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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Blaskowicz

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Of Neutrality and War: A History of the Swiss Confederation 1399-1948


Hello! This is my first AAR ever, and after a long period of boredom and reading a few, decided to make my own AAR with Switzerland. Let's see how it goes.

A few points before starting:

  • It spans all the way fron 1399-1948, through EUIII (DW), Vicky II (HoD) and HoI III (TFH).
  • Medium difficulty, no cheating, no savegame reloading.
  • The objective isn't WC (I'm still a noob!), but country stability and prosperity, with slow expansion.

 
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BOOK I
Chapter I - The Future of the Swiss Confederation



Europe, 1399

The Tagsatzung convened in Bern on October 14th, 1399. An irregular meeting was called, to attend "urgent matters". All the delegates had taken a seat, when the representative from Bern rose up to speak.

"Gentlemen, the future of our dear Confederation is at stake. We are surrounded by enemies who wish nothing but to take the land of each of our cantons by force."

A young delegate from Basel stands up. "What makes you think that? We are a peaceful administrative republic, with good relations with all of our neighbors?"

"History, my friend."


Switzerland and it's neighbors, 1399

"We have seen throughout history that kingdoms want to expand wherever they can. And we are between five large ones: Austria at the west, Milan and Savoy at the south, and France and Burgundy at the west. It is just a matter of time before they decide Swiss cantons belong to them, and we must stop them before they strike."

"What do you propose, then?"

"For a start, look at our army. We have two regiments, and with our current population we could field a total of eight. Eight thousand men is not enough to protect the Confederacy, but if we use our terrain for our advantage, we might have a chance."


The assembly is quiet, silently approving his words.

The Zurich representative stands up. "We need more than men if we are going to survive. I believe your intentions are right, but we are going to need help from outside the Alps! We cannot neglect the fine points of diplomacy and embark in belligerent plans. We have no alliances at the moment, and I believe we need to seek one with our friends in Rome."


Overview of the internal policies and foreign relations of the Confederation.

The representative of Schwyz then spoke. "All of those ideas are good. But don't forget we need money to finance them. We have five centers of trade we can visit successfully: Venice, Geneva, Paris, Lubeck and Antwerp. Our products are mostly traded in the first two, but all of them are within our grasp. As long as we have a positive annual balance, I believe we should invest in the market"


Indeed, Switzerland has some good trade opportunities

"Alright", said the Bern representative. "Do you all agree with this plans?"

The Assembly nodded in support of their plans. "Good. I'm calling a meeting a year from now to review our progress. Thank you for coming, meeting adjourned!"
 
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Chapter II - Internal Affairs


Earliest known picture of the City of Bern, circa 1485

The Tagsatzung is once more reunited in Bern. A few things have changed since last year's meeting, and after all the formalities and greetings, the debate begins. The delegate from Basel stands up before anyone could speak.

"Before we start talking about our future, I want to show you some disturbing reports from our top Admirals and shipwrights, stating that we have been wrongfully investing in naval technology!"

"Well no kidding", answers the representative from Bern. "We don't have a coastline."


So naturally, they must be right.

"Anyway", continues the Bern representative. "Do we have any news from our ambassadors?"

"Fortunately, yes", replies the Zurich envoy. "We've got support from the Emperor, from the Pope, and from the Venetians. And our merchants in Liguria and Venice are starting to bid on goods."

"That's great! How about the military situation?"

"We lack the ducats to increase our army. Our merchant ventures are currently a drain in our economy... We'll have to wait until the economical situation is stable enough to afford an army."


At least the Pope saw some action invading Urbino.

The representative of Schwyz coughed a bit to get their attention. "Yes, I believe I can help you solve those problems."

"How?"

"We're a free nation, we need a free market. I believe this will make our traders more successful in trades."


"Not to mention attract potential... influential people"

"We can also invite some masters of their trade to our Council, and help us with our decisions. I'm sure that with their guidance they'll pay for themselves!"

"Do you have someone in mind?"

"I took the liberty of picking them already, they're right there"


The two men smile and wave to the Tagsatzung.

"Huh. I'm sure they will be most useful.", says the delegate from Bern.

"As long as we are actively trading, they will be most useful for us."

"Good.", interjects the Schwyz representative. "We must fill up those trade centers with our merchants before expanding for the wealth of the northern markets" The whole assembly agrees with the plan, except for the delegate of Bern.

"That's nice and all, but merchants won't help us against the Austrian soldiers!"

"We will get your soldiers in time, don't worry", spoke the Schwyz delegate.

"For the sake of our Confederation, I hope so."
 

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awesome. Will be following!!
Thank you! :happy:

Super
Time to head for the sea and crush er contain the French
The French are not the biggest of our troubles at the moment, but I'm sure their time will come soon...

I'm curious to see where this goes!
Thanks! I'm quite interested as well, haha :p

By the way, my posts need to be mod-approved before being included in the thread, it takes a small delay between posting updates and actually appearing here, so people might post in the meantime.
 

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Chapter III - Bloody Austrians!

It was August 1st, 1401. The Tagsatzung was called for an emergency meeting, this time called by the Bohemians.

"...war?" The old Zurich delegate had been taken aback from the petitions of their allies. "We are not ready for war, much less against the Austrians!"

"I wouldn't be asking you this if we didn't need you. We are grossly outnumbered, and we need all the help we can get."

"Wasn't it obvious Austria was after the Imperial Crown? You fools should have prepared better against them!" He waved his walking stick at the messenger. "I did not think the Emperor would be such an incompetent buffoon!"

"It's... not the Austrians that are our problem. It's the Poles. And Lithuanians."

"We cannot wage a war against Austria! We have two thousand men at our disposal, and Savoy might intervene!"

"I don't think we have a choice.", the representative from Bern argues. "Bohemia is our ally, and by law we must aid them."

"But what about our neutrality! Our army is used to defend ourselves, not to defend the Emperor!"

"We have a treaty, and we need to uphold it by law."

"The man is right", spoke the Schwyz representative. "We are going to take a big hit to our reputation and trust if we turn our back to our allies."

"So, do we have a 'yes' vote on the issue?" The whole assembly nodded, except for the Zurich delegate.

"I'm voting yes. But we are not gonna win this."

"Good. It is decided, the Swiss Confederation is at war against Austria and her allies!"


The Bohemians and Hungarians were supportive. The latter, even though it stood in the sidelines, helped fund the Swiss war effort.

[HR][/HR]

The exact causes of the war are lost to history, but the effects on Switzerland are still felt to this day. After the crushing defeat of the Bohemians, the Austrian armies turned around to invade the Swiss. Savoy promptly declared war in support of their ally, and laid siege to the western Alps. The Swiss army was defeated in Bern and Sundgau, a few months before the war was officially over.


By that time, almost all of the Swiss territory had been occupied by the Austrian coalition.​

In October 1402, and to expedite government decisions, the Tagsatzung had delegated power to a single Syndic that would act as head of state and government. The Syndic, however, was still an elected position, and the Tagsatzung reserved the right to revoke him from his post if he failed to represent their interests. (...) While Ruprecht Honegger is widely considered the first Syndic, he was only the first officially-elected one. Charles Hiltbrand, representative of the Zurich canton, was elected one year prior to prepare the first elections.


Excerpt from "Wars in the Alps", Watcher, S. pp 36-38

[HR][/HR]

October, 1403. The first formal Syndic election had concluded, and the Schwyz representative had been elected to lead the Confederation.


It was pretty much uncontested.

"Congratulations", said the Zurich representative. "I hope you do the right thing, and may God be with you."

"Thank you, Charles. Even though your tenure was to stabilize relationships with our allies and neighbors, I feel like I'm stepping in big shoes. We have yet to rebuild from the war..."

"And prepare for the next", spoke the Bern representative. "We need to take care of our other problems. You know the army has been neglected. Who knows when the French are going to attack?"

"Oh, don't worry about it. the French are occupied with the Englishmen across the channel. And we have a truce with the Austrians; they'd be fools to break it now."

"Truces don't last forever."

"It'll last as long as we need to."

"Honestly, I don't know why were you elected as Syndic. You are very competent, but we need a military man right now."


Because of the successful commercial ventures across Europe, of course.

"If you want war, then find us the money. We will not be fielding soldiers yet."

"And if you don't defend your country, I will. Good luck."

And having said that, he walked away.