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liefwarrior

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It has been a long time since I last entered these hallowed halls, well, calling two years a long time is a stretch, but it seems it to me. Attempts at writing AARs and myself have a short, and rather bitter history. "From the Fields of Tuscany", started with the hope of one newly discovering this forum, lasted an entire four days, and didn't even make it out of 1836. "Declaro Que Mi Amor a Centroamérica" did little better. The playthrough actually went rather well, stretching into the late 19th Century, but the writing failed to keep up. I've already slapped back over seven thousand words on this one, and with a government-enforced lockdown in place I'll have plenty of motivation to pump out some more.

It would have been interesting to have written this AAR in the style of Paul Du Chaillu; whose work, the name of which is borrowed for this piece, was one of the few that I could acquire with any depth on the subject at hand. Perhaps, when we reach the moment of his writing, I could indulge in some imitation, although to do so might stretch my capabilities beyond their limits. Rather, these updates shall be shortish, perhaps lacking in the intricate details whilst we remain an autocracy, mostly due to the limitations of my research (both in resources and motivation) but in part also a result of my own lackluster efforts.

Now, I've provided more extensive a preamble than ever necessary. With time, this shall grow into a table of contents, and provide a starting point for navigating your way through this tale. Now, let us bring you into the port of Göteborg, and from there, a train to Stockholm, from whence we shall take you through a brief history of the Land of the Midnight Sun.
 

liefwarrior

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Prologue
Sweden in the Post-Napoleonic Era

Gustav IV Adolph, Karl XIII, Karl XIV Johan
1792-1836



As with most other nations of Europe, the defining events of the early 19th Century was the dramatic rise and fall of Napoleon, and the resolution of the related conflicts with the Congress of Vienna. Sweden would find itself represented at the Congress by Carl Löwenhielm, who found himself falling in line with the influential French foreign minister, Talleyrand. Ultimately, Sweden came out of the negotiations rather well off in many aspects, but in order to understand the end result, its origins must first be discussed.



Gustav IV Adolf became King of Sweden at the age of 14, when is father was assassinated in 1792; his was to be a reign which was of severe detriment not only to the monarchy but also Sweden as a whole. He refused a Russian princess in favour of a German one, sparking tensions with the Russian bear, only defused by the Paul I hatred of French republicanism. Gustav IV also held great distaste for Jacobinism, and joined the Third Coalition in 1805. The Third Coalition suffered several severe military defeats at the hands of the newly crowned Emperor Napoleon, who preceded to annex Swedish Pomerania and push the Russian’s into making peace. Sweden was isolated, the Continent had fallen and only Great Britain and Portugal persisted in resistance. This provided the perfect opportunity for Russian expansionism, and thus Finland was invaded in 1808.



The Swedish High Command, in particular the King, were weak and ineffective so, despite initially favourable conditions, the Russians quickly overran much of Finland. The defeat was complete, and after less than a year of fighting Sweden surrendered, ceding the entirety of their Finnish dominion. This was the final straw in the already tenuous relationship between the King and his Generals; led by Georg Aldersparre they deposed him in favour of his uncle, Charles XIII. Along with a new King, a new constitution was drawn up, balancing power between the King and the Riksdag of the Estates.



Charles XIII was virtually impotent by the time he came to the throne, now a man of 60 he had never been of strong character, and deteriorating health was to have a significant impact on his engagement with politics. Effective rule of the nation was in the hands of his advisors. Charles XIII had no children, and to avoid the return of the Crown to Gustav IV or his son, Gustav, the Riksdag elected Charles August, a Danish prince, as Heir to the Throne. Unfortunately the Crown Prince would die within months of his appointment, and thus an alternative was found in Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, a Marshal of the French Empire. Due to the ineffectual rule of Charles XIII, Bernadotte would effectively become the leading power in Sweden from 1810 onwards, as the King slowly wasted away.



As he would later be known, Karl XIV Johan would guide Sweden towards a mild recovery at the Congress of Vienna. Although Finland had been lost to Russia with no immediate chance of recovery, there was still hope for the return of Swedish Pomerania. Although he initially refused to devote himself to either side of the Napoleonic Conflict, personality conflicts having prevented any significant relationship with the Emperor forming, he would eventually side with the Coalition after the French defeat in Russia. Rather than seeking the return of Pomerania, whose indefensible position on the Continent made it a poor asset to the Swedes, Karl XIV instead placed his sights on the acquisition of Norway from his Danish rivals, who had been staunch French allies.


Having led parts of the Coalition armies to a series of successes on the Continent, culminating in the Battle of Leipzig, Karl XIV was now in a position to force a Danish surrender. The Treaty of Kiel ratified the exchange of Swedish Pomerania for Norway, although the Norwegians launched a liberal revolution in response. Karl XIV launched a swift campaign against the infant Norwegian state, bringing it to heel. Eventually an agreement was reached whereby the liberal Constitution of Norway would be recognized, albeit with Charles XIII ruling as King of Norway. These territorial exchanges would eventually be confirmed by the Congress of Vienna: Finland ceded to Russia, Swedish Pomerania to Prussia, and Norway to Sweden.


This is how Sweden-Norway would stand in 1836, a personal union between two nations. Karl XIV had effectively absolute power in Sweden, although the Instrument of Government Act 1809 did allocate some power to the Riksdag. The Constitution of 1814 provided the Norwegian Störting much more power than their Swedish counterparts, and the 1815 Act of Union, the Riksakten, provided them near complete autonomy in all but foreign affairs. Karl XIV is faced with a multitude of choices on many fronts. Does he focus on the extraction and export of Sweden’s iron reserves, or is it better to create a market for domestic production? His peaceable efforts to tighten the union with Norway have so far been rebuffed, he could become more forcible, but he has to be careful not to let his grip on Sweden slip either. Perhaps it is better to look elsewhere, to restore the Sweden to its previous privileged place as the predominant Baltic power. That would require conflict with the Russians in the East or the Prussians in the South, either of which could be used as a an ally against the other, or maybe he should look to the East, and the might of the British Empire. The 19th Century offers many opportunities for Sweden, although only so many of them can be seized.
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Good preamble.
 

liefwarrior

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Chapter One
Domesticity

Karl XIV Johan
1836-1843



The last decade of Karl XIV’s reign would be a peaceful one for Sweden. Having made multiple attempts at drawing Norway into closer union, and expanding his powers beyond those outlined in their 1814 Constitution, he had failed to make any progress. The Swedish military may have met with a resurgence under his command, but it was not strong enough to stand up to the Tsar alone. There was little spirit for liberalization in Sweden, and thus the nation existed in a peaceful equilibrium.


There was very little occurring during this period of time, although that is not to say that Swedish society to came to a complete standstill. Karl XIV sponsored several reforms in agricultural practices in an effort to promote the growth of the nation’s farms. There was a slight reorganization of land ownership, and decreased regulation of markets, allowing for a moderate growth in the crop yields. Further, British equipment was imported for use in mines, as well as on farms – this too furthered the effective extraction of goods. The Crown Prince was also became involved, as he advocated for the reform of the educational system, with Karl Johan eventually mandating that every child should be receive a primary education.



Things weren’t quite so tranquil outside of Sweden. In Egypt, the warlord Muhammed Ali had challenged the Ottoman Sultan for control of Syria. This regional conflict quickly rose in importance as the British Empire, fearing that the defeat of the Ottomans would lead to further conflict in the Balkans decided to intervene on their side. The French, seeking to increase their influence on the rich lands of Egypt backed Muhammed Ali. No other power was willing to get heavily involved in the conflict, and as the French and British could not reach an agreement, war broke out between the two powers.



A French task force was dispatched to occupy Tripoli, while Ali travelled north to secure Syria. There he engaged in a series of battles with the Ottoman forces, and despite initial successes, including the capture of both Cyprus and Crete, he was forced to pull back. Linking up with the French task force, he was once more able to drive northward, until the timely intervention of the British. Fortunately for the people of both Western nations, the majority of the combat occurred on the sea, and no hostile troops ever landed in either mainland. Instead the conflict was effectively decided with the Battle of the Irish Sea. Guy-Victor Duperré sought to establish naval dominance in order to prevent British troops from interfering in the main conflict in the Orient. His fleet, including six modern steam vessels, clashed with that of Thomas Cochrane, a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars. The French were outmanned and outgunned, and despite both sides experiencing similar levels of destruction, Duperré’s fleet was effectively crippled by the engagement, while Cochrane maintained a sizeable detachment of capable vessels. This allowed Hardinge’s 36 thousand strong force to be transported to Syria, where they promptly crushed the remaining forces of Muhammed Ali, forcing his surrender.



The British reaffirmed their role as the world superpower following an incident in Kowloon which they escalated into all out war with the Qing. The war was relatively short, and consisted of just three significant battles. The first were a pair of simultaneous conflicts, as war junks intercepted the landing of the British army under Sir George Brown. Despite being vastly outnumbered, the steamers attached to protect the transport fleet quickly sank the entirety of the attacking fleet, while the garrison was quickly overwhelmed. With the Qing slow to gather their numbers, their small concentrations were quickly overwhelmed, culminating in the Battle of Tianjin where the last force between the advancing Brown and Peking. With an attempted Chinese advance into India also having been thwarted, the Emperor folded and accepted the Treaty of Nanking, ceding Hong Kong to the British Empire, giving them unrestricted access into China.


While Victorian Britain sliced its way into China’s soft underbelly, Karl XIV had grown ill. He had grown from a mere Sergeant to the King of a proud nation, but his story was coming to an end. His faltering health saw the Crown Prince coming to into an increasingly significant role, although Karl XIV kept as much of a grip on the reigns as he could. Eventually, as spring blossomed into summer, in May of the Year of Our Lord 1843, the King suffered a stroke. Despite the attentions of the best doctors in the land, nothing could be done for him. Jean-Baptist Bernadotte, Karl XIV Johan, King of Sweden and Norway, was dead.



Oscar I Bernadotte was born in Paris following the Revolution, although he moved to Sweden still a boy. It was there that the majority of his personal views were formed, a form of liberal despotism which led him to oppose many of the more authoritarian of his father’s actions. Unfortunately for advocates for constitutional reform, Oscar would not prove to be as supportive of their movement as they might have hoped. Furthermore, although his father’s principle advisor, Magnus Brahe, had become inclined to furthering relations with the Russians, however his timely death mere months prior to the ascension of the new King meant that the nation would swing away from the East. Oscar was in a similar position to that his father had been in a decade previous; there was little interest from recently anointed Frederick William IV of Prussia nor the British Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel in helping Sweden in reclaiming Finland, and the Swedes could not manage alone. Life in Sweden was idyllic, with little complaint abounding, perhaps decades more of prosperous tranquility were ahead.

 

DensleyBlair

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Prosperous tranquility can be a blessing, but not always what you want during a game of Vicky. No doubt it’s a only a matter of time before Sweden finds itself embroiled in other affairs.
 

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I am sure it is only a matter of time before becomes embroiled in the wider world
 

liefwarrior

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Prosperous tranquility can be a blessing, but not always what you want during a game of Vicky. No doubt it’s a only a matter of time before Sweden finds itself embroiled in other affairs.
I am sure it is only a matter of time before becomes embroiled in the wider world
Well the Swedes are infamous for their neutrality, not quite to the extent of the Swiss, but such is the case when you offer iron instead of gold. Maybe we would like to simply develop in peace? Although, it does appear that the rest of the world won't let us.
 

liefwarrior

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Chapter Two
Shifting Away from the Russians
Oscar I Bernadotte
1843-1847



The early years of Oscar I’s reign were marked by a series of moderate social and economic reforms. The first related to one of the more shameful carryovers of Sweden’s historical attempts at colonization, the continued existence of the slave trade. Although the practice had been outlawed on the Swedish mainland, there remained the matter of the small Caribbean isle of St Barthélemy which had been ceded by the French in 1784, where a third of the population were enslaved, mostly by French plantation owners. The island had been granted a level of autonomy in its lawmaking to appease the French majority, which made it difficult to immediately outlaw the barbaric practice. Instead, Oscar I unilaterally declared that anybody born within his territories was born a free man, where previously the children of slaves had been themselves considered slaves. This was one of a series of regulations which Oscar I introduced, to allow for a level of security when dealing with any business within the realm.



The second important area of reform was education and philosophy, more a continuation of the reforms which Oscar I had pushed through during the reign of his father than an entirely new movement. The legislation which obligated every child to attain at least some level of schooling had been frustrated by the difficulties in providing that education. In the cities of Göteborg, Stockholm, and Malmö the majority of tutors are engaged in private practice with the children of the aristocracy; in more rural areas, there is simply a lack of available facilities and manpower. In order to realise the goals which he had laid out previously, Oscar I undertook a serious investment into the construction of educational facilities for the youth of Sweden, where they might be taught literacy, numeracy, and how the communal history of the Swedish people brought them together under the enlightened rule of the King, borrowing from the ideas of Erik Gustaf Geijer, an influential political philosopher.



There was also a significant change to the mining industry during the early years of Oscar I’s reign. Steam-powered pumps and pulleys were imported from Britain, while rudimentary rail systems were built locally. These introductions further increased the output of the various Swedish mines; the iron they produced was proving a valuable export. Incidentally, this also had they effect of spreading the dark powdered stains of the mines from the ground to the sky, where the once clear air was slowly filling with a harsh smog. Nonetheless, the beginnings of industry were forming in Northern Europe, although they were limited to extraction for the moment.



There was also a series of developments in foreign affairs. Oscar I pursued an alliance with the Prussians, and wasn’t afraid to put his eldest son, the Crown Prince Karl, into the fray. However a proposed courtship between the Crown Prince and one of Friedrich Wilhelm III’s nieces fell through. Instead an arrangement was made between the Crown Prince, Karl Ludvig Eugen, and Louise of the Netherlands, a niece of William II. This marriage secured the support of the Dutch in the event of war with the Russians. To the mind of Oscar I the Tsar had secured too much influence within the upper reaches of the Swedish nobility, undermining his sovereignty. Unlike his father, Oscar I had his eyes on the return of Finland to his demesne, a feat which would be impossible so long as the Russians mustered large amounts of support within Sweden. Those perceived as having undue sympathy towards the Tsar were to be purged from positions of power, while any Russian officials within Sweden would be deported. If the Tsar responded with force then William II would come to the aid of Oscar I, and they would together petition Friedrich Wilhelm III to join them in defending the independence of the Scandinavian peninsula.
 

stnylan

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One should not trust Russia.
 

The Number 9

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Excellent so far !
 

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What a great AAR, I'm glad to be in near the start. I hope to see Finland returned to the fold in Oscar's lifetime but I must confess I'm concerned about how much help the Dutch will be.

Do you think settling for the Netherlands rather than a Prussian alliance will make the fight against Russia much harder? On the other hand I suppose it opens up the ambitous but exciting possibility of taking back Finland and the Pomerania at a date date...