AAR represents something of a serious departure from my previous work: not only is it my first AAR for any game born into Paradox's prodigious Hearts of Iron family, but it's also the first of my AARs to be based off a popular total conversion mod (in this case, the almost equally prodigious Kaiserreich) as opposed to being based off either the vanilla game or a self-made mod a'la From Eagle to Phoenix.

Writing an AAR based off an extremely popular mod, especially a total conversion mod like Kaiserreich with its own alternate history, its own lore and its own canon poses something of a unique challenge for the historybook author. On the one hand, one feels the need to treat the subject matter with a due level of accuracy and respect to the source material and its canon out of courtesy both to the creators of the mod and its fans, of whom are legion. On the other hand, one also feels as an author the need to tell one's own story and the right to reserve the usage of dramatic licence where appropriate, even if doing so means diverting from the Kaiserreich canon. With this AAR I've tried to strike a balance between these conflicting viewpoints: I hope to both remain faithful to the existing canon as possible while at the same time carving out my own unique interpretation of Canada in the Kaiserreich universe. I hope that the end result is both enjoyable to read for those who like myself are relatively new to the Kaiserreich universe and yet not too heretical to earn the ire of the mod's faithful fan following. :)

As I say in the preface, this will not merely be a history of not one nation, but of (hopefully) three. This is as much as a history of Britain as it is of the Empire, and no contemporary History of Britain worthy of the name could afford to completely ignore events in Best Britain's bastard evil twin, the syndicalist Union of Britain. No, not even a royalist one. I shall start off by playing as Canada, yes, but should I succeed in liberating Britain from those pesky syndies I'll switch to the newly liberated United Kingdom of Great Britain and continue the AAR from there. Naturally, the Entente and the rest of the world will receive some coverage from time to time, but only insofar as it is relevant to Britain – by which I mean Canada – this is after all, a History of the British Empire After the Great War. For the benefit of those new to the Kaiserreich universe, the AAR will start from the point of divergence (the Great War, hence the subtitle) and cover all the important pre-game events (like the Post-War Revolutions and how the French and British schisms came into being) in a fairly in-depth prologue.

And finally before we begin, some thankyous. Firstly I'd like to thank Kaiserreich's first chronicler, Meadow, author of the truly awesome The People's Flag for indirectly inspiring me to write this AAR – I suppose you could say that this is the inevitable reactionary counterpoint to his own revolutionary (in more ways than one) work. Next I'd like to thank fellow AAR author and Kaiserreich's very own personal plastic surgeon, Milites, for designing all the lovely skins you'll see in this AAR and for taking time out of his busy schedule to design the banner you see above (and for hopefully not being too cross by my defacement of his art with gratuitous displays of Trajan font.) and everybody else (Meadow and Milites included) responsible for making the DH incarnation of Kaiserreich an awesome mod as it is. Finally, I'd like to thank you – yes, you! – for reading (and hopefully commenting on) this AAR. God knows the Darkest Hour fora could do with some extra love, so I hope you enjoy what you see and decide to stick around. :)
 

Tommy4ever

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First!

Very excited to see this start. Canada is a really interesting choice and one of my favorite countries to play in KR. As you said a mod like KR with its own impressively developed lore and history is a fascinating proposition for a history book writer - aide from Meadow's incredible Union of Britain AAR MercZ's Socialist Italy AAR comes to mind when thinking if how a history book AAR can really develop the existing lore.

Long live Darkest Hour's seemingly endless Indian Summer (it's really amazing that a game baed on HoI2 still has an appeal with HoI4 on the horizon!).
 

500Artichoke

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Now this is some excellent writing. KR could always use some world-building, so I'm all ears.

... Of course, in this new iteration of the mod, if France picks Mobility Focus your liberation of Europe is going to end with reclaiming the British Isles, but... a victory's a victory!
 

99KingHigh

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Go forth, dear friend, and rid Kaiserreich of the Communist Scum. The King shall reign once more...hopefully.
 

volksmarschall

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I myself have always enjoyed HoI2 and the mods based on HoI2 much more than I ever enjoyed HoI3, can't really say why I just always have!

Plus, now I get to follow one of your AARs from the beginning and need have to read through pages of work long after it has begun! No doubt this will be great as evidenced by your other work - which many of us over in Eu4 patiently await its return! ;)

Cheers!
 

Chojnicki

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That was a beautiful beginning. I look forward to your in-dept approach to the AAR, you'll surely deliver an interesting novel here.
 

Konnigratz

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A new Tanzhang AAR, in Kaiserreich of all things? Hell yes, I'll definitely be following. :D
 

Scrapknight

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I'm quite looking forward to this. Best of luck at reclaiming the Home Islands!
 

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Subscribed. This is going to be fun.
 

Enewald

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As long as some syndie-bashing is guaranteed, I'm happy to subscribe. :p
 

Milites

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Happy to help whenever I can contribute to such promising AARs. I especially look forward to how you'll respond to the troubles in Washington and suggest you force the Americans to feel bad about themselves. Just as the Canucks did in 1812.



http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=340
 

LordTempest

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Thanks for the great reception guys! I'll respond to all of your comments individually and in turn once the next update is ready tomorrow (spoiler: it revolves around the July Crisis and is a wonderful illustration of Comrade Blair's maxim that the present controls the past. :)) but for now I'd just like to say thanks for the kind words and support so far. Tell your friends! :)
 

LordTempest

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Update Time!

Tommy: First again, eh? :)

It's a pleasure to have you onboard as always, Tommy. I certainly hope that this AAR will reach such a high standard!

As for Darkest Hour, perhaps it is too early to say, but one has the feeling that with the unqualified success of your own AAR (bah! and you said a British Cold War Interactive AAR wouldn't work! :p), that when Densley comes to write his History of AARland of the year 2014, he will without hesitation point to the month of March as the beginning of The Silver Age of Darkest Hour in AARland. IMO the game remains popular because (unlike HoI3, sadly) it's not only a damned good game, but also because of the enthusiasm of its community who continue to release and port mods of such quality and depth as Kaiserreich. No wonder that it refuses to just roll over and die! :)

500Artichoke: Welcome! I'm glad that you think the writing is so excellent! :)

My biggest fear is that Germany will defeat the French far too early, not fire the Peace With Honour decision and then go on to Balkanise Britain - as is what happened in my very first KR game. (in fairness though, I ended up doing the same thing to the Americans, so maybe I shouldn't complain? :p) I secretly want the Syndies (by which I specifically mean the Totalists) to do well, as liberating Britain from them makes for a much more exciting AAR than liberating it from Churchill and Montgomery's German Kingdom of England. :)

99KingHigh: Ah, welcome my reactionary fiend friend! I'm sure you'll love Halifax in the autumntime, as you sit in the cold Canadian sun eating Poutine (and God only knows what else) and sipping tea while our brave boys of the Royal Marines liberate old Blighty for God, King and Country! War is Hell, as they say. :)

Volksmarschall: Welcome aboard Volksmarschall! I certainly hope that this AAR will meet with your high standards (especially the upcoming update, for reasons I'll soon explain.) You're certainly not alone in thinking that HoI2 was more enjoyable than HoI3. :)

Chojnicki: Welcome! I'm flattered that you think so, I did put some work into that Preface and I'm delighted to hear that people enjoyed it. I do hope you'll enjoy the rest of the AAR too. :)

Konnigratz: That's the spirit my good man! With such enthusiasm it'll only be a matter of time before the Union Flag is hoisted above Buckingham Palace once more!

Tommy Vercetti: I certainly hope so. :)

Scrapknight: Glad to hear it, Scrapknight! Thanks, we just might need it. :)

Terraferma: Oh you know it! Welcome aboard. :)

Enewald: Oh, you can't have a Canada AAR without Syndie-bashing! It would be like having a UoB AAR without Syndie-bashing! (Yeah, even the Syndies like to bash other Syndies! Phew, thank goodness we have none of that rampart factionalism in our own bourgeois democracies! :p)

Milites: Ah, it really would be poor form for you not to follow given all the hard work you put into that awesome banner! Thanks again for helping out, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the AAR!

Oh, and don't you worry: no true Canadian (or Brit, for that matter) would pass of a chance to remind the Colonials of their inferiority. Here's hoping the Maple Leafs bring home the Cup in '36! :)

[hr][/hr]

Before I post the next update I'd just like to apologise a little for its length (and by God, it could have been longer, but I felt that some of the "Guilty Men" parts would make just as much sense in the next update so I cut them out.) I'd also like to point out that the point of divergence in Kaiserreich is during the war, not before it, and so everything which occurs in this update is based off events in this timeline, just as a real historybook might be. The difference lies solely in the present in which the history was written, and as Blair pointed out: "whoever controls the present controls the past." The First Would War isn't as overdone as the second, mind, but I still had an awful lot of fun in messing with our own preconceptions of the Causes of the Great War and wondering what those preconceptions might be like in a world were Germany - for lack of a better word - won. I hope you'll enjoy reading the update just as much as I enjoyed writing it. :)
 

LordTempest

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“If there is to be another war in Europe, then it will come out of some damned silly thing in the Balkans.”
– Otto von Bismarck


On the 28th of June, 1914 in sunny Sarajevo, a man – one Gavrillo Princip, a young Pan-slavic nationalist – fired two shots, shots which would soon reverberate around the world. Sadly, they would prove to be the first of many. His target was the Austro-Hungarian Archduke, Franz Ferdinand, the black sheep of the Hapsburg succession but a successor nonetheless, whose death at Princip's black hands immediately caused consternation and fury among the people of both Austria-Hungary and the world. It didn't take long for both the public and the police to start pointing the finger of blame for the assassination at the feet of the Serbian nationalists, and in the city of Sarajevo this anger was unleashed almost immediately. Anti-Slavic riots broke out almost as soon as word of the assassination hit: property was either damaged or stolen, people were beaten and at least two lives were lost; far from intervening to keep the peace, the pro-Austrian authorities played along, and were if anything just as livid and red-faced with anger as the rioters were. Suffice it to say that the sight of German-speaking policemen in Austrian uniforms beating innocent Serbs did little to endear either the Serbian populace in the Empire or the Serbian government in Belgrade to the Kaiser in Wien.


Startled onlookers in Sarajevo observe the carnage from the past night's pogrom.

Irrespective of what the Austro-Hungarian Kaiser, Franz Josef, might have thought about his spurious relative's marriage to Archduchess Sophie, a minor Bohemian Aristocrat – and from what we historians can gather, he thought very, very little of it indeed – both Franz and Sophie were immensely popular with the common people of the empire, be they Austrians, Hungarians, Serbians, Bosnians or Croats – and it goes without saying, Czechs were particularly fond of the couple – and any attempt to whitewash or underplay their untimely death would be met with the sort of public rage and vitriol which hitherto had been reserved only for Sarajevo's poor ethnic Serbs. The Viennese mob were demanding more than just plain retribution, they wanted vengeance; for the streets of Belgrade to run red with Serbian blood. The Empire's Chief of Staff, Count von Hötzendorf was happy to oblige, and called for an immediate attack on the Kingdom of Serbia in retaliation. The Kaiser, aided and abetted by his Foreign Secretary, blinked, and insisted on opening diplomatic channels with Austria's ally Germany before acting. It was a wise move, for the small Kingdom of Serbia possessed powerful friends.


Kaiser Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary: A towering figure in both Austro-Hungarian politics and public life, his relationship with his late nephew, Franz Ferdinand, was lukewarm at best. He never approved of Franz's marriage to Sophie, (Ironically, his mother thought equally little about his own marriage to the infamous Hungarophile, Empress “Sissi”) and upon hearing of the assassination was alleged to remark that “a superior power had restored that order which I had failed to maintain.” Suffice it to say that such sentiments were not universally shared by the bulk of his subjects.

If there was any nation in Europe apart from Austria-Hungary and Serbia who more personally and more deeply felt the effects of that assassination and its aftermath in Sarajevo than any other, it would be without a doubt the Tsardom of Russia. Hitherto and for some years prior, Russia had seen itself as the guardian of Slavic and Orthodox Christian interests throughout Europe, acting as it were as a sort of latter-day Byzantine Empire. Of course in the old days the enemy more often than not was another successor to the old Constantinople regime – albeit the one successor regime to actually be physically based in old Constantinople – the Ottoman Empire. In days of old, the Empire of Sueliman the Magnificent was rightly feared across Europe: it's armies were the bête-noires of countless Christian Kings and commanders while their artillery, in terms of the finery and power of their guns and the quality of its crews was simply second to none in the world. Those days of old however, were by the early 20th Century very old indeed: The Ottomans were decried far and wide as “The Sick Men of Europe;” more often than not by the Russians and their former Slavic subjects themselves. Mighty Russia, who possessed by all accounts one of the largest standing armies in the world and boundless reserves of untapped manpower would have little to fear from such a foe, and when its guarantee of Orthodox Christian and Slavic interests was first proclaimed in the days of Tsar Alexander, the Ottomans were principally the adversary the Russians had in mind. Austria-Hungary, let alone Germany, would altogether prove to be a harder nut for the Russian bear to crack, and with Russian complacency forever shattered by the Tsardom's recent defeat to the swaggering Japanese in 1905, a defeat fresh in many Russian minds, (Tsar Nikolai II himself being no exception to this rule) The Autocracy proceeded to act with a cautious and somewhat schizophrenic mixture of anger and anxiety, of fear, of swagger and of trepidation all at once.


Tsar and Autocrat of all the Russias, Nikolai II could perhaps be best summed up as a far better man than he was Tsar – and he was a poor man at that. Nikolai's own attitude to the assassination, what might best be described as “peace if possible, but war if necessary,” is perhaps as good a gauge of Russian attitudes and opinion to the unfolding crisis as one is likely to find.

Austria-Hungary's principal ally, Germany, were far less ambivalent about the prospect of a Europe-wide war growing out of “some silly little thing in the Balkans.” In fact, some prominent Germans such as the Chief of Staff, Helmuth von Möltke (the Younger) even went so far to argue that a war with Russia was well overdue, fearing that Germany, with its idiosyncratic approach to taxation, would be unable to finance a military build-up on par with that which nations like Britain, Russia and France were currently undergoing. According to the eminent German historian Fritz Fischer, other, far less sensible gentlemen feared the rise of the German left, and felt that a short, successful war would rally the patriotic German populace back towards the ailing Deutschkonservative Partei, who at the last elections went from being the second-largest party in the Reichstag, to being the fifth.

Others were more cautious: Admiral von Tirpitz argued vociferously against any war which might bring Germany into conflict with Great Britain, fearing that the Kriegsmarine, although undoubtedly the second most powerful navy in the world at that time, was still no match for the might of the Royal Navy. Few Germans however disputed that Austria-Hungary would be wrong to go to war with Serbia, and many, including Kaiser Wilhelm II himself, and irrespective of how they might have felt about a war with Britain or France, felt that the Kaiserreich must do all in its power to back the Austrians, even if it meant going to war against the Russians.


Kaiser Wilhelm II was a fervent believer in both the Austro-German alliance and the need for the Austrians to “punish” the Serbs. Despite having slight reservations about war with Russia and much stronger reservations about war with France and particularly with Britain, he was ultimately prepared to endorse an armed conflict with all three in defence of the Austrian Autocracy.

Russia too had its allies, the most notable (and powerful) of course being Germany's old rival, France. The French had been reeling ever since the humiliating loss of territory along their eastern border (which they referred to as Alsace-Lorraine) to the Germans in the ill-fated Franco-Prussian War of 1871, which ultimately, through Prussia's success and France's failure, led to the foundation of the German Kaiserreich. If the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 had shattered Russian myths about their own invincibility, then the Franco-Prussian War had done the same for the French (and by contrast, inflated young Germany's own sense of superiority.) France, like their Russian allies, was searching for a sense of purpose: they had lost Alsace-Lorraine, but were yet to find a role. They tried a brief British-style period of isolation from European affairs, focussing inwards on their own burgeoning colonial empire only to have that policy come unstuck at Fashoda, an African flashpoint which rekindled old rivalries with France's traditional rivals, the British, and might very well have led to a rather different Great War and thus an alternate Twentieth Century. France's humiliating, some might say grovelling, u-turn at Fashoda, coupled with the crippling l'affaire Dreyfus which divided French society right down the middle – a worrying precursor to events which would take place in the Republic shortly after the war, and in Nationalist France for some time after it – left the once-proud Republic again scratching its head, half in shock and half in disbelief at its own impotence.[1]

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and for France these were desperate times indeed. Fearing perpetual German supremacy on the continent if the Tsar sided with the Two Kaisers, in 1892, the French Diplomatic Service in a coup worthy of the Iron Chancellor himself forged an alliance with Russia. The Russians had been of little use to the French at Fashoda some six years later, and likewise the French had done nothing at all to help Russia in its own humiliating reversal at Tsushima in 1905. It was blatantly clear to the powers-that-be in Paris that if France wished to guarantee its security in any future European conflict (such as the one which appeared to be unravelling in the Sarajevan Summer of 1914) it would have to rely upon more than just the Russians for support. And with that, enter stage left, the single most important international player of the age: Great Britain.

Unique amongst European Powers, the United Kingdom had yet to suffer any real reversal of fortune on par with the French at Fashoda and Sedan, the Russians at Tsushima or the Austro-Hungarians now at Sarajevo. Instead, the British basked in their splendid isolation with all the bliss of one of nature's introverts. There were conflicts to be had and wars to be fought, yes, but these were faced in the colonies rather than at home, and against adversaries whose technological capacity had at best only just managed to have caught up with the High Middle Ages. Indeed, if it hadn't been for Fashoda then news of Franz Ferdinand's untimely death might've barely made for second-page news in the English dailies. Unfortunately, as it would transpire for Britain, this Golden Age of aloofness and isolation away from the seemingly endless and petty rivalries which punctuated continental affairs was cut short, abruptly and in the prime of its life in the sands of the Sudan in 1898. Fashoda proved a rude awakening to the realities of European Realpolitik: it seemed, or so the prevailing theory at the time went, that Britain could no longer afford to maintain total isolation away from European affairs. Both France and Germany were busy expanding their colonial empires, and without allies Britain could hardly expect to go to war with either nation and expect to win; the next Fashoda might well be just around the corner.

Now it was Britain's turn to search for answers, and to one prominent statesmen the answer was obvious. Had Britain heeded his sound advice, the history of the 20th Century would be very different indeed: granted, it wouldn't have done poor old Franz Ferdinand much good, but the Great War would likely have been a much smaller, more contained affair – it could well have been over in the three years which Lord Kitchener had predicted it would, or even by Christmas. The post-war revolutions, or at least the one in Britain, would never have occurred – the name John Maclean being but an anonymous footnote in a hypothetical Brief History of British Socialism (undoubtedly destined to be one of Britain's shortest books, like The Wit of Margaret Thatcher or The Brilliance of Winston Churchill) and the Exodus would exist only in the furtherest realms of make-believe. Above all, this history would never need to be written. His name of course, was Joseph Chamberlain, and his idea was as obvious as it was brilliant: Britain should ally itself with the foremost power on the continent, a nation to whom it shared both ties of culture, of history, of monarchy, of faith and of blood; that nation of course, was none other than the German Kaiserreich.


If ever there was a man who offered Britain a better tomorrow, an alternate 20th Century, the Rt. Honourable Joseph Chamberlain was he. Known to posterity as the “Prophet of the Anglo-German Alliance,” Chamberlain argued fervently for Britain to reach an accord with Germany, but sadly, and rather like his calls for Empire Free Trade and for Bismarck-esque radical social reform without socialism, Chamberlain's warnings went for the most part unheeded by his Liberal successors, and to the Empire's detriment.

Joseph Chamberlain made two attempts to reach an accord with Germany, one rather cack-handed attempt in 1898 under the backdrop of the Fashoda and Samoan crises and a more serious and well-thought-out proposal in 1902. Chamberlain proposed that Britain join up with Germany and her existing allies (the so-called “Triple Alliance” of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy) to forge a new “Quadruple Alliance” with the potential possibility phasing in either the Ottomans or the Greeks in the event of a major European war, or Britain's new ally Japan in an oriental one. The combination of Britain, with the world's most powerful navy and Germany, with the world's most powerful army, Chamberlain argued would be unstoppable. An Anglo-German alliance, Chamberlain argued, had other benefits too: The British, with their naval bases in southern Europe and powerful Mediterranean Fleet, would have a galvanising effect on the Italians, who were always the most anxious partner in Germany's alliance – an assessment borne out by history, much to Italy's future detriment. With the Royal Navy on Germany's side, the Germans could afford to cut back on its own ruinously expensive program of naval expansion, and reinvest that money back into the army to combat the French and Russians just as von Möltke wanted to do. Joseph Chamberlain even briefly floated the possibility of a future trade bloc between the Quadruple Powers. Alas, and for all the power of his arguments and the force of his zeal, it was simply not to be. The Germans simply didn't trust the British, and tensions between the two nations which had arose thanks to Germany's support of the Boers in the ongoing Southern African War – a war which Chamberlain of course was a fierce supporter of – did little to ease this sense of suspicion on either side of the North Sea. With more than a little reluctance, Joseph Chamberlain was pressured by his government, and by among others the King himself, into entering the negotiations with the French which would eventually lead to the Entente Cordiale.


Chamberlain's proposal for the Quadruple Alliance: The Allies in Red and the Entente Powers in Blue, with the proposed additions Greece and the Ottoman Empire coloured Gold.

Some historians of a more revisionist variety have blamed Chamberlain himself for sabotaging negotiations with Germany, arguing that were it not for his less-than-successful intervention in Africa then Britain and Germany could well have reached an accord. Others have gone further, criticising Chamberlain's own sincerity in wanting an accord with Germany to begin with, citing his own command of the French language and the fact that he made a good chunk of his own personal fortune selling metal screws to France in the mid-19th Century as evidence. A few radicals even go so far as to propose that the war with the Boers itself was deliberately designed to inflame German tensions. Suffice it to say that such is the stuff that hatchet jobs are made of, and when those individuals are not laying blame at Chamberlain's feet for Britain's role in the Great War, said individuals are usually attributing to his actions all manner of plagues and pestilences and other such acts of God.

Even if Chamberlain can be partially blamed for his eventual work in cementing the Anglo-French entente, he cannot at all be blamed for the way in which his successors – the Liberal Government which won power in the landslide of 1906 – behaved in those tumultuous days in July 1914. Britain, in spite of her obligations to France, bore no such obligations to either Russia nor Serbia. Britain had no reason to even notice the late Archduke's death or care about the untangling web of alliances that followed, as Austria-Hungary, backed to the hilt by Germany, declared war on Serbia. Attempts at a settlement were quashed by Russian pride, which demanded war with Austria-Hungary in defence of Serbia. Germany rushed to the colours in defence of its ally Russia, while the Italians unwisely chose to duck under the metaphorical table, only to re-emerge some years later on the wrong side. A final attempt by the British to confine the war to a Central European affair by pledging neutrality if Germany promised not to invade France, failed, and in spite of heavy reluctance for war between the two Great Powers present on both sides of the North Sea. Even so, there still was no reason for Britain not to have remained neutral, to “duck under the table” as Italy had done, and Britain might well have done, were it not for the actions of (to borrow from Aneurin Bevan's infamous denunciation) “A few Guilty Men.”

***

Notes:

[1] It's important to remember that almost all history is written with a tinge of hindsight: what may seem a tad ridiculous conclusion in one timeline might appear to be a blindingly obvious justification in another where the future plays out a little differently, and vice versa. If ever there was a moral or a guiding theme to this update, it would be that. :)

 

Avindian

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Always interesting to see a new Tanzhang AAR, even one that doesn't like Nicholas II. :)
 

hoi2geek

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Simply Great. Tanzhang!

Hope you keep this up. :D
 

Gen. Marshall

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Splendid! I'll be catching up to this soon; expect regular comments to resume after next chapter ;)