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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

c0d5579

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Current update priority's given to the "Geschichte" and to a project due two weeks ago that requires me to relearn AutoCAD. I promise I haven't forgotten this AAR.
 

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No i havent said you forgotten it (though its not on your signature) but i thought update comming soon, but yea... not for this aar, but thats ok :)
 

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II. The Prosecution of the Sino-Soviet War, Part One: The Northwest

The first target of Comrade Trotsky's "gambling high" strategy was the so-called "East Turkestan Republic." This entity was a predominantly Muslim enclave to the west of the Ma generals' territory. The difficulty with this operation was not the Turkmen resistance, which was negligible, but the terrain involved, which was considerable. Mountains and deserts with few mapped routes lay ahead of the liberation forces, and they operated at direct cross purposes to the main supply line of the Trans-Siberian rail line.

This operation led to the formation of the Sinkiang Front, a notional twelve-division formation that at its peak featured no more than seven divisions, operating largely independent of each other. Two corps-sized infantry formations, led by men whose scope was far more limited than the forces available to them, formed the basis of the Front, while the seventh division was the newly-raised 1st Motorized Rifle Division, under a newly-promoted Nakhdiv Georgi Konstantinovich Zhukov. Zhukov's participation would in many ways define this front, as it would many future operations.

While the individual is clearly less important than the collective, certain individuals so dominate their times that they deserve special attention. Comrade Lenin, or Comrade Trotsky, or indeed Stalin in his malign influence upon the Revolution were all such men. Comrade Zhukov was another. He was born in a village settled by one of the imperial government's elite Strelets (Musketeer) regiments, run down to penury by the contradictions, ineptitude, and injustices of the Tsarist system. In 1915, despite being an apprentice laborer, and hence a just member of the proletariat, he was conscripted like most of his generation into the Tsarist army, where he quickly established a reputation for personal courage that was not sufficient to allow him to rise because of his humble beginnings. It was not until the Revolution and the First Civil War that Comrade Zhukov displayed his full abilities. He rose to the level of Kompolka by 1923, commanding the 39th Red Cavalry Regiment and receiving the Order of the Red Banner for his role in the suppression of counter-revolutionary agitation in Tambov. However, his abrasive personality and confrontational style led to him being exiled to the position of garrison commander in Arkhangelsk prior to the return of Comrade Trotsky, rising to Kombrig in the years between the end of the Civil War and the assassination of Stalin.

It was not until Comrade Trotsky conducted his whirlwind tour of the Red Army in the months following the end of the Second Civil War that Kombrig Zhukov was relieved of his duties and promoted to Nakhdiv. Unlike Stalin, Trotsky had been impressed with Zhukov's blunt style, and overruled the Stavka perception that Zhukov was an over-promoted peasant. When the "cavalry clique" surrounding Komandarm Tukachevsky began to exert their full influence in the expansion of the Red Army, Zhukov was marked early on as a divisional commander for the new motorized divisions.

Comrade Zhukov's role in the Sinkiang Front was originally to act as a mobile reserve in case of the failure of one of the two prongs of the offensive while the 1st Motorized Rifle Division consolidated its leadership. As it proved, he was forced to march from the training areas directly into combat north of Kashgar. Once he had pierced the Turkmen lines, Zhukov was the first Soviet commander into the city, and the one to accept the Turkmen surrender in the name of the Chinese Red Army. Thus, he was also the first on hand to greet Comrade Trotsky on his inspection of active operations.

By this point, Trotsky had abandoned rail travel as frustratingly slow for long distances. Instead, he had turned into one of the foremost proponents of Aeroflot and the nascent Red Air Force, which had done yeoman service in the territory around Moscow. He had cancelled one of Stalin's many vanity projects, the gigantic Maxim Gorky aircraft, as impractical for the consumption of the average Soviet citizen (Trotsky is said to have proclaimed "We must allow the masses to take wings!" before ending the Maxim Gorky in favor of Comrade Lisunov's studies of Junkers and Douglas aircraft). Trotsky favored a larger number of smaller aircraft, and his own transport mirrored this: he traveled in a Tupolev-designed fast bomber modified to accommodate a writing desk and a small passenger complement. Komvzvod Marchayev, his constant companion on the Red Army tours, complained good-naturedly that Trotsky considered the desk more important than the passengers.

Zhukov met Trotsky at a field outside Kashgar on 12 September 1933, a field unsuited to large-scale operations but suited to a single aircraft, and explained the situation. Later documents indicate that he perhaps made his role to be greater than it truly was, but the mere feat of outpacing the two poorly-handled infantry corps was sufficient to get Zhukov himself a promotion to Komkor, and sufficient to get his division a return to Alma-Ata for a brief furlough, during which they served as training cadre for 2nd and 3rd Motorized Rifle Divisions, forming 1st Motorized Rifle Corps. The regular infantry, due to their poor performance, gained no such reprieve, instead getting a chance to redeem themselves by marching southeast toward the Ma generals' stronghold. Trotsky continued his tour with a visit to the Mongol city of Ulan-Bator.

Mongolia's situation was the most precarious of all of the combatants, because Mongolia lacked both the Soviet Union's reserves of manpower and superior overall leadership, and the Chinese Communists' exceptionally strong defensive position. The Ma generals therefore felt safe in exploiting Mongolia's relative weakness in a series of desultory attacks, eventually leading to the occupation of the southwestern third of Mongolia at the high point of their offensive. At this point, Komkor Pavel Semyonovich Rybalko, and the Soviet Union's still-understrength armored corps, intervened, pushing the Nationalists back well into Ma territory before calling a halt for reorganization and refitting. Rybalko was able to attend to Trotsky in Ulan-Bator to report his situation, and, again reflecting on the success of one leader where others were struggling, Trotsky promoted a leader beyond what many saw as his deserts.

These apparently arbitrary promotions in the autumn of 1933 led to a minor revolt back in Moscow; however, Trotsky's amazing capacity for travel, and the adoption of the airplane rather than rail travel, allowed him to speed back and surprise Komandarm Voroshilov, around whom rumors of a coup had begun to center. Comrade Voroshilov denied all such rumors, but Comrade Trotsky's suspicions were not allayed: Voroshilov was installed as the Commissar for Military Structures, a previously nonexistent title with the goal of keeping him working on railroads, naval bases, and other distractions that would preserve the Revolution while not utterly wasting the man's meager talents.

In the meantime, another future leader of the Red Army, Nakhdiv Aleksandr Mikhailovich Vasilevsky, took command of the 4th Motorized Rifle Division on the Mongolian frontier. Comrade Vasilevsky's role in the 1933 Northwest Offensive was minimal; however, because the Nationalists continued to press against the Mongol frontier in the Gobi Desert, he saw continuous action throughout the winter. It was nothing compared to Zhukov's thrust into the Turkestan Republic, but it was enough to give him a reputation as an excellent divisional commander, and when Trotsky returned to Ulan-Bator in February, he promoted Vasilevsky, too, to Komkor, with the goal of reducing the next group of warlords, the Ma generals, in the summer of 1934.

This period, the winter of 1933, also saw the establishment of the Soviet military mission in Yan'an, under Komkor Konstantin Konstantinovich Rokossovsky. Rokossovsky was, like Zhukov, a Civil War-era commander who had established himself as a thoroughly competent officer, leading to suspicion under Stalin that he, an ethnic Pole, might be associated with a counter-revolutionary coup attempt. These suspicions were baseless, and when Trotsky arrived in Moscow, he had selected Rokossovsky as one of the Red Army's future lights. Unfortunately, there were insufficient commands to be held when war broke out, and thus Rokossovsky, as a respected officer, was given a handful of other personnel and packed off to Yan'an to coordinate with the Chinese army commander, Zhu De. Zhu De had spent some time in Moscow during Trotsky's disgrace, but before his exile, and the Soviets had a generally favorable opinion of his abilities, at least compared to the average Chinese Communist leader.

Nevertheless, Komkor Rokossovsky was intensely frustrated during his time in China. Even by the rugged standards of Soviet infantry of the period, Chinese forces were poorly equipped, poorly trained, and politically unsure of the cause for which they fought. Rokossovsky was in fact compelled to remain in China until late 1940 to complete his mission of training the Chinese Red Army to an acceptable standard, and there remains considerable debate about the extent to which he succeeded. Certainly his own memoirs indicate considerable dissatisfaction about his Chinese assignment.

Not so Kombat Vassili Ivanovich Chuikov. Chuikov had actually volunteered for Chinese service, having a perhaps somewhat romantic view of the Chinese Red Army as noble partisans struggling against an evil, imperialistic noble. Where Rokossovsky despaired of ever modernizing the Chinese Red Army, even after the campaign's final success, Chuikov embraced the Chinese philosophy, wherein even the Chinese Communist leader Mao lived in a cave, even Mao attended political discussions, and even Mao performed manual labor every day. Chuikov embraced the Chinese Red Army's guerrilla philosophy, developing a school of close-range infantry fighting that would characterize his own later campaigns when he rose to higher command upon the conclusion of Rokossovsky's mission.

In March, after the winter's re-equipping of the Red Army, the Second Northwest Offensive began. Its goal was the reduction of the Ma Clique's territory and an effective land juncture with Comrade Mao, with the result that Komfront Zhu De coordinated closely through Rokossovsky's efforts. The Soviets finally broke out of Mongolia to begin the reduction of Ma territory late in the month, while the divisions which occupied the former Turkmen lands, including Komkor Zhukov's corps, assaulted the Ma generals from the west. They converged on Xining in June, and Trotsky met Mao in the city on 18 June 1934, the first of many meetings between the two leaders. His correspondence indicates that Trotsky was unimpressed with Mao, finding him "a barely literate communist and a barely competent peasant." Trotsky preferred Zhou Enlai, with whom he shared a general middle-class background and keen intellectualism, but recognized that Zhou lacked the influence in the Chinese Communist Party to be a Chinese mirror to himself.

Trotsky returned to Moscow on the first of July, well satisfied with the progress of the war, and began immediately to turn his prodigious attention to economic matters even as the war continued in the east.
 

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I LOVE IT!
But i hope maxim gorky wasn't scrapped, it could be used to show the mighty of propaganda, etc.
 

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III. The Second Five-Year Plan

Trotsky returned to Moscow after the fall of Xining after conferring with his generals and approving the plan to expand the war to Tibet in the hopes of opening a vulnerable southern flank. It was an internationally unpopular move, but at this point, Trotsky had a surprising ace up his sleeve internationally. However, first he had to deal with the economic consequences of five years of Stalinite mismanagement.

Upon arrival in Moscow, he was confronted with a problem: Continue Stalin's series of Five-Year Plans, or abandon it? For his own reasons, he was inclined to continue, though the Second Five-Year Plan would be developed very differently from the First. Rather than dictating the Plan from Moscow, he created an All-Union Research Soviet, which had the power to form regional Research Soviets to collect information about what the various regional entities, nationalities, and military believed they needed. The Red Army Research Soviet, its membership unsurprisingly exactly the same as Tukhachevsky's Moscow staff, responded first: continue on current course.

Next came the under-strength Red Navy. They desperately needed modernization. A memorandum written by Kombrigkorab Nikolai Gerasimovich Kuznetsov, of the Black Sea Fleet, became the pattern both for future Soviet operations in the region, and for the modernization plan. Kuznetsov's memorandum argued that the most significant vessels in the Soviet fleet were older even than the Turkish battlecruiser Yavuz, itself a relic of the German imperialist fleet before the Great War. That the world's only Workers' and People's State should have a navy that was eclipsed by that which the western capitalist powers had left Germany after the Treaty of Versailles was intolerable. Therefore, Kuznetsov argued for three separate programs to be carried out at once, in what was called a "Hero Project" under Stalin.


First, Kuznetsov asked that the fleet itself be modernized, beginning with the three pre-war battleships. The modernization of Marat, Parizhskaya Kommuna, and Oktyabrskaya Revolutsiya would provide a testbed for the fleet's other projects. The battleship Frunze, he recognized, could not be modernized at the moment, as it was in a state of total disrepair at Sevastopol. What Kuznetsov's memo sought for the Frunze was instead to bring it back to operation status as a training ship.

Second, he wanted a modernization of facilities, including the selection of a large-scale submarine base somewhere on the Soviet periphery. He specified submarines specifically on the basis of the German imperialists' success in the Great War: submarines allowed the fleet to operate successfully even from a position of relative weakness, and he suffered no illusions that the Red Navy was in any state but a position of weakness. Despite his own association with the Black Sea Fleet, Kuznetsov argued for the submarine base to be in the far north or far east, somewhere that they could sortie with relative ease in case of declaration of war. Both the Baltic and the Black Sea, where the majority of Soviet naval facilities were located, were easily closed-off by outside forces - in the Baltic, the Germans or the Scandinavians, in the Black Sea, by the Turks.

Third, as a consequence of what the first two programs would inevitably find, Kuznetsov pleaded for an extensive program of research and development to develop purely Soviet naval technology untainted by imperialist-capitalist development such as the prewar vessels. New construction and new research would certainly strengthen the Soviet Union against the ring of rivals that enclosed them in the west. Additionally, it would strengthen the other elements of the Five-Year Plan. Construction of new shipyards and new vessels, no matter which way Comrade Trotsky chose to develop the new Plan's goals, would go hand-in-hand with this other development.

Kuznetsov's memorandum created a considerable furor in the Red Navy; his superiors protested that the Red Navy was a modern, progressive workers' and people's force that needed no reformation, and besides, the reformation involved would be expensive beyond measure. Glavkomflot Orlov, the Deputy Commissar for Defense for the Navy, protested furiously at what he saw as a slur against his service by one of its own. Nevertheless, Comrade Trotsky, who had the final decision, chose to implement all three of Kuznetsov's radical suggestions, seeing a strengthening of the Red Navy as an inevitable requirement for the showdown with the West.


Trotsky used similar reasoning when deciding what path to follow with the Five-Year Plan in general. The All-Union Research Soviet returned a number of options: first, to reform agriculture, with the eventual goal of reversing Stalin's disastrous collectivization policies and replacing them with a rational policy that rewarded over-production rather than penalizing it. Second, the standard of living of the average Soviet citizen could be raised radically by producing consumer goods such as radios and personal automobiles. Third, the great factories begun by Stalin in the Don basin and along the Volga could be expanded and refined.


A number of voices argued loudly and persuasively for each option. In favor of the agricultural policy, for instance, was Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin, who saw a rolling back of Stalin's economic policies as absolutely vital for the preservation of the Revolution. Bukharin was one of the most brilliant theoreticians in the Party, and had also been the one prominent personality to insist that rolling back the New Economic Program had been a poor decision. Trotsky respected his courage in resisting Stalin, but thought him impractical and generally too soft for revolution - a revolution that China proved was ongoing.


Similarly, the Zinovievist clique wished to push for increases in consumer goods and an improvement in the standard of living throughout the Soviet Union. They were assisted in this by Sergei Mironovich Kirov, the head of the Leningrad Party, who had just been elevated to membership in the Moscow Politburo. Kamenev, Zinoviev, and even Trotsky himself were unsure of Kirov. The full-faced, somewhat fleshy Kirov was a charismatic leader, in the mold of Trotsky himself, and his policies in Leningrad had led to mutters that the city was the center of a new revolution under Stalin. Indeed, when Marchayev had been publicly revealed in Kiev, Kirov was the one senior Party leader who had publicly, and rather violently, agreed with Trotsky's decision to pardon him, calling Stalin's assassination an act of revolutionary violence. Kirov argued, extensively and persuasively, that the very people who the Revolution had been meant to benefit were now those suffering most, while jokes like this had circulated since 1917:

A farmer petitioned to visit Comrade Lenin in Moscow. "Comrade Lenin," the farmer said, "we are starving in the Ukraine! We are eating hay like horses! Soon we shall neigh like horses!" Comrade Lenin soothed the farmer, saying, "Now, now, calm down, here in Moscow, we are drinking honeyed tea, and you don't see us buzzing like bees!"

It is worth noting that the above comes from the Central Committee's secretarial records, and was addressed to the Committee during Kirov's Moscow visit in the summer of 1934. According to eyewitness reports, most significantly that of Commissar Medved, Kirov's chief of security, there was a moment of astonished silence that anyone would bring Ilych into a joke, followed by Trotsky's deep, braying laughter. Kirov had, at the very least, secured his position after a year of uncertainty.

However, the third option, the further industrialization of the Soviet Union, was the route which Trotsky eventually chose. The reasons for this were laid out to the Central Committee shortly after Kirov's address. The Soviet Union was still at war, and the equipment needed by the Army was neither agricultural, nor consumerist. The workers and people, Trotsky declared, would have to wait until the end of the war. This was a war to preserve and spread the Revolution, and everything else was therefore a secondary concern. There were advantages, though: industrialization guaranteed labor, and would increase the strength of the proletariat when the time came to give them consumer goods. Industrialization additionally meant the production of many more tractors, first for military applications, second for Labor Army farms, and third for anyone else who could afford them. This would strengthen Soviet agriculture. Therefore, he argued, the most reasonable course to improve all three potential areas was to strengthen the industrial base of the Soviet Union.


While he was in Moscow, his role as Commissar for Foreign Affairs continued to draw his attention from the fighting in China. The generals, he was sure, would manage that war. What was going on overseas, though - especially in Germany - demanded immediate attention.
 
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The death of President Hindenburg and the election of 1934.
 

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I agree with the entirely with the Trotzkys 5 year plans!

btw, ya what with germany?
 

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IV. The Foreign Crisis of 1934

The years of 1933 and 1934 were filled with foreign policy shocks for the Soviet Union, beginning, of course, with the Sino-Soviet War. However, it was not until the summer of 1934 that the crisis truly boiled over, on two separate fronts. First was the assassination of Kemal Pasha in Ankara and the restoration of the Sultanate by ultraconservative army officers. It made little difference in the actual outlook of the Turkish government, but the counterrevolutionary move from Bonapartist Kemalism to monarchy shook Trotsky to his core. Among other things, Kemal Pasha had been surprisingly conciliatory in his treatment of Trotsky himself during his exile. When Stalin had expelled Comrade Trotsky, Kemal had taken him in and treated him with the greatest of consideration, an unexpected turn from an avowed enemy of world socialism.

There was little chance of any sort of alliance after Trotsky returned to the Soviet Union, of course: the ideological divide between Kemal and Trotsky was simply too great, with Kemal's narrow nationalistic focus against Trotsky's internationalism. Then, too, Kemal was in his own way a dictator of greater proportions than Stalin, with the critical difference that where Stalin relied on revolutionary violence, Kemal relied on his force of personality. In this regard, he was an ideal Bonapartist dictator, a former army officer who rode his country's revolution to power and stayed there by charisma and manipulation of his opponents. He was therefore an implacable ideological enemy of the Revolution; however, he was also a personally decent man, so that his treatment of Trotsky after his exile was impeccable.

Kemal's death was followed by a wave of expansionism on the part of the counterrevolutionary government, which sponsored violent counterrevolution in Greece and Bulgaria. The Greek and Bulgarian governments proved incapable of resisting the Turks, proof of the fundamental ideological weakness of monarchies: that the strongest of a group shall always consume the weaker if given the chance, the inexorable result of historical processes of centralization. The Sultan even loudly announced that the Caucasus region was rightfully Turkish, and that Iraqi and Iranian Kurdestan were both Turkish. For once, the interests of the decadent British Empire and the Soviet Union coincided, and the two each independently issued a statement denying the Sultan the war he clearly sought to legitimize his rule.

In hindsight, this was largely a bluff: the military forces available to resist the Sultan consisted of a single rifle corps under the command of Komkor Shaposhnikov. These troops, though experienced in mountain warfare, would have been woefully under-strength to defend the entire Turkish border. That the Sultan believed that there were at least three times this many soldiers, with more flowing into the mobilization centers by the day, was the result of a masterful campaign of misdirection conducted by Comrades Shaposhnikov and Tukhacehvsky, who simply expanded his western exercises to include the Caucasus.

The other great foreign surprise of 1934 was the behavior of General von Schleicher in Germany. The death of President Paul von Hindenburg had been expected for quite some time, leading to the devolution of considerable power upon Chancellor von Schleicher. The events of 1933 and 1934 saw the suppression of the Nazi Party in Germany and the execution of its leader, Adolf Hitler, but also the suppression through violent crack-downs of the Communist Party of Germany, which fled largely en masse into the arms of the Communist International. The German communist leader, Ernst Thälmann, met with Trotsky several times in the fall of 1933 to coordinate a long-term course of action in Germany. This was, of course, before the war in China.

In the intervening period, Chancellor von Schleicher made his famous, inflammatory speech of December 1933, condemning the Soviet Union as "a state without a soul, where men are made into machines," but the events of the Chinese war, and of the Five Year Plan, distracted Trotsky from responding adequately until the death of President von Hindenburg in August of 1934. At that time, he confidently expected that Schleicher would centralize power in his own hands and a de-facto dictatorship would overtake Germany. Instead, Schleicher announced the end of rule by decree and the holding of open elections.

Thälmann and Trotsky met in September to form a plan. Under Stalin, the German Communists had roundly condemned the Social Democrats as "social fascists;" the Trotsky scheme relied on the Communists making a deal with the moderate Socialists of the Social Democrat Party under Otto Wels. The KPD would be un-banned and would be granted a handful of cabinet positions, in exchange for support at the polling station. Against this stood Schleicher's coalition of conservatives and reactionaries, with the Catholic Center Party sharply divided in its loyalties.

In the end, Thälmann's support proved decisive, and the German government of November 1934 was a stark contrast to any of its predecessors. The new President of Germany was Otto Wels, the head of the Social Democrats, who gave the position of Chancellor to the Centrist Heinrich Brüning. In their coalition cabinet, radical Socialists or Communists occupied the Ministries of Labor and Agriculture. It was the first cabinet to include Communists, but not the last. The election of 1934 was merely the foundation for the election of 1939.
 
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Deus Eversor

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If Trotzky comes to Ankara, and builds an memorial for Kemal, i think he will win great pr among turks and give him good standing point in talks with kemalists if they will be able to reason with.

In Germany... i wouldn't be surpised if the rightists at the verge of losing to communists would decide for a deal, accept the rule and never ever talk to ussr, or face take over spanish revolution style
 

c0d5579

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I really need to get an update together for this; the problem is that I kind of ran out of steam in mid-42, the game just quit being interesting once I reached a certain tipping point. I'll see what I can do once the next Siegerkranz update is finalized.
 

Deus Eversor

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Well i know what you mean (look at my aars) at least you beaten me by one page here ;)

that is why i hail are aar makers who last longer then me.
 

c0d5579

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I promised an update once the mega-update to Siegerkranz was done; it's in the works now.
 

unmerged(75409)

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[...]

In the end, Thälmann's support proved decisive, and the German government of November 1934 was a stark contrast to any of its predecessors. The new President of Germany was Otto Wels, the head of the Social Democrats, who gave the position of Chancellor to the Centrist Friedrich Ebert. In their coalition cabinet, radical Socialists or Communists occupied the Ministries of Labor and Agriculture. It was the first cabinet to include Communists, but not the last. The election of 1934 was merely the foundation for the election of 1939.
But Friedrich Ebert should have died in 1925?? He was Weimar Germany's first president after all.
 

c0d5579

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You're correct; too many dead Germans to keep track of. I actually meant Brüning, but missed by a decade. I'll edit to fix.
 

Kurt_Steiner

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We get rid of Hitler to have Wels instead, who, not being so hateful, I still dislike for his duplicity -like Ebert et al- in 1919.