People's Commissar of the Navy
- Jan 3, 2010
The Election of 1867
Dr. Dominik Fellmann was one of the least charismatic and interesting politicians in Germany. The long time Minister of Finance was known for bookkeeping and algorithms, not dynamic leadership. His tax increases were the type of idea to engender dislike, not popularity.
His party, the UAI, had neither Ungers nor Asches in it. No matter what it tried, it could do very little to break the conservative stranglehold on politics. This very lack of fire or drive to be the best caused one of the most popular members of the UAI, Konrad von Schwaben, to found the NLPD, espousing his personal views of economic liberalism with a powerful military to ensure German might remained supreme. The new party attracted the malcontents from the HUN, Imperialists, and New Society, united in the quest to see change in the Republic of Germany. Reform was surely already coming to Germany, as the widespread acceptance of a new school program attracted favorable voting from every party, but they wanted something more.
The first half of 1866 saw the defeat of Benin and Ethiopia's almost total dominance over the Horn of Africa. Most newspapers congratulated returning veterans, but the war itself was of little to no importance to most Germans, except those few living in Liberia. A pair of battles on land and the continued blockade of Lagos ensured a complete victory.
Even the announcement of the birth (and later death) of an independence movement in Kashmir did little to disturb the average German's sense of general malaise and dissatisfaction. That dissatisfaction erupted for the first time in what was called the Lagos Incident. Just off the shore of Nigeria, after serving for almost 18 consecutive months with no opportunity to rest or relax, a disagreement between an officer and a senior enlisted man aboard one of Germany's Men 'o War exploded into a fleet wide disturbance. A brief naval battle started between the more modern and more liberal steam fleet and the old wooden fleet, which had most of the oldest and strictest officers. Sailors on certain ships had already trained their guns on the larger, older, wooden ships, as if this entire activity had actually been planned. While the entire wooden fleet was sunk, casualties were minor, due in large part to a concerted effort by the gunnery crews on the steam powered vessels to focus on damaging the ships and not the crews. When the steam fleet returned to Monrovia to take on coal for the trip back to Germany, the Governor of Liberia immediately detained all of the active sailors and, on his own authority, scuttled the entire steam fleet, lest they bring revolution to Germany too.  Michael von Hohenzollern, the Chancellor, immediately decreed the construction of a fleet of new ships. The initial run was 34 ships -- 15 transports and 19 commerce raiders. The Minister of War, Albrecht von Spinoza, also began issuing the newest model of breech-loaded rifles to everybody in the army.
The unilateral move by the Chancellor to build a fleet without asking for permission from the Reichstag stirred up considerable discontent. He also found himself in the press in a negative way, when he refused to consider the passage of either a minimum wage or a pension plan as "socialist nonsense."
Yet despite all that, the election of 1867 was an orderly one, not a violent one like the election just four years earlier.
There was considerable support for Michael, partially because he was a Hohenzollern, partially because he'd donated so much time and money to the people of the Republic, but mostly because the average German applauded Michael's initiatives. A Germany with no fleet would be easy prey for the British Empire, after all. As Minister of Education, Michael made further improvements to the navy as well.
The Minister of War finished the issuance of the new rifles just in time to deal with the latest political crisis: the discovery of the real source of the Lagos Incident.
A radical element within the SDAP, who believed that the ballot box was not the way to the victory of the working class, had infiltrated the German navy. About thirty gunnery specialists had been preparing for months before the outbreak of war with Benin. Originally their target was to shell the city of Hamburg, but the war gave them a different opportunity. These "red sailors" had been the ones to open fire on the wooden ships, without orders, and escaped in the ensuing confusion. When one of them was arrested for stealing not too far from Monrovia, the story spread like wildfire, and even the minimal political support the SDAP had completely evaporated. 
An investigation by the Corps of Gendarmerie determined that nobody in the Reichstag had anything to do with the Lagos Mutiny (as it had since been dubbed). The Commander, Walther von Herwig, personally vetted each one of them and was entirely satisfied of their loyalty to Germany. This prevented any serious cries to have the SDAP banned and even helped the SDAP gain slightly in the polls. But when election day was finished, it was not Michael von Hohenzollern's party, or the SDAP, or even the dynamic NLPD that sat atop the Reichstag. It was Dominik Fellman's UAI, who'd strategically cancelled the tax hike immediately after the war and avoided any speech making before the election. 
The Liberals dominated in the upper house too, thanks to the desertion of several socialists to the UAI and NLPD.
As the discussions for a coalition began, it was clear that even if they didn't produce a Chancellor, the liberals could very easily steer politics their own way for the first time in years.
 Real reason: attrition nuked both fleets, because I badly miscalculated how far we were from our supply range. :blush:
 See . This is just my retconning my own stupidity into the iAAR.
 There's a good chance that the real reason they won was this event:
It adds a blanket 5% to any party and a boost to CON too. I chose the liberals basically to see what they would do with power.
Constitutional amendments or decisions requiring both houses may be submitted at this time. All other proposals must wait until the new Chancellor is announced and his cabinet chosen. Michael von Hohenzollern has already proposed the creation of the Kiel Canal, which would greatly improve the speed of traffic between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
The electoral ballot will be announced in 48 hours, or Friday at 10 PM (-6 GMT).
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court