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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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First Lieutenant
Oct 19, 2006
206
1
Contents:

Chapter I: Dolchstosslegende

Chapter II: The Beer Hall Putsch

Chapter III:
Hitler Over Germany

Chapter IV: Anschluss

Chapter V:
Lightning War

Chapter VI: Weserübung

Chapter VII:
Hitler Turns West

Chapter VIII:
The Beginning of the End

Chapter IX: Der Untergang


One for the History Books
The World As It Was

Chapter I: Dolchstosslegende

Compiegne Forest, November 11th, 1918

Matthias Erzberger took his position seriously. Very seriously, indeed, for he was the chief German negotiator for the Armistice that he hoped to be the end of the Weltkrieg, the World War that had gone on for four terrible years. Matthias had been one of the chief critics of the war from the start, questioning the "Unholy Alliance" between the radical members of German society and doubting the unity of the opposing extremists, however loudly they had beaten their drums.

He had to admit, however, that the terms of the Armistice were questionable. For example, the terms dictated by the Allies called for the decommissioning of more submarines than the German fleet even possessed. The Allied negotiators had seen reason on this and a few other illogical points, but none others were forthcoming.

Though equally exhausted by war, and arguably more so after the brutal Operation Michel and its expensive repulsion, the Allies assumed complete and total victory. The Naval blockade of the Fatherland would continue until such times as the Armistice led to an actual, lasting peace, and it would be as if Germany had been completely responsible for the war and its effects. Even Matthias couldn't understand such harshness, but he could understand continuing the war even less. So, by the clocks in Paris, he signed the Armistice on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year. Negotiations would continue with the allies until a formal Treaty could be hammered out, but for all intents and purposes, Germany had conceded defeat.

Matthias had prepared a medium-length speech to mark the occasion, and though it accepted the terms, it protested their harshness. His last line, delivered solemnly, was, "Though a nation of seventy millions may suffer greatly, it shall never die."

The head of the French delegation replied, "Very good," spitting all the savagery he could muster into it. Matthias signed the wretched document and that was that. Peace was proclaimed in the very same railcar where, forty-seven years before, Prussians had dictated the terms to the humiliated French.

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Matthias Erzberger, German architect for peace



Elsewhere, in hospital...

The nurse giggled a bit at hearing the young man babbling again. He had babbled incoherently since the other soldiers had brought him in, a victim of the British chlorine-gas attack that had taken the lives of many of his compatriots, and showed that the Fatherland's enemies were just as horrible as they claimed Germany to be. The old woman shook her head at the thought, barely listening to the young Gefrieter as he went on in his sleep-state. She continued toweling his forehead as she had been instructed, her mind occupied by the news of the Revolution and the abdication of the Kaiser. The times certainly seemed to be changing, after four years of total warfare. How could they not?

News of the Armistice had been trickling back through Germany all moth, with severely disparate responses. Already the right-wing extremists, feeling cheated and depressed by their defeat, began blaming the country's political leadership, as well as fifth-columnists in every strata of German society. The Jews were a favorite scapegoat of many soldiers, claimed by them to have underserved or even actively wished for Germany's defeat. The nurse, herself Jewish, knew that the latter was complete rubbish: Jews formed a greater percentage, by population, of military recruits than any other group within Germany during the Weltkrieg.

The woman was startled out of her musings when the man suddenly grabbed her hand. She gasped, pulling away from him, and then sighed as he fluttered open his sky-blue eyes. "Well, how are you, then?" Her voice was soft, as if she were speaking to a child, though the man was scarcely a decade her junior. He was obviously confused. "Wh-who's there? Show yourself!" His eyes darted to and fro, his voice suddenly panicky.

"Calm down! It's alright...you've breathed chlorine, but you'll be fine. You're in a military hospital, nice and safe. Look around if you don't believe me."

The man sat up ever so slightly from his bed, turning his head around. "I...I can't. I can't see anything! Please, have you taken my eyes from me?" The young man had calmed, strangely, though his voice showed how earnest he still was. The nurse bit her lip a little nervously and told him she would fetch him a doctor. It took a good while to find one, but when he finally came around, the young soldier had fallen back into a fitful sleep. The doctor waited for a moment and was just preparing to leave when the young man stirred. "Hello..? Is anyone there?"

The doctor helped him to sit up. He checked his tattered chart. "Ah...Herr Hitler, don't worry. We'll have you back in fighting shape faster than..." His eyes glanced at the chart again, deciphering the scribbled description of Hitler's main duty. "Faster than you can get a message to the Front. Though I doubt you'll be doing much fighting anymore..."

Hitler's breath halted for a moment. "Are you saying...did we win? Have we entered Paris?" Suddenly his voice seemed full of strength, though his eyes still looked around as if he were looking for something. The doctor sighed deeply and clapped the soldier on the back.

"I'm sorry to have to tell you this now, son. We've signed an Armistice. Germany has surrendered...there is nothing left but the formal Treaty. I don't believe they are even letting us negotiate the terms! It's all a parcelling out of German land between the victors. There might not even be a Germany left when the Entente gets finished with us!" Momentarily overcome by grief, the doctor took a moment to compose himself. Silently, Hitler's mind was working, taking in this sudden shock. Incapacitated since October, Hitler was in dire need of news from the Front, but he couldn't accept what he heard. He decided he must be hallucinating...after all, he couldn't see anything. The whole thing was probably a sick, strange dream.

The doctor performed a simple eye examination, showing Hitler's eyes to be fully healthy and responsive to light. It seemed to him all there was to do was wait and see what happened. Slowly, by degrees, the young Gefrieter's eyesight returned to him. Weeks passed as the blackness resolved slowly to a haze, the haze to a fuzz, and finally to some semblence of clarity. By the time he was ejected from the hospital, it was 1919, and the Paris Peace Conference was well underway.



Paris, 1919

David Lloyd George was one happy Prime Minister. Peace at last! It seemed a lifetime ago that that damnable Kaiser had trudged the world into the wretched conflict. Like any good, God-fearing Briton, George laid the blame of the Great War squarely where it belonged: on the shoulders of the German people and their Kaiser. He just wished they could remove the bastard from Holland and try him for crimes against common humanity.

In any case, the Prime Minister would not let the now-deposed despot ruin his mood. There was peace! It felt like laying a burden down after a long day's trudge...everyone at the Conference had a spring in their step. Well, save the soldiers who happened to have lost their legs, but George didn't spend much time thinking of them, either. He felt almost smug, but not proud. Several Treaties were being worked on in the palace at Versailles, with the most prominent and important one named after the place itself. Germany, rightfully in George's opinion, had no position to bargain from and so were not represented.

Strangely, it was George himself who led the call for moderation. The French delegation, in particular the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch, sought one of the toughest lines: instating the border between France and Germany at the river Rhine, thus denying Germany the strategic territory, not to mention industry, of the southwestern Rhineland. The most that the French would get, however, was a clause of German demilitarisation and League occupation, with German civil authority kept in place. George thought this an imminently reasonable compromise, but it left a bad taste in the French's mouths and was highly contentious amongst the Germans when they were finally given the Treaty to sign.

When the time came to sign the final Treaty of Versailles, to cement peace for once and for all time, the German Reichstag refused to ratify it. The new 'Weimar Republic' as it later became known wasn't as radical as the Allies had thought, and immediately the specter of continued conflict loomed overhead. But in the end, a new Government was called. When the Versailles Treaty was sent through the new Reichstag, it passed with a comfortable majority, giving great relief to the Allies. France was still bitter about not getting the Rhineland, however, and Foch made an ominous prediction. His exact words were, "This is not Peace. It is an Armistice for Twenty Years."

versailles.jpg

Signing the 'Slave Treaty'...

Peace was finally had, though at a harsh price to Germany. While the rest of the world enjoyed relative stability, even unprecedented economic growth in most areas, Germany languished under the harsh conditions imposed by the Treaty. Millions of tons of coal were slated to be given away to France and England, leaving the German government with the tab. This condition, and others that were arguably wholly resultant from the Treaty of Versailles, caused the German nation to become the most economically depressed and poorest nation in the entire world at that point. In 1923, a mere four years after Versailles, the German Mark reached parity with one trillionth of a single U.S. dollar. In other words, a trillion German Marks would net you a single U.S. Dollar on the world market.

It was as if, for Germans, the war had not ended. The money that had gone into paying for the massive Army was now being siphoned off by reparation payments, and the German Government was having to print more currency just to keep afloat, helping to cascade the problem. The blockade, while nominally over, was occuring in the hearts and minds of commercialists if no where else. Who would invest in a trading mission to Wilhelmsafen if one couldn't fit all the money for the cargo in one's hold?

So families starved, employment was atrocious, and the Government kept falling. More on that later.



The German Army was limited by the Versailles Treaty to no more than 100,000 soldiers, as well as the permanent dissolution of theGerman General Staff; the Navy was severely limited in its ability to produce Capital ships and submarines; and the Luftwaffe was completely disbanded. While all these things sounded perfectly reasonable at the time, they all served to embitter the German people and military against the Allies.

Hans von Seeckt, a hero of the East Front, became in charge of organising the new Reichswehr, as the German Army was known from the time the ink had dried on the Versailles Treaty. While von Seeckt held to his troop limitation obligation, he got around it by having only the highest standards for entry into the Reichswehr. Training was rigorous and gruelling, and in only a few years the entirety of the Army, all 100,000 soldiers, were the equivalent of Non-Commissioned Officers in mind if not in actual rank. Years later, when Versailles would be broken and the Reichswehr's ranks swollen, von Seeckt's foreward-thinking would make the transition incredibly easy. As it stood, by 1922 the Reichswehr was truly an Army of Leaders, one of the most professional and disciplined fighting forces of all time.

Von Seeckt skirted the General Staff requirements by tactfully disguising it as the Truppenamt, the Troop Office. The Allies never suspected a thing. Unfortunately, neither did the German people as a whole, who felt that their Army was insufficient to patrol their borders and was languishing in dereliction. This view was not helped by the Freikorps, paramilitary groups consisting largely of WWI veterans forcibly evicted from the Imperial German Army. Many cities including Munich hired Freikorps as a pseudo-police and military force. The men, largely undisciplined due to a lack of good command order and their grinding poverty, brutally suppressed the various Communist and other Left-Wing revolts that sprang up throughout 1919 and to a lesser extent throughout the Twenties.

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Hans von Seeckt, the Savior of the Reichswehr



After the Versailles Treaty was imposed, the extremists from all sides of the German cultural landscape came out in condemnation of it. It was pointed out that the German Army had never surrendered, and indeed they had not. The feeling of betrayal became widespread, as the months turned to years and hardships continued, and even deepened. A mythos swept through the land that the German Army had been on the brink of victory, only to be stabbed in the back by the civilian leadership of the country--conveniently ignoring, of course, that by the end of the war the Army had taken effective control of that very civilian leadership. Nevertheless, the "Dolchstosslegende," the dagger-stab legend, caught on throughout Weimar Germany like a firestorm. The drumbeats of militarism, anti-semitism, fascism and a visceral hatred of the Allies had been planted with the signing of the 'Slave Treaty,' seeds that a certain soldier-turn-politician had no qualms about cashing in on.
 
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unmerged(62421)

Captain
Nov 6, 2006
422
0
oh BOy!
 

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Tzar of all the Soviets
Jul 17, 2006
5.575
7
A serious historical perspective.

Cool. I'll be reading.
 

unmerged(61891)

First Lieutenant
Oct 19, 2006
206
1
OOC: Guys, I need some advice. Which writing style do you like better? The broad narration or the personal, dialogue-driven storyline? Should I drop the dialogue? Also, I think there might be ONE MORE update after this one before gameplay begins.

One for the History Books
The World As It Was

Chapter II: The Beer Hall Putsch

Deutschland, while by far the worst struck by the various peace settlements, was not the only nation left with a bad taste in its collective mouth. The victorious Entente Cordiale, headed by Britain and France, transferred smoothly into a League of Nations that re-drew the map of Europe. Austria, once one of the foremost Empires on the Continent, was shorn of every bit of territory in which the population was not overwhelmingly German, and even a few that were, notably South Tirol to Italy and the Sudetenland to the newly-minted country of Czechoslovakia. In all, four new nations arose from the ashes of the Habsburg dynasty, while many others territorially benefited.

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Europa reshuffled

Deutschland's defeat of the Russian Empire caused it to fragment as well, aided by an internal revolution much more bloody and violent than that which rooted in Germany. Russia became the Russian Soviet Republic, having lost vast tracts of territory to a newly-independant Poland, Ukraine, Bielorussia, the three Baltic States, Finland, and the Caucasus. As civil war swept across the steppe, the Bolsheviks emerged victorious. It didn't take long until they entered the capitals of nearly all the breakaway Republics to reclaim them for the new Russian Empire under the guise of Bolshevism, now called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

This entity formed an incredibly dangerous base of power for revolutionaries throughout Europe. For years after the entrenchment of the Bolsheviks, revolutions raged across the Continent, even succeeding in places such as Hungary and Bavaria. Luckily for Germany, the Bavarian movement was crushed with the firm hand of the professional Reichswehr and around 30,000 members of the Bavarian Freikorps.

Italy was burned just as badly in the peace agreement. Having been lured into the Entente with promises of major territorial concessions in the Balkans and increased political influence around the entire Mediterranean, Italy recieved only South Tyrol and a smattering of insignificant islands. This left the Italian people incredibly bitter and sceptical of the former Entente and the new League which succeeded it. The blatantly imperialist manner in which France and England gobbled up the remnants of the Ottoman Empire served as a further slap in the face to the Italians and the Turks, though these actions were covered by “League Mandates” which gave them a veneer of altruism and legality.



The German government in these years was incredibly unstable, having to guard against external menaces and internal fragmentation...it hadn't been so very long ago that Germany had been a collection of dozens of smaller autonomous states, and many major powers—notably England and France again—weren't saddened by the idea of Germania returning to this state of affairs. Referred to by history as the Weimar Republic, it was contemporaneously known as Das Deutsches Reich, the same name that had been used to refer to its legal progenator, the Kaiserreich. The first years of the Republic were shaky indeed; various parts of Germania attempted revolution, with many proclaiming themselves Soviet Republics. Nevertheless in the opening months of 1919 the government was incredibly active in the social sphere, codifying the eight-hour workday, helping to bring the hundreds of thousands of demobilized and decommissioned troops back into the workforce, and bringing leaping strides in nationalizing the healthcare system.

By 1923, the Republic had become politically stable through a pact with the Reichswehr, in which the civil government swore not to reform the military as long as the military held itself to protecting the State. This allowed the government some breathing space to deal with the harsh economic concerns wrought by Versailles. Even with the destitution that ravaged, a few of Germany's cities boomed in a cultural and social sense. Berlin was a prime example, becoming one of the most decadent centers of Europe for art and culture. Economically, however, the entire nation was caught in a negative loop of inflation and depression so bad that at one point, it became cheaper simply to burn money for warmth than to buy firewood.

Inflation-1923.jpg

A German woman burning money rather than spending it on wood

Such a climate was inimical to social peace, and while the outright revolts and mass demonstrations against the government had ended, the discontentment of the people hadn't. During this time, the government defaulted on a few payments mandated by Versailles, citing its inability to pay. In response, French and Belgian troops occupied the Ruhr region, Germany's most productive industrial core. Many mining companies were taken over in this action, and the German government could do nothing but encourage the people to strike in protest. The strikes lasted for eight long, brutal months, further crippling the Reich's ailing economy and infuriating the occupying Frenchmen. The strikers were paid benefits by the state, taking away its ability to make reparation payments all the more. The French became so desperate that many protestors were exiled from the region while others were simply executed.

The necessity to pay reparations and the striking workers fueled a period of incredible inflation, when the government simply printed more and more money to pay for its expenses. This devalued the currency immensely from its already sub-par rate of exchange until a new currency, the Rentenmark, had to be introduced. At the time of introduction one Rentenmark was equivalent to one trillion Papiermarks, which was the old currency. Conversely one US Dollar was worth just over four Rentenmarks. The innovation halted inflation almost completely, and while the economic outlook remained bleak, things seemed to get worse at a much slower rate.

1923 was a fateful year for Germany for many reasons, not least of which was the Beer Hall Putsch in which a fanatic from a fringe Rightist group attempted to sieze power in Munich. In order to trace the roots of this incident and properly understand its effects, we must revisit the young man we left in the last chapter confused and uncertain of his place in the world.



July, 1919

Caught among men more sure of themselves, perhaps more intelligent, and definitely more confident, the still-young Hitler counted himself lucky. Unassuming and quiet, he was always known for his paintings from the Front, though almost no one knew anything about him. He had been one of the 100,000 men retained in the Heer. For most of the first six months of that year, he languished in barracks with nothing better to do.

Then one morning he was awoken to a nameless officer handing him a slip of paper. Groggily he read it through once, uncomprehending. Halfway through his second read-through he sat up with newfound excitement. The paper in his hand told him to report immediately to the local Aufklärungskommando, the Intelligence Command. The order might have frightened other soldiers, fearing an investigation into their sordid deeds of late. Hitler was excited to be relieved of the shiftless boredom which had haunted him ceaselessly since the cessation of hostilities with the Allied Powers.

He arrived at the designated location in Munich, proudly displaying his badges and his rank which he had earned in defence of the Fatherland. The office was small and crisp, occupied by an older man of similar stature and sharpness. The man's gaze took in the full measure of the Gefreiter when he entered, only offering the obligatory “Wilkommen” after a long moment of silence. He did not offer his name nor did he ask for proof of Hitler's.

“You must be wondering why you are here. Low of rank, without particular distinction. Without German citizenship...perhaps without any citizenship at all, considering your desertion from Austria and the collapse of the dynasty there. Tell me...why shouldn't I report you for deportation and trial for cowardice?”

The man's cold words sent an icy chill through Adolf. His composure sagged for an instant, but then he snapped to attention, his cobalt eyes filling with passion. “All I am, I am for Deutschland, Herr Hauptmann.” He addressed the man by his obvious rank rather than requesting a name. “While it is true I ran from conscription in the Austrian Army, I volunteered my service for Germany. As such...” Here he hesitated. Was he really prepared to gamble his life away? It only took an instant for him to decide. “As such I shall follow any order my Fatherland sees fit to give to me.”

The Hauptmann was impressed with this concise answer. “Very good. As it happens, you have nothing to fear. You have been selected for voluntary service to this office as a Verbindungsmann...a spy. The position could be dangerous; you would have to keep information on your fellow soldiers and try to influence them to our point of view. Occasionally you might be asked to do some work for us in the civilian population. You will have no contacts with any other members of Intelligence Command besides myself and you are sworn to complete secrecy. Do you need time to think it over?”

The swift change in the attitude of the anonymous Hauptmann reeled the Gefreiter. He swallowed hard, his mind taking several long seconds to catch up. “You could...use me? I wouldn't have to play cards all day?”

For the first time since Adolf laid eyes on him, the Hauptmann smiled. “Ja, Herr Hitler. The position is thankless. If you accept you will only receive written instructions from now on, and you must not breathe a word of your service.” The Hauptmann knew he was laying it on thick, but his job was to generate loyal spies. “I will be in this location for three days...if I have not received a reply, I will assume you have not volunteered and I will forget about this conversation. You would be wise to do the same.”

Adolf needed only another moment to compose himself. The whole idea was so exciting! “That will not be necessary, Herr Hauptmann. I will accept the position.”

“Good man. Return to your barracks and act with complete normality. While there, keep a record of any strange activity exhibited by your fellow soldiers and attempt to keep them from pursuing the wrong associates, if you get my meaning. Do not worry if you are collecting information on another spy. Periodically you will return to find your recordings gone, no matter how securely you hide them...this is normal. If further service is required of you, you shall be informed with written orders. Dismissed.” With that, the Hauptmann turned to continue his work on whatever he was doing.

Hitler reeled once more, his steps uncertain. It took him an hour to return to the barracks, and most of the rest of the day to sort out what he had agreed to do. For the next two months he faithfully served in his silent post, keeping notes on troublemakers and befriending certain soldiers who seemed likely to stray but who could be redeemed. By September he was beginning to grow bored again, and considered simply stopping his observations. He wondered how long it would take them to notice he wasn't collecting any more notes. He needn't worry long, however.

Halfway through the first week of September he awoke to a sealed envelope beside his bunk. It was completely unmarked, without even a stamp. After Adolf woke himself he found a solitary place to open it. His hands shook while he read the disjointed script.

H.H.,

A new political party has sprung up in Munich. Called Deutsch Arbeiterpartei, D.A.P. Infiltrate as a civilian and keep us informed. Your superiors have been notified.

Comprehension slowly came from several more readings, though Adolf had a lot of work to do. This party, the German Worker's Party, must be very new and unknown. He felt the thrill of excitement within him once again. After memorizing the name of the party he burned the paper, feeling like a real spy. It took him only a few days to find out more about the party. Late in the afternoon on the 12th of September, dressed as a civilian, Adolf dropped in on a meeting of the DAP in one of Munich's numerous beer halls. He listened to a rather dry and predictable speech by Gottfried Freder on the subject of economics, and very quickly decided the party posed no danger to the German martial and political establishments. As the speech wound down, Hitler got up to leave.

Before he reached the door, an anonymous man rose from the crowd to speak of Freistaat Bayern (Bavaria) seceding from das Deutsches Reich to join in union with Austria to form a new south-German nation. The idea was so preposterous that Adolf was forced to turn around and march almost up to the stage, bringing the man to silence. The words flowed from Hitler before he could examine them, fueled with a passion and incredulity that had built within him ever since the German capitulation.

“You are a traitor! Worse than a murderous Frenchman! Deutschland can never be broken in such a way; I have not given four aweful years of my life to this nation to see it fragmented from within by the likes of you...” He continued uninterrupted for a quarter of an hour, railing against the man as a Communist, a Monarchist, radical. He called him lower than a stinking English dog among other things. By the time he had finished he was panting for breath and the hall was in complete silence.

In the resounding silence that followed, Anton Drexler rose from his seat and rushed to Adolf. He introduced himself as one of the founding members of the DAP and gave Hitler a pamphlet entitled “My Political Awakening.” Still shocked at his own outburst, Adolf took the document in a daze and agreed to come back again.

The next morning Hitler laid on his cot, watching mice scurry around for crumbs he had left them. His dreams troubled him, filled with loud roars, monstrous metal behemoths and red devils from the East. He couldn't remember the details very well. He decided to thumb through the pamphlet, mostly out of boredom. What he found inside amazed him; Drexler's ideas were much like his own, strongly supportive of the military, harshly critical of both Capitalism and Marxism, and fiercely nationalistic.

Over the next few days, and unbeknownst to Hitler himself, Drexler and the other leading members—all six of them—of the DAP deliberated and schemed over the Gefreiter. Much like the Army, they underestimated Hitler's prowess and vision. They thought to use him, principally his persuasive speaking skills, to gain themselves power. Very shortly they would come to regret the postcard they sent him accepting him as a new party-member and inviting him to an executive committee meeting. As it happened, Hitler was incredibly undecided over the matter, ideas forming and fragmenting in his mind every passing hour after he received the invitation until he arrived at the meeting. He was greeted with such an enthusiasm that his vacillation over the matter was largely decided for him.

The condition Adolf found the party in was wanting. After the meeting adjourned he thought over the matter for another three days, taking into account all the pros and cons of his involvement. While the party leaders had in mind to use him as a low-level organ, Hitler's own ambition precluded such a lowly position. The Army was large enough even now to constantly look over him for promotion and deny him the glory he had always secretly sought, but in a budding movement such as the DAP, Hitler could have a free and inordinately influential hand.

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A young Adolf Hitler

Hitler resolved to take the DAP with its 50-some members under his wing and form it into a force of reckoning in German politics. After formally joining the executive committee of the party, he spent every available moment organizing and professionalizing the party. He first focused on swelling the ranks of the party through professional-looking invitations. The tactics began working, but not quickly enough for Adolf's tastes. His next step was to insist on taking an ad out in a very nationalist local newspaper advertising the next public meeting of the party, to be held on the 16th of October. In anticipation of this he moved the meeting to a much larger beer hall, built to seat 100 patrons comfortably. Though other committee members were reluctant, Hitler's judgment was vindicated when just over 100 people showed up. Barely a month after joining, Hitler had literally doubled the party's attendance.

At this meeting Adolf was scheduled to speak in a feature role after another had warmed up the crowd for him. A few members of the committee doubted his ability, but when he let loose the raw emotional power within him he moved the audience to rapture. He spoke for half an hour unabated. He asked for sacrifice and selflessness, and earned donations totaling 300 Marks. This money, every cent, was funneled back into the party machine to make it sleeker and more attractive.

From then on Hitler became the feature attraction at public meetings, his electrifying speeches always railing against the injustices of Versailles and the November Criminals, as the civilian authorities who surrendered were derisively referred to. Always he looked for someone else to blame, some external threat or internal malcontent, someone who could be the focus of an honest German's ire. He had by this point stopped all spy activities, but even so he was encouraged by the military establishment to pursue his work with the DAP. He became the head of party propaganda and officially took charge of recruitment efforts, bringing in many friends recently discharged or still remaining within the Army.

The main rival for new membership in Munich was the KPD, Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands. Firmly devoted to Marxism, the party presented a real fear of a general German Revolution on the order of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Hitler played off of this fear in Munich, further building up support for the DAP. In February 1920 he urged the first mass-meeting of the Party. Much of the committee opposed him, but his sheer force of will prevailed, and in the end he won out. On the 24th, less than six months after first walking into a shady beer hall holding fifty people, Adolf Hitler stepped onto a stage in front of 1,000 individuals, including many Communists. Almost as soon as he began speaking, several brawls broke out in the crowd amongst the Marxists and the DAP supporters, though Hitler shouted above the din until he himself was drowned out by thunderous applause.

The meeting was an enormous success. Hitler outlined twenty-five points of the DAP's political platform, pausing after each one to receive the crowd's nearly-unanimous approval—even amongst the Communists. When the thousands-strong crowd dispersed, Hitler had succeeded in spreading his image in Munich and around Germany. The DAP was growing more and more by the day. That same night a committee meeting was held in which the name of the party was changed from Deutsche Arbeiterpartei to Nationalsozialistiche Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or NSDAP. Almost instantly the name was contracted to Nazi and the term became an easy epithet to use in identifying a member of the NSDAP.

By March of 1920, nearing 31 years of age, Hitler was honorably discharged from the Reichswehr. He threw himself unreservedly into the machinations of the party. By February 1921 Hitler delivered a firebrand oratory to more than 6,000 in Munich, and in the next few months he arranged to travel to Berlin with the hopes of beginning a branch of the NSDAP in northern Germany. During his absence, most of the executive committee conspired to tame Hitler's dictatorial nature in some fashion. Upon hearing this news, Hitler was outraged. He rushed back to Munich to tender his resignation fro mthe party as a bold first-move in the developing power-struggle.

Realizing that with the loss of Hitler they would have lost the party, the executive committee relented. The battle was not to be won so easily, however. Before withdrawing his resignation, Hitler demanded “complete and total control” of all the affairs of the party. This enraged the members of the committee, and the issue was put to a vote. After a fierce battle for the hearts and minds of the now-544 member body, Hitler won a resounding success with 543 voting “Ja” and only a single delegate voting “Nein”. At the next general meeting of the party, Hitler was introduced as “Der Führer der Nationalen Sozialistischen Partei,” signaling his supreme authority in the party.

For the next two years Hitler worked furiously, attracting a cadre of violent and fanatical supporters, many of whom became close personal friends—or at least assumed themsevles to be—of der Führer. Many members of the Munich Freikorps and other decommissioned soldiers joined the Sturmabteilung, the “Storm Division.” The SA acted as a paramilitary organization under Hitler's indirect control through Ernst Roehm. They protected meetings and acted as a general security force for party members; they also pursued a private war against opposing blocs such as the Communists, which often led to street fighting. The military sympathized with the SA, and so often overlooked these massive street fights and encouraged the civil authorities to do likewise.

Hitler's efforts to expand the party included assimilating other, smaller parties which were reflective of similar ideals but were independent of the Nazis. He made many contacts within high social circles, building friendships with industrialists and entrepreneurs, magistrates and judges, and even generals of the Reichswehr. Such early success led him to a glorious dream of a National Socialist Revolution. Inspired by the Italian Fascists' successful March on Rome, which had taken the country under the heel of Benito Mussolini, Hitler planned out 14 different mass meetings beginning on September 27th, 1923. The point of these meetings were to drum up supporters, both within and outside the NSDAP, for a “March on Berlin” and a successful takeover of the German Government.

In these short years Hitler had grown to such a stature in Bavarian politics that the very announcement of these meetings led to a State of Emergency to be declared by the Bavarian Prime Minister. Gustav von Kahr, Hans von Seisser, and Otto von Loslow were named dictators in order to restore order in the city on the brink of revolt. Unfortunately for the Prime Minister, the Triumvir (as the clique was called) had other plans. In the footsteps of the Reichswehr and the DAP before him, Gustav von Kahr sought to use Hitler and underestimated him greatly. Beginning in April and going throughout most of the summer, the two talked nearly every day.

The relationship began to sour when Hitler suspected Kahr's plot to install himself as the Kaiser of a reformed German Empire. By early November Hitler had decided to stop the charade and affect his March on Berlin, installing himself as the Führer of all Germany. On the evening of Thursday November the 8th, 1923, Hitler took 600 SA members to a beer hall where Kahr was speaking to 3,000 civilians.

In a flurry of action the entire procession burst through the doors and took over the hall, proclaiming the Nazi Revolution to have already taken place. This was an incredibly bold gambit for Hitler, who had always taken risks and had always been rewarded for them. At gunpoint Hitler, along with many of his closest lieutenants, brought all three members of the Triumvir into a small side room to begin negotiations.

“Gentlemen,” he began as he showed them his firearm. “There are four rounds in this pistol. One for each of you, and the last one for myself!” His eyes flashed dangerously as the gleaming grey of the gun flashed in the low light of the room. One look in those eyes would assure anyone of his sincerity. He immediately demanded the cooperation of the Triumvir in holding Bavaria as a base to march on Berlin.

Kahr, very calmly, replied that he could not be expected to collaborate. “I have been escorted here at the point of a rifle. Do you expect me to shake your hand when there is no longer one pointing at me? Shoot me now, for you would shoot me after I gave you my support.”

This sent Hitler into a spitting fury and he had to leave the Triumvir in the hands of his capable associates. Elsewhere around Munich, the SA was being mobilized to seize key buildings and the Nazis called on many contacts, including General Erich Ludendorff, to bring legitimacy to the movement. Hitler gave an extremely well-received speech to the crowd, which had been gripped with terror but turned to putty in Hitler's nimble fingers. While he spoke, the friends in whose hands he had left the three men attempted to bring them to the Nazi's point of view. Their efforts were aided by the riotous cheers which could now be heard from the main hall, though Kahr remained fixed in his resolve.

Ludendorff, the famous General from the Great War, arrived on the scene personally and talked the Triumvir into agreeing to back Hitler's March on Berlin. Hitler and Ludendorff accompanied the men back into the hall where all shook hands and gave speeches in support of the Nazi Revolution. Shortly after, the hall was allowed to be evacuated and Hitler mistakenly left the Triumvir in the custody of Ludendorff to deal with other issues which pressed around the city. Ludendorff released the three men, who all recanted their support and threw the budding Revolution into chaos.

The next morning, after bitter fighting between the SA and the now-wary Reichswehr, the movement was on the brink of collapse. Roehm's forces met with Hitler's, totaling just over 2,000 men, though no one had any idea how to proceed. Ludendorff finally cried out, “We will march!” And so they did. On a whim, Ludendorff led the procession to the Defence Ministry, where they were met with a detachment of about 100 soldiers. The two groups exchanged hails of gunfire, though the conflict ended when four soldiers and fourteen Nazis were killed.

putsch-01.jpg

Hitler's failed coup

Many Nazis escaped in the resulting confusion, but Hitler was arrested. He was charged with treason, and his high ambitions seemed to have all come to nothing. The Nazi Party was banned in Bavaria, as were its publications and surrounding satellite organizations. Hitler was hauled before a court, though the judge presiding over the case was sympathetic to him and the Nazis` cause. Once again, Hitler`s powerful oratory saved him and his closest friend, Rudolf Hess. They were each sentenced to five years` confinement in Landsberg Fortress; they would undergo no hard labor, have comfortable beds and meals every day, and would each share a cell. On top of this they were each allowed visitors for several hours each day.

trial-01.jpg

Hitler Imprisoned

While together in prison, Hitler dictated an autobiography to Hess. This document was originally entitled `Four and a Half Years of Struggle Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice,` but upon publication the title was simply shortened to 'My Struggle,' or Mein Kampf. The book outlined Hitler's rosy-lensed view of his own life and his own beliefs for the future of the German people.

index.jpg

The Cover of Mein Kampf

Because of exemplary behavior as well as sympathy from the officials in Bavaria, Hitler and Hess were pardoned and released from Landsberg in December of 1924. In all they had spent less than a year in prison. While there, however, Hitler completely reframed his beliefs about extra-legal changes in governments in the forms of uprisings or revolutions. He resolved to pursue NSDAP supremacy, and thus his own supremacy, over Germany utilizing the full range of the law. “Instead of working to achieve power by an armed coup we shall have to hold our noses and enter the Reichstag against the Catholic and Marxist deputies. If outvoting them takes longer than outshooting them, at least the results will be guaranteed by their own Constitution! Any lawful process is slow. But sooner or later we shall have a majority - and after that Germany."

As soon as he got out of prison, after an ill-fated suicide attempt, Hitler got in touch personally with Bavarian Prime Minister. After many hours of persuasive oratory Hitler convinced the leader of the Bavarian Government to lift the ban on the NSDAP with the promise of working within the rules of the democratic system.

He set to work reorganizing the ailing party. His nine-month absence had cost the Nazis dearly, with many cliques and feuds between them the very real threat of disintegration loomed. Hitler worked hard to re-take the reigns of power, and at the first public meeting after his release from prison he cemented his authority and forcefully settled many ongoing disputes. Unfortunately for him he lost control of his deeply-held desires, roaring on the crowd's energy and vocalizing threats to the established democracy. For this he was banned from speaking in a public setting for two years. This was a crushing blow, but not an insufferable one. Imbued with destiny, Hitler poured all of his efforts into increasing Nazi discipline and expanding the party. He formed the Schutzstaffeln, or SS, as his troop of personal bodyguards. They acted as a handy counterweight to the SA, which was growing almost too powerful for Hitler to properly heel.

The Nazis formed a shadow-government, expanding all across Germany and seperating it into districts known as Gau. Each Gau would have a Gauleiter, in the beginning simply a Nazi Party organ to control party activities there, but modelled for the eventual smooth transition of Deutschland from an unstable Republic into a National Socialist sea of loyalty to Adolf Hitler.
 
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unmerged(59077)

Tzar of all the Soviets
Jul 17, 2006
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That's a very educational and graphic way of describing the events. I like.

I also do prefer the historical approach myself but the stylistic decisions are ultimately up to you.
 

caffran

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i like this, subscribed!!

one small niggle thou, the 'fifth column' didn't come into use until the spanish civil war.

later, caff
 

unmerged(61891)

First Lieutenant
Oct 19, 2006
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caffran said:
i like this, subscribed!!

one small niggle thou, the 'fifth column' didn't come into use until the spanish civil war.

later, caff

"Fifth Column" is a term for traitors working inside a country to undermine it. If it wasn't used in popular culture like that until the SCW, I apologize.

Thanks for your support, everyone. I'll start on the next update tonight and hopefully post it by tomorrow!
 

Technique

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This is very promising. I love the style of writing.

:)
 

unmerged(61891)

First Lieutenant
Oct 19, 2006
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deltren said:
nice history... is it true?

As true as I can get. I'm going to make this whole thing mirror history as much as possible, though I expect there to be deviations as the game plays out. Deutschland's still going down, though :p

Tribolute said:
Yeah that's historically what happened, except that map should be 1923-1937, austria and czech were gone by 39 :cool:

That's what Europe wound up like after the victors finished carving the spoils. Expect that map to change very soon.
 

unmerged(35308)

Mercenary Extradordinaire
Oct 16, 2004
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Keep it up! I really like your style, and this story is very very interesting.
 

unmerged(61891)

First Lieutenant
Oct 19, 2006
206
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OOC: I think I've finally decided on playing from 1936, trying to make it as historical as possible. If minor deviations occur they shouldn't detract from the overall flow of history. Anyway, I plan on this being the last update before gameplay begins in earnest, and then updates should flow more regularly than they have been. Apologies for the delay!

One for the History Books
The World As It Was

Chapter III: Hitler Over Germany

While the rest of the Western world became wrapped-up in what has become known as the “Roaring Twenties,” Germany still struggled on in the middle 1920's. While the period immediately following the issuing of the Rentenmark became known as the “Golden Period” because of the relative financial and social stability which reigned in its wake, the conditions of the country were still appalling for anyone traveling to Germany from the decadent palaces of Britain or the overflowing cesspools of New York and Paris. The man responsible for this “Golden Period” was Gustav Streseman, Chancellor for a brief period in 1923 and Foreign Minister from 1924 until 1929. His policy led, in 1925, to the Locarno Pact, a treaty designed for rapprochement with the Western powers in the settling dust of the Weltkrieg.

Gustavstresemann.jpg

Gustav Streseman, the Great Conciliator

Hitler, as well as other savvy politicians of this period, attacked the Locarno Pact as another crime against the German people. Among other outrages it reaffirmed Germany's Western territorial boundaries as established by the Treaty of Versailles. Independantly, France took measures to facilitate a “Little Entente” with Poland and Czechoslovakia, both of whom had very real disputes with Germany over territory such as the Sudetenland and the Polish Corridor. As per the Locarno Agreement, if any one nation out of Belgium, France, or Germany pursued aggression against another, then the disaffected nation (along with Britain and Italy) was bound to offer any and all assistance to the nation being agressed.

According to the seperate agreements between France and the Little Entente, France would see any overt pressure on Poland or Czechoslovakia as a direct threat to herself and would use the Pact to act accordingly. This effectively left Germany with no room to resolve outstanding territorial disputes with either nation, thus, in theory, ending those disputes. In practice, however, the Locarno Pact was very poorly received among the broader populace of Germany. While the Pact had some definite positives to it which included a thawing of relations with all of the Western powers and a firm plan for the demilitarization of the Rhineland, it proved to be a propaganda masterpiece for Hitler.

The years that followed saw Hitler molding the Nazi party in his own image more than ever before, though he largely worked in public silence. Because of this redirection in the Führer's tremendous energies, the public presence of the party ebbed and subsequent elections saw them losing seats to waffling Democrats and, worse, budding Communists. While still a force to be reckoned with, the NSDAP's time in the spotlight seemed to have passed. Hitler never lost sight of his goal, however, even after the election of May 1928, in which the Nazis netted only twelve seats in the Reichstag.

Hitler knew that the economic prosperity which had fuelled the West's hubris since the end of the World War, and which was just now beginning to trickle into Germany visibly, could not last. In October 1929 his predictions bore fruit, when the New York Stock Exchange collapsed over a period of a few days. “Black Tuesday” will always be remembered among big-business circles as one of the worst days in history. Over a period of a week, the Stock Market lost a value of thirty billion dollars, which was more than ten times the contemporaneous annual budget of the United States and more than the US had spent in all of the World War.

Over a period of weeks the entire world followed, in a general trend downward that ruined entire nations financially. Once-great nations such as Canada and the United States found themselves, after the high peak in September 1929, in a position much like Germany's had been at the same time. Meanwhile Germany, having lost the source of trickling wealth that Locarno and rapprochement had gained her, once more fell into the wtatus of the most destitute.

In the opening months of 1930 Germany's growing politcal stability completely reversed along with its economic position. The “Grand Coalition” of center parties lost all confidence in the Reichstag and became factionalized, squabbling and halting all the progress that had been made to cement Germany as a strong democracy. President Hindenberg had to resort to “Emergency Decrees” more and more often, with the result that the Reichstag, and by extension the people of Germany, became once more accustomed to autocracy. The instability of the Reichstag led to the calling of premature elections on September 14, 1930.

Hitler was instrumental in the campaign, taking his party from national obscurity to win 6,409,600 votes across Germany. The election netted 18% of the electorate, increasing the Nazi presence in the Reichstag nearly tenfold, to 107 seats. This made the NSDAP one of the most powerful parties in a Reichstag where there was no majority and could never be a coalition. Every day seemed more and more like the dark times immediately after Versailles, with the Reichstag becoming more militant, and with it the nation. Over the next two years, Heinrich Brüning reigned as Chancellor appointed and supported by President Hindenberg. Though the Reichstag hardly ever supported him, his word became law due to the Emergency Decrees that became everyday matters as the Depression's grip strangled the masses.

Brüning cut almost all social spending by the Reich, shutting down or severely limiting liberal reforms that had been instituted for less than ten years. This made him incredibly unpopular with the people of Germany and with the Reichstag.

In 1931 an event happened which had the potential to destroy Adolf Hitler politically as well as personally. His niece, Angelika “Geli” Raubal, was found dead in his apartment, killed by his own revolver in what was ruled a suicide. The death of his dear niece effected Hitler wildly; he became a vegetarian immediately, claiming to be unable to eat any more flesh. His visceral reaction was thought by some to be too extreme even for a doting uncle, nineteen years her senior. Rumors persisted that he had been having an affair with the young and impressionable girl, but these rumors fizzled. Hitler's focus now was entirely on politics; after the death of his niece he thought of nothing else, day or night.

As the year drew to a close, an election for Reichs President was called. Hitler entered himself as a candidate in the election, hoping to gain the dictatorial powers granted him by the Constitution to engineer his hold on Germany. His aspirations nearly came to naught, however, when it was revealed that Hitler still had not atained German citizenship after all his time and effort spent in what he considered his homeland. This problem was resolved expertly when Hitler was appointed to a minor post in a local government in which the Nazis participated; the post came with a gift of citizenship.

He came up with a novel, and brilliant, idea for his campaign: Hitler über Deutschland. The name had two meanings, the obvious one being Hitler's intentions to become the foremost person in all of Germany. The second meaning tied into his method of attaining that power. The lesser meaning became clear when the campaign began, and Hitler took to the air to fly “over Germany,” in a personal aircraft. This tactic was brand-new and allowed Hitler to speak in multiple cities in the course of a day, spreading his name far and wide among the people. When the polls opened in early 1932, Hitler earned 35% of the vote, coming in second to Hindenberg. While a tactical defeat, the election showed that Hitler was a prime force to be reckoned with in German politics.

The great, lumbering masses of Germans that had longsince gone uncounted in the Republic began to make their voices heard through two principle politicians, namely Hitler and Hugenberg, who was an influential businessman. The Wehrmacht began stirring for change and, being the principle force propping up the Reich, their influence was essential in any workable government. Facing a lack of support, Brüning resigned in May of 1932.

Hindenberg appointed a Monarchist by the name of Franz von Papen to be Chancellor, who immediately cobbled-together a “Cabinet of Barons” to run the country as Papen, and Hindenberg, saw fit. His rule was bent on crafting the Republic into an authoritarian state in which the Chancellor wielded supreme power, but toward this goal he found the support of only one party out of many. He called elections for July of 1932, hoping to usher in a new era of autocracy with the eventual goal of returning the monarchy to Germany. Unfortunately for Papen, the subsequent election resulted in the biggest victory yet for the Nazis, which redoubled their presence in the Reichstag yet again to 230 seats. While not holding an absolute majority of 50%-plus-one, the NSDAP was now the largest party in the Reichstag and would have to be cooperated with if Papen ever hoped to form a suitable governing body.

Vonpapen1.jpg

Franz von Papen

Papen attempted to accomodate Hitler by appointing him Vice-Chancellor, but this he refused. Meanwhile Hitler, ever the savvy politician, negotiated with officials from the Center Party, which were interested in bringing down Papen. Both negotiations failed, as Hindenburg consistently refused to appoint Hitler to the Chancellery, even though he had claim to it as the leader of the largest party. Finally a no-confidence vote passed in the Reichstag with 84% approval, sparking a new election for September.

Strapped from the harships of the previous campaign, and with little time to have done much productive with the deadlocked Reichstag, the Nazis lost seats for the first time since 1930. They still remained the most powerful party in the Reichstag, however, and aside from a few minor seat-changes the composition of the governing body remained almost exactly the same. After this failure to bring about a majority favorable to his plans, Papen suggested that the Reichstag be dissolved again, but this time that elections be indefinitely postponed. This would leave Papen as the de-facto Dictator of Germany with Hindenburg as his rubber-stamp. The aging President agreed with this at first, but the Reichswehr by this point had had enough. They withdrew their support for Papen and the country teetered on the brink of an all-out civil war. Conceding defeat, Hindenburg dismissed Papen and instead appointed General Kurt von Schleicher to the Chancellery with the latter's promise that he would be able to form a workable coalition with Social Democrats, trade unionists and anti-Hitler, or at the least less-pro-Hitler, Nazis.

In January 1933 Schleicher admitted defeat in these efforts, begging to be gifted with emergency powers and for the postponement of elections which he had so stiffly resisted months before. Hindenburg reacted to this by dismissing him. Meanwhile Papen, oddly, had formed a private coalition of wealthy businessmen which financially supported the Nazi party, which had been on the verge of bankruptcy because of the rigors of so many successive elections. Papen's reason for this was his own personal bitterness over getting replaced by Schleicher. The members of this coalition, all of them incredibly influential men in German life, wrote letters to Hindenburg urging him to appoint Hitler as Chancellor and end the period of aweful strife that had begun with the onset of the Depression, prefering him as a leader “independent of parliamentary parties” who would lead a movement to “enrapture millions of people.”

Hindenburg finally agreed to their clamoring calls, appointing Hitler as Chancellor to a joint government of Nazis and Conservatives. Hitler got to pick two positions in the Cabinet to be filled by Nazis, while Papen himself was appointed Vice-Chancellor. Papen aspired to use Hitler as a public face to Papen's own ruling of Germany, but Hitler had chosen two key positions to fill with his fellow Nazis, including the Ministry of the Interior. On January 30th, 1933, Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany in a brief ceremony.

One step closer to realizing his dreams, Hitler was not about to rest on his laurels. He defeated all attemts to gain a majority, eventually convincing Hindenburg to call one more election. It was scheduled for early March. Adolf Hitler had no intention of allowing his grasp on power to slip away on the whims of the electorate, however; toward the end of February the Nazis successfully concluded a plot to set the Reichstag building on fire, successfully blaming a Dutch Communist for the act and casting suspicion on the entire Communist movement.

Reichstagsbrand.jpg

The Reichstag burns, and with it all hope of the Republic

Immediately in the wake of the incident the Reichstag suspended basic freedoms, giving the government wide latitude to arrest civilians and suppress undesirables, most notably almost all the Communists. The resulting election saw the Nazis win their biggest victory yet, but they had to swallow the bitter pill of coalition once more as they still failed to sustain the absolute majority that was so desired by Hitler. On the day the new Reichstag opened, a ceremony was held at the Potsdam garrison church. In order to signify his willingness to work with “Old Prussia,” Hitler arrived in a more traditional suit in lieu of his Nazi uniform, and humbly presented himself to the aging Hindenburg.

hindhit.jpg

Hitler greeting Hindenburg

The new government's first act, named the Enabling Act, sought to overcome the lack of an absolute majority by investing Hitler's Cabinet with full legislative powers for a period of four years. While Acts such as this had come up before in other democracies, this Act was written to blatantly supercede the German Constitution itself. It needed the majority of 2/3 of the Reichstag in order to pass; after spoken assurances to the Center Party and others regarding the moderation of the Cabinet and the Chancellor, the only party to vote against the Enabling Act was the Social Democratic Party. The Act passed with the required number of votes, opening the floodgates for Hitler's reign as the absolute master of Germany. Every four years thereafter the Reichstag, without fail, voted almost unanimously to approve the renewal of the Act.

Soon the Communists and the Social Democrats were banned outright, while all other parties but the NSDAP dissolved themselves, with some being less willing than others. Labor unions and employers' federations were all merged into a single entity that was placed under Nazi control, and the autonomy of the individual German States was quietly dissolved. Hitler used the burgeoning Sturmabteilung to bully his political rivals into exile, leaving him as the sole master of the Reichstag.

Even with all of this power, the Reichstag still stood upon the shoulders of the Reichswehr. Hitler knew this all too well, and he realized that the growing militance of the SA was making the German Armed Forces very uneasy. In order to keep and cement the support of the Reichswehr, Hitler orchestrated a purge of the SA leadership in a bloodbath that has become known as the Night of Long Knives; as many as a thousand people were murdered, rendering the SA an impotent instrument once more. Under the cloud of suppressing the SA, many people unconnected were also murdered, including General Schleicher and opponents within the Nazi hierarchy.

The Schutzstaffeln was the principle organization which carried out the orders, signaling their rise from Hitler's personal bodyguard to his own private Army. Even the Knight of Long Knives was not enough to sway the Reichswehr completely over to Hitler's cause. That changed on August 2nd, 1934, when President Hindenburg died of natural causes and left the position of Reich President open. Instead of calling an election, the Nazi government simply merged the position with that of Chancellor, calling the new post Führer und Reichskanzler, and naturally granting it to Adolf Hitler. Once Hindenburg was out of the way, the Reichswehr had little reason to resist Hitler, and Hitler gave them many reasons to cooperate. Every single one of the 100,000 soldiers of the Reichswehr swore an oath of loyalty to Adolf Hitler, thus removing the last obstacle to one man's domination of the German State.

At long last Hitler had fulfilled his dream of becoming the leader of all Germany, but not all Germans. His homeland of Austria, as German as Germany itself, still clung to a proud independence, while the Sudetenland remained oppressed by the government in Prague. Even with his great accomplishments and still-greater ambitions, he had much work to do to secure his position. He and his party had made many promises and threats as they climbed to the top; the threats were fulfilled first, but the promises were just as important.

The economic situation was slowly reversing by 1934 of its own accord, the sum of thousands of unguided transactions, but the recovery wasn't nearly as quick as Hitler had promised he could obtain. In order to bring about a strengthening of the state of affairs, the German government began to borrow money, some from foreign lenders but mostly from domestic banks, which themselves were filled with foreign currency. The vast amounts of money which was borrowed was spent on construction programs, most notably the Autobahn, which employed hundreds of thousands of people and provided Germany with a much-needed increase in infrastructure.

This massive debt flotation was not without its own problems, though they would not be seen for many years. Practical economists and politicians resigned, or were dismissed, due to their refusal to condone the breakneck pace of German rearmament and the reckless fiscal policies of the Nazi Government. Their sacrifice only worked to clear the field of any opposition to the Nazis'--and Hitler's—will.

In 1935 three very important things happened. Hitler ordered the re-creation of the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force, and he also decreed the resumption of military conscription. He also transformed the Reichswehr into the Wehrmacht, which dissolved the Truppenampt and convened four distinct General Staffs, three for each branch of service and one to oversee them all. These were flagrant violations of the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact, which overtly and implicitly banned both activities. The reactions of the primary enforcers of these ideals, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the Third Republic of France, offered protests only on paper. The conciliatory nature of previous German administrations had lulled both powers into a state of relative security, and lack of internal cohesion defanged any real attempt at enforcement of the aforementioned treaties.

During this time France had not been inactive; her grievous losses in the Great War had no rival. The people would not support the maintenance of a massive war machine, and so the French government put the resources of the nation into a deadly string of fortifications that ran from the territories of Alsace and northern Lorraine—which had been occupied by Germany for nearly half a century and were reclaimed at Versailles—on through the territory of Luxembourg. Plans were in place to extend the chain of forts, called the Maginot Line, all the way to the Channel coast, which would affix France's northern boundary with a physical face. Sadly, plans for the extension of the fortifications never bore fruit.

mag-12.gif

Can you spot the flaw?

Emboldened by a lack of response to his flagrant violations of international law, Hitler carefully devised the next goal in his journey through life. He had always had inklings of a coming conflict with the Bolsheviks of the Russian steppe; a dream to carve-out 'living space' from their westernmost territories was even outlined in his autobiography. But even at this point, when nearly every household in Germany was being presented with a copy of Mein Kampf, no one put the pieces together for the coming conflict.

As a new day dawned in 1936, Hitler had incredibly high hopes. That year the Olympics were slated to take place in Berlin, meanwhile Hitler was making his final moves in completely abolishing the treaty of Versailles. On January the First, he convened a meeting between the captains of German industry, inventors, financiers and politicians to set up Germany's technological and production quotas. After the meeting, various diplomats and emissaries were consulted to correct Germany's glaring deficit in some basic raw materials; most notably, Hitler had great success with the Soviet Union's diplomats.

Research1936.jpg

Maintaining the Lead

Production1936.jpg

I'm an Admiral of the Sea! The Glory of the....nevermind.

Trades1936.jpg

They have their uses...

With production humming along, trades becoming much more lucrative and the Fatherland's continued scientific prowess, Hitler gambled it all. He ordered his Generals to mobilize a small force of soldiers to enter the Rhineland, which the Treaty of Versailles held as tantamount to an invasion of France. The soldiers streamed in on horses and bicycles, with standing orders from Hitler himself to turn around and come back if they were shown any resistance by Allied occupiers. This was a mere formality, for Hitler knew the Rhineland had been completely evacuated six years before.

Rhineland.jpg

Thou doth protest too little...

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Game info:
Armageddon v. 1.0 (perhaps the first GC AAR to utilize the expansion)
Very hard/Coward (to keep the AI along its historical route)
1936-1963 inclusive (Might continue as a belligerent in the Cold War or simply do a post-war wrap-up)

From now on the story will deviate a little from history, as I will be taking the majority of my information directly from gameplay, but I still expect to lose.
 

Kordo

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Very nice writing! Is everything you posted the same as it is in RL?