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The German Empire during the 2nd Weltkrieg


Hello everyone. Recently I rekindled both my love for writing AARs and for playing the Kaiserreich Mod. This AAR is my second (and hopefully more succesful) attempt to combine both. The first parts of this AAR contains some polished materials from my earlier attempt to write a Kaiserreich AAR a few years ago, but polished and adapted to the game I'm currently playing. Please forgive me for being unoriginal.
 

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The Weltkrieg​

The shot heard around the world
On the 28th of july 1914 the Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip assasinated the Austrian archduke Franz Josef, unknowingly setting the satge for a conflict that would change the face of Europe forever. The outraged Austrian government send an ultimatum that Serbia would never been able to accept. The refusal to accept all point of the ultimatum led to a declaration of war. The system of alliances quickly led to the entry of all the great powers of Europe into the war. The German Empire supported their Austro-Hungarian allies, while Russia stood staunchly behind their Slav brethren in Serbia. This in turn led to the entrance of France into the war, bound by treaty to support Russia, but looking for a way to avenge the loss of Elsass-Lothringen after the French-German War. The German attempt to knock France out of the war by an invasion through neutral Belgium drew Britain and its Dominions into the war.
The war in the West quickly bogged down to the mechanized slaughter that was trench warfare, while in the East the Russians where quickly defeated at the Mazurian Lakes and at Tannenberg, while the Austrians managed to (barely) hold the line in Galicia. The war dragged on for four years, with Italy and Romania joining the Allies and Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire getting involved in the war as well. The war spread around the world, with armies clashing in Ostafrika, Gallipoli, Mesopotamia and Tsiangtau as well as Europe. Fortunately for the Central Powers, the United States remained neutral throughout the conflict, although the unrestricted submarine warfare brought the Americans dangerously close to declaring war.

The 1918 and 1919 offensives
By 1918 the situation became critical for the allies. Both Britain and France where having great difficulties replacing the men they lost, while American investors where slowly but surely cutting of the cashflow keeping their economies afloat.Russia was in the throws of revolution and the Bolshevists signed the humiliating Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, ending the war in the East, freeing millions of soldier for battle on other fronts. Later that year innovative use of stormtroopers and ‘infiltration tactics’ (pioneered by general Von Hutier at the battle of Riga) brought an end to the war in the Balkans, as German, Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian troops managed to pin down the Allied main force at Salonica, while making a move on Athens. After the capture of their capital, the Greeks surrendered. The loss of Greece and the prospect of a major German offensive in France led to the British withdrawl of most of their troops from the Middle East, saving the Ottoman Empire from defeat. The Great Offensive the Allies feared was launched on early march 1919, when the German armies struck near St. Mihiel, south of Verdun. The French high command was forced to weaken their lines in the North to defend their lines in the South. Then a second offensive was launched near Rheims, splitting the French armies. Within a month the Germans where at the gates of Paris. At the same time a large offensive was launched at the Italian lines, but not at the Isonzo. The assault came from Trento, forcing the Italian High Command to reinforce their troops in the Veneto or face encirclement of their main armies.
In both cases the allied defences failed to hold back the fury of the Central Powers. Vicenza and Verona fell near the end of March, encircling the Italian armies near Venice. In France Rheims and Nancy fell in German hands, the Marne was crossed and Britain was forced to evacuate the BEF from the mainland. With most of their forces pinned down in the Veneto, Italy was defenceless, with Milan, Firenze and even Rome falling into enemy hands without a fight. The Italians sought terms in August, shortly after the capitulation of their encircled troops in the Veneto. In the meantime France was ravaged by a general strike, which was soon supported by the army itself. The French sought terms on october 4th 1919, ending the war on the continent. The war dragged on for two more years, with the British and German navies clashing a few times, most notably during the Second Battle of Jutland in 1919 and the Battle of Rockall in 1920, but the Germans, the British and their respective allied understood the pointlessness of this struggle and on the 11th of november 1921 the German and the British Empire signed the Peace with Honour, ending the Great War that had ravaged Europe for seven long years.


His Imperial majesty Wilhelm II von Hohenzollern, German Emperor and King of Prussia. During his reign Germany gained the place under the sun he had always desired.


The aftermath of the war

Germany was able to redraw the map of Europe as it saw fit, setting up new states with German monarchs in the Baltics, Lithuania, White Ruthenia and Ukraine. Finland and Poland regained their independence from Russia too. Greece and Serbia had to secede their parts of Macedonia to Bulgaria, while Romania was forced to provide Germany access to its precious oil supplies. Greece had to 'lease' Corfu to Austria-Hungaria and Crete to Germany. In the West Belgium ceased to exist, being replaced by the Federal Kingdom of Flanders-Wallonia. Eastern Wallonia was occupied up to the river Meuse. Luxemburg joined the Empire as the newest state of the Empire. In Africa Germany managed to create an Empire spanning from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean by annexing both the French and Belgian Congo as well as French Dahomey.
Unfortunately there couldn’t be any rest for the tired German soldiers yet, with both Russia and France in the throes of revolution. In the case of France the revolutionary forces had managed to throw down the Briand administration shortly after the peace was signed. With the French soldiers defecting en masse to the revolutionaries, and all counterrevolutionary forces already being evacuated to Algiers, the German High Command decided that a continuation of the war would be too risky. Instead, the French colonies in Asia and the Pacific where occupied to prevent them falling into enemy hands.In the case of Russia, where the counterrevolutionaries where still quite powerful, the Germans did intervene. At the Battle of Tsaritsyn the joint forces of the White Russians and a German expedition led by General Groener broke the Red Armies back after weeks of vicious streetfighting. Germany had pacified its eastern border, but the Kerensky government never managed to truly capture the hearts of the people.

The fall of Ludendorff and the Tirpitz reforms
During the war the General Staff, led by Generalfeldmarschall Von Hindenburg and Quartermaster-General Erich Ludendorff where given extrordinary powers in order to further the war effort. The willfull chancellor Bethman-Hollweg had been replaced by the weakwilled Georg Michaelis and even the Kaiser had been sidelined. Yet Ludendorff, clearly the driving force behind the dual dictatorship, became increasingly resented by the German people for keeping many of the restrictive measures taken during the war in place, and. It was not until 1924 that a man dared to stand up against him. It was then that Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, fearful that Ludendorff increasing authoriarianism might provoke an revolution in Germany and questioning Ludendorffs ability to manage the newly created Empire managed to take the dictatorship down.
The direct cause of Ludendorffs downfall wasn't his petty dictatorship or his trampling of the German constitution, it was a tragedy within the Royal family that brought the Quartermaster-General down. Shortly after the end of the war, the provisional government in Ireland had offered the crown of Ireland to Prince Joachim. However, Irish leader John Collins quickly withdrew the offer after noticing Ludendorffs hesitation to accept the offer and the strong republican sentiments within his IRA. The prince, already mentally unstable, tried to commit suicide after this humiliation, but failed. The news was covered up in the media by order of Ludendorff himself, trying to cover up his role in the tragedy. In 1924 the scandal was made public by Tirpitz sympathizers, turning the Junkers against Ludendorffs rule. At the same time Tirpitz had managed to convince both Emperor Wilhelm and Marshall Hindenburg to publicly withdraw support for Ludendorff. Before the end of the year both Ludendorff and the puppet chancellor Michaelis where removed from their positions and Alfred von Tirpitz was made the new chancellor. Hindenburg was allowed to stay on as Chief of the General Staff.


Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz (1849-1930). State Secretary of the Navy from 1897 until 1916 and chancellor from 1924 until his death. He is regarded as one of the greatest leaders Germany ever had, on par with Otto von Bismarck, the Iron chancellor himself.


Tirpitz first challenge as chancellor was the aftermath of the British revolution and the dissolution of the British Empire in 1925, when a coalminerstrike had escalated into a fullblown revolution, leading to the government and the royal family being exiled to Canada. Under Tirpitz orders most of the British Empires strategic ports and possesions, including Malta, Suez, Ceylon and Singapore where secured by German troops, as where most of the British African colonies. Germanies large African Empire was then restructured on the model of the former British Raj in India, with Fieldmarshall Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck becoming its first Statthalter. The influence of the Empire grew even further after the 1926 intervention in China, when Xu Shichang asked the Germans to save the ailing Chinese Republic from the warlords in exchange for a restauration of the Qing and far reaching economic concessions in Southern China. Under chancellor Tirpitz Germany changed from a petty dictatorship reeling from the losses of seven years of war into a powerful Empire, which dominated Europe, Africa and Asia.

Troubles on the horizon
The whole nation mourned the death of the Great Chancellor in 1930. Fieldmarshall Oskar von Hutier, the hero of Paris, was appointed as the new chancellor. Hutier, trying to run the state as he had ran his army quickly antagonized most of the Reichstag and proved to be an ineffective politician. After his death in 1933, Franz von Papen became chancellor of the Empire through currying favour with the Emperor. Papen had proven to be somewhat competent, but highly impopular and many foresee a clash between Papen and other notable politicians within the ruling Deutschkonservative Partei in the near future.


Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von Papen zu Köningen, better known as Franz von Papen. A formergeneral staffer and diplomat, Von Papen left the Zentrum party in the late '20s to join the ruling Deutschkonservative Partei (DKP) and quickly managed to rise through the ranks, managing to become Germanies first Catholic chancellor.


At the same time the syndicalists in France and Britain have rebuild much of their nations former power, with the French armies are growing in size every year and the Republican Navy almost matching the Hochseeflotte in size. And while the staterun economies of the French Commune and Union of Britain flourish, the German economy is showing severe signs of strain. While the syndicalists are reforming their armed forces and are experimenting with new weapons of war as the tank and the aircraft carrier, the German armed forces are still deeply convinced of its natural superiority and unconvinced of the need to reform. And while syndicalist parties are gaining power all over Europe, Germanies satellites in the East are more liability than support and old ally Austria-Hungary is getting closer to disintegration with each passing year.
The year is 1936. The German Empire stands alone in an increasingly more hostile world. It will need to reform or go extinct. The question is, can it reform?
 

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Chojnicki

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Hurrah! There are not enough KR AARs for the German Empire I think. Nice to see you writing again, FlyingDutchie. A few weeks ago I just reread "A short history of the German Empire".
 
Last edited:

Milites

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Absolutely brilliant!
 

Derahan

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Please continue, I want to see where this goes. :)
 

Tommy4ever

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Nice intro, will have to make sure I follow this one!
 

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@ Deus Eversor: welcome aboard.

@ Der Kriegsherr: Gladly.

@ Chojnicki: Welcome back then. A Short History sadly proved to be very short indeed. I hope to do a better job writing this AAR.

@ Milites: Glad to see the you again Milites. I hope to lve up to the Kaiserreich name.

@ Derahan: Then continue I shall.

@ Tommy4ever: Thank you and welcome onboard.
 

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The Political situation in 1936



Imperial Germany knows a bicameral political system existing of the democratically elected Reichtag and the Bundesrat, whose members are appointed by the governments of Germanies constituent states. Every four year a general election is held, with all male citizens above 20 being allowed to vote. Unlike many other democratic states in Europe, women are not allowed to vote, causing long and bitter debates every year between the conservative and progressive powers in parliament. All members are elected in single-member constituencies (397 in total). While the electoral system is generally approved of by many Germans, a sizable minority (especially members of the SPD) are in favour of introducing proportional representation, since the current system (an overrepresentation of rural constituencies) favours the ruling conservative parties. Even still, the Reichstag is surprisingly liberal compared to the image of reactionary conservatism many people hold of the Empire.This leads to the conservative Bundesrat (appointed by the governments of the German states) often clashing with the surprisingly liberal Reichstag, as both Houses having to agree on a law before it can be implemented. Both Reichstag and Bundesrat can be overruled by Imperial decree, with Kaiser Wilhelm II still being the highest authority in the Empire. Yet in practice the Emperor rarely interferes with the day to day governing of the Empire since the end of the Weltkrieg. Still, only His Imperial Majesty can appoint, or dismiss, the chancellor and his government, giving him a powerful position in the German political system. The role of Emperor and Bundesrat means that it isn't neccesary for a party to form a coalition in the Reichstag, or even to be the largest party, in order to control the government.

Current composition of the Reichstag
- Socialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD): 102 seats
- Deutschkonservative Partei (DKP): 88 seats
- Zentrum : 81 seats
- Fortschrittliche Volkspartei (FVP): 42 seats
- Nationalliberale Partei (NLP): 20 seats
- Alldeutscher Verband (AV): 18 seats
- Polnische Partei: 18 seats
- Nationale Deutsche Volkspartei (NDVP): 14 seats
- Elsäss-Lothringen Partei: 9 seats
- Smaller parties: 5 seats

Current composition of the Bundesrat:
- Kingdom of Prussia: 17 seats
- Kingdom of Bavaria: 6 seats
- Kingdom of Saxony: 4 seats
- Kingdom of Württemberg: 4 seats
- Grand Duchy of Baden: 3 seats
- Grand Duchy of Hessen: 3 seats
- Imperial territory of Elsass-Lothringen: 3 seats
- Grand Duchy of Mecklemburg-Schwerin: 2 seats
- Grand Duchy of Luxemburg: 2 seats
- Duchy of Braunschweig: 2 seats
- 17 Duchies, Counties and Free Cities with 1 seat each

The parties of the Reichstag


SPD: the SPD has been the largest party in the Reichstag ever since the end of the Weltkrieg and the resumption of parliamanterian democracy. Yet the party is deeply divided into factions, and constantly trying to further the cause of socialism, while not being denounced as syndicalists. The most powerfull wing in the party are still the so-called Ebertists, who follow the late Friedrich Eberts policy of denouncing syndicalism as unsocialist and cooperation between the SPD and the government. Ebert had been one of the first to support Tirpitz in his effort to remove Ludendorff from power, leading to an uneasy coopeation between the deeply conservative Tirpitz and the SPD, and was able to get concessions concerning working hours regulations and state insurances in return. The Ebertist line is being followed by Reichstag spokesman Otto Wels.
Against the Ebertists stands the so-called Spartakist line which sees the Ebertist line of cooperation with the reactionaries as an unforgivable betrayal of the working class and seek to return the SPD to its classical marxist roots. Karl Liebknecht, although no longer a member of the Reichtag himself, is seen as the leader of the Spartakists. The SPD once knew a syndicalist faction too, but Ernst Thällmann and his supporters where expelled by Ebert shortly before his death and subsequently forbidden from entering politics by the government.

DKP: the conservative party is the main vehicle for the Prussian Junkers to maintain their grip on the Empire, with most of the current cabinet being members of this party. The DKP has been present in parliament since 1876, but it wasn’t until 1930 that the party was able to rise to power. After the death of Admiral Von Tirpitz, his NDVP splintered between the hardliners, led by Hugenberg, so hoped to end the need for cooperation with liberals and the Catholic Zentrum and more moderate, pragmatic partymembers. In the end an alliance between the DKP, NDVP-dissenters, rightwing NLP-supporters and even a few Zentrum-delegates led to the formation DKP as it exists these days. In this new party the clique centered around Franz von Papen, a former Zentrum politician, and former General Staffer Kurt von Schleicher quickly rose to prominence. The German political system makes it possible for the DKP to have almost full control over the Reichstag without having a majority of the seats. Yet recently the resistance against the dominance of Papen and Schleicher is growing, while the relation between the two men itself isn’t what it once had been either.

Zentrum: as it name says, the Catholic center party tried to find a middle ground between the liberal parties and the conservatives with moderate stances on most issues. Yet the very fact that the party is mostly made up of Catholics has earned it the distrust of most protestant Germans, including the Kaiser. The fact that the chairman of the party, father Ludwig Kaas, was the longtime secretary of Cardinal Pacelli, a confidant of the Holy Father himself, raises the old fear of Papist influence over the protestant Reich, which was the very reason Bismarck started his Kulturkampf. The Zentrum leader in the Reichstag, Heinrich Brüning, does his best to ease these fears, hoping for Zentrum to join the Imperial government in the near future.

NLP: the Nationalliberale Partei has never truly recovered from the death of their figurehead Gustav Stresemann, the popular foreign minister under Tirpitz. These days the National liberals find themselves crushed between the more market oriented FVP, the NDVP nationalists and the DKP. Yet recently the NLP has found a new figurehead in the legendary Generalfeldmarschall and former Statthalter Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck. But while none doubt the Marshalls skill as a soldier or administrator, many think the old Marshall lacks the tact, his temper is legendary, and political clout required to survive the political jungle of Berlin.

FVP: the Fortschrittliche Volkspartei is a rarity in the Reichtag for being the only party wishing to cut back on government spending and promoting free trade in the deelply statist and protectionist Empire. It is also one of the two parties, the SPD being the other, wishing to introduce more democracy in the German political system, turning Germany into a true constitutional monarchy The FVP faction is but capably led by Walther Rathenau.

DNVP: the DNVP was founded by Admiral von Tirpitz during the latter years of the Weltkrieg in reaction to Tirpitz dismissal as Secretary for the Navy. The Admiral became a figurehead of resistance against the dictatorship of Ludendorff and quickly gathered the support of many Germans. This temporarily turned the party into the second-largest of Germany. After the Admirals death in 1930 the party began to crumble, as it was Tirpitz successes and prestige alone that had led the many different factions within his party together. The DNVP split between the far right nationalists that control the remaints of the party and the more mainstream conservatives that mostly (re)joined parties as the DKP. These days industrialist and media baron Alfred Hugenberg has near total control of the party and steers in on an increasingly reactionary course.

AV: the Alldeutscher Verband had existed since 1891, but had never been more that an small non-political organisation promoting pan-Germanism and imperialism. It also promoted social-darwinist theories. This changed after the Weltkrieg, when disgruntled, demobilized soldiers flooded the cities of Germany, finding that Germany had changed in their absence. Many of these men formed sldier associations in order to keep in touch with their comrades. It was in one of these assosiations that Oberleutnant Ernst Röhm first rose to prominence, leading a violent demonstration in München, clashing with syndicalist protesters, leading to 14 deaths. Röhm quickly became a figurehead for the populist and nationalist sentiments sweeping Germany. The AV sought out Röhm to lead their movement, not knowing he and his cronies would take over the party completely within a year. Since then the AV has merged with many of the small and radical populist and nationalist parties as the Deutsche Arbeiders Partei. Despite the AVs growing electoral support, with its first members being elected in the Reichstag in 1933, Röhm has chosen not to join the Reichstag faction, currently led by Gregor Strasser. Röhm prefers to lead the AV in their fight for the streets against syndicalists and socialists alike. These days the sight of brown shirted AV-men parading is quite common.


Ernst Röhm, former oberleutnant in the Bavarian Army. These days Röhm leads his AV-männer in streetbrawls against the syndicalists, socialists and ethnic minorities.


The Von Papen administration: the Barons cabinet
One diplomat once described Von Papen as a man who “enjoyed the peculiarity of being taken seriously by neither his friends nor his enemies. He was reputed to be superficial, blundering, untrue, ambitious, vain, crafty and an intriguer.” Furthermore, the fact that his cabinet existed almost solely of noblemen (with the notable exception of Dr. Schacht) while the SPD was the largest Party in the Reichstag didn’t exactly endear him to the people. His cabinet was often described as the ‘Barons cabinet’, or ‘monocle cabinet’, where key appointments where given to personal friends rather than the best men for the job. Yet the German political system, where the Reichstags opinion could be ignored without too much peril, kept Von Papen in charge.


Chancellor Von Papen conversing with his most trusted advisor, General Kurt von Schleicher. The two men befriended eachother when both where cadets. Some claim Schleicher has his eyes on the chancellorship himself though.

The von Papen administration
Chancellor: Franz von Papen
State secretary for Foreign Affairs: Friedrich-Werner Graf von der Schulenberg
Stare secretary for Finance: Hjalmar Schacht
State Secretary for the Interior: Johann Heinrich Graf von Bernstorff
State Secretary for the Navy: Ludwig von Reuter
State Secretary for Economic affairs: Johann Graf Schwerin von Krosigk
State Secretary for Justice: Wilhelm Freiherr von Gayl
State Secretary for Agriculture: Magnus Freiherr von Braun
State Secretary for the Post: Paul Freiherr von Eltz-Rübenach
State Secretary for the Colonies: Theodor Seitz
State Secretary without Portfolio: Kurt von Schleicher

Note that the Imperial German political system does not include a minister of defence. Instead the Chief of the Imperial Staff, Generalfeldmarschall Hans von Seeckt, fulfills the tasks normally given to that minister in other countries.
 

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The Papen governments looks a sordid mess, will be looking forward to seeing which direction you take Germany in.
 

Searry

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It's confusing that von Papen even is the chancellor. He is a catholic leader in a country dominated by Prussian protestants.
 

unmerged(169228)

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@ Dr. Livingstone: Welcome aboard.

@ Gupka: Welcome. Rest assured, the AV will be heard of very soon. Something with a beercellar in Munich.

@ Tommy4ever: This cabinet is indeed a recipe for disaster, mostly a combination of the old, the ineffective and the crafty.

@ Searry and Battlebunny: If there was one thing Papen was good at, it was choosing to join the winning side in politics (until he met a certain Austrian corporal). In the Kaiserreich timeline his early association with Bernstorff (here minister of the interior) during ww1, his monarchism and military background would make him accepted (but not loved) by most of the establishment, despite his Catholicism.
 

Gukpa

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Good,Finally we will have a AAR with AV :D
 

NikephorosSonar

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I'm more of a DNVP guy myself, but they don't get a chance to lead Parliament in any of the events. After that though it's Zentrum or DKP, not sure which one I prefer.
 
Last edited:

General_Hoth

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Subscribed. i love it! Just hope it's not going to be yet another WC with brilliant human killing syndi AI with ease!
 

Dr.Livingstone

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Subscribed. i love it! Just hope it's not going to be yet another WC with brilliant human killing syndi AI with ease!
I'm just hoping for an aar with an entente that actually does something :/