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awesomenessofme

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This is played in DH 1.05.1 with the most recent version of the Democratic/Communist Germany mod, on Normal difficulty. Of course, it will start at the March 4, 1933 "Day of Decision" bookmark.



March 5, 1933

The German Republic is in a sorry state. The past decade and a half has seen it repeatedly humiliated on the world stage, suffer from escalating political violence from extremists on both sides of the political spectrum, and finally, throughout the past four years, descend deeper and deeper into economic disaster. Adolf Hitler, leader of the NDSAP, has maneuvered himself into being appointed Chancellor, and with the government cracking down on left-wing parties and Hitler’s Sturmabteilung thugs running wild in the streets, intimidating and assaulting voters, few seriously think that today’s Reichstag elections will be anything more than the death knell of German democracy. But sometimes, things can surprise you…

h5rsn6Y.png

The results are clear: The Nazis have barely clung onto their spot as the largest party, but with nowhere near the amount that would be necessary to form a majority, even with the support of their current partners the DNVP. In fact, the Nazi-DNVP coalition would control fewer seats than an SDP-Zentrum coalition, even without the addition of minor democratic parties. However, neither group seems capable of creating a majority coalition, so further negotiations will be necessary.

bxlFt9Y.png

The events of today have come as a shocking surprise even to the leadership of Germany’s democratic parties, who are caught totally off guard by their success. Several members of party leadership need to be hurriedly woken up, haven gone to sleep to wait for the seemingly inevitable results in the morning. Negotiations immediately begin via telephone between the democratic parties. This may be a final opportunity to save the Republic, and it will not be wasted. No one may ever know all the details of what happened this day, but one thing cannot be denied: A message has been sent in support of republicanism and against the politics of violence. But violence is coming nonetheless.

Within hours of the results being announced, riots and violence among the SA erupt, morphing rapidly into a full-blown insurrection. Throughout the nation, about 100,000 armed and organized fascists rise up in revolt, intending to tear down the Republic by force, and hundreds of thousands more assist them, actively or passively. In response, those elements of the Reichswehr that can be trusted to place the interests of the Reich above that of the army are mobilized in defense. Commander-in-chief Paul von Hindenburg may be no great supporter of democracy, but neither is he willing to allow Germany to collapse into civil war. In addition, the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold, the paramilitary wing of the democratic parties of Germany, is raised and incorporated into the army. In Berlin, Hitler approaches the situation with uncharacteristic calm. His well-laid plans have collapsed utterly, and he knows that the actions he takes could lead anywhere from unchallenged rulership of Germany to being put against the wall.

uf8LNKj.png

It begins...
 
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awesomenessofme

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An Overview of the German Reich, 1933

Let’s step back a day, to March 4, 1933.

Germany is caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one side, the Soviet Union. It is clear that the Bolsheviks would like nothing more than to crush German democracy and subjugate us into a puppet state. Even the Social Democrats, who might otherwise have been open to negotiations, have been alienated. The Soviet-backed KPD has attacked them as “social fascists” rather than seeking left-wing cooperation. However, as a pair of pariah states in Europe, trade relations have been friendly for the past decade. On the other side, the former Entente powers have stolen German lands, forced crippling and humiliating conditions on the nation through the Treaty of Versailles, and show no sign of remorse or changing their actions in the future. It is clear that Germany cannot stand up to both of them; for now, it cannot stand up to either. In the future, it seems likely that we will have to make a decision…

OMpK7C8.png

The Reichswehr is weak and still subject to many limitations. For the past decade, several projects have been undertaken in secret to improve the Germany army, but for now, it consists only of about a dozen divisions and a hundred thousand men.

Gzp72vJ.png


Mmfwjgp.png

The Reichsmarine and fledging German air force are, if anything, in even sorrier shape than the army. Germany’s combat fleet consists of three pre-Great War battleships, six light cruisers from during or before the Great War, and a few dozen destroyers and torpedo boats, again badly out-of-date. The German air force (such as it is) consists of fewer than 200 planes, which officially are neither armed nor under the purview of the government.

P9KEfJ5.png


9vm4tWV.png

Within the country, tensions are extremely high, even before the eruption of violence. This stretches Germany industry and infrastructure to its limit.

McMo9Ym.png

Resources are reasonably good, however. It’s unlikely for there to be any short-term issues. (Note: This doesn’t factor in the massive increase in consumer goods spending on the first day, so ignore money being red.)

dxaazJ4.png

Before the elections, Germany was teetering on the edge between democracy and dictatorship. Many authoritarians and fascists held positions in government.

u3iOMoJ.png


QTNhqNX.png

This is quite a flawed cabinet from a historical accuracy standpoint. Neither Ludwig Beck nor Werner von Fritsch should hold any position in leadership at this point, with Beck not taking power until October 1933 and Fritsch not taking power until February 1934. Canaris didn’t take over until 1935! Papen was never Foreign Minister. I’m not sure why they changed that, since Neurath actually was the FM, and he had been since 1932. Göring is definitely totally wrong, but they didn’t actually have an official air force at the time, so that’s a bit more excusable. Hindenburg, Hitler, Hugenberg, Frick, and Raeder are all correct. Ultimately, I'm mostly going to be ignoring the inaccuracies here if they would matter. The important figures in government are the ones to come in through elections.
 
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awesomenessofme

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Before moving too far forward with the game itself, here's the first of what will be two asides showing discussions taking place in the aftermath of the election.

March 6, 1933

Around mid-day, a clandestine meeting between the leaders of the Nazi Party is taking place in Berlin. Chancellor and Führer of the Nazi Party Adolf Hitler, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, President of the Reichstag Hermann Göring, and major party figure and personal associate of Hitler Rudolf Hess are sitting around a table. There is a palpable tension and anger in the air.

“How is this possible?!” comes the furious voice of Hitler. “SA on every street corner, communists and socialists in prison, large areas of government power seized and brought to bear on our behalf, and we can’t squeeze out a majority of the vote?”

“If I knew the answer, I would have already given it, mein Führer,” responds Hess. “We had everything in place, but…”

“Has Röhm been in contact?” Hitler snaps. “I did not authorize these uprisings! They could prove disastrous!”

“We have not received a word from him,” replies Himmler. “With all due respect, I did warn you of this, mein Führer. The man cannot be trusted to place his loyalties to you and the party above his own personal beliefs and ambitions.”

Hitler slams his fist down on the table.

“I did not ask for your opinion! I only asked for an answer to the question.” He pauses and takes a moment to collect himself. “But I suppose you must be right. Röhm has failed, completely and utterly. Three million men, lining every street in every city in all of Germany, and the incompetent fool couldn’t make one damned vote go our way. And now… either he’s lost control completely or he’s authorized uprisings without consulting me.”

“Do you wish to make any sort of official statement regarding the man?” Himmler asks.

“No… not yet. We need to keep all of our options open until the situation becomes clearer. As soon as I am once again in undisputed command, Röhm will be the first to be purged. But for now, keep trying to get into contact with him. I must toe a line carefully with my public words. If we appear to be in favor of the uprisings and they fail, we may very well be sent to prison. And I feel we’ve exhausted the Reich’s supply of forgiveness in that regard.”

“Regardless of what happens with that, we still have power we can make use of,” says Göring. “Some government positions – powerful ones – are in our hands for now-”

In a tone more of disgust than anger, Hitler interjects, “Do not speak a word of defeatism in my presence, Göring.”

Chastened, Göring continues, “Of course, mein Führer. It won’t happen again. As I was saying, elections are only as powerful as they can be made to be. With you as Chancellor and me as Reichstag president, there is a great deal we can do to delay or even prevent the new government from taking power.”

Hitler nods.

“Contact the local chapter of the SA. If they can be trusted to be loyal, we may need them. I will likely be expected to make a speech within the day. I still have to decide all the details…”

“Goebbels will need a line,” Hess says. “We did not prepare for this to happen.”

“Confusion and delegitimization. We must convince the people that the election, if not outright false, is at least questionable enough to justify us taking further action. The atmosphere of violence we created will help us in that regard. Continue to attack the other parties strongly. Make the outcome, should they take power, seem so dire that the people do not want it, even if they believe they won.”

“And the uprisings?”

“Do not take a strong position. If they can be used to reinforce the image of chaos without tying us to them or outright condemning them, do it. Otherwise, do not mention them at all.”

“I’ll contact him at once.”

Giving one final nod to the men still seated at the table, Hitler says a quick “Meeting adjourned” and exits the room.
 
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Interesting beginning, I will read this.
Hope I don't disappoint! Never done an AAR before, but I really like this scenario and I got the bug.
Oooh an AAR about my favorite alt hist scenario?? Consider yourself subscribed!! Please post a screenshot of the democratic cabinet once you get to that point :)
I've played the mod a ton for being such a simple scenario. There are several major decision points, so there's some replayability too. (No spoilers as to what choices I'll be making this run, though). And don't worry, I've got plenty of screenshots.
Hitler already has a lot power in the government. It will be interesting to see to what extent will he go to take over.
We'll see. As you can read in the last update, he was caught majorly off guard, and he's on the back foot, but he's still trying. (This is one thing I think the mod is lacking a bit. Apart from the revolts, there are no events representing any kind of struggle for power within the government. So I'll have to be adding them narratively.)
Always been one of my personal favorite "what-if" scenarios. Definitely going to be keeping an eye on this :)
I really enjoy it as well. To be honest, it's a little unlikely for my tastes for it to happen this late in terms of actual alt-hist, but there's no 1932 start, so I make do with what I have.
 
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A well-written update. Hitler acts just as he probably would've in that situation.

And about the date: well I also find a democratic turning point happening so late to be unlikely. It's not your fault that the scenario starts in 1933, but you could've started your narrative in 1932 and begin the actual gameplay after getting the democratic government, but to be clear: this AAR is good as it is so far, so don't get discouraged by my cherry-picking.
 

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As above, I'd fully expect Hitler and his cronies to go down swinging. Even at this stage in his career, I'd never imagine he would simply let go of his chance at power without at least bringing down as many of his enemies with him as he can. Let us hope that Germany's chaos ends up being at least mercifully brief...
 

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March 9, 1933

Notes from the meeting of Ludwig Kaas and Otto Wels, chairmen of Zentrum and the SPD, respectively, in Prague, Czechoslovakia, 3/9/33

WELS: I hope you appreciate the significance of what you’re asking. It’s not the Zentrum leaders that were forced to flee for their safety.

KAAS: Of course. But this is the last chance that we’ll have. Inaction means maintaining the status quo, and that means Hitler and his men in control. Indefinitely.

WELS: I understand that. And I personally am willing to return, even if the odds are long. I know many of my party feel the same. But not all of them. Outside the country, or in hiding, at least we’re free and alive. If we return, maybe we can bring things back from the brink. Or maybe we fail anyway, and every single one of us ends up in prison. I won’t presume to make that decision for everyone. What more can you say that might convince them? News out here has been a bit spotty.

KAAS: Rioting from the SA has continued every night since the election. In most places, it’s still somewhat contained. The police, soldiers, and if necessary, the Reichsbanner keep them contained enough. In this… so-called “Freistaat”, things are much worse. The violence we saw in the past weeks was just a teaser for what has happened these last few days. Hindenburg has come out strongly against them, and the Reichswehr seems to be on our side, for now. If we act quickly enough, we have an opportunity to reclaim the Reichstag with our legitimately elected deputies.

WELS: Would we even have enough men? The results, from what I have been able to see, were very close.

KAAS: The BVP, DVP, and DDP have all pledged themselves to a coalition, and we have reached out to the last handful of miscellaneous deputies; most seem amenable.

WELS: That’s not an answer to my question. Is it enough?

KAAS: As it stands now, perhaps not. It would come incredibly close, but a few seats short of a majority.

WELS: And do you expect the Nazis to tolerate their opponents forming a minority government while they hold the reins of power?

KAAS: I suppose not.

WELS: What of the communists?

KAAS: Thälmann was allowed to release a statement from prison. It said that “the KPD’s policy of ‘no cooperation with fascists’ will be maintained”. Fascists, of course, being you and me.

WELS: Damn fool. He’s signing his own death warrant with a stance like that.

KAAS: One could almost admire his principles, at least. If those principles amounted to more than slavish devotion to the Russian Communist Party.

WELS: Well, that’s that, then, isn’t it? If we don’t have a majority, and preferably a solid one, I don’t feel confident that I can convince enough of my men to risk returning.

KAAS: Maybe not.

WELS: What? No… there’s no way, you couldn’t have-

KAAS: War and politics make strange bedfellows.

WELS: Hugenberg has already thrown in his lot with Hitler. He would never make an alliance with socialists and democrats.

KAAS: A week ago, I might have agreed with you. But things have changed. The Nazis are clearly not as controllable as many believed, and the violence within the Freistaat has made many consider their options carefully. Hugenberg may be willing to choose the devil he knows.

WELS: “May”? That phrasing doesn’t inspire confidence. My men will be risking their lives. I won’t ask them to do this on a maybe.

KAAS: We need to act before it’s too late, and I don’t think we have much time. I will get as strong an assurance as is possible, but you must be ready within a few days.

WELS: I will do what I can.

KAAS: Then goodbye. And good luck. May God be with us.

WELS: Yes… Goodbye.
 
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awesomenessofme

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Nationalsozialistischer Freistaat

mudlLEr.png

NS-Freistaat at its creation, March 6, 1933

Existing between March 6 and May 12 of 1933, the Nationalsozialistischer Freistaat (National Socialist Free State), also known as the NS-Freistaat or simply the Freistaat, was an unrecognized state within the borders of the German Republic. Approximately 100,000 of the most elite, fanatical members of the Sturmabteilung paramilitary organization rose up, capturing or massacring local police forces and garrisons and declaring independence from Germany. They were motivated by the failure of the NSDAP in Germany’s election, which they had attempted to support using violence and intimidation. SA leader Ernst Röhm was declared Staatsführer, though he would later claim in his trial that he did not authorize the insurrection and only went along with it because he feared for his life. The historical record is inconclusive of whether this claim is true. What is conclusive is that Röhm did nothing to prevent or even slow down the violence carried out by the government (such as it was) of the Freistaat. Röhm, as well as most of the SA, believed genuinely in the socialist promises of the NDSAP. When let free without discipline, they attacked not only Jews and communists, as might have been expected, but also corporate buildings and even businesses that were viewed arbitrarily as greedy or “too rich”. Countless buildings were burned and assaults were meted out. Estimates for the number of executions carried out over its 67-day existence range from about 1500 to over 10000, though most are far closer to the former. The violent excesses of the Freistaat were extremely counterproductive to the goals of the NDSAP and the SA. Numerous sympathizers for the party in the Reichswehr, business community, and government had their minds changed, and the SA leadership was decimated through fighting and later executions and imprisonment, not to mention tens of thousands of the rank-and-file killed, wounded, or captured in battle.

 
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Specialist290

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The Nazis have overplayed their final hand and lost. I imagine that should break the strength of the party as a mainstream movement once the dust clears, though I imagine the truly diehard members will somehow soldier on as their kind always do.

The real question, though, is now: Where do we go from here? Germany's fundamental economic woes and her hurt pride over Versailles aren't going away any time soon, and the uprising might well appear to outsiders as if it's heralding the return of the instability and chaos of the early 1920s. The new government will have to tread carefully to avoid falling into an extreme course itself...
 

awesomenessofme

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So democrats are planning anti-nazi coup? Well... nazi problems require nazi solutions, it appears.
Eh, "coup" is a word with a lot of baggage. I'm sure they'd just call it enforcement of democracy or something like that. But basically, yeah. That'll be the next update.
The Nazis have overplayed their final hand and lost. I imagine that should break the strength of the party as a mainstream movement once the dust clears, though I imagine the truly diehard members will somehow soldier on as their kind always do.

The real question, though, is now: Where do we go from here? Germany's fundamental economic woes and her hurt pride over Versailles aren't going away any time soon, and the uprising might well appear to outsiders as if it's heralding the return of the instability and chaos of the early 1920s. The new government will have to tread carefully to avoid falling into an extreme course itself...
Indeed. We'll see how it goes. (Well, I've played up to 1936 and written the basic skeleton. So I already know. But you know what I mean.)
Did you write your own event about the urprising, or was it in the game already?
The rebellions are part of the event in the mod if you choose the democratic path. (And maybe the communist one too? It would make sense. But I've never used that path.) All the flavor is mine, of course.