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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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At the Dawn of the 20th Century, the United States had seemed primed for greatness. After the destruction and loss of life of the Civil War during the mid 19th century, the United States had come roaring back in a big way. The pace of Industrialization only picked up in the already heavily industrialized North and with the abolition of slavery and subsequent overturning of the economic system it brought about, the South too was finally making progress in catching up to the North's level of Industrialization.
With this increased economic power came a desire to flex their growing, but unrecognized and relatively untested military and diplomatic might. This culminated in 1898 in the Spanish American War, Which saw the United States thrash the rotten corpse of the Spanish Empire and take its remaining possessions for themselves or, in the case of Cuba, give them at least the veneer of independence.
This era of American Imperialism lead to a renewed faith in America and its strength. This splendor, however, was built on the backs of industrialists with dubious morals and few scruples leading to drastic exploitation of the American Workers. This brought about a wave of unionization and reform during what came to be known as the Progressive Era. These reforms greatly improved the confidence of the American people in their government and resulted in the Election in 1912 of Woodrow Wilson, who promised to carry it even further, a promise he would fulfill over the course of the next 8 years.
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As the Wilson Administration entered into its Second year, however, other events began to overshadow these efforts. The Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June of 1914 lead to the outbreak of the largest and bloodiest war the world had ever seen. This conflict would eventually come to be known as the Weltkrieg. When the war broke out, Wilson, who was still focused on his agenda of domestic reform, was determined to keep the United States out of these devastating conflict. In this, he had the overwhelming support of the American people, who still clung George Washington's warning of getting the United States involved in "Entangling Alliances", the very thing that had start the war in the first place, as if it was Holy Writ. As the death counts continued to soar, the American people became less and less inclined to join the war. Things nearly came to a head though on May 7 1915 with the Sinking of the RMS Lusitania, which carried 139 American passengers. Of these American passengers, 128 of them had lost their lives.
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The Wilson Administration as well as the American people were outraged at this sinking of an unarmed passenger liner by the German Navy. The German Navy's accusations that it had been carrying war contraband in the form of artillery shells, the igniting of which they claimed had been responsible for the rapid sinking, made poor compensation to the families of those dead passengers. In his outrage, Wilson warned the Kaiser and his government that another incident of this kind would mean a declaration of war from him and his government. Not wanting to add the United States to its already formidible and growing list of enemies, the Kaiser backed down and suspended his policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. Wilson trumpeted this victory to high Heaven during the Presidential Election the next year with the slogan "He kept us out of war" and coasted to an easy victory.
As war dragged on and the blockade of Germany continued to worsen however, the Kaiser began to consider reinstating the policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. In his desperation, the Kaiser pointed out that something needed to be done to hit the British back and when the possibility of bringing America into the war was brought up, the Kaiser offhandedly rejected it. He claimed that even if the United States did enter the war, The minuscule size of the United States standing army meant that it would be at least a year or two before it could raise the numbers of men needed to make a difference. Into this situation stepped German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg
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Hollweg claimed that while it was true that the United States did have a small standing army, the Americans had a massive reserve force in the form of the National Guard and the ability to raise a massive army if it wanted to. The "Great Call up" back in June 1916 also showed that the National Guard could be mobilized very quickly if need be. While the call up itself had been horrifically blundered due to know one having any idea how to organize the massive logistics need to actually feed and equip such a force on short notice, he stated that the Americans had surely learned from this mistake and would be sure to correct these errors in the future. Thus it was argued that American intervention was something to be avoided at all cost, as it would give the Allies access to the vast manpower reserves of the United States. This would be exactly what they would need to either launch a massive offensive of their own or turn back any large scale offensives from the German Armies. Plus, with Russia faltering and the possibility of gaining access to the vast agricultural resources of the Ukraine and the release of all the troops fighting in the East, their was no need to antagonize the United States. The Kaiser heeded this advice and decided not to reinstate Unrestricted Submarine warfare. On March 8, 1917, two months after this decision was made, Russia collapsed into revolution, with the Tsar being overthrown and replaced with Alexander Kerensky
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Kerensky, promptly set about trying to democratize Russia, but was opposed in his efforts by the Petrograd Soviet, which established its own shadow government in direct opposition to the Provisional Government in Moscow. His position was harmed still further by his fatal decision to stay in the war. Kerensky, in an attempt to shore up his support launched a massive offensive called the Kerensky offensive, but it failed to repeat the success of the Brusilov offensive the previous year. With Russian forces in retreat or desperately trying to hold on all along the line, all support for the Kerensky government began to evaporate due to the low popularity of the war. This resulted on 8 November in a second revolution led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky which succeeded in overthrowing Kerensky
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Lenin immediately made peace with the Germans, signing the treaty of Brest Litovsk and giving all of the Baltic States, the Ukraine, Belarus, and Poland to the Germans. This freed up all the German and Austrian forces on the Eastern Front. the decision was then made to spend 1918 building up these forces in order to launch a massive offensive to break the stalemate on the Western Front.
The Allies, however, were not idle at this time. Knowing full well that they needed to win this war before Germany could commit its forces from the Eastern Front In the meantime, Germany sent smaller forces to the Balkans where they succeeded in pushing the Allies back to Salonika. With the Austrians and Bulgarians keeping them pinned there, the Germans swept around them and marched straight on Athens, thus forcing Greece out of the war. with Greece out of the war and the Eastern Front closed, the allies saw no further need to maintain the Salonika front and ordered an evacuation of the forces there.
This was countered by an Allied drive in the Middle East that drove the Turks back to Anatolia. Despite that, reinforcements sent by Germany and Austria meant that the Allies were unable to break into the Turkish heartland. At sea the war went even better when the German High Seas fleet finally managed to break the British Blockade with a resounding victory at the Second Battle of Jutland.
2lx8c5t.jpg

With the Blockade broken, Germany's food and supply problems were officially over and they could more effectively prey on British supply lines. That however was far from the worst news as in Spring of 1919, the Germans launched their Great Spring offensive. the massive offensive managed to achieve that mythical thing that all sides had been chasing since 1914: Breakthrough. Due to relentless pounding, the Germans managed to punch through the front at Saint Mihel, just south of Verdun. Allied reinforcements hurriedly rushed to the area managed to stem the tide. This however, created another opportunity and the Germans managed to create another breakthrough around Rheims. Like a damn sprung too many leaks, the trench system quickly began to crumble as the Allies failed to stop this new breakthrough. and the Germans were soon laying siege to Paris
33vp98n.jpg

To make matters worse, the Austrians had also managed to break through on Italian Front as well in the Trento. This allowed them to cut off the majority of the Italian Army in the area around Venice. Once this was done, the Austrian Armies swarmed down the peninsula, capturing Rome in a matter of weeks. Soon after, the Italian forces in Venice and Italy in general were forced to surrender. The loss of Italy then made the situation in France untenable, As German and Austrian armies now had a way into Southern France as well.
Seeing the writing on the the wall, France surrendered. This left the British the only nation still fighting Germany. All British forces on the Continent were quickly evacuated and the order was given for British forces in the Middle East to prepare their defenses. Sure enough, the entire strength of the German army soon arrived to push the British out of Mesopotamia and Palestine, pushing the British all the way back to the Suez Canal, which the British entrenched so well that Germans were unable to cross it. Added to this was the revolt in Ireland, which Germany openly supported. With the British losing in Ireland and the Germans unable to break into Africa, the two powers signed the Peace With Honor agreement. In this treaty, Germany was given back all of the colonies it had lost in the war and its claim to French Indochina recognized, in exchange for Germany not demanding anymore of the British, Portuguese, or Japanese possessions. The Weltkrieg, the largest war in human history was now over.
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And that is the first update. I apologize that I spent the entire update talking about backstory. I wanted to explain how the Germans won and why the USA didn't join the war for anyone who was unfamiliar with it so they would be up to speed. It also ties in nicely with the other background information i intend to provide for the Inter War years and the rise of the Combined Syndicalists and the America First Union Party. There will be at least one more background update and possibly two before actual gameplay starts getting posted. I have played all the way up to the start of the Civil War, which I do not intend to avoid for this playthrough, so feel free to speculate on how you think I will go from here and to post advice on what to do during the Civil War. I have won it once before on HoI 4, but am still new to the mod so this should be fun. I do not have it set to historical so we will all have to see what craziness comes from that.
 

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The best method I've found for winning the Civil war is to not fight it. Works every time ;)
 

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Nice covering of the backstory.

A piece of presentational advice - it is good idea to leave a clear line between paragraphs. Aids legibility :)
 

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The best method I've found for winning the Civil war is to not fight it. Works every time ;)

suitably cheeky, However, I have a specific way I want this particular AAR to go. I will likely do another one in the future where I will put which way I will go to a vote.

Nice covering of the backstory.

A piece of presentational advice - it is good idea to leave a clear line between paragraphs. Aids legibility :)

thanks for the input, I will try to do that for future updates.

The end of the Weltkrieg in Europe, while the end of official hostilities, was not the end of its troubles. anger over the defeat led to a wave of demonstrations from the left in France, mostly under the direction of the General Confederation of Labor (Abbreviated CGT in French). In 1919, they had helped to force the French government to end the war by calling for a General Strike. This had quickly turned violent and facing the possiblity of a civil war in addition to the advancing Germans and with mutinies racing through the army, the French quickly agreed to peace, recognizing German claims to Alsacce-Loraine and also recognizing the German puppet state of Flanders-Wallonia. This, however, proved to be too little and too late. Soon, the Third Republic completely collapsed and was replaced with a dual power structure, much like what existed in Russia. On the one hand was the Conservative leaning Provisional Government and the Other the Left leaning CGT, which drew its support from the labor unions. The matter came to a head when the government tried to disband the army, which largely sympathized with the CGT. This caused the Socialist party and other more radical Leftists to throw their support behind the CGT. One of these groups was the Bolshevik Jacobins, who began leading attacks against the aristocracy and Bourgeoisie. Sensing that they were losing control of the situation, the CGT moved to assert its leadershp position by officially declaring war on the Provisional government. With the army siding with the CGT, the Provisional Government fled to North Africa, where they set up a government in exile. This resulted the next day in the declaration of the syndicalist Commune of France.
28cewph.jpg


With this new French Revolution and German victory in the Weltkrieg, It seemed to most Americans that Wilson's decision to stay out of the war had been a sage one. This was only further shown by how rapidly the Allied forces collapsed starting in 1917, first with the collapse of Russia, then the failure of the Allied offensive in the West, followed shortly by the fall of the Balkans and all culminating in the Implosion of the Western Front in 1919. Therefore, it appeared to many that America entering the war would have accomplished little and would have simply landed them in hot water with the victorious Germans. The belief was that American aid would not have come quick enough or arrived in large enough numbers to have prevented these collapses from happening. Furthermore, the large Irish and German populations in the United States had always opposed joining the allies, the Irish out of not wanting to help the British and the Germans out of not wanting to help the mother country. Had Wilson intervened, he most likely would have lost the votes of both these communities. This only further vindicated Wilson's decision to stay neutral, further boosting the popularity of Wilson and the Democrats. With his health declining, however, Wilson, on his wife's urging, decided not to run for re-election in 1920 and instead through his support behind his son in law William Gibbs McAdoo
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McAdoo had been Wilson's treasury secretary throughout his administration and had risen to great prominence due to his efforts to alleviated and stop the financial panic that had griped America in at the start of the war in 1914. Of particular note was his unprecedented decision to shut down the New York Stock Exchange for 4 months. This was done in order to put a stop to French investors attempts to turn their investments in the New York Stock Exchange first into dollars and then into gold with the intention of bringing that gold back to Europe. Had this succeeded, it likely would have depleted the gold backing of the US dollar, crashing the New York Stock Market and the entire economy along with it, sending America into a full on depression. Had the attempt worked, it would have allowed the European nations to buy American goods and raw materials at greatly reduced prices, an offer the United States would have been forced to accept in order to try and dig itself out of the hole the European nations had just put it in. In addition, this action served to cut off the European investors from being able to access their American investments. As the Europeans had a far greater amount of investment in the United States then the United States had in Europe, they had little recourse against this and were forced to pay for the goods they purchased from America on credit. This put them heavily indebt to the United States and also allowed them to heavily ramp up their industrial production to meet these demands, something they could not have done had they been thrown into a depression by the Europeans. Thus the Europeans attempts at skinning the Americans backfired horrendously and they themselves wound up getting skinned instead.

With these quick and decisive actions by McAdoo, the United States was able to make money hand over fist selling all manner of things to the Allies. Furthermore, Wilson's swift and decisive response to the Lusitania's sinking sent the message to the Kaiser that unless they wanted war with America, American shipping was off limits to their U-boats. This allowed the Americans to carry out a massive amount of trade with impunity. This resulted in massive economic boom in America, which both Wilson and McAdoo could and did take credit for in the 1920 election campaign.

This left the Republicans, who had dominated American politics since the Civil War, scrambling to come up with a response. Furthermore, the party was still suffering from the divide between the Progressive Wing of the party, led by the aging former president Theodore Roosevelt, and the Conservative Wing of the party led by Illinois Governor Frank Lowden. Initially, it looked like Leonard Wood, Roosevelt's chosen successor, and Lowden might deadlock. Roosevelt, however, stood up on the convention floor and gave an inspiring speech reminding all present that the Progressive movement was by no means finished and that to go with a decidedly pro-business candidate like Lowden risked alienating the entire Progressive movement. If those voters switched to already highly popular McAdoo, which was highly likely due to his track record of supporting the movement, they would be handing the election to McAdoo on a silver platter. Roosevelt also pointed to Leonard Woods sterling military career, especially reminding them that he had been in official command of the Rough Riders during the battle of San Juan hill that had made Roosevelt famous and his service as Chief of Staff under president Taft. This speech allowed to coast to an easy nomination on the next ballot.
16c7414.jpg

In the resulting campaign, both Roosevelt and Wilson campaigned aggressively for their chosen candidates despite Wilson's poor health and Roosevelt's advanced age. Both hammered away at the strong Progressive credentials of their chosen candidates. Knowing full well, however, the need to differentiate themselves, Wood and Roosevelt also emphasized Wood's sterling military career while Wilson and McAdoo pointed to the prosperity the country was currently experiencing and McAdoo's contribution to it. They also hammered away at Wood's lack of any real political experience and McAdoo's comparative wealth of Experience. The poignancy of both of these arguments and the vigorous support of wildly popular presidents for both candidates resulted in the election being an incredibly close run affair. As Usual, the Democratic McAdoo performed a clean sweep of the American south and the Republicans swept the West coast, the Rocky Mountains, and the Great Plains. This meant that the election would come down to a battle over the industrial heartland in the Old Northwest and New England. Predictably, the Democrats message of prosperity brought about by the production boom supplying the allies went over phenomenally well in the Old Nortwest, which they carried easily, winning every state in the region. Conversely, Leonard Woods New England roots meant that he was received very well in the already solidly Republican region of New England. Eventually, it became clear that the election would ultimately depend on the state of New York, which commanded the largest share of electoral votes. The fight for New York was fierce and initially, it was believed the support of Native son Theodore Roosevelt would deliver the state to Wood. It was here, however, that McAdoo's heretofore little recognized running mate, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
33vyq6w.jpg

Franklin Roosevelt (right) at a Campaign event in Ohio with failed candidate for President Governor James Cox (left)

Franklin Roosevelt, a distant relative of Theodore Roosevelt, was also a native of New York and had been assistant secretary of the Navy under Wilson as well as a Senator from New York before that. During his time in the Senate, he had made a name for himself as a crusader against the corruption of Tammany Hall. This brought him a great deal of popularity within the state, despite his primary defeat by a Tammany back politician. While Secretary of the Navy, he had been responsible for numerous interventions across Latin America and he claimed he even wrote the Constiution of Haiti. He had also advocated for intervention in the Weltkrieg, but wisely kept quiet about that. Franklin Roosevelt campaigned throughout the state extensively. At campaign event after campaign event, he went out to extol virtue of McAdoo and to express both his and McAdoo's vigorous support for Progressivism. He also talked about his own efforts to fight the corruption that was so endemic to New York politics and how he and McAdoo planned to pull it out from the roots if elected. At 38 years old, Franklin Roosevelt sounded like a younger version of his more famous cousin, possessing all the vigor and energy that TR had possessed in his prime. In short, Franklin Roosevelt's youth and vigor made him appear to be the future of the country whereas Theodore Roosevelt, who had lost some of his youthful energy in his old age, appeared as a man whose time, however great, had passed. Eventually, Franklin Roosevelt's vigorous campaigning resulted in enormous upset, delivering the state of New York to McAdoo by a razor thin margin.
9gc6tf.jpg


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Another background update down. This was supposed to be the last one, but it was originally twice as long and I thought you might not want to read all that at once, so I split it. I will release the other half of this sometime soon and see if I can't get up to the start of the war while I am at it. I have currently written up to 1928 election. Expect to see the next update either tomorrow or Friday and It will either be the last or second to last background update that goes into this project.
 
Last edited:

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Things do have a tendency to grow :) The backstory continues to be well written.
 

TK-XD-M8

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nice update
 

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In his Inauguration speech, McAdoo promised to continue the policies of Wilson and promised continued prosperity under his leadership. Throughout his first term, this is exactly what he delivered. McAdoo campaigned vigorously against corruption and the trusts, passing even stronger anti-trust laws. In addition, While trade with France had slackened considerably, this was more then made up for with the increased trade with Britain. With the country prosperous and the Progressive movement still going strong, McAdoo was able to coast to a second term in 1924, easily beating Republican challenger, Governor Herbert Hoover of California. The good times, however, were not meant to last forever. A lot of the prosperity enjoyed by post Weltkrieg America had been due to the the debts owed to them by Britain. Since the end of the war, Britain had been steadily paying back these debts and had become more and more reliant on trade with America. This all ended in 1925 when the government sent troops into South Wales to put down a coal miners strike there. This caused the Trade Unions Council to take a leaf out of the CGT's book and call for a General strike. Not wanting to allow the country to fall to syndicalism as France had, the government ordered the military to suppress the strike. This backfired in the worst way imaginable when the troops began joining the strikers and the Navy began mutinying. With the situation completely out of government control, the Royal family was forced to flee to Canada along with the rest of the government. The TUC then proclaimed the creation of the Union of Britain and began writing a new syndicalist inspired constitution

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Almost immediately, the Union of Britain announced that it would not honor any of the financial obligations of the previous government and cut off all trade with the United States, viewing them as allies of the previous government and still bitter that the United States had refused to help them when they had needed it most. The loss of their largest trade partner sent shockwaves through the American economy. Their economy, especially that of the Eastern states, had been almost completely dependent on trade with Britain following the collapse France. Furthermore, the Canadian government also refused to continue paying the debts of the old British government, citing an inability to do so with most of their former empire either being in open rebellion or being seized by the Germans.



Desperately looking for new trade partners, President McAdoo quickly realized there were none to be had. France still refused any trade, believing the United States to be the biggest example of capitalist oppression. That meant the only nation in Europe that could provide the kind of deals that the US had enjoyed with the British were the Germans, and they were none to helpful either. The Kaiser remembered how the Americans had basically served as the arms and supply merchant to the Allies, selling them massive amounts of raw materials, food stuffs, and other supplies while Germany had starved during the war. Seeing his chance for revenge, the Kaiser refused any trade with Americans. They also began shutting the Americans out of all markets they controlled in Europe, which was almost all of them. Later on, President McAdoo was heard to say "We were in hell calling for help and the Germans threw us a can of gasoline to drink".



What this all meant is that suddenly American factories, which had been doing a brisk business with the British, suddenly were producing more goods then they could ever possibly sell. Products of every kind flooded the American market, putting prices into free fall. Companies struggled to make any form of profit and soon saw their stock prices plummet just as fast as the prices for their products. This sent the entire New York Stock Exchange into a tail spin from which it was completely unable to recover. Companies all across the country found themselves with the cruel choice of either cutting hours, cutting employees, or going under entirely. Ironically, President McAdoo, how had prevented one depression, now saw himself thrust right into another one and with no idea how to dig himself out of it. To his credit, President McAdoo did everything in his power to fix the depression, passing make work programs and relief packages almost daily. He even managed to work out a very lucrative trade deal with the only country strong enough and distant enough from the Kaiser to safely thumb its nose at him: Japan. While this prevented the depression from devastating the West Coast the way it had the East, it did nothing to alleviate the problems faced by the out of work people back East.



It was in this climate that the Democrats found themselves facing a new election campaign in 1928. Knowing that McAdoo had no chance of re-election if they nominated him, the Democrats began frantically searching for a new candidate to run. Many initially wanted Franklin Roosevelt, the energetic Vice President who had arguably won the election for McAdoo back in 1920 to run. Roosevelt had served a good term, yet quiet term as Vice President during McAdoo's first term and then quietly refused to be his running mate again in 1924 for never fully explained reasons. Secretly, though McAdoo and those close to Roosevelt knew the reason was due to him having contracted polio shortly after the election. The once vigorous and energetic man had found himself confined to a wheelchair ever since. He had initially wanted to resign, but McAdoo and his wife Eleanor had convinced him that to do so would lead to far to many uncomfortable questions. Therefore, it was agreed that he would serve out the rest of his term with little to do while he recovered from his disease. This resignation meant that he had not been present when the economy collapsed and thus none of the blame for it could stick to him. While Roosevelt was recovering from the disease however, he declined to run, knowing that the Democrats stood no real chance at victory. Thus thwarted, the Democrats wound up nominating Al Smith, the governor of New York, for President. Roosevelt would eventually run for and win the the vacated position of governor, banking on his old popularity in the state and wanting to ease his way back into politics rather then dive in headfirst.

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The Republicans, meanwhile had little troubled deciding who to nominate, as they almost immediately went with Herber Hoover again for president. Hover ran a strong campaign, basing much of his argument on his time head of the American Relief Administration during the war. He had later used that service to get himself elected as Governor of California in 1923 and had served in that capacity since. Hailing from one of the states was not as badly hit by the depression, Hoover was able to point to his successful time as governor and the prosperity of the state to make the argument that he had what it took to fix the economy. Hoover claimed that too much meddling by McAdoo had only served to worsen the depression and that the government should stay out of things as much as possible in order to allow for the businesses to find their own way out of the mess. While this may have sounded sketchy to some, Many in the country could sympathize with it. McAdoo had done everything under the sun, and perhaps a little more besides, to try and fix the depression and it hadn't worked so perhaps less guidance was exactly what was needed. Hoover also cut off a little of the criticism by saying that while he didn't want to harm the American spirit of "Rugged Individualism" by providing to much clearly ineffective make work and relief problems that he called only a ludicrously expensive bandage, he said he would work to try and solve the root cause of the depression and would work with Industry leaders to solve the problem together, rather then dictate solutions to them. This message resonated with many, though in the end, the election was always going to be a foregone conclusion. Hoover coasted to a landslide victory in 1928.
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While the victory was indeed convincing however, it was aided by a rather curious development. During this election, the Socialist Party, which had never commanded more then 6% of the vote, managed to get several hundred thousand votes from throughout the Industrial heartland. While they were not enough for them to win any state, this factor was enough to tip the scales in favor of one candidate or the other at numerous times. The biggest surprise, however, came in where they came in New York, where the Socialists came in a very respectable second and nearly cost Al Smith his own home state. At the time, it was viewed by most as a mere curiosity and not something to be worried about. Most simply chalked it up to popular frustration with McAdoo. The Socialist candidate, Norman Thomas, had railed against him and claimed that the depression was a glorious example of why Capitalism was a doomed system.Many believed that if the depression could be fixed, which most Republicans and not a few Democrats believed Hoover would do, then the Socialist problem would go away. They therefore waited anxiously for Hoover's inauguration As he was sworn in as President, it would now be up to him to make good on his promise to fix the depression
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And another update done. The next one will catch us up to where the game actually starts and maybe get into a little bit of gameplay.
 

stnylan

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Background continues to be well told. I think my the time gameplay starts the scene will be better set than any KR AAR I have read.
 

Nikolai

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Now this is something not often seen; a well documented background story. :)
 

Davisx3m

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Nice! Will follow!
 

History_Buff

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Hoover took office in 1928 due to the belief by many that the Democrats had shown themselves completely unequal to the task of fixing the Great Depression. Indeed, many, if not most, laid the blame for the depression squarely at the feet of President McAdoo. The belief was that since the Democrats appeared unequal to the task, there could be little harm in letting the Republicans have a chance to fix it. Hoover's initial response to try to fix the depression was rather curious in that he seemed content to not do much. Hoover was convinced that too much government intervention in the economy had either helped to cause or, at the very least, helped to worsen the Great Depression and so he tried to do so as little as possible. He even began rolling back many McAdoo era regulations on the belief that overregulation was stifling attempts by private firms to dig themselves out of the Great Depression. He was also completely opposed to make work and public relief programs. In the case of Make work programs, he believed that while they sounded good, the jobs they created almost always turned out to be temporary jobs. This meant they only really served to buy time and that if you didn't fix what was actually causing the depression, then the temporary jobs would eventually end and those thus employed would be back to the unemployment line. Hoover, however, saved his harshest criticism for relief programs. He claimed that putting massive numbers of individuals on "the dole" would sap them of their motivation to find work for themselves and that people were "rugged individuals" who didn't want government hand outs. He also believed that this was something best handled by charitable institutions, not the government.

As time wore on, however, it became clear that this hands off approach was not working and business were not doing any better at digging themselves out of the depression then McAdoo had done at digging them out. At a loss for what to do, Hoover eventually wound up supporting the Smoot-Hawley tariff in order to raise the tariff on imported goods. The hope was that by passing this act, it would stem the flood of foreign imports from countries that were still doing well and force more people to buy American made products. Critics of the bill claimed that this would just lead other countries to raise their tariffs right back, but this criticism was initially rejected due to the fact that America didn't have all that many large export partners. What these defenders forgot about was the fact that while the drying up of European trade had caused the depression initially, it was trade with Japan that was keeping the West Coast intact. As soon as the act passed, Japan instantly retaliated with a higher tariff of their own, and economy the West Coast began going into a recession. Seeing what was about to happen, and not wanting to make the depression worse in the region that contained his strongest base of support, Hoover immediately pushed to removed the new tariff and ensured the Japanese that their would be no repeat of this incident. With these assurances and the removal of the hated tariff, the Japanese relented and lowered their tariffs again, preventing the West Coast from joining the East Coast in its misery.

31_herbert_hoover.jpg


While Hoover had thus prevented catastrophe, the well publicized blunder succeeded in giving ammunition to the Democrats who started pointing out that for all his talk, all Hoover had succeeded in doing was almost making the depression worse. They began pushing for Hoover to pass public works and infrastructure projects that could provide more temporary, and hopefully a few permanent jobs at the completion of the projects. They also called for the country to be taken off the gold standard along with other badly needed financial reforms. Hoover, however, remained reluctant to do any of this believing that they would not do as much to help fix the economy as his critics thought they would. These criticisms only continued to grow in intensity as the 1932 election loomed closer.Soon, however, Hoover began to face criticism from two new and much more radical sources: The Socialist Party and the American First Union Party



The First new source of criticism was from a familiar place: The socialists. The Socialist party had been around since the early 1900's and had made several spirited campaigns for President under their perennial candidate Eugene V. Debbs of Indiana, but had never commanded more then six percent of the vote. Despite this, it was their agitation and fear that they might make further trouble if their concerns were not addressed that had initially fueled the Progressive movement. They again claimed that this depression was the inevitable result of corporate greed and that the entire capitalist system was to blame. They claimed that the massive disparity in wealth and the exploitation of the workers to be a root cause. They pointed to the devastation brought about by the collapse of the stock market, that ultimate expression of capitalism, as an example of how their needed to be more worker control of industries and that the unions needed to be strengthened to have a direct say in how industries were run. Their argument basically claimed that with the bosses in full control, they inevitably did what was in their own best interest, which often led them to make decisions that looked good in the short run but had disastrous effects later on. The overproduction problem was used as an example of this as the relentless drive to ramp up production as much as possible to increase profits for themselves had led to the flooding of the markets. They also pointed to the still vibrant economy of France and Britain, which were both syndicalist and had large scale union control of businesses as a model that could work in America as well. They claimed that this model could potentially help solve the Depression and even if it didn't fix the immediate problem, it could prevent a future one. This argument resonated with many industrial workers in the Old Northwest and New England who had lost their jobs as a result of the depression, and they began flocking to the Socialist banner.



With the death of Eugene V. Debbs in 1926, the year the depression hit, their had been a scramble to see who would take his place as the leader of the Socialist movement. The battle lines had roughly been drawn between Alexander Berkman, Norman Thomas, and William Z. Foster, each of whom represented different strains of Socialist thought. Norman Thomas, who had been the Socialist Party Candidate in 1928, was considered the heir to Debs and represented the traditional Socialist Ideology of using the democratic process to make things better for the workers, but was not willing to demand all power be handed over to either the unions or the parties. Alexander Berkman was a Lithuanian born Anarcho- Syndicalist who had first come to prominence in 1896 during the Homestead strike. Back then, he had been an ardent believer of the philosophy of "propaganda of the deed" and had attempted to assassinate Henry Clay Frick in an attempt to incite the working class to rise up against the capitalist system. The assassination had been botched and Berkman had spent 10 years in prison. He represented the Syndicalist strain of the party and advocated that should they fail to win the next election, they should use a general strike to bring down the government, as had happened in France. Whether they won or not, he advocated that the unions should have control over the economy, not the state and not the bosses. Finally, there was William Z. Foster, who had started out as a syndicalist and union organizer but had eventually fallen into a more Marxist and communist way of thinking. He was very much a fan of the Russian Revolution before it had been put down by German arms and argued for reorganizing the government and economy along the same lines as the former Bolsheviks.

220px-Alexander_Berkman_001.jpg
latest
220px-William_Z._Foster%2C_cropped.PNG

(From left to right: Alexander Berkman, Norman Thomas, William Z. Foster)
The fighting between these three was fierce, made even more so by the approaching election. Norman Thomas' unexpectedly strong showing in the last election, while not being enough to outright carry any states, had given the members of the party a belief that they could potentially win, or at least gain traction in this election. That meant whoever won the fight for control of the party would get the chance to sell their vision to the American people. The argument went on for weeks and originally, it seemed like the deadlock between them would force a compromise. The deadlock would eventually be broken by a young journalist by the name of John "Jack" Reed. Reed had been in Europe as war correspondant and had actually born witness to the Russian Revolution. While initially being in support of that revolution, its failure had turned him away from the Communist branch of socialism and he was now and enthusiastic Berkman supporter. As such, he soon went up to deliver a speech in support of Berkman that went thusly:

My Comrades, the choice placed before you today is indeed one of great consequence. The fight before us today is a fight for the very soul of this party and whoever wins will get to battle it out with the Republicans and Democrats for the soul of this country. Many of you may be tempted to go with Norman Thomas, after all, he did well in the last election, why should he not do so again. Well, my friends I will tell you. Last time around, the Democrats had run Al Smith, an affable man, but also a Catholic, which drew suspicion from many. But more important, he was a man of no great vision. The Republicans, now they were even worse. They, in their infinite wisdom chose to run a man who promised to do nothing and claimed that some how the depression would fix itself, as if by some magic spell. Now they are surprised when he has sat on his hands and the depression is not any better. This year, while their candidate has yet to be chosen, Governor Franklin Roosevelt is promising to throw his hat in the ring. Roosevelt, in contrast to both Hoover and Smith is a man of titanic energy, as was his cousin TR and just as great a vision. Furthermore, at least half the time he speaks, he sounds just like Mr. Thomas with his promises of a "New Deal for the workers". In a race between these two men, whom do you think the American people will chose? Others of you may like the former union organizer and self professed Bolshevik, William Foster. Well my friends, I was a witness to the revolution that Foster loves so much and I saw it all end in blood and fire and I must say that Marx and Lenin's ideas, while they sound good, are no way to run a government. Marx and Lenin talk of the dictatorship of the proletariat, but in their vision, it is not the proletariat who rules, but whomever happens to lead the party. This set up and even the idea of Dictatorship of the Proletariat is something the American people will never accept. Therefore, I urge you, throw your support to Berkman. Berkman has actually fought for syndicalism and has the prison time to prove it. Furthermore, his vision of a economy and government organized around the unions is one that the working man can follow. He does not simply want to make your lot a little better or rule over and guide you. He plans to fight with you, shoulder to shoulder. If you need proof of the viability of this model, look to France. Their they have made a revolution for themselves as the Bolsheviks could not. I therefore say it is Syndicalism, not mere socialism or Bolshevism that is America's future. Solidarity forever.

Johnreed1.jpg


Following this speech from Reed, the assembled members of the Socialist party voted overwhelmingly in favor of Berkman to be there new chairman. This, however, created the problem of picking someone to run for President in 1932. While Foster and Thomas both could have run themselves, Berkman was an immigrant and therefore ineligible for the position. Many, candidates stepped forward to be the party's presidential nominee, such as George Cannon, Paul Mattox and even renowned feminist Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. Despite this, however, someone no one expected got off to an early lead: Jack Reed. His speech had convinced many that he would be the perfect candidate to represent the Socialist Party in the election and as the day wore on, he came closer and closer to clinching the nomination. Eventually, the issue was decided when both Thomas and Foster threw their support behind him. Thus, the Socialists now had their candidate. Berkman congratulated Reed on winning the nomination and then set about to laying the groundwork for the advance of syndicalism by trying to get all of the unions in the country to unite behind one banner. He called this proposed united union the Combined Syndicalists of America and believed that it would be essential if they actually wanted to fall back on the general strike strategy.

While the Socialists were initially in disagreement about who should run lead their party, their was no doubt who the America First Party would pick. The America First Party itself was a new force in American politics that had formed around Senator Huey P. Long. As governor of Louisiana, Long had pushed through countless public works and education projects that had made him the hero of the rural poor, especially in the South. His critics pointed out that this had been achieved by brow beating and bullying his opponents into submission, calling him the "Dictator of Louisiana" and sometimes "Kaiser of Louisiana" when they were feeling dramatic. This, however, did nothing to dampen the love of his supporters, who saw him as a champion of their interests against the rich. In early 1932, he unveiled his much vaunted "Share our Wealth" program. In the announcement, Long pointed out that their was plenty of wealth to go around in America, but that it was all concentrated in the hands of the rich. Like dragons sitting on their hoards, the wealthy sat atop huge piles of wealth while thousands if not millions of out of work Americans starved. Therefore, Long proposed a new tax plan in order to redistribute that wealth in order to allow all Americans to have a comfortable standard of living. Under this plan, the first million dollars of wealth an individual had would be taxed at 1%, the second at 2%, the 4th at 8%, the 5th at 16%, the 6th at 32%, the 7th at 64% and the eighth million and above at 100%. He also proposed taxing all income over 1 million dollars at 100%. With the funds acquired by this tax, Long promised to ensure every American a household grant of $5,000 and an annual minimum income of $2,000-$3,000. Many criticized this plan as smacking of socialism. Long, however, defended his program saying that while it did aim to redistribute wealth, he wasn't arguing for enforced equality. Under this plan, it was still possible to amass a fortune from your work and he had no plan of overturning the capitalist system. The only thing this plan did was reduce or prevent the acquisition of excessive wealth by a few individuals. He further claimed that it was the Bible and Declaration of independence that gave him the inspiration for his program, not the Socialists.

huey-long-memorial-picture.jpg


Initially Long, a Democrat himself, had hoped he could convince the Democratic party to go with this plan and possibly even to nominate him for President in 1932. Soon, however, it became clear to him that they had no interest in either of these things. In protest, Long left the Democratic Party and announced the formation of his own party, which he dubbed The America First Union Party. The cornerstone of the party's platform was of course the Share our Wealth program, with the campaign slogan "Every man a King, but no one wears a crown", often shortened to "every man a king". In addition to this highly popular program, Long also promised to provide free primary and college educations, old age pensions, veteran's benefits, federal assistance to farmers, a new massive public works program, and to shorten the work week from 40 hours to 30 hours. This program appealed to many out of work people, especially those in the rural South, where the Syndicalist message of Unionization and worker control of factories had less appeal. While Long expressed optimism that he might be able to leverage this support into an election as President in 1932, he privately admitted that the party was still too young to have a real shot. He therefore settled in for the longer haul and ensured that he had plenty of supporters running for Congressional seats, governorships, and state legislative positions in as many states as he could find supporters.

It was in this climate of growing national dissent that the Republicans and Democrats started preparing to pick their candidates for President in 1932. For the Republicans, the job was easy as, despite having suffered a big hit to his popularity, Hoover remained the incumbent President and no one in the party was willing to give up the advantages incumbency offered. For the Democrats, things also seemed to be relatively easy. While Al Smith had initially looked like the likely candidate, he soon met opposition from the resurgent Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt had by now recovered enough from his polio affliction that he now felt comfortable at making a run for president. In addition, Roosevelt had been able to revive his career and rebuild his tarnished national profile during the last 4 years as governor of New York. The Democrats still remembered how he had been instrumental in ensuring McAdoo's election in 1920 and believed that his energy was just what was needed. While it was true that he was now bound to a wheelchair, the Democrats and Roosevelt did their best to downplay this. Roosevelt refused to give any speech from his chair and insisted on using braces to allow him to stand whenever he appeared in public. While this was both difficult and painful for him, it only further demonstrated the vigor and determination he possessed. The Democrats also managed to convince the press to agree not to photograph him in his chair to help sell the image.

Furthermore, Roosevelt's message of a "New Deal" for the American people was thought to be just the thing the Democrats would need to counteract Reed and Long's own messages. Roosevelt promised new public works programs, massive relief packages, tougher regulations on businesses and financial institutions, and more protections for workers rights. The hope was that this platform would be both broad and popular enough to appeal to the more moderate members of the syndicalists and America Firsters. This was based on the belief that most of the people backing these two parties weren't real partisans of either the Firster or syndicalist ideology, but were simply fed up with the way the country was going and had lost faith in the two traditional parties and where using the Syndicalists and Firsters as protest votes. Seeing as the Democrats were still being blamed for causing the Depression and the Republicans had done next to nothing to fix it since taking over, the people's lack of faith was more then justified. Roosevelt, however, offered something different then the traditional Democrats or Republicans and, seeing as he had withdrawn from public life 2 years before the depression started, he could not be blamed for it. Thus, the Democrats looked to the upcoming election with renewed optimism.

800px-FDR_in_1933.jpg


When the election began, however, it quickly became clear that the Democrats had grossly miscalculated the actual popularity and charisma of Long and Reed. Both men were powerful public speakers who were masters at winning peolple to their sides. They not only succeeded in energizing their base, industrial workers for the Reed and the rural poor for Long, but also made enthusiastic converts of many traditional Republicans and Democrats. Both Long and Reed had also correctly identified that the real threat to their victory was not the incredibly unpopular Hoover, but Roosevelt. As such, both candidates started attacking Roosevelt viciously. Long pointed to his policies and accused him of being a closet syndicalist. Reed, for his part, claimed that he was simply selling a watered down version of his message. He also called him "The Wizard of Oz", accusing him of trying to be all things to all people in order to trick the American workers into voting against their own interests. He claimed that while Roosevelt meant well, his plan was putting a bandage on a bullet wound. The American capitalist system as a whole was responsible for this depression, he argued, not simple bad decisions on the part of the business owners and thus needed to be abolished as beyond saving.

As the Election proceeded, it quickly became clear that both these attacks and the underlying messages of Reed and Long had been far more effective then the Democrats or Republicans had been willing to acknowledge. The bulk of their supporters, as it turned out, where no longer simply disaffected Republicans and Democrats, but had become zealous converts to the Syndicalist and Firster causes. This gave them a large, enthusiastic support base, with the critical weakness that both of them appealed most to people in only region of the country, the Old Northwest for the Syndicalists and the South for Long. This support, however, was enough for them to sweep their respective regions. This wide support meant that both Long and Reed could reliably count on these regions, and so focused their campaigns on other regions. Reed focused on New England, which was also a heavily industrialized region. Long for his part, focused on appealing to the Midwest farmers, who he believed his message would go over best with.

In this climate, all four candidates launched into a furious campaign to try and drum up as much support as they could. When the dust settled, No clear winner had emerged. The Pacific Coast and Rocky Mountain region, which had not been hit as hard by the Depression went to Hoover in landslides. The Great Plains states also went to Hoover, though Long's message had appealed enough to the Midwestern farmers that he was able to come in a very close second in all the states of this region. Vermont and Maine, always solidly Republican, also broke for Hoover. Long shocked everyone by making a clean sweep of the traditional Democratic South, marking the first time since the civil war that the region had not gone Democrat. Reed also put in a respectable showing, carrying all of the States of the Old Northwest, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and coming within an inch of taking Roosevelt's home state of New York. Roosevelt, meanwhile, buoyed by the support of many Democratic organizers such as Joseph Kennedy and a solid Democratic base, managed to take every New England state but Maine and Vermont as well as New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland.

When this was all added up, it came up to for 145 for Hoover, 144 for Reed, 135 for Long, and 103 for Roosevelt. This strong showing from the Socialists, who had been a perennial also-ran of no account ever since their foundation, and the America First Union Party, which hadn't even existed a year ago, shocked the nation. Clearly, here was a sign that millions of Americans had had enough of both the Democrats and Republicans. Even more shocking was that Roosevelt, whom everyone, even Hoover, had thought the clear favorite to win had come in last. Furthermore, for the first time since the election of John Quincy Adams, there was a tie in the election, meaning that the House of Representatives would have to pick the next president. This would work different then a traditional House vote, as each state would only get to cast 1 vote. for one of the top three contenders, meaning that Roosevelt, the 4th place candidate, had to drop out.

Despite Roosevelt dropping out, he still had an important part to play. The House at this time was controlled by Democrats after walloping the Republicans in the mid-term election, which meant that Roosevelt's support could go a long way to securing the election, and thus all three candidates tried to convince him to throw his support behind them. Roosevelt, however, almost immediately threw his support to Hoover, pointing out that he had won the most electoral votes and since the popular vote was all over the place, it could not be used as a determinant either. In truth, this came more down to the fact the Roosevelt deeply distrusted Long as a potential dictator and Reed as a man who wanted to overturn the way the entire American economy worked. Following this, the House duly awarded the deeply unpopular Hoover a second term. Almost immediately Reed and Long started grumbling about how they should have won it. Neither one, however, could complain too much. While the election had indeed been close, Hoover had won the most votes and Roosevelt's logic was sound, even if both suspected he had ulterior motives. They also lacked the means to prove that Hoover and Roosevelt had struck a deal as Roosevelt did not appear to receive any special favors from the president. Thus, both candidates set their sights on 1936, where they both hoped they could walk away with all the marbles.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Another update finished. I apologize for the length, but I wanted to move things a long and did not see too many good places to split it. I would have included an election map, but I lack knowledge of how to make them. The next update will get us to gameplay at long last.
 
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stnylan

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The background work remains first-rate.
 

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Indeed, I have to echo @stnylan 's sentiments.
 

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While the election was over, America's problems, both economic and political, were not. Both Long and Reed continued to rail against Hoover and his indecisiveness. Reed claimed that while he believed Hoover truly did want to fix the problems facing America, his solutions were simply wrong. Long was more succinct, calling Hoover "One of the best people I have ever seen for getting things done, and one of the worst I have ever seen at figuring out what the hell to do". Indeed, Hoover himself was by now all to aware of the fact that his approach of doing nothing and hoping the Depression would fix itself wasn't working. He began trying to implement more reforms and regulations to try and fix the Depression, but found himself facing a new problem in trying to do so.

While it was true that the Democrats had been in complete of Congress before the election, this had now changed. In the House, they still maintained a majority, but only by the thinnest of margins, as the Socialists and America First Party, while not having won the election for President, had managed to elect quite a few Congressmen. This meant that the House was pretty split between Republicans, Socialists, and America Firsters, all of whom had their own ideas on what needed to be done to fix the Depression. The Democrats still blamed the wild west nature of the market and believed that their needed to be greater regulation of financial institutions to prevent this from ever happening again. The Socialists claimed that what was needed was greater unionization and worker control of business. The America First members continued to push Long's Share Our Wealth program as the only viable solution. to make matters worse, all three of these groups had reasons not to work with Hoover. All three hoped to secure election in 1936 and all three feared that if Hoover actually succeeded in fixing the Depression it would instantly transform him into a national hero. That would mean that whoever he backed would almost certainly win the 1936 election.

3a23249r.jpg


Of course, these groups were all as unwilling to work with each other as they were with Hoover. The Socialists, in their turn, refused to sign onto anything unless it also ensured greater protections for the workers, which conservative Republicans and many conservative Democrats would not accept. They also had a nasty habit of pushing for racial equality in many of their proposed programs and would not sign onto anything that they believed unfairly favored whites or blacks, infuriating the heavily conservative, if much diminished, Southern Democrats. They were on occasion able to find common cause with Progressive Republicans and Democrats, but the usefulness of this was greatly diminished due to the fact that many of those had already defected to the Socialists. There worst criticism, however, was reserved for the America First Party. During the election, Reed had labeled them "The Party of Reaction" and stated that they were the mortal enemies of socialism. This resulted in the Socialists refusing to work with them in any capacity and they would often refuse to sign onto anything they supported.

socialism-nichols-norman-thomas-ap_img.jpg


The Democrats, for their part, sometimes seemed to want to disagree with Hoover simply on principle. They also viewed the Socialists as dangerous radicals and would often prove reluctant to sign onto their proposed programs for fear they went a little too far. They saved their greatest ire, however, for the America First Party. The party had all but swept the South, which the Democrats had long considered their domain. This struck terror in them as the remaining Southern Democrats all feared losing their seats to America First candidates in the next mid-term. In addition, many of them were still incensed at Long's defection from their party and blamed him for Roosevelt's loss. This all meant that the Democrats had adopted a strategy of trying to obstruct the America First party at every turn. The idea was that if they could ensure that none of their programs got anywhere, the Southern voters would see them as nothing more then blowhards and come back to the Democratic party. Long, however, ever a smooth operator, was all to aware of what they were doing, and blasted them at every opportunity. He would rail against them in speech after speech, often naming specific Southern Democrats who he thought needed to go. The result was these people's offices started getting flooded with calls and letters from angry constituents. This scared the remaining Southern Democrats so much, that they eventually started sounding more and more like the America Firsters and would often agree with their proposals out of shear fear that failure to do so would result in the loss of their seat.


By far the worst problem, however, were the America First Party. The party had formed around Long and it soon became clear to all that the America First Congressmen were nothing more then his mouthpieces.They bluntly refused to work with anyone, insisting that their answers were the only ones that made sense for the nation. They refused to compromise with anyone and would not sign onto any reform package unless it included concessions on their programs. They also insisted that all reform packages include relief to farmers and would refuse to sign onto anything that had the possibility of hurting them. The only way to get them to compromise was to get Long to order them to, so convincing them to support a measure almost always came down to convincing Long. Long, however, was none to willing to compromise. He still held a grudge against the Democrats for going with Roosevelt instead of him and would often refuse to back them for no reason other then simple bitterness. He was somewhat willing to work with Republicans, especially when it came to getting relief to farmers, but it was always cooperation on his terms. In addition, Long hated Reed and the Socialists every bit as much as they hated him and would flatly refuse to sign anything they put out.

220px-HueyPLongGesture.jpg


While these disagreements made getting anything through the House an adventure requiring near Machiavellian levels of political manipulation and bargaining, the Senate was even worse. The Syndicalists had performed a clean sweep there in Old Northwest and had also succeeded in getting a few Senators from the New England states. The America First party had also snagged a number of Senators from the Great Plains and especially the South. What this meant was the Senate was completely deadlocked, with no party having a majority. This meant that if you wanted to force through a bill, you were often trying to get mortal enemies to agree on something. Furthermore, the America First Party and Socialists both developed a nasty habit for filibustering any legislation from the other party.

What this all meant was that Hoover, was almost completely unable to get any reforms through. His own party, especially those from the still relatively prosperous West Coast, remained incredibly business friendly and therefore had trouble working with either Democrats or Socialists. He also remained committed to not offering direct Federal Loans to individuals to help them get back on their feet, still believing this would harm their sense of "Rugged Individualism". This got him mocked incessantly by the Democrats and especially the Socialists. The Democrats claimed that "Rugged Individualism" did not put food on the table when you had no job. They also pointed to the idea that the loans only needed to be enough to allow a subsistence level of existence. The argument was that if you gave them loans that were just enough to get by, but nothing more, you would ensure no one starved but also ensure that they weren't so comfortable that they had no desire to better their circumstances. Reed, for his part, blasted the whole idea of "Rugged Individualism" as nonsense. He claimed that individuals alone had no power and that they only really had power in groups. He used this to call for more unionization and agreed with the Democrats that all people should be ensured a subsistence level of existence at least, but disagreed that this should come primarily from government aid. While he admitted that in the current crisis some government assistance would be needed, he argued that once the economy was fixed, greater unionization would be able to secure better wages and standards of living as well as keep business owners honest.

Hoover did, however, begin sponsoring massive amounts of public works projects, which was the one place where he could get Republicans, Democrats, and America First people, along with some Socialists, to agree with him. These however were only a bandage and Hoover knew it. While public works projects did provide jobs, most of them were temporary, such as construction jobs. He therefore began pushing for creation of what he called the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. This body would exist to give out loans to financial institutions, railroads, and local government relief efforts. The idea with giving these loans to banks was to ensure they didn't all go under due to bank runs, as had happened at the beginning of the crisis. This would restore public confidence in the institutions and allow them to claw their way back. Reed, however, immediately came out against this, claiming that it was nothing more then crony capitalism. Reed in fact argued that the solution for the Bank issue was to nationalize all banks and then ensure that they were run, not in pursuit of profit, but for the benefit of those who kept their money their and borrowed from the bank. Long, for his part, believed that this plan was not enough and also came out against it. Thus, the program wound up tied up in Congress, slowly pushing its way towards passing, but only with great difficulty.

T4I38EKX.jpg


Just as the RFC was on the verge of passing and it looked like Hoover might be on his way to making things better, disaster struck yet again. For decades, the farmers of the Great Plains had used methods such as deep plowing to turn the arid, but fertile Great Plains into the breadbasket of America. While this had resulted in great gains in the short term, it also resulted in the uprooting of the various grasses that kept the soil in place during droughts. By 1934, the region had been experiencing several years of drought and now they began to feel the effects of the uprooting of plains grasses. No longer anchored in place, the topsoil in this region began to get blown away by the wind. This ruined the farmland in the region and resulted in massive dust storms that sometimes reached all the way to the East Coast. Called the "Dust Bowl" this devastated the farmers of the Great Plains states. Already having to deal with greatly depressed grain prices due to overproduction since the Depression began, this proved to be the last straw. thousands began to move to California for a better life. Those who stayed, however, now had a newfound hatred for Hoover, who seemed completely at a loss for how to fix this problem.

hith-black-sunday-112847841-1-E.jpeg


Long seized the offered opportunity with both hands, blasting Hoover for his lack of care for the farmers. He further began to promise that if he won in 1936, he would be pushing a massive relief package to help the farmers recover. In the meantime, he promised that his men in Congress would push for whatever relief they could get. The result of this was that in the 1934 mid-term elections, the America First Party was able to perform a clean sweep of the Great Plains, which had long been a solidly Republican stronghold. This came in addition to them finally locking up control of the South, leading to the remaining Southern Democrats either being voted out of office in favor of America First candidates or simply defecting to that party themselves. While Reed also made gains in New England as well as in Iowa, Missouri, and Minnesota, and New York, it was nothing compared to this windfall. What this all meant was that while no party could now claim a majority in either party of Congress, the America First Party now had the greatest share of votes in both houses. Further worrying was the fact that Socialists were not that far behind them with their control of some of the most populous states in the country and growing presence in New York.

This development greatly alarmed many, but perhaps no one was more distraught over this then former Democratic Candidate Franklin Roosevelt. Roosevelt still maintained hopes of running again in 1936. The Socialist gains in both Congress and the New York State Legislature, combined with the election of Socialist mayor of New York worried him greatly, as did the loss of the South to Long and his partisans. The election had proved that neither of these parties were going anywhere in the near future. What this meant was that if Roosevelt wanted to win election in 1936, he needed to win the support of one of these two parties. Realizing that Long's ego would never allow him to play second fiddle to anyone and on the advice of his Syndicalist leaning wife, Eleanor, he began to enter into negotiations with Reed. Roosevelt hoped that by opening up a dialogue, he could convince Reed that they were both going in the same direction and that they could do more if they worked together. Reed for his part, realized that if he could win the still hugely popular Roosevelt over to his side, that it could potentially be the thing he needed to win in 1936. After many months of negotiating, Roosevelt presented Reed with a rather radical proposal: a joint primary. The plan was for Roosevelt to go to his party and ask them to hold nationwide primaries for his party, open to all registered Democratic, Socialist, or Independent voters. Roosevelt and Reed would run as the only two candidates in the primary with however came in first leading the ticket and the second place candidate being the Vice Presidential Candidate. To Reed, this opportunity sounded too good to be true. If he could win the resulting primary, he would have the full apparatus of the Democratic party and the highly popular Roosevelt behind him. Reed eagerly accepted the offer and Roosevelt went to both his party leaders and the media with the plan.

lossy-page1-220px-FDR_1944_Color_Portrait.tif.jpg
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Initially, there was massive backlash to the plan. Many saw it as a defection by Roosevelt and a surrender to the Socialists. Roosevelt, however, deftly defended himself stating that like it or not, neither the Socialists or the America Firsters were going anywhere and the Democrats could either seek accommodation with one of them or fight them and the Republicans both. If they decided to do that, the best case scenario was another deadlock. If the parties deadlocked again, Long's control of the Southern and Midwestern state delegations in the House could easily result in him winning the election. Worse still, fighting the Socialists, America First Party, and the Republicans could result in either Long or Reed simply winning outright. That meant that accommodation with one of the other two parties was essential. Since getting either the Republicans or Democrats to bow out of the election and support the other parties candidate was like getting cats and dogs to make nice with each other, that left either the Socialists or the America First Party. To Roosevelt's mind, Long's dictatorial tendencies and massive ego made him both dangerous and difficult to work with as be unlikely to accept anything less then the Presidential Nomination. Reed by contrast, had never been in it for himself but simply believed the Socialists were the best chance to get a fair deal for the workers, which Roosevelt was fully willing to grant him. Eventually, these arguments began to win the Democrats over, all be it warily, helped along by Reed's pledge that he would accept the Vice Presidential nomination if he came in second. Berkman too, who by now had managed to unite pretty much all the unions under the banner of his Combined Syndicates of America, enthusiastically supported the plan. Thus, the stage seemed set for a Democratic victory in 1936.

It was not to be. Seeing the threat this new alliance presented, Long began casting about for a way to end it. Eventually, he concluded that their was only one, very unsavory solution: Assassinate Roosevelt. The plan was Roosevelt's and it was his voice and influence that was keeping the Democrats on board with it. If he died and if the Socialists could be blamed for it, that support would evaporate. He therefore began casting about for a candidate for an assassin and found one in the form of Anarchist Giuseppe Zangara. Zangara as an anarchist had no obvious connection to either Long or the America First party. Furthermore, Berkman's own past as a would-be Anarchist Assassin combined with Anarchism and Syndicalism often being two sides of the same coin would lead many to blame Berkman and the Socialists for the assassination. Zangara, seemed all to eager to assassinate Roosevelt. The death of such a popular figure would be a powerful blow for the forces of Anarchism. Thus on April 12, 1935, Giuseppe Zangara entered Roosevelt's office in Albany claiming to have some business to discuss with Roosevelt. He then fired two shots into Roosevelt. Roosevelt, already having health problems of his own, died almost instantly, his last words being "I have a terrific headache". Long, not wanting to risk Zangara getting caught and revealing his complicity, also arranged Zangara's demise shortly thereafter.

zangara-giuseppe-image.jpg


The assassination of Roosevelt, who many had considered a shoe in for either President or Vice-President sent shockwaves through the country. As more and more details came about about Zangara, especially his Anarchist sympathies, people immediately began blaming Berkman, just as Long had predicted. Both Berkman and Reed emphatically denied these accusations but the damage had already been done. Long, harrangued the Socialists for seeming to be cooperative while resulting to violence to ensure they got their way. Almost immediately after Zangara's Anarchist sympathies were revealed, the Democratic leadership announced their decision to pull out of the deal with the Socialists. They almost immediately threw their support behind former Speaker of the House John Nance Garner, who promised to take a hard line with both the Socialists and the America First Union party.

JohnNanceGarner.png


The Republicans suddenly found renewed reason to hope. With an alliance between the Democrats and the Socialists their loss had seemed assured. Now, suddenly, they had a chance at victory. After not much debate, they decided to go With Vice President Charles Curtis as their nominee. The hope was that his Native American roots would help them win over some of the minority populations in the country. Curtis, for his part, promised to try and find a diplomatic solution to the problems presented by the Socialists and America First Party. He also began promising what he called a "Fair Deal" for all Americans. Thus, many in the Republican party looked forward to the election with renewed hope. With the candidates for all three main parties now set and 1935 giving way to 1936, the metaphorical battle lines were now drawn. Only time would tell if it would lead to the drawing of literal battle lines.
Charles_Curtis-portrait.jpg

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And with that we have our last backstory update. Next update will be the first to feature gameplay. I also made a little edit to the last part of my previous update as I realized I was wrong about a House of Representatives vote works when breaking a tie in the Presidential election.
 

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Another amazing backstory update.:)
 

stnylan

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A great ending to teh backstory, with America on the precipice.

Very excited to what we learn hereafter.
 

History_Buff

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Interesting that you are going with the old lore on Roosevelt and the US, but still this is cool. Looking forward to reading more. :)

I based most of my lore on the Kaiserreich Wiki, but diverged from it where I felt like I needed to, for example, I thought McAdoo would be the candidate in 1920 due to Wilson not blocking his nomination to try and get renominated, as he did in reality. I also thought he would probably win due to his being supported by a highly popular president. I also felt that their was no way Hoover would get elected if the crash happened in 1926 with a Republican President.

Interesting to see the ways this is going off-script already. (Roosevelt being assassinated instead of dying of polio, for instance)

It would have been pretty anti-climactic to have him die of polio, plus the wiki I used as my source had him get assassinated. I almost went with the HoI2 lore which, unless I am mistaken, gave a nod to the Southern Victory series (one of my favorite book series) by having him get assassinated by America Firster Jake Featherston, but I thought that that would not actually break the alliance with the Socialists and Long wouldn't be dumb enough to let it be traced to him.

With the Death of Roosevelt, the country now found itself on a precipice. The Democrats, having to find a candidate at the last minute had thrown up the colorful and controversial John Nance Garner, who did not come close to having the appeal and charisma of the departed Roosevelt. The Republicans had, in their turn, decided to go with Charles Curtis, who had the advantage of being of Native American ancestory, which they hoped would help him in the Western and Northern states. He also, however, had the misfortune of being part of the by now much maligned Hoover administration.

Meanwhile, the young and dynamic Reed was again leading the Socialist ticket and was also claiming that he would honor Roosevelt's memories by adopting some of the great man's ideas and the America Firsters were again running the electrifying Huey Long. under these circumstances, many thought that either Reed or Long would win the coming election. With the Socialists still under a cloud from the assassination, however, many thought Reed likely to lose in New York and New England, where Roosevelt's message had been most popular and whose support he would need to win the election. This meant that many were now expecting Long's strong support in the South and Midwest to give him the edge he needed to tie the election, forcing a House vote. If that happened, Long's control of the Southern and Midwestern delegations made it incredibly likely that he could edge out the other two candidates fairly easily.

This all changed however, with the discovery of a new piece of evidence in the investigation into Roosevelt's assassination. While Long had been careful enough to ensure that Zangara met an unfortunate fate before he could tell anyone about Long's complicity, it seemed Zangara had been prepared for such a double cross. The anarchist, not being the fool that Long thought he was, had decided to keep a journal detailing all of his dealings with Long and the America Firsters. He had then left this journal with a trusted associate and told them to deliver it to the authorities should Zangara die in the assassination attempt. This friend promptly handed the journal to the head of the New York state police, a loyal Roosevelt appointee and someone who could be trusted not to be working with Long. The New York state police chief, wanting to expose the people who were really behind his bosses death and hurt Long as much as possible, promptly went public with the Journal.

Almost immediately, Reed came out condemning Long for having an honorable man killed to serve his own purposes. He also blasted Long for being a coward, afraid to face him and Roosevelt due to him secretly knowing his cause was false. Reed then again offered to work with the Democrats in honor of Roosevelt, yet again extending Roosevelt's initial offer of a joint primary. The Democrats and Garner, however, immediately refused this offer calling the Socialists nothing but a bunch or radicals and extremists. Garner, who had never personally liked Roosevelt, even was recorded as saying that Roosevelt was a "damn fool for trusting Reed". Privately, of course, both Reed and Garner knew that Red had made the offer because while he admitted that Roosevelt had stood a chance at beating him, he knew Garner, who was nowhere near as popular, would lose spectacularly. The blunt refusal, and the leaking of Garner's response by a Roosevelt loyalist made Reed out to be the reasonable one offering to work together with the Democrats and the Democrats cowardly. Combined with Reed's shrewd efforts to cast himself as Roosevelt's successor, Garner's insult of Roosevelt turned a lot of former Roosevelt people to Reed.

While all of this was happening, however, the one group that remained the most unhurt from this new evidence was ironically Long himself. Long responded to the new evidence by simply stating that He had assassinated Roosevelt because he was about to sell the country to the Socialists. While this won him no new friends, it made him a hero to his own base, who were all vehemently anti-socialist. In addition to this, Long was firmly established in the South and, to a lesser extent in the Midwest, due to another factor that no new revelation could shake. Since first emerging in 1932, Long and the America First party had been winning not only congressional races, but also state legislature and governors races. Since these men were all Long flunkies, he had immediately ordered them to begin implementing his Share our Wealth program in their states to demonstrate how effective it was. They had all agreed to implemented for all white families, but had stubbornly dug in their heels when he insisted that it be offered to African American's as well out of fear of alienating those in their states who still supported the idea of segregation. While this did frustrate Long, he didn't want to risk splintering his party and had thus relented. By this time in 1935, the programs had been going on for 3 years in some places and had solidified the support of Long's base their while winning the rest over as enthusiastic converts. This meant that pretty much nothing could shake the support of Long's base.

With all this going on, Hoover greeted the arrival of the New Year with something less then enthusiasm. While he remained nervous about what might happen in the upcoming election, however, he knew the business of the country must go on. Therefore, in his continued efforts to stimulate the American economy, he helped arrange for the building of 4 new military factories and 4 civilian ones in the still contested regions of Kansas and Oklahoma
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The hope here was that by building these additional factories out West, he could win back some lost support in these region by offering the people who lived in them new jobs. However, he also realized that many of America's production methods, as well as much of their military hardware was out of date. As a result, he also agreed to fund 4 new research initiatives. The first was an investment in improved machine tools (This is code for started machine tools research), which Hoover believed would open the way for further industrial developments. His hope was that by making American industry more efficient, he could make American made products more competitive and desireable on the world stage, thus opening up new avenues of trade. He also began researching new electronic computing methods, believing that further developments in this field would also help America gain a technological edge when it came manufacturing (Basic Electric compunting technology) With that done, he then realized that the army also needed some upgrades, especially with the possibility of Reed a nd Long resorting to more unsavory means should they lose the election. As a result, he also funded research into new submachine guns for the infantry in order to increase the firepower of their units. These weapons, with the firepower of a machine gun and almost the mobility of a rifle, he believed would greatly increase the amount of lead that his troops could put in the air (basic support equipment). Finally, in order to reduce the amount of deaths from battle injuries, he authorized the development of better field hospital techniques (field hospital research).

In addition to these technological investments, Hoover also began taking steps to increase the size of the United States army. Realizing that their was a very real threat of violence following the election if either Reed or Long won, or even possibly if neither one did, Hoover first placed production orders for more infantry equipment and artillery pieces. He also, interestingly, began making investments in a new type of ship, ordering the construction of America's first Aircraft Carrier. Hoover believed fervently, despite the objections of many traditional navy men, that the time of the Battleship had come and gone. He argued that with recent innovations to bombing aircraft, the big battlewagons would simply be far to vulnerable to aerial bombardment and therefore their was a need for fleets to have their own compliment of airplanes to keep the enemies of of them. Despite the objections of many navy men, Hoover's orders were carried out. Almost as an afterthought, Hoover also ordered the building of more convoys to help further facilitate the trade deals he hoped to negotiate in the future.

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In addition, Hoover also began raising and federalizing several units of national guard from those regions not yet under the control of Reed and Long. While Hoover did not really believe that Reed or Long would necessarily be willing or able to resort to force if they lost, he knew the current American army, which had only 4 divisions of men, would not be up to the task of defeating them if they did. He also knew that to raise, train, and equip a force of regular infantrymen large enough to oppose Long and Reed would take too long. Conversations with Chief of Staff of the Army, Douglas MacArthur had told him that at best, he could have 2 or 3 more regular infantry divisions by the election, which would be nowhere near enough to keep order. Since National guard soldiers did not have all of the training and equipment of regular soldiers, Hoover could raise many more of them much more quickly, so that is what he decided to do.

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Furthermore, MacArthur in numerous conversations had pointed out that the current strength of the army was far to spread out, with one division in Washinton and 3 more in various locations on the West Coast. He indicated that it would be best to concentrate them and argued that the best place to do this was in the Midwest. While the area was heavily influenced by Long, he did have nearly the same level of control over it as he did the South since the region didn't start switching to him till 1934. Furthermore, unless substantially more force could be mustered, MacArthur was not confident in the armies ability to hold Washington, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, or Tennesse if it came to violence. Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennesse all had heavy Long influence. Mercifully, Virginia had narrowly voted to return its Democratic governor in 1933, as Long had not yet solidified his complete control of the South by then, with Kentucky having done the same by an even thinner margin in 1935 along with Tennesse in 1934. The gubernatorial race in West Virginia as well had broken Democratic in 1932, just as Long and Reed were rising to prominence. This meant that the National Guards in these states were still loyal to Hoover and not Long, as was the case in much of the Deep South. Maryland too had narrowly fended off Socialist challenge for the governorship in 1934, meaning its loyalty could be counted on as well meaning its loyalty could be counted on along with the rest. The problem with these states however was that they formed a corridor between the Syndicalist controlled Old Northwest and Pennsylvania in the North and the America First controlled Deep South. This meant that if violence erupted, Depending on how widespread it was, these states could easily become the meat in a very unpleasant America First and Syndicalist sandwich and would require much more force then MacArthur expected to be able to raise in order to hold them. Thus the orders went out for all American forces to head for the Midwest.
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While this was happening in America, world events soon began to take center stage again, however briefly with the arrival of news that Russian President Alexander Kerensky had been assassinated on his way to a meeting of the Senate in Russia. Kerensky had led Russia since The German-backed White Army managed to defeat the Red Army. However, the fact that he was still forced to sign the Brest-Litovsk treaty, combined with the spectacular failure of his economic reforms and general mismanagement had meant that his popularity was at an all time low. Fearing that the country might collapse back into anarchy, Kerensky's ally, Pyotr Wrangel moved quickly and seized control of the Russian government in order to "Save mother Russia" as he put it. Only time would tell if his efforts would succeed.
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While the economy still remained poor, Hoover did however have one bright spot. That bright spot was the profitable trade that he was managing to do with the Legation Cities. This particular entity had come about when the Germans had intervened in the Chinese Civil War in 1926, restoring the Qing Emperor with a price. That price was allowing the German company of AlgOstAsien GMBH to have exclusive economic rights in the south of the country and allowing several important coastal cities to be independent, but run jointly by the world's leading powers, one of which had been the US. The US still had a sizable stake in this trade with the Legation Cities and, by extension, China, all be it limited by the AOG refusing to trade with them following the Kaiser's instructions. While this remained very lucrative, it unfortunately didn't benefit anything past the West Coast and so was of limited use in jump starting the economy.
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Hoover, had little time to contemplate this small saving grace, however, as news soon arrived that King George V, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, had died. King George had ruled in exile in Canada since loosing his throne in 1926 and had always harbored a desire to return to the British Isles. His replacement on the throne was his son, Prince Edward, who now styled himself King Edward VIII. While George had wanted to reclaim the Home Islands, the reclamation of Britain was Edward's all consuming passion. He burned with a desire for revenge against the Syndicalists who took his country from him and against the Germans who had put Britain in their precarious position in the first place. As such, in his coronation speech, he vowed to reclaim the Home Islands or perish in the attempt. Time would tell if he could make good on either one of those promises.
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Hoover's attention, however, was soon brought back home when news arrived that the country had moved even closer to the brink of civil war. Apparently, Reed and Long had noticed the slow build up of troops that Hoover had authorized and it had apparently made them nervous. Both feared the President might be planning to suppress them by force in order to ensure they didn't win or use the military to move against them should they win. To counter this, both Long and Reed began forming their own military arms. Reed formed the so called "Red Guards", whose job it would be to protect the party and strikers from attempted strike breaking. Long declared the formation of what he called the "Minutemen" to protect his own interests. With all sides thus arming themselves, the situation in America became even more unstable, moving even closer to war.
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Soon however, this news would be drowned out by a far more important development. When the New York Stock Exchange had crashed back in 1926, taking the entire American Economy with it, Berlin had taken New York's place as the world's primary financial center. Ever since then, the Berlin Stock exchange had been going further and further up as Germany went from strength to strength. Much of this growth and success had been fueled by their Chancellor, Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz. Under Tirpitz, Germany experienced a golden age due to his policy of market regulation, subsidization of food production, and sale of technology to German allies. He had also overseen the seizure of many British and French colonial possessions after those countries fell to revolution. After his death in 1930, however, things began to go downhill. The economy had begun to slow down as other countries, such as France and Britain, recovered from their revolutionary chaos and began to increase their manufacturing power. This slowing World economy, which many argued began with the collapse of the American economy in 1926, combined with the decline of Germany's national income ultimately culminated on February 3, 1936 in a stock market crash every bit as spectacular as the 1926 New York Stock exchange crash. Stock prices, and not a few stock brokers, took a massive swan dive as people began frantically selling their shares. This only further worsened the problem as the same chain reaction of stock prices crashing and bank runs that had ruined the American economy began to ravage the German economy as well in what people began to call Black Monday. Privately, Hoover took perhaps more then his fair share of joy in watching the German economy go up in flames considering how Germany had been largely responsible for the crashing of the American economy back in 1926. Ironically, this decision may have actually served to make things worse for the Germans as had the American economy not been in such a bad shape, they might have been able to lend assistance, but with the whole world well and truly broken, no one was now in a position to help anyone.
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Hoover, however, did not have much time to gloat. while people like Reed and Long would never admit it, Hoover, despite their best efforts to stop him, had been slowly putting the pieces of the American economy back together again. This slow and steady process (many would say too slow and steady) all came crashing down a few days later when on February 8, the effects of Black Monday finally hit America. almost overnight, all progress that Hoover had made to fix the American economy were wiped out overnight as the American economy and stock market took yet another plunge. Reed for his part pointed to this event and blamed the corrupt bankers and other wealthy elites and claimed that this new crash was proof that the Depression was not simply a slump that could be overcome with aid packages, regulations, and government programs. He claimed that this new crash, combined with the one back in 1926 were proof that the Capitalist system itself were to blame and that the country needed to adopt a new, Syndicalist system like that of the still relatively unscathed France in order to recover, calling Black Monday the "Death Throes of Capitalism. Long for his part argued that Reed's proposals went too far, but that Hoover's policies and Curtis's "Fair Deal" did not go far enough to fix the problem. He once again put forth his idea of even stricter regulations and the adoption of his "Share our Wealth" program to break the power of the elite and put their needlessly large fortunes to work for the common man. A man should be allowed to get rich in America, he argued, as that was that prospect is what motivated most people. That being said, Long argued that their were limits to what one man should have at the fortunes of several millions were more then any man needed and only served to deprive other men of opportunities. Curtis for his part yet again began championing his "Fair Deal" as a reasonable compromise between Long and Reed while Garner, while pledging to fix the economy, offered no specific plan on how to do so.
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In the wake of these momentous events, India got plunged into a war when the ruler of Afghanistan, hoping to increase his popularity by seizing more Indian land, decided to attack the Commonwealth of Delhi, hoping it would be as easy as the last time he did so. He quickly found himself fighting out of his weight, however, and was forced to give back all of the land he had taken the first time. This little war would, however, would quickly be forgotten in the wake of the disastrous Black Monday.
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Of only slightly more importance were events in Poland. Poland had been a German puppet since being ceded by Russia in the Brest-Litovsk treaty and had been without a King for sometime. Seizing advantage of the Regency Council's inability to chose a King, several members of the Polish Government proclaimed Poland to be a Republic. This declaration was met with great public and government support and the Regency Council, being caught totally off guard by these events, found itself forced to disband with the question of who would be the next King of Poland suddenly becoming null and void.
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Hoover was left with little time to contemplate this however, as the following day, three events happened that served to greatly rock the United States political scene. The first and most significant event was that his Vice President Charles Curtis, the Republican Nominee for President, suffered a heart attack early in the morning. While Curtis was able to recover from this near fatal event, the news could not be kept from the public, who met it with great trepidation. Clearly, here was a sign that Curtis was in questionable health while campaigning for the most stressful job in the country. Serious questions now began to be raised as to whether Charles Curtis would be in fit enough health to serve as President and whether electing him President was tantamount to giving him a death sentence. This did not bode well for the Republicans, who many thought had the best chance of beating Long and Reed thanks to Curtis's less divisive personality and having a clear plan on how he wanted to fix the economy, both things his Democratic opponent seemed to lack. Reed for his part reacted to the event by saying that he was glad Curtis, who he considered to be an honorable man but misguided man, was recovering and wished him the best of luck. He did, however, note that this event cast doubts on his fitness to serve. Long for his part reacted with his usual bravado, blasting the Republicans for picking such an obviously frail man who was liable to fall over dead on the first day of the job as their candidate, asserting his own vigorous health. Garner also expressed his sympathies saying and stated that he still hoped to kick Curtis's can come November.
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Of much less significance, but still disconcerting was the release of the movie "Modern Times", Charlie Chaplin's latest film that many considered to be heavily syndicalist in nature. The film's priemer was attended by such notable personages as Marceau Privet, Philip Snowden, and Jack Reed himself. The film soon met with great popularity, prompting Hoover to swiftly ban it fearing that its strong anti-capitalist message would be too provocative and could tip the dangerous balance of power in favor of Reed. Reed quickly responded by lambasting Hoover for being afraid of a simple film and noted it as a blatant violation of the First Amendment. He also noted that if Hoover was so confident in the righteousness of the capitalist system, then why would he be so afraid of a film opposing it as surely he should be able to defend against whatever arguments it made. Long for his part applauded the decision as a strong stand against the evils of syndicalism, praise which Hoover said he could have done without.
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All of this however would pail in comparison, however, to the disastrous event that would soon come to be called the "Battle of the Overpass". Fed up with the low wages and long hours being imposed on auto workers by the Ford Motor Company, Walter Rauther and Richard Frankensteen of the United Auto Workers association, part of the now near omnipresent Combined Syndicates of America, called a general strike to protest for better pay and working conditions. In the midst of this strike, several strikers decided to pose for a picture on an overpass with the Ford sign behind them. This moment was quickly disrupted however when 40 men armed with baton's began laying into the strikers and then commenced assaulting the women present handing out flyers. News of the incident immediately caught the attention of the Newspapers, who began trumpeting it to high heaven. Syndicalist leaning papers held it up as an example of capitalist oppresion in its rawest forms, while anti-syndicalist papers applauded the men for taking a stand against Reed and his compatriots. Reed immediately seized on this event claiming that it was something he would have expected from the bad old days of the 1880s, not in the post-Progressive era America of 1936. He claimed that this was a clear example that the Progressive reforms had clearly not gone far enough if company goons could still simply beat up peaceful strikers whenever they pleased and that anyone who needed to resort to violence to win a strike was clearly in the wrong, calling the event "The Death Throes of Capitalism". He began painting this as an example of the reason the people needed strong unions and a President who stuck up for the working class and who could finish the work of TR and the other Progressive and break the power of the bosses forever, leaving no doubt who he thought that person was. Hoover, upon learning of this event was furious. He knew full well how big a disaster this was going to be for his party and was dumbfounded by how easily the Ford employees had played right into Reed's hands. In retrospect, however, given Henry Ford's outspoken support of Long, he admitted he should have seen something like this coming. In a private phone call, Hoover berated Ford for "Handing Reed a stick with which he can beat us over the head from now until the election". Ford, however, remained resolute in his belief that the workers by associating with Reed were nothing but Syndicalist revolutionaries who had got just what was coming to them. This prompted an infuriated Hoover to order the pressing of charges against all 40 men involved in the beatings, followed by Ford promising to pay for the defense costs of all of them.
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While this was happening in America, The French Elections had resulted in the two biggest blocks, the Traveileurs and Jacobins, deadlocking. This forced frenzied negotiations by both of these two parties as they attempted to find another party to join them in a coalition. In the end, it was the Traveileurs who came out on top, managing to form a coalition government in order to retain their control of France.
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Meanwhile, back in America, the first National Guard divisiion to be ordered up by Hoover was now ready for federal service and was ordered to take up position in Northern Texas.
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This was greatly overshadowed, however, by news that the Romanians under their leader Cornelieu Codreanu had begun feeling their oats again. In a brazen show of Romanian strength, they ordered troops into the demilitarized region of Oltenia. This went directly against the treaty it had signed at the end of the war which had declared the region to be a demilitarized zone and showed to all the world that Codreanu did not intend to allow Romania to be constrained by the treaty any more. All now held their breathes to see if the Balkans would yet again erupt in war, as had been its habit for the past 30 or more years.
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Further international developments continued to come out as the week went on, this time from North Africa. After mainland France fell to the Syndicalists, the old French government had fled to North Africa and set up a government in exile there. Ever since, the French had been trying to decide what form of government they should adopt. Eventually, The decision was made to restore the monarchy. Curiously, the French decided to go not with the old House of Bourbon, however, but the House of Bonaparte instead. Considering the House of Bonaparte was the last royal house to actually rule France, this made a certain amount of sense. However, Hoover still questioned their logic as the last time a Bonaparte faced the Germans and Communards, it did not go well for them.
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And there we have our first gameplay update. I will probably not include full screenshots for every time more troops get deployed, as that could clutter up the updates very quickly and slow down the pace. I have the message settings set to inform of all world events so provided that I actually get a screenshot of it before I dismiss the message, I plan to update everyone on all events going on in the world as well. While I have played up to the start of the Civil War, I have purposely not researched a doctrine so that I can get input from you on which one you think fits the United States best. I will probably militia spam until I have enough men to cover all fronts since infantry need artillery and take a while to train. Also, I have not fought any of the actual war so as I said before, any tips and strategies are appreciated. Next update will probably come on Saturday or Sunday.